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Free Morning | Roy Moller The Sweating Stone | Safia Moore Dream Fragments | Jennifer James A Little Bit of Peace and Quiet | Daniel Shand Obstinate | Monique Amado Lobby Me and Hold Me Tight | Liam Dunn Belief | Tabitha Dial We Are All The Same On The Inside | Andrea Campomanes Freedom Haiku Collection | Tabitha Dial In the Event | Roy Moller A Little Matter of Economics | Ashby McGowan Escaping You | Brad Garber The Right to Remain,or Mexican Midterms | Liam Dunn Au Naturel | Duncan Carmichael


When we woke and walked out the city seemed laid out, laid on for our taking the sun kissed aluminium chimneys.

Good-looking workmen out of Hud, hod carrying, turned the swan necks of head-scarved starlets, the last generation of tweed and temping twinsets. A place for everything, Ladybird fashion.

But the mystery isn’t how magic was created the mystery is how it soured to traffic fuming by a clouded lunchtime, horns jamming the bad contemporary jazz of impatience.

How two men in jerkins are swearing and vacating a car tailed back on the M8 approaches, unzipping and expressing on a flyover’s legs the dregs of a fair, free morning.


The day we collected the keys you said you’d bought your coffin. In December, the town and the river splicing it in half wore mournful grey. The house’s whitewashed face, so pristine in June when we viewed it, was now pockmarked and powdery, like the ageing skin of a former star. Winter had annihilated the neglected stone walls and the plump quince that dangled from a shrub by the front door. You swore at me, kicked a soggy skirting board, and cursed Ireland. Standing in the middle of the entrance hall, you looked defeated. “What have I done?” you implored of the domed ceiling, and the ‘I’ echoed. Upstairs, you scrutinised mould, plucked at peeling wallpaper, and sniffed out a musky odour in the bedroom with the sweating stone. “That’s how I imagine embalming fluid smells,” you said. “Remember, it’s two hundred years old. Just needs some TLC.” I looked out of the diamond-paned window at the unbridled greenery and imagined a hammock strung between the two sycamore trees, and me, dozing to the lullaby of birdsong. “Tender loving care? A few barrels of gelignite more like.” You pressed one hand against the porous sweating stone. “It’s not sweating, it’s weeping.” I didn’t follow you downstairs. From the window, I watched you light a cigarette, and pace around your clinker-built boat, no doubt dreaming of fat brown trout flapping at your feet. In that moment, I regretted everything.

You kept your word about the vegetable patch and fruit trees, sowed potatoes to clear the ground, and dotted around bramley apple saplings for an orchard. Once the fishing season


began, I hardly saw you. The paying guests arrived well before the Mayfly and wrote sycophantic messages in the visitors’ book. We were doing everything right, but it all felt so wrong.

The first guest to land a Springer was from Norway. He had eyes like the Aegean Sea. When I cooked the salmon, he ate the whole head, telling the others it was the best part. As I cleared away the plates, he whispered beside my ear, “I think you gave up a lot to do this.” His breath was a flame on my cheek, but I didn’t dare look into those disarming eyes. They might compel me to confess, to say, yes, I saved a marriage instead of saving myself.

He came back every year for the spring run. The last time, he brought his son, a student of architecture, who spent all day in the garden, sketching the house from different angles. I showed him the sweating stone and he told me about a temple in Korea dedicated to a grand monk. The memorial stone sweats in times of suffering and war, and the locals believe it expresses the monk’s love and worry for them.

Mr Blue Eyes was a river angler, but one day he asked you to ghilly for him on the lough. “Trout are a different species,” you said. “You can’t strike quick like you do with salmon. Have to play them, take your time.” Mr Blue Eyes nodded, glanced at me as I topped up his coffee.

