Mother used to buzz anyone into the building. She claimed it was because she couldn’t hear. ‘I can’t hear them tell me they’re an axe-murderer, or a jewel thief, or a religious fanatic on the conversion trail.’ Then she’d sniff. Loudly.


She’d not grown up with doorbells, let alone buzzers that gave access to an entire building. She’d grown up with unlocked doors, with ‘Only me!’, with Mrs. Smith just walking in through the back door, even though Mrs. Smith got on everyone’s nerves.

‘We’ve all clubbed together. We’re getting you a video entryphone. They’ll be coming to fit it on Friday.’

‘Waste of money.’ A sniff, worthy of the high-powered vacuum she’d coveted for years.

Saturday morning, I pressed the buzzer and stared at the screen. No face appeared. Just a voice.

‘Not today, thank you!’




R. J. Kinnarney is trying to make sense of their corner of the world, through tiny pieces of writing and lots and lots of reading. When not distracted by a myriad short-story ideas, they are currently working on a novel, which focuses on what it is to be strong in the face of challenge and prejudice. Work can be found in all sorts of places. Links to published works on Twitter: @rjkinnarney