glove #10 – DEADLINE APPROACHING!!

Thank you for obtaining this copy of glove magazine. Please read it and, if you aren’t a hoarder of such artefacts, pass it on to someone who may appreciate the contents when you’re done with it. If you are a hoarder, collector, archivist or whatever, then treasure it because, as of now, I am parking, though not scrapping, the project, so the next issue, if there is to be one, may not appear for some considerable length of time.

Friends, I come not to bury glove, but to praise it, or specifically to laud and commemorate those who have contributed, in whatever fashion, to the continued existence of the magazine. I don’t propose to list all those who have helped, but suffice to say, if Jonathan Hope hadn’t provided the start up capital and Tony Gilbert hadn’t proved to be such an excellent printer, we’d never have made it past the planning stage. The first issue appeared in February 2017, which gives the publication a lifespan of 5 and a half years and counting. Having edited every one of glove’s 10 issues, I can honestly say that I’m immensely proud of what has been achieved during that time. I have had the honour of presenting the work of 125 different writers from many different countries and cultures who are linked, however tenuously, by a vague notion of being outside of the literary mainstream, though some like Michael Keenaghan and Holly Watson, should be millionaire superstars because they are, not to mince words, literary geniuses. The fact they are not, is the fault of the culturally impoverished times we live in and not because they are writers who explore their urge to create for aesthetic purposes and not for financial gain. While it has been an honour to publish such stellar talents, it has been a greater one to give public exposure to many gifted wordsmiths who have never seen a literary fanzine before, let alone appeared in one. Paddy Robinson, Candis Carr, Karen Ampleford and Damian King; I’m talking about you.

I started glove because I felt there was a gap in the market for a properly inclusive outsider lit zine. While Jim Gibson was doing sterling work in Nottingham with Hand Job and Derek Steel the same with Falkirk’s Razur Cuts, it seemed as if the rest of the market was dominated by Dark Fruits addled trustafarians and Hugo Boss attired Alpha Grandpas from desolate M25 satellite towns. I wanted to fight against that prevailing narrative, and I feel I did alright, but the law of diminishing returns has got me down; in issue #3 I published 24 new writers, which is down to 4 in issue #10. Additionally, I’m losing money hand over fist and can’t flog the meagre 200 print run I currently do. The creative well is drying out; it needs to organically replenish itself. When it does, glove will return. Until then, I’ll continue writing and performing, often with music. News is on social media; please take the time to follow me. Keep in touch and don’t be a stranger.

Much love,

ian cusack, editor

@GloveLitZine iancusack@blueyonder.co.uk

https://gilipollez.wordpress.com/

http://payaso-de-mierda.blogspot.com/

The Village

Issue #9 of glove is out now. Here’s my bit -:

Hope you’re enjoying a blissful day. I’m Sexy Charlotte; a U.S. Army officer from the United States of America. I am supportive and caring. I like swimming and cooking. I am gentle although I am a soldier. I’m kind, wanting to establish a mutual friendship with you about my village because I need to release my sexual frustrations fast and you can help.   

The village lies at an altitude of 690 metres and covers an area of 52.866 km². It has a population of about 1600 people. In 1265 the village purchased the rights to become a mining city and citizens began mining gold. The village sign depicts a miner and a hoe and has been unchanged since then. Mining eventually proved unsustainable due to the poor gold lode and high expenses incurred because of the rough terrain. Some of the gold miners went to the brigand Pacho, who helped poor people and fought with poorness.

In 1390 the village became the property of the district administrator and a villein small town of domination. Between the 14th and 15th centuries, mining gave way to farming and crafts. Despite the villein ratio, the village was an important farming and culture centre between the late-19th and mid-20th centuries. More than 20 kinds of crafts were in the village but the most widespread were the builders, who became famous specialists at building.

Facilities in the village currently include an infant school, elementary school, palace of culture, Evangelical Church, Roman Catholic Church and library. The memorable houses of Dobroslav Chrobák, Jakub Grajchman and Alojz Štróbl are on the Central list of ancient monuments.  The entire centre of the village is promulgated for national cultural treasures.

The village created a strong sports background, so local sportsmen get awards in the competitions, primarily in the cross-country skiing, table tennis, badminton, football, and winter hockey. The village has very good conditions for winter sports, cyclo-tourism, tourism in the gully or into the mineral springs, and for mushrooms. There is situated a ski lift and certified racing track. In the village is a volunteer fireman brigade. Today’s citizens of the village take pride in their cultural history, on men of the day, which came from the village and proved competent in a number of areas of social and cultural life.

