On Friday afternoon I was in such a hurry to leave work that I left my phone in my desk drawer. Sunday afternoon I go in to retrieve it and realize I need to piss while I’m there. The place is all empty cubicles and switched off lights, hot because the air conditioning doesn’t run after hours, and I trip down the back corridor to the bathroom and open the door.
First, the smell; it wasn’t a bad smell, which is even more disturbing than if it were awful, because you don’t like to think that another person’s excrement could be anything less than disgusting, so you stop breathing and back out of the doorway quietly, hoping that whoever is in there didn’t hear you come in and isn’t wondering why you’re leaving, having not done what you supposedly came in here to do. You notice – no, wait, ‘I’ – I notice that whoever is in the stall isn’t wearing any shoes. No shit, there is a hairy potato foot visible beneath the door of the stall.
Alright, so it is hot in here and if whoever it is wants to do their business barefoot, it’s none of my concern. But then I also wonder if this is some homeless guy who somehow snuck in to the building on Friday and has been stuck in here all weekend, pilfering instant coffee and milk arrowroot biscuits from the staff kitchen to keep from starving. Well I don’t own shares in the company, so I stick with Plan A: sneak out and rush home. If I turn up at work on Monday morning and find an ambulance parked out front, I’ll know not to tell anyone about the poor dead hobo on the bog.
Then he moans: urrggghhhh. I creep back, baby steps. Then he talks to himself: comeoncomeoncomeon. I cradle the door back into the frame. Then he babbles: ot’yer fabinfabinfabin yerkamin fer teeee. I lay the door on the jamb and

Read more: http://sitelines.humanities.curtin.edu.au/editions/vol8no2/Stalking_the_Partition_Line%20.cfm

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even to the sheets I appear white
when have you ever appeared any more than pale
the high road the train the mule the way to get home
the high road leads to empty death but when is death ever full
we attacked unsuccessfully the herds of the south
when you read this missive I will shoot you dead

in the wake of night plains shook like bed sheets
the wet path shot with mud barely visible
we want to see you here again
seeing where the rain falls through the trees
my hands pushing through rock eating up minerals
the mud clinging to my leg the path thick with blood

hope for white sheets and death
when will we appear

some hands encountered obstructive memories
the empty beyond the drive train mule
stammering mules driving toward death in an empty road
the night plains were disturbed throughout the attack
the mud clung to my face obliterating my field of vision
scrape some of the burning bush off your chest

the grieving judge will put his mouth to your ear
you will read this on your own tombstone

The Earthling.

25/08/2010

My latest work of fiction has been published in Curtin University’s creative writing journal, “Sitelines”. Space! Philosophy! Cats! This story has it all. Read it now, why don’t you?

Where we have been is drinking.
Drinking the dregs dredging the rivers revering the dead
mouthing the words to live by
heartening wounds.
We are in our place, where we were put and we are drinking.

We have been running our mouths at a place of drink.
Off with his head and shoulders older than most
throwing up onto the television, his head raised, his face like a raisin
such small things in his pockets
pots calling kettles
nettles in his hair
having a beached whale of a time
crowning like baby teeth teetering on a chair
everything is mine
fields
a demise despising your friends.
No one is safe, so I walk at 1am to buy toilet paper.
No one is awake at 1am, so I am safe.
At 1am the way is littered with toilet paper. No one thing is safe.
I am walking my produce home hungry but safe.
Our place is drinking.
Where we have been is our place.

The Pragmatic Chef

12/08/2010

Eating badgers and rats, police turn,
milling about in country hats.
Killing a dead animal,
animalizing the stuffed dead.
Now you’re eating your anger.
Now you’re gassing the cook.
Now the cook ignites, an intense ball of gaseous flame.
Now you’re bleeding on the food.

The sun glows,
bitterly high in the morning.
And the badgers have turned on the police.
The ideas have turned in the mill.
Laying the foundation of reorganization
cannibalizing stuffed animals.

The sun glows,
bitterly high in the morning.
The sand sighs bitterly,
scorning.
Now you’re killing a dead cook.

Shows

29/10/2009

I was watching a show in which two guys were trying to determine whether or not fake tan produced realistic results, so they strapped a blonde woman to a chair in the sun for three days straight, until her face blistered its way off her skull, and I felt a huge sense of relief when they proved that the sun didn’t cause women to turn orange, it just caused skin cancer.

I was watching a show in which contestants have to drug a total stranger and rape him in a car park, when the door burst open and my husband told me that I had to start looking for work because he had quit his job at the television station and demanded to be a kept man, “silk sheets, a terraced house, friends with the Beckhams”, etc.

