Saturday 26 November 2016

Brown: a short love story

Lisa Williams 

a cup of tea

We met online. It probably doesn't need saying but I'm old fashioned I suppose.

It was good. Time to get to know each other. All the common ground we shared. Conversation buzzed when we did speak.

Our first meet was over breakfast. There was relief that the transition from avi pic to actual faces was ok. No shocks. From either of us.

But then.

As our Full English came and simultaneously we made a sandwich with the bacon. Our hands brushed as we reached for the sauce bottle.

He grabbed the red.

And I realised we had no future together.

About the author

Lisa Williams. 
Domestic Slattern. Avid reader. Writes a bit. 

Friday 25 November 2016

Plant Food

Lesley Hawkins 

Herbal tea 

Once, on holiday in St Tropez while wandering the back streets we came across a square planted at intervals with mature London plane trees.  More than a century old, with trunks which look like the varicosed legs of old women.
        The majority of them had empty spaces inside and I entertained the child who accompanied me with stories of very bad French men who were imprisoned within.  In actuality these trees had been wounded over the years and all those wounds had let in disease, and that’s why most of the trees were partially or entirely hollow.
        We talked about what heinous crimes the men had committed and how they must have felt trapped inside, fitting perfectly, not able to move a muscle. Held in stasis, listening to the comings and goings of humanity,  the startling tring of bells on dusty old black ‘sit up and begs ‘, the chugging spittle of mopeds, and the gallic, old man grumblings and dink and thud of jack and ball. Locals playing Petanque under the planes in the Place des Lices, little knowing the secret they kept.
        Named after jousting grounds where fair damsels waved their scraps of cotton and lace and sighed over the beefcake of yore,  this square in Saint-Tropez on a bright sunny day was lovely we said, but was holding a dark secret with its dozens of trees hiding their black human hearts.
We believed there were prisoners.
Twenty years has passed.  The child has a child of her own and they have a life of their own.
        I have always loved trees. I hug them openly and am not ashamed. I hugged one near where my grandmothers ashes were sprinkled. Their circumferences were roughly the same and it felt like I was hugging her.
        Now away from St Tropez  and by myself,  I am regarding another plane tree standing among  thousands  of its peers lining the Canal du Midi. Nearly 200 years old, in its middle youth Platanus was solid and tight. Fit, thrusting and hittable.  Now it has a disease caused by fungus brought to Europe by US soldiers in World War II. It is dying.
        I can’t hear it speak. It has no voice, but I imagine it grimacing and shrinking over time, as slowly and surely Saprophytes with an unrelenting, collective hunger eat away at it’s insides.
        I feel rather than see the dead heartwood annihilated by fungi and insects and tiny ‘isms and ‘eriums.  Outer bark growing blackish, inconspicuous, long narrow cankers.    
A living death. 
A lot less solid now, among those trees, in drill lines, along the banks.  Almost dead where it stands.  
But it does still stand.
I really fucking know how it feels!
        Amazingly, with it’s innards gone the buds still open, the leaves still flourish and lend heavily to the canopy, but is it just me or does the foliage hang lower now?  Is it less luxuriant?  Does it seem dusty and is it a greyer green this year?  Does it look like it needs a bloody good meal and someone to love it?
It makes me sad if all these things are true.
        A famous man on the television said there was something to be done about that. He said that nutrients created by the rotting of dead beasts boost the sunlight and rain combination, tripling it's potency and momentarily this uplifts me.
        I too feel dusty and grey this year – I too have a condition that is ravenous, insulting and murderous and eats away at my wellbeing.  So much so that I am weary, and close to yielding. 
        I have a dream, so real it calls to my heart when I’m awake and stays, thrumming on the edge of my consciousness reminding me it was there.   In this dream I have died but I am flying, fast, beside my own human trunk, transported to some otherwise inaccessible spot deep in a rain forest  'and with a rope they dangled her, head first, dead weight,  precariously and then…'
I am dying and I am oh so alone.
        When a space is confined within a tube of living bark it creates a hollow. In some cases a vertical and actual pokey hole. Somewhere, there is my tree. It will be the perfect fit. It has been waiting for me and so it just seems sensible and romantic that when I die,  I am dropped to rot in humidity within its comfortable hollow.

Lesley Hawkins has written bits and bobs over the years and attended various creative writing courses/groups since 2010. She has most recently written a play about Kendal Mint Cake which was performed in Kendal Yarns festival of New Writers in June/July 2016.

