The sole of my shoe, free of the bounds of nail or glue, claps out of time with the nervous tap of my foot in the gutter. Something somewhere smells of piss. This is the city, so that’s almost always true, but there’s a strong possibility that this time it’s me. It’s “I don’t bloody know” in the morning, it’s cold and I’m damp everywhere. It probably is me. Whose piss it is is less clear. Getting home’s going to be tricky, no cab driver will pick me up looking like this. Thank God it’s Saturday … Oh shit. Is it ?

The Envelope

Granny Joyce died last weekend aged 88.
For the last two years she has had a sealed envelope on her mantlepiece labelled in her famously spidery handwriting
“To be opened in the event of my death”

She made sure that her children, her neighbours – everyone in fact who visited regularly, knew about the envelope.
Her son was concerned that the envelope was going to tell him some terrible secret
“Your father was a Russian spy”
“You were adopted. We found you in a shopping basket outside Waitrose”

The time came when the envelope had to be opened.
Her son poured himself a large whisky, sat down with the envelope in his hand and his wife in support, took a deep breath and ripped it open.
He pulled out the sheet of writing paper and slightly nervously unfolded it.

Turn off the gas.
Turn off the electricity.
Tell the DSS I’m dead.


From a true story told to me by Charles, published with permission