I wanted to like this story, but it didn’t happen (which is why this comment is late – I find that I have little to say about it). Shelley is married to Roy and her son Anthony is posted to Afghanistan. Naturally, she worries about her son, although it’s clear that she and Roy think he has grown up in the army, especially because he’s left his scruffy friends behind. Shelley is helping out her friend Pam, who has a cleaning business, in order to earn a little extra money for the upcoming holidays. In the early part of the story we also hear about Kerry, Shelley’s pregnant teenage daughter, surrounding whom there might be some tension but, in fact, there isn’t. Shelley keeps waiting for bad news on her cell phone . . . The big excitement of the piece is when Shelley manages to dislodge a greasy lump of hair from the drain she’s cleaning. I don’t know about you, but that isn’t enough for me to make a story worth reading.
February 4, 2008: “Friendly Fire” by Tessa Hadley