Thursday 24 November 2016


Jenny Palmer 

a cold cappuccino

 She was waiting for him in the café. She had chosen her place to sit, with him opposite facing the wall and her in full view of the street. She had ordered her lunch, a salad followed by a yoghurt and strawberry desert. There was no point starving yourself at a time like this. You needed every bit of nourishment you could get. Her heart was pounding. Her head was spinning.  She wasn’t exactly looking forward to the encounter. 

Crumbs was, as its name suggested, not a particularly high-class place. She would not have chosen it herself. The tables were covered in wood-grained Formica and there were stools instead of chairs. They served food on the go. When she had rung him, he’d said he was on his way out but she had managed to pin him down to a working lunch.

As he walked in, an image flashed across her mind of him in a coffin. That was where she would like to put him right now. He seemed to be taking an awfully long time to order his food. Delaying tactics. She noticed he had chosen a sandwich.  She couldn’t immediately determine the filling. 

The stools were of the tall variety. She waited for him to clamber up onto his. It was a difficult thing to do gracefully. She had installed herself on hers before he came. It was important to keep your poise at a time like this. She waited for him to speak.

‘So, what can I do for you?’ he said. His tone was formal, business-like, as if he hardly knew her. She had been working for him for years.  She was part of the furniture. 

‘As I said on the phone’ she began, ‘I’m very disappointed in the number of hours you have given me this year. It represents a substantial drop in my income.’ 

She could see he was having trouble remembering how much work he had doled out and to whom. There were so many part-time employees on his staff and all of them wanting work. It was a hell of a job, trying to keep everybody happy. He likened it to a giant jigsaw puzzle. There were only a certain number of pieces. How did you choose? Not everybody could be accommodated.  

 ‘There is always the possibility of work coming up in the future,’ he said. ‘You haven’t been ruled out altogether.’

‘I can’t live on possibilities’ she said. ‘They don’t pay the rent.’ 

‘I’m sure you appreciate the difficulties we are in. We really are under severe constraints these days’ he said.

This is my bread and butter. I was relying on the work. All you are offering me is crumbs’ she blurted out.

She cast a look around. The choice of cafe had been entirely appropriate. She worried now that she might have blown it. She wasn’t exactly in a bargaining position. Bosses always had the upper hand, particularly these days when everyone was scrabbling for hours. They could afford to keep you dangling for months, just on the off-chance. 

‘Remind me again what I offered you,’ he said, shifting his position.
‘I was down for the same number of hours as last year,’ she said ‘plus some extra.’  
‘Why is it you people always talk about hours?’ he said. ‘To me, that shows a lack of commitment.’  

‘We talk about hours,’ she replied, ‘because hours are what we get, now that there are no proper contracts anymore.’ 

‘I see,’ he said. ‘Actually, I haven’t been able to tell anyone yet but there has been a change of policy. I was going to break the news at the staff meeting but since you brought it up. The truth is the department is moving out of Humanities and we are going to have to make some cuts.  

‘There is nothing in my work record to suggest’, she said, seizing the opportunity, ‘that I have been anything other than a conscientious, committed employee. I am efficient, punctual, enthusiastic, qualified and experienced.’

‘Yes, yes. That may well be true,' he said. ‘I don’t dispute it. It’s just that there are so many of you now to consider. I can’t keep everyone happy. It’s just not possible.’

 ‘I was under the illusion,’ she said, ‘that my work was appreciated here’.
 ‘Indeed, it is.’  

 ‘It doesn’t seem so,’ she continued. ‘When you promised me the work earlier in the year, I took you at your word,’ she said, going for the jugular. 

He was part of the old boys’ network. They prided themselves on honouring their agreements, didn’t they?  

He looked wounded. He had probably underestimated her, assuming she was the quiet type, who wouldn’t say boo to a goose. He was no doubt regretting having agreed to meet her in the café, wishing he had kept it on a more professional footing, in the safety of his office.

She had the momentum. It was now or never. 

‘If you can’t give me the work,’ she said, ‘I may have to look elsewhere. After working in such a prestigious establishment as this, I’m sure there are plenty of other places who would be only too willing to take me on.’ 

‘There’s no need to be hasty,’ he said.  ‘We need people with your drive and ambition. I’m confident we can find you something.’

‘I wish I could share your confidence,’ she said.  

He took a bite out of his sandwich. He couldn’t have spoken, even if he had wanted to. He had got a mouthful. 

