Flesh Mob – Update

I made the tough decision to put novella, Axel America, to one side for a while. The notion was to have it out for Belfast Book Week, but in a nutshell, the ratio of I’d-be-a-wreck to post-production-readiness is too wobbly. I feel sure the tale will resurface somewhere. I’ve been thinking over my working habits and how it might be time to go back to shorts.

In other news, my short story ‘Flesh Mob’, is in the running for a Titania (best of anthology) prize. Here’s a pitch I found behind a box,

Corpses move and feast on the innards, and city folk cram into the Occupy Belfast building! Now 99% are assembled, will they hold their safe-haven against the rotters as the summer brings another threat from outside? Andrew Luke, author of  Absence,  Twelve  and  To End All Wars,  draws on his knowledge of the Occupy movement, abuse survivor therapy and neuro-philosophy to create an all-inclusive edutainment of chomping rotters and ways to hit them.

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Oh look, got paperback! That’s Art reading the anthology at Farset. We were both so excited by the story, this is the only photo where he sat still.

‘Flesh Mob’ is in Tense Situations, which you can get through lots of different book-stores around the world. A good percentage of the sale price goes to Action Cancer. For a short while you can vote for the 2016 Titania Award for best story in collection at http://orb-store.com/tense.htm so please do. More info at that link.

 Right, I’m off to see Mark Thomas at the Black Box. Have a good evening you.


The laptop lay open, each segment of it over eight A0 poster prints in the shop window. Sitting at the bus stop opposite it each evening, Dawn remembered the detail. The code around the browser window burned into her retina like a favourite boy or a school time social formula. As Dawn walked the houses of the street, through windows laptops became mouths, banking websites the oysters within. She would wait until the postman’s van was in the area, and this was how the police arrested Kevin Tracey.

Chief O’ Hara was the recipient of the usual notes of gibberish. He nor D.I. Jaunty were not interested in any of that palaver. The criminal was smart, the criminal was stupid. He was not taking the laptops, merely transferring funds from them. The break-ins were all about 2-4pm: Royal Mail round time, Tracey’s arrest.

We can tell he’s not a cyber-hacker, however he wants us to believe he’s not smart. If he was he’d be out with everyone else during this time at the local Assco supermarket. Those are the hours when staff do the food and drink mark down, the reduced-to-clear. The criminal is smart see. John Clunes always signed his name to these letters and after a while O’Hara and Jaunty stopped sending him cautions. For in every investigation, the aul street cleaner was right.

It was with reluctance that O’Hara investigated, and it was with an icy reception that Clunes treated the conversation. Interest was peaked when Clunes revealed they were all Hyperion Bank robberies. They were spreading three miles over, but all on the bus route from the 24. It was at the 24 pick-up point in the city were Hyperion advertised. Dawn lived at the meeting point of four quiet back streets were the first robbery was committed.
‘Underclass’, as according to the man in the yellow jacket.
“This one was a prior suspect in a visa card scam from the plush shop tills. The money trail went cold and she was never prosecuted.”
She left to study a joint Masters in graphic design and psychology and came home to the recession: Vietnam for academics. Clunes found her on Google. The strand of red hair from one of the keyboards was long, and caught in the free newspapers she delivered around the area. The pay was £10 a week. Enough for the benefit office to double her workload, enough to fund two round bus fares, no wonder it was a secret.

“She couldn’t repay her student loan, what chances are there of repaying anything the court has to damn her with?” asked John, out in the yard, as Kevin Tracey walked off into the distance. Like Jaunty, he was but a few years from retirement, though his features were harder, a weighty face of jagged rock, stubble like sandpaper, a skin bitten by the elements. His hands were in his pockets by his tools: a brush, a picker, a shovel around the sides of the bin on the barrow he pushed. His eyes looked at the two officers and he raised his white ipod phones to his lugs and wheeled on past them.


The Pub That Richard Forgot

“I think Andrew dreamt it”, said Stephen. Ten times we’d talked it to the dead end and my claws screamed at the blanked memories. Sure it was dark, it was a pub, its light darkened by lodge brown venetian blins. The tables and the bar were a deep hue. It was Richard took me there: another pint with Adam, here’s to sloshed Lee. Someone’s away for agess: with a girl, a cigarette machine that spun off into a mini-series? Or the bar? The only other area lit.

Richard looks at me and I wonder do these memories even provide these lights. It’s been washed off the map in a flash flood of lager.

