Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Robert Sheppard: Love Life - a short story

I have been writing fiction lately, and this piece, Love Life, was written at the invitation of Manchester band Performance, particuarly Joe Stretch, using one of their song titles as a starting point. It is now posted on their website, along with stories by Nicholas Royle and others.

Unfortunately, they seem to have mistyped the title ‘Love Live’. An eagle eye is needed to detect the division of the story into its four sections.
It begins:

Love Life
When Sam was a history student the married couple in the larger room next door borrowed his chair for three months.

Imitation black leather with a high metal frame. An uncomfortable compromise between easy chair and desk chair. For the whole term he could stand or even hop a couple of paces, and he could sprawl on the hard bed with his books and Michael Jackson’s Bad, but he couldn’t sit to relax or write his essays and poems. And he couldn’t invite round June, the girl he was starting to see.

He passed his neighbours every day in the narrow corridor leading to the residence’s single kitchen where he boiled an egg or two. She was wiry with a tangle of limp hair, but she smiled, books under her arm. Sam strained to catch their titles. The husband ignored him, stomping by in his blue overalls. He wasn’t a student but, Sam guessed, worked out at Doncaster or somewhere. He always carried a batch of red top newspapers to sell.

They needed the chair for their weekly meetings. Muffled debate pulsed against the hollow partition walls. He would hear the man say, on more than one occasion, and louder than the rest of their talk: ‘When Lenin started out he had only as many as we are today!’….

Now read the whole story (there’s onanism, novelty condoms, and suicide bombers to look forward to)  not by clicking here, as this post used to say,

for the Performance website has long gone but the story remains.

It is available in my three short stories collection The Only Life, which is published by Knives, Forks and Spoons at