Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Plenty of any one.

There was the one who liked salt and pepper and morning sex standing up.
There was the one who kissed with lips too pursed, that swallowed some pips and died one summer.
There was the one I bought a drink who took a pill, danced, caught a cab and vomited on my naked chest.
There was the one I went away for, the one I came back for and the one that got away who I thought got away but was never actually gone.
There was the painter, the clerk, the baker and the sanitary bin salesperson; the copywriter, the art director and their boss; the writer, the publisher and the publisher’s publicist who wore a skirt with no underwear and gargled whiskey before bed.
There was the one who wrote poems, carved our names in trees and left Milo stains on the valour couch.
There was the one who read Hemingway, said it was trash and sold her pubes on eBay.
There was the one who invited me over to play games and touched my penis for the first time just as Mario overtook Luigi.
There was the one who ate cigarettes in a park and pulled mocking faces at the zoo.
There was the one I fell in love with for the first time who put footprints on my heart.
There will be the one who likes to conjugate verbs and study the Atlas and correct me in front of strangers.
There is the one who still stalks the latter parts of my nightmind, licking their lips, wide eyes trained on my knees and neck and mouth.

And there is the one who knows a lot can be said for saying nothing at all, about her.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A place I found this morning.

It wasn't the car that wouldn't start that woke me, but the man swearing about the car that wouldn't start. There was little to do now but take in her sour breath and closed pistachio eyes. Each pistachio had its own horizon. I allowed myself to explore either side and discovered a sea and a sky.

In the sea I took delight in trawling the sandy floor for shells and mines and lost treasure; I lunched with dolphins and did breathing classes with puffer fish. In the sky I met different gases that had made it as stars and birds of prey who'd lost their mind ingesting wild African acid.
I also found a place.
A place where anything could exist. Science wasn't called Science, it didn't have a name at all. In this place one could sculpt their own body; enlarging breasts, brightening eyes, shortening feet. There was no war or Big Brother or famine or street fashion blogs. It was Paradise.
But the car wouldn't start again and the pistachio opened and the horizon disappeared and for brief moments I was lost in the real world. Until a smell drew me in and I kissed her and mentioned that it was love I was feeling for her. She reciprocated, except, on the end of her admission she added the Proper Noun, ‘Robbie’. And that made me happy because it was personalised. And I forgot about the place where Science wasn’t called Science, because I could always set my alarm early and visit again tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Creature of habit.

"Fruit juice is intense, it doesn't make sense; fruit juice is intense, it doesn't make sense; fruit juice - "
Hours passed the same way, with Daniel repeating his line over again in the aisle of his local supermarket. This was his Tuesday routine.
On Wednesdays it was incessant hair scratching; Thursdays compulsive bum wiping; Fridays salsa dancing; Saturdays masturbation. Sundays and Mondays were always respected as days of rest.
But it was Daniel's unwavering obsession with elderly women that was most crippling. He could handle a bleeding scalp, sore bum and dick; even the verbal abuse on supermarket Tuesdays. But there was something about elderly women that worked him into a frenzy; their elasticised skin, tangible smell, chalky lips and liver spots were to Daniel what oysters and 5-star hotel jacuzzis are to the masses.

One Friday, after 14 hours of salsa dancing, Daniel returned to his home, dizzy with contemplation.
'What if women stopped getting old? What if the Dove and Olay and LancĂ´me ads were right? What if they had found a sci-fi space cure for aging?'
Overwhelmed, Daniel fell into his armchair, poured a brandy, knocked back a Viagra and began his Saturday routine early.

The following morning, above the sound of bacon fat popping in the kitchen, one could hear hushed voices explaining over the breakfast table how 'he'd broken his routine'. Nods were exchanged and teas left to stand – there was a job to be done.

When the ambulance finally arrived, the paramedics were confronted by a truly amazing sight. 32 breasts dangling over the dead man's body like snot from a baby's nose.
Without bothering to re-cloth, the 16 women put their hands beneath Daniel’s already-decaying body, hoisted him onto their shoulders and pushed past the paramedics to the front door.
After all, it was a Saturday and Daniel needed to collect his post-masturbation sausage roll from the local supermarket.
It must be re-iterated that Sundays and Mondays were days of rest.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Sometimes flying.

