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Six Days of Alan Beard #2: Too Many Bags  Alan Beard, every day this week

Six Days of Alan Beard #2: Too Many Bags

Alan Beard, every day this week

by OL House Writer,
first published: April, 2024

approximate reading time: minutes

Six days of stories with Alan Beard? Yes please.

Alan Logo


For six days this week, new stories from Alan Beard. Alan has published two story collections, Taking Doreen Out of the Sky (Picador, 1999) and You Don’t Have to Say (Tindal Street Press, 2010). Numerous stories and flash fiction have appeared in magazines and anthologies, in the UK, USA and Canada including Malahat Review, London Magazine, Best British Short Stories (Salt), most recently in Digbeth Stories (Floodgate 2023) and Thursday Nights (Tindal Street Fiction Group, 2023). Alan is Tom Gallon award winner; and is currently finishing off a third collection. 

 

TOO MANY BAGS

Bob gets drunk and then gets high in the Shopping Centre. Wrongness is given him; it pushes down through arms and legs. He creaks with it. He feels himself sag, straighten. Fire swirls within the mock-marbled floors. He flips in front of shocked people; some stop to watch him break, and put himself back together, capture it on mobiles. A giant toy stuffed with sand, arms up, leaking. Children come towards him until snatched back. 

He knows it is a reckoning. It was always coming. He loses balance and then totters forward with new weight. Doors hiss people into him, the escalators two wide grins. He hides in the attached multi-story car park.

He stones the woman who comes through the heavy door with too many bags. She's not unlike his ex-wife, a figure from years ago that sticks, that itches, a bunch of hair one side, same dark colour. ‘Too many bags,’ he shouts at her. There’s only one stone, found by a tyre, a heavy grey egg, solid in his hand, he aims but misses, the stone sparks on the concrete and skids away.

Bob feels things expanding in him. The car park strains outward to contain him; security men, women coming through now, coming at him, are smudged into lines, two dimensions. He's going to spit out his time, all the time that’s built up; he's going to get rid of the lumps in him. In his legs and arms and head. They all had it coming.


© 2024, Alan Beard


essentials
Beard. An intro to Six Days with Alan Beard
Six Day with Alan Beard: Wants to Get High 
Six Day with Alan Beard: Too Many Bags
Six Day with Alan Beard: Slightly
Six Day with Alan Beard: Gone
Six Day with Alan Beard: Riot
Six Day with Alan Beard: Whatwastherethematterwithher?

Alan Beard on X formerly known as Twitter

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