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How Federico Finucci Narrowly Missed Out On The Scoop Of The Century – an excerpt

site rencontre egyptien Di Silvio jumped to attention as the Prime Minister slapped his palms on the desk. Signore Bucci must have waltzed in a full thirty seconds ago, but, after coughing a couple of times and still failing to attract Di Silvio’s notice, he had obviously let impatience get the better of him. Di Silvio was shocked because it was common etiquette, in the Government offices, not to abuse the desk of a colleague, regardless of whether their standing was above or below your own. No one knew this more than the noble Prime Minister, but, judging by his flared nostrils and narrowed eyes, no one cared less about it right now, either. Signore Bucci, in the majority of even the Italian population by having the advantage of height over Di Silvio, at this point towered over the desk like a tidal wave. Di Silvio gulped and opened a mental umbrella. The Prime Minister’s navy suit stood out threateningly against the cloudless sky through the window behind him, and his expression almost matched the shade of his clothing. Di Silvio gulped again. This must be important.

dating internet scams ghana He had been distracted by a dream he’d had last night. It was so vivid that it was difficult to get it out of his head. He had been hosting a Miss World competition; and, surrounded by beautiful young women in bikinis or less, he was poised – even after waking – on the brink of an almost unbearably exciting canyon, the cavernous sides of which were composed of supple young female thighs. But there was something else, and Di Silvio was not sure if he should be troubled by it. The girls certainly hadn’t seemed to mind. When he had by chance caught sight of himself in a mirror backstage, he noticed that he was not the handsomely aged, dark, southern Italian that he had always fancied himself to be when stuck in an exchange with a reflective surface, but instead, a priapic faun, wearing nothing but a green waistcoat and an enormous grin.

rencontre ado net The dream was probably brought on, he thought, by the book he had been reading in bed the night before. It was a brand new publication, available in hardback only, and unprecedented in content. Salvatore Capraio’s revolutionary work, free dating forum sites In Bed with Nature, examined the weird and wonderful sexual characteristics of the earth’s most interesting animals. The three entries in the collection that had cemented themselves in his mind (replete with full colour photographs) were that of the mountain goat, which was characterised by abnormally high levels of testosterone present at any time; that of a certain species of duck, which sported a blue beak and an enormous and disproportionate penis; and that of a monkey which, sent mad by captivity, repeatedly masturbated and ate what was produced.

The Miss World competitors had flirted outrageously with him all evening, and he was particularly impressed with Miss Java, who was six feet tall and had skin the colour of coffee liqueur. It had been quite obvious that she had no aversion to his hooves. Although he never actually saw her smile – his squat figure meant that he had only been able to interview her cleavage – he could feel a draught on the top of his head from her eyelash flutterings, and he was certain they were directed at him. She had also brushed her knees against his goaty member on more than one occasion, and Di Silvio was convinced it was no accident. He was thoroughly disappointed to learn that the host did not get to decide on the winner of the competition, and was consequently devastated when poor Miss Java was voted out in the first round.

He blinked up at Prime Minister Bucci, and was about to offer a sycophantic smile when his face was frozen by the icicles in his superior’s voice.

‘Signore Di Silvio,’ Bucci growled, ‘Have you read this morning’s news?’


This is an excerpt from my novel-in-progress, How Federico Finucci Narrowly Missed Out On The Scoop Of The Century, a probably unpublishable, definitely hilarious, and frustratingly true-to-life tale about the intersection of politics, money, football and journalism.

sleep

Life Without Sleep – an excerpt

It’s not rencontre premier rdv entirely soul destroying, being kept awake at night.

Some nights, I actually get Continued up, out of bed, and catch some sites de rencontre seniors Masterchef reruns, or silently, secretly watch a fox selecting his spread from Restaurant Renard – that is, the bin bags out in the street below. From time to time I even open Escoffier’s http://comfycozycouture.com/CCC/kipiwer/48 Guide culinaire and attempt to absorb some of the man’s genius. If I’m desperate to send my eyelids drooping towards blissful, elusive sleep, I’ll reach for the Delia – double-daring insomnia by introducing the additional factor of a language barrier to the old crone’s always-slightly-off-target methods – although once I misguidedly picked Carême off the shelf and was awake for official source days.