With his straight back, anxious eyes and bulbous forehead, David is the perfect reflection of his father. Like his reflection, David has only ever known one woman and one vocation; both of them hard work, he often whispers to himself.
His wife of nine years, Sally, shares his mother's name and her penchant for cask wine and artificial meat sticks she calls “Tony’s”. David has never asked why they were called Tony’s and, as such, has never understood the nickname given to these meat sticks that his wife devours by the kilo.  
Most nights, when David returns from the roads, he receives a brief embrace followed by a stern order to fetch more wine, or if he’s flush, a bottle of brandy.
Sally was too young to drink so much, David thought. And it wasn’t even her reflection, or father, that was dying.   

Like his father, David only bore one child, a son. Michael, unlike his father and grandfather, was born without the bulbous forehead and was not yet in possession of the anxious eyes.
But, as repetition would have it, David’s son was a keen diver, just as he had been.
"Watch me, Daddy, watch me", Michael would plead from the 2m board. But David exercised his parental right to ignore his son's request, and never watched Michael enter the water from a great height.

And not that any of this is relevant, but it wasn't long before, like his father, David began to die inside.

So, staring into his reflection, David smiled. He took the apple juice from the hospital tray, peeled back its lid and savoured its sweetness. Then he read aloud a birthday card that sat next to some dehydrated flowers and lingered on the final sentence: “Happy Birthday to the father just like me”.

David knew this would be the last chance he got to say goodbye to that straight back and taught face. Levering himself from the vinyl chair, he planted his first and final kiss on his father’s bulbous forehead.
And with that, with his reflection dying beside him, David forced open a window and looked down on the emergency department's entrance below.

If only his father could have seen how perfectly flat he'd fallen.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


There’s a group of four Spanish women dancing in front of Simon at CafĂ© Bombocado. The owner – a man who looks more cartoon than German – is doing a terrible job of concealing his arousal.
Simon doesn’t know it yet, but this man is going to be integral to –
Simon stops his brain’s voice over and gets back to writing his novel and sipping the white wine he hopes will cure the hangover dimming his creativity, and his writing progress.
Simon’s writing style had the same elasticity as a pensioner’s breasts, so, without a plan, the plot of his novel had stretched and shrunk again. He knew it would never be published, despite the ingenious title: Morbid Memories Make Mad Men.
In the beginning MMMM was the story of a man who wrote a eulogy for every one of his dead erections. So, literally, Simon wrote hundreds of eulogies for his protagonist’s dead erections, each one thinly veiled accounts of his own promiscuous sex life. But MMMM would never be published, and Simon knew this, for nothing truly genius would ever be recognised in its own time.

One of the Spanish women falls to the floor with a flourish. It’s started raining outside. Simon has an erection. His writer’s block, gone.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My Third Time Eating Fish.

“Nothing owed to nuance.”
“What the fuck does that mean?”
“Not sure.”
This is the conversation I imagine the German couple are having next to me at McDonald’s at 3am.

After choking down the Fillet-O-Fish I ordered via language blunder, I make my way back to our apartment, skipping over dog shit like it were my first time dancing. The towers are eerie. The surrounding trees ominous. There’s silence among the communal bins.

At level two I pause and listen for what Mr Kauf is playing on his stereo, or singing, or shouting. Instead, there’s nothing and I get lost in whatever it is I’m meant to be thinking:
No matter where you go in the world, hairdressers always have puns for their salon names: eClips, hair of the dog, hairport etc. No matter what time it is, someone, somewhere in the world is having: a shower, a beer, a shit, a colonoscopy, open-heart surgery, their last meal.  No matter what anyone says, you can trust your mantra. And if you don’t have a mantra, you can trust that a Holiday Inn will provide a continental breakfast at a reasonable price and a cosy place to sleep, free of bedbugs. There may be the occasional streak of human faeces on the mattress cover, though. Which reminds me, I need to book a room for two for the start of June.

