Saturday, 30 May 2009


There's Sin In That Grin

It was synchronised perfection. Marty smiled and his reflection kept pace. He Elvis'd both sides of his upper lip to make sure that the length and breadth of his grin was the purest alabaster.

He slipped into bed. The steady breaths of Katie heralded her slumber. He thought of waking her. Somewhere between Marty nipping to do his teeth and returning she had managed to read two chapters of a book and compose a lengthy shopping list before tiredness took over. Marty didn't mind so much as he settled down to sleep, he had something great, he had a smile that Hollywood's finest would give their right bollock for.

The toilet being flushed woke him up. The clock told him it was shy on four a.m. He closed his eyes and tried to return to that void known as sleep. He knew sleep would be fashionably late as he couldn't shake off his growing anger. Katie got back into bed.
"You just take a dump?" he asked.
"Oh sweet Jesus, not again," her tone was one of tolerated annoyance with her petty and petulant husband. "No, I've just come-on thanks," she made a nest out of the pillow and tried to make her head disappear into it, knowing full well that Marty wouldn't be done and back to sleep until he'd done his prissy little set-piece.
"You know the plumbing's trashed and it takes nearly an hour for the cistern to settle down. Now I won't be able to sleep all because you flushed."
"Night dear, sorry dear," that was said on auto-pilot as she was almost back into the world of dreams. Marty decided to treat his tongue to a lap around his mouth. His tongue applied the brakes fast. The tongue probed, it prodded, it tried to dislodge whatever had gotten into its road. Marty bolted upright. It could be only one thing, food debris. He had a piece of sneaky food debris hiding out between his teeth. He was on his way to the bathroom in a flash. Food debris had a sister, her name was Plaque and she was a filthy crack-whore that ruined smiles with her tooth A.I.D's.

He made short work of evicting the offending morsel. His brow creased. Meat, pink meat. He squashed it between thumb and forefinger, released the pressure and watched it return to its original size. The part that puzzled him was they hadn't eaten meat at dinner. It had been rabbit-food Tuesday. And lunch, he'd skipped lunch as some joker at the office had hidden his tooth-brush. He toyed with it some more, pure unadulterated fear erupted across his face. Was it a bit of his gum? Had disease set in? Had he leprosy of the gob. He rinsed with mouthwash and performed a check. No, perfect, just as he had known it would be. Marty sat on the can to think. It couldn't be ignored any more. Three months on the trot this had happened. Unknown meat finding its way into his pegs whilst he slept. His eyes narrowed. Was Katie fooling around and playing pranks? No, she wouldn't dare. She'd said it herself, how he loved himself over her. So she knew he'd not stand for such foolishness. He brushed his teeth and returned to bed. Katie was restless. She sat up holding her stomach.

"I hate periods. And you know what, this time I really thought I was pregnant," her voice was wistful. Marty stared at her through the darkness. He didn't want kids. What would happen to his own life and regime if one of those screaming, shitting machines pitched up. Katie loathed it with each monthly game of chase the cotton mouse. Marty looked forward to it. He closed his eyes and returned to the void. He never dreamt, to dream there needed to be a soul.

Katie woke up in a sweat with an unaired scream malingering in her mouth. Her brow was wet with sweat and her upper lip a home to beads of perspiration. She hated nightmares. It was the same one she'd had for the last few months. She looked to Marty, peacefully asleep. Unawares that Katie had just dreamt that he had pushed his head into her belly and bitten down hard with his perfect teeth. A psychologist would tell her that it was just her way of allocating blame for not being pregnant. She touched his face and removed herself from the bed. Her bleeding was heavy and she needed another pit-stop.

She was about to turn the tap on when she noticed a small piece of what might have been meat skulking by the plughole. She prodded it. It felt soft and springy. They'd had three bean salad for dinner. She looked at the wall, seeing through it with her imagination. Marty sleeping there, a wide clown grin smeared across his face.

Marty wanted to scream but couldn't as he was choking on teeth. He managed to see a glint of sparkle as some adventurous bit of light danced upon the orb of the ball-pein hammer as it came down for a second go at demolishing his winning smile then all went dark as Marty swallowed his grin.
BIO: Lee Hughes lives and works on the Isle of Man with his wife and two fish. He is currently putting the finishing touches to his first novel. His short fiction is to appear or has appeared in the upcoming Cern Zoo: Nemonymous 9 by Megazanthus Press, Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers and A Twist of Noir.


  1. i'm elvising now - off the chart good.

  2. I didn't quite get the significance or reason behind finding the meat in his teeth and sink but that's probably just me being thick. Even so, it didn't spoil a great story. I really enjoyed this, Lee.

  3. Lee, your story is gripping, but like IG, I'm not quite sure I grabbed the significance. Is it the Caligula syndrome? Eating his child?

  4. I apologise for any lack in clarity. It was clear in my noggin as I wrote it. But like Who Want's To Be A Millionaire, it's only easy if you know the answer. It was supposed to be like a unconscious and supernatural preservation of his own cushy life. I'll ask if I can have it removed to tinker with. I appreciate you pointing it out, better to know! :o)

  5. I was awaiting others' responses first, but I also thought it was a somewhat cryptic and then re-read it which brought more understanding. At one point I was wondering whether he was a Vampire, or something.
    If you wanna add a sentence or two for clarification you'll have to go via Matt as I can't edit Matt's posts.
    However, it's good to get people thinking about your writing so it's up to you, bud.
    Great premise though and, as always, well written.

  6. agree the meat thing was cryptic, but the writing was fantastic and loved the ending (particularly the detail of the "adventurous bit of light"!) :-)

  7. Got to add my bit here...I too was left wondering by the cryptic-ness of it all. My take was that he was protecting his way of life - him being obviously very egocentrical and self-centred - and the last thing he wanted in his life was a baby. It was a little metaphysical or metaphorical or...uh, something...and I read into it that he was somehow aborting the babies (don't ask me how?)by symbolically eating them. Am I anywhere close, Lee?
    That aside, I loved the strength of writing and the imagery.
    Remember also that everyone retains all rights to their own work and can obviously re-write as they see fit. In the meantime, I'll leave this version up here and if Lee wants to re-submit later I will post that too. It would be a great exercise to see the differences.

  8. Proverbial nail on the head. He was unconsciously aborting them and had been over a couple of months, each time he found something in his teeth coincided with her dreaming of him pushing his face into her tum and biting down. I will get around to a re-write in the future and then re-post it and see what people's thoughts are then. And I'm glad folks have pointed out their confusion as it means I'll pay a bit more attention in future. No point in me being the only one to know what I meant, otherwise I'm just a mental rambling on about nothing in the street.

  9. I like your sentiments, Matt. I've already rejigged some of my earlier one's on here, based on feedback, for further use elsewhere.
    The Handshake, for example, which I believe works much better in the revised version.
    I'm waiting for news on its submission though, so I can't upload on here yet.

  10. To take nothing away from the story, Lee, it's a great thing that this one has got people thinking and wondering: sometimes that's the best kind of story. It stays with the reader after they stop reading.

    To see TKnC working as it was intended is a great sense of achievement for me - and speaking for Col, for him too - and it does exactly as it says on the tin. Uh...most of the time ; )

    Good luck with the rewrite of The Handshake Col.

  11. Cheers, Matt.

    I said something similar in a roundabout way in my first comment. TKnC is working how it was intended.

    Lee, we must've posted at the same time. Perspective time: your story has ignited a debate...profound writing does this!
    Well done

  12. Anything that gets people talking about writing is a good thing. Hopefully it'll get more people submitting who want to end up having people debate certain points of their stories.