The phone rang around eight that Saturday evening. You hadn’t called into Doherty’s for a pint or two. You were missing. In a flash fog, there’d been a problem with the boat engine and you hit a jagged, unmarked rock on the way back to the jetty. Mr Blue Eyes was okay. A strong swimmer, he’d scrambled onto the rock that did the damage.


I drove with his silent son to the lough shore. We spotted him perched on an upturned boat, wrapped in a medic’s blanket, eyes fixed on the water, a slender-necked heron. I didn’t approach him and he never looked my way.

The recovery services worked until after midnight, only abandoning the search until dawn with my agreement. I knew it was futile. You’d never learned to swim and Mr Blue Eyes said you banged your head on the stern as you fell overboard. He’d done his level best to haul you back in. That’s exactly what the police report said; his level best.

Sometimes, after sunrise, I jog the length of the strand. That's when the freedom feels most real. The sand swallows my shallow footprints, the Atlantic’s salty foam covering the feeble imprint in seconds. No trace. You were here, then you were gone. You have left no children with cut-out shapes of you in their grieving hearts, or frowns in which I glimpse a hint of you. “This world’s screwed”, you used to say, “why bring more problems into it?” And so, the pay off. I am not only widowed, but childless, prematurely wearing an older woman’s ill-fitting shoes.

I still take paying guests in summer, but these days, only families. The children play tag and tussle with each other for the hammock, their squeals and laughter energising the garden in a way I’d never envisioned. Unlike the sweating stone, I have yet to shed a tear.

I only returned to the lough once afterwards, to handfuls of petals from the roses we planted together, in lieu of your ashes. On the water’s rippled, mute surface, baby pink curls and blood red confetti bobbed for a while, then drifted off with the current.

Every day, I walk your dog along the tow-path and watch the anglers casting for salmon, their


patience and hope tangible, like moisture in the mid-morning air. Yesterday, I spotted Mr Blue Eyes on the mossy bank, his svelte, nut-brown fingers caressing hand-tied salmon flies in a wooden box. His broad brimmed hat threw a shadow over his face but his profile was as sharp as granite. “A peacock feather wing might work in these conditions,” I said. He looked up, his eyes two frosty sapphires, devoid of surprise or recognition. “Not sure,” he said. “I never trust those blue eyes on the water.”


I had been looking forward to the holiday for some time. I always took my days at the same time every year and spent the weeks leading up to it shopping for the supplies I would need. Everything slotted into the boot and the back seat, just right, and I set off first thing. Bright and early.

The day before I had gone to speak to Janice in the back office, to let her know which of my jobs would need to be picked up by the others. “I’m off on my holidays tomorrow,” I’d explained. “Is that right?” she’d asked. “Lucky for some. Where are you off to then, Mr Mystery?” “That’s for me to know and you to find out, Janice,” I said, which made her laugh and she didn’t ask again, which was fine by me.

It was about three, four hours from my bit to the spot and the roads were clear and I drove with the window down and my hand just outside so that the wind made it cold. I had a whole week ahead of me to do whatever I wanted with. There would be no explaining myself to Janice in the back office, no lunches in the bright canteen, no anything that I didn’t want.

I parked up beside the loch and began the tiring but enjoyable process of making camp, lugging my tent and all the various bags and pouches of equipment between the car and my spot beside the water. My back was sore by the time I had the tent up and a fire going and was sitting in my folding chair watching the scenery. I have to say that it was beautiful and wild and


I don’t use words like beautiful or wild often. I made some cocoa over the fire and drank that until it got dark and then I crawled inside the tent and went to bed. Before sleep, I noticed how thankful I felt, for my holiday, and noticing it made me all the more thankful.

The next day I rose early and cooked eggs for breakfast before taking one of my long walks. The loch had a small path around it, the grass worn away from uncountable boots wanting to circle the water. I must have contributed significantly to the path myself – I’d been coming to this spot for years and years. At the far side of the loch I sat down on a hump of grass and took my sketchbook and pencils out from my rucksack. After I’d sketched the outlines of the water and the horizon I began to focus on the specifics – my car, the tent, the thin clouds – but as I peered out over the loch I realised that there was a second vehicle over on the far bank.

