For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

“Beer Trip to Llandudno”

Kevin Barry


The train scooted along the fried coast. We made solid headway into the Marston's. Mo was down a testicle since the spring. We'd called in at the Royal the night of his operation. We'd stopped at the Ship and Mitre on the way—they'd a handsome bitter from Clitheroe on guest tap. We needed the fortification: when Real Ale Club boys parade down hospital wards, we tend to draw worried glances from the whitecoats. We are shaped like those chaps in the warning illustrations on cardiac charts. We gathered around Mo and breathed a nice fog of bitter over the lad and we joshed him gently.

“Sounding a little high-pitched, Mo?”

“Other lad's going to be worked overtime.”

“Diseased bugger you'll want in a glass jar, Mo. One for the mantelpiece.”

Love is a strong word, but. We were family to Mo when he was up the Royal having the bollock out. We passed Flint Castle and Everett Bell piped up.

We read it in Tin House: 56.