Some nights, if you can believe me, I’m pretty sure I you can try these out do sleep. Those nights, dawn just appears, rather than gradually poking its nose over the horizon, and that’s when I reckon I’ve been to the land of Nod.

Most nights, though, I just wait. For what, well… that depends on what comes.

***

A few months ago, old Alphonse upstairs passed away. I was awake when he fell out of his bed above me for the final time. His muffled cry jolted me out of a plan I’d been hatching to set up a tiny restaurant in my dining room, the cottontail-end of which involved keeping rabbits on the roof of our apartment block so that I could serve a delicious beery-gamey stew in the autumn months: I’d call it ‘Hopsalot’ or something equally amusing. I held my breath; usually what followed the thump of his body hitting the threadbare rug at the side of his bed was a lot of scrabbling, humping and grunting as he pulled himself off the floor, but this time, there was just a kind of tapping, and then silence. I sighed, and reached for the phone.

I suppose it was five weeks later that a youngish man came and knocked on my door. I was halfway up the ladder Christelle had loaned me in return for the promise of some madeleines at the weekend, despite the fact that, along with driving and working as an air traffic controller, climbing ladders was precisely the kind of thing my doctor had advised me against. I was busy cleaning tomato sauce off the ceiling because Fabienne from across the hall had lost the lid to my blender when she borrowed it for guacamole last week (even though she ardently refuted this impropriety), and apparently trying to cover the opening with one’s palm was not an adequate alternative.

Come in!’ I called out, knowing the door was off the latch and my knees weren’t what they used to be. Wasn’t I expecting Léonard, for his afternoon Darjeeling? I glanced down at the space on my left wrist where my watch should have been before I realised I’d put it on my right that morning; it was only 11am.

I heard someone clear their throat as the door shifted open. I started to climb down, but with my back to the unknown the shiver of a slight panic rode up my spine, and the ladder seemed to warp and melt beneath me. I missed the last rung, swinging wildly for a second before being caught under the armpits by my mystery guest. I found my footing, pushed my glasses back onto my nose, and turned to see the man. I’ll never forget that moment. He had been sporting a vaguely amused, vaguely concerned expression, but as his regard fell on my gazpacho-spattered apron, his eyes seemed to light up. It was as if he was starving, and had just been promised a seven-course meal. I’m telling you, he stared at that tomato pulp like he wanted to make love to my apron, or at least suck it clean. I blinked at him.

Hi,’ he smiled, holding out his hand for shaking. ‘I’m Noah. I’ve just moved in upstairs, and I wanted to introduce myself.’

I smiled back, mainly because I couldn’t help it. If Alphonse – boiled-potato, bread-and-butter, milk-and-porridge old Alphonse – had to go, better that he be replaced by a foodie than anyone else. Noah meant we were approaching critical mass in the apartment block.


This is an excerpt from my short story, Life Without Sleep, a darkly comic account of the world through the eyes of an insomniac.

reflection

Remains

Please, leave me be, while I still can feel free,

To reflect; to reject your poor style

I tried on the shoes; they made me feel used

Yet I’ve still had to walk many miles.

 

Who’ll take the blame for the shit and the shame?

– With the world up in flames, will it matter?

You nurture and prune while denying the gloom,

But the fat of the land won’t get fatter.

 

Is it worth all the risk, where union exists,

to render and tear and divide?

And now with our hearts crushed by fearful old farts

What price will we pay to survive?

 

Left to scavenge and rove like the carrion crow

For what future? What life? What gains?

Brushed aside like dead flies to distrust our own side

And to ponder these awful remains.

 

I wake up today to a world gone insane

And yet,

I remain…

icy_leaf

The Great White

Dusk.

