Make me write!!

Hi there all you writerly types!

As both a writer, and a writing teacher, I encounter cases of ‘bum glue-itis’ regularly. That, dear people, is the inability to stick one’s bottom to the chair and just write. There’s always other distractions and demands, tasks that seem more achievable and ‘important’ than sitting down to do what we love – writing.

In my teaching gig, students tell me one of the most helpful things about our mentoring relationship is that they’re accountable to deliver material to me and meet their deadlines. So I thought, ‘Why not set up an accountability system that all writers can access?’ My question to you, then, is would you be interested in belonging to a closed Facebook group which exists to make you write? You’ll pay a nominal monthly fee to be a member, and the amount of work you email to me is up to you  – it could be a chapter a month, it could be ten. Your call. Meet your deadline, you get half your money back. Don’t meet it, slap on the wrist for you! (Yes, carrots and sticks do work and have their place).

I’ll also provide you with individual feedback on your submitted work and the FB group would meet live once per month for a general chat with all members about what’s working for them, and how I can assist you to be more productive. Fellow writer, Carla Caruso, will be involved as an experienced published author to provide her expertise also.

This is a thought bubble at the moment, so I’d love to hear from anyone who likes the idea. The purpose is motivation to write, assisting you to be accountable, achieve your goals and to just write!

Over to you…:)

 

 

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Çopper Bling

http://www.perilousadventures.net/1101/bond.html

 

 

Published in Perilous Adventures – link above

I’ve been outta the clink two whole days without being hassled by the wallopers when I hear sirens. I hold my breath; they’re getting louder, closer, and suddenly I’m four years old again lying in this same bed. I’ve just heard my older brother, Nev, crash through the back door. Man he was panting loud.

‘In there!’ ordered Mum, and Nev stumbled into our bedroom, something clutched under his jumper. He threw himself under my bed and I lay there feeling his hard breathing vibrate through the mattress.

Sirens blared from outside. There was clumping footsteps. A hammering at the door.

From where I lay, I could see Mum’s back. She opened the front door a crack, and peered out. ‘Can I help yers?’

A male voice answered. ‘Where is he, Nell?’

‘Dunno what yers talking about, officer.’

‘Come on Nell, don’t play dumb. You know Nev’s been at it again. We’ve got positive CCTV identification of him stealing from LiquorLand. We just want to talk to the lad.’

‘You got a warrant?’ Mum asked. The only useful thing Dad learnt in the clink is that the wallopers can’t come into ya house without a warrant.

The copper sighed. ‘He’s nine, Nell. Once he’s ten we can actually do something to stop the thieving little bastard. Just try and sort him out before we do, okay?’

Mum grunted and shut the door in his face, then stormed into our room, ready to yell. But Dad pushed past her.

‘You get it, boy?’

Nev slid out from under the bed. His breathing was normal now, but his hands shook as he lifted his jumper. He handed Dad two bottles of Jack Daniels.

‘That’s me boy,’ Dad smiled.

I knew that in an hour or so he’d be joking and dancing Mum around the room. Then he’d get narky. Soon after that, he’d be snoring on the couch. He’d be right tomorrow, so long as he didn’t drink it all in one hit. If he did, Nev would have to go get some more.

Back then, I wondered when my turn would come.

Now, the sirens outside reach a high pitched wail. Through my half open door, I watch Mum kick some empty cans under the couch and get ready to do her thing. I ain’t done nothing wrong since getting outta the clink, but my palms begin to sweat anyway. And the detention band around my ankle suddenly weighs a tonne.

‘Evening, Nell,’ says a voice I recognise. It’s Copper O’Reilly. ‘I hear Anthony’s home.’ Mum doesn’t say anything. ‘Come on, Nell, we contacted the courts and they told us he was bailed Friday. There’ve been a series of crimes over the weekend that match his MO. Funny how they don’t happen when he’s locked up.’

‘He’s at his auntie’s,’ says Mum.

‘I’m sure he is, but I think I’ll take a look around all the same. And before you ask, yes, I do have a warrant.’

I stare at the ceiling and kick at my ankle band with my free foot. Nev had one once. He joked about it being jewellery money couldn’t buy. ‘Copper bling,’ he called it.