I escape my thinking, climb the final set of stairs and turn the key. There’s a rumble from the kitchen and I’ve momentarily forgotten someone sleeps there. My fly already undone, penis poking through my pants as if seeing the world for the first time, urine readied to splash into the bowl with great force. The same force that someone, somewhere in the world, is using to: flick a bug from a leaf, hoist an infant onto their shoulders, push a car into gear, or sign the customer copy of their last meal before stepping into oncoming traffic and being ploughed into by a scooter with enough force to send them plummeting back into the memories of the third, second and first time they had ever tried fish. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Chris went missing #1

“You’re born, you shit yourself a few times, and then you die.”
This was the note we found on Tuesday morning in the fridge, wrapped around a bottle of Becks.

Chris hadn’t been sighted in two days. We’d considered putting up a poster in the local burger joint on Sonnanallee where he ate most nights. I’d even crafted it in Powerpoint:
(picture of Chris)
Last seen with BBQ Burger and Becks.
Comes to the name of ‘Chris’. Red hair.
Reasonable Reward
(my phone number).

The day before he went missing there was something noticeably different to Chris. His gate had slackened, his conversation had become laboured, his text messages almost indecipherable. At band practice he refused to sing. Clapping in bridges, howling during verses and not participating at all in the chorus.

To be fair, the night before Chris went missing he’d had his first altercation with a Turkish drug-dealer. His shins blackened by kicks, visible bruising on his neck where the brut had held him to a wall, threatening worse if he ever openly used the word ‘coke’ in a text again. The following morning the chain on his bike had come off a few times, and he’d been short changed at the local supermarket.
Not to mention that, on that same morning, on the day he went missing, his girlfriend had called from Australia and told Chris she didn’t really love him. That she’d never loved him, and that she in fact loved someone else.
I only say this so matter-of-factly, as this is how Chris had told it to us. Outside Laidak, cigarette in hand, two days ago.

Too early for euthanasia.

A man in a wheelchair, on the edge of a park, facing the canal, is the saddest thing I’ve seen all day. I’m using the commas, to express, exactly, how sad, it made, me.

Tired from a night of dancing, the boys postpone band practice for an hour. So I take the scenic route on my bike, via the park, and I see this man in a wheelchair, the saddest thing I’ve seen all day.

His eyes dull like marbles. Cheeks sunken like half-moon biscuit cutters. Hands fixed to his lap, as if super-glued to his tartan rug. The only sense of hope leaking from his pale blue scarf.
I ride past him. On my bike, completely able, listening to The Hives.
I wonder how he’ll get home.
Whether there’s enough muscle left in his arms to push him there, or if it had all eroded. Waves of aging, crashing into his biceps over decades. Peeling away layer and layer, until all that was left were hollow caves.

I wonder how many days he has left. I wonder if I should push him into the canal. If that’s what he wants. If he’s waiting there. In his wheelchair. Begging for someone to do him justice.
But, it’s only 11am and too early to consider euthanasia.
I’ve eaten two baguettes, had two coffees and a cigarette. I’ve walked into shops and said ‘hello’. Thought about my girl, spoken to friends. Joked about Aaron’s forehand in ping pong, the way he holds a cigarette, the ridiculous colour of his bike.
It’s only 11am and I’ve seen the saddest thing I’m going to see all day.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Internet Cafe.

The shrill sound of the American upsets Marc’s rhythm. It’s been three weeks. His dick’s begun to resemble a cigarette left in the rain.  The memory of his girlfriend in the shower has washed away. Only vague outlines of thighs and breasts return if he shuts his eyes long enough. But there’s nothing distinct. No nipple. No neck. No…
“Excuse me, do you have any soap?”
Why the fuck are Americans always asking for soap? With only one shelf in the store, identifying soap should be something you’ve learnt by a certain age. That, and being able to brush your teeth without a mirror.
The guy behind the counter acts as if she’s speaking at a different frequency. As if there isn’t a do you have soap frequency.
“So-ope? Do you have?”
He’s not a fucking retard, lady.

Finally the American leaves and Marc re-opens RedTube.
Three bum holes and two scrotums re-appear. From behind the orgy, it looks as if a bunch of legs are playing a game of tic-tac-toe.
His dick begins to take shape again, when someone in a nearby booth hacks up phlegm.

