Full English


The two men stand on the pavement looking down at the grate. Neither speaks. In the road, the traffic crawls. Rush hour. None of the drivers give them a glance even though they are only feet away; too busy watching the clock, listening to travel news, chewing on a bacon roll.

“Need to close this off,” ventures one of the men.

The other grunts. “Maybe soon. Let some traffic clear. It’s not going away.” He looks up at the early morning sky.

The other man follows his gaze. “At least it won’t rain.”

They both look down again.

The second man rubs first the toe of his right shoe on his trousers and then his left. It doesn’t make much difference. The shoes are about eight years old. Scuffed. Into their fifth soles. But comfortable, faithful. His trousers shiny. He knows he should get himself a new outfit, but can’t be bothered. He has other priorities.

The first man watches him out of the corner of his eye. “You’re thinking of going shopping?”

Another grunt. “Wouldn’t know where to start.”

“Fashion pages?”

Grunt. “Yeah! Hasn’t helped you. That green suit.”

Willow green!”

“Yeah, willow green. Forgot.”

“Need to get a uniform watching this until we can tape off the area.”

“Reckon it’s in there?”

“Probably not. But need to check.”

“Or she tossed it into the river.”


“An open mind.”

“The papers will love that!”

“Sick bastards.”


“Or probably ‘he’.”

“More likely.”

“Here comes Mr Plod.”

They exchange nods with the uniformed constable, point at the grate, and weave their way through the traffic to the other side of the road, and into a café.

“Full English twice and two cuppas,” says the first man.

The second man takes two newspapers off the rack. Collects knives and forks and paper napkins, finds a table.

They sit and read, waiting for their breakfast.

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11 Responses to Full English

  1. You’re right. But not nutritionists!

  2. Sarah Ann says:

    Would like to know the back story to this. I think this pair need something else to do. They sound a little jaded.

  3. How deliciously mysterious and tantalizing!

    • It was fun putting it together. It’s actually just a couple of bored detectives. Visualise the first scene of a made-for-TV cop show! But the title and cutting it off like that really changes things.

  4. Elaine Peters says:

    It’s a mystery. Sounds like a murder weapon, or a waste of police time. Great dialogue.

  5. Tessa Sheppard says:

    I enjoyed the characterization of the two men. Some sinister plan is in the works. Great job!

  6. SJ O'Hart says:

    I struggle, in my own writing, with ‘telling too much’. That’s why I love this story – we’re not told what the men are looking at, but we can guess. We’re not told what the second man’s ‘other priorities’ are, but that gives us huge imaginative space around the story. I really enjoyed this story just for itself, but I enjoyed it hugely as a lesson in how to write, too. Well done.

    My only small nitpicky thing: you don’t need an apostrophe in ‘cuppas’. Sorry! *removes editor hat*

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