Thursday, 12 December 2013


We've just confirmed the lineup for themes in 2014. Feel free to submit to any or all - open for submissions now.

Simple house rules:
Fiction must be between 800-1200 words only, please!
Submit to
Please try to stick to the theme in one way or another.
That's all! Happy lying

THEME: Kisses & Blows
DEADLINE: January 13

THEME: Aliens & Earthlings
DEADLINE: February 9

THEME: Sisters & Brothers


THEME: True & False
DEADLINE: April 20

THEME: Night & Day

THEME: Yin & Yang

THEME: Here & Queer

THEME: Cruelty & Mercy
DEADLINE: August 17

THEME: Hunter & Prey
DEADLINE: September 21

THEME: Chance & Fate
DEADLINE: October 26

Wednesday, 27 November 2013


Our LAST event of the year will take place on December 30 at XXX Gallery!

Time: 8pm
Entrance: Free (ding ding ding!)
Address: B/F, 353-363 Des Voeux Road West, Sai Wan
(between Whitty St and Hill Rd, eight mins walking west from Sheung Wan)
Theme: Blessing & Curse (duh)
Other details: Just bring your lovely selves and some money to imbibe alcohol.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

What I Love About by E. P. Henderson

Read by Saffron Chan


I love how they're smart and dumb at the same time. Like they can program the remote but they can't think of a good gift for a buddy they've known for seventeen years.

I love how they're vain and too vain to show it. You yawn into a strange bathroom one morning and while you're rummaging for the dental floss you disturb a bottle of Rogaine or Just For Men hiding at the back. Bathroom cabinets are the custodians of profound secrets – just investigate the host's at the next dinner party you go to.

Medicines and cosmetics will tell you all you need to know about people, and more. Health and beauty – the two things money can't yet buy. Who knew that glamorous cougar wore dentures? Who knew the guy you just fucked has erectile dysfunction? When he detoured to the bathroom on the way to bed you thought he was brushing his teeth for you. Little did you know he was necking a few blue pills.

Honey-Hued Eyes by Zarina Zabrisky

Read by Sin Gwamanda

When I was sixteen I was still a virgin.

That was because, first of all, I was in love with the boy who didn't know me. He couldn't know because he left for the army before I had guts to say hi. At that time all boys in the Soviet Union had to serve in the army at eighteen. For three years.

Second of all, I dated a girl from my college. I dated her because the boy was away. We only had girls at our college, anyway. All boys served in the army. In Afghanistan and other places. Homosexuality was illegal in the Soviet Union, but that was what they called love between men. Men were put in prison for love.

Love between women did not exist. We never told anyone we were in love. We did not know how to do anything in bed because there were no books, no movies, or anything like that. We kind of invented stuff. We invented a lot of things, tampons, for example, as all that was available in drugstores was loose cotton wool and it was not always available.

So I was still a virgin and it was a problem.

Blackwork and Flash by Marshall Moore

Read by Hin Leung

No one can say I wasn’t careful... at least where the lasers were concerned. Researching them felt like going back to school  physics class, to be exact. I never had a head for science until this, and the terminology overwhelmed me at first. R20 lasers? Why not R30 or R40? And picosecond nD:YAG lasers? Who wants to think about all those subatomic flashes of time when you’re lying shirtless on the dermatologist’s table having your indiscretions zapped?

Starling, the receptionist, recognizes me from the beginning of this journey. I’ve always liked her quirky name. Young, visibly tattooed, probably in her early 20s, fresh out of university, she isn’t the kind of person I’d expect to find working at the front desk in a doctor’s office. The slight blush and the quickly downcast eyes tell me she’s attracted, even if she hasn’t told herself that yet. I’m singular, but Dr Chong himself is more my type.

Underground by C.T. Kingston

Read by Michael Rogers

A small, nondescript bar with a pink neon sign; a basement entrance with scabby railings painted blue. That's what he told me, before he knocked back his whisky and left a pound on the bar for a five-shilling tab. I let that buy my drink too, waited two minutes, then left and followed his tall, trenchcoated figure through the evening fog, hanging back dawdling hard on corners so that we wouldn't seem to be together.

This place is discreet; it has to be, he'd said. They don't want drones crowding the front door, looking for a taste of honey, He'd spoken in a casual undertone, his eyes on a tinplate toucan advertising Guinness which was hung above the pint glasses. Momentarily his gaze had locked with mine and flicked away again. They have a couple of entrances on different streets, he'd continued, so if there's a police raid you can scatter. 

The Other Half by Lizzy Harries

Read by Warner Sallman

Before Oliver and I met I never really believed in fate, in ‘one true love,’ although the concept had always interested me. People are happy with people though, aren’t they? And after all, how do you really ever ‘know?’

You know?

Oliver made me feel like I had been floating weightlessly in space, and then I was home. Oliver was my gravity.

The first time I met him I felt attracted to him. It was a surprise because I had never wavered in my heterosexuality. Then again I had only ever been with Ann-Marie. We had one of those naively charming relationships. We had grown up together; the best of friends. It was perfectly predictable but I adored her and she loved me.

‘Cassandra and her other half are coming over tomorrow evening,’ she reminded me one Thursday. I had seen them before, Cassandra and Oliver, but we’d never spoken. I really wanted to see Oliver again. I wondered if he’d remember me. We made eye contact a few times and on those occasions I felt like I was falling in love with him. It was so unusual. I just wanted to see if I’d feel that way again if I actually met him. He was gorgeous.

Did I love him?

Surely not.

But I did.

Gemini by Jacqueline Leung

Performed by Alexandra Jacobs

In hindsight, it might have been better if there were just one of them, or none of them at all.

At the age of 25, Sandy found the one guy she could live with and married him. On the Big Day, Dave kept feeling like he had a block of ice in his stomach waiting to freeze his insides, melting and drowning him inside out.

It was fucked up, a gay twin watching his lesbian sister marry a man because she was pregnant with a child – but their parents wouldn’t know that. God was also watching, Dave knew, wouldn’t like what he saw, the twin devils corrupting a Christian family.

After the ceremony and the priest’s not-meant-for-them blessings, Sandy broke down in the makeup room. Clutched his shirt so tight he could feel her nails sinking into his skin. Wailed and wailed but quietly, because both of them were born to hide who they really were.

Reputations by Liam Hogan

Read by Daniel Levia

Tania Braithwaite. Tania B, A.K.A. “Tani”. Ex-childstar, ex-daytime soap actress, ex-footballer’s wife. Heading straight for me through a press of C list celebs. Gulp.

“You’re Tony Malek, aren’t you? From the Valentine’s?” She gave me an appraising look that travelled from my face down to my terribly ironic retro sneakers and back, lingering in both directions on my crotch. “So pleased to meet you,” she drawled, holding out a limpid hand. “What do you think of the party?”