Snow sifted down outside. It sifted past the third-floor window where a headphone-clad Emilie sat sketching, oblivious to the white flakes, and to the raised voices of her parents in the room next door. It sifted past the upturned, bearded faces of the old twins in the apartment below, who clung to each other, rapt. It sifted past José’s forgotten, frostbitten herbs resting on a windowsill that had not been lit from inside for weeks now. And it sifted down to the square of patio where Marc’s shadow fell, which, unmoving, belied the speed of his fingers spidering across the keyboard.

Muted sounds: the ding of a tram, a metal whisk in a glass bowl, a dog’s bark; all muted by the soft, perfect snow.

As if powered by the hood of silence, the slideshow in Marc’s mind had gathered speed until he had thrown his pencil aside and advanced to his computer, previously a fearful thing, a threatening thing, but this evening a channelling thing, a converter of these flying, fleeting images into words—into solid, sellable words.

For too many months the milky square of the computer screen had stared at him: empty months. Now, its white glow made him a silhouette, and he sat, unmoving apart from his fingers.

No movement above, either, but dust motes settling in the snow-light on José’s abandoned guitar. Further up, the twins turned their faces to each other, one mooning dreamily, the other a gawping mug. High upstairs, sobbing; but also the slick of a page turning, the scratch of a pen.

The falling snow seemed to change the building into a chimney, outside noises dampened and those inside amplified; and in amongst the funnelled, flicking pictures, Marc’s neighbours, too long ignored by him, began to solidify into crystal focus.

His hands worked furiously; a frenzied silkworm spinning lines, embroidering the zipping images into a digital tapestry—not to be unpicked this time but to be anchor knotted, preserved. A matrix unspooled before his eyes: black on white, a reflected negative of the fine-spun snowflakes drifting down beyond the glass.

Suddenly Marc stopped, the silence broken. He cocked his head. A sad, gentle melody had begun to tremble in the gaps between the floorboards, and José was lulling along to the tune in his wistful voice. The twins, hearing their musical friend back after all this time, forgot the snow for a second and why he’d been away and grinned at one another, each clutching the other by the elbows as happiness spilled out of them in noiseless laughter. Above them, Emilie raised one headphone to enjoy the silence of the flittering snow, but instead heard her father crying, and let it snap back into place.

Marc sat back, flexed his wrists, and in the middle of that great white canvas, that pristine, terrifying, optionless Big Empty, he could see a tiny germ greening its way through the crust.


This story was written as an inspiration piece for Mash Stories, a short story competition which gives writers 3 random key words or phrases, and a 500-word limit, to create their best pieces of flash fiction. The key words for this piece were: happiness – mug – converter.

heart

Love is…

…a beating, throbbing, bleeding heart, pinched lightly between teeth, or encased in a loose fist. Love is alive, and precarious. Love is the absence of love and the love of love. Love attacks you from all sides, but you revel in your defencelessness, want to roll in the blood that seeps from your wounds because it is sweet and life-giving and if you can somehow work out a way to keep it, to siphon it back inside just so that it can pour out again, you will be able to sit on the knife-edge of crazed, intense love for ever. Love is an exchange. Love wants to bribe your soul, but you would happily give it. Love is laughing, love is remembering, love is reaching out and opening up. But love, too, is being left open; raw and exposed on a black mountain, grasping onto nothingness. Love is being forgotten or erased except in that sore, condensed part which stings and prickles salt tears in your eyes when it is prodded by love. Love is grief. Love is, from its very germination, a terminal, tragic knowledge. Love will not let you not love. Love is tyranny, denial, a departure from that independence you once knew, and love cannot help you. Love is a parasite. Love will feed you just enough to keep you alive, and in return it will take from you all that it needs. Love can make you fly; but it can leave you earthbound. Love does not know pity. Love can shine on you so brightly that it hides the black heart growing inside you, a cavernous, unfillable hole that grows as love grows. Love is the red mist behind your eyes. Love is a dark muse, goading you to heights inspired, masking your memory of sense and sanity and calm…

Love is…