What Scares You?

The deadness behind the eyes of that bloke who’s hanging around on the corner of the street in the dark, smoking a stubby cigarette and watching people get off the bus;

That lone man who always sits in the park, watching the kids play and licking his lips;

The cars that travel too fast on the road at the bottom of our street, racing around the blind corner and past the entrance to the park;

The thought of what a sudden fall or stumble might do to my son’s small, fragile neck if he lands awkwardly;

My past drinking habits;

Kids that buy guns from older kids behind council estate betting shops;

The correlation between the pointy corner of that coffee table and a child’s head;

Parents who kick out their kids to play on the street early in the morning and don’t wonder where they’ve been when they get back after midnight, acting sly and secretive;

An opened packet of pain killers on a supermarket shelf;

A dented can of beans;

Spilled milk on a slippery floor;

My wife being fifteen minutes late after work on a winter’s night, with no call or text message forthcoming;

That patch of ice outside out front door;

Running with scissors;

The knives that don’t get handed in during the latest knife amnesty run by the police at the station in that rough part of town;

My father’s early death;

The thought that a serial killer might live on the next street;

My mother’s age;

The random nature of heart attacks;


Brain tumours;

Driving on motorways;

The knowledge of my own mortality;

That rash on my son’s arm;

The thought that I might lose my mind and my memories long before I die;

The fact that at some unknown point my child will die

The fact that at some unknown point my wife will die;

The fact that at some unknown point everybody I have ever loved, or even liked, will die;

The funny taste of that fish we’ve just eaten;

My current novel;

My next novel;

My last novel;

The thought that I might never write another novel in my life;

The thought that I might have to write another novel in my life;

The concept of infinity;