‘’Ere, watch this,’ he’d say as he twisted a screwdriver and bit of bent wire in the lock making it spring open. ‘Be back before those dumb-arse coppers are even half way through their Macca’s run.’

When we was little, I worried about Nev going on his grog and cigarette runs. At first he only stole them for Dad and then, after me sister Carly was born and Dad left, for himself and his mates. They’d sit around drinking in our lounge room with Mum. Before Dad left Mum didn’t drink much, but after he was gone it was like she picked up where he left off.

My door flies open and Copper O’Reilly walks into my room without knocking. I sit up and glare at him.

‘What have you been up to this weekend, Anthony? Seen Nev and the boys?’

What does he reckon I’m gunna say? I want to stick it up him, tell him to get fucked, but Carly appears at my door, her eyes wide as she clutches her Dorothy Dinosaur to her chest. Mum and Dad fought real bad the day Carly came home from the hospital.

‘You think I don’t know?’ Dad yelled at her. ‘I see what you do, Nell. Flauntin’ your shit for any bastard who wants it.’ Then he pushed her hard and she stumbled, nearly dropped the baby. I ran out from behind the couch and snatched Carly away. I hid in my room and held her tight, rocked her and sang ‘Twinkle, twinkle, little star’, but I could still hear Dad yelling.

‘I’m not fucking raising some other bloke’s kid, Nell!’

There was a crash, and Mum crying, then the door slammed. My bedroom door opened, and I gripped Carly tighter, but it was only Nev. He looked at us, cowering on the floor, scowled like I’d done something wrong, then turned his back.

I felt like I’d been holding onto her that way ever since.

‘I ain’t seen him,’ I say to Copper O’Reilly.

‘Really? I thought you must have? The Pacific, Frank’s and Mile’s Way Bottle shop all got done over. They’re your regulars, aren’t they? What’s more, Mile’s Way was ram-raided; the whole shop front taken out. That’s about 80k damage, at a guess. Whoever did it will get serious lock up time.’

I don’t reply. I was eight when Nev started taking me on grog runs. Nev, or one of his mates, would drive. They’d argue or pick a fight to distract the workers in the bottle shop while I stashed grog under me baggy jumper.

‘And,’ O’Reilly continues, ‘we found a wrecked ’92 Commodore dumped a block from the Mile’s Way. Guess whose finger prints were on it?’

‘Dunno,’ I mutter, but I’m startin’ to panic. Nev had been in hiding since I got locked up. I’d taken the full rap for our last job, but if he’d done this and got caught, he’d get chucked in the adult lock up.

I look up at Copper O’Reilly. ‘Been here since Friday.’

‘Well, perhaps you can tell me where your brother is, then? Things will go much easier for you if you help us out.’

‘You can’t do nothin’ to me! I been here the whole time and I can prove it.’ I point at my ankle band.

‘You know, Anthony, you’re not such a bad kid. You’ve had it rough. If you hadn’t been around the likes of Nev and your father, you could have really made something of your life.’ Carly coughs from her hiding spot in the corner and he turns to her. ‘Hello, sweetheart,’ he says. Carly runs to me, buries her face between my knees. ‘We keep tabs on you, you know. You’ve done a good job looking after this little one.’ He strokes her head and she shies away.

I lift her into my lap.

‘If you were to get locked up again, what would happen to her?’

She puts her chubby arms around my neck and squeezes me tight. She might be little, but she knows something ain’t right. The whole time I was in the clink I worried about her. When I got out, she slept in my bed the first night, crying and telling me off for leavin’. I promised I wouldn’t go away again; she’s too young to understand anything else.

I glare at Copper O’Reilly and wait for him to finish whatever he’s gettin’ at.

‘I’m guessing welfare would step in, make sure she was looked after properly.’

‘What d’ya want?’ No fuckin’ way I’ll let welfare take her.

O’Reilly dumps a blue folder on my bed. I eyeball him, then the folder. ‘Go on, take a look,’ he says. I flip it open and a stack of photos slide out. Most are black and white and a bit fuzzy, but some I can see are of Nev and the boys doin’ breaks and shit. ‘Take a closer look at this.’ O’Reilly slips one out from the back. It’s slightly out of focus, but shows a bloke in a balaclava, cricket bat aimed at a small window and me standing behind, watching. It was a break we’d done a few weeks before I got locked up. Nev had smashed the back window of a grog shop while I’d kept watch.

