Aussie chick

“Good morning!” The man hailing me adjusted his hearing aid with one hand and waved with the other. His neatly pressed shorts stood to stiff attention around his thin legs — more a cordon than clothing. His short-sleeved shirt and sturdy leather sandals completed the image of a man who took pride in his appearance and valued how he was viewed. Thinning white hair parted with each gust of wind to reveal the pink of his scalp. I noticed his hands as he released his small, wiry-haired dog from its leash to complete its morning ablutions — speckled with sunspots on almost translucent skin, a railway track of criss-crossing veins bulging at the surface, knuckles bent and gnarled and probably arthritic.

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The Petite Grief of Rejection Emails

Yet another rejection email has hit my inbox. Yet another chip has been eroded from my soul. I don’t know how rejections affect everyone else, but I assume it’s similar. There’s a level of deeply intimate, deeply personal critique in the sharp hidden edges of an email thanking me for my work, noting the large number of high quality entries, and wishing me luck elsewhere. Those words morph and reshape themselves into cheery proclamations of my fears.

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Morning walk

Dear Walking Group Women,

I see you, my siblings, and I ignore you. Namaste. Or Peace Be With You. Or May the Odds be Ever in Your Favour. Or whatever version of in-tune, en pointe (on point? On pointe? On-ee point-ee?), in-the-moment greeting du jour holds currency right now. And yes, I did roll my eyes at your Namaste, so heartily imbued with an affected spiritual significance that a humble ‘hello’ just doesn’t convey.

It’s not you, it’s me. I am not a morning person. 

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Fire and fury

CN: graphic description (no image) of burned animal

I fill my glass to the brim with ice. So much ice that the water I pour in has to jostle and squeeze past, hugging corners, slipping salaciously past curves and furrows like it’s making a run for the bar in a crowded nightclub, arms high, eyes on the prize, ‘excuse me’ and ’sorry’ and ‘pardon me’ flung in every direction. I check my phone as a slow stream hisses from the fridge. Twitter and Facebook flick images of leaping flames, and singed landscapes so barren they look otherworldly, and animals, caught fleeing the conflagration, trapped in fencing wire, their faces contorted by fear and fire. 

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How to make an espresso

Buy the finest roast coffee beans you can afford. Do not buy ground coffee, it’ll only go stale before you get to the bottom of the bag. Don’t think about the thick murky Indonesian coffee you sipped on humid mornings on the porch of a Sumatran hotel till your tongue recoiled at the muddy sludge lurking at the bottom of the cup. You’ll only long for a time before the complications that beleaguer children who inhabit the liminal space between childhood and adulthood. 

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Quit

He flicked the butt, still glowing, out of the car’s open window. A jogger or dog walker would stamp it out in due course.

He filled his lungs, checking his bank account with a smile. He expected more ceremony, more import to his last ciggie.

He shrugged.


Image credit: El Caminante/Pixabay


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Hall of Mirrors (or A Mansplainer’s Just Desserts)

“Well actually…” 

Breathy whistles of calliope music swallowed his words. 

“Come,” a silken voice commanded from the darkness. Swirling, slithering white-gloved hands led him forward. An impuissant marionette, he followed.

Behind him, a closing door’s click ushered a silence so complete his ears ached.

Released, he clawed at slippery surfaces searching for an exit, mocked by grotesque reflections of himself. 


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