CSN is 50: Short Story: “Forever Autumn” by Daniel Dilworth Nov21

CSN is 50: Short Story: “Forever Autumn” by Daniel Dilworth...

Frank gazed out the window, his eyes following the black and brown leaves as they fell from the grand oak. He broke his gaze every now and again but the focus of attention always shifted back to the tree. The barking of a dog ended this for good though. Frank went to the backdoor and opened it. On the step stood the dog, his fur sullied and smelling. “Oh Molyneaux, how are we today?” he said, rubbing the dog between his ears. “Have you been sniffing out rats again?” Molyneaux cocked his head as if he understood his owner’s words. Frank smiled slightly yet unnaturally and nodded. He returned to the stove and shook the kettle. Still not boiled, so he returned to the door. Molyneaux was sitting now, tongue hanging out of the side of his mouth. Frank crouched down alongside him and rubbed the nape of his neck and brought his hand down to his withers. “Who’s a good boy? Who’s a good boy?” Molyneaux  whined with apparent satisfaction. “You want a treat? Here boy,” Frank said, producing a biscuit from his gillet pocket. He threw it to Molyneaux who grabbed it mid-air and proceeded to munch on it. The kettle whistled. Frank poured himself a cup of tea and stood against the sink to drink it. Molyneaux heard the slurping noises, came to attention and dropped what little remained of his biscuit and approached Frank, his head tilted sideways. “Not for you boy.” Molyneaux dropped and his head and whimpered. “I’m sorry boy, but it’s not something you’d enjoy.” He threw him another biscuit. As soon as he saw it fly towards him, Molyneaux forgot all about the cup of tea. Frank drained his cup and carefully placed it in the...

CSN is 50: Poem: “The Dog” by Daniel Dilworth...

Charlie the labrador Sat at the window day after day His world peaceful, still and slow; Next to the fridge is where he liked to lay The status quo unchanged for years But One Day it ended in revolution. Maxwell took over the stage, Quickly joined by Alex. Charlie’s days of life of leisure Ended too abrupt. ‘Caducity is gaining on you,’ Maxwell would taunt: ‘Life is always quick.’ Alex ate the labrador’s fill And ousted him from his bed. Slowly everything turned: Cat, rabbit, hamster All bowing to the pair. Charlie, overthrown, now slandered! Shadow of his former self. ‘Shame’ and ‘bitch’ and ‘ignorant swine;’ The cat, the rabbit and the hamster all Uneasily joined in, Subjected to the endless strife Put down as the evil foe; Charlie bowed out. Alas, they thought they had won in the end. The benevolence of the labrador: Despite all his faults was demonised. His legacy crushed, they...

CSN is 50: Short Story: “The Man Pondered” by Joe Dilworth Nov21

CSN is 50: Short Story: “The Man Pondered” by Joe Dilworth...

The man pondered. On this, his fiftieth birthday, his legacy lay all around him in both the present and the absent, the talk and the drink. His life could not be called kind but nor could it be called cruel. It was mundane, almost… generic. It was not unique and yet was special. This birthday party was a mirror of his life, old, well-used mirror, mass-made, but his mirror nevertheless. Questions began to develop in the man’s mind. Why Heineken? He didn’t really like it so why was he drinking it? Was he brand loyal, after a young adulthood of the stuff? Was it because of work, seen to be the “right” kind of beer when networking? Or was he trying to please his friends, trying to hold on to the last morsel of companionship he had? Was he really that desperate for talk? He was starved for attention, and with this party he thought he would be like a junkie getting his fix. That would change soon, one way or another. Where did this party really start? Did it start with the rebellious secondary school friend at this stage barely known and yet somehow essential to the gathering, his genuine laughs meta-morphing glum politeness into some semblance of interest? The college buddies, drinking buddies, smoking buddies and doping buddies of a life past and the alimony buddies of life present? Or did it start with Sophie, the heaviest non-presence in the room? All these places where this life had started. They finished today. The rest of his life was going to be his. One way or another. So, who wasn’t here? Often that could reveal more than who was. The first were obvious: his ex; Robert; Grace. That had been nasty, especially for...