So, are you happy? Tell me because I will come to you as soon as you want. I am underemployed and just at home. I will be your love friend if you need one. I can pick you up after job with my car. Then you can also see what I look like. I also have hot pictures. I hope you like them. The sooner we can agree on something, the better. I feel I need that closeness now. I don’t want to wait long to hear from you! Hug. Sexy Charlotte

The Great Hunger

I have fulfilled a long standing ambition by having a story published in the excellent Open Pen magazine. Issue #28 features this piece by me -:

This all happened because of an unbearable hunger that hit us just before two o’clock in the morning. We’d eaten a light supper at nine, crawled into bed at eleven, and fallen asleep. Three hours later, we woke simultaneously when the pangs struck. Tremendous, overpowering hunger pangs. The fridge didn’t help. A dozen cans of Pepsi, a bag of red onions and half a tub of Tesco’s own brand cheese spread. With only a decade of cohabitation behind us, my wife and I had yet to establish a precise understanding of the etiquette of grocery shopping.  

We were too hungry to go back to sleep, but it actually hurt just to lie there, so we did the sensible thing and opened a Pepsi each, reasoning that the gas from the fizzy pop would fill our empty stomachs. It was a better option than eating raw onions. While I was drinking my first can, she searched the kitchen cupboards like a famished detective. Eventually, she turned up four rice cakes. They were, soft and soggy, but we ate them with a scraping of cheese spread, savouring every crumb. The pangs, unassuaged, still raged.

We discussed going back to bed, even though neither of us had to be up early, and came to the conclusion there was no use in even trying to get some sleep. Time oozed through the dark vacuum of my gut. I ripped open another Pepsi. I read the print on the cans. I stared at my watch. I looked at the refrigerator door. I turned the pages of yesterday’s paper. I used the edge of a postcard to scrape together the cookie crumbs on the table, then swept them to the floor, while she hunted the kitchen for more fragments of food. Like soundless waves from an undersea earthquake, my hunger gave the boat of my fatigue a long, slow rocking. The feeling of starvation provoked a deep headache. Every twinge of my stomach transmitted itself to the core of my head, as if my insides were equipped with complicated haulage machinery.

My wife came into the living room. While her excavations had failed to uncover anything else to eat, she didn’t return empty handed. She expansively proffered a sawn-off shotgun. Nestling it on a blanket draped across her upturned palms, she explained there was only one solution. “We have to forage for food.” She was right.

We got into the car and started drifting around the streets at 2:30 a.m., looking for somewhere that was open and could provide us with food. A bakery, a convenience store, a garage, a supermarket; anything would do. The two of us; me clutching the steering wheel, she in the navigator’s seat, literally riding shotgun, cradling the shooter, that was lovingly swaddled in a woollen comforter, while we both scanned the streets like optimistic vultures. On the backseat lay two black balaclavas.  Why my wife owned a shotgun, I had no idea. Married life is like that.

We were initially unable to find an all-night food source.  Twice we encountered police patrols. One car was huddled at the side of the road, trying to look inconspicuous. The other slowly overtook us and crept past, finally moving off into the distance. Both times I grew damp under the arms, but my wife’s concentration never faltered.

We’d driven through the city centre several times, crisscrossing in wide arcs that took us down main arterial roads connecting the retail, commercial and entertainment hub with the slumbering suburbs. Taking her vigilant silence as assent, I deviated from the previous route and took the main road north, where the houses became grander and more widely spaced, before disappearing completely to be replaced by large, open fields. Eventually we found ourselves at a large intersection that acted as the mouths of competing hi-tech, light industrial parks. Centres of imperceptible, though unceasing, mental labour.

“Stop the car!” she demanded, so I slammed on the brakes. The closed units formed silent glass shields either side of the road. To our right, there was an illuminated sign for Greggs bakery. Nothing else stirred. “Let’s eat,” she commanded.  I drove to Greggs and parked up. We donned our balaclavas, then got out the car. My wife rolled back the blanket a little, allowing the stock to peep mischievously into view, before bringing the piece lovingly to her breasts. The thing was as heavy as human regret.

“I won’t fire it. Promise.”

When we entered the shop, a girl behind the counter immediately flashed us a smile and said, “Welcome to Greggs,” before reality intervened. Confronted by a masked duo, one of whom brandished a sawn-off, the girl gaped. Obviously, the Greggs hospitality manual said nothing about how to deal with a situation like this. Her mouth seemed to stiffen, and words wouldn’t come out, but even so, like a crescent moon in the dawn sky, the hint of a professional smile lingered at the edges of her lips. I hadn’t imagined that young girls would work the nightshift at Greggs, so the sight of her confused me for a second, until I reasoned a 24/7 outlet in a nearly deserted retail park was probably seen as pretty a safe place to be in the dead of night.

There were no other customers and only three Greggs workers: the girl at the counter, the manager, a bloke with a pale, egg-shaped face, probably in his late twenties, and a thin shadow of a man, peeking in from the kitchen. My wife shooed them together with a menacing sweep of the gun barrel. The employees stood together behind the counter, staring into the muzzle of my wife’s shotgun like curious tourists. No one screamed, and no one made a threatening move. The gun was so heavy she had to rest the barrel on top of the cash register, her finger on the trigger.

