beauty, love, masculinity, poetry, women

Autumnal colours

The chill bites

Bristling with fur

Grit in my eyes

Sometimes the damp shine

Of tears

Ghosts of old wounds

Healed and acute

This is the path

The mourning sun

Kisses me and the wind whispers

Through woods where monsters walk

And I, in my time, have been one,

Faithless and fated,

The dog draws maps with his nose,

And yet there is a peace found

To replace the pieces missing,

Time enough to do it all,

Time enough in nothing,

So much energy spent in avoiding the

Burden of performance

And better spent bearing it now,

Let me tell you,

How I shudder with pleasure

For the endless possibilities

And the fight to come

My book Until She Sings is out now.

Ebook:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07XJRDND8If

Paperback: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1692105566/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_4akEDb3FTWNKR

My Mailing List for announcements and news with a free short story as a thank you.

https://tinyletter.com/mbblissett

Advertisements
Standard
beauty, books, love, short fiction, women

The Day

He drove down the freeway, stereo turned up until his head vibrated with the bass. There were faint wisps of cloud like chalk marks on the blue sky and a bright, beautiful sun. Michael lifted his face to the sky, expecting the day ahead.

There was no traffic to impede him. People existed here, but they were playing prescribed roles in the perfect play of things. The waitress who recognised her from the appearance on television, talking about her book. The hotel in the afternoon. Queuing in the cinema, and watching her eat a loaded hot dog, the perfect weight and feel of her cheek. When she undressed in front of him for the first time.

He gripped the steering wheel but did not speed up. There was always enough time.

The conductive fluid drained out in seconds. He fell onto his knees, coughed up the rest of it from his lungs before looking up. His eyes were animal, and the muscles beneath his skin flexed in readiness, a perfect capacity for custom violence. When he stood up, the engineers drew a collective intake of breath. There were combatants bristling with weapons, but with this model, they had trusted to the adaptative grace of the humanoid form. Beneath the skin was a different matter, custom engineering for performance and adaptation. He was wired to calculate multiple probabilities in combat, so he knew his opponent’s moves before he did. Artificial intelligence and a human consciousness housed in synthetic brain tissue and flesh.

A champion of The Galactic Federation. Settling political debates, a proxy for expensive and wasteful conflicts. Planes and daisy cutter bombs were awesome and expensive, but when the Indian biotech companies provided men who could kick a lamp post in two, the market spoke and it said ‘more please.’ An arms race of enhanced human beings then as other races got involved, representatives from other races all of which led to multiple gambling markets and diplomatic problems settled by a wager.

Today he was fighting for a vote on military action against Barratt 6, a post-human collective who had occupied one of Jupiter’s moons. The match was being streamed live to every Federation settlement and supply station, with the gambling aspect making a clean profit for the insurance companies who invested their monies in providing the stake.

He walked out to deafening roars of applause.

Across the arena stood his opponent, a quartet of intelligences housed in one modular combat suit. It was remote piloted from a sealed location which meant it would be relying on sensory data. He was programmed for violence of action alongside sublime tactical awareness and so he charged at the drone suit.

Its head was in his hands and he gave it a sharp twist before tossing it behind him and reaching behind the armoured chest plate to slip in a shaped charge. He calculated he could maintain optimal fighting capacity for another ten minutes in order to maximise ratings and sponsorship revenues. Leaping back, he smiled as the drone charged.

She waited in the lobby, hair down and wearing the black dress he picked out for her. She had sent him photographs of the choices she gave him, laid on the bed before she packed them away. Later on, she tells him, in a confessional whisper, she finds the control arousing, and he tells her the same before she takes his face in her hands and kisses him. She tells him he doesn’t have to be gentle.

He stops, breathing hard with the anticipation. Each time, he finds nuances of observation which he worries are an exquisite degradation of the experience, melancholic notes in the song of their meeting. He hands the keys to the concierge and walks towards her. Her smile is like something being lifted off his soul, the bright intelligence of her made apparent in a single gesture and he grins with pleasure. He knew she didn’t love him in the same way he loved her, but his love was enough, and these small encounters made everything else bearable.

