BRIXTON BABE

I let out a low growl when I see June’s stockinged legs. Hungrily, my finger traces the pencil-thin seam from the heel of her impossibly high red stiletto, up along her shapely calf, past the contours of her perfect thigh . . .

ONE YEAR ON

His hand rests on her shoulder. ‘Today’s our anniversary, darling. Can you believe it?’ She stares in the mirror, sees wrinkles, liverspots, lips once full now thin. Twists her diamond wedding ring . . .

UNTIL FRANK YAKOBOVITCH

I have seen unspeakable things in my life: husbands emasculated by jealous wives; an eight-year-old girl disembowelled by a butcher; a man excoriated by a wacko who believed his victim to be the reincarnation of Saint Bartholomew . . .

JUST THE WAY IT IS

Yasmin’s brute of a cousin will come for her soon. She recalls how he touches himself, the hunger in his hooded eyes, and shudders. From the way he leers at her, she knows he believes she is unsullied, that he will be her first. He thinks she keeps herself for him . .

THE CUPCAKE KID

Back of his shack, the little boy hunkers down among whippy green cornstalks. An apple cupcake sits in his hand. A hell-hot wind gusts above him, shaking the cobs like rattler's tails. He opens his mouth wide . . .

CZECH MATE

I hadn’t thought about Spike for years, not until my Croatian wife suddenly disappeared. Valentina had left a note that explained nothing: simply that she had made a dreadful mistake. I called a friend in the Met, asked him if he could find out where she was . . .

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