About the author 

Jenny Palmer writes poems, short stories and local history. After her return to Lancashire in 2008 she has self-published three books: 'Nowhere better than home' in 2012, 'Whipps, Watsons and Bulcocks, a 'Pendle family history' in 2014 and 'Pastures New' in 2016.


Wednesday 23 November 2016

Walk a Mile

 Patsy Collins 

a big mug of wishful thinking

Walk a mile in someone's shoes before you truly know them. That's what 'they' say. Maybe they're right; I wouldn't know.

I'd like to wear ballet pumps. Stand on the points of my toes, even if it gave me calluses. Or don flippers to swim in warm pools, or cold, dangerous seas. Skis sound fun, rushing downhill so fast my eyes wouldn't focus on the whitescape flashing by. Maybe I'd break my leg. I wouldn't mind the cast, not if it came after trying the skis. I'd put on trainers and run, Army boots and march, or struggle upstream in waders if I could.

Look at my shoes. Pretty, lots of colours. If you want to know me, put them on. Don't walk a mile. Or even a step. I can't you see. To know me, sit in my shoes and think where you'll walk when you've taken them off.

About the autor

Patsy is a novelist, short story writer and co-author of From Story Idea to Reader – an accesible guide to writing fiction.

Tuesday 22 November 2016

Treasure Hunt

Alyson Faye

Dark Mozart

Our little gang of scavengers always take a vote before we head out. We're democratic that way. 
That January day, the waste ground behind the newly built skyscraper won. It was Billy who found the doll, lying in the frosty tipped grass. Weak sunshine gleamed on her glassy eyes. 
Shoving it at me, Billy rubbed his hands on his denims, 'Yuk, it's slimy. Here Jem. You have it.' 
None of us had toys, so this was real treasure. Grabbing the doll’s tiny hand, I instantly recognized it. From the many ‘Missing’ posters pinned up. The lost girl was cuddling it.

About the author

Alyson writes mainly flash fiction and short stories. Her work has appeared on Tubeflash online,on the premises,Three Drops journal; Raging Aardvark's new anthology 'Twisted Tales' and Alfie Dog. Some of her stories are available as podcasts.

Monday 21 November 2016


Gill James

a glass of red wine 

She stuck the fat hardback under her arm and picked up the free newspaper. She’d only bought the book three days before as an airport special and it would be callous to have read it before it officially came out at home. Plus she didn’t want to finish it. It was too good. She didn’t want to lose its interesting characters and its colourful setting.  
The flight was to be twenty minutes late, they said.
The man sitting opposite looked harassed. He was writing in a notebook.
Must be a writer as well, she thought. Should she approach him? Initiate a chat? Swap notes?
Mmm. Maybe not. He glowered at her as she attempted a smile. And he was very twitchy.
Oh come on. The plane was only twenty minutes late. Maybe he was a nervous flyer?
Soon she was engrossed in an article about the new economy and was surprised when they were asked to board the plane.
Settled in her seat and now a little nervous herself about take-off she decided to turn back to her book. She’d used the rear flap to mark her place. She opened the book, then oh my god, she recognised the face in the author biography. The man with the note-book.
She wondered whether she might find him after take-off and ask for his autograph.   

About the author 

Gill James writes for adults, children and young adults. She has recently retired as a senior lecturer at the University of Salford. She edits for brige House, the Red Telephone and CafeLit. Follow her blog:

Wednesday 16 November 2016


Roger Noons 


A glass of warm Pils.


The man offered his sister for the afternoon, in exchange for my pullover. I don’t think it was the fawn colour that attracted him, but that it was made from lambs wool. I was loitering in the concourse of East Berlin’s main railway station, awaiting a friend. When Heinz joined me and we made for the exit, he approached me again; showed a photo of a pretty girl. My answer was the same. All my garments had been listed when I passed through Checkpoint Charlie. To return without my sweater would have led to a prison term. Otherwise I … 

About the author

Roger is a frequent contributor to CafeLit  

Tuesday 15 November 2016

George’s Independence Day

George’s Independence Day


Alan Cadman


instant coffee from a vending machine


George sensed everyone was watching him. He risked a glance around the room. A middle-aged man, in front of him, struggled with an automated checkout device. To his left, a young woman tapped on a keyboard. Other library users were selecting books; reading newspapers or magazines. He shook his head. No one displayed any interest in him after all. 

