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Mediation with Bradley Cooper

This piece contains sexual content and coarse language not appropriate for all ages.

Hey Guys! This is another piece for university that I have decided to upload to my blog. This has been work-shopped by my class and after adding their editorial corrections thought I might open this up to a wider audience. If you see any errors with spelling, grammar or sentence construction, may you please alert me? Thank you!

Bradley Cooper, sat at one end of the table, his orange hair tidily placed atop his head. His eyes were a dull green, with a couple of freckles lining the sides of his nose, his breath slow and strenuous. He wore a checked blue top and black jeans, his arms crossed in front of his chest while he stared at the individual sitting across from him. His name was Steven Carnes and he was the reason why he was there.
Steven had jet black hair which was beginning to recede at the front, his eyes being just as dark. His lips were rather crooked and his eyes were narrowed dangerously as he eyed Bradley, his arms folded neatly across his dark brown leather jacket, a belt buckle visible beneath it which was holding up his loose blue jeans.
Between the two of them at the front of the table sat the appointed mediator, Michael York. He had a round, boyishly handsome face, which was strange for someone who was breaching 60. His hair would have been all but gone if not for the transplants which only managed to cover half of his scalp in a dense light brown colouration of fluff. His eyes were small and blue, his face looking a little crinkled, whilst his blue suit and red tie gleamed pretentiously upon his person.
The door behind Steven opened without warning and another individual stepped into the room. He had graying hair and large black rimmed spectacles that covered half of his face. His nose was rather large for a face his size, his eyes looking as old and frail as the rest of his body did and yet, he walked with a lively passion for life as though every step promoted some excitement. He wore a grey suit with blue stripes down the front and red ones along his shoulders which continued down his sleeves. A checked orange tie completed the image, his entire attire being so well designed it could only ever be described as ‘loud’. It was so ‘loud’ in fact that if it were to speak it no doubt would have screamed.
‘Who’s this douche bag?’ whispered Bradley in the direction of the mediator.
‘That’s Jeremiah Delaney,’ replied Michael out from the corner of his mouth, his lips barely moving. ‘He’s every plaintiff’s wet dream. They call him the terminator; hasta la vista baby!’
‘I’m sorry,’ said Jeremiah, sitting down beside Steven. ‘I was busy having lunch with our prime minister.’
‘Glad you could make it,’ grunted Steven in the direction of his lawyer. ‘I was about to start paving the town with flyers if you didn’t show up in the next few minutes.’
‘Watch your tone boy,’ retorted Jeremiah. ‘I didn’t take this case because of your smile. As long as you can provide the sum I agreed to you needn’t concern yourself with my tardiness. I see Michael York is the man hired to supervise our mediation. This should be a walk in the park. The man is well into his dotage.’
‘He’s not the only one,’ shot back Steven under his breath.
Jeremiah pretended not to hear his client as he cracked his fingers before noting ‘I’ll handle this, you just sit there and look pretty unless called upon.’
‘I see someone doesn’t have a lawyer,’ said Steven mockingly, his voice loud enough for everyone else to hear as Bradley shot him a menacing glance.
Jeremiah took a quick breath before announcing ‘okay, how about we get this show on the road? I have numerous other venues to appear at today and do not wish to be kept waiting.’
‘Is he always so blunt?’ continued Bradley softly towards the mediator.
‘Pretty much,’ replied Michael. ‘May the plaintiff provide his name and age for the record,’ he said, turning to face Bradley.
‘Bradley Cooper, 32, no relation to the actor.’
‘May the defendant do the same’ enquired Michael in Steven’s direction.
‘Steven Carnes, 31.’
‘Now Bradley,’ continued Jeremiah, ‘why don’t you explain to us why you have gone to such lengths to call this enquiry?’
‘Well,’ began Bradley, ‘two months ago I was at home and I made my way outside to admire my front lawn. You see, I had a very beautiful lawn. It had won lawn of the year five times in a row. I took great pride in it. It was my livelihood, the only thing that had never betrayed me. You can tell a lot about people by the type of lawn they have. Me, I had one hell of a lawn.’
‘What do you mean by that?’ asked Jeremiah, ‘your lawn never betraying you I mean?’ he added as Bradley nodded upon realising what he meant.
‘My lawn has remained by my side through thick and thicker,’ explained Bradley. ‘Unlike my ex-wife who ran off with the kids several years back, my lawn has never been anything but good to me. It has, did I mention, won lawn of the year?’ he asked, his teeth sparkling as he smiled.
‘Yeah, I caught that part,’ said Jeremiah, rolling his eyes.
‘Anyway,’ said Bradley, ‘I made my way outside one morning to find my lawn had been desecrated! It had been torn to shreds by a lawn mower and the centre of my lawn had been set alight. My roses had been pruned to death and one of my gnomes was missing. And the culprit for this malicious crime was none other than the man sitting before me!’ shouted Bradley, pointing a disapproving finger in Steven’s direction.
‘How you can be so sure that my client was the man responsible for this heinous offence?’ asked Jeremiah.
‘I looked over at his house, which is opposite my own, and saw him watering down my lawn mower which he had borrowed from me several months before but never returned,’ explained Bradley. ‘At the time he had run off with my lawn mower as though it were Julius Caesar’s balls! Also, my stolen gnome was standing directly beside him, and the name ‘Steven Carnes’ was burnt into my lawn.’
Jeremiah shot Steven a menacing look before continuing. ‘Perhaps there was another Steven Carnes?’
‘Another Steven Carnes?’ exploded Bradley. ‘In my neighborhood at 10 a.m. in the morning washing down my lawnmower? I doubt that very much, one’s enough isn’t it?’ Bradley took a deep breath before continuing. ‘Now, I want some justice. That, is my dream.’
‘I had a dream last night that a thick shake was drinking me!’ exploded Michael with a smile, the other three people in the room turning to face him before continuing with the proceedings.
‘Is he alright?’ asked Steven, pointing in the direction of the mediator, ‘or should I call the men in white suits and arrange for a rubber room to be prepared for Mr. York’s indefinite stay?’
Once more his lawyer ignored his outburst as he continued with the proceedings. ‘And where were you when these actions occurred Bradley?’ asked Jeremiah, giving Michael a strange look.
‘I told you, I was at home,’ explained Bradley.
‘And what were you doing?’ asked Jeremiah. ‘I want to know the precise actions that you were undertaking whilst my client supposedly ransacked your lawn.’
Bradley swallowed before answering the question. ‘I was in my bedroom, rubbing my ‘away itch’ formula onto my testicles.’
Michael shook his head whilst Steven sniggered.
‘I think it only fair that we turn the attention to my client and receive his half of the story,’ explained Jeremiah. ‘Were you in any way responsible for the occurrences which took place on Mr. Cooper’s lawn?’
‘You’re damn right I was!’ cried out Steven as Bradley looked as though he wouldn’t be able to contain his excitement for much longer.
‘Excuse me?’ questioned Jeremiah. ‘I think we need to take a moment here.’
‘I don’t think we do’ said Steven with a bright and cunning smile.
Jeremiah wrenched Steven out from his chair by his ear and dragged him kicking into the corner of the room, away from prying eyes. ‘You seem to think you have a choice here boy’ shot back Jeremiah in a harsh whisper that despite his best efforts reverberated throughout the room. ‘You asked me to assist you and out of the goodness of my heart I agreed. Now, I have not lost a single proceeding in my life and I will be damned if you are going to break my record you arrogant little prick! So how ‘bout you and I step outside for a moment so I might educate you on matters concerning our legal system; beginning with how to break it.’
‘I’m not going to deny it’ retorted Steven, Jeremiah realising it was hopeless to even try and coach his client as the two of them returned to the table. ‘And you know what,’ continued Steven, ‘I have the single most perfect and legitimate excuse for doing so as well. Mr. Bradley Cooper slept with my sweet baby sister.’
‘Define slept, said Michael.
‘What do you mean?’ asked Steven with a dumbfounded expression.
‘I mean it’s a very loose term,’ stated Michael, ‘and leaves room for speculation.’
‘He knows damn well what I mean by that!’ roared Steven, menacingly staring at Bradley as he spoke. ‘He was in her bed and he was in her, you know! Do I really have to say? This is all very disconcerting!’
‘So, sex’ said Michael, ‘yes?’
‘What do you think I’m talking about here, you stupid old fart!’ exploded Steven.
‘Really?’ asked Jeremiah, his eyes lighting up with interest. ‘What was she like?’
‘She certainly wasn’t how Steven described her’ stated Bradley. ‘She was like a wild fucking animal! All of this panting and growling and clawing. We went at it for hours.’
‘I bet the hounds would have been after her,’ smiled Michael.
‘Yeah,’ nodded Bradley, ‘the hounds of the Baskervilles.’
‘What?’ spluttered Michael as those on the other side of the table looked at him peculiarly. ‘Mrs. York apparently took a vow of abstinence when I wasn’t looking so I have to take my action where I can get it…’
Steven cleared his throat, in a failed attempt to garner the attention of the others in the room, continuing to explain his actions regardless. ‘I clearly remember the day it happened too. A couple of days before I destroyed his lawn he came over to my place and met my sister for the first time in years. She had been residing in Brisbane studying at an arts college. I remember his pick up line too,’ expressed Steven as the moment played out in his mind, remembering back to a time when he and Bradley were not bitter rivals.

