Five sentence stories

Month: July, 2013

Banana man

An old Malay man sat beneath a chandelier of bananas outside the store on a red plastic chair, reading a newspaper, glasses like Gandhi.

He jeered at me. He jeered at me through his glasses and my sparse understanding of history, and his eyes and my eyes and his memory and my thoughts of who he was and who he thought I was. And through what each other thought the other represented, he looked at me and I looked at him. But neither of us saw each other.



I decided young that life was just a series of a certain type of conversation. The type of conversation held late at night in hotel corridors or after storms.

“Is it still raining?”

“Does it matter?”

“Mmm, perhaps it doesn’t.”

After the tone

Hi Jack it’s Jennifer Rosenbach? Just calling about the other day to let you know that I’ve been thinking and I’ve had some second thoughts about the. Contract. And I don’t think I want to go ahead with Tuesday after all. I’m, I’m sorry about that and I’m not sure if it’s too late now but he’s home now and with the children and we talked some shit through and it’s okay so please I need to cancel that contract now, please, so please, let me know, about that as soon as possible thanks.

Better this way

The Ubari herdsman told his children he was going to shoot the goat. Its hoofs had grown too long and had begun curving upwards like dark keratin bananas. There’s no morphine for goats in the Ubari. Or bullets.

He led it away from the others, behind a dune.

On the way home from visiting the church he grew up in

“Got a lot of ‘long time, no see.'”

“I noticed that.”

“But they’re good people.”

“Yeah. They’re nice.”

The photographer

The photographer arrived late.

“I’m so sorry. I forgot about today. I fucked up.”

Fifteen months later the newlyweds felt the same and divorced.

Lunch date

Wholegrain rye. Baby spinach. Oven-roasted pumpkin. Tahini yoghurt. How she smiles.

Sarin breeze

I remember it happened when I was waiting for my dad on the curb outside my house, and night was racing towards me from behind like a wave of dark static.

I was young and naïve, and there was a general feeling of fear and bioterrorism in the air. The weeks before had been dotted with panicked faces on the sidewalks and hysterical voices over the phone. My teacher talked about it briefly in the classroom and we did too, childishly, in the playground, probably because we were just old enough to understand the words she used: toxic, colourless and odourless, dangerous, lethal.

In them we became old children, awakened loosely to a sense of self and other, hero and villain, and an understanding that play could no longer be enjoyed simply, or in quite the same way.

New message

Saw this, thought of you.


ha. thanks.

I miss you.

i love you

The footballers

Mum pushed my limp legs into the passenger’s seat. Fuck I wish I could help her. I wish I could help myself.

I watched her walk around the front of the car with her head slightly down, and she looked briefly at the footballers in the distance as she opened the door.

“Let’s go home honey”.


“Turn it down! Or do you want the whole street to hear you doing nothing with your life? God.”

That last one stung but he didn’t turn it down. He didn’t turn it down until ten minutes after he’d left the room.

The street corner

“Excuse me sir. Sir. Have you heard the good news of Jesus Christ?”

“No. Only the bad.”


When I was a kid I used to see things in the reflections of windows and think they were actually there. A train gliding over the awning of a Korean hairdressers. Pedestrians walking like ghosts through the car next to us at lights.

I saw a girl once with a green neon sign tattooed over her face. Then I saw myself and understood.

Message received

BMW. SMS. SUV. 911. DNR.


Two friends on a train ask each other what type of funeral they want.

“Just a small service. Close friends, flowers. You?”

“Buy a new TV and use the box.”