by Gordon Houghton
Copyright 2013 Gordon Houghton
...for all the others, who didn’t make it to the party
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He wasn’t thinking about mortality—his own or anyone else’s. He was far too busy with life to waste time pondering its conclusion. Well respected by his academic peers, married to a woman the envy of all his colleagues, and seemingly blessed by continual good fortune, he might even have described himself as happy. This very evening, not untypically, had brought him news of a promotion, along with the finest food he had ever tasted. The career accolade was adequate reward for his effort, but the food was a genuine surprise. As he crossed the bridge on the long walk to his home in the north of the city he resurrected the meal in his imagination: the scents in the nostril, the textures on the tongue; the buttery sweetness of the meat, the luxurious warmth of the wine, the exquisite delicacy of the dessert... At times like this he felt so alive he wanted to shout, to tell everyone he met the good news of his success—but in deference to superstition he merely closed his eyes, raised his face to the stars and gave silent thanks to God.
And this time, God replied:
‘Hey, short-arse! Hand it over!’
Vincent was paralysed by shock—a fact which spared him the humiliation of collapsing to the ground in a quivering heap.