I stood up in horror and put my hands on my hips. It was no illusion, there really was a great big people-carrier parked over by my camp. I could see some figures getting out and moving around but it was too far off to make them out. If it was the landowner come down to give me a hard time about camping on his property then we would be having some words, that much I was sure of. Hadn’t he heard of the Land Reform Act? I fumed to myself as I stuffed my drawing things back in the bag and set off.

“You couldn’t give us a hand, could you?” said the man, as I approached. He was kneeling on the ground, about ten feet from my own camp, trying to make a gas burner light. Up close it was clear he didn’t own any land at all. “Sorry?” I said. “This thing. It’s knackered, I think,” said the man. “Know how they work?”

A fleshy boy was leaning back against the bonnet of the people-carrier, playing with a


mobile, making it bleep and chirrup. He ignored me as I kneeled down beside the man I presumed was his father, who passed me the burner. I fiddled with it for a few moments before I realised he hadn’t removed the safety seal from the canister. “There you are,” I said, showing him. “This comes off so the gas can get through.” “Amazing,” said the man and we both stood up. “You must be a real adventurer.” He introduced himself and his son. “It’s nice to meet you Mr Ingram,” I said. “Can I ask – what is it you’re doing here?” “What are we doing?” said Mr Ingram, squinting into the sun. “We’re on our holidays of course. A bit of quality father-son time, away from it all.” “I see,” I said, frowning. “And this is where you’re going to camp?” Mr Ingram removed some wetness from his nostrils with his pinched fingertips. “Aye.” I nodded and excused myself before going inside my tent, where I bit myself on the fist and did my best not to shout out loud. Outside, the boy’s mobile began to play loud, American music and Mr Ingram opened and closed his vehicle’s doors about five thousand times.

I had wanted to have a quick sleep but the annoyance going through my veins made it impossible to drop off. Instead I was forced to lie there listening to Ingram and son bicker as they set up their camp. “Please, will you just hold the rope still?” Ingram would plead. “Just a second, just a second,” the son would say back. “Maybe I’ll just pack up and we’ll go home?” said Ingram. “See how you like that.” “That’s fine.” “Well. No. That wouldn’t be fair on you. Just hold this rope, please.”

When I could stomach the hunger no more I sloped outside again. The Ingrams were sat near to a badly built fire, the boy’s face lit up blue from the mobile, the father enthusiastically


tuning a guitar. He waved when he saw me. “Neil,” he said. ‘Come and join us.” I made a sound in my throat. Ingram strummed a chord. “I was bo-orn,” he sang, “under a wa-anderin’ star.” His voice was adenoidal and sharp. “Come on, son. You know this one.” “I was thinking of going into town for some dinner,” I called, edging towards my car. “We’ve got a lot of good stuff here,” said Ingram, gripping the guitar’s neck. “Plenty to go around.” He pointed to a couple of carrier bags, baking in the heat from the sun and the Ingram’s shoddy fire. I could see the end of a tub of supermarket chicken pieces. “Maybe next time,” I said, raising my hand to them.

I got in my car and drove down to the village, periodically reminding myself of Ingram’s camping skills and shaking my head. Obviously I couldn’t have much to drink but I ordered a pint of shandy with my dinner and made it last, watching the darts on television once I’d finished my meal. If I made it last long enough then perhaps the Ingrams would be asleep by the time I returned.

I drove up through the valley and then down the other side, the headlamps making ghostly fingers from the long grasses that fringed the road. My stomach sank when I came around the corner and saw a faint flicker of light – the Ingram’s fire, still burning. I sighed and took the car down to camp.