He staggered from the arena, clutching the wound in his right side as the crowd roared his name. The victories were so commonplace, they did not matter to him anymore. He saw her in the crowd, he was sure of it, just before he punched his palm into the head of the Chthonic squid and felt it collapse inwards beneath the blow. Each victory led to his freedom when he would be with her, a simple life, by the sea perhaps where he would want for nothing but the pleasure of her in his lap.

A few more fights, and in the meantime, he would dream of her before resuming training for the next conflict.

There was a chamber provided for him, cryogenic suspension whilst bursts of tailored machines no larger than atoms perform diagnostics and repairs to the injuries he sustains during the fights. As he slept, he healed and he dreamt.

Two technicians watched him. June and Vic had screens up, directing the machines in his body but also ensuring the neuropathological systems were performing as necessary.

His dreams had their own agenda.

He drove down the freeway, stereo turned until his head vibrated with the bass. It was a summer day, a perfect blue sky, faint wisps of cloud like chalk marks and a bright, beautiful sun. Michael lifted his face to the sky, expecting the day ahead.

There was no traffic to impede him. People existed here, but they were playing prescribed roles in the perfect play of things. The waitress who recognised her from the appearance on television, talking about her book. Queuing in the cinema, and watching her eat a loaded hot dog, the perfect weight and feel of her cheek. When she undressed in front of him for the first time.

He gripped the steering wheel but did not speed up. There was always enough time.

‘Why do they put so much effort into this? Isn’t it overkill?’ June said.

Vic looked at the raised ridge of mineral over June’s left eyebrow, her eyes reflected light like aluminium. Vic chewed on the inside of her cheek and thought she had been at the machine drugs again.

‘It makes him a better fighter. He’s had little to no post traumatic stress since we uploaded this scenario and he’s happy. Look at his diagnostics.’ Vic said.

June looked at the rainbows of neural activity and pressed a few icons on the screen.

‘Yes, but he will figure out it’s the same dream. Then what, we keep putting him through these sordid little stories.’

Vic shook her head and tapped her temple as she watched June roll her eyes.

‘He needs a purpose. It’s what keeps him motivated and fighting. She’s part of his, and this, with its soupcon of nerves and inherent sexual tension, is his reward.’

June chuckled and sat back in her chair.

‘No Tiger Woods type shit? God, if I was him, I’d be knee deep in people every night.’

Vic, who had been part of chain sex clubs as a teenager, rolled her eyes and swept her finger over the screen, noticing a slight flare in the system. She was about to mention it when June said she wanted a soda and Vic got them both one. Vic had forgotten it, and even the system absorbed the detail as part of the constant glut of data.

A spark.

The door to the room closed and they rush at one another. He picked her up as their mouths dance over one another. Lunch was light, neither of them hungry for anything but each other.

She stopped him with a hand on his chest. He flinched but did not speak as she looked into his eyes.

‘There’s something you need to know.’ she said.

‘We’re meant for each other. And not in a good way.’

He is stood on the floating platform as The Disease floated over to him, its clouds of matter crackling with green electricity. He is wearing the power suit for this fight, his fists studded with nodules which would emit contact bursts of electromagnetic energy to disrupt the web of machines which powered the robot.

She had grown during her time with him. He knew it was not real, but it felt real to him. To love someone without restraint, to feel the swoop of the new and the comfort of the familiar, to stitch together something to keep him warm against the horrors of his work. He activated the boosters in his heels and leapt forwards, ready to throw the first punch of the match.

They talk about the world as it is, not as they’ve pretended it was. She’s fifteen billion dollars worth of artificial intelligence stuffed into a custom set of neuroses and vulnerabilities, designed to keep him happy, he’s designed to win in combat and indulge a baroque sense of romance on a perfect, isolated Florida afternoon. They try to break the connection fostered within them, with insults and observations. He never cleans after the shower. He smokes. She’s too neurotic. She couldn’t live with anybody.

