The Latex Beanbags

August 31, 2009 at 2:28 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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The following week, Rodney bought a new lawn mower …

Wolfgang was a tall, rangy homosexual who spoke with flamboyant gestures and a heavily contrived German accent. His acerbic wit could slice the knees from anyone foolish enough to consider him a stereotype.

He was into latex, but not in the biblical sense. Despite looking and acting like one, Wolfgang really was an eccentric and innovative fashion designer. He did all his own work, jealously protecting his exotic techniques. He worked exclusively in latex and had repeatedly pierced the membrane of accepted thought on its use.

In Wolfgang’s hands, latex swooned and surrendered its deepest secrets. It danced for him, happily assuming the appearance of any fabric he cared to nominate, from lace to hessian.

One spring, Wolfgang was suffused with two urges, one of which was to create something truly new in latex. After much deliberation, he decided to construct a set of beanbags. He told his hetero friends, Rodney and Susie. Wired into their Friday night cocktails, the couple embraced the idea and threw in their own thoughts. Most Wolfgang rejected as passé or unviable. A few, however, entered his fertile mind and began incubating.

**********

It was Saturday. Wolfgang bid his hosts a shaky farewell and returned to his studio. He slept for most of the day, rising as an alien orange moon clambered into the dusk, an hour ahead of schedule. The designer looked up bleary-eyed from his basin. The cratered disc filled his window, commanding him to work. The tides in his brain surged. He towelled himself dry, snatched a handful of sweet biscuits from the packet beside his shaver and stumbled into his workroom.

Four hours later the studio was alive with the stench of latex. Faint from fumes, Wolfgang cut and bonded the freshly prepared fabric in a trance. Above hundred year old slate, the moon kept up an even, insistent pressure. It dandled its servant from silver wires, guiding Wolfgang’s hands with supernatural precision. He had become a conduit, and pure inspiration flowed through his abused veins.

The possession continued until the moon sank beneath cold sheets, drawing comfort from the night’s mischief. The sober sun took charge, pouring light over the prone form of Wolfgang, slumped amid three perfect beanbags.

**********

Susie opened her door to three huge tumours. She gasped, then realised they were the beanbags Wolfgang had threatened to construct. Laughing with embarrassment, she invited him in.

‘They’re marvelous, Wolfie! How’d you manage to knock them up so fast?’

Wolfgang smiled. ‘I vas possessed, darlingk. You haf no idea vat it vas like. I verked like ze demon all night. I just hat to show you zem. I em fery prout.’

The beanbags were indeed handsome. One was a dappled military farrago of four earthy colours. The others were of the same design, but employed only two of the hues of the first. One was olive and russet, the other brick red and ochre. The members of the set complemented each other perfectly.

Susie ushered Wolfgang to the terrace. Rodney stood in long grass before an ancient lawn mower, worn components strewn over sun-warmed concrete.

‘Hello, friend,’ said Rodney.

‘Hallo, darlingk.’ Wolfgang tossed the beanbags onto the terrace and stood arms folded. Rodney gave a low whistle and pulled the nearest towards him. He rolled the smooth latex between his thumb and forefinger and tested the seams. Holding the units together, he marvelled at how the colours worked. Then he turned one over and over, hunting for its zipper.

‘You von’t find him. I haf hidden him mit much cleferness.’

Rodney rose to the challenge, but Wolfgang’s prophecy held true.

‘Bloody ingenious; I think they’re fabulous. Why don’t we have a beer and try them out on the grass?’

‘Vell … perheps a small portion. Ya, O.K.’

Rodney beamed, happy to abandon his struggle with the mower. He nodded to the beanbags.

‘Like to do the honours?’

Wolfgang gathered up the four-coloured beanbag and with patent pleasure, hurled it from the terrace. It described a slow, graceful arc through the azure sky and fell deep in the lush lawn.

The moment it hit the ground, the beanbag disappeared.

The three friends blinked. The grass was fifteen centimetres high at most – nowhere near tall enough to conceal a beanbag at ground level, let alone from their elevation.

‘Fok me! Vere did ze fokker go?’

‘Buggered if I know,’ replied Rodney. ‘Chuck one of the others out.’