I let the photo slip from my hand.

‘Just tell me where Nev is.’

My heart hammers. Carly squirms in my lap and starts to grizzle. I hug her tight. O’Reilly scoops his photos back into the folder and stands up.

‘You’ve got a bit to think about, Anthony,’ he says. ‘I’ll leave you to it and come back for another chat soon.’ He chucks a business card on me bed. ‘I hope by then you’ll have had some luck remembering where your brother is.’ He starts to leave, pauses, turns back and puts his hand on Carly’s head. ‘Goodbye, little one.’

***

I wake with a start. Carly’s gone and, my bedroom is dark and silent.

I creep into Carly’s room. She isn’t there. Mum’s bed is empty too. My brain can’t take it in; Mum never takes Carly anywhere at night. She only ever goes to the casino or “Uncle Simon’s” place, and Carly always gets left with me. My breath catches in me throat – what if she’s been leaving Carly home by herself the whole time I’ve been in the clink?

I head to the lounge and sit down. Carly’s purple dinosaur is next to me, grinning. It makes me angry, smiling like that, so I smack the stupid thing over and a bit of paper flutters to the floor.

Next time Copper O’Reilly comes round, you deal with him. I’ve taken off with me girl – don’t want her turning out like me boys.

 I read it again, screw it up and chuck it across the room. I get hotter ‘n hotter and me throat closes up. Carly will be cryin’ for me.

I think of the day Dad left, of the fight and the slamming door.

‘I’ll go after him, Mum,’ Nev said, as he helped Mum off the lounge room floor into a chair. He didn’t come home that night and neither did Dad. Three days later, Nev turned up.

‘I found him, little bro,’ he said to me. ‘The fucker has moved in with some slut he’s been fuckin’ for months. Blamin’ mum and the baby was just a fuckin’ excuse to leave.’ He shoved a wad of cash into my hand. ‘Here,’ he said. ‘Hide it in case the coppers show up.’

Not long after, they did. In court they showed the footage of Nev doin’ over a pokie machine. He got locked up for three months and came out with the ankle band. After that, Nev was harder.

‘Fuckin’ copper cunts,’ he’d say. ‘We’re trash to them. They gonna lock us up no matter what, so we might as well do what we fuckin’ want. I’m a breaker, that’s me job, and those fuckin’ copper cunts just gonna learn to live with it.’

He hassled me to do breaks with him, called me a fuckin’ sissy girl when I didn’t wanna go. Reckoned it looked bad for him to have a soft cunt for a brother. If I’d stood up to him more, if I hadn’t actually been a soft cunt, maybe I wouldna gotten locked up. Then I remember the black eyes I’d copped when I did tell him no. At least I never let him near Carly.

The house is dead quiet apart from the hum of the flouro light. My head feels like it’s gunna explode. ‘Fuck yers. Fuck yers all!’ I yell, and I hit the wall, leaving a great fibre-filled hole behind. After washing the blood off my knuckles, I try to think. I have to find Carly, and for that, I need some damned help removing this fuckin’ copper bling. There’s only one person I know for sure can do that.

I grab the phone and dial a number I have stored in me head.

‘’Ello,’ a familiar voice answers.

‘Hey Nev,’ I say. ‘I’m back home and the clink’s made me real thirsty. Want some help with tonight’s grog run?’

‘Good to hear it, little bro,’ Nev says, and I can hear the smile in his voice. ‘I’ll be over in twenty.’

I swallow hard, then sit listening to the roar of the fluoro. I bash the damned ankle brace against the floor and just about break my foot. This is fucked up. I reach for the phone, decide to call it off – I’m a goddam fucking snitch. But then I think of Carly, alone in this house while I was in the clink, and my hand hovers mid air, begins to shake. Where the fuck is she now?

Reaching into my pocket, I take out the card Copper O’Reilly left and dial his number.

‘If you want Nev, be here in twenty minutes,’ I tell him, then hang up.