It was several months earlier, with a gorgeous sunshine descending across the grounds. Steven opened his front door after hearing the doorbell and was instantly thrown a plate of blueberry pudding.
‘My mother baked them,’ noted Bradley as Steven allowed him entrance into his humble abode. ‘Ever since I kicked her arse into an institution she has been making this,’ he said, looking a little disgusted.
The landing was constructed of wood, with stairs opposite leading to the higher levels. The living room was adjacent to the landing, which was where an old creaking arm chair was placed in the corner containing the body of Steven’s decrepit, lifeless, snoring, burping, farting grandfather whom nobody wanted to go near.
‘Why are you here Cooper?’ asked Steven.
‘Can’t a friend visit every now and then?’ retaliated Bradley with a smile.
‘Not if this friend is intending to steal secrets about what I am planning on doing this year to win the lawn of the year award,’ retorted Steven.
‘The day I take advice on lawns from you will be a sad day indeed,’ said Bradley, leaning up against the door frame.
A creaking on the stairs alerted Bradley to another presence in the house. Jeanette, Steven’s sister, was making her way down the staircase. She had long, light brown coloured hair with blue eyes that shone out like street lamps. She wore a pale violet dress that clung to her body and jet black knee high boots.
‘Wow, fancy seeing you here,’ said Bradley with a smirk.
‘I live here you twerp,’ shot back Steven’s sister as the two of them smiled at one another.
Steven instantly recognised that something very wrong was happening in the house he currently resided in. Or was it an opportunity?