Wolfgang nodded and threw the olive and russet beanbag after its sibling. It landed close to where the four-coloured unit should have been, but remained clearly visible.’

‘That’s where the other one went,’ marvelled Susie. ‘So where is it?’

‘I don’t know, but I’m goingk to find out.’ Wolfgang prepared to jump down beside Rodney, then seized the last beanbag and sent it after the others. In utter amazement, he watched it vanish on landing, along with the other bi-coloured bag it hit.’

‘Sh*t!’ exclaimed Rodney. ‘That’s some camouflage. How’d you do it?’

Wolfgang strode to the site. ‘I just mixed up ze colours like I alvays do. I don’t haf any formula, so zey alvays com out a bit different. I don’t know vot ze fok hes heppened here. But I’m fokking goingk to find out.’ He stomped around the landing zone, crushing innumerable blades of grass and releasing a fragrant promise of summer.

Susie joined the search. ‘This is crazy; they must be here!’

Much later, the group sat on the terrace. Too exhausted even to open their beers, they glared at the trampled lawn.

The following week, Rodney bought a new lawn mower. Delighted with its power, he gleefully scythed through the grass and filled his compost bin with catcher after catcher of clippings. He failed to notice the soft resistance midway through one of his turns around the rose bed.

Not until a white jet of polystyrene balls shot over his shoulder and dispersed in the hot air did he realise he’d found a beanbag. He spotted the red and ochre fabric of one of the bi-coloured units and excitedly scanned the ground for its mate. It lay behind him and to the left – out of range.

**********

These days the two bi-coloured beanbags live in Susie and Rodney’s house. Whenever Wolfgang visits, the couple put them away. He cannot bear to be reminded. When the beanbags get in range of each other, they disappear – and usually remain so till vacuuming day. The four-coloured unit is still somewhere in the garden.

It’s like anything.

🙂

Brought to you by The Feisty Empire.

Crazy Comrade

August 30, 2009 at 10:03 am | Posted in Song | Leave a comment
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The Author on a fact-finding mission, somewhere in Russia.

The Author on a fact-finding mission,
somewhere in Russia.

Contrary to appearances, this is the most complex of all my sung stories. Drawing heavily from the works of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, it is a love song of the most desperate kind, as sung by a prisoner of a dystopian Communist state.

Each line is both an attempt to distil one characteristic of the system and a specific affirmation of love as an all-conquering force.

[Sing with a heavy Russian accent, to the tune of Wild Thing by The Troggs]

Crazy comrade,

You make my sentence appear shorter.

You make everything politically expedient.

Oh crazy comrade.

Crazy comrade, I think I won’t inform my superiors of your subversive activities.

But I may still break under torture.

Come on and share this rotting turnip with me.

I queued for three days to get it. Yeah!

Crazy comrade,

You make salt mine work less arduous.

You make everything less painful.

Oh crazy comrade.

Crazy comrade, I think I can mend your tractor.

But I must travel to Minsk to barter for a fan belt.

Come on and drink this toxic potato liquor with me.

We have twenty minutes to curfew.

Yeah!

[Rock out.]

Brought to you by The Feisty Empire.

The Bloke Who Drives The Bus

August 29, 2009 at 6:54 pm | Posted in Short Story | 2 Comments
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Pic by Steffe

G’day.

I’m a bloke.

I drive a bus.

THE bus.

The bus people get hit by when they’re least prepared for it.

In layperson’s terms, you could say I’m the bloke who drives the bus.

Except that sometimes I drive a truck.

I don’t mind; it makes for variety and the results are generally the same.

It’s weird that most people fear buses more than trucks. I keep stats for my own interest; it’s currently a 70/30 split in favour of buses.

I don’t get it. Compared to rigs, I reckon buses are pretty tame. Except the ones in Africa with 90 people on the roof.

On a muddy mountain track you can really get up some momentum, though the brakes and shockers are usually shot, which ruins your aim.

When I worked Gabon in my early years, I had to sideswipe more than one target and the collateral damage was not pleasant.

I’ve done a bit of research on my craft.

