CuiousPages - fiction and nonfiction
CuriousPages - fiction and nonfiction
I was walking along Branbrook Street, thinking about meeting Paul later that evening. Paul was my imaginary friend. Paul was all I had in life, at that moment. I decided to wear my blue check shirt. I ironed it specially yesterday evening. Yes, I would wear that shirt; it was my favourite. I decided that Paul would phone me at ten-thirty to arrange to meet me. It was then three-thirty in the afternoon; I still had plenty of time to get ready. Anyway, there I was, walking along Branbrook Street, thinking about Paul, my only friend, when a young boy approached me. I say he was young; he must have been fourteen or fifteen—something like that; I really can’t tell people’s ages these days, and people of that age seem to me like a different species; anyone below the age of about twenty-two seems like one of those aliens who inhabit this world along with the rest of us. For I am one of “you”, I would imagine—if you are one of “us”. But if you are one of those “young” alien species, then you are not one of “us”, but you will not know this yet; you will find it out at some later stage of your life.
So, this young boy approached me, handed me a black cardboard box, looked me in the eye and told me, “Don’t, whatever you do, look in there, mister,” and he walked on, leaving me standing there holding his box. The box did not seem heavy; in fact it felt light, almost as though it were empty. I looked over my shoulder and the boy was now out of sight. I resisted shaking the box, for I had this ridiculous notion that if I did, it might explode. Instead, I broke out into a sweat. Can you imagine it?—I started sweating, a grown man; well, grown as much as I ever would; in fact, for many years now, I’ve suspected I was actually shrinking.
There was a garden wall beside me. It occurred to me some people might simply put the box on the garden wall and walk on. And some people might simply think, “What a cheek, what a waste of my energy, clutching this box and carrying it around; I’m damned if I’ll do this,” and drop it to the pavement and walk on. Yes, we are all different. What a daft expression that is, because, of course, we are not all different. I have often thought just how similar to one another most of us are. Here I go again with this “us”. There was “us” and “them”, the “them” being that other, alien species who go around, wearing obscenely glowing skin and handing black boxes to people and telling them not to look inside. Anyway, I am not like that. Once the box was placed in my hand, I automatically assumed it was now my duty to look after it.
He smoothed his hair into place, replaced his hat, then pricked up his ears—in the manner of an alert hunting dog—at the muffled talk coming from the front door. He realized he had a moment to himself, so he quickly sat on the front edge of the sofa—beside the place where Sally’s hips had been—and caressed the cushion for as long as he dared. He sighed, looked under the cushion, then replaced it and tapped it several times while reflecting that there did not seem to be anything criminal‑looking there (—No, no, it all seems perfectly legal to me). He nodded his approval at the law‑abiding cushion, then sat back down in the easy chair he occupied before mounting Sally.
Sally returned with a woman and two men (one of whom—Roland noticed—was limping). She introduced them as The Perception Residents’ Committee. Sally sat in the other easy chair and the committee sat along the sofa, further introducing themselves as Primrose Jones, Thomas Smithe, and Francis Meeke.
The woman clutched a thick wad of paper in (what could only be described as) a vindictive fashion. She eyed Roland while waving this wad of paper to and fro on her lap as if it were a hatchet she were contemplating using on him. Her knuckles whitened and her weapon seemed to start fidgeting as if it had a mind of its own and were desperately trying to get at Roland. She then lost control of it and started waving it at Roland, saying, “What do you think you’re doing—sitting around here when there’s a murderer still loose out there; or haven’t you noticed? No, I don’t suppose you would have. All you can do is sit around here contemplating ‘novel’ uses for your truncheon. Oh yes, I know all about that. Just what do you think you’re doing?—what? come on, what?”
Roland opened his mouth to speak but Primrose pressed on, “Five weeks, you’ve had; five weeks, and all you’ve got is a woman—a middle‑aged, blonde woman. A woman; you’re looking for a woman. Simpletons, that’s what you are. What have you been doing all this time? Come on, what? what?”
Roland opened his mouth to answer but she cut him off again, “Incompetence; that’s what it is. We’ve got a petition—a petition—” waving her weapon at him even more vigorously, “Everybody thinks the same—incompetent; you’re all incompetent.”
Roland rose in his seat, puffed up his plumage and shouted back at her, “Oh, of course—you can do better—with no training at all. All the rigorous training we’ve had (fifty‑seven novels; fifty‑seven!), and we can’t do a thing—oh no. But here’s you—Miss Volcano‑gob—and you can do it all.”

