The meeting took place in the lower dining room of Dario’s. Plastic lemons, fake aspidistras, clogged toilets… an infelicitous atmosphere for anything other than privacy.
But the Bufula was good. We liked Bufula.
I’d arrived first to arrange tables, pre-order nibbles, and setup the temporal displacement cube.
The others began wamping one at a time into the WC. The pilot, the failed rocker, the one-eyed politician, the medieval librarian, the knife-throwing accountant. They stumbled out of the cubicle, arms and heads gyrating as though wrestling invisible octopodes, and hung their jumpsuits on the wall, over the yellowed paintings of Naples. We were as different as we were the same—lined faces, crooked legs, clipped fingernails—our universes had left their signature marks, but still we shared the same misanthropic grin, the same, simple acknowledgement that life will not only take capricious and inconvenient twists, but will do so at every opportunity. Continue reading “Pizza: the transdimensional constant”
Short chapters inspired by my new, coming of age novel, Sandbanker, available at no bookstores near you (yet)
The bell at St Christopher’s was not a real bell, made of brass or anything, but electric — it droned, like the torpedos in River Raid. (I didn’t actually have an Atari 2600 to test the theory, and didn’t really know anyone who did, at least someone who I could ask, but that’s what I’d heard.) Whoever they’d gotten to ring the school bell on that Friday afternoon had morsed-coded ‘S-O-S S-O-S’, and everyone had a good laugh about it, but I would’ve bet a case of chocolate frogs they had no clue what it meant. Continue reading “Tales from Shelley Beach – The Bus Ride home”
Transitory, on ice and breath, a sweeping movement of a coffee-stained Frankfurter Allgemeine. The check-in announcement screams at me as I exit arrivals, stone faces, no signs. Where is my welcoming party?
Thirty hours of cracking your bones in seat 32F and this is what you get, though it might be what you deserve. Nobody’s going to come to get you in GMT+1 except the stipple dreams that you coloured for yourself when you thought it was OK to exchange everything that defined you for a one-way ticket.
@germanforayear Taxi smells like pretzels. How do u say ‘I need a f**king smoke’ auf Deutsch? #jetlagged
Continue reading “@germanforayear: Travel and social media won’t change you”
The refrigerator smells like it’s just run the equatorial marathon in a tweed jacket.
Opening the windows to the panting light of a Krakow morning, she recognises the red Volvo with the flat tyre across the street. She waves at it. The price in the windscreen has gone down, but it’s still the most meaningful welcome back she’s had. Continue reading “Love Me WiFi Whore”
Alexa wound down the window and flicked her cigarette out into the carpark. She listened to the slow exhalation of the city, the thrumming from the factories in the east, then checked her pistol. It was loaded.
“What about him then?” she said and pointed to the shadow rummaging behind a skip at the end of the alley.
Toby’s lips smacked around his all-day-testosterone-sucker. “Whadda bout him?”
“What if we take him in, you dolt?” Alexa said.
“How do you know he’s a him?”
“You all look the same, don’t ya?” Continue reading “A Very Urgent Creation”
“Where do I start?”
“Start at the beginning.”
“That’s quite some way back…”
“Whatever you’re comfortable with.”
“Well, you could say I have abandonment issues… Is that what one says? Is that a good place to start?”
“Perfect. And how does that make you feel?”
“How would you describe your emotions?”
“I guess… I feel… loneliness, desolation, friendlessness… solitude, yes. There’s some depression and hope in there, probably a little anger and guilt too… Actually, now that I think about it, I’ve probably been stuck on a loop of the seven stages for a couple of decades.” Continue reading “Unopened Correspondences: Confessions of a Spam Bot”
Derrick Foam was reading about Robin Gibbs’ death when Feather Hudson shot-put her monitor across the room. She’d heard the big news.
Derrick was modifying his email footer when another message appeared:
“Congrats. First task – fire Justine. Back next week. Sea’s the day. Clem.”
The attached photograph featured a groper lolling on the end of a harpoon. Continue reading “The big news”
When I pulled into the street, I saw him leaning against the ash-grey trunk of a eucalyptus tree in front of the courthouse—faded collared shirt and jeans wrapped loosely around his hunched frame, a cigarette cupped in his hands.
He was following the progress of a ute in the middle of executing a reverse parallel park, calling instructions to “swing harder” and “back out”. The driver seemed not to hear him. I pressed and held the horn until he, and everyone else on the street turned to face me. Another stranger in town, they said with desiccated squints and open-mouth scowls that suggested limited access to dental hygiene.
He rubbed his cigarette into the tree trunk, waited, then crossed the street, scraping his sneakers on the road as he approached the car. Continue reading “Waterfall Way”
The water drummed against the bow of the Gritty Tang as she tugged her way along the western shoals.
Captain Kona stood silently at the wheel, his calloused hands responding in twitches to the pitching and lurching of the spring swells. He glanced at the mirror, and frowned at the curtain of mist that was purling over the horizon. The rains were coming. They’d promised three fingers by evening fall. Continue reading “Captain Kona”
Chic (adj.): a half-refurbished ground floor space in a former East German apartment block.
Austere plaster swimming with granite and silver adornments, dub music playing softly from speaker cones, retro phones converted into candle holders and pink shag in the toilets – Irving hated this restaurant. The food was overpriced and unexciting, the cocktails nauseatingly pretentious (anyone for a Strawbunny Chokehold?), and the patrons were invariably overdressed proles with huge teeth, or chihuahua hugging metrosexuals with their dress pants on backwards. That’s why, out of all the upmarket promi-troughs, it was Charlotte’s favourite. Continue reading “Immer 88”