If some higher power was trying to send me a message by willing me into the back of a flower delivery van, then I truly didn’t understand a fucking word of it. The sequence events went something like:
Crack! Fuck! Pause. Shwoomp!
The Schwoomp! at the end was the payload of brilliantly crafted floral arrangements landing on the windscreen. An boorish mediterranean-looking man shouted at me angrily from the footpath. I checked my fingers and ran one across my teeth: nothing missing. The rearview mirror gave me a similar report.
“Explain to me, just once more, this exquisite irrationality of why I’m not allowed to see my daughter. I’m not an appropriate role model? Ha! How many two-hundred-dollar-an-hour sessions did it take to conjure up that delusion, Diana? I-” But I was forced to interpret the beeping in my ear as her answer, something at which I had become rather adept. A mid-sentence hang up, Diana’s signature valediction, meant one of two things: that whatever counterargument she had prepared in that gorgeous head of hers was too weak to put forward or that she hadn’t thought of one at all. Sometimes by fifth or sixth beep, when I imagined her leaning against the stove, regretfully toying with the number pad of the telephone, I understood that she still loved me – and that gave me comfort, if not a sizeable measure of moral elevation. Which reminded me: I was out of rum. Continue reading Orbiting eccentrics – Chapter 1
Peter set the parcel down on the living room table.
It was of average size, as wide and high as two phone books, but not as heavy; the cardboard, thin and creaseless, had a flax-like quality that reminded him of wet sand and there was nothing distinguishable about the font of the typed label. Rather, it was the way in which the box was sealed that was alluring: clear parallelograms of equal length joining the flaps, each positioned equidistant from the corners as if the sender had taken to the task with an atomic ruler. Likewise, the stamps: three tiny watercolours depicting the same Sardinian sunset – had been marshalled to the top edge where they now stood fixed and alert at their stations, only a millimetre of space between them. Yes, Peter thought to himself as he ran the stump of his index finger over its contours, it really is a beautiful specimen. Continue reading The parcel thief
“There now, don’t yer just love that,” Raz said as he carefully withdrew the plastic spoon from Charlie’s mouth.
“Mashed banana and peanut butter. Why, you eat better than I do.” He stood up and his knees cracked like two dry sticks. He went to the kitchen sink, from where he could see through the window over the fence into Mr Dawkin’s japanese-style garden — its grey board walks and pond lilies made him frown.
“Though, I never could cook like yer momma,” he said. “No-one could cook like her, that was one of her good points. But that don’t matter now does it? It’s just you and me and she’s gone to hell. She’s probably being judged right now, don’t you think? What’s that? You think she deserves it? I couldn’t agree with you more. Not that it makes any difference: come December, we’re all goners. We’re goin’ have planes dropping outta the sky, fire all over the place, you just name it. Just gone lucky that we’re on the right side this time, you and me, we’re goin’ see it over.” Continue reading Spoonfuls of apocalypticism
I hope my letter finds you well and in good spirits, although by my estimates, it undoubtedly will. First of all let me wish you congratulations! I know you will have received all manner of unsolicited correspondence since the event (and might I say what a life-changing event it must have been for you!) and the arrival of this one must seem like yet another trivial impediment to the goings on in what must now be a frightfully busy schedule. But I assure you that this is not one of those letters and I pray that you read on. Continue reading A letter to the winner