Phlegm-guy takes a phone call. He’s talking so loud the person on the other end must be getting tumble dried in a washing machine somewhere in the south of France.
Finally, silence.

The camerman has gone in even tighter on the bum holes and Marc loses it.
He shuts the window, stuffs the un-used serviettes into his back pocket, leaves his seat, opens the fridge, buys a beer and heads for the canal.
Just as he’s knocking the top off his Becks, Marc catches a glimpse of a nipple. It belongs to the lady reading Murakami, lying face down on a picnic rug, feeding herself grapes.
Marc reconciles that if he happens to run into a hole in a wall large enough on the way home, he might just stay there the night.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Brave Like A Bear.

She’s too tall already to be wearing heels. The ice in this whiskey too cold, need to see a dentist. This corner too dark to work out if it’s chain grease or dirt or shit on my fingers.
Thoughts in the head too dumb. Too fast.  The 40-something in the corner still looking. Bubbles in the froth of my head still bursting. Emails still appearing. Music in my ears still playing.

Bernd approaches with a crippled book - Deutsches-Namen Lexikon.
“What is your name again?”
“Robin? Robert?”
The tanned pages ticking neatly in his hand, as if this were all part of an elaborate party trick.
“Robert. Robert, Robert. I see,” He points a finger, but I don’t look. I know he’s seen it. “It means, um, with light from yourself. No, wait, it means ‘Shine With Glory’. That’s it!”

With no hot water in our apartment, and a diet that consists entirely of doner and beer, I’m in disbelief.
“And yours, Bernt… what does yours mean?” Slightly frustrated, as I know I’ve pronounced his name incorrectly.
“Bernd, Bernd…”, Mumbling his own name as he flicks the pages again. “Ok, I see; ‘Brave Like A Bear’.”

People leave and some bottles are taken away and some more cigarettes are smoked.
“The boy who was behind you before, he’s a writer too. A Russian Jew.”
“A Russian Jew?
“I believe so.”
We talk more about the Russian writer, and tonic water once being used as a cure for malaria, and touch on the niche subject of music.

I decide Laidak is the perfect place to write. Cheap alcohol, smoking inside, dim lighting, wide-street-facing windows, shelves stacked with books, intriguing passersby, thought-inspiring bartenders.

“The thing, you see, about Berlin, Robert, is that many creative people come here. It’s just, we make never any money.”
Two girls walk into the bar – the first customers in the last three hours. One is pretty with paint-speckled pants. The other is dreadlocked and clutching a unicycle.
I think about malaria, and creativity and shining with glory. And Bernd sits, facing the door, muscle-swollen hands clutching a pint, Brave Like A Bear.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Walking home from -

“My eyes won’t collaborate with my face.”
“Shut one eye then.”
“I see many colours.”
“Like a kaleidoscope?”
“In my head I’m building a house…”
“What kind of house?”
“One with windows… and, a, ah, roof. And some walls.”
With the abandoned airport and techno music as a backdrop, running on artificial energy, Daniel turned to me and asked earnestly about my childhood:
“Were you happy as a child?”
“I mean…”, I started.
“Because, when I was a child, you know, there were things that were… ah, how do you say, strange?”
“Yep, ‘strange’ is a word.”
“Because, like, back in Dusseldorf…”
“Your humour, even when I am in this state like this is not so good.”
“Back in Dusseldorf, when I was very young, we had this dog, you know? And like…”
Dead sober, I recalled all the times I was high in a club, discussing the darkest moments in my 25 years, completely dead pan, with sliding smiles encouraging me to divulge everything I'd ever buried. 
Of course he had a dog. It would have died when he was 14. They’d have given it a human name, which would have made it even more of a tragedy, because it called for greater empathy. They would have had a mock funeral, their father curling the Jack Russell into a shoebox, before burying it in the corner of their property. Years later, he’d re-visit to find there was a rose bush growing where Mickey had been buried. And he would have stood there, in Hawthorn, by the picket fence, with an ice-cream and his best friend and reminisced about the dog he’d had for as long as he could remember. And even though he’d moved to Berlin from Australia for three months, he’d still remember, years and years later, the dead dog he’d described losing as a child to a sober dude on an abandoned airport runway, high on MDMA, speaking in broken English, with his eyes not collaborating with his face.