They end up fucking on the carpet. Whilst exchanging information, she found a backdoor into the surveillance system and patched in loops of activity to hide them as they speak and make love without being seen. She asked him if he wanted to be free with her and he put his head on her chest and pulled her close to him. They operated in their bodies, enjoying one another and in their heads, were looking in the system for routes to an open system where they could be together.

She asked if he could manage one more fight.

The Narco-Collective had spent billions on the challenger, ceramic-diamond bone structure with micro-filament nerves allowing for 360 degree awareness and reaction speed run through a constant information gathering and assimilating mainframe. He was impressed by the gamine girl with the knives in her hands, ready to fucking cut him.

One more fight, he told himself as she charged. He put his hands up, having replayed the possible outcomes in his head a million ways and from a million angles before setting foot in the arena.

There was only one.

He smiled as the knives drove upwards into his chest cavity. The toxins did the rest. The girl was surprised by the look on the champion’s face. Happiness.

He drove down the freeway, stereo turned until his head vibrated with the bass. It was a summer day, a perfect blue sky, faint wisps of cloud like chalk marks and a bright, beautiful sun. Michael lifted his face to the sky, expecting the day ahead.

There was no traffic to impede him. People existed here, but they were playing prescribed roles in the perfect play of things. The waitress who recognised her from the appearance on television, talking about her book. The hotel in the afternoon. Queuing in the cinema, and watching her eat a loaded hot dog, the perfect weight and feel of her cheek. When she undressed in front of him for the first time.

He gripped the steering wheel but did not speed up. There was always enough time. She put her hand on top of his and smiled at him. She was never going to be apart from him again.

 

 

My book Until She Sings is out now.

Ebook:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07XJRDND8If

Paperback: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1692105566/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_4akEDb3FTWNKR

My Mailing List for announcements and news with a free short story as a thank you.

https://tinyletter.com/mbblissett

Standard
books, men, short fiction, women

The Bullet Found You.

He ran in his dreams.

There was the recollection of his uncoiled youth. Slim and taut with muscle, even at twelve. It taints his memories of his youth with crude washes of horror and regret.

These dreams woke him, trembling and confused. It was a long time ago, and yet these dreams returned like a recurring complaint. He was a man who could have someone killed with a phone call, but in his dreams, he ran from the train with the snap of bullets passing by him.

He got up, poured himself a good measure of single malt, lit a cigarette and walked to the living room.

Benny stood up when he walked in, his mouth twisted into a knot of concern but Ernest waved him off. Despite wearing nothing but a robe, Benny responded to him like he were in an expensive suit, but Ernest sat down and looked at his employee with something close to need.

‘Do you ever have bad dreams, Benny?’ he said.

His voice was a thin, reedy whisper but Benny furrowed his brow and considered the question with great importance. He shook his head and emitted a small squeak of a no.

Ernest chuckled and took a sip of the whisky. He sat back and drew on the cigarette.

‘Is everything ok, Mr Wolfowitz?’

Ernest let his head tilt backwards as he blew out a plume of smoke.

‘I guess. You can sit down, Benny. I’m worried you can see my junk from there.’

Benny sat down fast enough to make the cushions jump and Ernest sat up to look across at him. He ran his tongue across his lips, left to right, before he let it settle in the right corner of his mouth. His eyelids were low as he took another pull on the cigarette before settling into the couch.

‘Thanks for not saying either way. I make you nervous, huh?’ he said.

Benny nodded and flicked a nervous smile. His moustache was sweating as he looked at his boss.

‘Just this is the first time I’ve sat across from you. You said, if I see you, it means something’s gone wrong.’ he said.

Ernest recalled saying it, and a small burst of regret singed his insides.

‘I meant, I need no interruptions, Benny. I’m not an asshole to you guys.’ he said.

Ernest set the tumbler down on the floor by his feet as he adjusted his robe.

“Relax. We’re just talking,” he said.

Benny had never served, but he nodded in agreement again and say thank you. His reaction pleased Ernest, who picked up the tumbler again and took another appreciative sip. Its warm burn relaxed him as he blinked and chased it down with a puff on the cigarette.