“I’ll give you money,” said the manager, his voice hoarse.  He looked at the muzzle of the gun atop the register, then at my laughing wife, and then back at the gun. “Please let me give you the money.” My wife spoke flatly, without menace.

“Thirty Steak Bakes. To take out.”

The three employees exchanged baffled expressions and helpless shrugs, then went into the kitchen area together and started assembling our order. The shadow, the manager and the girl worked in perfect harmony. Nobody said a word.

My wife leaned against a big refrigerator, aiming the gun toward the oven. The sweat smell of processed meat and oily pastry burrowed into every pore of my body like a swarm of microscopic bugs, dissolving into my blood and circulating to the farthest corners, then massing together inside my hermetically sealed hunger cavern, clinging to its pink walls. I watched the pile of blue and white wrapped Steak Bakes growing nearby. I wanted to grab and tear into them, but I could not be certain that such an act would be consistent with our objective. I had to wait. In the hot kitchen area, I started sweating under my balaclava.

The Greggs people sneaked glances at the muzzle of the shotgun. My wife scratched her ears with the little finger of her left hand. Jabbing her finger into an ear through the wool was making her gun barrel wobble up and down, which seemed to bother them. It couldn’t have gone off accidentally, because she had the safety on, but they didn’t know, and we weren’t about to tell them. My wife counted out the finished pile of Steak Bakes and put them into three shopping bags, ten to a bag.

“Why do you have to do this?” the manager asked us. “Why don’t you just take the money and buy something proper? What’s the good of eating thirty Steak Bakes?”

My wife explained, “We’re hungry. This is our only option.” The manager responded with a complicated head movement, sort of like nodding and sort of like shaking. He was probably trying to do both at the same time. I thought I had some idea how he felt. Then my wife ordered two large Pepsis from the girl and paid for them on her card. Contactless.  Once finished, she rewrapped the gun in the blanket, while I got the shopping bags.

We drove for a half hour, to the seaside. I found an empty parking lot by a metal warehouse on the dockside, and pulled in. There we ate Steak Bakes and drank our Pepsis. I sent six Steak Bakes down to the cavern of my stomach, while she ate four. That left twenty Steak Bakes in the back seat. Two shopping bags full of Steak Bakes. Our hunger that had felt as if it would go on forever, vanished as the dawn was breaking. The first light of the sun dyed the warehouse’s filthy walls purple. Soon the whine of delivery truck tyres was joined by the chirping of birds. The radio was playing modern cowboy music. We shared another Pepsi. Afterward, she rested her head on my shoulder and, with a deep sigh, fell asleep.

She felt as soft and as light as a kitten.

West Yorkshire Nocturne

This poem was originally composed in December 1997. It has been revised a fair few times since then, before appearing in The Waxed Lemon, a wonderful magazine from Waterford.

Left the Leeds to Bradford train

stopped at signals near Bramley.

All I could see this was this pissed bloke,

beating up his teenage son

beside a broken park bench.

Bleak Sunday.

car park deserted, except for broken glass.

Relief came slowly;

3 litre bottle of cider and six cans of Pils,

from Morrisons opposite the station.

Darkness, rain and me, drinking hard.

Mused about that lass from Hebdon Bridge,

murdered when out getting cornflakes.

The inescapable truth is the lucky ones get killed.

the losers don’t.

Sadistic wind at a graffitied bus stop,

I’m too old for this pantomime.

Living out a Ken Loach film where

The only certainties are Kev Thomas is a grass and

Wayne Nixon is going to die.

Wayne Nixon is going to die.

2020 & 2021 CVs

For no good reason I can recall, I didn’t post last year’s creative published CV, so here’s a double edition covering writing during lockdown.

2020:

Snowball in glove #7

Normally in Razur Cuts IX

2021:

Dalliance in Lost Futures #2

Twenty 20 in glove #8

One Way Traffic in Verbal #8

West Yorkshire Nocturne in The Waxed Lemon Winter 2021

Normally collected in Finest Cuts

One Way Traffic

I’m honoured to have this story in Verbal #8

Joey Quinn knew he’d never fit in. Not from round these parts. Dropped his aitches. Talked through his nose. Estate English: the generic underclass lingua franca used by all the start-overs from Kings Lynn to Poole and Swindon to Folkestone he’d come across in this place. Millport House. Former council OAP home. Bought by a housing charity for a nominal fee. Modest refurb. Hospital stink corridors. Harsh strip lights. Institutional spec flats. Scotchguard carpets. Functional white goods. Communal laundry and bin room.  Single occupancy units providing supervised, independent accommodation for those displaced by forced or emergency housing resettlement orders. Bed sits with sophisticated CCTV, monitored access, a couple of Security Guards, mute and menacing, on the welcome desk 24/7 and the cops, social workers, community mental health team and probation service all on speed dial. Welcome to the first day of the rest of your life.

