Soap is a flash fiction piece written for the Liverpool Independents Biennial 2018. It forms part of an anthology of writings from eight other talented writers, all based in Liverpool and the surrounding areas.
Soap was inspired by the work of Liverpool-based photographic artist, Tony Mallon. Tony’s series on life in homeless hostels in Liverpool really struck me and when I saw the picture below the idea for a story jumped at me.
You can buy the anthology in all Liverpool bookshops: News From Nowhere, Waterstones etc. and as soon as it becomes available online, I’ll post a link. For now, though, here are the first few paragraphs.
Gary stared aimlessly at the picture on the wall. He shuffled in his seat, the foam cushion worn thin, huffed and checked his watch. Sarah always made him wait. Forty minutes was the record. Fifteen didn’t seem so bad in comparison. With each tick the more he fidgeted. He shoved his hands under his arms to stop himself biting his nails. Why was he so worked up? Not because of Sarah; they’d been colleagues for nine years. He knew why: Carl.
So many residents came to him looking for change. They wanted it, but the pull of the cycle was strong. Something clung on, like a thread caught on a thorn. When living a life one way for so long, change doesn’t come easy, the grime of habit tough to scrub away. It was easier to say ‘fuck it’. The path of least resistance. Humanity’s favourite.
Like many, Carl had lost his job when the recession struck. He’d been an engineer in Fiddlers Ferry earning more money than Gary had ever known. Unable to find another job, he lost his house, lost his wife and kids. The pockets of the rich remained full, if not moreso. Poor bastards like Carl were the victims, mere collateral. Gary couldn’t begin to imagine what his life would be like if he lost his own wife and kids
The click of the door handle broke his thoughts.
“Come on then, let’s get this over with,” Sarah said.