Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
The sun was resting on the horizon by the time she reached the turnoff. She headed along the coast road until she came to the surfclub and then veered into the carpark where she stopped the bike. The cool afternoon air swum through her hair as she eased the helmet from her head. She sat straddling the bike, staring out over the ocean, her arm hugging her helmet against her hip the way you might nurse a small child.
The ocean was almost as she remembered it. The clubhouse was much the same, less paint but more space where they'd added a few meters on to the upper deck. She looked up at the small crowd huddled behind the new perspex shield that ran the perimeter of the deck. Harmonious laughter rang out from a table followed by the discordant sound of chinking glass. Just being this close to the club had memories drowning her logic.
She reached inside her jacket and pulled out the letter, checking the address once again. The letter was written four months ago and was now worn and battered from her constantly folding and unfolding, trying to make up her mind what to do. It had arrived so suddenly. Was so unexpected and she had carried it with her every day since. She wondered how long it took him to find her after so many years. Some days the weight of it all was almost too much to bear.
She checked the house number again and tried to imagine the place. He'd moved since she left. She recognized the road where he now lived. It was as close to the beach as you could get without actually swimming in bed. At least one of them had followed their heart. She climbed from the bike, fishing for change in her pocket. She strode through the car park, her boots squeaking all the way to the phone booth where she stopped.
She pulled open the door and nestled herself inside, leaning back against the glass as she picked up the receiver and started to dial. It was only manners to call first. She turned to the sea as the ring tone buzzed in her ear, and she watched the last of the sun slip beneath the horizon, the sky now bruised with purples and pinks. The phone rang four times before a click and a voice.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Her brow creases slightly as she takes in the words, though she almost knows them by heart. They have been written by a man she hasn't seen for the last ten years. She's not even sure if he's living or dead. She's willing to gamble against the odds. The news is old and worn and knows if she's honest, the point of this exercise is moot. The chances of finding him are perhaps as remote as sharing a table with elderly folk in a small cafe, south of Bunbury.Danger is present in both possibilities, and for all parties concerned, depending on whose view you take.
She reads the letter again.
My Ella...it begins, and it ends with forever yours, Jack....
He's the only one who has ever called her by name. She drinks her latte and glances at her watch. She will need to make time if she is to get there before dark. She downs the coffee and pulls on her jacket, tucks the letter back inside. She picks up her helmet and makes her way to the counter and slides a ten dollar note to the boy. He takes the money, eyes downcast and then glances out the front window to the street.
"Nice bike," he says, flashing her a quick look.
"Thanks," she throws him an enormous grin that waters the harshness from her face. Her teeth are still good, despite her years of wild living. She is proud to have managed to steer herself back on course. Her savage days are long over. He succumbs to the infectiousness of her smile and grins back at her.
"Have a good day," she says, leaving the change on the counter.
She walks out onto the pavement and presses her head into the empty dark space of her helmet as the empty dark spaces inside her head begin to fill once again with the vivid memory of Jack Alamus.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
The old man reclined in his chair and lifted his feet onto the poof that he shared with the cat. He popped open a can of Lemon Fizz and slurped loudly from the can before setting it down on the small table beside him. He adjusted his robes, brushing away the dust that had gathered over the afternoon. He looked at the cat. The cat looked bored, having grown tired of grooming itself near to death. It startled at the fizz of the can being opened, its eyes all dark and slitty and its tail switching about in the evening air.
“Where’s mine?” the cat asked.
“Your thumbs painted on?” the old wizard asked. The cat had been born with opposable thumbs. Many thought it a peculiar and unusual thing for a cat to have working thumbs. Strangely, no one thought much of his ability to speak. The cat lifted itself from the chair and stretched itself into an arc before leaping from the poof, in search of a drink.
“So where’d you put them?” he asked, glancing over his shoulder toward the wizard.
“The blue esky, and make sure you shut it properly tonight. I woke up to find slush in the thing this morning…” he chastised the cat. The cat leaned back on it haunches and wrestled with the lid of the esky, eventually freeing it from its locks. He drew out a can of Orange Tang and as instructed to do so, he replaced the lid and secured it firmly. He lay the can on its side and proceeded to roll it back to the poof.