Ingram stood up with a look of excitement on his face. He waved. “Evening,” he said. “Good dinner?” “Aye,” I mumbled, nodding. “Fine.” “Here,” he said, stepping away from the fire, toward my tent to block my passage. “I was just


going to say, if you weren’t doing anything tomorrow, the boy and I were thinking of taking a walk up the mountain and… to be honest, we don’t know what were doing and… If you’ve not got any plans?” “Sorry,” I said. “I’m actually moving on tomorrow.” “Oh. Where to?” “Not sure yet.” Ingram shook his head, blinking in the firelight. “Fine,” he said. “That's fine. Doesn’t matter. Like I say, just if you weren’t busy.” We said our goodnights and I took myself off to bed while the Ingrams sat up in silence. I turned off the lights and closed my eyes. After a while the boy spoke. “Dad,” he said. “I don’t think this chicken’s alright.” “No,” said Ingram. “Just throw it away, pal.” “Dad. What’ll we have instead?” “We’ll just have to wait until the morning. I’m thinking – let’s just pack it in. I’ll take you down the road tomorrow. I can’t… I’m no good at all this.” “To your bit or my mum’s?” asked the boy. “Your mum’s,” replied Ingram. “If you like.” I sighed and turned over on my mat.

I was up bright and early again, and I made a can of coffee over a fresh fire whilst mulling over the days plans. I made my mind up and then promptly changed it again. I thought about Ingram’s voice from the night before. If you like. Once the coffee was finished I went back inside to pack a bag. The Ingrams were awake when I re-emerged, wandering around in mismatched pyjamas, full of sleep. The man nodded at me, sheepish like. “Morning,” he said. “That you off?” I looked out over the water. “I was thinking I might stay another day or two,” I said.


“Oh,” he said. “Right.” “I could show yous two the mountain,” I said, patting the bag. “Might be a laugh?” Ingram shook his head. “Nah,” he said. “I mean… Really?” “I don’t mind,” I said. Ingram told me to give them a minute and he wrangled his son down to the water for a wash and I told them to take their time, that we had all the time in the world, as I sat in my chair and sorted the fire for everyone’s breakfast.


(for my brother, on death row in Indonesia)

Hope is a stubborn thing— it holds on to the unlikeliest of outcomes and points at present realities as phantoms and falsehoods. It holds tight to a promise of relief from inevitables like a frightened child clutching the hand of its father. It combs the horizon for any sign of daylight like a brush through dark and tangled hair.

Hope is as illogical as daffodils in February, as surprising as comedy in a season of grief. It lifts its gaze over fences where pitch-feathered crows float in freedom without thought for the yearning of one whose emancipation is still restrained.

It blinks at iron bars, electrical gates, padlocks locked, and keys beyond reach like it has something in its eye that needs rinsing out while it plants its vision in a life beyond walls of despair.


Hope whispers in the wells of the soul, splashing in the muck and mire with a victor's shout that echoes and scales its way up the bricks, calling,

"I am still alive. I am still here. What is impossible will be mine, what cannot be will be-and I will crawl out, or under, or over, or through-or fly if I must-to attain the life that is waiting for me."


“ wine and suited and casual and guttural, zip caught fold of fabric – revolving light sway towards and crackling – then, blocks of ice and shaking hands / glass water formed cubes of ice and shivering digits + moisture drips from the rim and onto pores of skin + gather drip beneath thicker edge of glass and underneath compressed palm pressed against chilling wet – golden fragmented clinking clicking ice and wet cold fingers shivering / shaking glass and shaking hand glanced at but not mentioned clasping forked delight in bare knuckle grip, a sight for more eyes than bellies, swelling, gilded influence of ordinary scrap of i didn’t mention that i noticed the possibly meaningless, im looking at the face but feeling my glass jumping between my grip but not out of im not out of it so ive heard weak little nose bleed from leaning on the knees pivoting on the knee bone and floor between – ew too bodily – i am the body and blood, i am the bread and wine, i consume and am consumed + AND BACK AGAIN TO SHIVERING HAND + while tying to talk devoting as much thought to hearing and responding as enjoying the jittering wavering chilling hand of mine + the curve and fall of jet white hair underoverhead bulb(s) and the heat of heads and bodies and circulation cascading circulation of dust and me, won’t you help me and hold me, your warmth regains a ”


She still has the lipsticks she bought while she was with him, thinks the desire will dissolve to nothing when she’s used them up on someone else’s lips.