“Oh” - too high pitched - “it’s amazing,” - still far too excited - “wild...” I tailed off, a giddy over-awed kid, embarrassed.

She looked up with a cheeky grin. “Yeah, I know. An X-factor launch party. Always was going to be spectacularly dull. Do you want to go somewhere and screw?”

Sunday, 20 October 2013

The Curse by Maria Hummer

Read by Ann-Marie Taaffe
If you kiss me, I said to him, I become beautiful. I swear it.

He looked at me across the bar table. Hundreds of men I’ve told this, hundreds of old, young, fat, skinny, brave, hopeless men, and he was the first to look me in the eye and not say a thing. His eyes didn’t linger on the warts in the corners of my mouth, the sores on my cheeks and my neck, the dull and thinning hair I tried to hide under wide-brimmed hats.

What do you mean? he asked.

My heart sped. I’d never gotten this far. I scrambled through my purse for a picture taken of me on my sixteenth birthday, carried with me these seven years since. I passed him the picture, proof that my hair once shone like honey on toast, that my lips had sparkled like freshly washed strawberries, all on their own, without the aid of makeup. Now I have a closetful of cosmetics and spend hours each morning trying in vain to make my appearance less shocking.

This is you? he asked.

I braced myself for laughter, for horror, for embarrassment. Some reaction. But he just looked at me.

Petra by Brindley Hallam Dennis

Read by Sean Hebert

They say there are two black spots, right in the centre of our circle of vision, that we never see: where the optic nerves join the back of our eyeballs. We overlook them, don’t notice them, fill in the detail from what we can see all around.

When Steve told me that he and Jenny had parted I got straight into the car and drove over to see him. I could have phoned; I could have e-mailed; but I wanted to hear it from his own mouth. I wanted him tell me. I wanted to know what had gone wrong.

There was a For Sale sign on a post in the front garden. I said, you're selling the house. He said, yes, that's why there's a For Sale sign in the front garden.

I began to think maybe the e-mail or the phone call would have done as well. I said, where's Jen? He said, she's gone to stay with her mother, until things are sorted out. I wanted to ask what went wrong, but I wanted more for him to tell me without asking. What he didn't tell me was that he was planning to go away. The first I heard of that was about a fortnight later, when Jen called.

Steve's body had been found in Scotland.

A Kind of Mercy by Matthew Brolly

Read by Hin Leung

When the beast calls, one must follow.

It was cold before the snow, that I do remember. Mummy would snuggle us warm with knitted jumpers, frayed scarfs and mismatched woolly hats then send us to school. It was cold then but now; now there is no school.

When the beast calls one must follow.

We learnt this early on. What you must remember about the snow is that there was no prelude, no warning. One day there was the world, the next the snow.

It started like any snowfall does, miniscule flakes littering the ground. Mummy said, ‘see how they drift like tiny ghosts?’

‘Friendly ghosts,’ I asked.

‘Of course.’

A week later and the ghosts were still falling. Six months later and the world was a vast, white snowscape. There were over a hundred of us then, a small compact community working together in relative harmony. The snow was a hindrance but manageable.

God Hates Alcoholics by John Robertson

Read by Michael Rogers

My campaign to rid Hong Kong's streets of drunks was inspired by Pastor Fred Phelps. Phelps, you may know, is the man behind the Westboro Baptist Church's infamous “God Hates Fags” campaign in the US. Aided by members of the church as well as those of his large family, he's made a name for himself over the last two decades by leading anti-gay protests across the nation. He and his followers obsessively show up at any event that they deem to be linked to homosexuals and picket it with signs bearing slogans such as “No Tears for Queers”, “Turn or Burn”, and, most frequently, “God Hates Fags.” Their self-described mission is to alert everybody to the evils of homosexuality as laid out in the Bible and “spread God's hate.”

After reading about the Westboro Baptist Church's activities, I decided to start a similar campaign directed at an issue closer to my own heart. You see, I was an alcoholic in my younger years, before finally being born again and swearing off booze at the age of 35. Since then, I've come to hate the sight and smell of alcohol anywhere. But more than that, I hate the sight of drunks. For a long time I couldn't enter the streets of Lan Kwai Fong or Wan Chai without wanting to vomit. On any given visit there, I'd have the rare distinction of being the most sober as well as the most puke-prone person around.

The Ties That Bind by Liam Hogan

Read by Dan Levia

Every morning, Margaret – Maggie – Henderson, would stand in the hallway of their apartment, knot her husband's tie, and send him out into the Wicked World of Advertising. Every evening, she would cheerfully greet him home with a hug and a kiss and a careful inspection of the tie for any tell-tale signs it had been removed or loosened.

Maggie had made it quite clear the day she consented to be Alfred's wife that she did not trust him - or indeed, any man - to be faithful. That she consented nevertheless was in large part due to the promise she made that day, and the glimpse of fear in Alfred's eyes when she solemnly told him of that promise.

Alfred's colleagues would tease him and his refusal to remove his tie, whenever they managed to cajole him down to one of the many local pubs and bars for an after-work drink. “Who wears the trousers?” they'd ask, but it was a question he was in entirely no doubt as to the answer of. He would calmly put up with their ribbing, and they would look for loopholes in his domestic arrangements. This was not with the intention of convincing Alfred to be unfaithful, but merely the sort of good humoured banter that any group of men might engage in over a few pints. They would suggest he really ought to be able to tie his own ties. He'd say he could, but he couldn't tie the ties his wife could tie. She knew, apparently, 85 distinct knots, whereas he knew a mere two – the Half-Windsor and the Schoolboy. And his wife was very careful never to use those.

Faith by Lizzy Harries

Read by Sin Gwamanda

Faith was not an ordinary child, for she did not possess that fearlessness inextricably linked to childhood. Faith was afraid and fear pursued her like a dark cloud.

Faith was not an ordinary child. A calm, if colic baby. But colic turned to melancholia. Calm became concerned. Her disconsolate eyes and downturned mouth betrayed the weight of apprehension on her slight, sloping shoulders.

It became manifest that Faith’s quirks were compulsions, her habits obsessions. I met Faith when she was four. A curious patient, erroneous and anxious.

She feared the sun and on the brightly lit days of her childhood would go outside only if forced and only when shrouded in duffel coat and balaclava and clutching an umbrella. This was how she was clothed upon entering my office on the hottest day of the year. That morning she had left the house with her mother. Reaching the front gate, she had turned and walked back to the door, carefully trying the handle, first with one hand, then with the other, as she did every time she went out.