“It will fizz everywhere, you know that,” the wizard informed the cat.
“What’s up your robes tonight, old man?” the cat asked. It was true. The old man had been grumpy since lunchtime.
“Nothing much, thanks for asking,” he said, watching the cat tilt the can upright to crack it open with his infamous thumb.
“This is me you’re talking to,” the cat retorted, jumping back up onto the poof.
“There’s nothing up my robes, I’m fine, really…,”
“Yeah, right…talk to the paw,” the cat replied, holding his paw toward the wizard whilst deliberately looking the other way.
The cat dropped its paw and swung its head back toward him, staring at him with its large china blue eyes.
“Wanna talk about it?” he asked
The old man drew a deep breath and wriggled about in his chair.
“You remember the tablet we dropped on the Earth…the one with the pinch of goodwill and all that?”
“Yep – October 21 - .8:26 pm. I told you it wouldn’t work, remember?” The cat took a long swig from his can and then belched.
“Yes. I remember. And you were right. It hasn’t made a scrap of difference it seems. I just thought that maybe this year it might…” his voice trailed away.
“You’re not going to give up, are you? Just because you made a bad batch?” the cat asked.
“It’s Christmas Eve. Its too late to do anything now,” the old man sighed. “Tomorrow they’re going to get drunk and fight with their relatives and half of them wont remember the day and I guess I just wanted it all to be just that little bit different for once,” the old man lamented. “You know, make them see beyond all the catalogues and bottle shop sales.” he added.
“Well, its not all bad. Why don’t we rustle up a cracker of a sunrise instead? That wont take long to mix up and toss over the edge.”
The old man’s face softened a little as he considered the cat's proposal.
“You wouldn’t mind helping. Really? I just want to do something that I know has made some little difference…”
“Come on…’ said the cat, jumping down from the poof.
Together they toddled off to the wizard’s chamber and in record time had concocted a perfectly set Christmas Sunrise in tablet form. They rolled the tablet from the room, down the narrow hall and out the back passage toward the edge of their world.
“Same deal..on three..”said the cat.
“On three,” agreed the old man.
“One…two..three…” they shoved the tablet over the edge and peered after it, watching it spin through space and time.
“How will we know?” the cat asked.
“We’ll have to watch tomorrow’s weather, I suspect,”
“You wanna know what I would have got you if we did presents?”
“Sure – what would you have got me?”
“Socks and Jocks,”
“Oh. Thanks. That would have been good. Want to know what I would have got you?”
“Gloves. With thumbs.”
“You’re welcome. Merry Christmas then,”
“Yes. Merry Christmas.”
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
It’s one in the morning and I gaze from my taxicab window. Outside, a world in shadow rushes by, as I speed down the highway that would eventually deliver me to Mecca. The journey is slowed as we hit the traffic of Riyadh, and find ourselves crawling along at a snail’s pace. I look from my window again and notice a car parked off to the side of the highway, its doors swung open.
Pulsing from inside is the powerful beat of an Arabic song; eurhythmic clamor that competes with the noise of the passing cars. On the ground next to the car, a rug is sprawled, and on it lays several young Arab men, raising small teacups to their lips. The sight is foreign to me and replaces the vision of young boys at home swilling stubbies and cans and the like. The arab boys encircle an old tea flask, raising their cups amidst laughter and song, enjoying an age-old tradition.
We make our way toward what is now to be my new home, edging along the highway, where more cars have pulled over to the side of the road. I see children playing under the Mid-Eastern moon as their families’ huddle around teapots and baskets brimming with Arabic delights. They, too, sip at tiny cups brimming with tea and I begin to ask "Where on earth have I landed?" As I drive into the thick of it all, I am too mesmerised to realise that my life has begun to change forever.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
There is something tapping on the window…tap..tap..taptaptaptap…tap. I vaguely remember the rhythm, but dismiss my suspicions as I am forty flights up in the air, where no one can reach me. It is late and I am annoyed at the intrusion, for the night has been spent quietly reading alone in my bed. I have been robbed of my bliss.