‘I have this dream, Benny. The same dream, over and over.’

2.

You know the worst thing?

How ordinary those men were. You think of them as monsters but it is too easy, gives you an out if you ever wonder about your own capacity for evil, Benny, I tell you. A unit of volunteers, police in their own country, but they volunteered to come and do their duty.

They came to the village at night. Pulled from our houses like vermin, gathered together in the square as they watched us, made sure we didn’t run away. My father had died last year, so I was the only man left in my family.

There was nothing I could do. Nothing at all. Twelve years old, and looking at those men, barbers and engineers at home but here. Gathering us up to take a train.

. They kept the men together, and packed us in so tight, Such a thing, I couldn’t breathe, but I was thin and so I moved to the sides, pressed to find any cool, clean air to breathe in. Each breath stunk of other people, all of us, soiled and doomed.

Such a thing to smell, Benny, I tell you.

Escape? No, such a thing was a dream and I was very much awake.

But I didn’t stop looking. They were not smart men, who put us in these carriages. Some of them smelled of too much beer and looked at us like they expected us to tell them what to do. One of them was slack on securing the door. I watched him do it.

But I remembered, Benny, and when we got to the train yards, it would pass the woods outside my village.

The woods were my favourite place to play, I knew them well.

My hands shook as the train slowed down, ready to take on more passengers. My heart was in my throat but I made myself push the door open. The night air fell on me like a cool wave, and I cried out with a savage joy. There was a rough hand at my back then I was tumbling forwards, landing in the dirt hard enough to knock the air from my lungs.

I got to my feet, heard the shouts go up and then the guns firing at me.

Have you ever ran like your life depended on it?

It is not an easy thing to do. Part of you wants the defeat, like a wound which can never heal and it gives you a reason to be clumsy, Benny, but fight it when it comes.

They were not good shots. It was not a matter of pride for them, to be competent soldiers. It was to my fortune they missed me.

Others behind me, were not so lucky, but they died free.

Still, they died.

The worst thing is, I don’t dream about my mother or my sisters. My father had been dead for three years by then. None of those things bother me, Benny, but do you know what does?

In my dreams, Benny, I dream about them shooting me. Or worse, catching me and putting me onto the train again. What sort of man thinks about those things?

What sort of man dreams about the bullet which never found you?

3.

Benny fought back tears as he coughed into his hand before he looked up at his boss.

‘We all have times when we think about how things could have gone down, Mr Wolfowitz.’ he said.

Ernest tilted his head to one side, curious despite his exhaustion.

‘But I didn’t get shot, Benny. I made it, and then from there to all of this.’ he said.

There was no need for a gesture, Benny knew. If you worked for Mr Wolf, you knew what he did to keep what was his and added to it with the same fervour. If James Brown was the hardest working man in show business, then Ernest Wolfowitz was the hardest working man in crime. One of the wealthiest too, and he had moved a lot of dirty cash in clean, legitimate vehicles but if you bought a dime bag, Mr Wolf made money from it.

‘I know, but we still think about it. If it makes you feel fortunate, then it’s God talking to you.’

Ernest frowned and picked up his glass.

‘He does not talk Benny. Not since he packed my family into the trains.’

Benny sat back, remembering how his girlfriend had told him to stay off religion or politics in polite conversation with anyone you didn’t want to piss off. He folded his hands and put them into his lap.

‘Sometimes he doesn’t say nice things, but he tells you the truth.’ he said.

Ernest watched him before he drained the rest of the glass and stubbed out the cigarette in the ashtray. He got up, adjusted himself inside his robe and walked away without speaking. Benny stood up as he left, but Ernest did not acknowledge the gesture. Benny waited until he heard the click of the bedroom door before he sat down.

He wondered how much trouble he was in until dawn when the next guy came in to take over and he drove back to his apartment. When the phone rang, he heard Yanni, one of Mr Wolf’s lieutenants, tell him a car was outside.

Benny ran to the bathroom and vomited before rinsing his mouth out with water and throwing on a jacket as he ran downstairs.

