A conker spat out of the sky today, shooting it’s spiky shell at someone else, and the inside to my feet. I picked it up, and was reminded of this very short story I wrote a few years ago. It was partly a response to the theme of atonement that ran so strongly through The Kiterunner, by Khaled Hosseini, Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro and of course, Atonement, by Ian McEwan.
I wanted a character who did not regret the crimes of his youth, and this is what happened.
A neighbour’s voice cuts through the borders of an old man’s lonely life, throwing him into reminiscence of the friends of his youth and his crimes against them. He fights to fit his actions into the world view he has viciously sustained, as through presenting a case for his innocence.