Joey got the nod when a vacancy occurred. Young tea leaf from Dunstable on recall.  Caught taxing a litre of Smirnoff in ASDA. Cell door closes as another opened for Joey Boy. Travel warrant and a tenner spend in his back pocket. Bagged his stuff and headed for the midnight Megabus. Straight on the back seat of the 90% empty coach heading north. Never looked back. Best night sleep since he got out.

Joey had always loved his music. The records were all gone, but he still remembered the turntable and the speeds. 16. 33. 45. 78. Mid-teens he’d wonder how life would pan out. At 33 things had been alright, but the static and surface noise in his head got louder and he stuck in a locked groove, scratched to fuck and unplayable. No chance of making 78, like his old man’s solitary brittle, broken shellac disc. Nat “King” Cole singing Unforgettable.  Joey binned the fucker once his dad had gone. Binned everything. Needed to split.

Home sink estate given away to a “Property Action Group.” Financial inducements to ship out. Bespoke refits. Young professionals on peppercorn rents. Soft mortgages for first time buyers. Softer ones for buy to let speculators. Sitting tenants got fuck all, except rent rises higher than inflation. Joey’s old girl worried herself to death with the pressure and the old man followed her down cemetery road with a broken heart. 5 minutes from the station and only half an hour to Waterloo, this place was no country for old men. Joey began his own journey on the Hades Express with drink and pills. A dozen years, with half of it in a tunnel of hate before he reached the end of the line. Hit the buffers. Sat crying on the thin mattress atop a plywood frame in a soft jail where the doors locked on both sides, but they still knew where you were and what you were doing every minute of the fucking day.   

Joey lived in his head. Looked at the neighbours closely. The younger ones either 5 foot nothing and 7 stone wringing wet, head to toe in McKenzie snides or four eyed, human space hoppers pushing 300 pounds, in spray-on Jacamo bell tents, lisping and pouting: barrage balloon beasts. Older ones fucked by the drink. Skin and eyes shot to shit, with a constant fear of conversation. Malnourished smackheads. Morbidly obese mincers. Decayed pisscans. Dole scum who wouldn’t work, couldn’t work, never had, complaining about Asylum Seekers taking their jobs and houses back home. The cream of the Home Counties transplanted 300 miles in the hope of a new dawn that never broke, unlike Joey’s spirt, resolve, and heart.

Sunday night. Sawed his veins with an improvised chib; craft knife blade embedded in blu tac and gaffer tape. Blood burst. Fountained through his tears. Pooled on the mattress protector, soaked the wet bedding. Security guard dozing, smartphone in hand. Didn’t do the patrol. Monday morning reveille. Joey gone for good. Cries and screams. Investigation. Inquest. Cremation.

Fortnight later Cara Allington, crack dealer’s moll turned grass from Gillingham, climbs on board at Victoria and doesn’t look back.

Twenty 20

glove #8 is out very soon; here is a taster for it

I’d not thought about turning out for the Seconds in the Henderson Cup final. Firstly, it was held over from last season, so I’d forgotten about it. Secondly, it was scheduled for the Bank Holiday Monday. Thirdly, I saw myself as a First XI player these days. And finally, it was away to South Moor, meaning an undignified slog on a ploughed field against a load of hairy-arsed hillbillies. You know the cowboy bar in The Blues Brothers? Like that, but with more cricket involved.

Because I was spending Thursday at the nets and Saturday playing 110 overs among such exalted company, our lass organised regular family Sundays. With her spending at least half of each week away in London with work and me doing such long hours and irregular shifts, we insisted on keeping Sunday special. You lot call it the Sabbath I believe.

This weekend was a special one; with the bairns heading back after 6 months of intermittent home tuition, I’d taken the whole weekend as leave, while she’d knocked out a quality buffet and invited half the street to a socially distanced garden party. Obviously, no alcohol or loud music. Instead, all the mams worried about the school, and the blokes talked sport; I was in my element about cricket, on firm ground with football, but way out my depth when it came to golf and, worst of all, rugby.

Once the gathering petered out, I did the clearing up while the missus got the girls bathed and ready for bed. Got sat down in front of the box about half 8 and then checked my phone. More than a dozen WhatsApp messages of increasing desperation from Keith, the club chairman. Captain Nick had torn the gastrocnemius muscle in his calf turning for a tight second the day before which, on top of a pair of withdrawals for a golf and gargle beano, meant we were in danger of conceding. Keith was coming out of retirement to turn his arm over and bat eleven, while his lad Jamie was a decent call-up from the Juniors. We had ten. Keith begged me to come to the aid of the party, flattering me with sweet nothings like I can’t think of anyone else.

The fact me and the wife aren’t from here is a negative when it comes to sourcing babysitters, but a positive when it comes to Bank Holidays, as you don’t have to squander the day doing the rounds. Luckily, the lasses had a final DVD binge scheduled which I could miss, so we now had a full squad.