He’d been going there for as long as he could remember. Once a month, on his way home from junior school, he’d run into the building; grab a Just William, Famous Five, or something about football. During his teenage years it became Haynes car manuals or vinyl LPs to record on cassette.

George gained more confidence, propelled his wheelchair towards crime fiction. Pride prevented him asking for assistance, but he was lucky. The latest Peter Robinson was at waist height. Balancing the detective novel on his knees, he also spotted a Rankin he hadn’t read before. 

He remembered the abundance of reference books upstairs. Conscious of the new open staircase and original stone steps confronting him, he wondered if there was a lift for service users. He mustered enough courage to ask an assistant, smiled at her positive reply. 

He looked forward to browsing through pages of art, local history and music. Earlier, his wife had wheeled him to the disabled entrance. At his insistence, when the door slid open, she left him there. It was his first visit alone since being diagnosed with a chronic illness. Yes this was his day for being independent. George was grateful that his beloved library was user-friendly for everyone. A few years ago it hadn’t even crossed his mind.

About the author

Alan has been writing short stories for ten years. In 2011 he made the short list for one story and a prize winner for flash fiction. He also won first prize, of £100, in a poetry competition in 2013. The three accolades were awarded by the best-selling UK magazine for writers. His work has been read out on Internet radio and published in hard copy magazines and e-zines.

Monday 14 November 2016

Come Back to Me

Paul Westgate

Vodka, Straight up

Stillness. The woman’s hands are relaxed in her lap. She gazes unseeing at them. Her thumbs start to move.

I was angry, very angry. I’d missed the meeting and it had upset all my plans. You were always so good at that sort of thing. I know the reasons but that wasn’t any excuse was it? I just didn’t think you’d let me down. Angry face. I over‑reacted and you left. I know, I’m a bitch. But you’ve always come back before. I didn’t expect you to be gone forever. Confused face. You don’t have to punish me anymore. I want, I need you back. You were always there for me. The last thing I saw at night, the first thing I looked to in the morning. Sad face. We were always together, always at each other’s beck and call, even waking me from sleep with an urgent demand. Cheeky face. I tried stupid things hoping you’d ring; like washing my hair, having a bath, going to the loo – you always seemed to want my attention at those times. Smiley face. I thought we could go back to how it used to be – maybe we could watch a film, hear some music, play some games, call some friends. Just like before. Please don’t do this to me. I feel so alone. All my friends are your friends and without you they don’t call. I don’t know what’s happening anymore, who’s where, with whom, what’s being said, nothing. I can’t work, can’t eat. I have no voice now, no life. Crying face. Wake up! Please wake up! Please, please, please come back to me.

Stillness. The woman’s hands lie relaxed in her lap. She gazes unseeing at them. Her thumbs start to move.

I was angry, very angry…

About the author

Paul is an enthusiastic but sporadic writer. He lives in Essex and works in London and uses the two train journeys each day to read books, sleep and, occasionally, to think up stories; sometimes these are even written.

Sunday 13 November 2016


By Roger Noons 
a mug of Camp coffee, from the bottle.

The house was of the kind that knocking on the front door would prove to be a waste of time, so I walked along the narrow passageway alongside the gable end, arriving on the back yard just as a woman emerged from a wash house, with her arms full of bed linen.
    ‘Mrs. Cooper?’
    She looked me up and down. ‘I don’t do freebies for coppers.’
    ‘I’m not a policeman.’
    ‘What then?’
    ‘Public Health Inspector.’
    ‘Can you get me a council house?’
    ‘Any particular estate?’
    ‘It’s nice on the Poet’s.’
    ‘How does Longfellow Road sound?’
    ‘Three bedrooms?’
    I nodded.
    ‘Come on then.’ She opened the door into the rear living room. ‘Wipe your feet,’ she added over her shoulder, ‘And no rough stuff.’

About the author 

Roger frequently contributes to CafeLit

Saturday 12 November 2016


Roger Noons 

Dortmunder Kronen Bier – a barrel of it. 


Merci … merci … merci … für die stunden Cherie … cherie … cherie …

    Udo Jurgens voice caressed us as we swayed, clinging to each other in Lizabeth’s bed sitting room, in the house on the Unter den Linden. Our third meeting in as many weeks confirmed our love for each other, but not how to nurture it when we were divided by a wall. Not even telephone contact permitted. Parting was agony, though she presented me with the record, the sleeve showing her written pledge.
    Passing through Checkpoint Charlie two hours later, it was confiscated and my passport stamped No Return to the DDR.

