Newspaper Man

by Tim Frank

The Newspaper Man was born out of a rotting pile of hoarded newspapers in the living room of Jeremy’s apartment. It took years for the pile to build and when it reached six foot high the Newspaper Man crawled out, took a seat and opened up a tabloid, while ignoring the fat flies zipping about his paper head. Day and night the Newspaper Man skulked beside the pile of papers while shouting out headlines like a never-ending radio announcement, frazzling Jeremy’s mind. Finally, Jeremy donned a pair of gardening gloves and heaved bundles of decomposing paper into the garden and incinerated them in a metal bin. As the pile diminished, the Newspaper Man’s yells turned into whimpers, his human form disintegrating into a soggy mess on the parquet floor which was gathered up by Jeremy and burned with the rest of the paper. Once his living room was clean, Jeremy furnished it with a lime green sofa and a wrought iron coffee table where he placed his tablet, then he signed up for an online newspaper and scrolled through it every day with a grubby finger - the sound of the Newspaper Man’s shrill voice, along with the ruffling of sheets of paper, still echoing through Jeremy’s mind.


Tim Frank's short stories have been published in Bourbon Penn, Eunoia Review, Maudlin House and elsewhere. He is the associate fiction editor for Able Muse Literary Journal. Follow Tim on Twitter.