100-Word Fiction: ‘The Populist Trick’

In a pub, the winner of a popularity contest, as captured in a reporter’s photograph, balances an empty pint glass on his head and grins a rubbery wet slop of a grin. In the background, unwitting members of the public, alongside some of the man’s friends, are also grinning. Their mirth has been caused by an off-camera remark, now forgotten. The winner has taken a vow of silence. His agents say it is nothing tactical: let his plastic expression speak simply for itself. He has never said anything and never will. And silence will amplify silence, if he’s truly won.

100-Word Fiction: ‘6 May 2010’

A light aircraft just dropped out of the sky, enmeshed, literally, in its own trail of propaganda. Over our own heads are helicopters and, down in the square below, hundreds of office workers have congregated for a fire drill.

We are booking my birthday meal and discussing people’s relationships: how friends are feeling; what might happen in future.

I have made an Earl Grey tea with an out-of-date tea bag. Now it’s back to work.

The sun is out. Tonight we will drink.

Things go up. Things come down. It’s how they land that counts; the state we’re all in.