I was watching a show in which contestants can only eat food that they have killed by their own hands, and during the climax of a particularly moving scene depicting a 23 year old aged care worker who had been left for ten days in a room with only a live cow and a large kitchen knife finally slitting the cow’s throat, but having to cut its eyes out first so it couldn’t stare at her while she was eating, and weeping as she tore strips of flesh off its hide while it was still alive and braying and mewling because she hadn’t killed it right, I started wishing I had some foie gras on white toast.

I was being bothered by a show in which an offbeat detective, who has precisely one (1) character quirk, but is funny and charming, and has colleagues who are one-dimensional caricatures so as not to detract from our hero’s thrilling charisma, and together they solve crimes by thinking outside the box, and I had just finished discussing it over various social networking websites when I received an email from a major network television producer who said that he loved my idea and would like to commission a series and, instead of reminding him that I was talking about a show that he, himself, had already produced, I decided to just go along with him and take the cash and then, after making my first million, I was truly contented.

I was watching a show that I was in, when the manager of the bank told me that they were closing and that I’d have to go home now.

I was watching a socially conscious show in which contestants compete for the right to marry a farmer who has been having a terrible time trying to find a compatible mate in his isolated country town full of women who say the word “cunt”, but now finds himself surrounded by classy city women who wouldn’t even mention that part of their bodies in conversation, but I missed the final scene, in which the winner is forced to fist fight the farmer’s mother, because the dog started humping my leg.

I was devouring a show in which obese contestants had to dance in order to win cash prizes, but were unaware that the show’s malevolent producers had created weak spots in the stage floor in order to make the show more hilariously enjoyable, and just before the winner was told that, in fact, she was not going to be getting any money and that she should just get a life and stop eating so damn much, my laughter reached the exact pitch of whale song and my lungs haemorrhaged, killing me instantly.

I was dissecting a show in which women undergo radical plastic surgery in order to make them more attractive to men (typically accomplished by adding a third breast), when I coincidentally resolved to start a fitness regime, for the good of my health.

I was watching a show in which a bunch of wannabe models train daily and nightly to become professional supermodels, but are constantly belittled and degraded by Tyra Banks, who is unaware of the fact that each contestant has been fitted with a set of acrylic nails that have been sharpened to such an extreme point that Jamie Oliver could confidently slice tomatoes with them, and they were starved of food, and starved of sleep, and fed cocaine to the point of psychosis and in the series finale, when they riot and slaughter Tyra, and the one who has collected the highest amount of Tyra’s skin and worn it on the catwalk wins, I suddenly became bored and changed the station.

I was watching a show in which two people with absolutely nothing in common are comically forced to live within each other’s immediate vicinity and roll their eyes until they bleed and retain permanent damage, when the universe collapsed in on itself, the rate of entropy spontaneously rising exponentially until all life, and everything else for that matter (puns, even in the face of doom), was reduced to an outright nothingness.

I was engrossed in a show in which fourteen year old girls, young girls, hot girls, girls well below the age of consent, are strapped to lie detectors and then quizzed about their sexual experiences, while a group of thirty-somethings sit around them, bent forward, intent, listening so hard, sweat pimpling on their foreheads, waiting for the words to fall out of the girls’ disgusting little mouths; “…and then he touched me”, and when the entire thing had finished and I got my breath back, I called the station to complain.

Another drink and I’m drunk
and not allowed to drive.
Another day and I’m doomed
a dead duck.
Another watershed moment
wielding a maraca like a mace.
I’m fine with your findings
allow me to defenestrate.
Paranoia, you say?
Pish-posh.
Emasculation the cause
of my career ending crash?
Perhaps it’s just what happens
when you’re a pushover and a half.
Bed is where I belong
before I do something bad,
Like lipstick your louvers
with a letter of discontent.
You see me as slovenly
but I assure you I am
As regally rude
as Alan Rickman.