“I’m not imagining it!” I plead. “It’s up the Crescent or Botanic…Yeah, I was talking to Dawn and she knew where I meant. The Courtyard or The Vineyard or something.”
Richard integrates the new data, searching, acquiring…”Hmm, I wonder.” In my opinion, he’s getting nowhere.
“Look!” I claim the pen.
“On the outside, it’s a small building..” I scrawl a rectangle for a cottage and the trees on each side. Then a wall in front. The gap for the path is very small, only one to two persons can get through at a time.
“I can’t say I recall”, says he who has clearly been there four times. “It’s not Garfields is it?”, and in writing I think he knows now were I mean. Garfield’s was a public toilet.
“I think he means a place inside his head. If we were miniaturised and piloted a capsule in there we’d find it.”
“Right! I say we got up to Botanic now!” I have raised my voice. “I can get us there”
“I don’t know that we’d have time.”
All the way across the Corn Market cascade, with the people that zip and shuffle and line shop fronts, the kettled cattle. The cars of Chichester Street, Royal Avenue, traffic lights in front of crossings. There are Cafe Neros and Starbucks in this city. Its a grid, no diagonal cuts: grid, grid, grid between us and the bus station that is only halfway to Botanic’s maybe place.

“We’ll do it another day” we agree and Stephen remains with the book, Richard is out the door, and I’m looking at you.

Red Eyes

“Be!” sounded the cry of The Shadow Men, stood in grid formation.

“All that you can be!” They raised their rifles over their shoulders and waved them in the air.

“In the arm-eee!”

It was a decidedly undisciplined show of loyalty, perhaps more proscribed to children at a water park. There were cheers, and a few shots went off. The Man in The Mask turned his head around, as if addressing The Steel Hyena. There were hundreds of men below him, but enough realised the next few seconds of their bosses whims were crucial and they made a show of marching to the craft. Each ship took a fourteen man crew, weighing towards the forward guns. It was not really strange to their leaders or his soldiers were in the shape of his heads. Yes, forty or fifty foot square heads. Inside eyeholes pilots sat, framed by blast shutters mimicking eyelids were the occasion called for it. This at least had a function. The nose was fairly superfluous. The grinning incisors were particularly ornate and served to intimidate their enemies.

Off the coast of Bermuda, U.S. Captain John Crenshaw engaged the red skull in his F-15 fighter jet. He and the co-pilot Mac called the crew up to see. The men laughed so hard that they slipped upon the controls and the plane ended up in the sea.

“Another successful mission for Count Cameron and the Agents of F.R.E.A.K.” the speakers boomed. The crowds eyes lit up red and they exploded into self-congratulatory cheering.

159: Blog / Short story: No Evidence

I didn’t blog here yesterday, first no-show in over three weeks. Of course, if the dole found out I had taken a day off advertising my creative talents, well now, unemployed people are not legally allowed holidays. Still, as long as I’m showing records of three applications a week I’m justifying my subsistence.

I was out tonight to hear comrade Patrick Brown perform musical voicery. I’ve known Paddy on and off for quite a while but hearing him rip out ‘My Girl’ was a bit Who, WTF, Another Person! Sadly, I’ve no tech captures, but it was a pleasure hearing Paddy get the guitar out for ‘My Lagan Love’ and his Rat Pack duet with matching hat wearer Gary in ‘Me and My Shadow’ was immense fun. Actually, the whole programme was distinctive and muscular, less associated with people graduating a singing class (that it was), than some stunning top-league singers. There was a lot of theatrical acting too, expressionism, performance: a very shapely singer named Geraldine even sat her bum on Paddy’s back while he was bent over on all fours on the stage.

Hey, you gotta have a hobby.

At the urging of Tim Pilcher, I’m coming off Facebook and Twitter for a week in protest at the NSA’s Operation Prism. (Clue: You can read about it in the news and millions of people are talking about it) Of course, my abstinence won’t make a jot in the same way yoga isn’t really exercise, but it is good for you.  It’s the practice and the principle. You’re here reading this, so you know exactly what I mean.  My contact details are here.

Okay, short story time.

No Evidence

It was the first snowfall of the year. Eliza watched from the bay window as her bikini she held tight in a ball. You can’t see this, shedding fir, sent from a whiter place. The snow gave no evidence but the sound, it was far away at first: crispier as it would have got closer but behind the double-glazing and reptilian central heating, Eliza heard nothng. There would be no lazy day applying creams in the elements, no commune with the space around her small but rich haven. It was not until, while focussing on the white-lands of the space were her drive-way lay that she saw Bob. Screaming, she dropped the dress, but remained rooted to the spot. China’s most expensive A.I. would be destroyed in that weather.
“My tin man, My tin man, My beloved tin man my tin man!”