Faith came in and hovered by the door, clasping the handle with alternating, nervous hands. She edged her way around the square of light cast onto the floor through the window to settle on the green beanbag in the corner, away from the wide reaches of the sunshine. Faith was frightened.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Pain & Pleasure - chosen stories

Lineup below! We've got 8 thrilling stories for you on October 28 - venue has now been confirmed as XXX Gallery. 8pm start time. Don't be late - there are only 40 chairs this time (of course, you're welcome to bring your own too, it's all the rage with OAPs).

Costumes not mandatory (but appreciated).

A Thursday by Erika Ainslie
Afterwards by Vishal Nanda
Painhood by John Robertson
Inverto-emo-intergaugearia by Daniel Bird
Payment by Alison Willis
Splosh! by Paul Blaney 
The Effects of Late Winter Morning by Melissa Bertolino

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Gay & Straight - chosen stories

Gay & Straight

Blackwork and Flash by Marshall Moore
Gemini by Jacqueline Leung
Honey-Hued Eyes by Zarina Zabrisky
Reputations by Liam Hogan
The Other Half by Lizzy Harries
Underground by C.T. Kingston
What I love About by E. P. Henderson

The event will take place on Monday 9th September - NOT the last Monday of this month (special occasion!) - at The Fringe Club Dairy, and we'll start at 8pm again.

We're tied to Story Worthy Week festival and Pink Season for this event, so we're sure to be packed to the rafters.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Faith & Fear - chosen stories

Chosen Stories for Faith & Fear woohoo!

God Hates Alcoholics by John Robertson
A Kind of Mercy by Matt Brolly
The Curse by Maria Hummer
Faith by Lizzie Harris
Keeping Faith by Jacqueline Leung
The Ties That Bind by Liam Hogan
Petra by Brindley Hallam Dennis

The event will take place on Monday 26th August at McSorleys (Soho) and we'll be joined by brilliant pianist Sophia Yan. We kick off at 8pm; arrive early to secure seats.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Bonerland by John Biggs

Read by Daniel Levia

It wasn’t my first erection, but none of the others made big, strong, manly ideas sprout in my brain like this one. Trailers from the HBO adult channel I’m not supposed to watch. Close ups, still shots, three-D images, starring fourth-grade girls with high school breasts—names and faces optional.

It all seemed pretty weird, but I didn’t care, because suddenly I was faster than a speeding bullet, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound and owned a body that was way to cool to keep under wraps. For the first time in my life, I could stand naked in the shower room of the Public Swimming Pool and look people in the eye.

Scimitar and Cane by Paul Comrie

Read by Alexandra Jacobs

Cane paid for his perfume. He’d never done that before. The tight-bodied bitch who ran the counter had eyed him considerably while he perused her store.

‘I wondered why I was getting such good service,’ his mother said, out on the Grand Boulevard de Montesquieu. ‘But now I see. It certainly wasn’t my business she was after.’

But Cane daydreamed he’d take this perfume back to the French girl and stand there over the counter. He’d pretend it wasn’t quite right. She’d look askance once. Making pretence for her elbow, he’d reach out. Would she wince?

The Prince of Poland visits the Pieta by Grace Andreacchi

Read by Hin Leung

Concerto con molti strumenti suonati dalle figlie del pio Ospitale della Pietà, avanti sua Altezza Reale, Serenissimo Federico Giovanni Nepomuceno Principe Reale di Polonia et Elettore di Sassonia

The first time I saw Venice, I was only a lad of eighteen. Rumours had reached them of my great love for music, so they took me to hear the famous figlie della Pietà. Although such a visit generally is but a small part of the general obligation for noble visitors, they had prepared a most special concert in my honour. I had heard much of the girls’ accomplishments, still nothing could have prepared me for the astonishing beauty of that moment. I remember it still…

Friday, 19 July 2013

Brotherhood of the Blue Balls by Sam Carter

Read by Sean Hebert

It was Mick’s idea, first of all. Mick was kind of a doofus when it came to chicks, but kind of a genius when it came to everything else, and after he came up with the idea, the guys immediately knew it was a winner. It was such an incredibly simple and wonderful idea that it was actually amazing nobody had thought of it before. Apart from a few religious nuts, obviously.

You wanna know what the idea was? OK, prepare your mind to be blown – it was this: celibacy.

Warrior Princess by Michael Skansgaard

Read by Saffron Chan

There is one generalization with no exceptions, which is that all members of the Tang Dynasty court have something to lose. Even the gamblers who dropped their salaries into the keno lotteries. Even the apostate monks who misplaced their devotion to Confucius. Even the debauchees who left their reputations with the prostitutes. Even the eunuchs who forfeited their testicles at birth.

All Tangs have something to get rid of. Men have their lives and that’s why they become soldiers. Women have their virginities and that’s why we become concubines.

I was born with even more than that. As a baby, I was under the care of three nursemaids who bathed me three times daily and rinsed my hair in calamus perfume so that someday it would be fit to lie on a prince’s pillow. My cheeks were lathered with ambergris and powdered with ivory chalk from the horns of a rhinoceros. The only Tang with more to lose Emperor Xuanzong, my father, on whose beard I was once allowed to tug until I turned three years old and pulled too hard. To this day, he still wears his goatee in the same style—I know this because I peeked into his coffin and saw that while he had decomposed, his beard hadn’t.

Chastity by Richard Meredith

Performed by Alex Milner

The first time I met Chastity I was drinking a whisky-soda that was light on the whisky and heavy on the wallet, and she was hanging upside-down with her nipples a foot from my face.

This was at the Kosy Kitten in Soho, a place just expensive enough that most of the strippers could pass for 25 under blacklight and didn’t sport too many scars – Caesarean or otherwise. I suppose you could say it was love at first sight, for me at least; for her it was all in a day’s work. I doubt she saw much of my face, or made much of what she saw: not only was I wrong way round, but she was shortsighted and preferred to dance blind.

She didn’t tell me that until much later; I don’t think she ever told her manager. She’d do her makeup in the dressing room, then deliberately and carefully remove her contact lenses before striding out onto the tiny mirrored stage to wind and grind and sling her stuff around that pole.

Stamping her Perspex heels so her little buttocks shook in time with her tits, swaying and swinging to some cock-rock anthem a WWF star might use for his theme tune, shimmying and sliding, flashing her UV-white teeth and tossing her nightblack hair, she looked like the Goddess of Fucking Everything.


All the Way by Daniel Bird

Read by Ann-Marie Taaffe

It was the third date. The second Chardonnay. The first time Kevin knew he would get Katie between the sheets. He had guided the conversation through a series of topics with a strong connection to her flat: photos, home movies, interior design and cleanliness. He was pleased with his strategy. It was a sure thing now and he was excited. He thought that he might burst. When she left to powder her nose he quickly settled the bill without even glancing at the total. His eyes were fixed on the restaurant door.

