little shop of anxieties
Unlicensed operation on a narrow street. Inside, worn black & white linoleum floor tiles go back to a wooden counter. Furniture–mainly chromium diner stools–stacked in a corner. Some cabinets, you can’t make out what’s in those. Push your face up against the window on a dark night & a rain of silent fleamarket objects drifts down slowly through this space like the index of some unreliable past: ashtrays of all types & sizes; geranium in a terracotta pot; thousands of 45rpm records; stones off a beach; money & playing cards; the dustjackets of library novels 1956; black French knickers waist 24; cheap tickets all colours; suits, hats & shoes; bruised cricket ball, seams worn; a porcelain globe five inches diameter bearing a complex design of leaves & tendrils in delft blue; small chest of drawers, veneered; bicycle tire, gentleman’s silver cigarette case, national insurance card: all gravityless & wreathed in Christmas lights like strands of weed underwater. One night you hear Frank Sinatra behind a door to another room. Go the next night, nothing. You turn up your collar in the rain. The card in the window says open but the door is always closed. Ask around, no one remembers seeing the owner. No dust on anything. Open book, indelible pencil on a bit of string. “Sign in here.”
Un-nerves me the same way Aickman’s best “fantasy” does. Only you’ve done it in 17 lines. Nice!
Did you just write this after your response in the last post?
At the same time as writing it.
Just read your piece for Arc.
I think most of us have train journeys like that now… Both thought-provoking and memory-triggering, I often go past where Norwich used to be.
I’ve never known a solicitor actually get up and do something, but loved the ending. Thanks.
Hi Glyn Evans: I think I have a way to go before I could write something as unnerving as “The Swords”…
whiteonesugar: glad you enjoyed it. “I’ve never known a solicitor actually get up and do something…” Perhaps that’s why the ending works. Or perhaps we’re just being unkind to solicitors.
True, that IS a seriously brilliant story… Why is he so under-appreciated? Although, I suggest you undersell yourself slighty – Science & The Arts? Are you shitting me – that made me feel really dirty. And in the wrong way!