Short Stories | Contos


Gregory sat on the bench, tightly close to Sophie due to the cold. For thirty eight years they would sat there every Saturday afternoon, except on vacations. When occupied, they would lay down on the lawn. The river started to change color as the Sun moved towards the horizon, dimming the stains of pollution to tones of mustard. Some kids were jumping on skateboards, boys and girls. Though he could be their grandfather, the girls were making Gregory horny.

“Good heavens! Things never change!”, muttered Sophie, flashing wide open his overcoat. “With this cold and you having a lump under your trousers. They’re underaged, Gregory!”

“It’s automatic. You hear me saying this for decades. Do you really want to have another argument on this?”

“I thought you’ve learned something.”

“Their boobs are giggling, for crying out loud! There’s no learning to restrain the effect! We could be on the North Pole and my pole would rise still!”

Sophie punched him in the stomach.

“Time to get you distracted, you sperm brain.”

It hurt, but it did not work.

“Honey, come on. You also get aroused when some well dressed Adonis passes by. You blush like a tomato.”

“I do not!”

“You’re blushing right now, in denial!”

“Here we go again.” She rose her arms to the purple clouds. “We know the drill back and forward, and we will repeat it all over again until we die.”

“Even after our death, honey. This is eternal. This is eternity itself.”

“Sure is. The programming of nature, the gods and God. Thou shall have lust and jealousy.”

“Right. The urge for multiple sex encounters and to demand fidelity from each other.” Shivering, Gregory closed his overcoat and rested his head on Sophie’s shoulder. “The darnest thing is knowing all this doesn’t prevent us from lust and jealousy and from blaming each other.”

“I must blame you. I am your wife. I’m the love of your life for almost forty years.”

Taking a deep breath, Gregory growled:

“Their boobs are awesome!”

“Stop that, you pedophile!”

“I bet you’re now remembering the surfer you stalked last Summer. The kid was fifteen!”

“I wasn’t stalking him!” Sophie punched Gregory again. “He just happened to be in all places.”

“You offered him sandwiches and tried to put some cream on his chest.”

“There was a red alert on the weather report! Some people had to go to the hospital with sunburns and dehydration.” Now she rested her head on his shoulder. “God! We really are survivors. The excuses we get to keep our animal selves getting their way.”

“I like being an animal.”

“I noticed that.” She patted his thigh.

“You’re blushing”, he whispered.

The Sun was getting orange. Two skaters kissed. It was damn cold.

Saturday, 12th June 2021

Nuno Neves

Short Stories | Contos


Insomnia. Hell. For at least a couple of months, Raphael wasn’t capable of having a good night sleep. He tried everything, until the walls and ceiling of his house couldn’t contain him any more. That’s how long walks at 4 AM started.

He didn’t use the elevator. Eight floors down the stairs, echoing through the the corridors as a horror story ritual. In reality, it was worse than that. Pure sadness. The sadness coming from nowhere, revolving your guts for no reason. An immense boredom attacking stomach, lungs and throat, crunching the heart with spikes of ice that bring salt to one’s eyes from the recess of tears. Sea not coming ashore, currents from the depths.

The shower of automatic light in the hallway judged his escape. That instant of spotlight brought up all guilt from all his major and minor sins. Imperfection and delusion scanned, scrutinized by all those he cared for, and, worse than ever, those who were nothing to him. Raphael, the wannabe gentleman and reference of virtue.

A deep breath of cold mountain air was part of the ritual. It calmed him down, but not enough to go back to sleep. Long hesitation before starting the march. All routes were already made. Even the escape walk itself was contaminated with boredom and excruciating sadness. Time to get in to the rescue boat. Observation. Five senses eager for novelty. Look at my red nose! Watch the clouds leaving my mouth. Feel the cold on my eyelids, trying to find its way to my skull. He started walking.

Dampness everywhere. One had to be careful not to slide on the sidewalk. That would be funny, breaking a leg during insomnia. Moss grew between the slabs of concrete. That shouldn’t happen in a polluted city, as far as he could remember from the chitchat of some tourist guide when on vacations. Even paradises were a bore. He had been in a few. Most times they become hell. Too many boring people in them, doing their best to let loose the worst of themselves. Now he got the answer. The moss got fed up with paradise and went to the city, showing at early hours, away from boredom.

Is this why I am awake? He hastened the pace. The stupidity of his thoughts. Insomnia to escape from days of sadness and boredom. As if walking like that was the ultimate ecstasy, a moment of happiness to endure life, a therapeutic journey from a cheap self help guide.

“I just want some sleep, for Christ sake!”, he yelled in the darkness of an alley.

“So do I!”, shouted someone from a window. “Go home, you nuts!”

Raphael kept on walking as fast as he could. Not back home and certainly not from fear. Speed was needed. Speed in darkness. No destiny. Just nothing. Fast.

Saturday, June 5th 2021

Nuno Neves