South Moor’s Hilda Park ground has an outfield like a rugby pitch, broken showers and changers with a mural of racist graffiti. Visits followed the same, depressing pattern; always Cup games, always in front of a front of a hostile, beery crowd, always with weak umpires and always against a team full of noisy, nasty bullies. Good job it was T20 and not 40 overs, as we’d get the fuck out of Dodgy City in three hours max.

We warmed up in malicious silence as the ground began to fill with tops-off, tattooed chunkies, bearing boxes of Stella and Carling, while their loud, fleshy women, wreathed in cigarette smoke, juggled picnics consisting entirely of Quavers and armfuls of fat children.

Keith lost the toss and they decided to bat; a decent outcome as we’d not be fielding when the crowd were eight pints in. Don’t get me wrong; South Moor have some decent players, but that doesn’t stop them from being bad bastards. Their opening bowler Bry Davis, a big, baldy, Brexit-loving boor, slung it down quick, which made him a danger on their track. The other right arm rapid, Inky, sprayed it both sides of the wicket and from toe crusher to head height, without a clue of what would happen next as he ran up. The worst was their keeper and captain, Gary Hedworth; a smug, ginger bullshitter who kept up an unending commentary of absolute crap. Because he never strayed from behind the stumps, he was oblivious to complaints about the spitting, threats and missiles from South Moor players and supporters to every team who beat them.

We made a solid start. The young lads bowling medium pace at the top of the innings restricted them to 46 for 4 from 12, when Keith decided me and him would bowl the innings through. The fact I was a left armer was exotic enough to confuse the hell out of the hick big hitters, while Keith’s Renaissance man googlies meant he was dropping the equivalent of golf balls on crazy paving. He took 3 in his second over, all bowled, then there was a pair of Keystone Kops run outs, including Fatty Hedworth marooned halfway down the track after he fell on his arse trying to get back, before I wrapped things up with the first ball of my third.

Baldy Bry, shiny skull wrapped in an EDL cap and not a cricket one, was 18 not out. His steroid and gym forearms flexed, allowing a perfect view of his Football Lads Alliance bulldog tattoo. He ground his teeth, muttering obscenities. He wanted to put me out the ground. Only one thing to do; I slowed it down and gave it some height, knowing he would give me the charge. Sure enough he was there far too early and spooned an edge high into the sky. It was an orange ball, and I saw it big as a pumpkin as it plopped gently into my cupped hands, allowing me time to sidestep Bry’s weak excuse for a shoulder charge, as he stumbled past and carried right on into the pavilion, spewing out oaths. 61 all out. The cup was ours to lose.

Covid regulations meant no tea; instead a quick piss, bottle of Lucozade Sport, on with pads and helmet, then out to bat with young Jamie. Kid looked apprehensive, so I decided to face. They surprised us and started with Inky, who tossed down a load of leg side filth; I clipped him for 3 boundaries, while he contributed the same number of wides and Fatso in the gloves saw two balls whistle past to the boundary for 8 byes; 23 from the first. Davis came on from the other end and Jamie looked scared. I understood why, but the Bulldog Brexiteer was showing his good side, bowling some of his tidiest; a whole over on the notional fourth stump. Jamie wasn’t quick enough to get near any of them, missing out on a free hit after Davis overstepped; another ball that eluded Hedworth. Inky served up another pile of dog dirt and we were 48 without loss from 3. The same score when Jamie’s ordeal was over; he finally snicked one to slip after Bry had tortured him with another unplayable one. His old man came out to replace him and took a leg bye; 49 for 1 from 3.2. Cheers Keith. Davis wouldn’t be bowling immaculate line and length to me.

The first one he aimed right at my toes, but I somehow got the bat down and dug it out. Hell of a Yorker. Next ball; bouncer. Hooked him over the rope; 55 for 1 from 3.4 He changed the field; pushed long on and long off back, so I guessed what was coming. Took a step down the pitch and lofted the slower one right over the sight screen; 61 for 1 from 3.5 with the scores level. Despite the two maximums, he’d been making me think, when I just expected him to try and hurt me. I gave him too much credit. Next ball was a deliberate beamer, heading right between my eyes. It’s arrival, Bry’s banshee howl of you Paki cunt, the umpire signalling no ball and my evasive swipe, sending the ball straight back down the pitch occurred simultaneously. Then there was the impact of ball on face, as the falling Davis took one for the team. Half a dozen teeth showered the pitch.

No time for celebration or shock, the Hippocratic Oath kicked in. His jaw had been shattered. It would need wiring up and reconstructive surgery. We didn’t bother with an ambulance. I took him straight to University Hospital, where my old mate Tariq in A&E sorted him out. It must have been after 7 when I got back to the car. Checking my phone, I saw a message from Keith, confirming he’d collected my stuff, including medal. He signed off; you certainly shut that bastard up.

I laughed and headed for home. Hopefully I’d see the bairns before they went to bed.

dalliance

I’m sorry; I can’t do this anymore.

