Clifford Thurlow

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I have 12 stories published in one collection on the site.
My stories have been read 17804 times and 7 of my stories have been cherry picked.

Clifford Thurlow's picture
Clifford Thurlow

My stories


The café smells of cappuccino and hot bagels. The walls are decked out with film star prints in black-and-white, the non-colours I wear myself, as do those around me, a conformist army endeavouring to be individual while remaining anxious to belong to something and we're not sure what. I light up, a clone among clones full of little doubts, petty objectives, small rivalries, a zoo-born giraffe peering out from my cage with genetic memories of wide open spaces, a dazzling light. Waitresses and office girls move between the tables like dancers in an erotic ballet. I would take any one of them to bed, ignoring a flat chest here, plump thighs there, they are all the same, legs in black tights, condom pink lips, flowers in a field. What is it that makes you pick one, not another? How do we get picked? It's so imprecise, so enfeebling. And after all the picking's been done, it doesn't work. It never works.

The Little Black Dress

Vicky is walking through a narrow mews she has taken quite by accident. She is only a few minutes from the club but feels lost; it is as if miles from anywhere. She comes to a stop outside a shop and gazes up at a little black dress that is short, sleeveless, unassuming. Like me, she thinks. The thought whisks away as her curiosity moves from the dress to the mannequin wearing it. She has long brown hair, brown eyes and sulky lips like she's been waiting for a boyfriend and has reached the moment when she knows he's not going to show up. The mannequin's head is turned to one side and she has one leg slightly raised, as if she has better things to do than just stand there.

Greta May

SHE was glancing at the night's TV listings in the Standard when she became aware of the man staring at her. Studying her. It's something that just isn't done. Not on the tube.


A barge towing a string of skips glided under Battersea Bridge as we crossed under the yellow lights. The water was the colour of pus. We walked for miles through empty streets smelling of piss and Chinese food and I wondered if there had been a chemical attack south of the river and the government was keeping it from us. We saw a fox ripping into a garbage sack. It turned with silver eyes and slinked silently into the shadows. "You see that?" She grabbed my arm and I listened to her boots clacking over the paving stones. Buildings loomed up like tombstones. We climbed nine flights of concrete stairs to a flat where her two sons were sleeping the sodium pentothal rest of infants.

An Acquired Taste

I want one. Why can't I have one? Just one. There's lots of them about. Clip-clopping along the street in big shoes, at bus stops, with mouths ajar in little gaggles of girlfriends. There's one opposite at 72. A tall one. A thin one. And I want her. Just her. Just as she is now, gliding across the room, lights on, nothing else. And I'm watching, quietly watching, nose and tongue pressed against the glass, my breath wrapping me in a sheath of vapour. "Didi, supper's ready." The name Mother calls ascending the stairwell could belong to someone else and I have no name. I am no one, invisible; an apparition fading like hope into the striped wallpaper. I wither and ebb, blending in; into the scuffed tiles and metal chairs at the café where she serves bagels and cappuccino, smiling at strangers; into the trees in their spring costumes when she walks home through the park, in the pitted air suspended like old curses over the bridge. "Come along, Didi, don't think I don't know what you're doing."