The New Generation of Classic Short Stories

Vol. 18, No. 1


by Thomas Morris

When the police tried to arrest me I couldn’t tell them my name.
     “He’s resisting disclosure,” said the one with the Elvis quiff.
     His bald colleague, an ex-army type, shook his head. “Don’t play the tough guy with me, mate. Tell us your shitting name.”
     I tried to spell out the letters, but this only angered them. They left me alone in the back of the car.
     My friends were lined against the front garden wall, three sports bags and an inflated yellow dinghy on the pavement before them. Gareth, boxer shorts over his jeans, looked perturbed. Yet Gareth always looked perturbed. His germ-obsessed father made him change his bedding every other day.
     Larry, meanwhile, looked cocky. With his parka done up tight around his neck, he kept laughing, and I could see this was annoying Gareth. Boxer shorts aside, Gareth was serious. Gareth wore glasses.
     Larry pointed across the road, toward the house where the phone call had apparently been made. “Well,” he said, “I wouldn’t trust them with a muffin.”
     Recognizing the reference, the bald policeman grew furious. A year earlier he’d been at the shopping center, waiting outside a lingerie shop for his wife and holding their baby—or, more specifically, holding the pushchair—when an altercation at a nearby muffin stall distracted him. As he restored order to the tipped-over kiosk, a recently bereaved mother plucked the child and disappeared into the throng. Exiting the shop, his wife was confronted by the following scene: her husband with a raspberry muffin in his hand, horror on his face, and only a twisted white blanket where the baby had been.
     “Not funny,” he said to Larry. “You’ll be sorry you said that.”

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