Editorial – Almost, Accidentally The Relationship Issue
Kevin Brown – How to Tell Your Aunt and Uncle You Want to Marry Their Daughter
Molly Guy – Some Men
Karin Tidbeck – Beatrice
Adam Ouston – Postcards
Ellen van Neerven – Blueglass
Anson Cameron – The Shroud of Suelynne
Elizabeth Harrower – The North Sea
Roald Dahl – Vengeance Is Mine Inc.
How to Tell your Aunt and Uncle You Want to Marry Their Daughter by Kevin Brown
Be prepared to die.
Know it has happened before and for a whole lot less. Understand that what you’re asking them to consent to is widely accepted as sick, blasphemous, and, first and worst, politically incorrect. Forget the notion of ‘blind love’ and the inexplicable mysteries of the heart, you’re facing scandal here. And do keep in mind her father was a Purple Heart recipient after two tours of duty in Vietnam. Don’t forget he lost an arm to the elbow doing it."
Beatrice by Karin Tidbeck
"Franz Hiller, a physician, fell in love with an airship. He was visiting a fair in Berlin to see the wonders of the modern age that were on display: automobiles, propeller planes, mechanical servants, difference engines, and other things that would accompany man into the future."
Postcards by Adam Ouston
"He said that he was hitchhiking and that I shouldn’t worry because hitchhiking was fairly safe in those days and the truckies were some of the best people he’d met. The strangest thing was that, from the very first, he signed off as Jules. And so every postcard ended with: Love, Jules. I don’t know if it was his way of keeping our friend alive or what, but it didn’t take me very long to figure out that it was not Jules but Jim."
Blueglass by Ellen van Neerven
"A few years ago I noticed a bright blue smear running all the way across the beach. In the weeks that followed it got bigger, and wider, and soon the sand was a surface of blue glass shards, the whole beach glittered. Tiny little pieces.
We started making music out of it. I used my guitar and sometimes clap sticks and Michael stuffed his maracas with shards of glass. We played along the waterfront above the beach every Saturday. Singing songs like ‘spat jewels of the sea’, ‘dirty sea blues’, and ‘crystal eye reflection’. We were cross-cultural chemistry. We were brown and black. We were one half of Fleetwood Mac."
The Shroud of Suelynne by Anson Cameron
"We had endless cleaners. All of them thieves, until, later, after their dismissal, we found the thing they had stolen under a sofa or in a wardrobe in the spare room. Housemaids came and scrubbed our place and drank tea with Mum and told her to give me a Tic Toc biscuit when I’d jammed my finger in a drawer. Mrs Macarthur lasted longest. She waddled about the house as rapidly and stiffly as one of those Corn Flake horses you pulled from the pack and assembled and hung a weight off the breakfast table to make it giddy up to the edge. She had a pushy, aspirational daughter who ensnared me in a romance that ended with that girl’s name and vulva thoroughly blackened."
The North Sea by Elizabeth Harrower
"As soon as my divorce was finalised I went home to Scotland. The weekend after my arrival there, I decided to go away to the east coast for a few days. In a state of over-heightened sensibility, I felt there was something almost incestuous about breathing and eating in the same house as my parents at this particular time. I was embarrassed.
It wasn’t that they reproached me. But, as far as I knew, it was the first divorce in our family on either side: a crack had appeared in the solid wall. Of course, I would be the one to start the demolition with a hammer and chisel, and a megaphone and my name in the paper.
Vengeance is Mine INC. by Roald Dahl
" I saw the doorman turn and look down at George and I didn’t like the way he did it. He was looking at George’s moustache and I thought, Oh my God we have overdone it. We have over-disguised him. He’s going to know it’s false and he’s going to take one of the long pointed ends in his fingers and then he’ll give it a tweak and it’ll come off. But he didn’t. He was distracted by George’s acting, for George was acting well. I could see him hopping about, clasping and unclasping his hands, swaying his body and shaking his head, and I could hear him saying, ‘Plees plees plees you must hurry. It is life and teth. Plees plees take it kvick to Mr Pantaloon.’ His Russian accent was not like any accent I had heard before, but all the same there was a quality of real despair in his voice. "