Returning to reality, Steven had a look of pain spread across his features. ‘Bradley found her impossible to resist because she has the body of an hour glass.’
‘I’m sure many women would love to be shaped that way,’ exclaimed Jeremiah. ‘I know my wife would especially. Unfortunately for me she happens to be shaped like a pear.’
Steven stared at Bradley wickedly. ‘What you two had in common – remains a mystery’ he said. ‘Bradley has always preferred women who were made from sugar and spice and my sister is quite the opposite. For one, she burps.’
‘She burps?’ questioned Michael with a weird expression.
‘Yeah,’ nodded Steven. ‘When our car broke down in Darwin she got out behind it and burped it across five states.’
‘Seriously?’ asked Michael.
‘All the best stories require a little exaggeration’ shot back Steven with an annoyed look. He shook his head before progressing onward. ‘But what really shakes me up is that he simply used her. I mean, if he wanted some smelly snatch he could have gone anywhere in town, but no, he chose my house to conduct his malicious sexual desires.’
‘For a man who went to so much trouble to defend his sister’s honor you saw have a funny way of showing your affection for her,’ said Michael, looking rather unimpressed at the terminology that Steven had used. ‘You seem like quite the chauvinistic misogynist.’
‘Well shit old timer!’ cried Steven. ‘Perhaps I should watch my fucking language? It’s not like that worm of a man inserted himself into your sister!’ he roared, pointing a finger in Bradley’s direction, ‘so excuse me if I am a little fucking infuriated right now!’ He took a deep breath as to calm himself down before beginning to speak once more. ‘On top of that I don’t know what my sister saw in him. I’d always given her credit where it was due and believed her to have sufficient intellectual capabilities. She told me Mr. Cooper had informed her that her presence helped open a window to his soul. Well, I can tell you I once looked through that window, and screamed at him to close the blinds.’
‘I don’t see why I have to be humiliated by this man!’ shouted Bradley, ‘besides, how did you find out about any of this in the first place?’
‘How do you think?’ retorted Steven. ‘My sister and I don’t keep secrets from one another. She told me all about how you firstly couldn’t get it up, and then how you couldn’t get it in.’
‘That is a blasphemy!’ erupted Bradley. ‘Just because I took his sister’s virginity!’
‘You did what?’ cried an astounded Steven, ‘oh you mother fucker!’ he shouted, launching himself across the table before Jeremiah could contain him. Steven grabbed hold of Bradley’s hair, who struggled to be free from his grip. ‘That’s just great!’ shouted an out of control Steven as he ripped at Bradley’s hair with all his might. ‘Not only does her vagina have to be fumigated because you decided to desecrate it with your filth, but you were the first one to give her the snake. Terrific! She’ll be remembering you until the next friggin’ apocalypse!’ he cried, just as a great ripping sound echoed about the room and Bradley’s hair came off in his hands.
‘Oh my fucking God!’ shouted Bradley as he felt the naked flesh atop his head. ‘First my lawn now my toupee! Give it back to me you bastard!’
‘Never!’ shouted Steven, jumping back to his side of the table.
‘Release the hat back to its owner,’ said Jeremiah to his client through pursed lips. ‘Male baldness is no laughing matter. After you do so, perhaps we might continue this ridiculous mediation.’
‘Oh, I’ll release it!’ shouted Steven, spit flying out in all directions, ‘I’ll release it into the fucking atmosphere! Would you like that?’ he laughed in Bradley’s direction.
‘Hey!’ shouted Bradley, ‘you sent your sister over to my place to spy on me in your last desperate attempt to win the lawn of the year award! You used her to get to me, and then you complain when we fall in love?’
‘Fall in love?’ roared Steven. ‘What the hell are you on chrome dome! I sincerely doubt the feeling was mutual baldy.’
‘You should have been there on our first night together,’ said Bradley with a smile plastered across his lips. ‘I made love to her smack bang in the centre of my lawn in front of an audience of several dozen gnomes.’
‘I don’t think we needed to hear that,’ stated Michael.
‘You are sick!’ roared Steven. ‘Who has sex with gnomes?’
‘I said we did it in front of gnomes!’ retorted Bradley. ‘Besides, I don’t know why you are complaining. Your sister is a consenting adult. She was nineteen at the time! I thought she would have seen a million of ‘em by then!’ he said, looking down at his crotch as he spoke. ‘Besides, you should have known what I did to her if she indeed tells you everything!’
‘She had a boyfriend up in Brisbane!’ roared Steven. ‘I thought she would have played doctor with him.’
‘I guess she wasn’t your prized informant after all!’ said Bradley, stifling a smile.
‘Just because of that,’ said Steven angrily, ‘you’re not getting this back now’ he said, shaking the orange hair hat in Bradley’s face before thrusting it into his pocket.
‘Well,’ began Jeremiah, halting the fight as to continue the legal proceedings. ‘I personally concur that this particular occurrence, along with my client’s testimony regarding the events which took place is a sufficient excuse to explain his actions, malicious or otherwise.’
‘What?’ roared Bradley angrily. ‘But what about justice? That is what I want.’
‘Mr. Cooper believes that Mr. Carnes should reimburse him twenty- five thousand dollars for the pain and destruction he has so wrongly caused him,’ expressed Michael.
‘No,’ said Jeremiah with a shake of his head.
‘Okay, how about twenty grand,’ said Bradley, receiving the same answer.
‘Fifteen thousand?’ enquired a desperate Bradley.
‘No,’ replied Jeremiah once more.
‘Ten thousand?’ asked Bradley, his face beginning to droop.
‘Not on your life,’ explained Jeremiah.
‘Okay, I can go as low as a grand, but that is it,’ said Bradley.
‘No,’ restated Jeremiah, his arms clasped over his chest.
‘Not even nine hundred dollars?’ probed Bradley, grasping at straws.
‘No, not even nine hundred dollars,’ replied Jeremiah in an unchanged, unemotionally zealous tone.
‘Eight hundred dollars?’ pleaded Bradley.
‘No,’ shot back Jeremiah.
‘Five hundred?’ questioned Bradley, his hands clasped together as though he were about to pray.
‘Not in this life time,’ exclaimed Jeremiah as Steven smiled menacingly beside him.
‘One hundred?’ asked Bradley.
‘What did we just say?’ retorted Jeremiah with a chuckle.
‘Okay, how about fifty. Fifty dollars?’ cried Bradley, realising his chance to be reimbursed for his losses was slowly dissipating.
‘Not going to happen,’ said Jeremiah.
‘Twenty?’ asked Bradley.
‘Nope,’ replied Jeremiah.
‘Ten?’ cried Bradley, with what looked to be a tear making its way out from the corner of his eye.
‘Not today,’ said Jeremiah with a smile, knowing full well he had won.
‘Okay, how about four dollars and fifty cents for the train ride home?’ questioned Bradley.
Jeremiah nodded. ‘Sure, we could do that.’

 

Life Happens

Hey guys! This particular piece is a short story I am working on for one of my university classes. It has been previously workshopped by both my tutor and fellow students alike and I would very much like to know your opinions. If you believe there are any editorial issues, grammatical errors or general sentence concerns, et al, please notify me and I will gladly take them all into consideration before I am to submit the finalised piece in three weeks time. Thank you!

People say that a person can eventually move on after losing someone they love. It has been ten years since I lost Katarina and I never have. Today is the anniversary of her death and I cannot help but reminisce on what could have been, for the day I lost my girlfriend, is the day that I too died, for I’d hardly say I’m alive when I feel so dead inside.

The rain was the heaviest I had ever seen. The headlights on our vehicle barely managed to reveal anything that night, the entire highway more like an endless tunnel than a road. The heating in the car could barely keep out the cold; our breath was coming out before us in clouds as the two of us shivered. Even my favourite dark brown leather jacket was unable to contain my warmth.
‘I can’t believe we chose this night to celebrate my birthday,’ sighed Katarina in her natural, high pitched accent. Because English was not her first language, she often spoke slowly to avoid mixing up her words. She wore the jet black jacket I had bought her two Christmases earlier. The collar was beginning to fray as she must have worn this a hundred times or more. Can’t believe she couldn’t wear something else on her special day. Her dark brown hair hung down to her shoulders, her naturally pink lips stood out on her ghostly white complexion, her brown eyes watching the rain droplets move across the windscreen.
God, I realise I must sound like a love struck teenager on her first date, but you must understand something. For us, every date was like our first because we would always discover something new, and every time we made love it was as though we had never explored our bodies before. Every second of our time together was divine, well, most of it.
‘It’s just a little rain, it’ll dry,’ I reassured her, pulling one hand away from the steering wheel and rubbing her freezing cold hands. I saw my reflection out from the corner of my eye in the rear-view mirror. My dark hair was tied back in a green hair tie, which, according to Katarina, perfectly matched my eyes. My lips were stained with dull red lipstick, whilst blue mascara lined my eyes. ‘You’d better button up Kat,’ I noted
She smiled back at me. ‘I’ll be fine. The cold has little effect on me.’
‘I hope you don’t expect me to care for you when you’re all sick and disgusting,’ I retorted.
‘Shut up,’ snorted Katrina. ‘I cared for you when you had pneumonia; took time off work and everything so I’d expect you to do the same for me.’ She folded her arms across her chest and looked out the window once more. ‘I only hope we get there before this storm gets any worse.’ Her eyes no longer sparkled like they so often did.
I could feel Katarina’s emotion as though it were my own. ‘We’ll get there eventually,’ I promised.
‘If anyone else said this I would be unsure,’ stated Katarina, turning to face me. ‘But because it’s you Aryah, I’d believe anything,’ she giggled. We stared into each other’s eyes, neither of us noticing the van veering onto the wrong side of the road until its blinding headlights collided with our own.

