Here’s some new fiction for everyone. It’s a bit sci-fi I guess. Any feedback welcome.


From: Gary McCann <>
Date: Tue, 05 Feb 2020 at 10:43am
Subject: Maintenance

Dear Sirs,

I am writing to you on behalf of the residents of the 110 Copeland Road Tenants Association, of which I am a member, regarding a number of issues with the property which have been on-going for an extended period of time. The bulk of these issues are recent, however there are a couple which have been outstanding for at least a year if not two. As you are no doubt aware, as the factor and also the landlord for, as far as I’m aware, two of the twelve properties in the building there are certain elements of safety which you must, by law, attend to. Please note the following:

  1. Front door

In the first instance I bring to your attention the front door. It has now been over two months since our property was raided and there is still no sign of it being fixed. What’s the point in secure entry if it is not secure? As the factor you have been notified about this numerous times by myself and, as far as I’m aware, three or four other tenants. It has now gotten to the stage where drunkards are urinating in the close on a semi-regular basis. Mr and Mrs Joyce in property 1/2 have even told me that once or twice they have caught two men having “relations” in the close under one of the broken lights (yet another problem, I hasten to add, which you have not fixed yet). Although I have only seen the wrappers, I am told that there have been at least two condoms found in the close. The other neighbour who noticed this did not specify if they had been used or not and I was in no hurry to enquire. Similarly, I have had to clean vomit from the floor several times. Despite our best efforts to clean the entire close once a week it is becoming increasingly difficult to remove the smell of urine. Please have this seen to immediately.

  1. Graffiti

In the second instance I bring to your attention the graffiti on the walls of the ground floor. I can only assume that this is related to the first issue in as far as youths and general miscreants are coming into the close and scrawling their names on the walls. Not only that, but an ideological debate about graffiti as art and its political force has broken out on the wall next to the back door. Further, there is extremely offensive language and slurs against our masters in the government all along the front door. I have made an attempt to remove some of the more lurid writing but the majority of it remains and I see no reason as to why we should have to do this when it is a property that you take care of.

Please do not assume that I have an aversion to this kind of thing. I surely dabbled in it in my youth and was a great admirer of Banksy and other kinds of non-conformist, slightly anarchist leaning graffiti artists, just as long as it was done in a designated area out of sight of the general public (please note: I am not an anarchist or even remotely left wing, but I can and do appreciate art and talent) but this is just nonsense. I would campaign to keep this kind of thing in the close if it served some kind of aesthetic purpose, or indeed held an oppositional beauty all of its own, however I feel that last month’s raid may have been influenced by the “ALL HAIL KAUATO” graffiti which currently adorns the front door. Kauato is a fascist and would sooner see this country in ruins than in the hands of our current benevolent masters. Nevertheless if the police force thinks that we are affiliated in some way with this revolutionary terrorist cell then surely the beatings will continue?

I urge you to see to the front door and graffiti as a matter or great urgency.

  1. Tenants in the properties you own

For the third matter I would like to draw your attention to flat 3/2 which, I am lead to believe, you are the landlord for. For the past year or so the people who occupy the flat have been throwing raucous parties on a Friday and Saturday night and I have to turn down many invitations to such festivities on a bi-weekly basis. Partially because if I can hear the music through the floor, then being in such close proximity to a speaker that loud might make my tinnitus worse, and partially because I can no longer tolerate alcohol or stimulants. Quite why those who dwell in this property have not been carted off to a gulag yet is mystifying for they, in my mind, are not particularly sympathetic to our current ruling classes. I have, on numerous occasions, heard anti-government propaganda from the flat. The police did turn up on a Saturday evening a few weeks ago at around 1am, however they did not leave until the following afternoon. Such upstanding citizens of our beloved republic are incorruptible, and one can only assume that these “party animals” detained them and hurled abuse at them for being the respectable peace keepers of our society; the very antitheses of the rebellious occupants of flat 3/2. Please advise your tenants that this is not acceptable and that we in this block refuse to tolerate their noise any longer.