When she returned she stroked his wrist, forcing his voice to come out like a prepubescent squeak,

“Coffee?” he asked, swallowing, “I know a place that does - ”

She held her finger to his lips.

“I have great coffee at my place.”

Our Lady of Guadeloupe by Evan Pheiffer

Read by Warner Sallman

I was never much of a romantic type. Or very good-looking, for that matter. In fact, I suppose I was probably something of bore – too concerned with Ouija boards and plate tectonics to care about girls. Just kidding – I wasn’t that smart. The only reason I made the chess team is because I caught the captain jerking off in the locker room and told him I’d squeal if he didn’t let me come to Springfield for the State Finals.

After high school I enrolled in a community college on the outskirts of town. I was madly in love with Roxanne and, despite my initial timidity, had forsaken a “career” in the army to follow her to school. (The boys in green at the outlet mall had tried to recruit me on several occasions). The important thing is that I was trying. What’s that line about blindly attempting something over and over again? The object of my heart’s desire had to be getting closer, one failure at a time.

A Good Hard Shopping by Keon Woong Lee

Read by Keon Woong Lee

Sale. Big Sale. Warehouse sale. Buy one get one free. 70 percent off. These words, printed in big, bold red, electrify the skin and send the endorphins racing. Your fingers twitch and your feet inch closer. This is the sign you’ve been waiting for. The words you’ve been wanting to read as you pass by all the other gleaming, shiny stores that strut out its wares.

You’ve strolled in there many times before. Don’t lie. You’ve watched. Sometimes from afar. Sometimes you’ve even wandered in. You’ve touched their goods. Run your hands over the material, massaging it, making sure it’s real. Genuine leather. Genuine ITALIAN leather. You’ve wanted to take it home, let the material rub against your body and let everybody know, yes, I OWN this. It’s all over me. It’s mine.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Lust & Chastity - recap

Thanks to everyone who came out to The Fringe Club on Monday! 'Twas a roaring success. Special thanks to Matt, Dan, Sean, Marshall, Marysia, Shirley and Joe - and of course, all the Liars.

Keon Lee reading 'A Good Hard Shopping' Keon Lee!

Ann-Marie Taaffe reading 'All the Way' by Daniel Bird

Alexandra Jacobs reading 'Scimitar and Cane' by Paul Comrie

Saffron Chan reading 'Warrior Princess' by Michael Skansgard

Alex Milner reading 'Chastity' by Richard Meredith

Sean Hebert reading 'Brotherhood of the Blue Balls' by Sam Carter

Warner Sallman reading 'Our Lady of Guadelupe' by Evan Pheiffer

Hin Leung reading 'The Prince of Poland visits the Pieta' by  Grace Andreacchi

Daniel Jade Levia reading 'Bonerland' by John Biggs

That Sinking Feeling by Esther Cleverly

Read by Ann-Marie Taaffe

There it is. Like a monster, like a disease, like rubbish lying uncollected on the streets after a humanitarian disaster, like toxic flotsam tossed onto a polluted shore. Like the bizarre and poignant aftermath of an aircrash in which hundreds died but the crockery was saved. There it sits, haphazardly stacked and waiting, mugs at crazy angles, plates toppled into pans. Demanding to be dealt with. Smugly assuming that he’ll be the one to do it.

But if he doesn’t, who will? Stan sighs, curses himself, and puts on his apron.

Tell Me About the Girl by Mark Heywood

Read by Michael Rogers

She places the tray on the table in front of him and scratches the back of her hand. He looks at her, smiles and thinks about saying something as she empties the ashtray and replaces the dirty mugs with full ones. As she runs a dingy cloth over the tea-stained surface he sits with his hands on his thighs trying to avoid touching the dried-up wads of chewing gum stuck to the underside of the table. She drops the cloth and he leans over and picks it up with both hands. He notices her wedding ring as he sits up. He smiles again and gives her the cloth. As he does so his bracelet rattles against the table. She nods and picks up the tray. He checks that his trousers haven’t ridden down. He doesn't wear a belt.

The door opens and Harry Lee enters the room. He walks over to the table and sits down opposite him.

“Sorry about that,” says Harry shoving his phone in his inside pocket. Harry takes a sip from the chipped mug. “You were telling me about the girl.”

Wish Fish by Alison Willis

Read by Matt Fleming

I had a magic fish when I was seven. I won him at a fairground. I heard Mum muttering about how they always went belly-up the minute you got them home and Dad saying that’d be a mercy, and it would only be for a few days. I assumed belly-up was some sort of swimming trick, like belly flops for humans.

At home Mum found a big glass vase and I put my fish in it, along with some pebbles and a Lego castle. I called him Wish Fish because the man at the hoopla-stall had said he granted wishes. The fish-flakes Dad bought smelled grim but they were pretty colours, like confetti.

On the first night I watched him for ages waiting for magic, but he just swam around mouthing madly like fish do. But as I turned away in disappointment, a waggling fin beckoned and I laid my ear against the cool surface of the vase.

“All right?” said Wish Fish. His voice was deep and rumbly through the glass, with a London accent. I remember the stall-man said the fish came from Crystal Palace. I thought of a glass mansion full of flickering fins. “You decided on your wishes yet?” he asked, in a bored sort of way. 

My eyes bugged. “So it’s true?”

What Fell Beneath the Tracks by Kawika Guillermo

Read by Brad Powers

A man with flaccid limbs drifts by me at the Varanasi train station. Except for a beard covering half his torso he is completely nude, and just as I see his swaying comportment crossing my path, he plummets into the railroad tracks, tumbling into the heavy iron rails the way one might fall onto a softly pillowed couch after a long, exhausting day.

On the train to Kolkata I can think of little else. The fall, his fall, a fall. It seems he was…drunk? Poor? Desperate? Really really old? Perhaps religious? Was the man's loosely-worn dhoti simply yanked off by the elements? I am so troubled that when Avisha's bag is stolen in the middle of the night and I am charging through each compartment of sleeping bodies searching for the stolen passport and credit cards, and when the Kalkota police with Rajastani mustaches and thick eyebrows finally arrive holding Uzis and AK-47s, and when we are left sitting in the station in Kolkata wondering if we are ever getting home, and even when, hours later, hotel owners start throwing our luggage into the floods of the monsoon, refusing to let us in without Avisha's passport and then we have to trudge for hours through a street flood that has risen to my waistline and our tears never show through the pouring rain—during all of that, I am still in that Varanasi train station with the heat slapping me down, still watching that nude man plummet into the train tracks.