Plane Ride.

'I guess I've never given it enough thought, but if urine did have an enemy, it would be turbulence.'
The Dutchman is yet to acknowledge me, but I know he’s Dutch. And I know he knows I’m talking to him because we’re the only two in our row on the plane. And I know he knows I know he speaks English because I heard him ask for the ‘Chicken Rice’ dish when the waitress with the heavy eye make-up came past. I know he knows about pissing on planes too, because, just before the meal cart came around, he climbed over me and went to the toilet. I watched as the cubicle turned to ‘engaged’, and timed him. And I know it only took him two minutes to do whatever he was doing in there. So either he was vomiting (didn’t smell like it when he came back), or he was urinating. So he has urinated on a plane. I know that, so I continue:
'I mean, with shitting, you have the issue of a dirty toilet, a toilet too close to the kitchen of the girl you're sleeping with, the toilet without ventilation, the toilet without toilet paper. And don't get me started on shitting outdoors. My girlfriend once showed me a YouTube clip where a... Anyhow, all I'm saying is, urine is like Superman, and turbulence is its kryptonite. Poo, on the other hand, is like a normal human. Susceptible to many evils. Do you get it?'
I nudge him and he pauses his movie, puts down a spoon full of Chicken Rice and removes a headphone.
'Shit, piss, urine, crap! You get it?'
'You ever noticed Tom Cruise wears a lot of ¾ length pants in Mission Impossible? Like, a lot...?'
‘Where are you from?'
He puts back on his headphones.
I know he’s Dutch.

I stand and stalk the aisle, searching for a spare seat next to a new human. I sit next to a boy of roughly the same age, reading Bonjour Tristesse. I try and dissect his story like the most annoying human beings in the world do:
-       Duty Free bag cradled between his feet
-       Reading a French love story with photobooth shots of a pretty young girl as a bookmark
-       En route to London by himself.

Ok - he’s on his way to meet a sweetheart. Bonjour Tristesse is the book she recommended he read on the flight over. The story of a romance between two persons of roughly the same age. Young adult sex on pine needles. Bottles of wine. Fast cars and France. The photobooth shots sent to him via snail mail. Something handwritten on the back. Used as a bookmark; a casual reminder. The Duty Free bag at his feet containing her favourite perfume. The scent he’s missed for six months, re-ignited when walking through the cosmetics aisles while in transit.

A smile comes across my face as the plane falls and then catches itself again. And I know that someone else now knows that turbulence is urine’s greatest enemy.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Waiting for my flight to London.

Smoking rooms in airports look like breeding grounds for sex pests. This breeding ground in Hong Kong looks especially seedy today. One man: grey snake-skin pants complemented by green snake skin shoes; long, greasy hair, aviator sunglasses perched on top; a half-smoked cigarette stuck to yellow teeth, its ash playing ‘chicken’ with the floor.
"Is that your wife?" He asks another, nodding through the glass at a seated woman.
"No, she is just a friend". His accent sounds Portuguese. What I wouldn’t do for a Nandos wrap right now.
Snake-skin pants’ eyes widen.
“I see.”
Somewhere in the room there’s an incessant snapping; the same noise a bug light makes when a mosquito flies into it. It takes me 5 drags to work out it's coming from an irritated man in the corner, flicking his lighter. For all I know he could have been here all day. This could be his stomping ground. Perhaps even his profession. I wasn’t here to argue, so half-way through my Duty Free cancer stick, I butt out and search for a toilet.

It’s a unique desire to shit that I feel in an airport. Part of my bowel is refusing to work after sitting on a plane for so long, but the pit of my stomach is confused, gargling the three lattes I’ve consumed already out of transit-boredom. As I reach the entrance to the toilet, I’m crippled with fear.
How many people have shat here today? How many people have had diarrhea in the toilet which I am about to sit on? How many people with venereal diseases have shared this seat? Will I be seated on the plane next to the person who catches me exiting the cubicle? What will they think? What will they smell?
It’s too late. The anxiety of holding ‘it’ in and omitting a poo-like smell from my pores proves too much.
I take the plunge.