It is said that a person always remembers their first kiss, or, more accurately, the person who first kisses them. Funnily enough, I don’t, I only remember Katarina. Our first chance encounter was anything but normal: she stole my car.
At the time she had been working as a journalist and I as a public relations manager. I was hired to facilitate an agreement with two rival companies who wanted to merge into one. Apparently the idea of acquiring more money was enough for them to set their differences aside to work co-operatively towards mutual goals. Katarina had been asked by her boss to write an investigative article on the merger, but had unfortunately been denied access. For the best I would presume. I left the merger almost immediately after it began. I know, I know, how unprofessional of me! But I personally felt as though my talents had been squandered. I guess I was simply unable to listen to a gaggle of grown men strutting around talking shop. On the drive back to my hotel I received a phone call and only took my eyes off the road for a second when I hit something. I slowed down to retrieve my phone so I was glad that when the collision occurred, Katarina, the victim of my bad driving was not terribly injured. Apparently Katarina had never received her driver’s licence despite taking the test a few times and was forced instead to use alternate means of travel – in this case a bike – which unfortunately bore the brunt of my vehicle’s bonnet. I did try to apologise, I swear! However Katarina was in a state of shock and would not hear any of it. This led to frustration and eventually anger, which led to her kicking me in the shin. She just so happened to be wearing metal toe capped boots, so you can imagine the pain I was in; it was probably more than what I had inflicted upon her. After I fell to the ground she looked me up and down, jumped into my car and drove off. She did leave me the twisted carcass that was once her bike, which was awfully kind of her.
Luckily for me, her inability to drive led to her arrest. According to the patrol officer, he found it a touch odd when he recovered my purse and driver’s licence on her person, stating how I had apparently changed in ‘height, weight and appearance.’ Katarina had replied with ‘shit happens,’ and shrugged at his remark. She always was bold and her mouth almost always got her into trouble. I think it was this trait of hers that I first fell in love with. The officer, as strange as it might seem, decided to drop all charges, believing that we had paid each other back in full.
However, this chance meeting progressed into a friendship, which in turn became something else. This might have been because we couldn’t keep our hands to ourselves – probably because we were always fighting, and when we weren’t, well, we’ll get to that.

Katarina’s apartment at the time was in no way the definition of cleanliness; the floor was her wardrobe and the bed was her bathroom cupboard. We had decided to test our wits at a game of poker on this particular stormy night, and neither of us wanted to brave the weather to get a good night’s supper. However, the game seemed to be one sided. I was left in the bedroom to set out the cards across the bed, whilst Katarina was inside the bathroom, the door just open a crack, enough for me to see her shadow skirting the walls as she busily went about her post-shower business.
‘How long does it take to get ready?’ I shouted.
‘Patience Aryah!’ shot back Katarina in return. ‘You shouldn’t be so eager to charge headstrong into the fight. I always win you know.’
‘Do you now?’ I asked with a sly grin.
‘I am known for being quite vicious,’ she replied. ‘I take what I want and I always play for keeps.’
‘You sound as though you do this often,’ I commented.
‘Only when there is something worth fighting for,’ replied Katarina.
‘Is that why you are getting all pampered up in there?’ I asked. ‘Are you gearing up for battle, or do you have a hot date planned after this?’
‘Don’t know’ said Katarina in reply, ‘depends if she’s interested.’
Little did Katarina know I had already left the bed, quietly navigated the room and opened the bathroom door to find her standing before the mirror in her fluffy white towel, drenched with the water continuing to drip from her body. ‘Oh, she’s interested’ I replied as I wrapped my arms around her and planted my lips to hers as she did the same to mine.
A second later I had slipped the bath towel away from her body and let it fall to the tiles. Words could not begin to describe the flawless sight that befell my eyes and it would be an insult to even try.
It was not long after I had pushed Katarina up against the bathroom wall that she had pushed me back as well, forcing me once more into the bedroom where we found ourselves a couple of feet short of the bed, her clothes cushioning the fall as we fell on top of one another onto the floor, giggling as we did so.
Katarina pinned me to the ground before tearing ravenously at my clothes, a number of buttons coming loose in the process as my shirt was thrown to the side. With that, she came down upon me like a tidal wave, ever so slowly nibbling her way down my front, not daring to stop until she reached my clitoris. From where she lay her head, Katarina smiled up at me, before taking me into her mouth, a spasm of ecstasy rushing through my veins. Mind, heart, body; I was entirely hers and she mine, and nothing but the steel of an out of control vehicle would ever separate us from one another.

Pain was the first thing I felt upon waking in the hospital ICU, the flashbacks which had comforted me disappearing into the room. My arm was broken, my face badly bruised and my lips swollen from the airbag (deploying in front of me), a deep gash cut into the left side of my face from where my head connected with the side window. Only three of my ribs were fractured and yet all of them ached unanimously. The ramblings of the doctor meant nothing to me, for all I cared about, all I would ever care about, was lying a few rooms down from me.
I was allowed the privilege of seeing Katarina almost immediately. The walk to her room felt like an eternity and although Katarina looked nothing like I remembered, my feelings for her were unchanged.
She was lying back in bed, a great portion of her body having received terrible injuries during the crash. Her right leg was elevated and in a sling, being fractured in several places. Five of her ribs were broken, her left arm being wrenched from its socket whilst her right wrist, along with several fingers, were broken. Her face had been battered, a significant portion of her cheeks and nose being caved in from the smash. This of course was just the physical damage, the doctors warning me of the severe internal injuries.
At present it seemed that Katarina was in no position for any further surgery and the medicos were planning to wait for a good eighteen hours before they attempted any further procedures. Despite all this, Katarina was conscious, fighting the twilight that was creeping up around her.
‘Hey,’ she managed upon my entry as I grimaced when sitting down beside her. ‘I’m glad to see you were not badly injured.’
‘Tell that to the rest of me,’ I replied, attempting to keep up appearances as I ran my free hand through her hair. ‘The doctors say you are going to make a full recovery,’ I said as Katarina smiled weakly at me.
‘I’m a journalist, remember,’ she stated, her lips barely moving. ‘My job is to search for the truth; don’t start lying to me now.’
‘I’ll try to keep that in mind,’ I noted, maintaining eye contact as I did so, a tear running down my cheek.
‘Please,’ said Katarina. ‘I don’t want you to remember this as anything but a happy moment.’
‘How can that be when the woman that I love lies before me in critical condition?’ I asked. ‘Besides, how do you know that this is not a tear of joy? I was not lying when I told you that you may very well pull through, because there is still every chance. You are a fighter Katarina and I don’t want you to give up in the moment when you need to fight harder than you ever have before.’
‘You know as well as I that’s not true,’ replied Katarina out from the corner of her mouth.
‘Don’t talk like that,’ I sobbed, gripping her hand with mine as she winced from the pain, but continued to hold on regardless.
‘We’ve shared in a lot of adventures,’ she said with a smile as though recalling every one of them with those words. ‘But I won’t be coming with you this time.’
‘What?’ I spluttered as tears continued to well up in my eyes, yet Katarina continued to remain strong, although even she was having trouble trying to keep her emotions in check. ‘No,’ I retorted, ‘we-we stay together. I should have watched where I was driving. I was supposed to take care of you.’
‘No,’ replied Katarina with a sigh. ‘We were supposed to take care of each other. Don’t ever blame yourself and don’t stop living because of me. I’ve been strong enough for both of us, but now you must be strong enough for yourself.’ Katarina swallowed before continuing slowly once more. ‘Who knows, if there’s a bar up there or something I’ll save a seat for you and I’ll look down on you from time to time. You will never be alone and no matter what, I will always lo-’
In that moment, Katarina slipped into unconsciousness. She never spoke again. I remained with her until the monitors around us came to life with the sound of raucous beeping, and just like that she was gone.