Did you know that ‘omnibus’ means ‘for everyone’ in Latin? Common English usage shortened it to ‘bus’. In Italian, there are eleven names for buses of every kind. I sh*t you not: autoalveare, autobus, autosnodato, autotreno, belvedere, carro alpino, char-a-banc, corriera, filovia, pullman and torpedone.

What is it with these people? I prefer ‘omnibus’ because for me, everyone is a potential mark.

Benz built the world’s first omnibus in 1895. Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft produced a truck the following year. Maybe that’s how buses got the jump in urban mythology. As you can imagine, they were pretty thin on the ground at first. Helmut, my great-great-great-grandfather, was a champion driving bloke.

How he managed to orchestrate a pile up with the only other two commercial vehicles in Cannstatt is anybody’s guess. That he caused so much carnage with only four horsepower is even more impressive.

I guess it’s in our blood.

For me, it always starts as a tingle in my right thigh – deep down where I can never scratch. I can be driving the same route I’ve been on for months and then suddenly, I know I simply have to nail that Finance Director who’s exiting the Melbourne Club.

Uncle Roy gets a nervous tic in his left eye; brother Norman wets his pants and cousin Enid … well, let’s just say she really looks forward to getting her ‘message’.

Whatever the medium, we all know when it’s time. And thanks to the amazing safety features of today’s vehicles, we invariably live to tell the tale. You know when the newsreaders say: ‘the driver escaped serious injury’ or ‘the driver walked away unhurt’? Well, that’s us.

When it’s showtime, surprise is everything. As pedestrians, we’ve all had close shaves with traffic. Driving blokes play this to the max. The best outfits run vehicles so quiet you can get onto your targets before they know what’s hit them.

The Kenworth T800 Liquefied Natural Gas rig is quieter than any diesel on the road and produces 60% less nitrous oxide to boot. Raley’s Supermarkets of Sacramento runs a fleet of these, providing an excellent training platform for younger blokes.

But even your standard Mack can benefit from accessorising. Take the Goodyear Eagle LS. With curved pitch boundaries, triple tread block geometry and wide circumferential channels, it’s the king of stealth.

As you can probably tell, I love technology. Every now and then I get the urge to be an owner-driver.

More than anything, I’d like to run road trains out of Alice Springs. No witnesses, plenty of power and oodles of room to maneouvre. But with my record, I’d never get the permits.

I’ve been a driving bloke for 40 years now, but it wasn’t always the case.

I first felt the call on my Schwinn tricycle at kindergarten. When I got sent home for piloting Virginia Folvig onto a wooden peg (a’ la ‘Midnight Express’), my parents bought me a pedal car. I was horrified at what I’d done and resolved to take public transport thereafter.

This was fine until high school. For two years straight, bullies held me on the bus beyond my stop.

Then along came Stan.

No other driver had ever heeded my cries, let alone interceded. For weeks he was my guardian, until the boys got even.

They hijacked him one dark winter afternoon.

Their frozen oranges crazed his windows and startled him into a violent skid, which ended in the foundations of the school’s new swimming pool.

The boys successfully denied everything.

I have their names, though. My family has promised to alert me if any come up in the course of our business.

We’re all over the world now, my family. We love being instruments of Fate.

It’s so empowering; we never take a sickie. This can be risky where vehicles are publicly owned and malingering is a way of life.

Fortunately, economic rationalism is privatising most fleets. It’s perfect – increased turnover promotes anonymity, while low morale, reduced maintenance and deregulation make it easy to shift the blame.

To be on the safe side, we generally change employers every few hits. People are so superstitious.

The most interesting aspect of my work is the aftermath.

Though death by heavy vehicle is clearly a fact of life (Google provides over 13,000 returns for the phrase: ‘hit by a bus’), few firms have a progression and succession plan hardy enough to handle the spontaneous loss of key employees.

Of course, most organisations are only really scared of losing senior staff.

I find this endlessly amusing, since it’s generally the loss of ‘little people’ that causes the greatest havoc.

I once despatched a popular tea lady at a small factory. It took management two months to replace her, during which time the union initiated disputes on breaks, demarcation and the use of contractors.