Hotel California by Reno Ong

Read by Warner Sallman

The victim missed the pool by a couple of feet – just enough to put the word suicide in doubt. An obese Vitruvian Man, sprawled across the gray concrete in all his pale magnificence. Was he meaning to meet his maker the way he came into the world – perhaps not with his tighty-whities on, but almost as bloody? Maybe he was just looking for a midnight dip. Maybe he just missed. He probably wasn’t that great at the jumping. God knows, with that figure, he wasn’t exactly the stuff of Olympic dreams. Shame, with the right regimen and dye of hair – crimson really did suit him – he might’ve passed for someone’s Prince Charming someday.

The police were there, or as there as they could ever be. They seemed to be settling in all right with their dime-store coffees and equatorial waistlines. They’d given up, but then again they didn’t seem like they were trying to begin with. “A jumper, Jimmy,” the black one with the paedophile mustache offered. “All there is to it.”

“John Doe?” I asked, trying to add something to tomorrow’s paper other than “fat man jumps to his death.” He nodded.

Big Fish by Liam Hogan

Read by Daniel Jade Levia

I don’t mind people who don’t walk on escalators. Really I don’t. I don’t understand them, but I don’t mind – just as long as they leave me enough room to go past.

At school they called me the BF – the Big Fish. I took it as a compliment, and an accurate assessment of the aspirations of the private school my middle class parents struggled to send me to. A Big Fish swimming in a small pond. They, I’m sure, meant it as an insult – that I wasn’t all that, that I was only remarkable compared to them, and that in the wider world I would struggle to make an impact. I pitied them, and their attempts to belittle me by pointing out what inadequate competition they were.

The pushchairs are bad. Oversized suitcases on the way to or from the airport are worse, there’s no getting round those, but the most annoying of all are the cretins who have absolutely no goddamn reason to block my path. The couples standing side by side, the tourists oblivious to the unwritten rules of escalator etiquette, the women with handbags the size of microwave ovens sticking out at 45 degrees to their fat arses.

I’ve always been in a hurry, always on the move, always had my eyes on the prize. I don’t usually take vacations – too many opportunities lost - but when I do I’m always looking for an activity holiday - climbing, or diving, or even skiing. No sitting on a beach going lobster red for me, no guided tours, the pace dictated by the slowest in the group. The only time I’m truly at rest is when I’m asleep - and I begrudge every wasted  moment of it.


Monday, 10 June 2013

Technical Drowning by Maria Kyle

Read by Sin Gwamanda

Everybody in this world provides a service of some kind. That much is self-evident. And service provision is a simple matter of supply and demand: the rarer something is, the more you pay for it, and vice-versa. It’s the same with shrinks. Maybe I shouldn’t be saying this, and maybe it’s an open secret, but it’s been obvious to me for a while that though only a few people really need us, damn near everybody above a certain wage bracket feels like they ought to have one. They want a psychiatrist on call, on tap, on speed-dial, on their Christmas-card list, on their health insurance – just on, basically. Available in case of emergencies. There to soothe the worries away, to siphon off the bile so they don’t get caught bitching to their colleague or have a panic attack in a board meeting and wave bye-bye to promotion. They want a welcoming voice, a forgiving heart, a listening ear; someone who will never reject them.

As a shrink, I’m in demand, and believe me I charge a lot, because I’m the only one of me. The only one who can - who will - do what I do. Unconventional? Sure. Unprofessional? I’ll see you in court. But effective? Oh yes …

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Message in a Bottle by C.T. Kingston

Read by Matt Fleming

First off, I just want to say sorry. If you’re out there listening, Jen, I just want you to know, I shouldn't have done it. But at the time, you can see, you can understand why, can't you? I know everybosy says this, but I did it for us: I really did. And if you're heading for the door right now, please, just stop, wait half-a-minute, turn around baby, listen. Please.

Plenty of people write autobiographical fiction; it's a thing, right? It's so common it's more than respectable: Tobias Wolff, John Updike, Philip Roth, Sheila Heti ... I won't mention James Frey if you don't. And it's not like I was out of ideas. Short stories, so many stories, I mean they just poured out, right? Even got published, some of them. But Deborah was adamant, that way she is.

"I gotta see a novel, Robert ... you wanna make it in this business, right? You wanna give up the day job?"

The Other Mother by Ysabelle Cheung

Read by Sin Gwamanda

They come in droves, buzzing in the humid air like hot flies. They are nubile young things, their bodies voluptuous in brown globes of fat. They smell of the Philippines; salty and lean. They do not speak.

These Filipino maids, the bun mui as we call them, have no engagement with the Western language. The creativity of their vocabulary lays in the repetitive ‘no m’am’ and ‘yes ma’am’ or else, a mute, dazed shake of the head. They are afraid.

During the day they congregate in their employees' kitchens, whispering and chopping scallions till their fingers run raw. Radio crackle mingles with steam: they are only allowed to listen during the preparation of supper between six and seven pm. Sometimes they sing along with the program whilst they sauté, slice and fry our dinners. They have thin, pretty voices; their singing represents a kind of short-lived happiness. Only for an hour a day.

Blue Lovers by Huang Haisu

Read by Hin Leung

Phoenix couldn’t figure out why Jake refused to eat her hometown stinky tofu. After all, she had gone out of her way to try his moldy, milky and chunky blue cheese.

“They from one house,” Phoenix put it into their fridge, “All smelly, all blue.”

Jake said NO again in the living room and insisted she take it out. “It’ll stink up everything.”

“Then where I put?” Phoenix said and rested the tofu inside, making sure Jake heard the fridge door shut.

A year ago, Jake had proposed to Phoenix on her twenty-fifth birthday with a two karat diamond ring from Chow Tai Fook, the best jewelry shop in Pulandian, a town on the outskirts of Dalian. All her “sisters” including the lady owner of the Happy Feet massage parlor turned green with envy yet were suspicious. Why would Jake, a fat and limp foreign man ask a young Chinese massage girl twenty years younger to marry him? And, why would she agree to marry a guy like him?

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Lust & Chastity - confirmed stories

Another month, another event!

We just confirmed the lineup for Lust & Chastity.

The following NINE stories (yes, we threw an extra one in there just for you) are...

A Good Hard Shopping by Keon Woong Lee (LLHK actor!)
Warrior Princess by Michael Skansgaard
The Prince of Poland Visits the Pieta by Grace Andreacchi
Chastity by Richard Meredith
Bonerland by John Biggs
All the Way by Daniel Bird
Scimitar and Cane by Paul Comrie
Brotherhood of the Blue Balls by Sam Carter
Our Lady of Guadeloupe by Evan Pheiffer

The event till take place on June 24th. Stay tuned for venue and other details!

How I Met Your Mother by Evan Pheiffer

Read by Keon Woong Lee

I think I winked when I first saw her, though I could be wrong. Perhaps I burped. I remember drinking a black cherry soda; the moment she emerged from the around the corner I nearly choked on the carbonation. She was the most delightful thing I’d ever seen.