Bride of the Ocean

SYNOPSIS: Nat Banyon, a man who has been away from his home by the shoreline for several months now returns in the hopes of being reunited with his friends and loved ones and to return to the same exact life that he left.

Warning: There is a weak sex scene in this, but still, a weak sex scene is a sex scene all the same, so viewer discretion should be advised.

 

The nurse gently pushed me out through the doors and into the light of the sun, the wheelchair bumping along the stairs before reaching the concrete tiles below. Trees rustled around me whilst the wind licked eagerly at their leaves. Numerous vehicles could be seen driving by on the road before me, the bus pulling up in front of the curb. It was a terrific yellow in colour that perfectly matched the sun above, whilst at the same time I grimaced as the nurse unbuckled the strap across my waist.
‘Now you take it easy Nat’ said the nurse, her short blonde hair blowing across her face. ‘That was a nasty hit you took son. We don’t want you back here anytime soon.’ She pushed the hair out from her eyes, revealing the small freckles that were placed evenly across her cheeks.
‘Don’t worry Jody, I won’t need anybody to hold my hand where I’m going’ I said with a smile. ‘Home is where the heart is, that is what they say and I know mine like the back of my hand.’ I smiled to myself before becoming deadly serious once more. ‘I am going to miss you though. You and the rest of the staff’
‘That’s sweet Nat’ said Jody, pointing in the direction of my transport. ‘Hurry along now, or you’ll miss your bus.’
With one last smile I made my way from the wheelchair with my small bag of belongings and up the steps into the interior of the bus. I walked to the back where there was still plenty of space, the trip home giving me the chance to think over all that had happened thus far to make me land in this situation.
Nat Banyon’s the name. I have jet black hair that seems rather irregular for somebody who grew up living on the beach as the generalisation is that every such person like me has to have hair that is light in colour. I have dark brown eyes that look like the coral that is found down on the ocean’s surface and a face and body that has basically been crafted by the ocean.
I originally came from a beach up north, which is where I was headed back to now. Surfing had been my life and Chloe Rivers, the most beautiful girl in school had been my life’s passion. Yet in life there was always competition and in my case it came in the shape of Tyrese Lowman. Not only did he want to be the best surfer, but he wanted my girl as well. That bastard!
Long story short, I wanted to put him in his place and so, we raced. Problem was, not everything went according to plan. On the final wave that would have undoubtedly made me look incredibly awesome in comparison to Tyrese, I was flipped over on my board by an unsuspecting freak wave, slamming my head on a gargantuan rock sticking out of the drink. I don’t remember what happened next, or how the race turned out. All that springs to mind is my body lying on the beach, seaweed in my hair and the bitter taste of salt in my mouth. I didn’t know anything; not my name, not my social security number, but worse of all, I didn’t know Chloe. This alternate version of me was bloody ridiculous in comparison to the original Nat.
Suddenly out of the blue this lime green hippie van pulls out of nowhere and suddenly I’m riding with them. I know it sounds out of this world, but when you’ve no memory the first thing that occurs to you feels like it was the kind of thing you were doing your entire life. I should be glad it wasn’t the manure truck that showed up. Anyway, I end up in their band, lead guitarist and later even background vocals, singing songs about how we hated surfers and loved trees, but especially about sex. Actually, come to think of it, that’s probably what all the lyrics were about really.
I wasn’t very good at singing, but hey, nobody heard me over the blare of the other instruments. Besides, most people came to check out the lead singer, Wynona, this Goth wannabe constantly dressed in black, half her face covered by a unicorn tattoo. Unbeknown to any of the spectators though, she was with me. I know, it sounds terrible, but since I had no memory of Chloe, Wynona seemed like the perfect girl. Now that I think about it though, it scares the crap out of me.
Yet, she was always there though, Chloe. She came to nearly every concert, presumably waiting for my memory to return. She once came up to talk to me, but I shut her down, saying ‘go away surfer chick, we don’t want you here.’  It was later that I came to realise how I had hurt Chloe, after my memory was restored. Well, to an extent anyway.
During this guitar solo this glass bottle is thrown at the stage and hits me square in the head. A few minutes later after the grogginess begins to dissipate, I open my eyes and see Chloe leaning over me. ‘Surfer chick’ I say.
‘Surfer dude’ she replies, the two of us embracing one another.
Anyhow, afterwards I check myself into this hospital to get my memory back and to ensure there is no permanent damage to my brain from the injuries I sustained. Then, I’m sprung free and on my way back to civilisation. I only hope it’s the way I left it. I told Chloe not to visit me. I didn’t want her to see me until I was one hundred per cent once more. God, I bet she looks great!

Upon stepping off the bus and onto the pavement of the town I called home I instantly felt a sense of calm, everything appearing to be exactly the same as I had left it. The stores had not moved out, the fashion had remained the same and even the smell of beach side orange juice and surfer’s gel clung to the air as I smiled to myself before making my way up the street, bag slung over my right shoulder.
I quickly found myself at the local surf store located beside the beach, the gentle pounding of the waves drifting over to where I stood. It sounded as though the ocean was beckoning me back into Poseidon’s graces once more, as though I had never actually left.
My eyes wandered through the maze of necessary surf utensils to the counter where Chloe currently stood, resting her arms on the cabinets beneath her. As predicted, she looked spectacular. Her long blonde hair drifted across the counter, shining under the fluorescent lighting above. Her blue eyes glittered like icicles; her lips moist like the ocean itself; her radiant skin looking like a paradise waiting to be explored. She wore a short red shirt, her black bikini visible beneath it, whilst her brief denim shorts stuck to her body like glue. Looking up she saw me, a smile appearing on her face.
Before I had a chance to move however Tyrese appeared behind her, a dark scowl descending across his features. His tanned skin looked like barren rock under the flare of the lighting, his face resembling that of a caged gorilla. As always he had his shirt unbuttoned at the top to allow ladies to see his three chest hairs. Nothing had changed. He had done the exact same thing back in high school.
Luckily enough though it appeared Chloe was still my one and only girl. God, I just wanted Chloe to throw her legs around my waist so I could rush her over to my place and show her over the course of a few good hours my feelings for her had not changed in the months I’d being away.
I slowly walked over to her, wrapping my arms around her waist whilst staring at Tyrese who looked as though he had something on his mind.
‘Glad you could make it Nat’ he said in a deep, throaty voice. ‘We were all hoping you’d arrive in time for the annual surfing competition tomorrow.’
Chloe looked at me as though she were trying to warn me about the repercussions of my last surf championship.
‘But I’d understand if you’re not man enough to go through with it’ guffawed Tyrese.
‘No’ I grunted suddenly, Chloe appearing surprised, pulling away. ‘I’ll be fine.’
Noticing the signup sheet on the counter I picked up the biro and scrawled my signature amidst all the other wannabe surfing champions. ‘While I was away I spent a gargantuan period of time swimming in the gymnasium pool. I’m ready for a real challenge.’
‘Glad you didn’t lose your reckless attitude when you lost your mind’ grunted Tyrese, ‘see you tomorrow.’
Chloe shook her head as Tyrese walked away, before ushering me out of the store and in the direction of my place.