You and me; we’re over. I’m tired of being made to feel inadequate; second best. It’s like being constantly cheated on, yet still knowing I’m damned eternally to play the role of the other woman. I’m bored of being discarded like a broken bagatelle, each weekend and on every significant social occasion; Christmas, New Year, Valentine’s.

Looking back, you let me know exactly where I stood right at the beginning when you told me the most important day we could ever spend together was my birthday; a date that remains utterly insignificant to her, so she wouldn’t suspect a thing and you’d play us both like the second violins we are to your virtuoso’s ego. I’m tired of the empty promises, the false hope of you telling me how much you love me and want to be with me when you’ve no intention of doing so. Empty words, like when you said you wanted to marry me and then dialled it down within the hour to vague talk of living together at some nebulous, undefined point in the distant future.

We both knew that it was me, not you, who wanted nothing more than for us to be together forever.  Even after you’d pushed me away with your unthinking selfishness, I wasn’t ready to let go of the broken shell of our love. I was so desperate to cling on to the unreality of an imagined present and future, trying to salvage something, but it’s done me more harm than good, knowing the idealised version of our love I carry in my heart is not reciprocated.

Oh yes, you can say all the right things and then make plausible excuses for your cunning inactivity, but we both know if you’d really, in all sincerity, wanted me you would’ve made it a reality. I know you’re not entirely evil, so the whole affair hasn’t been a sordid ego trip, where you felt the power of having a lover quarter of a century your junior, hanging on a string. I don’t even think it was a case of getting a kick out of having two women unknowingly simultaneously bidding for your attention. At some level, I know you love me, but there was never any sense of commitment on your part, other than remembering to uncork the rioja for our midweek trysts.  

All I’ve ever wanted is to be loved, and I naively believed you were the one who would provide me with the kind of affection and protection I have long craved. How I respected you. How I adored you. How you let me down. You see that old cliché is correct; actions do speak louder than words. I’ve grown weary of giving my heart, my soul and my love to you, while getting nothing tangible or sustainable in return. I was a fool, making you my priority and being content with the role of intriguing option in return. I was a mere plaything, someone with who to pass the time on cold winter nights during lockdown. Sent out of the room and told to stay quiet while you called her to dispense another dose of wasteful, weak, patronising words of supposed affection before lights out.  I was an obedient child; biting my lip to shut out the sounds of bitter hypocrisy and cant that you spread across the lives of two women who had the stupidity to fall for your charm and your lies. You bastard.

Every time I think of your weasel words, I choke on the bilious nonsense of your assertion you’d like us to go out in public, after lockdown, after the spring warms the earth. You pretended that you wouldn’t care if we were seen, hand in hand like a courting couple with life’s endless possibilities ahead of them. Making memories. Planning weddings and lives. Contrast this with the furtive actions of the coward who stealthily left my bed on a Friday morning, maintained radio silence for the whole of the day and night, then sent a cursory text from under the sheets in the bed you shared with her, more than 18 hours later. I deserved and deserve better than the farcical fiction of a ludicrous wish that we’d met first, because that would have made it all so simple and so right. Liar. You know fine well you’ll never leave her, despite pretending this year will be no different to last. And now, I don’t want you to. Because I don’t want you; I want more.  I refuse to feel this way for another 12 months, with the certainty that at the end of that period, you’d reject me again and again. I’m sorry; I can’t do this anymore.

The whole narrative you’ve constructed to describe your domestic arrangements makes me question what is reality and what is the version of it you see in your head. You claimed you didn’t love her and wanted to be with someone you respected. Your fanciful assertion that you merely get on with her, always have, but have never been attracted to her, has no truth to it. Let’s be clear about this; you don’t respect me. If you loved me you’d have left her for me or considered my feelings. The fact you haven’t does make a strange kind of sense when I consider the fact both of you hide so much from each other. She doesn’t want to worry you and you claim you remove confrontation by avoiding the issue when it comes to things that could upset her and force her into pushing you away.  If you were looking for a way out, as you insisted, surely you could have referenced incidents in your ordinary life to lay the groundwork for your departure? You could, of course, have mentioned me and the love I felt for you.

To be blunt, I will never begin to understand why you’re so desperate to stay together when neither of you provide what you both need emotionally and physically. The fact you are prepared to settle for mediocrity shows that surely I can’t mean as much as you said I do. I genuinely thought I was something of value for you; even at first when you claimed you were only together for companionship. You painted a picture of an expendable arrangement of mutual content in the months before we fell in love, repeatedly referencing how you would certainly leave her once you’d met the right person.  I genuinely thought you’d found that person in me, even when you told me there’d been 6 others with whom you’d strayed before we met, but clearly I was wrong. I still told myself we were different, after you explained the others were just dalliances, but clearly that’s all you and I were too. I guess that’s what hurts the most. So, I’ve decided it’s time I gained some self-respect, dignity and stopped wasting my love on something and someone I’ll never have. I’m worth more than this. Enjoy your life, but make no mistake,  I won’t be in it.

I’m sorry; I can’t do this anymore.

