Tales From The Town #24: Hell

At the bottom of the slide was a darkness so complete Claire knew she was in hell. Hell was probably pretty dark and also it was underground. There was no other explanation at all.

“I can’t believe I’m dead,” Claire said. “I can’t wait to tell the others. They better hurry up and get down here!”

She waited and waited but the didn’t arrive. She was furious.

“Where are they?!” Claire said. “ What a bunch of scaredy cats! I knew they were frightened! Well, now I’m dead, I’m going to and haunt them all. Forever! Then we’ll see how scared they are!”

The idea of haunting her siblings filled her with so much glee she did some cartwheels in the dark. She wasn’t worried at all about falling over or crashing into something because she was dead and being dead meant you couldn’t hurt yourself at all. And even if you could, you couldn’t die. Not again.

Being dead was brilliant.



1. Written on the 6th May, 2021
2. And a sequel to Tales From The Town #22

Human Heads Replaced By Television Sets

They’re everywhere now. You see them more and more. Humans with their heads replaced by television sets. It was disconcerting once but now it’s not. You get used to anything eventually.

They’re always old cumbersome CRT TVs for some reason. I don’t know why. Perhaps to maintain the illusion that there might still be a human head in there. A costume, some post-modern joke. Rather than an invasion.

On the bus they talk to me. At least in public I can walk away, but not here. It is impossible to escape. Snippets of television news cut up into sentences. Messages of despair and hopelessness delivered via nice suits, tone-neutralised voices, neatly brushed hair, wry smiles.

I think they’re trying to wear us down until we give up.



1. Written on 23rd September, 2021
2. Mostly I wrote this because recently I was reading this book where the cover illustration has a man with a tv for a head on the cover.
3. I wouldn’t have thought anything of it but my nephew was slightly freaked out by it and kept saying how weird and scary it was.
4. While all I could think about was that I’m surprised there’s never been Doctor Who baddies who’re just people with television sets for heads.
5. Though there probably actually is anyway and I’ve just forgotten.

Satirical Fables

I don’t know if this genre actually has a name, but I very much enjoy books where the protagonist finds themselves in some strange new country or world that is, in part or in whole, an absurd and grotesque parody of our own. Gulliver’s Travels, most famously, and also Erewhon, Kappa, Cat Country, and more probably. (Does Alice in Wonderland count? I am going to arbitrarily decide that…. it does!)

Anyway, this morning I woke up in Great Britain in 2021…



1. Written on 22nd September, 2021

Tales From The Town #23: David

The days of his unemployment stretched out behind and before him like a line of pebbles across a vast plain, each one essentially the same as every other, and exactly as unremarkable. You could move them all around and no one would notice.

To David, time was an abstract concept untethered from narrative concerns.



1. Written in January 2017