The United States of Anger: The People and the American Dream
Short stories are a very under-rated art form, at least in Britain. I started writing them for fun years ago, much influenced by Irish writers like Sean O'Faolain and also Herman Melville, whose short works are little gems. Here's some unpublished short stories which I have written in the last year or so. I hope to be able to update and change them, adding a new story every month or two. You might detect a theme emerging...
For a few years before we were married, my wife owned a small apartment in the old western sector of Berlin. Just down the road, in the comfortable middle class suburb of Friedenau, was an unassuming red brick house which I was astonished to learn was the childhood home of one of the monsters of the Third Reich, Hitler’s deputy, Hermann Goering.
Sophie knew it was over the moment he ordered the whisky. Whisky? In Lebanon? In summer? She sighed. It was never going to last anyway. They had been lovers - was that the word she wanted? - for less than 24 hours. And now, the thing with the whisky. She hated the smell of it and wondered if she should tell him as much, but the words would not come. It was one thing to sleep with him, but to dictate what he should drink suggested a kind of intimacy which she had avoided. Yes, it was most definitely over.
“Marilyn,” she said, holding out a soft, tiny hand. He noticed the blood-red varnish on the fingernails.
“Of course,” he replied, shaking the hand gently as if holding a small, warm animal. “Marilyn.”
He looked at the full red lips, pale make-up, bleach blonde hair and thick false eyelashes and tried not to stare at those parts which he suspected may have had a bit of work. He could have been standing opposite an American movie icon from the 1950s, except that this Marilyn spoke with an English accent, and Marilyn Monroe had committed suicide. He tried to remember when. Maybe 1962, before Kennedy was assassinated. .
It was all Murray Sim’s fault. He lived near me on the outskirts of Edinburgh and when I was about 13 he told me he had bought an LP which he thought was amazing. I think it was second hand. It was called The Piper at the Gates of Dawn by some people with a really weird name, The Pink Floyd. One day after school he played it for me.