Nick Bryan Dot Com

Friday short story time: "Scarlet Letters"


Tiring schedule at the moment, but the MA portfolio is slowly getting cranked out, as is a bunch of internet material. Most recently, I did a slightly mocking TV news summary for The Digital Fix, which I think came out okay and may even do again in the future if I have time.

Oh, and on Tuesday on this very website, I reviewed the sci-fi novel Genus. And I’m about to post a short story I wrote about not-really-politics. Now, if someone could just edit my novel for me…?

Scarlet Letters

By Nick Bryan

My name is Richard Redmond, and every year on the fourth of June, I send a postcard in a red envelope to my local MP, with a smear of blood across the middle of the writing space.

It’s not my whole life, just part of it. After all, doesn’t take long. But after the first two or three years, started to panic a little. Forensic technology was advancing, so I wore gloves whenever I touched the postcards, which meant buying them in winter so I didn’t look weird in the shop.

The postcards were a range of themes, didn’t particularly matter, and the envelopes bought in multipacks, which was nice. It meant I could buy them and touch the packaging, as long as I was careful not to graze the contents. So I could buy the envelopes any time of year.

And then I had to find a different kind of blood, in case they took DNA from my blood samples. I started using cow blood, squeezed out of fresh butcher’s meat, and then I cooked the joint up for my wife and kids.

My constituency is in Norfolk, but I didn’t want him to pin me down, so I sent it from a different town every time. During a spell of unemployment, had to save for a while to get train fare to Edinburgh together. Could’ve just used somewhere closer, but I’d had a plan. Numbered a few locations and then randomised the numbers using an online generator.

Of course, a couple years back, my MP was voted out by the Tories. He’d been in power for a while, Labour were being swept aside, and it left me with a decision to make. Did the new guy inherit the letters or did the routine demand I stick with one man?

I thought about that for a long time. So much so that I narrowly missed a kid whilst driving home from work. But eventually, at eight in the evening on the fourth of June, I decided it had to be him. Found his office address online and got on with it.

I thought this might be the turning point for him, the postcards continuing when he left the job. I kept waiting for them to come and find me, catch me, give me my moment. Why did you do it? I knew they’d ask me that. Why the blood? Why the red? Why nearly a decade?

Of course, the clue was the postcards. I’ve never forgiven the fucking politicians since one of their massive conferences ruined my holiday in Brighton in 1988. But I never got to tell them this, because they never came. They probably thought it was politically motivated, just because the blood makes it look impassioned.

Well, fuck them. I’ve never voted in my life.

Copyright me 2012, hello, email me if you like, but please don’t enclose a blood sample.


Post a Comment