Lovelycurses #1minfiction

A notebook and a pencil. Toothbrush. A change of underwear. And an old photograph of her mother. All slung defiantly over her shoulder and she stepped out into the world projecting a fabricated aura of confidence. She was leaving this time.

The streets were beginning to fill and soon the market would be a surging river of humanity within which she could become absorbed and blissfully disorientated. She had money enough for bread, cheese and fruit.

And then the river would take its course.

A trip to the doctor

Awkward Writing Prompt


There is a lump on my left arm. I may have mentioned it before, I think, and it was you people who encouraged me to have it looked at. So I made an appointment.

The day before the appointment I went out for a few drinks. A small celebration of life. Prior to receiving the death sentence. So. You know. Quite a few drinks.

I can be quite good company after a few drinks.

And under these circumstances it is not entirely unusual to awaken the following morning in unfamiliar surroundings. In this instance it was a studio apartment located somewhere behind the Imperial Hotel. It was a small space, but clearly we had made the most of it. Around us were scattered empty glasses, bottles and discarded food containers. Likewise a box of chocolates lay sad and empty on the carpet and the little pieces of foil that had housed its treasures were strewn everywhere around the room. A bunch of flowers that I must have purchased in a moment of romantic desperation sat dehydrating on the window sill.

She lay there asleep. I didn’t recognise her and I saw no reason, therefore, to awaken her.

Reluctantly taking liberties in a stranger’s home, I crept to the bathroom and showered quietly. I was happy to find fresh towels. There was little choice but to use her toothbrush and deodorant. And then I had to stumble about in the semi-darkness searching for clothes. My jeans had made themselves at home on the floor in front of the TV and my shirt was located dozing arm in arm with her bra on the lounge. One shoe was perched on the coffee table whilst the other had mysteriously found refuge under the bed. The location of my own underwear was a mystery, though. After an extensive search on hands and knees I gently peeled back the covers hoping that they may have made their way between the sheets. But to no joy.

Time was running out. My appointment was in twenty minutes. I
began to panic.

It was in desperation that I started searching through the washing basket.

And that’s when I did it.

I stole a pair of hers.

I didn’t know whether to feel pride or shame with the discovery that they fitted me. A little snug in places, perhaps, but more than satisfactory in an emergency. And I know what you are thinking. But the answer is no. I did not check myself in the mirror. For the record though, they were of white lace with a cute little pink bow at the front. And I will confess that the silky feeling whilst tiptoeing down the stairs was not altogether unpleasant.


Mine was the first appointment. When I was ushered into the surgery I immediately presented to the doctor my arm, bracing myself for the bad news. After a short examination she gave the arm back.

“It’s nothing,” she advised, after assigning to my condition an unpronounceable scientific title. “Everyone has them,” she continued, “everyone of your age, anyway.”

I was relieved, I suppose, even if a little miffed with her insensitivity. I was standing and turning to leave when she touched me on the shoulder. “Nevertheless,” she said, “we might as well check you over while you’re here.”

“Check me over?” I asked.

“Your skin. A skin check.”

“Which skin?”

“All of it.”

I fell silent. She could sense my discomfort.

“No need to be embarrassed,” she reassured me, “you can keep your undies on.”


Taking solace in beer

Another piece of poor poetry in very questionable taste but borne of very specific prompts.

For Michael

I questioned of the oracle

Where should I stash my beer?

The answer was a whisper

That I could barely hear

I have issues with my auricle

A problem with my ear

If you wish to pass a message

You need to stand quite near

The beer, I drink it daily

Whenever I am bored

And for all the visitors

I accumulate a hoard

There’s always people popping ‘round

Sometimes quite a horde

My wife’s proved very popular

Since she has been whored

Saturday Mix

Life in a Briefcase

I seem to have too much time on my hands today and have spent some of that time wading through failed creative projects.

I had an idea, some time ago, of fabricating an autobiographical fiction and the piece that I posted earlier today was part of that thought.

I also began writing an introduction to set the whole thing in motion and that is what follows in this post.

The fact that I have dusted these two unfinished pieces off and given them some air suggests (to me, at least) that I may not yet have entirely severed ties with the project.

And so, if you have the time or energy, feedback would be more than welcome.



When he was gone it was left to me to rummage through the remains of his life in the search for answers. It was not a task I took on with any great enthusiasm but rather one thrust upon me by a puzzling sense of duty. Certainly there was no-one else who cared enough or would even have considered it. And if I was looking for answers I don’t know what form I was expecting them to take, exactly. Even now I don’t really know what it is that I have found.

The physical search itself was a straight forward affair and really just involved the emptying out of his flat before the lease expired for the final time and the agent gave up on chasing unpaid rent. It was a clean-up, in other words and might just as well have been done with a fire or a fire hose, but I chose to do much of it on my hands and knees conferring upon it the respect of an archaeological dig. In the end the tangible scraps of his existence were gone in three trailer loads to the tip.

Though some things, inevitably, I could not let go.