Scalds and fights over biscuits blew the WorkCover premium out by 18% the following year, torpedoing a major export deal.

The job went to a competitor and the factory has been in decline ever since.

By contrast, I recently nailed the $250K-plus-benefits Strategic Director (Asia Pacific) of an insurance juggernaut.

No one even noticed until he missed his Hamilton Island ‘Resource Leveraging’ conference.

The irony of my role is that most people affirm their own deaths.

You know how those New Age types warn: ‘don’t give that thought energy’? Well, they’re right. So many times I’ve heard people say: ‘he only mentioned getting hit by a bus the other day’.

The universe is a ruthlessly efficient machine and I’m proud to be one of its drivers.

See you on the road.

Brought to you by The Feisty Empire.

Penny for Your Thoughts?

August 29, 2009 at 2:21 pm | Posted in Short Story | 2 Comments
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mind memory memories remember thought

Barbra is a Mobile Consultant for Piece of Mind Inc. A seasoned psychiatrist, she earns more than most of the folk at Accenture – which is a sh*tload.

Piece of Mind deals in memories. Barbra’s job is to assess, price, acquire and resell the recollections of prospective clients. The longer and more significant the memory, the more it’s worth.

For instance, the memory of a wedding night invariably fetches more than that of watching Billy Crystal in ‘Forget Paris’ – while the complete record of a dead relative is generally worth more again.

Once Barbra has negotiated a contract, she connects her new client to her ‘Think Tank’, which looks like an early Toshiba laptop. This device copies the memory onto triple-density double-sided disk(s) and electrically wipes it from the vendor’s brain. Barbra then emails a backup to Piece of Mind’s memory bank, in case she comes to grief on her journey back to the office.

Contrary to widespread belief, it is impossible to install a memory into anyone other than its originator. The brain’s insanely complex circuitry ensures that any foreign thought is rejected as surely as a bamboo hip joint.

This means that for each memory acquired, there is only one potential customer. Surprisingly, 23% of Piece of Mind’s clients want their memories back within a decade of selling them. Since the firm charges ten times the purchase price to reinstall a recollection, it earns more than enough to cover the lease on Barbra’s V8 Lotus Esprit.

Barbra enjoys her work and is happy to recount authorised case studies. These help explain why so many clients change their minds.

‘A’ gives up smoking by having all pleasant associations with the habit removed. These are so numerous that his personality alters dramatically and his friends desert him – whereupon he turns to alcohol.

‘B’ sells his memory of childhood abuse for $15,000 (which he spends on vinyl cladding). A year later, police ask him to identify his attacker to help break a pedophile ring. After agonising deliberation, ‘B’ sells his house to repurchase his memory for $150,000. His wife leaves him and the offender escapes on a technicality.

‘C’ sells her memory of mediocre nightclub evening during which she has a fleeting encounter with a charming man. She returns the following week to spend her earnings and the man approaches her, keen to continue their conversation. She cannot remember him and he withdraws offended.

Tired of chronic conflict with his mother, ‘D’ sells his entire memory of her, from infancy to adulthood, for $200,000. The mother subsequently begs for reconciliation, but neither party can raise the money.

Barbra’s work is not without risk. Recently, one of her colleagues was abducted and forced to remove incriminating memories from a murder witness and then himself. Despite these efforts, the suspect still met justice on failing a lie detector test (having neglected to have his own memory purged).

Most would agree that memories are precious. So can they be given a price? Think for a moment; what is your most treasured memory? Would you sell it for five million dollars? Such a sum could certainly finance a galaxy of fresh experiences.

We can perhaps conjure memories that we would trade on the spot for two slabs and a bottle of Bacardi. But which memories can we truly afford to renounce: those that are repetitious (our daily commute), those that are substandard (some of the later ‘Muppets’ episodes) or those we’d like to experience over and over (first pet, first car, first love etc.)?

Since they comprise a record of what has and has not worked during our lifetimes, it could be said that memories are what make us. Bad memories could even be considered more important than good ones, since they teach us to avoid dangerous situations.

What reminiscences, then, would you sell and for how much?

