Manchester Gravel

Category Archive
  • Skepticism with a C

    Skepticism with a C

    I clean out my msg inbox while waiting at my stop across from Pizza Express on the corner of Lapwing Lane. I do it ruthlessly. It’s my meditation when waiting for the bus or friends. I come across the last message I sent to my dad: ‘Do we spell skeptisim with a K?’ ‘No C,’ dad replied. Lead snakes squirm in my belly. I beat the serpents down with hickory of stolid ancestry. I don’t delete the msg. I don’t …

  • Pico de Gallo

    Pico de Gallo

    Her heart fastened to the surfer curls of the server. She was sure he surfed. He was probably a vegetarian, maybe even a vegan too. She had a gift for knowing (things about) people so she didn’t need to test how accurate her instinct was.

  • Table Manners

    Table Manners

    He held his spoon in a fist, like his granddad. It felt right. He was digging into his food, which seemed to be the point of a spoon. And it was way more practical than how his parents instructed that he hold it – between his thumb and forefinger like an upside-down pencil. His dad corrected him until he was nine.

  • Nesviosous [nés’vi-ō’sₔs]

    Nesviosous [nés’vi-ō’sₔs]

    Under new entreaties for reconciliation and consolidation, where the other had long since mattered, Gerry remained resolute had the last bullet in the chain jammed, or had he not plugged the back of the enemy he would be dead.

  • Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man

    Bill looked down at his plate and touched his knife and fork together. He surprised himself by how little he’d eaten. Sausages were the limit of his wife’s cooking ability – sausages, potato gems and frozen beans. And Bill gave the sausages most the credit in the exchange with his wife.

  • The Transmission

    The Transmission

    He heard the shower running when he woke up. He hoped she wouldn’t use all the water and then felt bad for thinking it. The feel of toast milling between his teeth slightly alleviated his mood. She sat silently with a face full of blame. He ate three slices, taking care with each bite…

  • Big Nothing: Part II

    Big Nothing: Part II

    The store started to flow. Middle-management on stolen lunch breaks toss half smoked cigarettes away at the door, snatch extra large take-away bags off the counter for the team back at the office and already have stuck another fag in their mouths before exiting.

  • Big Nothing: Part I

    Big Nothing: Part I

    Max stood at the restaurant’s dispensing station nearest the main entrance on the corner of Oxford Road and Portland Street. People use to call him Maxwell or Mr Hinkley, which he preferred. It was a professional courtesy and he liked it. It set him apart.

  • Kit Christian

    Kit Christian

    Christian Christian Senior strolled into McMahon Sports Bar either unaffected or unaware of his lateness. His punctuality or lack thereof was commonly known and easily tolerated by his wife and embraced by friends because he was such a damn charismatic fellow.

  • Rainfish & Lunagirl: Part V

    Rainfish & Lunagirl: Part V

    Lunagirl sees the boys are far from the lads they’re pretending to be and the men they want to be. But sympathy is not cheap in this town.

  • Rainfish & Lunagirl: Part IV

    Rainfish & Lunagirl: Part IV

    Lunagirl knew it was an apology of sorts, albeit unspoken, after being abandoned on the first day they met – even though Lunagirl stopped feeling abandoned a long time ago. Rainfish said it was a surprise. But to pass the time as they headed up the back of Alexander Park he started telling her about One-Legged Keith, which to Shades, sounded more like warning.

  • Rainfish & Lunagirl: Part III

    Rainfish & Lunagirl: Part III

    Lunagirl couldn’t see if Rainfish vanished into the puddle, or the puddle swallowed him. Liquid and solid masses seemed to connect somewhere just off the ground. A gutter of embrace and Rainfish was gone. The puddle fell back down to its apathetic state in the shadows.

  • Rainfish & Lunagirl: Part II

    Rainfish & Lunagirl: Part II

    Lunagirl’s khaki canvas rucksack is strapped like a Neolithic shield to her back. It bounces along with her through the drizzle as they head south on Princess Parkway and onto Wilbraham Rd.

  • Rainfish & Lunagirl: Part I

    Rainfish & Lunagirl: Part I

    Before Lunagirl has time to react Rainfish has her arm like a leash. ‘Come-n’ – We carn’t slow down. Fouk’it Shades. Don’t stop.’ That’s what Rainfish called Lunagirl – Shades, on account she always wore turtle blue sunglasses. To her mother Lunagirl was Jane.

  • The Gentle Art of Smoking

    The Gentle Art of Smoking

    She sits alone by the coffee shop window. On her table is an espresso, a small beaker of milk and a clear glass of hot water that condenses around the rim. A cigarette in her right hand burns a silk scarf of smoke into the air.

  • Before the Foxes Came

    Before the Foxes Came

    …before the foxes came I’m told wild areas still grew – before the foxes came and towns gobbled up the ground. Towns gobbled up the ground, bit by bit, stone by stone, building after building, till the wilderness was eaten – chewed, swallowed. Gone.

  • Beer in the Fridge

    Beer in the Fridge

    George took the Patrol to pick his son Mark up from the international airport. Ordinarily he was very careful about its mileage and the Patrol burned gas a heck of a lot faster than the wife’s hatchback. But he was unsure how much luggage Mark was bringing back with him. George only got a call three days ago from Mark telling him he was coming home.

  • This is a Story About Lizzy

    This is a Story About Lizzy

    He met another Lizzy in Manchester. He named her Anne. He first saw her between the Old House at Home and Lotus Chinese Takeaway. She walked past him on Burton Road outside the row of houses where he lived. She was skinny but naturally so.

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