Paranoid Lights

My short story published in the Of Cabbages and Kings literary magazine.

Of Cabbages and Kings

by Francesca Brooks

Steamed white fish and green vegetables: that is what Tomasz will have for dinner. There is still time to prepare it, despite the diversion through the paranoid lights of central London: Piccadilly Circus, Soho, Leicester Square.

You might have struggled already with the name, ‘Tomasz’. Not a slipping and sliding over soft consonants, as anyone who speaks Polish would know, but a hard crackle. More like ‘Tomack’.

But Tomasz will introduce himself as Patrick, a queer Anglicization of his name. Not Tom? No. Because there is something in that final smack which defines his character. Don’t pick over the details, he’ll be Patrick.

The luxury of light when I left work kept me out on the streets. The gaping ache at Sloane Square: jostling me back towards paving stones, to the open air; its stuffed clutch a repellent; more than I could bear.

It was all I…

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