As You Follow
Number 4 of the eighteen stories in my debut short story collection, Mammals, I Think We Are Called.
From the dream-like world of a Bavarian BierKeller to the banks of the moonlit Thames, a golden boy leads us on a journey of mortality.
Read an excerpt:
It is a bold entrance. You cannot miss it, booming out its yellow lights and buxom barmaid cartoon, across from the magnificence of soaring glass. It has beer, beer, beer and other things besides, if you have the money.
Down the stairs, out of the soft end-of-October rain and Halloween nearly over. You duck under the low arch, burly bouncers stopping you, pointing out a far bench, changing their minds, pointing out another, squeezing you in beside a quiet couple picking at something green, out of place among the shouting and singing, the plates of leftover Bratwurst and chips, the men standing and cheering on the boys in lederhosen, with their brass instruments, their paid smiles, to keep going and going and the long wooden trays of spirits, red shots lined up in sixes and twelves, and on one end a sparkler to set them going, to light the spirits before dawn, and they go down down down and light up the insides. And the felt hats all new-looking, hired, and the voices on and on, louder.
It is ten o’clock and the jackets are thrown over chairs, over benches, forgotten, and what should hurt the ears is pure music through this veil of spirits. And the beer steins, two pints, the biggest glasses you have ever seen in LondonTown, all the way from Germany.
It is almost the end of Oktoberfest and it is the thirty-first, the barmaids, white aprons streaked with fake blood, pushing through the cobwebs with more flaming trays as a group of men stand and they are going drink, drink, drink, as one of them holds a glass up to his lips and
churns his throat, head back.
And next to him you see a child, blue eyes and blond hair, fashionable short back and sides, and he is pointing his young thumbs, beckoning the band closer, suggesting a song and clapping hard as it starts up.
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