I held on to a beanie he wore almost constantly for the four years he had been convinced he was going bald and then discarded when this proved to have been a false alarm only to be resurrected as a poor disguise upon his going into hiding. It was moth-eaten and dirty and it still smelt. Of him. There were some old school photographs too – black and white and fading, as well as a snap shot taken with Lionel standing outside the Pantheon (when had either of them been to Rome?). There were various other items of clothing that I remember him wearing and I kept them with me a while and cried when I finally disposed of them in the charity bin.

And, of course, I kept his old brief case. I say ‘old’ when, in fact, I don’t know when it came into his possession. We were apart for many years (for most of his life, in truth) but I would think that it appeared somewhere between him leaving school and finishing his brief career in real estate and if it was, indeed, ‘old’, it certainly didn’t look it. He bestowed upon it the love he denied just about everything and everybody else and it carried barely an injury from the train wreck that was its owner’s life.

Before opening it I had no idea what may reside within. Anyone who has paid any attention to his case knows, of course, that at one point it had carried, fatefully, a copy of the Koran. I now know that it had, during that same period, also contained various other religious texts – a fact that was not deemed worthy of report during the general hysteria. At any rate, by the time I opened it, all such texts were gone and what remained (apart from a driving map of New South Wales, a packet of mints and $3.75 in small change) was just this. The brief volume that rests before you.

Not that it was in this form when it came to me. Some was written in disheveled notebooks, some on single pieces of loose leaf paper, some on 5 ¼’ floppy disks (I was amazed that the data was recoverable) and some on a single portable hard disc. There were tiny snippets of poetry scribbled on hotel napkins. The only way to get any idea of the order in which things were written would be by way of the technology used to do so. But this is unreliable. Who could tell what has been rewritten over time and what may have been transferred to digital format with the original versions destroyed or discarded? Certainly it is clear that the whole thing was not written sequentially. I think that one may be able to judge that accounts of his early childhood were penned long after those describing his arrest, for example. My guess, in fact, is that he first started writing his memoirs during that brief incarceration. I could be wrong.

To make matters worse there was very little consistency in terms of style. There were (are) sections written in present tense chronologically preceding others in past tense. He has alternated between first person and third person to the extent that he uses both in the space of a few sentences. I am assuming that he would have settled on one format or other prior to publishing. But then I am assuming that he ever intended to publish at all. And of his life one should assume nothing.

I have chosen, therefore, to reproduce it as it came to me. The subsequent final draft is as a result, I admit, a little difficult to read and, perhaps, more than a little annoying for that reason. I have tried to put it in a logical order and corrected some spelling errors (not all of them, perhaps) but otherwise what you see before you are his words. It is not the work of a great literary talent. It is the record of an unusual but essentially ordinary human talking about himself. As he did often.

And whilst it is not a work of fiction it should not be treated as one of irrefutable fact either. He was not the pathological liar that many made him out to be, but he was more than capable of mistruth when matters of ego were involved.

He states at one point, for example, that I never loved him. The truth is that I loved him from the first.

And he knew it.


Emma Anderson

A Picture of my Mother




I came across a small piece that I wrote some time ago. It was intended to be something that was going somewhere but, in retrospect, I have no idea where.

I post it here for no particular reason other than to garnish opinion and criticism. There is something about it that doesn’t quite click, but I’m not sure what.




There is a photo tucked inside the cover of a book somewhere. Black and white and cut from an old newspaper. It is of a young girl, perhaps of only fourteen or fifteen years old, captured on film as she is emerging from the shallows having taken a swim, fully clothed, in the muddy torrent of the Macquarie. Three days earlier the river had broken it’s banks in the floods of ’55 and her blonde hair is matted and stained with the detritus that has washed downstream from Wellington and Bathurst and places further to the south-east. Her white Sunday dress clings to her body along with the mud and the leaves and the reeds and the sticks. She is carrying one shoe and blood is visible running from a cut just above her right knee. She is staring straight into the lens.
A well intentioned journalist snapped the shutter with thoughts of ‘local interest’ but captured instead a disturbing image of beauty that defies not only convention but also an act of God.
It is the photograph of a mermaid.
And it is inappropriate, nowadays, to describe children in any sexually suggestive terms. It probably was then, too. So we will have to assume that I am mistaken and that she was sixteen or perhaps even eighteen years old. Because there it is, as I say, in black and white. There can be no getting around the erotic impact of it.

Inappropriate it may be too, to think of a close relative in such a manner.

Believe me – I try not to.

It is not the only photo giving testament to my mother’s dangerous magnetism and it may not have even been the first. But it is an early piece of clear evidence documenting her insanity. She had leaped from the bridge and floated downstream along with the uprooted trees, bits of roofing, old car tyres, dislodged fenceposts and drowned sheep. She had been alone. She was not showing off. She was a strong swimmer. She had no thoughts of suicide.
She was just crazy.
She came ashore to the north of town where the river had spread across the plains and the current had slowed and where she was met by the small crowd that had gathered with ropes and boats to intercept her passage. The story goes that as she set foot onto dry land another river parted for her and, refusing offers of towels and blankets, she strode between two lines of awestruck townsfolk and, carrying her one shoe, continued home.
Not a word was said.