Friday, 16 November 2012

Sudden Prose Reprints: "A Loyal Friend" by Tania Hershman

"A Loyal Friend"

Most people considered Jacobsen a loyal friend and so they invested everything, every cent they had. When Jacobsen failed to appear at the time they had agreed, no-one worried. Jacobsen's a friend, they said to each other. He is probably delayed, they said cheerfully, and helped themselves to nuts.

Several hours later, when attempts to contact Jacobsen had failed, they started talking in a different way. This is the point where you smile, they said to one another, and you say, We should have known. This is the point where you call the police.

Jacobsen was never found. It was never even determined where Jacobsen had come from, so to work out where he went was a lost cause. For a long time, his friends, the ones who had considered themselves confidantes and intimates, would meet and talk about him. One by one they began to confess their ignorance. What was his first name? they whispered to each other. What was he really called?

Tania Hershman is the author of two story collections: My Mother Was An Upright Piano: Fictions (Tangent Books, 2012), a collection of 56 very short fictions, and The White Road and Other Stories (Salt, 2008; commended, 2009 Orange Award for New Writers). Tania's short stories and poetry are published or forthcoming in, among others, Five Dials, Stinging Fly, Tears in the Fence, PANK magazine, Smokelong Quarterly, the London Magazine, and New Scientist, and on BBC Radio. She is writer-in-residence in Bristol University's Science Faculty and editor of The Short Review.

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