The first great short story I ever wrote was written in a small room in a small apartment in Singapore, and it was so hot in there that I’d constantly be drenched in sweat. There was no air con, and all I had was this square window – that window, that stupid window! You’d open it and all it would do was bring in more heat. It laughed at me as I scowled, unsure whether it would be smarter to keep it open or keep it closed. That window: my girlfriend at the time would have countless nightmares of me opening it and falling out. I wondered about what kind of pain I’d feel if I fell out of it. I was about twelve levels up. Would the death have been instant? Would I feel the same rush as I normally felt in roller coasters?

“Why don’t you try, Dean?” The window asked me. “Why don’t you try?”

I was poor, so my girlfriend bought me all sorts of things: snacks, toys, books. She loved Neil Gaiman and she loved her cat and she loved junk food. She bought a lot of cheese sticks, fried chicken and McDonald’s and after eating all that nonsense she often leant out my window and smoked her mint cigarettes and turned around once in a while to remind me of the nightmares she had of me falling out and leaving her for good.



Surface Children is now available for free shipping