Satisfied that I’m no longer omitting a foul smell (nothing worse than added anxiety on a plane journey), I move back toward the gate lounge for my flight to London. I sneeze into my hand, and immediately clench my fist as if someone were trying to steal my lucky marble. Then, searching the eyes of my fellow passengers and eventually holding the stare of one, I stuff my hand inside my overalls and wipe furiously. Now I’ve got the added issue of a pocket lined with phlegm to deal with. But I reason that, over the next 11-hour flight, it should dry and all I’ll have to do is scrape the phlegm crystals from my pocket with a butter knife when I get to Berlin.
I really am regretting not packing the tissues my mother was trying to force on me.

Our gate isn’t even open for boarding yet and people are already jostling at the front of a long queue. It’s not musical chairs… We’ve all got a seat number, right?
Snake-skin pants walks past me. I think he winked. No biggie.
Starting to think I took my Valium too early. After only one 8-hour flight I’m guessing the long haul is yet to come. I won’t arrive in Berlin for another 23 hours and I’m not sure watching Amelie over and over again will keep me level.
Shit, I’ve left my headphones in the smoking lounge. My flight gets called. It’s ready to board.

I bolt. Dodging a group of 40-somethings huddled over a bottle of Chivas Regal the size of a whale’s penis. Zigzagging in and out of perfume sections, copping a hit of Dior, Klein and Old Maiden on the way through. My laptop jumping audibly in my bag, angry at its mistreatment. The wide-brimmed Panama I’d foolishly brought now partially crushed under my arm, its brim wilting more with every leap. Until, finally, I reach gate 17’s smoking lounge.
Clicking-lighter-man has my prized headphones in his hand.
“Thank you soooo much. I really appreciate it. Seriously, thank you.”
“Uhng.” He replies, with a nod.

Perhaps staying in the smoking lounge was his job.

I board the plane and immediately cop a fart to the mouth from a passing hostess. Then I remembered some wise words I received after enquiring about the rules of farting on planes: “Jungle law, dude, anything goes.”

Thursday, April 12, 2012

St Georges Rd Tram

He’s wearing vice-like headphones that could crush his skull. What does he do?

Scenario 1: Musician. He looks the part. Patched jacket, scattered hair, vague hint of eye make-up. It’s all very well put together. I imagine he's listening to some dub-garage band from the Middle East that I couldn’t find on iTunes or the latest Chillout Sessions compilation. I bet he sees the music in layers. Pulling songs apart on a screen in the front of his mind, like in the Minority Report. Separating the drums from the bass; then the kick from snare; analysing the inconsistency in the snare sound; then moving to a bird's eye view of the skin being hit; freezing frame, ignoring all other sounds. Just looping the sound of the snare being hit. The skin is an old one he deduces. Why would they use an old skin for recording? His mind runs wild: couldn't afford a new one? No, that’s not it. The drummer had an affinity with this skin, his 'recording skin'? Probably not that, either. The sound engineer was an idiot? Possibly. Or, and by far the most pleasing thought, was that, given the entire band including the singer were recorded live to tape in a bunker in 1983, they'd never imagined anyone would hear this take. Our Musician-man pictures them setting up for band practice, the bass player insisting they mic everything up and record a few demos, only to discover the demos were good enough to be a low-fi release.

Scenario 2: He was a guy that used “Fuck My Life” in conversation. Ends sentences with “that is all”. Drinks cleanskin Merlot. Sneaks a flask into gigs. Pays out on local bands. Never dances. Never makes music. Complains about not having money, but despises the idea of working in retail, hospitality, or worse, a desk job. Believes he’s a ‘free-spirit’, but lives at home. The worst type of person you can be seated next to a house party.

He picks a booger from his nose and eats it. Pulls off his headphones and I can hear ‘Yellow’ by Coldplay. Answers his phone and smiles for 30 seconds. And I realise I’m the idiot. I’m the one headed to work in an office from 9am-7pm, wearing overalls, clutching Creativity by its nub. Eating a cos lettuce salad for lunch. Photos I’ve taken on my iPhone printed out and blu-tacked to my office wall. Still at my desk at 5:30pm, writing this blog, and listening to Snow Patrol through vice-like headphones that could crush my skull.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Celebrity Head.

