Sunday 16th November

Good morning - you're half-way through! And here's today's prompt:


He keeps the beer bottle top in the pocket of his winter coat. Each time he slips his hand in, away from the cold, he remembers the taste of him.


  1. Everyone was tipsy. We played spin the bottle. First kiss. Then a wedding. Kids. A divorce a little later. We remained friends. I still remember it was a beer bottle.

  2. She remembers the last one. The good taste of blood, mingled with not-good things – an unwillingness to be truly alive, a wrongness of being. She’d spat him out, too late.

  3. Spin the bottle, smash it on the ground, over a bloke’s head to end a life. Days of old; three beautiful girls, long dresses, scissors, string. Things today are ugly…


  4. It was the much hugged bottle,
    it was the beer which made him the addict,
    it was the same which made inroads
    into his life,
    deprived his warmth, his wife.

  5. Winter of spice
    hot rum
    cold beers
    the apr├Ęs ski
    log fires
    toasting marshmallows
    the parting partying
    that shared last drink
    however you look at it-
    he was the one.

  6. Emptying her coat pockets revealed: a biro, some loose change, gloves, countless shredded tissues. A tattered piece of paper fluttered to the floor. His telephone number. Dare she call? Later.

  7. The Chinese five elements system defines taste as sweet, sour, bitter, salty and pungent. My western tongue needs to find the elusive pungency, to let it explode in my mouth.

  8. The massive barroom doors stood between me and manhood. Mum sat at home crying. I was six. The doors swung open, wreaking beer fumes hit me, Terrified, I crept in and walked to the bar.

    There he was. I shouted up at him, pulling on the edge of his jacket. “Dad, mum’s crying, she says we’ve got no money. She says you’ve got it all.”

    Dad looked down at me. His face was red and bloated. His eyes didn’t seem to see me. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a biggest roll of money I had ever seen. I realised Mum was being silly. Things would be fine. He peeled a note off the roll and dropped it out of sight on the bar. I heard a laugh and he picked up a bottle top. He flipped it like a coin and I caught it. “Give that to your mum. Tell her to keep something warm and wet for me.” I didn’t know why he laughed, but his friends thought it was hilarious.

    I went home and told mum that she didn’t need to worry, because Dad had a big roll of money for us. I offered her the bottle top and told her his joke. She didn’t laugh and so I kept it.

    I remember I smelt his hot scraping cheek against mine as he smeared a beer breath kiss on my face. Dad was home. I cowered down and waited until the screaming started.

    Blue lights flashed around the room the night mum died and I went into care.

    Each night, my kids get a sweet smelling kiss and a hug before bed. When I pass the barroom doors I roll that bottle top in my fingers and remember how I learnt to be a Dad.

  9. On rainy days, he would sometimes slip the bottle top into his mouth. Just to feel the crenelations upon his teeth and to touch the corky centre with his tongue.

  10. Harold roots through the pile of bits and bobs from Jasfoup’s pockets and comes across a rusty crimped beer bottle cap. “Hey,” he says. “I used to drink this brand.”

  11. The stout fizzed as he stirred it into the treacley mixture; he would taste this rich, dark cake on Christmas Eve and raise a glass to his long gone father.

  12. His new winter coat should be warm and cosy.Plenty of pockets for putting little treasures.Conkers,golden leaves and acorns.
    If only I could put him in my pocket...

  13. I keep a stone that he touched in my pocket. When we are apart, I take out the stone and hold it, so I can feel him holding me close.

    Jamieson Wolf

  14. Some people collect bottle tops, others
    Coasters, beer bottle labels, or openers,
    But I guess most people carry memories of beer closer
    To the chest - a golden waist of drops.

  15. I have a champagne taste on a beer income but when I wear my necklace of bottle tops, pour ale into my slipper and close my eyes, I’m almost there.

  16. A slip of paper, with a good luck wish and a kiss. I kept it, hidden in the bottom of my bag until it disintegrated. Then I met you again.

  17. Two years since the accident, there is no forgetting; dead eyes haunt his dreams.
    He wonders how many Wafers need melt on his tongue before He gets around to forgiving.

  18. Each time he nears the pub he places the bottle top on his tongue. Bites down. The crush of teeth on metal. Hints of blood. Each time he passes by.