I tune out the noise, or try to, as my hand plunges into the gaping neck of a large bag of chips. I was suitably sated until the tapper turned up. I hear it drumming its fingers against the glass, in between taps. I flick back the sheet and my chip crumbs fly south, and I slam down my book. I move to the window and fling back the curtain and there I see it, hovering in space, its head framed by a star-studded sky. It smiles at me from its spongy round head and I see it is wearing a ridiculous hat that is covered in cobalt blue feathers. Its tiny round figure bounces in space. I can only surmise it has been drinking again for it is actually wearing the pig’s wings I gave it last year. It hovers outside the window, the wings flapping madly, upholding its weight. It seems impressed with its antics and grins like a fool. It knocks even harder, now I have seen it.
“Pleeeeaazzzeee,” it whines to me. I give in to its foolishness, cranking the bolt and then throwing the window wide open.
“What do you want?”
“I need to come in. I have something to tell you,” it pleads.
I try to think of a dozen reasons to slap it and send it away. But I can’t think of a single one. The truth is, I have missed it and never expected to see it again. I move out of the way and watch as it flies into my room and settles on top of the bed. Without asking, it helps itself to a chip.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
I don’t remember her name. All I recall, that day, was my anger – a rolling orb in the pit of my gut. I just learned of my wife’s recent fuck-fest. News that saw me take refuge in every bar I could find. The booze worked its magic, anaesthetising my pain. My logic and reason crumbled like rock, landing in chunks at my feet. Driven by a wild and unavailing need for revenge, I took the first step – crossed over that initial jagged stone - the path became clear thereafter.
I spotted her in a bar in the late afternoon. She was young, clean, playing the game so when I asked her how much, she gave me a deal I couldn’t refuse. I slapped half the cash in her hand right then. I know a place, I told her. Not far away. I made a quick call and my life changed course.
We arrived at the place and I led her upstairs, to room number nine. I was oblivious to everything except the sun going down and her arse in my face as she climbed the stairs ahead of me. Just leave, I thought as I took her arm, wanting to say to her forget it but the flickering slide show of Ruth with another man undid me again. I regressed to the hateful revenge-seeking spouse. Paying for sex cheapened the act that would herald my sweetest revenge. So I had her – the clean young thing, for me and because of my wife.
After, I stared up at the blades of a slow spinning fan. Her scent clung to the sheets, her impression indelibly lodged in my own demise. We said nothing as I watched her walk out, closing the door behind her. Only then did I notice the door was red.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
She stood amid the peak hour rush, the crowd jostling about her, shoving and thrusting their way down the platform. She clutched an envelope in one hand, its edges jagged and torn from her eagerness to learn of the news. In her other hand was the letter. Her eyes scanned the page, flitting across the words; her breath trapped inside her, her life momentarily on hold.
A train roared through the tunnel, its approaching force whipping rubbish and dust high into the air around her. She stood oblivious; her eyes intent on finding the word that would finally allow her to breath once again. The crowd around her drained onto the train, the doors snapping shut, swallowing them whole. The train sped away and she stood alone on the platform with a pounding heart and fine tremor in her hands as she read. It was then her eye caught it – the word she had feared but longed for. She stifled a cry but tears still welled in her hazel eyes. A empty Styrofoam cup bounced along the platform before her, and she lifted her gaze from the letter she held. She released the breath that had been caged within, and replaced it with news that already ached to be told.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Noah opens his eyes and waits for his mind to catch up. The images come, jagged, erratic. He lies in a space where a stretcher should be, in the back of an ambulance. The comforting hiss of oxygen flows through a mask that is hugging his face. He struggles upward, ripping the mask away.
“Mate, take it easy there,” It’s the voice of his chief next to him. Noah turns and their eyes meet. “Where’s Jonah…where’s my wife… …is Lizzy…is she here…I saw Jonah…where are they…” Outside Noah hears the scream of a siren as another ambulance arrives at the scene. The siren warbles its way down into silence. The sound helps piece some of the fragments together as Noah remembers what is happening outside.