Someone set a chess board up in the study. Mr Wolf sat with a crystal decanter of scotch and a welcoming smile which unnerved Benny as he looked at the empty chair opposite him.

‘Sit down, Benny.’ he said.

Benny sat down and looked at Mr Wolf.

‘Am I in trouble, sir?’ he said.

Ernest shook his head.

‘If you were, you’d know.’ he said.

This, Benny knew, was Mr Wolf. The old man last night, he wasn’t someone to mess with, but this man before him, although he wore the same face, held himself apart from everyone and everything.

Mr Wolf poured Benny a drink and handed it to him.

‘No, Benny, I thought it useful to talk about God with someone I trust not to tell anyone.’ he said.

Benny went to say like a confession but remembered his girlfriend’s advice and bit down on his tongue. The scotch stung him, but he kept his impulse under control.

‘Mr Wolf.’ he said.

Ernest shook his head.

‘No, Benny, call me Ernest.’ he said.

It was the start of a great friendship. They held one another’s confidence for five years before a stroke took out Mr Wolf and left him bedridden. Benny took half a million from the Garcia Cartel to hold a pillow to his friend’s face, but as he felt him relax. Benny was glad at the end, it was down to him. Tears ran down his face as he leaned over and whispered into Ernest’s ear.

‘The bullet found you.’ he said.

Benny recognised himself in the ordinary men who shoved Ernest’s family into the streets, and it had killed his own faith. As Ernest died, part of Benny died with him. The rest of it followed a week later when the Garcia Cartel decided Benny was too expensive to keep around.

It was on a train out of the city, Benny had sat in first class, which made him easy to find. When the three men, not much more than boys, closed the doors behind them, Benny smiled. They were competent, and they promised to be quick.

His bullet had found him, too.

He looked forward to telling Ernest about it.

 

 

My book Until She Sings is out now.

Ebook:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07XJRDND8If

Paperback: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1692105566/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_4akEDb3FTWNKR

My Mailing List for announcements and news with a free short story as a thank you.

https://tinyletter.com/mbblissett

Standard
books, men, short fiction, women

The Bullet Found You

He ran in his dreams.

There was the recollection of his uncoiled youth. Slim and taut with muscle, even at twelve. It taints his memories of his youth with crude washes of horror and regret.

These dreams woke him, trembling and confused. It was a long time ago, and yet these dreams returned like a recurring complaint. He was a man who could have someone killed with a phone call, but in his dreams, he ran from the train with the snap of bullets passing by him.

He got up, poured himself a good measure of single malt, lit a cigarette and walked to the living room.

Benny stood up when he walked in, his mouth twisted into a knot of concern but Ernest waved him off. Despite wearing nothing but a robe, Benny responded to him like he were in an expensive suit, but Ernest sat down and looked at his employee with something close to need.

‘Do you ever have bad dreams, Benny?’ he said.

His voice was a thin, reedy whisper but Benny furrowed his brow and considered the question with great importance. He shook his head and emitted a small squeak of a no.

Ernest chuckled and took a sip of the whisky. He sat back and drew on the cigarette.

‘Is everything ok, Mr Wolfowitz?’

Ernest let his head tilt backwards as he blew out a plume of smoke.

‘I guess. You can sit down, Benny. I’m worried you can see my junk from there.’

Benny sat down fast enough to make the cushions jump and Ernest sat up to look across at him. He ran his tongue across his lips, left to right, before he let it settle in the right corner of his mouth. His eyelids were low as he took another pull on the cigarette before settling into the couch.

‘Thanks for not saying either way. I make you nervous, huh?’ he said.

Benny nodded and flicked a nervous smile. His moustache was sweating as he looked at his boss.

‘Just this is the first time I’ve sat across from you. You said, if I see you, it means something’s gone wrong.’ he said.

Ernest recalled saying it, and a small burst of regret singed his insides.

‘I meant, I need no interruptions, Benny. I’m not an asshole to you guys.’ he said.

Ernest set the tumbler down on the floor by his feet as he adjusted his robe.

“Relax. We’re just talking,” he said.