Piece of Mind’s switchboard music is the theme from ‘Men in Black’. Few recall that this is a rip off of ‘Forget-Me-Nots’ by Patricia Rushen and Freddy Washington. In light of this and other disturbing phenomena, Piece of Mind’s detractors have accused the firm of stealing memories en masse from the public.

The conspiracy is said to involve an ingenious synergy between mobile phones and fast food additives that exploits the brain’s delicate electrochemical physiology.

Australia is the world’s highest per capita user of mobile phones and a voracious consumer of fast food. Perhaps this is why crucial political promises containing the words: ‘no child in poverty’ and ‘never ever GST’ have been forgotten by voters. Were they to be remembered, surely neither of the parties involved could still claim the right to govern.

Barbra’s take on the matter is philosophical, if not evasive. As far as she’s concerned, ‘memories may be beautiful and yet, what’s too painful to remember we simply choose to forget’.

🙂

Brought to you by The Feisty Empire.

the onset of grief

August 29, 2009 at 1:46 pm | Posted in Poem | 7 Comments
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70's Barbie

My dear departed mother, Barbie Hassing.

my brain is getting smaller

as the world cuts it to size

we’re dumbing down the hard bits

since we found that i’m unwise

the small pond of the big fish

now the marianas trench

i’m drowning in life’s ocean and

it’s something of a wrench

the man who once set vcrs

can barely lick a stamp

i thought i had a searchlight

it was a miner’s lamp

Hurt Couture

August 29, 2009 at 1:34 pm | Posted in Article | 1 Comment
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Look bad, feel worse.

In a little while, an extremely avant-garde fashion house will be formed. Rejected by all established organisations in their respective fields, two bright graduates will form a partnership. Their names will probably be Oskar and Vivienne and their company will almost certainly be called ‘Hurt Couture’.

Oskar will be a breathtakingly innovative designer. Vivienne will specialise in artificial intelligence and have a good grasp of nanotechnology. They will make catastrophic love once, swear never again to touch banana advocaat and then settle into to a close and productive friendship.

Hurt Couture’s mission will be ‘To make it impossible for people to look bad in our clothes’. Its slogan will be ‘No More Sneers’, ‘Look Bad, Feel Worse’, or something of that order. The logo will be a pair of stylised scissors suspended, like the sword of Damocles, by a thread.

Hurt Couture will not use fur, leather or feathers in any creation. Vivienne will argue in interviews and documentaries that since vanity is a purely human trait, its impact should fall accordingly.

The unique selling proposition of Hurt Couture will be revolutionary. Their garments will be engineered to punish people who don’t look good in them. ‘Countermeasures’ will range from gentle warnings to execution, depending on the severity of the offence.

Successful use of a Hurt Couture outfit will mean, by definition, that the wearer looks good. Rapid public adoption of company standards will flow from their intrinsic logic. Base directives will prevent shirt sleeves being rolled above the elbows, blue and green being seen without a colour in between and single breasted suits having all their buttons done up. Forbidden accessories will definitely include braces, bow ties and berets.

Countermeasures will be categorised, allowing clients to nominate their level of risk. Elegant contracts will set precedents for signing away common law rights. To the dismay of Hurt Couture’s left wing founders, this will quickly spill into the industrial relations arena.

Countermeasure severity will be expressed in ‘hurts’ (microhurts, millihurts, megahurts, gigahurts and terahurts). In a confusing nomenclature, ‘killerhurts’ will be reserved for terminal countermeasures. Mired in a non-metric system, US consumers will drop like flies until instructions are translated into their archaic terminology.

Spectacular garments like gowns and dance costumes will carry the gravest countermeasures – particularly if designed for high profile events. Television industry awards will consequently suffer numerous embarrassments.

Garments will be both solar powered and able to harness static electricity. State-of-the-art sensors, microprocessors and nanobots will put the price of even a tie beyond the reach of average wage earners.

All countermeasure sequences will begin with a warning, allowing reasonable time to either cease committing the fashion crime or leave the scene.

Electrical countermeasures will comprise audio and visual messages, lights, alarms and shocks. The common mistake of putting on odd socks will be countered by a friendly warning (‘microhurt’).