It was early summer and I’d just failed my exams. Father didn’t want me running around the capital in my usual drunken stupor, so he sent me to America to conduct ‘research’ in the ‘field’. It was 1990 and the Party was still zealously keeping tabs on any Tiananmen scum who’d fled to the West. I was to track them down, befriend them, infiltrate their networks and find out what kind of support they were getting from those bastards in Washington. Since many of them were now teaching in provincial universities, I’d be stuck in the cornfields all summer. But that was before I’d seen her...

Handover (an extract) by Paul Blaney

Read by Brad Powers

In Macau he found a hotel on the beach. The first room they showed him had no windows but from the second, on the sixth floor, you could just see the sea. He paid in cash from the envelope Elaine had given him and went straight back out. It was already dark when the taxi dropped him in the centre of town. He set off on foot with a mind to buying some clean clothes—Bossini or Giordano—but his feet took him elsewhere, away from shopping, along cobbled streets that wound and narrowed and pulled old churches from their sleeves until he was properly lost. Turning down a street of electrical shops, he was startled by a mournful blare that issued from each—bagpipes!

There was a barber’s shop. He went in and sat down and had a shave. He’d walked far enough. What he needed now was drink. There was a bar on the corner, dimly lit, with loud music. It was full of people, Europeans and Chinese, holding glasses and smiling. He sat at a table drinking whisky and everything around him was nicely dislocated. Shining faces, blank eyes. He was getting towards the place where he wanted to be, both here and not here.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Wanderlust by Zarina Zabrisky

Read by Lara Genovese

I need help. I suffer horribly. I torture my family, I’m desperate.

I’m dying although I’m perfectly healthy. I never have colds, and my dentist cries like a baby when he sees my flawless teeth. I have the resting heart rate of Martina Navratilova and my abdominals were featured on the cover of Shape magazine. I do a hundred squats and sixty dead lifts every morning. I eat organic, but Wanderlust is eating me from inside like cancer.

Let me give you a little background. Travel is in my blood. When you think about it, it all started when one restless couple was exiled from an exotic tropical resort called Eden to a correctional facility called Earth. Their even more restless offspring kept marching between Egypt and Palestine in a rather confusing manner. Apparently, that wasn’t a long enough trip so next generations moved to Europe, where they were periodically chased from one country to another. Eventually, the most impractical group settled in Russia, a swampy place with disgusting climate and unstable social situation. I was conceived on the Trans-Siberian express, and was born in a desolate town called Vyborg while my mother was cross-country skiing.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Charades by Chance McLaren

Read by Saffron Chan

That time of year again. Ma fusses, dancing around the topic, but always landing on it, flat-footed, while aunties, uncles, the cousins, and now a little niece and nephew wait for my reaction. Ba doesn’t say a word, but you know what he’s thinking. Isn’t it about time? Thirty-one, and no one serious? He looks at his watch and up at the clock as if to confirm his suspicions that his only child is past her sell-by date.

This time I’ll show them. Can’t wait to see their eyes pop, their jaws drop when Wang Fei drives up in the posh rented Mercedes. I told him to wear a suit, look the part, please—successful Hong Kong banker, ya know?

Last year’s date--were we more than that?—had been a disaster like the year before when I came alone, empty-handed. Sure, the guy was cute, and the aunties cooed over his blond crew cut, his broad shoulders, the deep-set eyes. They didn’t seem to mind that he taught math (“Ah, education, that’s good!”), but he was one of them after all. It’s okay for us to explain how to make dumplings, to exchange “Ni hao’s”, and to smile a lot. It’s something else to be a future son-in-law.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Departures by Liam Hogan

Read by Alex Milner

Two men meet in an airport departure lounge. One, travelling West, wears a white shirt and a dark charcoal suit, and even in the airport thinks he represents his company, as he has not even loosened his thin, neutrally coloured tie.

The other wears loose fitting trousers and a pair of shoes that would be turned away at most night clubs. He carries a canvas backpack that looks like it has been round the world a few times.

It has.

There is little reason for the two of them to converse, except that the lounge is otherwise empty. It is between planes – the man in the suit arrived an hour earlier than he needed to, worried about missing his flight, but now that he has navigated check-in, now he has passed security, he is calm. The man with the canvas bag cut his departure customarily fine, and – the airline having over-booked – has waived his seat in return for an upgrade on a later flight. And yet his eyes dart around the room, with the look of a man who is ... well, what? Hunted? Or haunted?

Saturday, 4 May 2013

East & West recap

Thanks to everyone who came out earlier this week for a fantastic night of tales, tapas and tunes!

We had our biggest crowd yet on Monday; our Liars spotted literary agents, publishers, writers, bankers and musicians among others in the crowd. One very special guest flew all the way in from San Francisco for this particular night - Zarina Zabrisky, the author of 'Wanderlust', lives up to her story!

Thanks to Shirley Sheung for the photographs and Joe Angelakis for the videos (which shall be up soon).

Alex Milner reading 'Departures' by Liam Hogan

Saffron Chan reading 'Charades' by Chance McLaren

Friday, 5 April 2013

East & West - April 29th

Our East & West event will be held on April 29th! Here are the stories:

Blue Lovers by Huang Haisu

Charades by Chance McLaren

Departures by Liam Hogan

Wanderlust by Zarina Zabrisky

How I Met Your Mother by Evan Pheiffer

Handover by Paul Blaney (an extract from the novella)

Message in a Bottle by Cat Kingston

The Other Mother by Ysabelle Cheung

We also have fantastically talented musical guest Francesco Teopini joining us. 

It will be held at Les Boules. We kick off at 8pm. See you there!

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Apple Kiss by Helen Dring

Read by Sin Gwamanda

I saw her first in the mirror. The same old mirror my mother gave me as a child to count the hundred brush strokes of my hair. She was washing, her skin ivory against the sun, her spine a perfect score down her back as she bent to rub soap in to her knees. A dirty kneed girl. A thrill in the watery glass.

You are beautiful, my love. He crept behind me, sneaked his arms around my waist and kissed the curve of my neck. I tilted with him, holding the mirror above my head, craning to see.

Who's in the bathroom? I asked.

He was not my husband, then. Just a man I spent too much time with, a man who had brought me to his home and let me settle in. I had not known he had a daughter. He was afraid, he said, of the word widower and stepmother, of making me a fable. Later, I stroked his hair and told him I did not mind his daughter, or being a fairy tale. 

The Maiden who Outsmarted the Tzar, translated by Jelena Curcic

Read by Harry Oram

Once upon a time there lived a poor man in a cave. He had nothing save an only daughter, who was very wise and who went everywhere to earn a living for them with her words. She also taught her father how to speak well when asking for charity. One day, the poor man went to the Tzar's palace to ask for charity. Hearing him speak, the Tzar enquired where the man was from and where he had learnt to speak so well. The man told him where he was from and that it was his daughter who taught him wise words.

