Last Night an Mp3 Player Saved My Life

by Nick Chen

An invisible rope, hooked around my neck, pulls me along when I’m sleep deprived. I let somebody in on this secret, performing a mime to illustrate the dimensions, and am about to confess that my thoughts are preoccupied with death, anxiety and self-loathing, but she is already half-heartedly pretending to send a text. The number of syllables in the word insomnia is up for debate.

The Visitor

Satan came in the night, through a temporal gateway in the ozone layer. He had been nurturing the hole for years, reflecting the sun’s rays towards the Earth’s protective shield. Raising the planet’s temperature to be more agreeable whenever he would have to visit.

An Awful Waste of Space

Growing up on a farm in rural Iowa, water was something that came out of the faucet to quench his thirst after a bicycle ride down the seemingly endless, flat gravel roads, sweat soaking through his shirt. It was something slopping out of the dog’s bowl as she lapped it up with her long wet tongue.

Time

They told me there were three phases to go through. The first three months, everything is new and inspiring, a holiday under the guise of a new life. At six months it starts to sink in – this is for the long haul, and you’ll begin to notice things that you don’t like. Minor irritants, as well as bigger and until now unimaginable, differences. After a year, you’ll just stop comparing it to home.

Swimming

The outdoor swimming pool was in the shape of a wonky figure of eight. A bridge crossed its middle. They said it was the biggest pool in Europe. The concrete border was patterned with circles in different sizes. If you fell, the surface was hard and unforgiving. Each bulb of the pool was pinned with two sets of diving boards; four and five boards layered on top of one another.

It's Weird, Grindr Doesn't Seem to Be Working Out All That Well for Me

F: hey Me: hey man!!!! F: how’s u Me: just chilling, watching Newsnight in my pants lol, u? F: what Me: if I were a woman I would want to look like Emily Maitlis what about you? Me: i already do quite a bit and im a man! Me: hey, remember when Paxo went on a rant about M&S pants a few years back and how they don’t make them supportive enough and he was pissed off because you couldn’t get good pan.

Grief vs. Clint Eastwood

One day, after my father’s death, I was in my parents’ house looking through his bookshelves. I thought about powdering the books for fingerprints so I’d have something left. I still think about that sometimes. What difference would it make to have a copy of fingerprints made by fingers that no longer exist? Those fingers were burned, and now they are dust.

The Guard

As we travel through the sky and up towards the intelligence centre my pupil says why do I fly when you touch me, and I think he knows there is no answer to this question, not any answer that can be told to him that he would understand, and so I say nothing in response.

The Almost-Final Picture Show

I’ve been thinking a lot about dying recently. Not my own death, you understand, but the idea of dying as a cinematic experience. Like many generation Y-ers, I grew up on a diet of television shows such as Michael Aspel’s poltergeist extravaganza, Strange, But True? and BBC1’s 999 (remember the episode where the kid gets a javelin through the neck?).

A Satanic Love Story

She didn’t grow up going to church. Raised in the Caribbean, by parents who went on vacation to the islands to escape “Reagan’s America” and never left, Sasha’s higher power was the sound of waves crashing against the rocks of the cliff that supported her childhood house. It was the feeling of warmth rising in her chest as the sun dried salty water off her skin.