Fuck hibernation! the great grizzlies leave their caves winter falls off fur

I draw melting snow to my roots, prepare myself to stretch and bud.

I must shed you now, skin grown in your company, stale smoke smell unfurls

Deep inside the trees, the bark sighs its rough relief: autumn coming soon

if this car could sail, I’d pick up sweet hitchhikers, never pay to park


IN THE EVENT of my late flowering as a monk these are the things I want you to auction: a balloon expanded by my hot-air observations

of human behaviour, my humid conclusions, the chimera of my most acute sensations. The beef Bovril of my satisfactions clogging the plughole.

The middle C sour on my untuned piano, the ringing of jingles that passed for concentration before that last bid for freedom.


VOICE 1

VOICE 2

Can I…….

…………………

……………

No (laughs)

Can I please….

…………………

……………

I have already told you.

……………

Just try listening for once

But all I want is..

………… I want! I want! I want!

Food

…………………

………………

What? (incredulous)

I just want some food.

…………………

…………………..

How dare you! If you had any

………………….

understanding of Globalisation,

…………………..

of Market Forces, of the War against Terror

I need food for me and my family ………………… …………………..

The developed world can’t spend all its time

………………….

looking after those who cannot look after

………………….

themselves. It’s a little matter of economics.

You don’t understand! (shouted)

You don’t understand! (shouted)

………………..

I am a business manager. What do you mean

………………….

by saying that I don’t understand?


I need food for my family.

…………………

I need my food for my family.

…………………

I need the food that I have grown

…………………

on my field using my family’s labour

…………………

It is our food!

…………………

…………………..

…………………

………………….

No. (softly)


I would like to know who you are as you bust into my home with your friends after your badass dog lit into mine on the back porch and you just glibly announce that you are a “writer� but what do I give a fuck about that when you invade my kitchen and your friends clog up my toilets with shit and toilet paper until sewage is spilling all over the upstairs and downstairs bathrooms and hallways and my wife is trying to sleep in the upstairs bedroom but your dog is gone now and I just want you the fuck out of my house and then I switch to walking down the cobble-stoned street on my way to the wharf and all of the piss and puke and unused detritus of the bar is floating between my bare feet but I know I have been here before in a 10k race trying to keep up with other naked runners in an ant line weaving through restaurants and homes with a wine bar in the middle but I am not sure if a Federal agent will notice when I pick up an ancient stone implement found on the treacherous trail to the desert where there will be a lecture complete with cans of cooked halibut disguised as beer while the cruise ship spreads wings and sails like a goose descending in a cornfield in Nebraska and place it in the pocket that I suddenly have in the skin of my hip while birds as large as my body fly above me talking about the stock market and how unwanted people will sit at the picnic table in my yard as my cat turns into a dog and the jay that was trapped in the dining room flies into freedom by merely lifting its arms and catching an accommodating updraft taking the stone out of my hip to begin building the foundation of the fortress.


... pleased to now present the figures for the year ended March 31st 2014.

For what felt like the eight time that minute, Aaron Fisher adjusted himself uncomfortably in his seat as he listened to Nigel, the society treasurer, announce the year's results. His lower back ached, and he kept slipping forwards on the cheap vinyl chair. The discomfort was a blessing in disguise he realised, it being the only thing preventing him from falling asleep at his third, and probably last Society board meeting. He adjusted his tie, then pulled the top of his shirt outward with two fingers to try and allow some air in. Despite the summer heat the Board Chairman, Ian Franklin, had asked for the windows to be closed at the start of the meeting. Aaron looked across at him now, Franklin's blazer buttons gleaming in the sun, his checked cheesecloth shirt clashing with a blue striped tie. The buttons on the shirt strained as his belly pushed into the table in front. The heat had caused the Chairman's face to get redder as the meeting had gone on.

