“Good Time Manual” — Philip Berry


You’ll find it in the street, where they throw history down from the tenements in paper fists. Near the old baths, where the pavement dips, your toecap will touch a neon puddle and break the sign into gleaming sickles. Grab the pieces, wrap them in the tails of your Saturday-night shirt, then hide, until morning. Observe the pale day. How it discovers every clue. The thin youth, standing sideways behind a lamppost; hope’s rusting hull, capsized in the gutter; an insult, threading inward beneath tired skin. Easy affections.
If it’s too cold, crouch in the fins of a cooling carburetor, just be sure to jump away when the gangster returns. Still, there are things to do. Before you go, put a piece of color on every unspoken ambition – ankles, cheeks, temples – and watch them pink up as you trip home across the river. Use the mirror in your palm, don’t let them catch you looking back.





Philip Berry’s microfiction, poetry, and short stories have appeared in Moonchild Magazine, Ellipsiszine, Speculative66, Hypnopomp, Metaphorosis, Headstuff, Easy Street, and Bunbury Magazine among others. He lives and works in London, UK. Find him here or on Twitter.