Later, at the police station, I was able to open my right eye a little, but the outside world was still blurred and a rivet of pain shot through my face. I was trying to explain to the officer what had happened.
“I was walking home and I heard someone yell out ‘Hey, Fag!’, and then I was just getting hit. I can’t remember much else.”
“They said ‘Hey, Fag!’?” asked Officer Maltrone, hovering over a notepad.
“Yeah.” I said.
“You ever seen these guys before?”
“No.”
“So it was a hate… crime.” he spoke as he took notes.
“Uh, I guess. I’m not gay, though. I don’t know if that has any bearing.”
He stopped and looked at me.
“They probably thought you were. Were you wearing that scarf?”
“Yeah.”
“Hey, George.”
George was leaning against a door frame over the other side of the office, bulging out of his Sergeant’s uniform just above the pant-line. On hearing his name, he stopped taking bites out of a very large ham and salad sandwich and strolled towards us.
“What’s up?” he said.
“Is fag-bashing still a hate crime if the victim ain’t actually gay?” asked Maltrone.
“Well,” he began, “what you gotta look at is intent. Even if you ain’t gay, the guys were out to bash a fag and if they thought you were one, then it’s intent to bash a fag. Were you wearing that scarf?”
“Well, yeah…” I said.
“Well, then, there’s also the element of intolerance. Let’s say, just for argument’s sake, that these guys take exception to the way you dress, in this case, a terribly disgusting scarf. An eyesore, even. To an extent, they’re not just being intolerant of you, they’re being intolerant of the scarf, the style you appropriate, the store you bought it in, even the designer him-or-her-self. Either way you look at it: hate crime. Big time. There’s no room for intolerance in this world. Fags of all shapes and sizes should be allowed to walk the streets unmolested. Why in a perfect world…”
I lost focus at this point. My head was swirling and swimming butterfly, the strangest of all strokes. I was the victim of a hate crime. My world was now irrevocably changed. I pulled my scarf up over my head and tied it under my chin. I started to cry.
“There’s a survivors of hate crime support group I can recommend…” said Maltrone.
“No,” I said, weeping, “I just want to be left alone. To get on with my life.” and with that, I fled from the building. My career in prostitution began that night.

I was present on the day Truett was born, operating the video camera for his parents, who I’d met earlier that day during a tennis match I was umpiring. He entered the world in the style of a wild west gunslinger, his two little hands appearing first, pushing back saloon-door labia, then his head emerged and, though the doctors later put this down to the apportion of anesthetic among all gathered, I swear he looked up at us, scowled and said, “What you boys gawpin’ at?”

And he maintained this sassy pretense throughout his life (I always postulated upon a softer side to his character, though I have never seen evidence of its existence), which did not falter on the day he died. Lying upon his death bed, proclaimed too old to possibly still be alive, by every medical specialist in Texas, he reached for the phone and dialed Kneebone Robinson, largely considered to be the most dangerous man this side of Botembé, and brazenly confessed to seducing Kneebone’s partner, Dennis (a crime for which he was totally innocent, you know). Truett calmly reached for his sawn-off Uzi (he was the only man I ever knew who used to saw-off guns, no matter how small they originally were), emptied it of its ammunition, and held it pointed at the door, in anticipation of Kneebone’s arrival. Of course, even in lieu of bullets and quite ready to be euthanized, Truett still had the upper hand and, to this day, Kneebone still can’t talk without stuttering.

Anyway, ashes to ashes, Par tem ar peraminus, goodbye old friend.

Gareth slumped low in the couch, legs spread in front of him. He felt neither one way nor the other about what the results might be. He was comfortable for now and that was the only thing that really mattered. The huge window in the front of the lounge room was tinted dark and spattered with bubbles, the odd pockets of air separating the plastic tint from the glass. The sunlight that shone through the tint was eerie, like in movies where they played with the film to make a scene shot during the day look like night. Gareth enjoyed the feeling of this faux-moonlight, making his pale skin glow a dull purple.

Gareth had been thirteen years old the last time he’d seen his father, Bob. He’d turned up at his Aunt Gladys’s house, where Gareth had lived most of his life. He hadn’t stuck around. He asked Gareth how he’d been keeping, dropped an envelope full of money on the kitchen bench and said goodbye. The whole visit lasted roughly eight minutes, with Gladys staring at Bob, tight-lipped for every one of them. When he left she swept up the money, left the room and never mentioned the incident again.

Gareth ran a hand through his hair which, over time, had begun to resemble that of a clown’s, disappearing in all the right places, but neglected, growing in thick clumps, one on either side of his head and another one climbing out of the top of his skull like a windmill in a meadow. As he brought his hand down again he realized that it was still covered in motor oil. Motor oil which was now also slicked across his head. He had spent the past couple of hours working on the rusty HX that was sitting in the back yard like the ruins of a lost civilization of rev-heads. It even had weeds growing in the foot well of the passenger seat when he had gone out to it this morning. He had torn them out and then gone to work on removing the carburetor, though he’d only really been out there to avoid Bertie.

Gareth had never felt too strongly for Bertie. Since the day he met her at his mate Travis’s house she had merely been someone who was willing to hang around with him. He had paid Travis for the buds and then sat outside with her, smoking and not saying much. Life had stayed fairly consistent since. In a way, Bertie was settling as well. At the age of thirty (nine years Gareth’s senior), Bertie felt as though she should swoop at whatever opportunity presented itself. She let him move in, and even paid for the broken old HQ to be towed there from Aunt Gladys’s place.

Standing, Gareth went to the fridge and took out a half finished carton of iced coffee. He leant on the door of the fridge and took a swig. Bertie finally emerged from the bathroom, her face angled down, eyes wide, staring up at Gareth. In the distance, the local primary school’s bell rang. He had nine months to get that HX running.