Perhaps in an attempt to be funny, members from that flat, or perhaps individuals from the parties they have thrown, have left the following items outside my door on no less than five occasions:

  • A broken bongo drum.
  • The right arm and left hand of a mannequin.
  • A selection of baby’s dummies and toy cars.
  • Some anti-government propaganda.
  • A garden hose without a nozzle.
  • A toy ray gun.
  • A top hat and a pair of sun glasses.
  • And the complete works of Karl Marx including ‘Das Kapital’ (which I already own, I hasten to add, but only for purely research purposes).

I do have a sense humour, sirs, but this has become tiresome. Surely they can be evicted for this?

  1. “Shady” neighbours

And onto the fourth matter. It is quite similar to the third in as much as there seems to be a kind of revolving door policy in operation in flat 4/1. Myself and a couple of the other neighbours have noticed that a number of shady looking characters seem to come and go at all hours from property 4/1. Having brushed past a few of them on the hallway I can tell you that they are not the most clean smelling of men and indeed appear to always be carrying some kind of bag or large holdall. Their shifty looks are of great concern to Mrs Dean in 4/2 who thinks that they may be plotting to kill her. While I find this to be unlikely, they are slightly suspect and I am surprised that they have not been visited by the police, particularly because most of the neighbourhood watch in this area have been visited by the police for offences such as trampling begonias, having their grass too long or not keeping their hedges within the government regulation height. I’ve heard rumblings that Father Haver down the street was taken down to the station and interrogated by government officials for the simple infraction of not changing his light bulb in the hallway.

  1. Smelly neighbours.

Although this is related to point number four, it is of such great importance that it is worth discussing on its own; there is a strange smell coming from apartment 4/1. Having brushed past the occupier in the hall I can tell you that he is not a great fan of personal hygiene, nevertheless the smell that is coming from the apartment is not due to poor hygiene. As you are probably not aware I have a friend who is a Professor of Biology at the educational institute – I’ve known him since my service in the air force during the civil war, where he served as a mechanic and I a pilot – and he has now brought to my attention, on no less than three occasions, that the foul odour from the apartment is that of ammonium nitrate. A key component of the IUDs he says were once used by insurgents during the Second Gulf War. In this instance I have not notified the police for fear of another search. I do believe, however, that if you were to actually perform one of the flat inspections that you never carry out, you might be able to go to the police about this yourself.

  1. Handrails

For point six I wish to draw your attention to the handrails on the stairs which connects the second and third floor has been broken now for around two years. This is now the seventh time I have notified you about this in writing.

  1. Close window

Similar to point six point seven concerns the window on the ground floor, which is entirely missing. I have no idea when this happened but the window frame is also completely absent. None of those who live in the building can recall hearing any glass shattering recently. One can only presume that it has been stolen but to what end is anyone’s guess.

  1. Third floor stair

The very last stair before you set foot on the fourth floor is loose. You have even tripped over it yourself when you were showing the men in 4/1 around the property before they moved in. That was over two years ago. It is disgraceful.

  1. Inspections

Our overlords have now broken down my door to inspect my flat three times in the past month. Oddly they have not done this with Mr Ammonium Nitrate across the hallway. Why? I know you have no control over this but you could perhaps put in a good word with your owner? Mr Kensure in 4/3 says he is quite close to Mr Alexander’s son who I am lead to believe is in tight with the Commissioner of our sector. Since the alien invasion a year ago I have found that the older members of society are dwindling. As I’ve said, I know you have very little control over this but I do fear for my safety now that I fall into the older gent bracket.

I suspect that the gestapo think that the smell of Ammonium Nitrate is coming from my property, hence the raids, beatings and removal of my wife. I urge you to inspect both properties 3/2 and 4/1 not only because you own them but because I’m sure your report on both of these properties will filter down to the Ministry of Housing who will, in turn, see that the occupants are dealt with in the proper way. I have had many items deemed “un-patriotic” removed from my flat by police officers who seem to think that my interest in the literature of 19th, 20th and 21st century left wing revolutionaries is for more than mere interest. Our new overlords from Alpha Centuri seem keen to eradicate any form of media and literature which is deemed counter to their own policies and evidence of this can surely be found elsewhere in the building. I implore you to you do the right thing in this instance. I am unsure if my body or book collection could suffer another raid. My wife called your office about this before her disappearance yet nothing came of that particular phone call, why?

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely and with regards,

Gary McCann