Just Sleeping

Published in Page Seventeen, Issue 5.

 

Tom stood, hand on the doorhandle, and took a deep breath.

 

Music was coming from inside; “Better be home soon” by Crowded House. She must be there. She was there. Thank god. His toolbox slipped from his grasp forgotten, as he bolted across the living room floor to the couch where she lay. To the rest of the world, it would appear she was just sleeping.

 

He leant close to her face, smelling her breath. Whiskey. “Danielle…Dani!” he repeated. She stirred, made a noise, but didn’t wake. Pulling himself onto the couch beside her, he slid his arm under her shoulders and hugged her fragile body. Relief. He stroked her hair. Her once luxurious waves of honeyed chocolate now lay matted and split like burnt straw. He kissed her dry, cracked lips, never wanting to let her go.

 

The music stopped, clicked over, and the same song started up again. Where to from here?

 

The last time they’d fought  like this, she’d disappeared and he’d spent the whole night driving to pubs, showing her photo to anyone in the hopes they’d seen her. He’d eventually found her the next afternoon, slumped over a bar stool, a middle aged dero plying her with vodka shots. After that, they’d had almost a month without an episode. Then the drinking started again. Only one or two at first.

 

Tom cradled her in his arms. Her once toned skin and muscles shrivelled. He surveyed their lounge room, the sleek black furniture they’d picked out together, the photographs of the two of them laughing, hugging and kissing. The cabinet that had previously housed his late grandfather’s priceless port collection and now stood empty. He could leave, that’s if he could leave.

 

He laid her back down on the couch. Straightening  her leg, his hand cupped her calf. It lay small, flaccid and pale in his large palm. An image flashed of a short black suit skirt, rising high up her tanned thigh as she stood on tip toe to reach a glass. Back then she’d only ever have two glasses of wine – couldn’t be hung-over and miss her morning aerobics. Weekends had been a different matter. But then, she worked so hard during the week and she deserved to let her hair down. Tom always nursed her when she got messy. After all, it was the only thing she really needed him for. Then.

 

Back when they’d met and fallen in love, he wondered, ‘Why me?’ A plumber, a pleb. Men made bee lines for her at bars. She was a fantasy girl, the sort his footy mates lied about sleeping with to bolster their egos. She’d modelled to pay her way through uni. Lingerie catalogues mostly. She already owned her own place, had a high paying executive bank career and more friends than names he could remember. It was all gone now of course.

 

So, what did she really need him for?

When he’d ask she’d say “Sshhhh silly!” with a kiss to his lip, then to his forehead and eyelids. “Sshhhh,” as she’d pulled his grease covered work shirt over his head. “You don’t see what I see,” as she kissed his chest. Feathering her lips and fingertips over his stomach, he dissolved at the pleasure of her touch.

 

After an early attempt at unbuttoning her blouse had resulted in black marks he worried about getting grease and dirt on her suits, on her princess skin. “You do it,” he’d said and so she sat him down and made him watch as, with sensual slowness, she unbuttoned and discarded her blouse and skirt. Her stockings she removed by degrees. Stepping back, she turned a full circle, showing off her lithe, lingerie clad body.

 

Tom beheld her in awe, all thoughts of his worth forgotten. She came closer, made him look without touching, until he couldn’t stand it anymore. Then she smiled, task accomplished, and fell into his arms. Tom couldn’t imagine being any happier at those moments.

 

Checking she wasn’t going to roll off the couch, Tom went into the kitchen. His back against the wall, he leant forward, bracing his hands on his knees and tried to think. She’d wake up and want to keep drinking. She hated the vomiting, the headaches and cold sweats that always followed her benders. Drinking more alcohol kept them at bay. For a while. But he was determined; this was it. This was it. It had to be.

 

Tom ransacked every cupboard searching for that elusive stash. Any unrecognised bottles he opened and sniffed. Last time he’d discovered her emergency alcohol supply concealed in a detergent bottle. The time before that, an empty bottle of shampoo. He found nothing, then proceeded to the bedroom. Her suitcase lay half open on their bed, its guts spilling onto the doona and floor. He began rummaging through mounds of dishevelled clothing. Searching. His fist collided with cold hard glass. A bottle of vodka, three quarters full, cocooned in her jeans.

