I love London fog.

Yesterday I was walking in the fog and thought why not open your mouth wide and swallow the whole bloody lot of it?

So I did. Just one huge sucking in, and I ballooned up with fog.

I floated above the city. I was light as a cloud. The view of London! The Thames was the signature on a prescription. St. Paul’s was a cold breast.

Everybody squinted at everybody, rubbing their eyes. My god, they could see London. They could see each other.

A young man was walking with a youngish woman dressed like a young woman.

You’re not seventeen!” he cried, dropping her hand.

“Tee hee!” laughed the woman, lifting up the skirts of her gown, and running off.

Two men were committing a lewd act against an alley wall. This became the Heimlich Manoeuvre. “Are you still choking, my friend?” cried the one man. “Mmm hmm,” said the other. “Just a little more, please.”

The prostitute was a good deal cleaner and prettier than the man from the bank thought she was. “I should be getting back to my wife,” he said, slinking into the shadows.

Long ant-lines of rats tracked through the streets, up the walls, across men’s brightly-polished and laced-up shoes. One rat wrapped itself in the folds of a lady’s fur coat and stuck its head out—like it was wearing a fur coat, too. This made the lady so nervous that she started chewing on her furred sleeve. Like a rat.

The ghost of Winston Churchill was chasing the ghost of a cigar. It slinked into a man’s left nostril, and out his right. When Churchill tried to follow it, he got stuck. Ghost legs dangled out of the man’s nostrils, like a phantom stache.

People were screaming and passing out, now. They were vomiting and slipping in vomit. Some of them hit their heads.

This was no good. No, no, no.

So I spat a fog ball at the youngish lady. “Hello, gorgeous,” said the young man, taking her by the hand again. “How about some sex?”

I spat another fog ball, a nice big one, at the men in the alley. They breathed faster and faster.

A ball for the prostitute, balls for the rats, a ball for Churchill’s ghost.

I belched up every last scrap of fog, patched every last crack. Then I plopped back down onto the street.

Everything was exactly as it was before. People were happy again. You could feel the happiness. It felt like sunshine. Even though it was fog.

I love London fog.


Rolli’s latest book is The Sea-Wave

Buy him a coffee.


FLASH FICTION: “My Skull Broke”


I was sitting on a bench at the ballpark, rocking it back and forth. When Big Jam cracked the ball, I tried to get up but the bench tipped over forwards and I fell backwards.

The sun turned into sequins.

When I woke up, I was thirty-four years old. I couldn’t remember who I was or who my family was or where I was. I learned how to talk and walk again. I learned my alphabet again.

Big Jam visited me in the hospital. He was an old man now. He autographed a ball for me and closed my fingers around it. He hugged me and cried. I cried. Then I dropped the ball.

I can see color with my right eye, but only black and white with my other eye.

My mom’s trying to get more money for me from the Star City Recreation Board. $20,000 isn’t a lot of money.

Every day, I lie down in my wagon and my mom pulls me to the pharmacy. People take pictures and cry.

I want to be an angel.


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FLASH FICTION: “Mrs. Glick’s Bedsore”


Mrs. Glick has a bedsore. We rolled her over, and there it was. It was exactly like a rose. With a big hole in it. You could put your fist right into it.

We were pretty worried, at first. If Mrs. Glick’s family noticed the bedsore, they might sue. Mrs. Glick has a large family. Thankfully, they never visit.

One night, I went into her room. I closed the door behind me. Mrs. Glick was sleeping. She’s always sleeping. Mrs. Glick is ninety-four years old. She was breathing very slowly, in her sleep.

In the dark room, lit only by the heart monitor, Mrs. Glick’s bedsore glistened like a geode.

I slipped off my clothes. I lay them on the pile of clothes by the side of the bed. I took my cigarette lighter out of my pocket.

Then I climbed into Mrs. Glick’s bedsore.

It was dark inside. I flicked on the cigarette lighter.

Sitting in a circle inside Mrs. Glick were the three other on-duty nurses. They were drinking beer and smoking.

“Shit,” said Heather, putting out her cigarette.

“You’re not gonna rat on us?” said Ang.

“We’re overworked. We’re tired” (this was Brenda).

“Come on,” said Heather. “It’s just for a drink here and there. A drag.”

I thought about it.

I thought hard.

