• statue

    I am commisioned by a wealthy opera singer to carve a marble sculpture of her own torso. Without shame, she disrobes, and I make preparatory drawings, noting the lines of her voluptuous curves and the weight of her voluminous tresses.
    An enormous block of marble is duly delivered to the velvety chamber where I am to carry out my trade. Confidently I take up my mallet and chisel, and begin to rough out the statue.
    Days pass, then weeks, and after a period of over two months I announce to my patron that the work is complete. She stares for some time at the fruit of my endeavours. Something is not right. I sense that she is displeased in some way. I shoo her from the chamber, order another block of marble, and begin again. I am enshrouded in dust, I work through the night, until my fingers are raw and my breath comes in harsh rasps.
    Again, my employer is unaccountably dissatisfied. I continue to order marble, and continue to carve statue after statue, while the years pass. When, eventually, I create a marble likeness of the opera singer on her deathbed with my own wizened and arthritic fingers, she at last nods, smiles, and abandons herself to the relentless pull of eternal sleep. I place my chisels carefully on the floor, and lie next to her, placing my dusty hand in her cooling fingers.

    cold wet nights(and parties that don't end)

    I am invited to a party which is being hosted by some old friends. As usual, I get to the party early and stand awkwardly outside the gates to the house. It is dark but warm, and unknown creatures speak to one another in the night. I step hesitantly into the overgrown garden, and notice a light on in the house. Although the party may not have started, I convince myself that my hosts need help with the preparations. I am a dab hand at samosas.
    Easing my way through the conifers that bar my progress, I approach the lighted house. Intending to play a minor joke, I peer in through the window, and I am surprised to see two Aliens from Outer Space conversing in the drawing-room. They appear to be engrossed in a clever discussion, and I withdraw quietly, not wanting to disturb them. After loitering outside the front gate for some time, I make my way back home, now sure that the party is either not going to happen or that I have inadvertantly entered another dimension.
    About a week later, I come across one of my old friends in a cafe. He asks me why I wasn't at their party. I make my excuses and leave. My brother calls me at home, and we discuss our respective social lives. My brother complains of a boredom with life, while I counterpoint with a distrust of parties in general and clever Aliens in particular.
    Eventually, we agree to finish the conversation, but as I put the phone on the hook I am seized with terror. Quivering, I run a bath, aware that both my reactions and my emotions are ill-placed.