Good Reading : July 2011
GOOD READING JULY 2011 50 SHORT STORY it looked like a man, lying on his back, the peak they call Napoleon's nose. She said, if there was ever anything I needed to ask her, about anything, anything at all, I could, and she'd try to help. But I can't ask her about Neil Chambers. That's not the kind of thing you can ask a teacher. And anyway, she'd say behind the mobiles is out of bounds. Granny's getting slower. Last night, she asked me to wash her hair. She bent down over the bath and I poured water over her head from the Tupperware jug. Her scalp was really pink under the plastered, thin white hair, you could see the whole shape of her head. When I squeezed the shampoo out she shouted that it was freezing cold so I lathered it up quickly, and ran my hands behind her ears, over her brow, as gently as I could. Then I felt a mound, at the back of her neck, and when I looked, there it was, a port-wine stain, the same colour and shape as mine, nor mally hidden by her hair. She must have felt me looking, for she said, 'Don't get water in my ears. Sadie Mulholland got water in her ears one time and it nearly sent her mad. She was never right after it.' So I rinsed off the suds with another jug or two of water and gave her the towel to dry. I didn't know that was who I got it from. She never said. Granny still comes in to me at night. She squeezes off the switch on my bedside lamp so it doesn't click and wake me, but I hear her, her bones creaking, putting a hand on my shoulder to bid me goodnight. I don't know what will happen to me if anything happens to Granny. Where is Mr Kenny today, he's usually here by now? If it's the half-Windsor, that's a no as well, less emphatic, but still a no. The Pratt will be a yes. Then there's the double cross knot.You have to think twice about that. I'll just wait for a while longer. I don't know what I want it to be. Bernie McGill has pursued a varied career in the arts, enjoying her positions as theatre manager and playwright equally. Her short stories have been shortlisted for numerous awards, and in 2008 her story 'Sleepwalkers' won the Zoetrope All-Story Short Fiction Contest. She has recently published her first novel, The Butterfly Cabinet (Headline, rrp $29.99). Bernie lives in Portstewart, Northern Ireland, with her family. Then I felt a mound, at the back of her neck, and when I looked, there it was, a port-wine stain, the same colour and shape as mine, normally hidden by her hair. THERE ARE LOTS OF NEW THINGS TO DISCOVER FOR: • Book clubs • Libraries and librarians • Schools and teachers PLUS Have you seen Good Reading online recently? www.goodreadingmagazine.com loads of stuff to win!