who are you? why are you reading me?

a farce.

"The Room Went Dark": Uncanny Domesticity in the Early Short Stories of Raymond Carver

A Little Spark

The two boys were flinging stones at the rats behind the Dolphin Takeaway. It was late, too late for Gary at least, but the earful he’d get when he returned home would at least add a bit of drama to the night. The rats had been there for a few weeks now. They’d appeared out of nowhere. Must have been at least fifty of them. They scurried around wildly in the alleyway behind the shops. They hid behind mattresses and car parts. Their liveliness was infectious. The two boys watched with gaping mouths as they leapt from the metal stairwells into the out-of-service chip vats below, before feasting on the greasy residue inside. But the admiration ended there. They were fair game. A fun game. Something to pass the time by. They’d been at it for an hour now. Still no hits.

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'We met it with love,' he cries, as if love were some all-purpose antibiotic, which to Geoffrey it probably is.

—from Bed Among the Lentils, Alan Bennett



Every afternoon she ambles past the living

room window, conversing with figments of a possible past.

On football days she heads up the High Street, alone

amongst the choir of louts in uniform lilywhite,

and stands, outside, inhaling the warm stench

of lager that blows streetwards from The Bricklayer’s Arms;

an old haunt.


Her travels take her through the cemetery, where she hides

her booze in bushes and terrifies the children who cackle, cruelly, at her

ill-fitting clothes. The cracks in her face contain something

that renders them more severe. Distinctly human

lines on a lifeless stare; blood vessels like road maps.


At night a television casts purples and blues

across her figure, and her shadow breaks

in flashes across the wall behind her. She sits,

glaringly unseen.


We’d agreed to meet Harry in Vern’s Tap, a few weeks after he’d got an arm caught in one of the machines at work. It was a grotty little hole, under-lit, and full of old guys that’d been left behind by life, but it was near the steelworks and the booze was cheap. We went there every Friday, after work.

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Hank Williams Sr. - Lovesick Blues