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And on the Fifth Day with Alan Beard... RIOT We're spending six days in the company of Alan Beard and all he does is write great stories

And on the Fifth Day with Alan Beard... RIOT

We're spending six days in the company of Alan Beard and all he does is write great stories

by OL House Writer,
first published: May, 2024

approximate reading time: minutes

Alan Beard with the penultimate entry into our Six Days With Alan Beard Collection, Riot

Alan Beard logo


For six days this week, new stories from acclaimed Birmingham (UK) based author, Alan Beard. Alan has published two story collections, Taking Doreen Out of the Sky (Picador, 1999) and You Don’t Have to Say (Tindal Street Press, 2010). Numerous stories and flash fiction have appeared in magazines and anthologies, in the UK, USA and Canada including Malahat Review, London Magazine, Best British Short Stories (Salt), most recently in Digbeth Stories (Floodgate 2023) and Thursday Nights (Tindal Street Fiction Group, 2023). Alan is Tom Gallon award winner; and is currently finishing off a third collection. His story here, although called Riot, feels prescient as the right to protest in any way is met with inanity, a reductive response, or often, state sanctioned violence.

 

RIOT

As we were burning, heaving loads to the fire, admiring the sudden gush of flame as a door blackened and gave, I felt waiting time being burnt up. There would be no more waiting. I saw lads dragging furniture and tipping cars to create barriers. I realised I knew few of these people. There was chanting. I looked for B. among the drinkers on the corner, he wasn’t there.

Stones came down like rain, like hail. But we held out behind the fire.

Heat the one element. A man holding his leg lying to one side in firelight. Helped him up, mind you don’t get burned. The crowd and its enemies beyond seethed and twisted in, hooting and screams, but I watched the fire crackle up and up, sheets of it turning into ragged orange fingers pointing this way and that. The fence burnt well. Newly creosoted it crackled and sent up sparks into the darkening sky.

When I could sense them breaking through, I moved away, back down empty streets. I felt B. would be OK, wouldn’t join in the looting, would go to a mate’s, sit it out.


© 2024, Alan Beard


essentials
Beard. An intro to Six Days with Alan Beard
Six Day with Alan Beard: Wants to Get High 
Six Day with Alan Beard: Too Many Bags
Six Day with Alan Beard: Slightly
Six Day with Alan Beard: Gone
Six Day with Alan Beard: Riot
Six Day with Alan Beard: Whatwastherethematterwithher?

Alan Beard on X formerly known as Twitter

Photo by Vitalina from Pexels

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