 

When Danielle woke it was dark. Tom’s large frame perched on the edge of the couch, his head in one hand, vodka in the other. He’d been sitting there for the last hour, thinking.  If he asked her where she’d been, would she tell him the truth? Did he even want to know? Was it enough that she’d simply come back?

 

He thought back to when her drinking had stopped being a weekend thing and turned into week long benders. It had been ten months ago, after she’d lost their baby.

 

When she’d told him about the pregnancy, instead of joy, he felt something close to mistrust. She needed attention, male attention, to feel good about herself. He knew that.  He’d let most of it go, she was flirty by nature, it meant nothing. She loved him.  But that  time at the work Christmas party; the fact she was wasted and didn’t remember trying to bed his mate couldn’t be removed  from his memory. How many other times had there been when he hadn’t been there to stop her?

 

‘Am I the father?’ he had said then hated himself for asking. It was after that her drinking escalated. An escape from life, from him. His gut knotted every time he thought about it. Was this the way you treated someone you love? Someone you cherish.

 

Holding the bottle of vodka out to her he said ‘Do you want it?’ She pulled herself into a half sitting position, rubbed her eyes, said nothing. Tom put the bottle down on the coffee table in front of her. ‘It’s there if you want it.’

Danielle pushed her hair out of her face, reached for the bottle and planted it in her lap. She traced a cracked fingernail around the rim, caressing it’s frigid walls. ‘It takes it all away you know. Takes everything that I hate about myself away and gives me this world where nothing matters.’

 

He stared at the bottle. ‘But it takes you away from me too.’

 

She was silent, studying the distance between them. ‘I know.’

 

‘If you want to stop, we’ll do it together,” he mumbled.

 

She started to cry. ‘I don’t know why, after how I’ve been…how can you still love me?’

 

Tom rocked her .‘Shhh silly, you don’t see what I see’. He kissed the top of her head, pressing her to his chest and felt the wet through his shirt. ‘You’re my girl, we’ve just gotta get you better.’ He pulled out a hanky and wiped her face.

 

Danielle turned back to the bottle. She was silent for a second, then pulled herself up from Tom’s lap, shuffled into the kitchen and poured it down the drain.

 

Tom came up behind her and circled his arms around her waist. ‘Proud of you, Baby.’

 

She turned to hold his gaze, then leant the whole of her weight against him.

 

 

It was nearly dawn when the withdrawals began in earnest. By eight thirty, the sheets were dark with sweat. She’d vomited so many times that she was no longer bothering to go to the toilet. Nothing left to come up. She’d sit in bed and convulse, her shoulders heaving. Tom sponged her face, tried to get water into her. The last time she’d been like this, he’d taken her to hospital. ‘Good thing too,’ they’d said, ‘alcoholic seizures were next.’

 

He couldn’t do that again. This time he couldn’t trust her recovery to anyone else.

 

‘Be back soon,’ he said, swinging his legs over the side of the bed.

 

‘Don’t leave me,’ she whispered.

 

‘Not leaving you, Baby. Just going to get some medicine. Same stuff they gave you at the hospital. It’ll help you sleep.’ He took both her hands in his, and noticed that his were still black from work. He should wash them. Should probably even change his clothes before fronting up to any doctor. But that would take time.

 

‘You’re so very good to me, Thomas,’ she said squeezing his hands. ‘I know I can do this as long as I’ve got you.’

 

He leant forward and held his lips soft against hers. At the bedroom door he turned to look back at her. She was smiling. His own face broke into a grin. He shoved his toolbox out of the way, grabbed both sets of house keys and left, locking the door from the outside. He wouldn’t be long. But still…

 

‘Just not sleeping doc…haven’t slept in four nights now,’ he said to the overworked clinic doctor when explaining the necessity for valium. It wasn’t as if he was lying. The doctor took in his dirty rumpled clothes, his blood shot eyes and promptly wrote him a script.

 

Unable to stand still, Tom paced aisles of pharmacy brand shampoos, razors and bandages. After what seemed an eternity, his name was called. Handing over money for the medication, something blue glinting in his periphery caught his attention. A mock sapphire encrusted guardian angel pin. Tom thought how closely the colour of the fake jewel matched Danielle’s eyes.

