A blast of cool air buffeted his head as he passed through the turnstile. He looked up, perturbed, and noticed the port. It was an off-white vent, yellowed with age and bearded with a thick black fur he took to be dust.

He wondered how many times he’d passed through this gate before realizing he was being bathed in dirty air. He’d been coming through this exit of the transport station for almost ten years and never once had this disturbed him.

Continuing through and stepping to one side, so as not to inconvenience any of the other early-morning commuters, he took a moment to study the port. It was not the only hole in the ceiling above the multitude of turnstiles: there was one for each gate, totalling twenty on this side of the station. He watched as the people walked under them, oblivious to the mild rustling the cold air caused, the minor damage to the careful hairstyles of the throngs of office workers on their myriad ways to their morning employments.

He’d be late if he waited any longer. A sudden fear seized him, causing a cold sweat to pop up on his shaven lip and under his chin. He couldn’t be late, not this morning. There was important work to do. He put the vent out of his mind and continued to his office.

Everything continued to go according to plan.


I gave her my life, because I couldn’t think of anyone or anything better to give it to.

I always was a little a short-sighted, living only for the next test, living only on the next paycheck, a whole life’s behaviour dictated by the morning weather forecast.

But she had shone brighter than the sun, bought me everything my meagre wage could never afford, and answered all the questions I failed.

I’d never really had any beliefs. If you’d asked me about love, I’d recite some lyrical nonsense that had come from some English crooner a half-century before. I was genuine only so far as I was a replica of a replica.

Some people would call this living. Some people are idiots.


He’s six-foot-one and his clothes always fit.
He sees you looking but he don’t give a shit.
He’s Imperial… Slim.
He’s Imperial… Slim.

He’s got more bitches than your fingers can count
but it’s not a figure that he cares to flount.
He’s Imperial… Slim.
Yes, he’s Imperial… Slim.

He’ll pass you in line without a second thought.
The things you wanna own? He’s already bought.
Those cries in the night are the ones he’s caused.
Not a blemish,
not a scar,
not the tiniest flaw.

He’s Imperial Slim.