Stories in Short #29: Snapshots ‘1


That’s Lucy. She’s twenty-five. She works at a recruitment firm in Central London. Her life has started. Wheels are rolling, the butter’s churning. Mack, her boyfriend, twenty-eight and an executive at a marketing firm, is doing just as…just as…well. They eat out once or twice a week. There’s a Lebanese restaurant they frequent, the owners know them. They’re regulars. Lucy doesn’t like meat, rather, she’s a vegetarian. Mack has tried over and over to facilitate and mimic her lifestyle, but he can’t handle the farty beans.

They live in a small one bedroom flat in Nunhead, south London. It’s suburbia, essentially, with prime views of the city skyline. A quiet, respectable place, with shiny cars and trees along the roads. Children wave at each other across the road from their bedroom windows, housewives and househusbands and housepeople trim the garden when it’s dry and drink coffee when it’s wet. Each morning a stream of well-dressed apes descend on Nunhead station and board the ape-express into the city, a rapid journey of twenty-six minutes, although sometimes it can take an hour, depending on the state of the jungle.

Only the crows have a real sense of it, this migration. They circle above and laugh at the mundane. Only, Lucy’s day isn’t going to be mundane. Far from it.

Lucy has a day off work because of tooth ache, even though her tooth doesn’t hurt. She factors in three sick days a year to have as ‘her’ time. Though she doesn’t like to take the days off as it means there’ll be one less day for the future. But, today is a special day, and it doesn’t matter that Lucy woke up feeling like she couldn’t give a fuck, there was a much bigger, much more impressive plan than laying in bed all day watching Cash in the Attic and drinking cold tea.

Mack kisses her forehead, which, with some crazy biological aspiration, has turned clammy and pink, and heads out into the waves of his commuting cousins. Lucy, Lucy thinks, you better make the most of today. She thinks this because she already feels guilty. Guilt! Her boss had been so nice on the phone, ever so understanding. Even so…the emails, slowly building in mass like a tumour in her inbox. What if Bob rings from Hertfordshire and tells her that, yes, I want the damn job!

Lucy frets around the house for an hour. Makes the bed, gets into bed, makes the bed again. Boils the kettle, crumbles a block of Ethiopian coffee into a Tower Bridge mug and then leaves the steaming coffee on the kitchen table whilst she falls asleep in the shower, her forehead pressed against the cool tiles. When she wakes she thinks about masturbating but doesn’t. In a fluffy robe which sticks to her skin, she sits on the sofa and stares into space.

Slowly, and it’s a barely perceptible movement, her hand crawls towards her phone on the other side of the sofa. Her hand is crab-like. A slow shuffle. Finger by finger. Is she creeping towards the phone, or is the phone creeping towards her?

Hello, Lucy says.

Hey baby, says a male voice. It’s not Mack.

I called in sick.

Good, good. I’ve got everything we need.

Wh-what do you have?

‘Petrol. Knives. Camera. Are you ready?’


Good. I’ll be there in five minutes.

There’s more of this series to come. They’re all a little bit intertwined. These are primarily experiments with voice and tension, and all written on the train.

Check out some of my other stories here.

Some of my favourites:

Stories in Short #25 (The Hotel Notorious)

Stories in Short #22 (The glittering senselessness of alcohol)

Stories in Short #14 (Marathon of forgetting)


5 thoughts on “Stories in Short #29: Snapshots ‘1

    • Thanks for your kind comment, as always Monkey.

      The voice is separate from the characters, quite omnipresent. I loved the idea of one voice flicking through people’s lives and exploring the strange shit they get up to. Then, I suppose, the omnipresent voice is my own, the writer’s. I think I spend too much time with strangers on the train, all I do these days is make up stories about their lives.


      Liked by 1 person

  1. Pingback: Stories in Short #30: Snapshots ‘2 | Seal Matches

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