... despite the downturn in total membership, I'm happy to say we've increased our annual surplus.

The meeting was drawing to a close, Aaron realised, looking down at the single page agenda on the table in front of him. Margaret, wife of Ian Franklin, and the society secretary, had typed them at home (on an electronic typewriter she'd revealed when Aaron had commented on the unusual font) and then had their son make copies in his office. A dark


triangle in the top left hand corner showed he'd copied it with a staple still attached. Number 8 on the agenda was the Treasurer's statement, and there was just "Any Other Business" followed by the Chairman's closing statement to round it all off. Aaron shifted nervously at the thought and took another sip of water.

... membership bad debt has increased, mostly due to the unexpected and very untimely passing of Derek and Joan Bradshaw. I propose we write this debt off

He looked around at the other attendees. There were thirteen others in attendance, Aaron the only one under the age of fifty five. The eldest, Bob Pike, was almost seventy and still wearing his suit jacket, Aaron noticed, as he fanned his own shirt out again to try and cool himself. Margaret's only concession to the heat had been to unbutton the top of her cardigan. She looked up and caught Aaron's gaze as he looked over at her, a quick smile flashing across her face before she quickly resumed her minute taking. Aaron wondered if she fancied him, or, more amusingly, if she maybe thought he fancied her. That might explain why Ian seemed to hate him so much. She must be nearly three times Aaron's age, but not too bad looking for it, what Aaron could see of her anyway. Her dark eyes were warm and friendly and her skin very smooth and natural looking. She wore almost no make up, but didn't need to. Other than the previous two board meetings, she'd not been at any of the society events Aaron had attended, so he couldn't testify to the rest of her.

... I therefore conclude this Treasurer's Report and pass you all back to the Chairman.

Aaron shifted again, as Ian Franklin stood up to address the Treasurer, a copy of the Society's Income and Expenditure account in his hand.


"I'm sorry Nigel, can I just take you back to your earlier point regarding Derek and Joan Bradshaw? It's page eleven in your report." he asked, his wiry moustache bristling as he spoke.

Nigel looked like a small child caught with chocolate cake on his hands. "Yes Ian?" he stammered, his twisted fingers awkwardly flicking through the accounts to get to the correct page.

"You mentioned you want to write off their outstanding society fees. I quite understand where you're coming from Nigel, it's desperately sad that Joan and Derek have been taken from us before their time, God rest their souls, but I really don't think that's any reason to write off the debt. What's the point in having rules if none of us bother following them?"

"It's just Ian, that I don't think it'll be easy to get the money. Their son isn't particularly well off, and he's not a member himself so ..."

"Just because it isn't easy doesn't mean you shouldn't try. There must be something in their estate to pay for it. There are ways and means of collecting money from people, and we can take it to court if needs be. Joan and Derek were as aware of the rules as much as anyone. Rules and regulations have made this society what it is today, and rules and regulations will keep it great in the years to come." He looked around at the rest of the board, palms open towards them. "How can we expect our members to abide by the rules if we don't observe them strictly ourselves? Where does that leave us? Chaos and anarchy, that's where. Thank you Nigel."

Nigel sat back down, a resigned look upon his face. Aaron looked across to show him some support, but he wasn't looking at anyone, just staring at the desk. Aaron suspected Nigel


would be paying the Bradshaw's fees out of his own pocket, the least uncomfortable option when compared to sending debt collectors to a dead friend's estate, or worse, standing up to Ian.

Ian stayed on his feet, and picked up another sheaf of A4 paper, clipped together. "So, with that concluded, I'll move on to the Chairman's closing statement. Unless there's any other business?" A swift look around, and no one moved, so he continued, glancing at his notes and then looking up to address his audience.