Upon arriving home Chloe mentioned that she had cleaned my place on a weekly basis since I had left in preparation for my heroic return. She appeared to be doing her best to keep her fears of tomorrow at bay and I did my best not to bring them up. When Chloe went to hug me once more she quickly pulled away after getting a whiff of my clothing. I smelt clean and fresh, whilst she smelt of the ocean. It was absolutely irresistible.
She loathed the hospital smell that lingered in my clothing and insisted on me ripping them off, removing most of the garments herself before rushing me into the shower and turning on the pressure as high as the aging taps would allow, the cold water drenching me from head to toe. It was like a full de-tox, any of the old which had been orchestrated by the knocks to the head being irreparably erased in a single moment in time as I felt the same old me beginning to come back to true form.
As the water ran through my hair and across my body I heard the creaking sound of the shower door opening once more. Chloe slowly clambered inside before closing the door behind her, her naked body joining mine in the midst of the moist arena surrounding us. Her breasts gently rocked from side to side, whilst her hair covered up her nipples which I slowly but surely removed before caressing that particular part of her body. She pushed her flawless body up against me as I felt a part of my body beginning to grow considerably hard as I dragged her face closer to mine before kissing passionately in the confines of the shower. Our mouths filled with both the water from the taps and the salvia from our mouths as I sucked gently upon her tongue, Chloe doing the same thing to mine. She pushed up against me once more and I felt myself beginning to enter her, such an exhilarating experience I had wanted to have happen again since the moment I had arrived in hospital, the mist from the warm water that began to make its way through the taps banning all from seeing inside.

The next day came so fast I barely had time to catch my breath before I suddenly found myself on the beach only minutes before my final showdown with Tyrese.
‘I hope you haven’t lost that fire which made you such a challenging opponent’ he grunted.
‘Not a chance of that ever occurring mate’ I said, ‘not in this lifetime anyway.’
It was a few seconds later after a rush of cool air washed over me that Tyrese said ‘I married Chloe.’
I stood flabbergasted at such words, my mouth opening before I closed it abruptly, unable to believe such a sentence. I was surprised that if it were true why Chloe had not informed me.
‘You’re lying’ I said.
‘Yeah’ said Tyrese. ‘But you know that I would have. If she had let me I mean. You know that I love her, just as you do. So I was thinking we could make this race a little more interesting, just between the two of us. The winner not only gets the respect of the crowd, but wins the heart of Chloe Rivers. The loser packs up his crap and leaves town, forever; which is exactly what you should have done in the first place.’
I shook my head. This was preposterous. I knew instantly there was no way I was ever going to agree to such lunacy, even if he was playing off my massive ego which came with professional surfer territory. There was no way I was going to risk the love of Chloe over some competition that I had already won numerous occasions before. Looking up into Tyrese’s face I smiled, pitying him for such desperate methods. I knew exactly what mattered in life and winning some surf competition was not one of them as I looked into the crowd, my eyes landing directly on Chloe, before I grinned in satisfaction.
‘I forfeit’ I said, turning around to Tyrese before beginning to leave the arena in exchange for a life with the girl of my dreams. Had I made the right choice?

Absolutely.

The Rabbit Ears

SYNOPSIS: Looks over a day in the life of two friends and the separate lives they live, and how everything could have turned out differently if but not for one single event.

This piece contains very explicit coarse language, sexual references and some disturbing themes.

 

JARED:

I opened my eyes, the sun bathing my room in a vast ocean of light. Music posters lined the walls and used clothes were scattered randomly across the floor. I jerked the sheets from under me, my body crying out for rest. A sudden sexualised feeling came over me as I pulled down my pants. Grabbing hold of my growing penis I quickly began to masturbate, the feeling being extraordinarily intense as I groaned in pleasure.
To aid in the erection I thought of Ophelia, her body being both luscious and fantastical. Her permed blonde hair billowed across her face, her brilliant turquoise eyes staring back at me; her wet lips looking as moist as ever. Her tight jeans reflected her magnificent legs and fantastically formed arse; her short top revealing the snake tattoo imbedded permanently around her belly button.
I breathed a sigh of relief, semen rushing out from the tip of my penis, successfully accomplishing my erotic morning entertainment. Taking a deep breath, I pulled myself out of bed, dressing myself in appropriate casual wear for my university classes. Hurrying down the stairs to the kitchen, I gulped down my breakfast, bidding farewell my parents before briskly walking down to the train station.
Upon arriving, I wiped the sweat from my face as I stood with the other commuters, impatiently awaiting the train which was already three minutes late. My mind spontaneously turned to Camellia and as I thought of her I believed I saw her on the other side of the tracks as the train finally arrived. I clearly remembered what she had told me on her deathbed at the hospital that fateful night; two tubes connected to her nose, her bloodied appearance being far too overwhelming to believe. ‘I don’t care what it is you believe’ Camellia had said. ‘Just believe in her’ she managed, gesturing at Ophelia, before collapsing back into the bed.
It was these words that prevented me from being with Ophelia. She was beautiful, yes, but her beauty was simply to be admired, not taken advantage of. Besides, she didn’t see anything in me.
Escaping my delusional fantasy I boarded the train, the doors closing behind me.

I sat at the back of the psychology class; the lecturer arriving as I eagerly awaited for Ophelia. Upon arrival she looked exactly as I had imagined her in my wet dream as she sat beside me. Under the light, the piercings in her face were clearly visible, shining beautifully under the fluorescence.
‘Did I miss much?’ asked Ophelia, sounding a little out of breath.
‘No, it’s all bullshit anyway’, I grunted with a smirk which Ophelia returned.
‘Donald’s getting worse’ she finally said, looking a little afraid. ‘He hates me, I know it.’
‘Your father doesn’t hate you’ I shot back reassuringly. ‘Camellia’s death has been difficult for both of you. He is trying to cope with it, just as you are. All of these tattoos and piercings are your way of attempting to find yourself after such an ordeal.’
Ophelia sniffed as she took out her purse, opening it up to reveal an image of her and Camellia, the two of them looking exactly alike. With the exception that Camellia had a pink fluffy pair of rabbit ears atop her head. The image beside this was from their childhood. A skinny man sat in the centre, his broad smile being the most prominent feature. Seated on his lap were both his children, Ophelia wearing the rabbit ears in this photo.
‘It’s amazing how much things can change’ said Ophelia sadly as the lecturer interrupted our thoughts.
‘Happiness is one of the most powerful emotions of all. Go ahead, see how it feels by complimenting the person sitting beside you’ he said, as I rolled my eyes.
Ophelia turned to face me, looking deadly serious. ‘You’re a nice person’ I said awkwardly as Ophelia sniggered. I awaited my compliment, but before she had given it the lecturer began talking again, Ophelia becoming quite distant after that.

