Are you (and your duck) going to San Francisco ?

I know you thought it was terribly ironic. So very arch. The three of them flapping their way diagonally up the wall of your flat. Apartment. Loft space. Whatever the hell your friends are calling the places you live now. Earnestly discussing over a micro brew and a plate of sushi in some bar in Hoxton or Shoreditch or Hackney. Or a coffee or a herbal tea or whatever drink you’ve told each other is absolutely the only drink that can be drunk now. Somewhere with wifi anyway. And somewhere you can all chain up your bikes. Though why anyone would steal a fixie is beyond me. You’d catch them halfway up the first hill they attempted. Gears are progress you idiots, not some aesthetic mis-step away from some misremembered cycling purity. Jesus, if I never see you, your friends, or any of your skinny jeans, beards, or retro chic technology again it will be too soon. Casio watches were shit the first time around. Irony doesn’t make them better this time.

So, yes, you only have two now. I took the middle one to leave you a space. I’m sure there’s something you can pick up at Portobello to put there. Maybe a giant smiley face ? No one’s resurrected rave culture and remade it as some massive in joke of cool yet so, for once, you could take a lead. Strike out from the bearded herd. I know effort isn’t that cool but just do it before midday on the weekend – none of your friends will see you then. Still comatose besides their designated fuck buddy from the night before. You all declared love and intimacy passé, right ?

I stole your duck and took him to San Francisco. Fucking hell. It sounds like the sort of thing you’d say. Or read. Probably in one of those overgrown kid’s comics – I know, I know, they’re graphic novels – that lay strewn by your futon. The ones you bought when you declared that words were dead and wanted to explore your relationship to the world visually. Just before you declared print was dead and only experiences in-the-moment had validity. And then mindfulness was so over and it was all mindless hedonism. And then it was all about abstinence and simplicity (been back to your allotment lately ?). I’m exhausted from watching you make peer approved lifestyle choices. Anyway, you should clear up those comics. They’re a fire waiting to happen; one misplaced joint and the whole of Hoxton up in smoke. Thank God – or Daddy at least – for the trust fund.

So, yes, I see the irony but I’ve taken it. The duck has taken flight to the home of real counter culture and free love and Tales Of The City and LSD and flowers in hair. With me.

I’m sick of faking it. So maybe I’m swapping one set of clichés for another but me and the duck are off: we’re going to find ourselves and live.


This is the fifteenth story in my series of 42 shorts that I’m writing to raise money and awareness for Mind, the mental health charity. This came straight out of a writing class exercise prompted by nothing more than the line “I stole your duck and took him to San Francisco”. I deliberately kept it to 500 words. Please share it if you liked it (or even if you didn’t…). If you’re interested in donating to a great cause then please visit my fundraising page.


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