 

Driving home, he began to relax. A picture of Dani, healthy and happy, formed in his mind. He turned up the car radio. ‘Better be home soon’ was playing and he began to hum along to the tune. He imagined they were at the beach. She was wearing the black bikini he’d bought her last summer. Lying in the warm sand beside her, the glint from her ring dazzled him momentarily. He looked down at his own left hand to a thick, gold wedding band. Married. For the first time in days, no months, he felt real hope and something like happiness.

 

He pulled into the car port. Their front door stood ajar, the lock smashed, tools littering the ground. His now battered steel toolbox lay just inside, centimeters from where he’d left it. Panicked, he flew through the kitchen and lounge room to the bedroom. She was there. Thank god. To the rest of the world it would appear she was just sleeping.

 

The empty bottle of vodka by her side was the only give away.

 

Your Gift

Published in Goodnight, Goodnight, an anthology from the Wirra Wirra Vineyards Short Story Competition 2009 for South Australian writers.

A movie night by myself. Sunday night on the couch, just me and the box – I know it won’t happen, even as I plan it. I could sit and watch movies for hours with you. Now, by myself, I can’t sit for minutes. When I get too still, too quiet and alone, I think of what you did and want to scream.

Lips and fingertips

Fingertips on lips

Wrinkles ‘round blue eyes

Crinkling as you cry

House a mausoleum without you

I’m trying to recover. After what you did. Your shattering, smashing body. Unforgivable. But I can block it out. I can block out all the bad, unliveable stuff about you and still feel your absence so sharp.

Whenever my heart gets plucked, you’re there. But you’re leaving. A smile from a man, a lingering look across a restaurant – a voice inside says it was so much more with you. How can anyone live up to what you created in me?

Then, you showed me the monsters that live inside you.

‘You’re a fucked up alcoholic, and you’re here for my physical pleasure. This is going to happen.’

You broke into my house, six months after we’d broken up. Six months of missing you with my entire being, of wanting you back the way I want air.

But not on these terms.

You walked into my room, drunk and naked, and climbed into my bed. It was five am. I didn’t recognise you, and I screamed. You pinned me to my bed, your breath vile, stinking of cigarettes. One hand holding both my wrists. I’m face down, your legs are between mine and with your other hand, you’re trying to part my buttocks. You’re trying to push your penis up my arse. And I’m crying for you to stop, but you keep saying ‘this is going to happen, you worthless slut’.

Thank-god, I got angry. I fought back. Some vestige of spirit said your words weren’t true, there was some worth left in me, alcoholic or not.

‘You’ve cried rape before, haven’t’ you?’

I thought of the night I hitched a ride home, in blackout. Of waking up with a stranger. I didn’t remember a thing. I’d never told anyone, I carried it locked in my kryptonite lined box where intolerable things are put. Seventeen, blind drunk, no purse for a taxi, lost and deranged – the man took me in that state to his home. Is that rape?

‘No copper will believe you,’ that’s what you said. And you would know, given that you are one. ‘This is going to happen. You might as well be good for something and this is what I want.’ Over and over, ‘This is what I want.’

I tell you it’s rape, and you say you know and don’t care. You don’t care about me, never did. And then, the light bulb moment. You’d been raping me ever since we met. Taking from me, from my body and heart, never giving anything back. Just dangling enough to keep me submitting. I bailed you out financially, emotionally, sexually, and you just took, took, took. You told me you were a thirty eight year old boy, and I didn’t believe you. No, I just thought you were telling me you were fun, and I already knew that.  But you’re just a fuck up in every way. And still, I wasn’t enough for you. Until this.

‘This is what I want.’

 

Your voice and your smile

Monotony stopped for a while

It was fantasy, not real

Always guessing how you feel

Only ever wanted to reach you

 

I only fought back because you shattered me, smashed my stupid illusions. In that moment that lasted all night, all year. I see you as my mind constructed you: happy, funny, so handsome and quick. Your damned wink! Obsession, not love. Though I would have done anything to have you – is that not love?

You were the zipless fuck, the full body kiss. There’s space where you used to be, now on the periphery of my life. I can sense your lack.