Sitting atop my bed in the late afternoon sun, my mind turned to Ophelia, believing she may have needed a little tenderness. Picking up the phone from my desk, I dialed the digits for her home phone, her mobile having being confiscated by her father after the tragic incident which claimed the life of his daughter. The phone rang continuously as I thought of hanging up, just as Donald’s pre-recorded voice came over the receiver.
‘Those fucking rabbit ears!’ he roared. ‘I can’t fucking stand them! They’re everywhere! I can’t remove them from my mind! Oh, but I will by fucken destroying the little fuckers!’ he cried out deviously, the line instantly going dead. Frozen in fear, I leapt from the bed and hurried out the door, racing towards Ophelia’s, fearing for her life as I traversed the darkening streets, sad and alone.

Upon arrival I sensed something was amiss. The entire house was pitch black, not a single trace of life originating from its eerie interior. I shuddered to myself as I navigated the disturbingly unkempt lawn, knocking on the wooden door which instantly swung open. I slowly walked on through, making my way into the lounge room tripping over something on the floor. As this occurred I threw out my hands to stop myself from falling, the carpet feeling drenched. I reached for the light and flicked it on, reeling at what I saw.
Donald lay on the floor, a revolver in his left hand. His entire body was covered in blood, the walls and floors the same. His head no longer looked like it once had, appearing to have being blown off by the gun blast as I found myself hyperventilating. What had Donald done? I ran for Ophelia’s room, which was completely vacant, hurrying back before pausing at the entrance of the bathroom, noticing some form of liquid on the floor. Turning on the light I felt my entire body sag, finding the floor covered in blood, hurrying for the bath where a body was located. I heard a whimpering from inside me as I threw my hands around Ophelia, her body having bled out from having each of her piercings and tattoos removed with a number of sharp instruments covering the floor. What had her father done I wondered, the word ‘no!’ escaping my lips, as I sobbed into her hair, feeling immense guilt for never revealing to her how I felt.

 

OPHELIA:

I awoke to Donald screaming. I quickly dressed and applied make-up, not wishing to further aggravate him as he appeared at my door.
‘What? Still not dressed you lazy cunt?’ he cried, holding a bottle of liqueur in his hands which he quickly finished, throwing it in my direction.
I ducked, the bottle shattering as it connected with the wall, pieces of glass flying across the room as Donald continued down the hall howling insanities. I noticed the rose tattoo on my leg and the piercings in my belly as I pulled up my jeans, grabbed my bag and hurried down the hall. I stopped outside my sister’s room where a pair of rabbit ears was placed atop a pedestal, an image of both of us smiling under it; one of our better moments. Avoiding my father, I raced out the door and hurried towards the bus that would take me to university.

I briskly walked into class and made my way over to Jared. Like always, he looked incredibly handsome as I sat beside him and began to quietly make conversation, beginning to feel life returning to my body once more. Upon mentioning the intense loathing my supposed father had for me, Jared burst into his usual sensitive drivel about how the both of us were attempting to find ourselves. I guess he didn’t realise that I had; I was exactly who I was meant to be.
Of all the people in the world I wished he would be the one to notice that as the lecturer before us broke through my thoughts, instructing us to complement one another.
I smiled, turning to Jared who looked a little taken aback as he turned to face me, his beautiful brown eyes looking directly into mine.
‘You’re a nice person’ he finally said, the words cutting through me like knives as I sniggered, attempting to hide the pain.
What I would have given to hear him tell me I was beautiful. To hear him say that he loved me, so much so in fact that he wished to take me outside and physically express it through non-stop frenetic, sexualised orgasmic activity.  But no, he had completely rejected me as I became more and more distant from him with every second.

I lay on my bed that afternoon sobbing into my pillow, my black mascara running across my face. God I must have looked so pathetic, crying over some boy who I had had feelings for since the moment we had met. Donald’s sudden screaming brought me out of my stupor as I slowly made my way down the hall, finding him in the lounge room with the phone in one hand and a revolver in the other.
‘What the fuck are you looking at?’ he cried, brandishing the weapon at me as I backed away fearfully. ‘I have had it with the fucking rabbit ears and now, I remove them from my consciousness!’ Putting the gun to his head, he pulled the trigger. The effect was instantaneous. His head was completely mangled on impact, flakes of bloody facial tissue flying across the room, covering the walls as his body fell to the ground.
‘Well, it was bound to happen eventually’ I told myself, feeling a mixture of fear and contempt. Making my way to the bathroom I began to cry, tears streaming down my face, my entire body shaking. I thought of calling the police, but I knew deep down I was partly responsible for what had happened. Switching on the bathroom light I looked at my face in the mirror, before puking in the toilet bowel, wiping my face on a paper towel and staring back at my reflection. Neither Jared nor my father believed I was beautiful and if my sister were alive she too would have felt the same way. I looked at my reflection and saw a freak.
Loathed, rejected. I needed to be beautiful again.
I opened up the bathroom cabinet and pulled out a pair of tweezers, placing them on either side of my nose ring before ripping it out, blood flying across the mirror. The pain was excruciating, but I had to continue. I would not stop until I was beautiful once more, reaching my hand back into the cabinet and taking out a scalpel.

Lying in the bath, blood flowing around me, I lost consciousness, feeling contempt that I had achieved true beauty. I heard a door open, before hearing a cry of pain; noticing the shape of a person running to my side and embracing me. And as death took me, my last thoughts were of my sister.
She sat in the driver’s seat, the rain battering the windows on the dark, stormy night, the lights of passing motorists flying by.
‘Might I be able to borrow the rabbit ears?’ I asked from the passenger seat. She snorted.
‘No. They were mothers’. She would have wanted me to have them, especially since you killed her from being born last.’
I knew my sister was still affected by the booze we had over indulged on at the party, but I did not deserve such harsh treatment. ‘How can you say that to me?’ I cried.
‘Oh, fuck you!’ retorted Camellia as I felt an intense rage within me.
‘You know what Camellia, why don’t you just fucking die!’ I shouted as the truck came out of the shadows and plowed into us.

Party to Die for

SYNOPSIS: A man relives the occurrences of a party that was quite unlike any party you, the reader, has probably ever been too. 

I sat in the cold, dark interrogation room at the local police station, my breath being visible before me as I exhaled. My back was drenched in sweat, my hands timidly moving before me on the frozen metal table. The lights were suddenly switched on as I leapt back in my seat.
The door opposite opened, a man in a plaid suit which appeared to be cutting circulation off from his brain entering the room, cradling a file in one hand and coffee in the other. He had jet black hair that was greased back across his head with eyes that were just as black and sinister. He looked more like a criminal mastermind than a law enforcement officer. He sat before me, dropping the files onto the table whilst fixing up his tie with his now free hand, taking a terrific gulp of coffee immediately after doing so.
‘Mr. Henderson’ he said in a raspy voice, ‘I am detective Lachlan Mitchell. I’ve been assigned to this case because of its distinct peculiarity. I’ve looked over all of the information and I must say, it doesn’t look good for you son, nor for the two chuckleheads I have placed in other rooms just like this one. So before I slap the cuffs on you I would like you to explain to me in your own words what happened two nights ago.’
I tilted my head backwards, taking a deep gulp of air whilst rubbing my eyes, before beginning to divulge the events which had taken place.