“Dildos with Ryan Gosling’s face on them.”

“On the end? I mean, I don’t have a vagina… but do chicks really want someone’s face inside them?”


“Why don’t they make Ryan Gosling tampons instead? Less intrusive. Or maybe even Ryan Gosling pillows? For the lonely.”

“Tampons!? You don’t want to bleed on him. Besides, there wouldn’t be enough room for the detail of his face. And I reckon pillows is a shit idea. No one would be that obsessed with him.”

“Really? Dude, we’ve been going out three years and you’ve never been more rowdy in the sack than after you saw that Tumblr with him on it.”

“Huh? Which one…? No….”

“The one where he’s looking at things, or riding dogs or something.”

“You mean, Ryan Gosling With Cats?”

“Yeh. Maybe when the dildo range takes off you could start one titled Ryan Gosling With Pussy.”

“You’re not funny. And you’ve got a booger hanging from your nose. Here, let me get it.”

She got it.

“You know another thing… I’m getting sick of people saying Hey, Girl. That’s his sort of catch phrase, isn’t it?”

“You’re a genius, Coleman. Hey, Girl could be the name for the dildo range.”

“The weird looking bald dude who plays for Carlton could have his own range too. Chicks think he’s hot, right?”

“You know less about women than you do football.”

“But because he’s bald, it would… you know, be better on a dildo and that…”

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

“You're going to die, Pop. Most likely tomorrow. I’ve already taken the liberty of cleaning out your wine rack.”

I could feel death coming on quickly. Sitting upright, my shoulder pinned to vinyl, blood stewing.

I waited for the clarity. The one they say comes just before you die. I waited for the clarity so I could dictate that final haiku, to add to the collection of haikus I'd never written and didn’t regret not writing.

While I casually waited to die, I asked for my window to be pushed open, to sample the sweet smell of the outdoors one last time. But the smells were no more pungent than they had ever been before.

I was waiting, with my youngest, Geoffrey.

“Can you feel it, Pop?”

“I can, Geoffrey. I can feel it. But, who knows, it could be days…”

He had left his own chair and was leaning across me now; his armpit smothering the crusted mess where my oxygen mask used to be.

“Pop, where's the coin?” He asked, foraging through my pockets.

“What coin, Geoffrey?”

“Your lucky coin, Pop. From the war.”

“Have I ever told you the story of that coin?”

“Yes, yes. Her basket. A baby, other romantic crap. Heard the story. Now, do you remember where you put that coin?!”

I did remember. It was in my coin pocket, as it had been since the day Carienne had entrusted it to me. The beautiful Carienne, with her…

“Pop, snap out of it - the coin?”

“Help me a second, Son, I'll check in my pocket.”

As if I were a car he were helping start, Geoffrey pushed on my middle back. Forward now, I peeled an arm from the vinyl and began the charade of a search, like I had done decades earlier when performing magic tricks involving his infant ears. As I had done back then, I kept the coin in my hand the whole time.

“Can you feel it?”

With that, I put my hand behind my back and shoved the coin inside me.

“Yes, Son, I can feel it. I can feel it coming on quite quickly, now.”

Sunday, March 11, 2012

In his sights, in his travels.

Jim had been a truckie for almost 27 years, holding the road through bushfires, floods, locust plagues, hail, even ice. He’d seen sunsets over dunes, dusk over mountains, thunderstorms havoc over deserts. He’d watched wombats fly 70 metres off his bulbar and pile into trees, foxes decapitate rabbits, bulls have their way with dozens of cattle, birds flying South, birds flying North and sheep giving birth. He’d gazed at all kinds of clouds that reminded him of famous footballers, tufts of fairy floss and his own penis. But by far the most beautiful thing Jim had witnessed in his 27 years on the road, was Sal winning her call centre’s ‘Nugget-Off’ at the Wagga Wagga McDonald’s in 1987. To this day he can vividly recall the horror on the faces of her much larger male colleagues as she devoured her 37th, then her 38th and finally, her 42nd Chicken McNugget under the artificial light of her red and yellow booth. During their entire romance, the only thing he masturbated to on the road was a picture of her in a bikini on their first holiday interstate. Seeing a sharp decline in the sales of “40 Years Or Older” porn magazines at the BP in Seymour.

