What do you do the morning after a one night stand when you cough and a decaying penis falls right out of your very own, very alive lady parts onto your shower floor?
From the first to the last, Adjei-Brenyah’s ‘Friday Black’ collection of short stories holds rank among some of the most visually-thrilling, inflammatory and enriching ones I’ve ever read. It’s a provoking and daring look at the lives and experiences of black men and women today and every day before, wrapped up in deliciously clever language.
I’m little. Only two years or so. I must be less than three years old, because she’s still alive. I’m outside, somewhere. I’m surrounded by people - large, looming faces that I don’t recognise. I tip my head over the arms that hold me to look around. There’s a beautiful one, two old ones, a big one, a really big one, a furry one, and there’s her.
When he died, a big part of Peter thought the rest of the world would too. He’d thought about how it might happen, many times. Not the way he’d die - that seemed fairly obvious to him - but how the world would cease after he was no longer there to watch it. Would the earth disappear with a bubble-wrap ‘pop’ at the moment his main artery finally clogged? Would the colors in the world start to drain as his vision swam? Would the roads, forests and oceans, some that he’d travelled across and some that he’d only read about, start to fold up on themselves like giant monoliths in the sky as his own heart constricted and failed in his chest? Most importantly, would anyone know why it was happening?
So many sounds that she couldn’t place. But they were coming from a place. Did the place come first, or the words? She sang them so they weren’t wriggling around in her throat like a fish. Like a plaice. She laughed and saw colours.
Spring was here, and so too, finally, was he. The group had been sat, or stood, for almost half an hour now on the front lawn. The photographer had so far been in and out of the house three times to collect more equipment. To the waiting men, the light bulbs, the stand, and the camera he was meticulously positioning looked like more of a bizarre sculpture than a setup for a single photo....
The pig (part of the Stranger Stories series) The moment she opened the front door, the shadowy figure grabbed at her. He rushed forward so quickly that he could have caught her heart in his hands as it leapt up her throat and out her mouth. But as she felt his hands on her, and smelled his cologne, she swallowed the feeling of fear. She recognised him.