What starts with ‘F’ and ends with ‘uck’?

Q: What starts with ‘F’ and ends with ‘-uck’?

When my eldest was still shorter than me, still small enough to clamber up onto my lap, take my face in his chubby little hands, and very seriously demand my attention, we lived in a remote town in the far northwest of Australia. (Now he demands my attention by shoving his phone two inches from my nose and insisting I watch whatever video, or chuckle at whatever meme he’s found — like he’s doing as I type this.)

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Image: side by side photographs of the Editorial from Overland magazine, Issue 228, Spring 2017. The photograph on the left is unmarked. The photograph on the right has the bulk of the text blacked out.

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Lost: A tale of an impatient child and the lure of televised cricket

When I was ten years old, my father lost me. Like a set of misplaced keys, or the wallet he was certain he put down on the kitchen table, he set me down, and when he returned, I was gone.

As with every summer since I was eight and nearly drowned at my friend’s birthday pool party because nobody had thought it unwise to send a child who couldn’t swim to a pool party, or even let the parents of the birthday girl know I couldn’t swim, I’m at vacation swimming lessons.

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Lovers’ tryst

Prompted by their tryst eternal, Sea sends wave on crashing wave,
Churning, frothing, roiling Ocean, spits her foaming peaks so bright.
Sand awaits impatiently, holding to his word and promise.

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Karti’s Revenge

Karti scrubbed with grim determination. It was tougher than she’d thought to get blood out of carpet, and she was sure someone in the building had already called the cops. Even with Marron doped up on tranqs, she’d had a hell of a time muffling his screams. Someone must have heard.

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First Kiss

“Close your eyes,” he says, all bravado and fifth-grade-boy machismo.

“What? Don’t be dumb,” I say.

“Just close your eyes. I’ve got a present for you.”

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Exit, Night

Night enters, rudely awakening fear while light peeks tentatively from other rooms. Fate reaches for the one match still housed within its book, lone survivor of smoking years. Phosphorus flowers into flame, snatching at the candle. Vanquished, darkness slinks away.

Madame Veronica

Kevin read the sign above the door again.

Madame Veronica: Clairvoyant and Psychic Healer.

It had been a year since the accident. His memory of that night was still sketchy. They’d been at the Andersons’ for dinner. Lars had been overgenerous with the wine, as usual. He’d argued with Gillian over who should drive home. Gillian had driven. No, he had. There was a deer. A tree. The hospital.

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Not Drowning, Waving

“It’s going swimmingly,” she said while catching the lifejacket and wrangling two teens.

Leader of the Pack

She thought her mother was a vampire. It was my fault.

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