When the family cat Poppy dies at the ripe old age of sixteen, I am eleven and the only one that seems to realise her soul has been reincarnated into the body of one of the bush pigeons that occupy the trees in our back paddock. It isn’t particularly hard to notice; one day a tree is empty, and the next day Poppy stops breathing not long after lunch. Continue reading
Some memories have archives, and these exist in a book I kept when I was seven.
I would pay my way in the world by selling conch shells to tourists off of the edge of a jetty on Petite Martinique. My business partners were my older sister and my younger brother. and I made quite a profit – it’s hard for anyone to resist that pink perfection of a Caribbean shell forever playing the ocean against your ear.
He asked her where she’d found them. She’d said it didn’t matter. She said she could guarantee it wouldn’t happen again. Not for them. It’s once in a lifetime, she said. One person in this house got it in their lifetime – it’s more like one in 3 million lifetimes.
They’d had a fight. It was nothing big. They had been irritable and stressed from life in the city. She’d gone for a walk. Continue reading
Karolina was on the bus when it hit Punjabi Palace. She had noticed the bus driver when she had got on, because he’d tapped the Go card machine closest to him and said, “Gotta touch on here, love,” and then when she’d moved towards it he had leaned over the gate that coralled him into the driver’s seat and said, “You look like a little pixie,” and winked, and she had recoiled because he’d smelled strongly of Bundaberg Rum & Coke, a smell she was familiar with from her time spent packing bananas in Far North Queensland.
On the way to Strike Bowling they passed Albert Street where some council workers were taking down a “Peace, Love & Joy” sign.
‘Jesus Christ,’ Mavis said, ‘why don’t they just keep it up?’
‘Because it was a Christmas thing. And Christmas is over. 2012 is dead. Besides, Campbell Newman would never foot the bill.’
They walked a bit further and passed Off Ya Tree.
‘My sister works at Off Ya Tree,’ Mavis said, ‘and you know what someone said to her the other day?’
‘Someone came in asking for the crosses with the little person wrapped around the cross. My sister said, ‘Umm, do you mean Jesus?’ and the girl said, ‘I guess.’
*read along with Oliver Mol…if you daaaaare*
Charlie was standing outside “Strange Circumstances”, a new club in Brisbane that had modelled itself on Melbourne’s “laneway culture”. He had not gone inside yet. He’d been standing under the club’s neon sign, something that was partially obscured by graffiti and, oddly, a t-shirt with the print: We’re Full, Fuck Off. Charlie, a bit drunk, had been staring at the sign and after a few seconds he thought: What? This thought was followed by a rationalisation, or an attempt at a rationalisation. He thought, maybe, the t-shirt and graffiti were filters, lenses to view the statement “Strange Circumstances”, some sort of literal Venn diagram. It made sense. He looked around. People were dressed in paisley shirts and black, skinny jeans. He had seen a blog or two. He knew how artists dressed. So this was an “installation”. This was art. But what was it saying? Charlie thought maybe the artist was arguing that “racism” showed its dirty colours–“graffiti”–under “strange circumstances”. He considered Cronulla. Cronulla was a little strange, he thought, if only because it was typical. Typically Australian. These were the thoughts–along with a voice he had swallowed, had sent down, down, down to his stomach, had tried to drown in Asahi except hadn’t entirely drowned in Asahi, that would occasionally resurface, scream, ‘DON’T MARRY THIS GIRL, DON’T MARRY THIS GIRL’–that ran through his head when Mavis came out and lit a cigarette.