  19. A bitter wind sweeps through our home, taking with it what little warmth remained. We turn away from each other, and face the cold alone, wrapped in our own sorrow.

  20. Alcoholics Anonymous cured him but couldn’t dissuade him from keeping the top; it was a comforter, a baby’s dummy, but it never entered his mouth, he just felt it secretly.

    Mary Rose

  21. Cold flavoured breath and the frozen touch of something nastier in the background. All year you waited. And he belonged to you all along. You just didn't know it yet.

  22. Gerry said...
    I remember his name - Gastrostrix, his smooth
    consistency, the hint of texture in his tough
    cuticle. Not a single bone left on the plate. I remember the taste of him.

  23. Bottling up emotions can open up a can of worms which can manifest itself in emotional disorders, violent behaviour and excessive drinking.

    Is drinking a part of this recurring pattern?

    coll @

  24. Recently, we've heard about 'hockey mums' but here, she is surrounded by 'twirling mums'. She doesn't really see herself as one of them. She just doesn't get it. Within the makeshift arena, a school gym divided by red and white striped tape into four areas, the girls do their thing. It involves either a baton or pompoms but neither are used in their original contexts. So what's the point? As someone who does little resulting in a tangible end product with any practical purpose, she should understand the point. But it's all a bit weird. It's clearly a demanding sport and anyone who has ever tried to twirl a baton would surely agree. Perhaps it's the way it swallows you up whole; the weekly attendances at fetes in the summer, the competitions that take up a half term and the abandonment of sensible bed times and healthy eating. Then there's the unhealthy amount of attention paid to their appearances. Glittered cheeks and eye shadow on five-year-olds is the norm, leotards are minimal but sequinned, elaborate and unflattering to many. Smiles are fixed with hairspray and grips.

    Today is a one day competition. By 2pm, during the interminably long gap between her daughter's performances, her usual 'no caffeine' resolution made because of palpitations and insomnia is broken.

    As the sweet, metallic bubbles from the first can pass her lips, it's as if a long lost friend has just sat on the sweaty plastic chair next to her. Soon, she is making conversation and commenting on the strengths of routines or the quality of the costumes. She doesn't even know what her magical drink is made of. It doesn't pretend to be any particular flavour. But hell, it works and she's almost enjoying herself. Just for the taste of it.

  25. They were called 'jinks' the tops from beer bottles.As a child he collected them so Dad could hammer them to the top of a stick.
    Nowadays he's a drummer

  26. He had cut his mouth opening the bottle with his teeth. Later that evening, a fight and death from loss of blood. That red smear -- could it have saved him?

  27. From Douglas Bruton:


    Hapenny is a hoarder, a collector of memories in the everyday things that others throw away. Everything kept as a souvenir from his own life. Bus tickets from journeys with someone he once loved. Phone numbers scribbled on yellowing scraps of paper. Photographs of girls whose names he has lost. Love letters form those who left. And hair clips they dropped, and stubs of eye-pencil, and a lock of hair tied with ribbon. Is it wrong that Hapenny cut this from her as she slept in his bed?

    He finds them sometimes, these momentos, pressed flat between the pages of books he once read, in the deep dark pockets of winter coats he tries on after a time of not wearing. Matchbooks and sugar packets, cinema ticket stubs, cocktail napkins, and theatre programmes.

    They are proof, Hapenny thinks, proof that it happened, his life. Postcards to himself, and sometimes wishing he was not here but there. Looking back and seeing things better than they were. He laughs sometimes, at the memories, and cried once.

    There was a boy. Hapenny remembers. Turns over and over the cap of a beer bottle, sets it upside down in the palm of his hand, closes his fingers over it, tight, feeling it cut him. Hapenny was a boy himself then. On the threshold of something else. And Hapenny remembers. The way hair fell in curls at the boy’s neck, the blue flash of his eyes and his shirt buttons undone. Most of all, the taste of him in a drunken kiss. Then blood on Hapenny’s fist, and the boy smiling at him through broken teeth.

    Hapenny remembers, and wishes it was different. Not the beer-sweetened kiss, but afterwards, what he did. He keeps the cap of a beer bottle, and the boy’s name, close.


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