In the winter of 1992, five years after Sal was crowned ‘Dick Thomas Call Centre’s September Nugget Champion’, she started out with Greg, the only chef Jim has ever seen who wore spectacles.

On a six-day long haul from Melbourne to Alice, Jim decided to pull over, take a shit, and use the phonebox to check in at The Townie, his local, and second home. When Big Tony described what he had seen take place by the pool table the night before, Jim experienced a pain like never felt before in his life. It was as if someone had served him a shot of kerosene, and then lit his stomach on fire with a giant match through his asshole. It was around closing time, Big Tony said, that he had seen Sal bent over the pool table, clawing at the felt, “gettin’ done hard from behind” by Greg, the spectacled chef.

Two days later, on his way through Peakman’s Bend, about 7 hours from home, Jim pulled into a bottle-o and bought three bottles of Jack. He then walked across the road to the servo and bought “Whores Corner”, “Cumsluts 4” and “40 Years Or Older”. And, finally, he turned left at the servo and rang the doorbell of the local gunstore. In a very calculated and calm act, Jim handed over his gun license and ordered himself a .303 rifle and 100 rounds.

“Hunting, I’m going. Nothing like good venison… What, this stuff!? You can’t go bush without some Jack and porno now, can you?” The gunstore owner agreed, made a comment about no queers being able to shoot more than an HIV positive rabbit, and handed him over his rifle and rounds. 30 minutes, three vigorous masturbating bouts and one bottle of Jack Daniels later, Jim hit the road, en route for The Townie, the scene of the crime. He felt as virile as bull, as dangerous as a thunderstorm, and as vicious as fox, readied to decapitate a disease-ridden rabbit.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Peter's Noise.

Peter’s laugh is strained, high-pitched, wheezy. Someone not in the room may have confused the noise with the screams of live crabs in a pot. But Peter didn’t have a kitchen, or the money for crab, or the opportunity to visit the seaside to catch his own. No, Peter lived at 435 Swinson Avenue. Also home to Rachel, Sam and Dave, with whom he was sharing his piercing joy in the TV room. His face red from happiness and the scars of a near lifetime of drink.

For now Peter has company, but when the ward shuts down, and they are to return to their beds, he’ll wheel the small television and its stand into his room. Once he’s done his nighttime business and kissed the photo of Beer, his old dog, Peter will scour the TV Guide. Like a seagull after a school of fish, Peter has honed a special sense. He will scan each movie for (n) and (s) classifications, the country of origin, then the language, and finally, the actresses. With all this information, Peter will select the most likely to contain sex or masturbation or a voyeuristic shower scene, switch out the light and make his final wheezing noise for the night.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Explaining, because, you know, I’m so intelligent and that.

“Honey, what’s a mezzanine?”

“Well, in architecture a mezzanine’s like an intermediate floor between main floors of a building.”

“Right. So you’d call it a, I don’t know, place to hang out?”

“Kinda. Think of it like this: your shins are a sidewalk.”

“Here we go… fuck, Robbie, can’t you just…”

“Woah Cowgirl, let me finish. Yeah?”


“Right. Your shins are a sidewalk…” I waited for her sigh, and it came, “and your thighs are a boulevard. Then you have the lobby between your thighs. This is where travelling salesman can check-in, and check out, if you get me?”


“In this instance, the mezzanine would be the navel. Your navel. Your breasts are a main floor, and your mouth is the penthouse apartment. One can’t sleep in the lobby, you see, but one can spend a lot of time in the penthouse. Drinking wine, eating cake. Talking shit.”

“And right about now you’re talking about sex, is that right?”

“Sex and mezzanines and cake. Yep.”

“You’re an idiot. I’m going back to drawing pictures of possums.”

And so she did. She drew pictures of possums and drank whiskey straight like I never could. The smoke I blew into the wind didn’t bother her, even as a non-smoker. It was as if thick velour drapes were blocking the smoke, splitting it in two, washing past her head, like a great wave against a million-year-old rock. Not that she looked like a rock.

Well, not a rock without features, anyhow.