About the author 

Roger is on of our most prolific contributors. Do read more of his contributions.   

Friday 11 November 2016


Sue Cross  

 crème de menthe

Jack recognised Roger immediately. It was the hair that did it. If Jack had not felt so terrified he would have laughed out loud.
            ‘Try not to panic; we’ll soon be out of here. I’ve messaged my people.’
            ‘Your people?’ Jack echoed and realised how stupid he sounded.
            Roger chose to ignore the remark and started to bite his nails.
            Outside gunshots and shouting could be heard and Jack tasted fear; cold and metallic. So, this is how I’m going to die, he thought. Stuck in a shop changing room with one of the world’s wealthiest tycoons.
            ‘Should we try and make a dash for it?’ Jack asked.
            ‘No point – we’ll be mowed down. Sounds like machine gun fire. Try and keep calm. Like I said – my people will get us out of this mess. Here – have a peppermint. Keep the blood sugar up.’
            Jack took a candy from his fellow captor and noticed how smooth his hands looked, how manicured his nails, in complete contrast to his own calloused hands and ragged nails.
            ‘I know who you are.’ He said, sucking the cool mint. ‘Seen you on the television. You’re Roger Gillingham, the famous entrepreneur aren’t you?’
            Roger stood a little taller, ran his hands over his bizarre hair and half smiled. ‘I get used to being recognised.’
            For a moment there was a lull in the shooting and Jack wondered if the gunmen had entered the shop or if the police had managed to arrest or shoot them.
            ‘So, what are you doing in a shop? I’d have thought that you’d have a personal shopper who, you know, brought stuff to you.’
            ‘I do usually. But I fancied a break from work and thought I’d buy myself a new outfit. Wish I hadn’t bothered now. I don’t normally go anywhere without my bodyguard. Well, actually he’s here somewhere. Needed to go to the gents. What you doing in a shop of this quality? If you don’t mind my saying, you look as if you don’t have a penny to your name.’
            ‘I don’t. I came here to use the toilet facilities. I was just on my way out when I heard shouting and saw these guys dressed in black and wielding guns so ran back in. God, I’m scared.’
            Roger continued to bite his nails and then checked his phone. He swore. ‘No signal.’
            ‘So, how did you manage to become a down and out?’ Roger had always been outspoken and prided himself on it.
            Jack swallowed hard. ‘It’s a long story.’
            ‘We may have a while. Here have another mint.’ Roger sat on the floor and composed himself like a child waiting for a bedtime story.
            Jack joined his new acquaintance on the floor and began. ‘My mother had me when she was sixteen and gave me up for adoption but, as nobody seemed to want such an ugly kid, I never got chosen. Instead I was brought up in an orphanage. It was pretty grim. I left when I was sixteen and was going to start a college course. Instead, I got in with a bad crowd. Ended up on drugs and I’ve been in and out of rehab ever since. I’m clean now, thank God, but, as I’ve never had a proper job, nobody wants to employ me. I live in a hostel and manage by busking.’
            ‘That’s too bad. You play an instrument then?’ Roger asked.
            ‘Yeah, guitar and I sing quite well, I’m told.’
            ‘Sing me something. Let’s hear your voice.’
            Jack thought for a moment, took a deep breath and started to sing, ‘The Sound of Silence.’
            Outside gunfire and shouting started up again but Jack continued to sing while Roger nodded in approval.
            When the song was finished, Roger clapped slowly, still nodding so that his long blonde comb-over fell into his eyes.
            ‘Tell you what.’ He announced. ‘If we get out of here alive, I’ll sign you. I have connections. Ever heard of Simon Cowell?’
            It was now Jack’s turn to nod. He could not believe his luck. But his euphoria was short lived as the dire situation in which he found himself overrode any feelings of hope. His life had been a disaster – why would it change now?
            The shooting became louder and outside there was more shouting.
            ‘Lie down flat and keep quiet.’ Roger whispered.
            Both men hit the floor. They were no longer the advantaged and the disadvantaged but two men, made brothers by circumstances. Death – the great equalizer, was feeling uncomfortably close. The laminate floor felt as cold as the grave. Jack closed his eyes tight, fought back the nausea and prayed. Roger stared into the corner, his mind racing, as he watched a spider crawl to safety, oblivious to the danger that surrounded them. For the first time in his life, his money, power and influence was of no use to him. After what seemed an eternity, a voice called out.
            ‘Police – anyone there? Come out. You’re safe.’ The words were a welcome lifeline.
            Both men scrambled up from the floor and embraced.
You may have heard of Jack Jackson. His new single, “Trapped,” reached the number one spot in the charts last week. 