"Shit!" thought Aaron as he suddenly realised his opportunity had disappeared. He'd been too busy thinking about Nigel, and the Bradshaws, and forgotten what he'd been intending to do. His mind raced, frantically calculating whether to speak up and interrupt, or whether to wait till the next meeting.

It's been another good year for the British Naturist Society...

Aaron's mouth made his mind up for him. It snorted involuntarily, surprising even him. A few shocked faces looked at him, making him wonder if he'd made a horrible mistake. But was that perhaps a glimmer of hope on the face of Nigel? Ian's eyes narrowed, and he glared at Aaron. "Is there a problem Mr Anderson?" he asked. His face didn't look like it expected the answer to be "yes".

Aaron galvanised himself. "Now or never" he thought, then pushed his chair back from the desk, took a deep breath and stood up. Ian's face turned a fraction more red than it already was.


"Firstly" Aaron said, addressing the room, "I apologise for interrupting the Chairman's statement. I'd hoped to say a few words during Any Other Business and to perhaps put forward a younger person's perspective on the society? I've prepared a few words?"

"I'm sorry Mr. Anderson, but you've missed Any Other Business. Our articles of Association quite clearly state the designated order of items in the annual board meeting. Perhaps next time you can give us your thoughts." Ian glared across, waiting for Aaron to sit down. Aaron held his gaze, and there they both stood, locked in combat. Another shade brighter Aaron noticed. It seemed like the entire room held its breath, and despite the stifling heat, a chilly pall fell over it as they waited to see what would happen next.

"Sit down Mr. Anderson" Ian ordered.

Aaron continued to hold his gaze, then slowly he started to remove his tie, his right hand sliding the knot out in front of him. It pulled all the way through and he held it out in front of him, then dropped it to the desk.

"I SAID SIT DOWN MR. ANDERSON!" Ian's eyes were bulging now, his face redder than Aaron thought humanly possible.

"No" Aaron replied, quietly but firmly. "I won't" he continued. "I've had enough. Enough of you, enough of this society, enough of ridiculous rules and nit-picking." He undid the top button of his shirt. "You say it's been a good year Ian, but we have less than two hundred and fifty members. That's half what it was five years ago, and ten percent of what it was twenty years ago. It's dying Ian, and it's dying because of you."


He undid another button on his shirt. Margaret's eyes widened slightly. She stole a quick, nervous glance up at Ian then her eyes swivelled back to Aaron. Another button. Aaron carried on talking. "I was invited here to bring some 'fresh new blood' to the society Ian. That's what you told us all in this very room last year." He thumped his finger into the table in front. Another button undone, and then another. "Well here it is Ian. Fresh new blood." Two more buttons, and the shirt was open to the waist.

Ian dropped his notes to the table. "What do you think you're doing?" he hissed. "And you'll address me as 'Chairman'."

But this time Aaron saw something else in Ian's eyes, something he hadn't seen before. Fear. Whether it was fear of Aaron, or fear of potentially losing his grip on all that he held dear, Aaron couldn't tell yet but it was definitely there and it spurred him on. He undid his cuffs and pulled the shirt completely off. "I want to offer something else to the society Ian. Not rules and regulations, but a new future for Naturism in this country." As he spoke, without bending over, below the table he slipped off his shoes. "A future without petty jobsworths spoiling every event with their over-officious nonsense. There's a whole new generation of people out there getting naked and you should be asking why it is that none of them want to join this society." Aaron unbuckled his belt, opened his trousers and let them drop.

Ian's bottom lip was quivering with anger, his eyes ablaze. "Put your clothes back on Mr Anderson. I'll have no nudity here. This ... IS ... A ... BOARD ... MEETING!"

"IT'S A NATURIST SOCIETY!" Everyone turned in shock to see Nigel Hawthorn push his chair back from the table, stand up and with arthritic fingers, slowly start to unbutton his tie.