“This can’t be real, this isn’t happening,” he says, pressing his fingertips to his forehead, like they might rearrange the mess in his head; contain it until he can cope.
He looks through the yawning mouth of the ambulance, to the confusion outside and he is suddenly sick. He leans and vomits out the back of the truck. A long stringy bridge of saliva swings from his lip like a rescuers rope. He wipes it away with the back of his hand. He rambles, frustrated, as his garbled and fragmented thoughts form an incomprehensible dialogue.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
It’s the cruel blinding light in her eyes that disturbs her. She rises up on one arm; the other arm shields the glare from her eyes. Confused, she tries to determine the shape but it’s smell rather than sight that informs her. The booze on his breath sends a chill through her and as she ascends through the mantle of sleep, she knows why he’s come.
"Thought you could hide from me, eh?” he sneers, tossing the torch down on the ground, causing his shadow to crawl up with wall. She attempts to escape, to scramble away but he lunges upon her, trapping her scream with his palm. She struggles but knows she can’t win. He’s too big, too frightening and the scene too familiar. This has happened before. His hand slides from her mouth as he pushes her back on the bed.
“Uncle Dave, please, no…” her voice croaks into the night. Her hands tremble under his merciless grip.
“Just co-operate, Cassie, just like you did last time. Be a good girl,”
She hears the disdain in his voice. Her heart is like a trapped bird in her chest - frantic, frenetic, ensnared. He presses her down and she struggles but still hears the zip of his fly, feels his fumbling grope but then in the half dark, she sees the cold flash of metal approaching his head, and hears the sound of a gun being cocked. “Get, the fuck off her,” someone says. He freezes, and then pisses his pants. She feels the warmth of his urine seeping between them. A welcome relief.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Cars spew over the crest of the hill in a smear of colour. The road is still wet and shiny from this afternoon’s rain. I drive up the road and I see the old dog amble out onto the busy main road. I hear screeching of brakes and car horns that howl into space as I pass. I hunch my shoulders up to my ears, waiting for the thud and the screams. Nothing comes. I turn at the next island and race back in the direction I have just come from. I see the dog, an old beagle milling about in the scrub by the road. There is nowhere to pull over so I turn again at the break in the road and circle back. I have no idea why I am so compelled –I just know that ignoring him is no longer an option.
I turn off the road and park my car and head back to the main road on foot. I run, waiting for the blood curdling yelps of bad timing to reach me. I get to the crest of the hill and I see him. He looks up and starts walking toward me.
“Wait!” I scream at him, holding a hand up from the other side of the road. Brakes screech once again and I am powerless. Despite good intentions, I can’t stop him from crossing. A car passes, the driver flinging abuse at me through the window,
“Put your dog on a fuckin’ leash,” he screams at me. I shriek back at him but my abuse is carried away on the wind. The traffic eases and I run, nabbing the dog by the collar. I know this dog and have rescued him once before. I have a lanyard attached to my car keys and I tie it around the dog’s collar. He wags his tail, sniffs my hand and then resumes his rooting about in the long grass. He is unimpressed by my efforts. I grapple for my phone in my bag and I call the mobile that is etched in his bone shaped nametag. An onlooker appears and helps me carry him away from the danger. His owner turns up in her car, moments after I have hung up. Giggly kid faces are squashed up against the back windows.
“I think he must have nine lives,” she says, equally as giggly as her children. I want to remind her that he hasn’t. He has one life and she is responsible for it. But I say nothing. I drive home with my groceries and the smell of damp beagle on my skin.
The thing that lingers is the scream of the man who passed by in his car. How easily he blamed and abused. A fist of anger forms in my chest and I am powerless to defend my act. I am innocent but already hung in his eyes. He had no clue. Still doesn’t. In the quiet of my home, as I remember the malice trapped in his voice, I realise he was more scared than me. I forgive. I forget.