Alone, in a hotel room, the boom-crackle of ignited Australia Day firecrackers and the screams of low-flying military jets, the zinging taste of Solo-In-A-Can, of gunky pasta marinara exploding slowly in my stinging stomach.
Sydney, why so Sydney?
A glut of solipsistic co-workers, with headphones (Apple buds, Beats By Dre); with hunched frame, a descending skeletal de-evolution; with sniffles and burps, with no salutations, no how-dya-do, and with a lunch half-eaten at their desks. Dying while sitting, minute-minus-minute. A life tripped-and-flipped, sliding slowly into the time slip.
The world is a dark haze with no clear frame of reference. A sour mixture of fear and self-loathing circles its way through my body, leaving a cold sweat in its wake. It leaves it’s trail under my eyes. Through the balding tyres of my rusting Toyota Corona, I can feel every slight bump and indentation in the road. The Morse Code of tarmac under my feet spells out my section of the Pacific Highway, always in desperate need of repair. I remember liking that feeling. It is clear-cut in a world of ambiguity and that night my stomach bunched with uncertainty.
The radio’s blaring, reception jumpy, but it’s the opposite of silence and just as seductive. The green light of the dash helps soothe me into numbness. As the white lines speed past and then blur, the numbness leads down to vagueness, and from there to the past.
I could still feel it all. That fading sensation of cool plastic phone in my hand. Those sharp words, sharp enough to cut all involved. Continue reading
Flip had always meandered through life, skipping from course to career like a blind man playing cliff-side hopscotch. He’d attained a Degree in Obscure Nameology, a Certificate in Advanced Life Studies, and a Diploma in Tilting At Windmills. He’d washed computers’ innards; cleaned the inside of puppets; distracted air traffic controllers; typed up random number sequences (for code); skirted the issue of pants; polished bricks; tamed gophers; stopped watches; stole mink; dried water; delivered devilry; and painted positive slogans in braille, all for the most meagre of monies. But that never bothered Flip – he had a ‘plan’.
Yes, dear reader, Flip had a life goal: to paint his name brightly, extra adjective intended – to work optical wonders in the sky. Continue reading