Simon Henderson is a PhD candidate in Creative Writing. He has been shortlisted for a Hennessy Award, a Brian Moore Short Story Award, and his prose appears in the latest issue of the Lost River Review.

Here’s a short extract from ‘Table for Two’ by Simon Henderson:

We dined regularly at Valbella but otherwise, I couldn’t stomach the trendy overkill of the Meatpacking District, so I escaped down West 13th Street and followed 9th Avenue onto Greenwich, delving deeper into the West Village. You might think that at this point, perambulating the New York streets, I would contemplate a future of fatherhood and organic co-parenting and immediately concede to follow my expectant wife home, where the needless complication in our lives would melt away, making room for a new, embryonic bond to form. But I could tell you a story, or I could tell you the truth. And truthfully, my life is often remarkable for a sheer lack of resonance. If I am honest, I am rarely troubled by introspection, a self-realisation that led to a career in Law and ultimately paid rest to my adolescent ambition of becoming a fiction writer. Tonight, there were no hills and no white elephants—there was only pavement, flat out in front of me, passing under and by me, and I was bounding upon it, brimming and resolute. I imagined a mugger stepping out of the shadows, and I pitied the fool. Somewhere around here, I remembered, was a jazz club I’d gotten drunk in about a year ago. I hoped now for the luck to stumble upon it again, or upon the French lawyer I’d met there, a pristine 52-year-old who’d eyed me at the bar before leading me by the tie to an outrageous glass tower over on Charles Street, 14 stories up, to an apartment with ceiling-to-floor windows. Sunk back into a lounge chair, she parted her legs as the lacklustre glow of Hoboken fringed the void of the Hudson behind her. The view, as you can imagine, was stunning. She’d asked if I could guess the purchase price of the property and when I shook my head, she counted to five on elegant fingers then silently mouthed—‘mill-ion’—before curling all but one finger back into a fist, to beckon me with. I sucked in a plume of night air and whistled at the memory, but that jazz club eluded me. I stopped at Highlands Scottish pub and knocked back several whiskies before a heavy-breasted blonde with a deep, libidinous voice asked if the stool beside me was free to occupy then sat down without waiting for an answer

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Recorded in the QR studio by Lucy Smith and trusty sidekick Emmet McGonagle.