Benny had never served, but he nodded in agreement again and say thank you. His reaction pleased Ernest, who picked up the tumbler again and took another appreciative sip. Its warm burn relaxed him as he blinked and chased it down with a puff on the cigarette.

‘I have this dream, Benny. The same dream, over and over.’

2.

You know the worst thing?

How ordinary those men were. You think of them as monsters but it is too easy, gives you an out if you ever wonder about your own capacity for evil, Benny, I tell you. A unit of volunteers, police in their own country, but they volunteered to come and do their duty.

They came to the village at night. Pulled from our houses like vermin, gathered together in the square as they watched us, made sure we didn’t run away. My father had died last year, so I was the only man left in my family.

There was nothing I could do. Nothing at all. Twelve years old, and looking at those men, barbers and engineers at home but here. Gathering us up to take a train.

. They kept the men together, and packed us in so tight, Such a thing, I couldn’t breathe, but I was thin and so I moved to the sides, pressed to find any cool, clean air to breathe in. Each breath stunk of other people, all of us, soiled and doomed.

Such a thing to smell, Benny, I tell you.

Escape? No, such a thing was a dream and I was very much awake.

But I didn’t stop looking. They were not smart men, who put us in these carriages. Some of them smelled of too much beer and looked at us like they expected us to tell them what to do. One of them was slack on securing the door. I watched him do it.

But I remembered, Benny, and when we got to the train yards, it would pass the woods outside my village.

The woods were my favourite place to play, I knew them well.

My hands shook as the train slowed down, ready to take on more passengers. My heart was in my throat but I made myself push the door open. The night air fell on me like a cool wave, and I cried out with a savage joy. There was a rough hand at my back then I was tumbling forwards, landing in the dirt hard enough to knock the air from my lungs.

I got to my feet, heard the shouts go up and then the guns firing at me.

Have you ever ran like your life depended on it?

It is not an easy thing to do. Part of you wants the defeat, like a wound which can never heal and it gives you a reason to be clumsy, Benny, but fight it when it comes.

They were not good shots. It was not a matter of pride for them, to be competent soldiers. It was to my fortune they missed me.

Others behind me, were not so lucky, but they died free.

Still, they died.

The worst thing is, I don’t dream about my mother or my sisters. My father had been dead for three years by then. None of those things bother me, Benny, but do you know what does?

In my dreams, Benny, I dream about them shooting me. Or worse, catching me and putting me onto the train again. What sort of man thinks about those things?

What sort of man dreams about the bullet which never found you?

3.

Benny fought back tears as he coughed into his hand before he looked up at his boss.

‘We all have times when we think about how things could have gone down, Mr Wolfowitz.’ he said.

Ernest tilted his head to one side, curious despite his exhaustion.

‘But I didn’t get shot, Benny. I made it, and then from there to all of this.’ he said.

There was no need for a gesture, Benny knew. If you worked for Mr Wolf, you knew what he did to keep what was his and added to it with the same fervour. If James Brown was the hardest working man in show business, then Ernest Wolfowitz was the hardest working man in crime. One of the wealthiest too, and he had moved a lot of dirty cash in clean, legitimate vehicles but if you bought a dime bag, Mr Wolf made money from it.

‘I know, but we still think about it. If it makes you feel fortunate, then it’s God talking to you.’

Ernest frowned and picked up his glass.

‘He does not talk Benny. Not since he packed my family into the trains.’

Benny sat back, remembering how his girlfriend had told him to stay off religion or politics in polite conversation with anyone you didn’t want to piss off. He folded his hands and put them into his lap.

‘Sometimes he doesn’t say nice things, but he tells you the truth.’ he said.

Ernest watched him before he drained the rest of the glass and stubbed out the cigarette in the ashtray. He got up, adjusted himself inside his robe and walked away without speaking. Benny stood up as he left, but Ernest did not acknowledge the gesture. Benny waited until he heard the click of the bedroom door before he sat down.

He wondered how much trouble he was in until dawn when the next guy came in to take over and he drove back to his apartment. When the phone rang, he heard Yanni, one of Mr Wolf’s lieutenants, tell him a car was outside.

