Showcasing creative writing by university students around the world.

Illustration by Harry Sankey

Published Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

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Same Old, Same Old Part I

Kwame was cold. And bored. In fact, he wasn’t even sure if he was cold, or if it was just a physical manifestation of his boredom: a constant and gentle sense of discomfort to occupy his mind somewhat.

Kwame was cold. And bored. In fact, he wasn’t even sure if he was cold, or if it was just a physical manifestation of his boredom: a constant and gentle sense of discomfort to occupy his mind somewhat. He looked around at the room of OAPs sitting on plastic chairs at fold away tables, staring intently at their tickets. He heard a shout from the far left, near the donut stand. “That’s me!” Joany rushed over from her usual spot to the raffle drum, a look of fierce concentration on her face as she navigated the cramped hall, coordinating her two weakened, fleshy legs with her lone skinny, wooden one. Kwame could never understand why she sat so far away from the front desk even when there were plenty of spaces available: there were always enough prizes in the tombola for everyone to win, and she had already picked up twice tonight. He further couldn’t understand why she insisted on wearing knee length skirts with a slit that reached her mid thigh. No one wanted to see that.

“Today must be my lucky night!” she beamed, poring over the prizes.

“I think I’m the lucky one. One night and three conversations with the most beautiful lady in the room!”

“Flattery,” she said with a smirk, “will get you nowhere, laddie”. Kwame had the impression that there was a time when she had meant that. It was a sepia coloured time, and she was smoking through a cigarette holder. She picked up the jigsaw puzzle that matched her ticket – 250 Pink – and turned to Kwame with a smile. “Will you be here tomorrow?” she asked, shaking the box suggestively. Kwame looked at her crooked smile flashing perfectly straight, white teeth (he could almost see the BUPA trademark on the bottom left canine) and replied, “Of course, Mrs McKinnon. I’ll bring the biscuits, you bring the stories. I still want to know what happened to that postman from when you lived on Willow Lane.”

“To do that story justice we’re going to need something a wee bit stronger than tea and biscuits, Kwame! And please, it’s Joany: you make me feel old with this ‘Mrs McKinnon’ nonsense.”


It wasn’t raining when Kwame left Dundas Court that night. He decided to take advantage of this fact and walk the two miles back home: it was a walk which encompassed the dichotomies he loved about Glasgow. As he strolled along Crow Road he peered through the windows of people who had been too busy or lazy to close their blinds: in some of the high ceilinged living rooms he saw families with 2.4 children huddled round an old fireplace, reading and playing board games, while in others he saw young men still in shirts with rolled up sleeves watching the 10 o’clock news, beer in hand. These houses inevitably had some kind of sports car parked outside the garage, with the occasional personal registration plate (number 244 was his favourite, with D1RTY 1). As he got closer to his street though, the houses seemed to become lonely, and so started to huddle together. Then the cold seemed to get to them and they began to pile on top of each other until they were stacked ten high. Kwame didn’t have to peer into buildings to see people now: the pub already had folk spilling out of it, tattooed and burly, on a fag break from the Monday night boxing match. There were still some kids huddled in the corner of the park around a fire, but they didn’t seem to be roasting marshmallows.


He headed to the corner shop to buy some milk and a lottery ticket: the jackpot was five million in tomorrow’s draw, and although his lady luck wasn’t exactly as kind as Joany’s, his logic was that somebody had to win, and it might as well be him. Before he went in he stuck his card into the cash machine outside. It was the only one in the residential area and so was able to take the liberty of charging £1.75 for withdrawals. Kwame hadn’t gone into town for a week or so and so had no option but to bite the bullet, since the shop didn’t take cards.  He took out £50- he had just been paid for the week and it was the most he could manage without compromising his rent payment, due in a couple of days- then went inside.


Five minutes later, dairy products in hand, he made his way back to his tenement flat on the next corner. He wondered who would meet him there as he turned his key in the lock; he was in a good mood tonight, and so thought it might be his old favourite Charlie Chaplin. He opened the door, but looking around, he saw everything was in full colour. It clearly wasn’t a Chaplin night then. Turning back to lock the door he heard a cough behind him, coming from the armchair. “Oh no… not again,” Kwame mumbled under his breath.

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