About the author

Sue Cross has had two novels published, Tea at Sam’s and the sequel, Making Scents. Please visit her on the website

Thursday 10 November 2016



By Roger Noons 

a gin and tonic – a double 


‘I would have thought you were taking a hell of a risk,’ my mother said, disapproval smeared across her face.
    ‘Accepting an invitation from a stranger on a bus.’
    ‘I didn’t seem that way to me.’
    I was settled on the 257 when he got on at the stop that is opposite the old ambulance station. He smiled as he dropped down on the seat opposite, resting his backpack alongside. I resumed my unfocussed gaze through the window. Two stops later, he turned and again smiled.
   Are you up for an adventure?’
    I frowned.
    ‘Three stops from now get off with me and I’ll take you to the nearest pub and buy you a drink.’
    I shook my head, in amazement, not in refusal. ‘And why should I do that?’
    ‘Because it’s Friday night and you look like you’ve had a crappy week and it might cheer you up.’
    I looked at his boyish smile and the lock of light brown hair that flopped down towards his right eye. ‘All right,’ I said, stood up and pressed the bell. ‘Now,’ I added and he had to hurry to gather his bag and follow me to the front. ‘Which way?’ I asked when we were standing on the pavement.
    ‘You choose.’
    Mum was still shaking her head. ‘So where did you end up?’ 
    ‘The Horse and Jockey.’
    ‘That dump?’
    ‘It’s been done up, new young licensee, they do food now, as well.’
    ‘And what did he buy you, half a shandy?’
    ‘Actually, I had a gin and tonic and—’
    ‘Huh, I suppose it’s a pound to speak to you now. Although I guess he was looking to get you—’
    ‘Before you ask, I had a second, a double.’
    ‘I didn’t know you liked gin?’
    ‘It’s all right, when someone else is paying.’
    My mother took a deep breath, loath to celebrate my adventure. ‘What did you talk about?’
    ‘Films, plays, books, that sort of thing.’
    ‘Oh, he’s highbrow, is he?’
    ‘He’s a teacher, at the Sixth Form College.’
    ‘What was he after, that’s what I’d like to know.’
    ‘He gave me his mobile number.’
    Her displeasure spanned the five feet between us. ‘Are you going to ring him?’
    I gazed into space. ‘Probably not.’
    ‘I should think not.’
    ‘I didn’t get around to telling him that I had a three year old child … and a husband in prison for attempted murder.’

About the author

Roger is a regular contributor to CafeLit   

Monday 7 November 2016




Roger Noons  

A small glass of Madeira wine.


As I paid for my supper at Restaurante O Tapassol for the third night running, Viktor slipped a white card in with my change.
    ‘Maria?’ I frowned.
    ‘Yes sir, on her back.’
    The penny eventually dropped and I turned the card over. Largo do Socórro, I read, No. 13.
    ‘After ten o’ clock sir, brown door, green shutters above. But,’ he wagged a finger, ‘Not if black Citroen outside. Show the card.’ he nodded and took away the ceramic dish containing his tip.
    The following morning, as it was on my route to visit the church of Santa Maria, which in the past had provided solace and inspiration, I checked out the address. In a clean and tidy area, smelling of disinfectant, the small terraced house stood four doors beyond the Socórro Bar, within twenty five metres of one of Funchal‘s most significant churches.
    Not normally so sensitive, but not wanting Victor to ask if I had visited Maria, I ate at different establishments for the next four evenings. It was on Sunday morning; just after I’d left the hotel that I met him. I felt my cheeks burning as he shook my hand.
    ‘You no go to Maria?’
    I shook my head.
    ‘But she expecting you.’
    Not sure how to explain, I shrugged, but he was in no mood to let me off. His expression demanded a response.
    ‘Er Viktor … I … I don’t pay women for sex. I—’
    ‘Who told you sex? Maria is poeta. I see you reading book of poems, I think you should meet.’
    ‘All right, I’ll go tonight.’
    He frowned; shook his head. ‘Ten in the morning, so that little Diogo has gone school.’
    ‘Right, I’ll go tomorrow, I promise.’
    We shook hands and parted. After he’d turned the corner, I began to wonder. What was the significance of the black Citroen?

About the author

Roger is a regular contributor to CafeLit