To anyone’s eyes he was a beautiful boy, with his sensual mouth and luminous white smile. His dark brown eyes that glanced over her body with lazy, endless appetite. His body was sculpted from playing tennis, a sport he practised avidly in his own country, which he had described to her as a place with clear blue waters, tall palms and white sands. Most of all perhaps, it had been his fine form and aura of sound health that had lured her into his bed. Healthy body and healthy mind, she had thought, imagining his psyche to be something like the landscape he was born in, with nothing ruined or defiled there, everything natural, wide open and warm.
I was never afraid of ghosts because I didn't believe in them and then when I encountered one for real I was more curious than concerned. It was a bloody inconvenience but by upbringing I am disposed to being helpful where I can and the wanker from hell clearly needed a hand.
'I don't really remember anything about her body, even when I was inside it. That's probably my fault more than hers. What I mostly remember was her clothes, and how long it took to get them off; every garment she was wearing seemed to have some kind of devious secret mechanism embedded within it. Even the T-shirt. It was as if Topshop had commissioned a range designed by abstinence campaigners without either of us knowing. I kept dodging elbows and armpits, and the time it took to pull her tights over her hips and down made me feel like I was the nurse, undressing an elderly patient for one last cold check-up. She probably thought the same on my account. She spent so long fiddling with the buckle on my belt that I thought she was making a half-hearted attempt to tease me. It had never really occurred to me before that there's probably a reason most people put on and remove their own clothes.'
At the front of the plane, the curtain was drawn across the galley as the crew chatted comfortably in the small space. Or so the passengers thought. In fact, flight attendants Carl and Andrea were having quick, quiet and furious sex in the corner, oblivious of the other attendants at the back of the plane. Occasionally Andrea reached up to turn a lock, and open a microwave door, slamming it shut, so that passengers thought the flight attendants were busy working.
The main protagonist of Silman’s and Froelich’s novel, There’s A Bug Going Around, is the HIV virus. In a sort of social dance macabre, a cast of very different characters rely upon its presence and use it in different ways to advance their various ambitions and causes. We publish an extract from the book…
Occasionally one comes across some weird things in the email inbox. How both sides of this correspondence got into ours, I have no idea…
I don’t like my brother Danny. When we were children he always wanted to be the senior twin, the boss. He’d decide what games to play. He’d be the striker and I’d be in goals. But he is better than me in lots of ways. If we tangled he would put me down. But then as a dancer he trains a lot. And he is clever with words. He writes ad copy for alternative medicines and press releases for a wee publishing house he runs on the side, turning out nonsense books on knowing yourself and keeping your bowels regular.
Gradually the sounds of the hillside communities around them began to filter through the quiet in the house – dogs barking; goats bleating, and far away, a sudden burst of gunfire. As she strained to listen, the call to prayer blared into life at the nearby mosque, making her jump. The chant, its beauty distorted by the badly amplified speakers, filled the night, obliterating the other sounds, until, one by one, it was joined by similar broadcasts from every mosque across the mountainside - and the rest of the city - and the prayer descended into cacophony.
When she turned around on the Rue Montmartre, when you kissed and held each other and ran off into the night and vowed you would never leave. Ten years later you realise that that is what this is all about: the friend’s apartment in Paris, the cocktails and the dancing, the whole trip designed to recapture that perfect moment from a decade ago. It reminds you of Sartre, of Antoine Roquentin and Anny failing to live up to their own expectations in Tangier
When I had first discovered she was having sex with someone else I felt nothing. I had unexpectedly come home for my lunch break and heard them fucking on the kitchen table. Her eyes closed, dress ruched up and legs wide apart with her small bare feet shaking as he thrust, her mouth was open and getting wider with each cry.