Chemical countermeasures will involve garment discolouration and self-destruction as well as acid irritation and injury. A white suit worn in sufficiently poor taste will generally dye itself piebald or corrode its owner’s wrists (‘megahurt’).

Mechanical countermeasures will include garment tightening and self destruction, cutting and pricking and emetic or poison injection. Any lapse of concentration at a fashion event will swiftly lead to incapacitating illness and/or the rending of every stitch (‘terahurt’).

Hurt Couture’s logo will be prominent and actively lit on every creation. Inside, fibre optics will feed a powerful central processing unit. Depletion or compromise of any countermeasure mechanism will disable the glowing scissors, defeating the purpose of wearing the item.

For safety reasons, pregnant women will be prevented from wearing Hurt Couture by hormone sensors. At least one dancing queen will watch her logos short circuit as she conceives atop the boom boxes at a three-day rave after a heated encounter behind the vegieburger tent.

Hurt Couture will capture public imagination and become a killer brand. Though industry bodies like The Cotton Board will strive to influence directives, consumers will reject their obvious self-interest and cling more firmly to ‘source’ dictates.

Vain people will become addicted to the brand and wear nothing else. By refusing to cover the risk, insurers will trigger mass policy cancellations – negating the effect of government rebates and dealing the industry a well-deserved kick in the teeth.

There will be no website; word of mouth and reportage will do everything. Production will be subcontracted under strict licence to accredited manufacturers. International standards like ISO 9001 will be rewritten to incorporate Oskar and Vivienne’s visionary ideas as to what really constitutes a quality organisation.

Ruined clothes will be refitted as clients try again and again to wear them correctly. This repeat business will create exponential growth of such magnitude that Hurt Couture will single-handedly revitalise the Australian dollar.

A leading footwear juggernaut will try to knock off company designs. Hundreds of Vietnamese children will die in a factory explosion as unscrupulous directors seek to minimise countermeasure substrate costs.

In a desperate bid to reclaim market share, a Swedish homewares firm will purchase the right to produce a complementary range of ‘Hurt Furniture’. Its first product will be a banana lounge that delivers high-tension piano wire wounds to incautious recumbents. Insufficient field-testing, however, will result in a string of gruesome self-assembly accidents.

Death by deliberately induced fashion crisis will account for a statistically relevant proportion of suicides.

Charities will forbid donation of Hurt Couture garments, owing to the high risk of injury to recipients.

Representatives from the bondage and discipline community will lobby Hurt Couture to create garments that punish wearers who look GOOD. Vivienne will decline to produce a range, but concede to re-engineer bespoke items.

One day a crowd will accost Oskar in the street, demanding to know what right he has to decide who wears his designs. Oskar will be deeply troubled by this and will rationalise that while he has no moral mandate he is, like a lawyer or accountant, entitled to choose his clients.

This will not sit well and he will continue to be agitated until he discusses the issue with Vivienne over an impertinent Verdelho. She will suggest they expand their range to include styles suitable for all body types, with the aim of making everyone on the planet look their best.

As the sun sets over their cliff-top studio, the partners will agree that if, despite this accommodation, some paedophilic scoutmaster still insists on cramming his fat arse into their beloved Lurex ‘Marching Boy’ hotpants, he deserves everything they can dish out.

🙂

Brought to you by The Feisty Empire.

Imagine Day

August 29, 2009 at 1:07 am | Posted in Short Story | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Imagine Day Title Small

Feisty gripped Fon’s shoulder excitedly.
‘Choose a day!’

Feisty and Fon were power walking along Melbourne’s Yarra River. It was a hot summer Saturday, nearly lunchtime. Having trekked from Armadale, Fon was feeling they’d bitten off more than they could chew. Fitzroy was still five tortuous kilometres away.

Feisty decided to distract Fon from her cruel blisters and protesting calves. He pointed at a tall poplar tree.

‘Look, Fonnie; see how that branch is dying off?’

Fon raised her sweat-soaked brow and squinted into the blinding sun. ‘Yeah.’

‘Imagine being a leaf on that branch, watching the dieback heading toward you. Chances are, you’d forget all about the view and how groovy it was to be a leaf. You’d be consumed with the fear of death. Paralysed. Unable to think of anything else.’