Monique Amado | Monique Amado is a writer, contemplative poet, singer-songwriter, actor, dancer and painter and is the author of Squiggle & Squag: A Mystical Alien Love Story, available on Amazon Kindle. She is also a life, wellness and creativity coach for both adults and children. She lives in Berlin, Germany. artoflifeandwellness.wordpress.com | @_moniqueamado_ Andrea Campomanes | Andrea was born in Northern Spain and is currently established in Scotland. She is a current MA illustrator student at the ECA with a background as a fine artist. She mainly works in B&W, using ink pens and technical pens to achieve small details and textures contrasted with rough and loose lines. www.andreacampomanes.co.uk Duncan Carmichael | Duncan Carmichael is a creative accountant and inveterate dabbler, incapable of maintaining a long term interest in anything other than spreadsheets. @DCCarmichael Tabitha Dial | Tabitha Dial is a Tarot and Tea Leaf Reader, Intersectional Feminism Curator at Luna Luna Mag, contributor to Spiral Nature, instructor and poet. She loves Tweets and Instagram, both at @TabithaDial. Liam Dunn | My art is multi-disciplined, embracing both visual and conceptual techniques. I am interested in the relationship between an action and the perception of its remnants. Expressionism is important to me as a way of trying to understand the social and communicative paradox of art: caught between an ever enticing empathy and ever elusive self. liamdunn.wordpress.com Brad Garber | Brad writes, paints, draws, photographs, hunts for mushrooms and snakes, and runs around naked in the Great Northwest. He has published poetry in Soliloquies Poetry, Meat


for Tea, Coe Review, Gambling the Aisle, Black Fox Literary Magazine, Ray’s Road Review and other quality publications. 2013 Pushcart Prize nominee. Jennifer James | A daydreamer in the land of paper pushing, creative curious soul by the strike of 5.30pm. Lover of tea. Jennifer successfully completed 3 glorious years of photography study at Glasgow Metropolitan. She has a strong passion for black and white, as well as the art of darkroom. A rambler, over thinker & procrastinator of life's expectations. Ashby McGowan | Ashby McGowan's work has been used by the U.N. and by Amnesty International, as well as having been featured on national radio. Ashby has performed at numerous human rights festivals, at the Scottish Parliament, and has toured Scotland with a multi-voice, multi-language project. Roy Moller | Roy Moller's debut collection Imports was published by Appletree Writers’ Press last year and his poems have appeared in And Other Poems, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Paper & Ink, Dactyl, and Nutshells & Nuggets among others. Born in Edinburgh and brought up in Leith, he lives in Dunbar, on the eastern seaboard of Scotland. Safia Moore | Safia Moore is a former English teacher from Northern Ireland who now works as a writer, editor, reviewer and creative writing tutor. She has a PhD in Literature from the University of Ulster and has published flash fiction, short stories, reviews, and critical articles, with Ether Books, The Incubator, Haverthorn Magazine, and The Honest Ulsterman. Safia won the 2014 Abu Dhabi National Short Story Competition and the 2015 Bath Short Story Award. www.topofthetent.com | @SafiaMoore Daniel Shand | Daniel Shand is a writer based in Edinburgh. His recent fiction can be found in Octavius and Quotidian magazines and he is currently trying to find a place for his first novel. @danshand Jessica Wheeler | Having just graduated from ECA, Jessica is a freelance illustrator and prop designer living and working in London. She spends her free time searching for birdsong and bees in the hustle and bustle of the big city. https://instagram.com/yessicalo | www.yessicalo.com


SEVERINE :: FREEDOM  

freedom -- (ˈfriːdəm) -- noun 1. the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants. "we do have some freedom of choice" synonyms:...

SEVERINE :: FREEDOM  

freedom -- (ˈfriːdəm) -- noun 1. the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants. "we do have some freedom of choice" synonyms:...

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