Gibbous House

By Ewan Lawrie

Nicholas Nickleby meets Psycho in a gothic, 19th-century noir

Monday, 15 September 2014

A Very Short Story

I must say I admire everyone's patience. Friends are very tolerant of someone constantly badgering them to contribute to their crowd-funding campaign. I'm sure people think we unbound writers have a brass neck to be constantly asking for Facebook shares, retweets and the Holy Grail that is a significant pledge. The reality is that none of us are really comfortable with this self-promotion and hustling. You'd be surprised how cringe-making we all find it. Anyway, here is a short story dedicated to any and all Unbound authors and to their long-suffering friends.





'It's a rum business.'

'Is it?' He looked at me over an empty tumbler, which didn't match mine.

'Yes. You're an introvert, so am I.'

His eyes flashed, 'Wha're ye callin' an invert? Ye great puff!'

'Introvert, Jakey, not invert. Besides, we don't say that, or puff, nowadays.''

'Bawlix tae ye.'

Jakey had been in The Broken Pen for a few hours by the time I arrived, after finishing my business on the bankers' side of town. He glared at me, the spotlights in the pub ceiling bounced flashes off his shaven head. I reckoned it must put 15 minutes on his morning bathroom routine. Still, he wasn't half as vain as me. He wore his 'feckin' great gig-lamps' as a badge of honour. I squinted at anything I had to look at at a distance of more than 3 feet. And my hair was too long for 'a grown man,' as Jakey liked to put it.

He sighed, waggled the glass at me. I got up and ordered a whisky for him and a gin for me.

''-at's a Puff's drink an aw!' he said, as I placed my glass carefully over one of the seventeen olympics-worth of rings on the cheap wooden table.

'We've got to do it, Jakey. Just making the stuff up isn't enough.'

Jakey grunted and took a long gulp out of his whisky. Blended, I couldn't afford malt, and neither could he.

'But it ought tae be!'

'I know,' I said. 'But you've got to sell it. It's all about promotion, Jakey.'

'Aye, well, it's sellin' sumthin', right enough. Nae sae much promotion as prostitution tho' hey, Pal?'

The sides of his mouth turned down, so I knew he meant it.

'Yeah,' I said. 'I feel cheap.'

'Ah dae tae.'

I told him it didn't matter, but I knew it did.

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