And then I said, “Heather, please pass me a cigarette.”


Rolli’s latest book is the flash novel The Sea-Wave. 




There was a woman. There is always a woman. A beautiful woman.

The life of any man is a burning, then a standing over ashes. Stirring and stirring, with his cane. I was young. And burning.


We walked, evenings. This woman and I. For the days were too warm. When the sun went down, and the wind rose, and the moon, we walked. Through the town. Across the lawn, the green lawn of the museum. Behind the museum, where we would make love. We could not pass by, without doing so.

One evening…

We had been talking. I had been talking, and she had been listening. She listened attentively, but said nothing. There was a sadness about this woman that was no small part of her charm. She was never so sad, or so beautiful, as that evening.

I stopped. And I asked her … if there was something.

She did not answer. But asked me to keep walking. And speaking. Being in the mood for listening, but not speaking.

I continued, for a time. Then paused again.

The woman. In the moonlight, she was so beautiful. Yet so melancholy.

I asked her again, if there was something.

She shook her head, only.

I wanted so badly for her to speak. To hear her. When you are in love, and young, only, it is a pleasure to listen. When you have forgotten about love, and so grown older, you cannot hear, and will not listen. You will talk a great deal, as before. But you will never again listen.

So I asked again. I took her by the shoulder, and turned her. For I knew there was something. There is always something.

I leaned in.

Then she said, “I am afraid … there is something.”

I listened. Watching her white teeth moving.

“There is something.”


We were walking home. We crossed the lawn, the dark lawn of the museum.

We kept walking.


SHORT STORY: Cookie Logic

I have a short story in the latest issue of Carte Blanche. Read it here.




There she was.

At the distant end of the empty street. The loveliest woman you could dream of. In silk. And crinoline. Holding a parasol. Approaching.

Her face…

Cream and roses. The face of an ingénue. Some undiscovered one.

She approached. The odour, as she came so close, of roses. Smiling, as she passed, and turning, very gently, her parasol.

I thought of turning. But there was someone else. Approaching from the same direction. An ancient woman. In a green dress.

It passed, this ancient face, with no smile. With no odour. With a cool rushing, only.

I walked on. I turned the corner.


Rushing back, turning back. A rushing figure, head lowered, approaching. A figure in green.

At the far end of the street, lying in the street. The woman in silk and crinoline. The rose woman.

So close to passing, this green-clad woman. I raised my hands to grasp her, to arrest her.


She lifted her head, this woman. This ancient woman. She lifted her face, and…

It was not her face.

It was a face of cream. Of roses. The face of … an ingénue.

I staggered back. There were no words. I staggered—and she passed.

So I ran to the fallen woman. I ran. And I stopped.

There were no words.

Turning, I did as all good citizens would do. As a dutiful man is expected to do. But as I wished to do, too.

“Face taker!” I screamed. “Face taker!” racing down the street. “Face taker! Face taker! Face taker!”


FLASH FICTION: A Nightingale


I am a nightingale. I am fairly certain. I enjoy singing, and generally sing in the evening.

When I was still a fledgling, I lived in the city. The machines, and the people… I had to sing twice as loud, for anyone to hear. I am not sure they heard me, even then.

It is an improvement, the country. The air is better. The trees. I live in a tree behind Børglum Abbey. A crooked tree.

Monks are peculiar birds. Their song is melancholy. Brother Geestvaas walked over a cliff. Brother Godslee stopped eating. He shrunk down to the size of a child. The brothers carried him outside. They threw him in the sea. I do not think it revived him.

They are not like the city men, always moving, too busy to wonder whether they are in their hearts content or not. They are still, and sad. Like hurt birds.

Brother Heilig is a poet, of sorts. He will sit with his notebook all evening, listening to me, his pencil quivering. I give him my best songs. He writes them out; he signs his name beneath them. And he walks away.

I watch them all summer, the monks. When the nights grow cold, I fly south and west, with other nightingales. The journey is onerous. So many of my kind grow weary, and fall into the sea. It has happened to me, nearly. It is tempting, when one’s wings are aching, to stop moving them. If only for a moment.

The Warm Country is so hot, it is punishment. There is no joy there. I begin to long for the abbey, the cool nights, and the sad men.

If this is the life of a nightingale, I am not sure I enjoy it.

But there is always a chance…

I may not be a nightingale, after all.