creative writing, flash fiction, Ogden, Uncategorized, writing

A Visit From The Creatures of Necessity

Dear Sheriff,

My brother and I called to discuss a recent business matter. No one was home, but we thought it rude to not let you know that we were here. 

The alarm system is pretty good. The lock on the back door could do with a touch of oil. 

You have a lovely home and your wife photographs beautifully, doesn’t she? We were dismayed to see that there were no signs of children in the home, and we trust that this is simply a matter of free will rather than any other factor. Men can father children into their eighties, and she’s certainly young enough to bring glory to your bloodline, isn’t she? 

Please contact us. Your home is so inviting, it robs a man of his inhibitions. 

My brother’s more than mine, Sheriff. 

He folded the note and put it into his pocket. He drew his gun, kept it close to his side as he peered through the windows. He stepped away from the door and reached for his phone. She was number one on his speed dial, due to his profound enjoyment of playing the doting husband and how she would call him if she heard a noise.

‘Hey, baby, where are you?’

She chuckled and she heard the clink of glasses.

‘I’m at Robyn’s, it’s her baby shower, remember, I did say.’

He struggled to keep his voice even but he squeezed his eyes shut and willed himself calm.

‘Yes, yes you did. OK, just like it when you’re home.’

She giggled and cooed.

‘My big brave sheriff.’

There was a point, roughly between two and three glasses of wine where Turner would enjoy the virtues of a younger wife, some measure of damp, percussive pleasure to offset the tantrums and the dark moods. At that point, he was simply relieved that she was not in the house.

‘I’ll fix my own dinner. Call a cab, okay?’

She giggled and his lips went back on his teeth with distaste.

‘Honey, I can walk from -‘

He told her no. That she was to get a cab and his tone was the one that he used when describing how they were going to raid a meth lab. She knew better than to disagree with him when he was like this. An officer had been killed, and John had always fostered a closeness with his men that she envied sometimes. He ended the call and unlocked the front door.

He brought the gun up, smoothly arcing from corner to corner, muscle memory took over and he examined the house with a brusque economy. When he was sure that he was alone, he put his gun back in the holster and sagged against the marble kitchen counter. He put his hands over his face, breathed in to calm himself down.

Which was when his phone rang.


Garret’s cracked, ugly voice made the fillings in his teeth vibrate.

‘You stay away from my home, you fuck.’

Garret gave a reedy laugh.

‘Well, we had things to discuss and my brother and I are creatures of necessity.’

Creatures was the right word. John shut his eyes against the tight band of pain that had dug into his temples, each breath Garret took was another twist of the knife.

‘Yes, you are. I’ll meet with you. Usual place and time.’

Garret chuckled again. Disconnected the call.

The doorbell rang and John looked up. His phone rang again.

‘Let me in, Sheriff.’

John’s drew the gun as he walked to the door.

He opened the door and looked down at Garret, his broken dental work was rusted fish-hooks threatening to fall from infected meat.

‘Well, that’s no way to greet an associate, now is it?’

John had not raised the gun but he wanted to. He could taste the adrenaline in his saliva, muscles cramping with the need to react but he kept his demeanour neutral.

‘We don’t meet here, you know that.’

Garret cocked his head to one side and put his hands out, grinning like a child with a secret.

‘I know, but then I don’t be able to give you the information that you’re really going to be interested in.’

‘What’s that?’

Garret giggled and John recoiled from the sound.

‘Where my brother is, and who his fare is for the evening.’

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beauty, book reviews, books, fiction, love, passion, pleasure, reading, short fiction, short stories, Uncategorized, wisdom, women, writing

The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel


Chuck Palahniuk recommended her in his series of essays on Litreactor and his course on writing. When I happened upon this at the library, it was one of those quiet surprises that make me thrill inside. A happy coincidence that I intend to pay forward by reviewing it here.

Hempel’s short fiction, taken individually, are starbursts of delight. Spare, elegaic sentence structure, a mastery of theme, a comfort with the ambiguity and delight of life’s nuances and all of it achingly sweet for it’s brevity. There were stories that made me achingly sad afterwards, wistful and melancholy but without shame for it. She crafts sentence of genuine beauty, some of which haunted me even as I read them.

The likes of Hempel should be better known than they are. There’s so much nourishment and beauty in this book that it should be on prescription. Reading a collected work allows you the pleasure of seeing her pursue different themes and subjects, tackling difficult subjects and finding the raw, bleeding core of humanity within them.

We’re blessed to have Amy Hempel. Read her if you can.

books, erotic writing, erotica, writing

Five Books That Changed My Life.

I am a regular reader of Warren Ellis’ Morning Computer microblog and he posted a fascinating piece about five books that changed his life.

Here are mine.


1. Stephen King, Night Shift.

His first collection of short stories, the first adult book that I managed to borrow thanks to a particularly liberal librarian. I think I was no more than eleven, but I loved the stories so much that I even recorded one. That it took 25 years to start writing was, to paraphrase Gaiman, being a case of being unavoidably delayed by the world. That was the start of it for me I think.

2. Chuck Palahniuk Fight Club.

I have always read more than I have written. Palahniuk’s spare, knowing tone stuck with me and although not a direct influence, his work is part of my writerly DNA.

3. Anais Nin, Delta of Venus.

Growing up before the hot and cold running pornography of the internet, we had to find our porn abandoned and clammy in the bushes. Now I am of the age that I have to be the one to leave it there, however I found this in the library and was entranced and aroused by it. Delicate, forceful, intelligent and arousing in equal measure. It’s all her fault, mum, honest.

4.  Nancy Friday, My Secret Garden

OK, so growing up, you’re led to believe that for women, sex is either a power transaction or a distasteful duty and even when the evidence is in front of you to refute it, much like religion, if you get it young it stays with you. Nancy Friday, much like Anais Nin much earlier was an education for me in realising and appreciating that women’s sexual appetites and imaginations are more vivid, polymorphous and voracious than we can suppose.

5. Sex At Dawn, Doctor Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethe.

Follows the evidence and draws some fascinating conclusions about how and why we struggle with monogamy. His TED talk is brilliant, if only for the line about how if you’re a vegetarian, you still can’t deny that bacon smells good. Which it does.

Here are my five, what are yours? Ping me if you’re interested in sharing and playing, I’ll try to be gentle.