Story: A Scene from 1940

This story is a little more vulgar than usual as it’s based on a Charles Bukowski poem I love. Experimenting with manifesting emotion and reactions in readers by using intense narratives rather than descriptions.

I don’t recall ever enjoying school. Most of my time had been a blur, with much of it having been spent either drinking in cleaner’s cupboards or boy’s bathroom stalls just to get me through until the end of the day. Although, there is one particular day that appears to me often clearer than the present.

He caught me in the boy’s bathroom. I thought I’d locked the stall behind me but with my lack of sobriety I’d clearly made a grave mistake and soon enough, Johnny kicked the door in hoping to go for a lash but instead discovered me gulping from a 35cl of white rum like my life depended on it.

“What the fuck Casey?” he snarled.

I shrugged and got up, slightly disgruntled and completely dishevelled. Johnny was an alright guy, he wouldn’t care too much if I offered him a swig. As far as I could care, I was on my way to the cleaner’s cupboard to polish the bottle off before lunch was over. Johnny, however, didn’t want to move as you can probably expect.

“I knew you were a bad-ass.”

I stared at him for a long time and he didn’t break my gaze. I had to back down. I vividly remember this harmless kid had made me feel so pathetic all within a matter of seconds.

“You always sat in the back of my art class and never said anything. Then I saw you in that fight with that kid a couple days ago, the small cunt with the straw hair. You know him? You beat him up real bad, Casey.”

I don’t know what he wanted from this conversation, or lack thereof, and I won’t ever know. Did he think I would be his friend? I tried to break past him again and retreat into my serene bubble of me, my rum and my own head but he really wanted to talk.

“You’re rare, Casey. Guys like you sure are rare. You’re raw, you don’t give a fuck. You make your own rules!”

Beaming like a puppy, I knew I had to kick him down from his pedestal.

“Fuck off. Get your fucking face out of mine.”

I was as venomous as I could be whilst wobbling from side to side. He saw this. I gritted my teeth and gripped my bottle so hard I felt as though I might just smash it over his head but he backed off and I waded away from him.

“You see what I mean?” his shout echoed in the bathroom.

I was exiting by now, bottle now in pocket and already feeling more cool-headed. I could’ve befriended Johnny that day. Perhaps I would’ve had somebody to sit with me in bathroom stalls and talk about my dad with. Or maybe, just maybe, I’d have shown him the scars and the bruises, and he’d have brought me home to his quaint family and they’d have taken me in like one of their own. Maybe I’d be making a living right now rather than drinking my own weight in cheap red wine and using loose change to pay to fuck women who resembled my worst nightmares most evenings. Trawling through rejection letter after rejection letter and deliberating ways to kill myself.

But the thing with Johnny was that he had outwitted me entirely. Of all the things I was strong enough to handle; copious amounts of alcohol, my dads’ fists, a lack of guidance in life… praise was the only thing I couldn’t handle.

I was fifteen then.


Story: Desolation

Based on image prompt here.

Everything opposing me was unapologetically urban.

For as far as I could see, there wasn’t a single sign of life that wasn’t human; no trees, no blossoming flowers and no restless weeds attempting to fill the cracks in the pavement. Only monoliths of concrete soaring from each sidewalk in the same, ceaseless arrangement. I enjoyed my nights here because even though there was no chance of me seeing any stars, thanks to the fumes that consumed the sky, the lights that seared from every building acted as a man-made sky that was beautiful enough.

When there are no lights to admire or people to watch through windows, things can be tiresome around here, but I know that I’m not the only one who feels this way. This growing metropolis soon made me it’s first casualty and its inhabitants forgot about beauty and pleasure in exchange for constant, monotonous routines of work. They don’t enjoy life anymore; they just survive.

As a product of this municipality, I doubt there has been any second-thoughts to what I’ve described. In the first line of this dreary, melancholic monologue I said that everything was opposing me. I could’ve said that the cityscape was ahead of me, in front of me or simply just described what I saw without placing it anywhere.

I say opposing because not only was it in front of my eyes – it was against me too.


This morning, in the half-light, everything ahead of me was eerie. The cityscape was fantastic as ever although more frightening than it had been that previous day. I couldn’t quite figure out why things didn’t feel the same as they usually did. Even with the scurry of pedestrians on the streets and the horns of restless drivers, the air didn’t seem to move around me. I almost feel as though the lack of movement in the air was asphyxiating me even though I didn’t breathe anyways. My immediate surroundings seemed bereft of noise, almost as though I was in a bubble. I could only view; I couldn’t interact.

The sun travelled across the sky and hours passed like any normal day; yet, as they did, a feeling of alienation approached me. Despite the people outside, I was entirely alone. Nobody had come to visit me. I am a nocturnal piece and I was aware that I shouldn’t allow myself to venture during light hours, but you know what happened – I couldn’t help myself.

Something wasn’t right, and it couldn’t be shaken from me no matter how many people my vision focused on and false lives I created in my mind. My memory is hazy now. I remember every feeling as vivid and dynamic as though it was only a few minutes ago in which I experienced it but envisioning the scenario itself proves to be a task. I think I might’ve been created with that in mind.

I turned away from the window which I was blessed of being placed by and I can only remember that my soul left me there and then. I don’t know what struck me first but the rest of the room, lit only by the sky itself had been ransacked. Maybe not ransacked by thieves, but a careless team nonetheless. Everything had been taken but me – pages of well-loved books had been torn from their spines and left to wander the stained, glass-penetrated carpet. Amongst the mess, I was unaccompanied. Whilst I recognise that it was selfish, my only thought was my loneliness. I wanted to escape, to run down the street until someone caught me and examined me until I couldn’t handle it anymore but that wasn’t within me. Even if I did find some foreign courage to vacate that property and discover where the rest of my belongings had gone, I was attached to wires.

In my nonchalant state of eulogizing the city, I’d been too obedient to make any attempts at moving away from my position. Now that I did, I found that I couldn’t move far. Whether this was intentional, something more macabre or an attempt at making the modern world connect with me, I couldn’t recall these wires being pinned to me. Nobody knew of my animate state, so why they would want to keep me entrapped in this desolate, newly-diseased skyscraper is unknown. I had many questions but mainly I wondered why.


At the current moment, I scrawl this out onto the only scrap page from some sort of novel, probably Hemingway, that I could reach; I finally know why. The abandoned gallery, the destroyed books and the need to bound me – the disrespect towards what some would once value as treasures wasn’t entirely meaningless. As this city grows, so does technology and the need for instant gratification. Art doesn’t provide that anymore as it once did. My purpose has been served and now I am abandoned, left to be tortured by my surroundings as I watch this city destroy itself and forget about me.

Yet, there is still one question I am left to trouble myself with to pass time here and that’s the reasoning behind my captivity. Who had bound me here and left me? Did they know what I really am?