"And who taught your daughter?" the Tzar asked.

"God himself taught her, and our poverty," the man replied.

The Tzar then gave the man thirty eggs and said:

"Take this to your daughter and tell her to have the chicks hatched from these eggs; I shall reward
her handsomely for it. Should she fail to complete this task, however, you shall be faced with a
great ordeal."

Passiflora's Suspension by Hanne Larsson

Read by Saffron Chan

Dear Maleficent,

I hope this letter finds you busy with work. What a peaceful and tidy place your tower must be compared to the explosion of pizza boxes and ice cream tubs that has become my cottage. I felt obliged as your friend to write to you before you heard any of the rumours linking you to evil-doings and pranks.

As I previously mentioned, I've been keeping my eye on this blonde slip of a girl living in dismal conditions in her stepmother's house as an opportunity for new business. One morning,the mice in the kitchen helpfully told me that her stepmother had forbidden her to attend the ball held in honour of all the land's noble ladies. I grabbed my chance, knowing that there is much to be said for making an entrance. Her mouth gaping open and a single tear falling as I materialised in front of her, sparkles and all, told me I'd succeeded.

In time-honoured fashion, I promised she would be allowed to go to the ball, as long as she left before midnight. Dearest Mally, my heart did a little somersault when she nodded, and I gave her a list of items that would need to be ready the evening of the ball.

Lie Detector by Sam Carter

Read by Michael Charles Rogers

Kara. Kara, is it? I know it is. Maybe it’s your real name, maybe it’s not, but it’s the one your colleague gave us, so we’ll stay with it, shall we?

I’m not here to make you talk, Kara. I’m here to make you see it’s better to talk now. You don’t want to be made to talk, Kara, not by us. Not by my colleagues through there. They know what they’re doing, Kara. They’re professionals. Expert. Enthusiastic. Expensive. So am I, of course, but my job’s rather less unpleasant.

Did you know, Kara, research shows women do my job better than men? A man in your position, especially from a patriarchal culture, he'll put up a lot of initial resistance, but he’ll talk to a woman more quickly: the natural inclination to see them as nurturing figures, mother, wife, sister, meets the urge to confess, and … well, we don’t like to use the term break. But they always confide, eventually. Women are harder to crack, you’ll be interested to know, Kara, but they prefer to talk to women, too. It's a comfort thing. I’m a neo-Freudian: it all comes down to our mothers in the end. Trouble is, it’s not easy to find a woman willing to do this sort of work. So you’re stuck with me, I’m afraid. 

There Goes the Fear by Ysabelle Cheung

Read by Ann-Marie Taaffe

As it turns out, the Men aren’t afraid of us anymore. Mischa swam up to the surface last week, hoping to tear off the white fat of a shoulder or knee ligament for the water babies, but the Men were prepared: they used the grey butts of their weapons to blind her and then dragged her onto their boat. They tortured her and shot her three times in the mouth and then dumped her body on the rocks. As a warning to the rest of us.

Our seaguards brought her back to the deep from the breakwaters where her fins had shredded to tissue on the rocks. Her lavender hair was sticky over her beautiful aquiline nose, which was broken in three places. This was the first time in our ten thousand year history that a mermaid had been murdered by Man.

The body went straight to the necropsy department. My friend Lexi got the call as she was picking anemone for surgical gauze. As a trainee she had only dealt with de-finned sharks and choked dolphins and fish necklaced with plastic rings. She asked me to go with her. Neither of us had seen a dead mermaid before. 

Fairy Tail by Liam Hogan

Read by Lara Genovese

“What do you think?” Lucy said expectantly.

I resettled the glasses on the bridge of my nose. “Well... I love the dress, and ... and the wings are great.”

She pouted, as only a seven year old can pout. “But?”

“But ... I’m not sure about the tail.”

She gave a quick glance behind her at the fluffy cat’s tail velcro’d to her tutu, and then crossed her arms. “What’s wrong with the tail?”

I trod carefully. I’d been warned to do so. “I don’t think fairies have tails.” 

The Third Son by E. P. Henderson

Read by Sean Hebert

The story begins with a prince.

There’s a prince because there’s always a prince. Besides, princes were commoner than raindrops in the old days, when every tiny fiefdom and dukedom and earldom and principality had its own set of squabbling royals, and the neighbouring province usually started over the brow of the next hill.

So. Our prince. Let’s call him Tertius: it’s descriptive, at least, for he’s the third of three brothers. Tertius is in the somewhat redundant position of being neither heir nor spare, but something else, something not of his own choosing. Of the three, he is the adventurer, our youngest princeling, for in the cruel and crude light of practicality, he is the son most dispensable, the least likely to be missed. (The king his father is perfectly benevolent, but not particularly observant).

If this is a fairy tale (and who’s to say it’s not?) it follows that where there’s a prince, there’s also a princess. And if she doesn’t start out as one, but as a beggar-maid or a neglected slavey, she’ll end up one by the end: would-be Cinderellas take note. A princess is essential. As is a quest. 

Fairytales and Nightmares by Richard Meredith

Read by Alex Milner

It starts with me running.

It's dark, of course; it's always dark, and the black buildings loom either side of me, slick with dirty rain. It's wet but the air has a tropical humidity, making sweat spring out all over me as I pound down the street. The surface is shiny and slippery like patent leather, my feet slide, I’m falling to my hands and knees, struggling and scrabbling as what's behind me gets closer and closer –

Other people's dreams. They’re so boring, aren't they? Same with other people's nightmares. Problem is, they’re all about mood and atmosphere. Trying to make people understand why they scare you is the hardest thing in the world. Nightmares make kids of all of us, desperately explaining to our sympathetic, uncomprehending parents that there really are monsters under the bed. Nightlights and cuddles just send them into hiding for a while. They always come back.

Sometimes the place I’m running through is an old European town, sometimes a dark, ancient forest. Sometimes I’m being chased, sometimes I’m chasing something precious I’ve lost. It makes no difference: I’m always terrified. Still, rather me than Sally: us grown-ups know better than to let people know when we're shit-scared.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Fairytales & Nightmares - recap

Once upon a time...

There was a Liar. And the time we shall talk about is Monday 25th March. This Liar marched up to Les Boules armed with the Book of Lies, a bunch of posters and chalkboard pens.

With a little bit of help from her friends, the Liar transformed Les Boules from a cute pétanque alley into a theatrical den of mystery and intrigue, ready to accommodate the Liars of Hong Kong and all their debauchery. They didn't even need wands and squidgy little forest creatures to speed up the process.