Normally

I’m honoured to have this piece in the excellent Razur Cuts IX:

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Good afternoon, guy!  My name is Mrs. Bob Wood from the United Kingdom. My wife is called Kazakhstan, & we live in the United Kingdom. My wife is a philanthropist, she encourages me to help poor people. I want you to know that I did not just wake up & decide to contact you.

Normally, it’s pretty monotonous nearby me, but shortly ago I did have the occasion to participate in an interesting multiracial bed game, where double intrusion was really like baby performance against to what these people did to my forms! All happened 2 days ago. I certainly never had so fantastic & such unique life experience. All my very own lovable hollows were petted & outstretched. I were extremely worn-out after that.  I realize that in fact, I definitely like night times & night exercises. Oh, those adult activities were undoubtedly spectacular! I’ve never felt so free & inspired, even made a private home video & a big amount of pix when I’m dressed just in very small bikini.   I really want 2 show you a few photos in my little clothing, & possibly even devoid of any Clothes & I do not know any reasons why a fine fellow must hide your big joystick from me.

My form is remarkable & eye-catching, I’ve an athletic slip-shape & great bum with tits. I definitely like it when my boobs are touched. I impatiently want u to pet my wet kitty, grab me on da desk. I expect you to take me in all positions, my precious, with no other responsibilities.  I wish to have these games regularly & for a very long time! I will caress u with my strong fists & will love you pretty smoothly during all night.

Try to reply to me immediately for more information. May God bless you & your family, I would love to talk to you on the phone, but the problem is that I do not know your language & cannot speak well due to pains. Please keep this information very secret, for security reason.

Looking forward to hearing from you urgently. Mail me!

Snowball

“glove” #7 is at the printers. it includes 23 outsider writers in our finest issue yet. it will be FREE, if you pay the postage via PayPal to iancusack@blueyonder.co.uk – here is a taster for it…

Festering bad blood of a peculiar vintage rose in the collective gorge, resulting in this massive pagger at Bernice O’Brien’s 40th birthday do, up Whiteleas Club the other Saturday. Wacky Jacky Snowball and his associate Mousehands from the Scotch Estate shoved mine hostess out the way to get at Jihadi Jeff, then sparked him out on the dance floor. Typical. Fucking Jarrow filth. Double teaming instead of a one-on-one. Knocked JJ halfway across the function room. Landed face first in the buffet. Pease pudding and coleslaw all over his dial and down the front of his shirt. Green lights and red rags for bullshitters time. Another cunt stotted a pool cue off Jimmy the Bonfire’s napper, not that it did him any damage of course. Fucking huge crowd watching. Lights came on. DJ cut the music. Street Fighting Man by The Stones. You couldn’t make it up. Appealing over the mic for calm. Altamont on Tyne.

Off camera Bernice got back in the game; grabbed a pint jug of cream intended for her birthday cake and doused Wacky Jacky with the lot, screaming she’d tell everyone why he’d got the nickname Snowball unless he fucked off. He did like. Pretty sharpish. Hungry fucker Mousehands still pocketed a plateful of cheese sandwiches on the way out.

Like all these things, the actual violence was over in 30 seconds flat. It was the analytical post-match shouting and bawling that lasted ages. Course nobody’d seen owt when the poliss came knocking a bit later, ready to take statements and that, but by that time, we were well away in a friendly fast black. Eating tarmac until we reached Simonside Switzerland in the shape of The Ship.

Sat up front, I was pondering how it is that you never get to know the real names of so many folk you grew up with; obviously Mousehands wasn’t called that on his Birth Certificate, but I’d always believed Wacky Jacky actually had Snowball as his surname. I never bothered sharing my thoughts as Jihadi Jeff spent the journey hockling claret into his hankie, with the Bonfire rubbing his sore lug the whole way, reiterating the fact experience had taught us we never went further than The Red Lion, unless we took a fully tooled-up squad out on manoeuvres. Every cunt knows the rules, party or no fucking party, he emphatically repeated, like a mentally ill pensioner, until long after I’d paid the cab and been stung for yet another fucking round.

Why is it birthday bashes, silver weddings, engagements and that sort of shite always take place of a Saturday? Probably because it’s easier for the lasses to knock the bait up when they’re not at graft while the blokes are out the way at football or in the bar for the afternoon. A safe feminized space for socialization. Opportunity to do some baking and that. Not that any of us had a chance to sample the taste of any homemade plate pie before the balloon went up. Despite the fact it had been all over Facebook,we’d only gone to the party because Jihadi told us to. Said he was still pals with his old squeeze Bernice; or Bucketfanny as most of us called her at school, not that he’d mentioned her in years.

On the way up, we had a right laugh. Me and Jimmy cracking up at how Bucketfanny was also known as the Simonside Skier, on account of her alleged ability to pull two lads off simultaneously round the back of The Ship in the bygone days of yore. Wonder if her grandbairns know of Nana’s teenage nickname? pondered the Bonfire. JJ was clearly up a height but pretending to ignore Jimmy. Eventually he bit. Spat out the fact she didn’t have any kids and that the wanking festivals never happened. Moody cunt.