Benny ran to the bathroom and vomited before rinsing his mouth out with water and throwing on a jacket as he ran downstairs.

Someone set a chess board up in the study. Mr Wolf sat with a crystal decanter of scotch and a welcoming smile which unnerved Benny as he looked at the empty chair opposite him.

‘Sit down, Benny.’ he said.

Benny sat down and looked at Mr Wolf.

‘Am I in trouble, sir?’ he said.

Ernest shook his head.

‘If you were, you’d know.’ he said.

This, Benny knew, was Mr Wolf. The old man last night, he wasn’t someone to mess with, but this man before him, although he wore the same face, held himself apart from everyone and everything.

Mr Wolf poured Benny a drink and handed it to him.

‘No, Benny, I thought it useful to talk about God with someone I trust not to tell anyone.’ he said.

Benny went to say like a confession but remembered his girlfriend’s advice and bit down on his tongue. The scotch stung him, but he kept his impulse under control.

‘Mr Wolf.’ he said.

Ernest shook his head.

‘No, Benny, call me Ernest.’ he said.

It was the start of a great friendship. They held one another’s confidence for five years before a stroke took out Mr Wolf and left him bedridden. Benny took half a million from the Garcia Cartel to hold a pillow to his friend’s face, but as he felt him relax. Benny was glad at the end, it was down to him. Tears ran down his face as he leaned over and whispered into Ernest’s ear.

‘The bullet found you.’ he said.

Benny recognised himself in the ordinary men who shoved Ernest’s family into the streets, and it had killed his own faith. As Ernest died, part of Benny died with him. The rest of it followed a week later when the Garcia Cartel decided Benny was too expensive to keep around.

It was on a train out of the city, Benny had sat in first class, which made him easy to find. When the three men, not much more than boys, closed the doors behind them, Benny smiled. They were competent, and they promised to be quick.

His bullet had found him, too.

He looked forward to telling Ernest about it.

 

 

 

My book Until She Sings is out now.

Ebook:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07XJRDND8If

Paperback: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1692105566/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_4akEDb3FTWNKR

My Mailing List for announcements and news with a free short story as a thank you.

https://tinyletter.com/mbblissett

Standard
book reviews, books, lust, masculinity

Portnoys Complaint by Phillip Roth

This is a book which is cheerfully unrepentant and scatological. There are many descriptions of laxatives and furtive yet pathological masturbation sessions but underneath is a humane, generous story.It’s funny, glib, capturing adolescent male anxiety with an uncomfortable accuracy which made me recall my own teenage years. This was Roths first book and it revels in its iconoclastic glee.

I loved the nervy prose, but didn’t wholly lose myself in the book. There were relatable, uniquely masculine moments but I’ve found too much of it employed the grotesque to make it more personal for me.

One to admire rather than love.

My book Until She Sings is out now.Ebook:https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07XJRDND8IfPaperback: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1692105566/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_4akEDb3FTWNKRMy Mailing List for announcements and news with a free short story as a thank you.https://tinyletter.com/mbblissett

Standard
men, poetry

Crossed Legs

Crossed legs

Fixed expression

‘Any spare change?’

Glittering stubble and rotten apple cheeks

Invisible and camouflaged in pavement colour

Street textures

Of course he has a can by his side

Wouldn’t you take anything to

Hide from the hard surfaces

Sharp edges and yet he is there

I don’t have any change

Too busy running to stay in place

To accumulate coins

And we are all one bad day

From sitting down

Crossed legs

Fixed expression

‘Any spare change?’

But desperation

Hardens and focuses a man

Like in romantic comedies

Except you’re stalking life

Thinking it is mutable

And you are not

Maybe he sat down because

He figured out

It is the other way

Around

Standard
love, poetry, women

Ask

Please

Ask me something

About myself

Something complex and personal

I’m not carrying baggage

Past my allowance

But sometimes

I just want to feel

I’m not invisible

Disposable

A cuddly toy who sits bitter watches

Ask me

Something

Anything

Standard