Fiction

Stories from a Leaking Mind

Stories from a Leaking Mind
A collection of short stories. Each of the eighteen stories are different in style but all feature a comic, thoughtful and poetic approach to this exploration of the striking inner worlds of these memorable characters. Read more>>

Andrea Segovia Loses Control

Andrea Segovia Loses Control
Short story. Andrea is addicted to correcting other people’s mistakes, and when she moves to London to meet her new boyfriend, she finds that she has plenty of work to do. Read more>>

The Gallery

The Gallery
Short story. A woman stumbles into a gallery and finds pictures of her own life displayed there. Read more>>

The Price to Pay

The Price to Pay
Short story. In a moment of recklessness I begin overspending which soon attracts the attention of a shady character who watches over me. I then discover the shocking price I must pay. Read more>>

Choosing the Right Drinks

Choosing the Right Drinks
Short story. How do we choose to spend our life? And is our chosen path of any value? Joseph is dying and is troubled by the choices he made in life. Clemency, his nurse, has no answers for him but his turmoil causes her to re-evaluate her own life. Read more>>

My Constant Companion

My Constant Companion
Short story. A man is being pursued by his shadow—or so it appears to him. Read more>>

The Wimpering Beach

The Whimpering Beach
Short story. In a tropical paradise, the boundaries are blurred between love and terrorism—but then perhaps those boundaries are blurred everywhere. Read more>>

Irresistible Temptation

Irresistible Temptation
Short story. An old man offers me some simple advice which I ignore and this begins the adventure of my life. Read more>>

A Substitute Passion

A Substitute Passion
Short story. Many Truman is accident prone when wearing stiletto heels. She decides to wear them one more time and finds this unleashes from within her a shocking passion. Read more>>

The Armchair Ballet Dancer

The Armchair Ballet Dancer
Short story. To the outside world, Benjamin Clark seems unusually happy, but this only masks his inner turmoil as he struggles to live with the consequences of a single reckless decision he made at the age of eighteen. Read more>>

Fiction Archive

Fiction Archive
A selection of classic fiction by past authors, including short stories, longer fiction, and poetry. Read more>>

The Tragedy of Perception

The Tragedy of Perception
Full-length novel. In a town called Perception, the citizens are ruled by an extravagant madness. The novel is a comic allegory about communication problems. Read more>>

If only Cats could Speak Japanese

If only Cats could Speak Japanese
Short story. Lorna Glover does not know whether her boyfriend has any feelings for her, so she decides to consult the Emotional Detective Agency to try to solve the riddle. Read more>> 

Craig Stemford's Imprisonment

Craig Stemford's imprisonment
Short story. Craig Stemford’s life seems like a prison sentence. He meets a new girlfriend on the internet, secretly hoping that she might set him free, but instead he only gains a deeper insight into his sentence. Read more>>

Samuel Pam

Samuel Pam’s Salvation
Short story. Samuel’s life is plagued by strangers who whisper to him unwanted messages of a sexual nature. Read more>>

Shorter works

Shorter works
Short pieces of fiction, poems, prose poems, nonsense poems, or other short pieces of writing that don't seem to fit anywhere else. Read more>>

The Beckoning Precipice

The Beckoning Precipice
Short story. A doctor, who is racked by guilt, is contemplating suicide, but are his misdeeds imaginary? Read more>>

Daniel and the Wine Stain

Daniel and the Wine Stain
Short story. In one way or another, we are all disabled. Daniel’s disabilities are not immediately obvious, yet when he is forced to face them, he becomes overwhelmed. Read more>>

The Betrayal of Jack Baynes

The Betrayal of Jack Baynes
Short story. Ray Herring recalls his school days and the betrayal of his best friend, Jack Baynes. Read more>>

Thinking Inside the Box

Thinking ‘Inside the Box’
Short story. A burden is thrust upon me, in the manner of a cryptic message. Read more>>

A Martial Artist Meets his Match

A Martial Artist Meets his Match
Short story. Jack Hutton was a martial arts champion. But nothing in his training had prepared him for his life’s ultimate challenge, which began the day Maryanne moved in with him. Read more>>

Trout with Celery Stuffing

Trout with Celery Stuffing
Short story. I attempt to eat a simple meal in a restaurant but find myself getting deeper and deeper into trouble and unable to negotiate my escape. Read more>>