We had a few late ones in The Ship to douse the Bonfire’s chagrin, but the meeting became inquorate when Jihadi, who’d spent the whole time on his fucking phone anyway, did his famed disappearing act not long after twelve. Skint, pissed or horny; he never specifies. Sordid fucking dwarf. Hence, I popped round Sunday dinner time to interrupt his traditional Sabbath ritual of scrolling through Tinder or Grindr or whatever and haul his arse out of bed.

As predicted, JJ was starring in another solo episode of his duvet decade box set when I let myself in. Flaked out on the settee in his keks, with a big bottle of pop by his side and his phone at hand, while the telly droned Sky Sports News to no-one. First time I’d been across the doors in six months and the old place looked like it had been carpet bombed by Changing Rooms. No longer would we refer to his gaffe as Disgracelands. Main difference from every other visit since he’d bought the place was the absence of a low hanging cloud of kebab farts, stale peeve and skunk that was his signature scent. Not only that, the place was clean. You could even see the living room carpet. Fucking disgusting orange colour, but never mind. Windows open. Whiff of Febreze.

The minimal chance he was turning into a huckle discounted by the sight of Bernice in a toweling robe, entering with breakfast on a tray. Filter coffee. Wholemeal toast. Low fat spread. Orange juice. The Observer. The happy couple. Parallel fucking universe.

She spoke, setting the tray down and gently shaking his shoulders. Jeff, we’ve got another visitor sweetheart. He stirred, blinked away the terror of continued existence and recognized me almost immediately.

For what do we owe the pleasure?

Bernice smiled her agreement over the rim of her cup. Obviously the hair was coloured and she’d invested a few quid on Botox, but the years had been kind to her. That’s what not having any kids does for a bird. Fuck knows what she was doing with the Sex Dwarf, specially as the newly habitable state of his lounge and implied this was clearly no one-night stand.

Seems like I wasn’t day’s the first visitor either. A magnum of Bollinger in a presentation box and a cellophane wrapped bouquet of flowers of the kind you’d see given to operatic divas at the final curtain call on the dining table. Gifts or apologies? Hard to tell at first glance. Bernice caught my quizzical stare and dug JJ in the ribs to facilitate his participation in retelling the back story of the previous night’s battle and that morning’s appellation controlee olive branch.

Predictably, the hoo-ha started after Jihadi had said something smart to upturn the egg cup of animosity. In this instance, the seemingly innocuous query to Mousehands about whether he could hold his pint glass in one of his Jeremy Beadle sized paws, had precipitated conflict. While it was undeniably true Mousehands did have the kind of skinny fists you didn’t raise in anger, explaining his preference for feet and forehead as bodily weapons of choice, it seemed this had touched a historical nerve.

Rewind a quarter of a century. The infamous night when Bernice was alleged to have jacked off the two lads behind The Ship had actually been her and Sex Dwarf’s first date, first time around. On the search for a secluded spot to get fired into each other after last orders, they’d happened across Mousehands and Snowball experimenting with the love that dare not speak its name in a quiet corner of the car park. It made for compulsive viewing.

Mousehands didn’t have that nickname in those days. Jihadi coined it when they spotted he was giving Snowball a ten-fingered tug, though in the end, he’d had to resort to mouth work as Snowball couldn’t get wood. When Mousehands finally got him going, Snowball had excitedly demanded to taste his own cum; hence the curious sight of a post jizz snog and, consequently, enduring nicknames for the pair of them.

Just as they zipped up and prepared to fuck off, Bernice and JJ had emerged from the shadows and asked if they’d enjoyed themselves. Fear. Panic. On their toes like sprinters at Monkton Stadium.  While Bernice and Jihadi got up close and personal, two frightened, confused gobshites headed back through the Scotch Estate, concocting the tale of Bernice putting it about for free, as well as having a big box and a special rhythmic talent for dual shaft manipulation. Seems like the Bucketfanny and Simonside Skier nicknames for Bernice had been the idea of Snowball, desperate to save their reputation. The usual Jarrow response of heaping lie upon lies. They spread the shite from next morning to any cunt who’d listen. We’d believe anything back then; hence the nicknames stuck. Although, to be fair, so had the more factually accurate monikers Mousehands and Snowball, even if there had never been an explanation where the names came from.

Some people were keen that the reason for the nicknames didn’t come out now. The champers and flowers had been gifts from uneasy, guilt ridden Jarrovians, intended to draw a line under the whole sorry business. Time to move on, the greetings card said. Time to forget the past.

Decent idea I suppose, and the old romantic in me was touched by the fact that the two couples are back together after all this time. Jihadi announced as he cracked open the champers. Bernice rolled her eyes and filled 3 cups with a sigh. Seems like the old NE33 versus NE32 peace talks were still on-going.