 

Skin on skin

Before too virgin

Now unclothed

You’re never exposed

Never slept naked with another

Five am you walked, drunk, into my bedroom and because I’d been drinking for a week, you got angry. You ripped off my robe, groped my breasts so hard they bruised, told me to suck your cock. I agreed so you’d let go of me, and I pretended to start going down on you, then slid off the bed and ran for the phone. You were right behind me, and I only got to dial the 000 before you slammed down the receiver.

‘You’ll be sorry you did that!’

You picked me up, a bear grip from behind, and ran back to my room. I had no substance, a weightless anorexic in your arms. You threw me, face first, onto the bed. My head hung over the edge, nearly bashed the floor. You pinned my arms behind me, and wrenched my head back by my hair. I thought my neck was going to snap and my hair was going to come out by the roots, chunks of meat and blood attached. I couldn’t move, couldn’t talk, trapped and pinned like a butterfly staked to a board.

‘Chris, please don’t. Chris, please don’t. Chris, please don’t’.

 

And you were on top of me, trying to slam your dick up my arse. But you couldn’t. I’d fought you off for too long, and you were too drunk, and you’d lost your erection. Instead, you lay on top of me and slurred into my ear how much I disgust you, that I’m a waste of space alcoholic. I make everything hard for everyone in my life. You said at least when you tried to kill yourself, you only took you. That I take everyone around me.

You fell asleep on top of me, slurring your hate. It took forever to struggle out from under your dead weight. And then I lay, exhausted, on my bed next to you. As a couple, we didn’t make love in my bed very often; I always drove up to your place ‘cos you never had petrol. I loved your bed, your house in the hills closed in by trees and green and bird songs. Sandalwood burning and Ben Lee playing on the stereo.  But I lied, I wanted more than to just begin.

This was how we ended. I sat and looked at you passed out on my bed. Your face looked old, frown lines sharp, forehead creased and hair more receding than I’d ever realised. You stank of cigarettes, foul, and for once I could look at you, be next to you, and feel no love. You hadn’t raped me, though not through lack of trying. I got up, rang the police and waited for them on the couch, the front door open so I could run out if you woke. They came quick, a blonde woman and an older male constable. The male cop picked up your clothes from my lounge room floor, took them into my room and waited for you to get dressed.

They escorted you out and you were wearing your grey coat – you didn’t look like Bogart in that black and white picture on your mantle anymore. Just a hobo.

The female cop had my cat in her arms; she’s seven years old but the cop thought she was a kitten. Most affectionate cat in the whole of Adelaide, and you didn’t ever like her.

‘We’re done’. They were your last words to me, as the police removed you from my life.

I didn’t feel much after you left. Just a sense of swallowing a whole lot of nothing, and it’s taking up a lot of room in my body where you used to live.

 

Lips and fingertips

Your smile an eclipse

Forever too short a time

Never got to say goodbye

Memories are a mocking consolation

Maybe that was your gift to me, that’s how I see it now. If you hadn’t shattered my false god, I’d still be at worship. I don’t worship now, but I write to bring the reality of it all back because no-one believes me (you’re a cop after all, while I’m a pathetic alcoholic) and I need to remember. And I know, really, that you weren’t all good, or all bad and neither were ‘we’. There was good there, once, you moon faced fucker. And now, I’m lonely without my idol. But I want real love this time, and I have to push you out again because you’re still sitting in there, somewhere, and I don’t want you taking any part of me anymore.

So I thank you, for what you did, what you gave me. The effigy is burning and I’m slowly filling up your space.

With this, your final gift.

Pink Shorts

Winner of the Positive Words 100 word short story challenge using the word ‘school’.

 

I said goodbye to you in the hospital. I felt like laughing at the absurdity of the boy I’d partnered to the school formal, who’d held my hair when I vomited from too much champagne, wrapped me in his jacket and walked me home, split from sternum to groin. Laugh at your VERY pink shorts you’d wear swimming; not the attire of a footy player. You looked peaceful, just sleeping, and I wanted you to jump out of bed and surprise everyone. But you didn’t. I kissed you and left, the phone call coming soon after to say you’d passed.