‘I guess so,’ replied Fon wearily.

‘The thing is,’ continued Feisty with mounting enthusiasm, ‘poplars are deciduous. That leaf is going to fall off months before the dieback gets to it. When it goes, it’ll have spent its whole life worrying about something that never posed a true threat.’

Fon concentrated on the baking asphalt of the bicycle path. ‘Uh-huh.’

Feisty beamed at the blue sky, pleased with his keen eye for nature and powers of philosophical interpretation. The couple walked in silence for a time.

‘Fonnie.’

‘Yes, Feisty.’

‘This is a great walk, isn’t it?’

‘It’s a bit longer than I thought it would be.’

‘Sure, but it’s great to be out, isn’t it?’

‘Yes. It is.’

‘Imagine if that whole freeway were covered in those dimpled concrete tiles they use in car parks.’

‘What?’

‘You know, the ones that have little recesses, like egg cartons. You lay them down and cover them with topsoil. Then you sow grass. When the grass grows, the concrete foundation stops cars from sinking into the earth or tearing it up. Beats the sh*t out of a normal car park surface.’

‘Oh, yeah. I know the ones.’

‘Well, imagine if the whole South Eastern Freeway were paved with them. Imagine the extra oxygen. It’d look great. Man, it’d be fantastic, don’t you think? Fonnie? Why don’t they do that? What’s your theory?’

Fon regarded the noisy freeway. Her poorly fitting sandshoes squelched with perspiration. A relentless trio of flies strafed her face, effortlessly evading the angry swish of her arms. Her armpits chafed and her head throbbed. She drew a deep breath.

‘Feisty.’

‘Yes baby?’

‘Can we please stop imagining things until we get home?’

Feisty looked at her, surprised and hurt. His brow furrowed. ‘Why?’

‘I’m really hot and tired. I find it hard picturing all the things you describe. Especially since you’ve had me doing it all week.’

‘I have?’

‘Yes. On Monday we had the farting biting cat, as well as bride-sniping from that penthouse next to the Fitzroy Gardens. On Tuesday, it was the slate tiles from Mars and the clothing that hurts people if they don’t look good in it. On Wednesday I had dinner with Debbie, but as soon as I got home, you told me all about the piano-wire banana lounge that slices people into bits if they don’t lie on it properly. Then, on Thursday, Steven came over, and both of you went on for ages about camouflage bean bags getting lost in the garden. Finally, yesterday, after a really sh*tty week at work, I came home to your idea for a dining table with a built in hologram unit that can record and replay the events that occur around it.’

‘I see,’ said Feisty, crushed. He was easily crushed.

‘It’s not that I don’t enjoy your ideas, baby,’ explained Fon carefully. ‘It’s just that it’s easier for you to invent them than it is for me to picture them. And when, like today, I’m hot and tired and thirsty and uncomfortable, I don’t really enjoy the experience as much as you obviously do. Do you understand what I’m trying to say?’

‘Yes,’ mumbled Feisty, sulking.

Please don’t think I want you to stop imagining stuff. I don’t. I just need a breather now and then.’

‘So you don’t want me to stop completely?’

‘No, baby. Of course not. I love your ideas. I wish I could think of them myself. Well, not all of them; some of the stuff you come out with is pretty weird. All I’m saying is that I can only handle your imagination in small doses.’

‘I see,’ said Feisty, recovering. ‘What if we had one day per week when I could tell you all my sh*t? I could save everything up and hit you with it on the weekend, when you’re relaxed.’

‘That could work.’

‘Yeah? You wouldn’t mind?’

‘No, not at all. I’m just too tired during the week. If you gave me a break for six days, I’m sure I’d be fine on the seventh.’

Feisty gripped Fon’s shoulder excitedly. ‘Choose a day!’

Fon thought carefully. ‘What about Saturday?’

‘Does that include today?’

‘No. I’m too hot. We’ll start from next Saturday, OK?’

Feisty was momentarily disappointed. They were approaching a pontoon bridge. He’d already invented the troll who lived beneath it and was bursting to tell.

🙂

Brought to you by The Feisty Empire.

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