Presently all the other Liars arrived, mostly on time, despite the torrential rain and howling wind wreaking havoc outside. And then the night began. There were stories! Beers! Bag piping! More stories! And a very sweet after party.

And they all (sort of) lived happily ever after.

Alex Milner reading 'Fairytales & Nightmares' by Richard Meredith

Sean Hebert reading 'The Third Son' by E. P. Henderson

Lara Genovese reading 'Fairy Tail' by Liam Hogan

Ann-Marie Taafe reading 'There Goes the Fear' by Ysabelle Cheung

Bagpiper Christopher Lee

Michael Rogers reading 'Lie Detector' by Sam Carter

Saffron Chan reading 'Passiflora' by Hanne Larsson

Harry Oram reading 'The Maiden who Outsmarted the Tzar', a traditional
Serbian  fairytale translated by Jelena Curcic

Sin Gwamanda reading 'Apple Kiss' by Helen Dring

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Themes for 2013!

We have our themes lined up for the rest of the year. Take a gander...

(we're taking a break in July)

THEME: Faith & Fear
DEADLINE: Friday June 28

THEME: Gay & Straight
DEADLINE: Friday July 26

THEME: Pain & Pleasure
DEADLINE: Friday August 23

THEME: Friends & Enemies
DEADLINE: Friday September 20

THEME: Blessing & Curse
DEADLINE: Friday October 18

Get writing!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Fairytales & Nightmares - March 25th

What's that you say? Time for another event?

Indeed it is time.

Our second Liars' League HK night, themed 'Fairytales & Nightmares', will take place on March 25th at Les Boules, a cute little Pétanque bar (yes! In Hong Kong!) in Sai Ying Pun.

We kick off at 8pm again and have some new actresses under the spotlight, so be sure to come early and grab a seat. Again, it's all free - so there's no excuse not to come...

Monday, 4 March 2013

Fairytales & Nightmares - chosen stories!

Here are the 8 stories we've chosen for our March event - Fairytales & Nightmares:

Apple Kiss by Helen Dring
The Maiden Who Outsmarted the Tzar translated by Jelena Curcic, from the recently published 'Serbian Fairytales'
Lie Detector by Sam Carter
Fairy Tail by Liam Hogan
There Goes the Fear by Ysabelle Cheung
Passiflora by Hanne Larsson
Fairytales & Nightmares by Richard Meredith
The Third Son by E.P. Henderson

Thanks to Katy, Marshall, Marysia and Matt for their stellar judging skills!

We're already accepting submissions for our third event - 'East & West' - so please do submit again (and again and again) if you haven't been chosen this time round.

Happy lying!

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Jervis Street by Steve Dodds

Read by Alex Milner

It was the scent of lilies through a florist’s door that brought it all flooding back. Not much anyone can do to stop such a primal trigger.

I remembered how I’d almost slept with Heather in the first year. We were on the same course at uni and she quickly got a reputation when she gave every boy on her floor of the halls of residence crabs. She may not have looked like much, being short and squat with a broad face and her dark hair cut in an unfortunate fringe, but in the parlance of the day, Heather was obviously a goer. I hung around when everyone else treated her like a leper because I figured she’d soon get treatment for the infestation, then I’d be first in line.

When Heather did ask me around for dinner, we were second years and she’d moved into a house with Suzie and Lezzer.

Suzie and Lezzer were a couple of freaks. Suzie wilfully so. A pretty girl from money, she wore charity-chic clothes over tight black body stockings and laughed too loudly at nothing in particular.

Lezzer was just the inevitable nickname the class gave Leslie Wong. A tall, handsome boy with a pony tail and a motorbike, given to long, sulky silences and wearing women’s clothes. 

He Said, She Said, Descriptions of the Sky by E. P. Henderson

Read by Sean Hebert

Semi-Detached by Liam Hogan

Read by Keon Lee

Theirs was a semi-detached planet. She owned the Southern Hemisphere, and he, the North. Which suited him just fine, as he always did like to be on top.

They moved in at the same time, it being a new build, and relations were initially cordial. Better than cordial – they were warm, and rather than squabble over the single island in the single archipelago that the equator bisected, they decided to share it, and to once a year celebrate their co-ownership of this middle class commuter-belt planet by holding a combined party.

It was at one of these parties, attended by colleagues and friends and family, that relations momentarily peaked at a new high. A smile as he filled her champagne glass, a touch of a hand, a glance across the immaculate lawn under the softly setting sun... it is easy to see why, after they had waved their friends into the waiting teleporters, they lingered for a while as the stars slowly turned high above their heads, before calling in the drones to tidy away all evidence of their annual event – and of what had happened after it.

But whether it was because he neglected to phone her within the customary 12 hours, or for some more blatant transgression real or imagined, things quickly soured between them. And this was not a genie that could be put back in the bottle. There is no harsher insult than a cold shoulder from one you have been intimate with. Things.... escalated. 

Oysters by Brindley Hallam Dennis

Read by Ann-Marie Taaffe

Pearl was heavily built and short. People said she cast herself willingly before swine. She was the sort of woman who seemed to invite that titillating speculation about what it would feel like to press various parts of your anatomy against, or even into, various parts of hers.

She had a steady gaze which held you in contempt and seemed to say that if you got the old man out, even if he were standing strictly to attention, she would not be overly impressed. What titillated Jacobson was the thought that she would take it, nevertheless, in her stride, or in her hand, and deal with it efficiently, and without emotion, judging her pleasure, rather than surrendering to it. The thought of being used like that thrilled him to the core.

Rumour in the hotel was that Pearl, who was said to be living out her wild years late in life, following the eventual disintegration of a long standing but too early marriage, would offer relief, of various sorts, to any of the young waiters who were in need.

She can speak with her mouth full in five languages, the handyman said, with a grin.

Tempting Fate by Paul Blaney

Read by Harry Oram

Each morning this week, about half past ten, a woman has phoned and asked to speak to my wife.

I tell her my wife is at work. Would she care to leave a message? But she never would care, this woman who sounds like a different woman each morning. (Or does she disguise her voice?) ‘Just a courtesy call,’ she tells me as I’m setting the receiver back down in its cradle.

So this morning when she called I told her instead that my wife was dead.

It was the woman’s turn to put the phone down on me.

I rolled over in the bed and tried to go back to what I’d been doing, which was nothing much at all. Presently, however, it occurred to me that I’d better give my wife a call to make sure. Just to be on the safe side, as they say.

But then I corrected myself; that thought of mine was pure superstition. Only there it still was just the same. ‘You ought not to say that.’ A voice or the echo of a voice, the way voices sound in your head instead of in your ear. The voice, it now struck me, of my mother who is actually dead, of a stroke in her bathtub. I’m not sure I ever asked her why not, but I’m pretty sure I know what she’d have told me: ‘Tempting fate.’