My beautiful Holden Vectra had committed suicide, taken a dive, lost the will to survive. Within a minute, my mobile—a Sony Ericsson k750i ex-showroom model that I’d bought for $350 (rrp) three long years ago—had also given up the ghost.

I had to grit my teeth and think, It’s a funny old world, isn’t it?

*           *           *

My day had started out relatively benign, similar to most: big breakfast (eggs, sunny-side up, and bacon), big shower (an environmentally-hurtful fifteen minutes), and big argument with my housemate, Sam.

Once again, Sam had left the washing up soaking in the sink overnight. I’d woken up, come stumbling out to the kitchen for my late afternoon pick-me-up of fresh OJ, and found last night’s strained peas floating in a morass of sludge water in the sink, with nary a clean cup in sight.

I looked down, peering deep into the water. Haunting dark masses, vaguely cup-like in shape, lurked beneath its oily surface.

‘Aww, what the hell is this? Sam!’

Groaning. From the hallway the muffled thud of something soft, a pillow, hitting his door at speed.

‘Trying. Sleep. Hnuf. Whatever. Later.’ Sleep clung to that voice like a beggar to his paper bag.

I opened the fridge, grabbed my OJ and took a long pull. I waited for what seemed like an eternity (five minutes for maximum annoyance) and then walked down the hall, and stopped outside his door.

‘There are peas in the sink, Sam. Peas swimming, peas gleefully doing backstroke, peas stinking from last night. You promised you’d—’

Thud. This time a shoe. Had to be a shoe.

‘Shut. Up.’

And then:


I really didn’t have time for that. So, I walked into the kitchen and grabbed a piece of paper and the rent money from the top of the fridge and, smiling, set to work.

*           *           *

‘Arsehole Tax. That’s what I’m calling it.’

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