I had drawn the short straw. That was why I found myself in the mortuary on the night of my best friend’s birthday. Andrew and Michael were sitting patiently out front in Andrew’s Mustang, smoke billowing out from the exhaust, Michael advising they keep the engine running in case they had to bolt.
I crept timidly down the halls of the mortuary which was located a few metres adjacent to the medical facility. Darkness surrounded me around every corner, my mind concocting scenarios of security being around every turn. Michael had made schematics of the entire building from his night shift at the hospital, the map in front of me not only being incredibly small, but being terribly difficult to read under the dim light of the torch I grasped in my other hand.
On the walls were numerous rooms that were locked, a door with a pane of glass located in front of each which cast eerie shadows across the interior of the complex as my torch connected with such secured areas.
I swung open a door before me and found myself in the lab where the bodies were to be prepped for the funeral arrangements. A putrid odour of death and decay hit me like a tonne of bricks as I stumbled backwards from the killer stench, attempting to hold my breath. In front of me in the centre of the room was a metallic table that shone brightly as though it had been kept pristine over the years. A body, who I presumed to be deceased, was placed atop of it, wrapped in a white cloth that extended across the entire body. The shape of the human form, which I presumed to be male, was all that could be made out. And all I honestly wanted to make out.
A stand made from the same metallic alloy was placed on the left side of the table, with numerous locked drawers located upon its lower most sections.
The walls were a dark blue in colour, with window panes located upon the ceiling, the full moon being visible up in the sky above. Across the walls were posters advertising different medical procedures and the ways a corpse was to be prepared, such things making a shudder travel up and down my spine.
Drawers where the deceased were kept were located on the wall, my hands reaching out and quickly beginning to drag them open one by one. I must have opened up seven, each of them either being empty or filled with some person who died in an incredibly insidious way, before I managed to discover the one which held my best friend; Warrick Childs.
He looked quite peaceful under the torch light, for a dead guy I mean. I’d being half expecting his guts to be hanging out of him like undigested offerings that a bunch of carnivorous hounds would have left behind after digging into him.
He had bright orange hair that looked rather untidy, yet considerably pristine. His green eyes were closed and he had numerous freckles located across his cheeks.
I slowly began to move him out from his confinement, his body crumpling to the floor at my feet as I closed the creaking drawer which clicked into place.
I suddenly felt Warrick’s hand shoot out and grab my leg, my body nearly falling backwards in fright, my torch darting around the room before I came to my senses, realising it had been the cat in the corner which had touched me, the creature of the night hissing from its hiding place. I shook my head before slowly picking up Warrick’s body and swinging it over my shoulder, my legs buckling beneath me under his dead weight as I made my way towards the door.
Just at that exact moment when I was about to make my fantastical get away (if I must say so myself) after implementing the perfect crime, I heard the creaking of one of the cabinets sliding open. Turning my head, I noticed the body of a near naked woman hanging out from the long line of cabinets, my eyes rolling into the back of my head as I gently placed Warrick onto the operating table atop of the other corpse.
‘Don’t mind me’ I said, hoping that neither of the corpses were at all homophobic.
I hurried over to the open cabinet and attempted to slide it back into place, the prosthetic breasts of the young woman’s deceased corpse preventing it from property sliding back in. Every time the head and neck of the young woman made their way inside the confines of the cabinet I felt a sense of joy. That was of course before the exterior of the cabinet connected with the huge breasts which bounced it backwards, many times the drawer nearly colliding with my crown jewels. The woman’s breasts themselves were like two cannons sticking out from the side of a pirate’s vessel, bouncing up and down in place. If that was not bad enough they were so lusciously beautiful I found them almost impossible to resist, just wanting to grab a hold of the gorgeous creatures to see how they felt. Such a job must have cost several hundred thousand dollars and were deliberately placed there to be admired and groomed, not to be left to rot in the drawer within a mortuary for Chrissake.
I took a deep breath, attempting to keep my mind on the problem at hand. If the doctors came back down here and saw the body outside from her home then they would certainly know without a doubt that there had been a grave robbery. I jerked and jabbed with the cabinet, the body rocking all over the place as though it were listening to Whitney Houston’s Greatest Hits collection. Finally, after a sickening squelching sound issued forth from the cabinet’s interior the body was rammed successfully back inside.
I breathed a sigh of relief, rubbing my hand over my sweaty forehead, before grabbing Warrick’s body off from the table, grunting in agony as I did so before hurrying out of the mortuary with his head banging up against my back like a drum.
Reaching the car, I dumped Warrick’s body into the trunk, hurrying into the back seat as Andrew revved up the engine.
‘Okay boys; let’s go have ourselves a party!’ I cried, the car flying into the distance, the rest of the night after that being nothing more than a blur.

The detective nodded his head as I concluded the story, before pulling out a laptop buried beneath the files he had brought in with him. He opened the computerised device, which was already on line to an internet site which had aired coverage from the night of the party.
Before me was streamed a film of Andrew, Michael and I at a table, with our deceased friend Warrick located directly in the centre.
Michael had skin that was heavily tanned, his hair being a pitch black in colour that was cut incredibly short. He wore a dark blue shirt with stripes of a white colour going horizontally down the front.
Andrew had blonde coloured hair that was raised high up on the left side of his head but lower down on the right. His eyes were a blue colour and he had a devilish smile about him, a light blue shirt placed across his chest.
Warrick on the other hand we had managed to shove into an orange and blue shirt that was comprised of stripes going vertically across the fabric, with white trousers located on his legs. A party hat was perched atop his head which was continuously tilting forward, his body unable to remain upright for long.
We each chugged down a few beers before emptying a number of overloaded glasses down Warrick’s cold, dead throat, cheering after such an accomplishment had being successfully orchestrated by our dead friend. A great amount of the alcoholic fluid dribbled across the shirt we had applied over the white gown the mortuary staff had tied around Warrick’s body to hide his genitalia.
Andrew suddenly moved out from the camera frame, before placing a giant mud cake in the centre of the table. ‘Make a wish!’ he cried to Warrick, who tilted his head to the side before collapsing on top of the table, the cake splattering into a few thousand pieces beneath him.
‘This went on for some time’ noted the detective, fast forwarding the image. ‘Then we get to this disturbing scene’ he said, clicking the play reticule, the video beginning to continue once more. A woman dressed in a sleazy black outfit stepped on top of the table, beginning to do a rather sexualised dance in front of Warrick. Her hair was curled into some kind of afro, her eyes sparkling like glitter in the night. The only clothing she had on her person was a black bra and panties with a couple of notes thrust into the side of the threads. Her breasts reminded me a lot of those that belonged to the woman I had managed to ram back inside the cabinets at the mortuary. ‘You’re one year older big boy!’ she cried in a high pitched voice, moving herself on top of Warrick and wrapping her legs around his body. She grabbed his crotch before crying ‘whoa, your penis is so hard and erect, like a cadaver!’ Warrick’s head suddenly titled onto her chest as she purred, grabbing hold of his head and thrusting his nose deep inside of her cleavage as to allow him to get a better look, appearing not to notice the current predicament he was in.
The detective suddenly turned off the video, his face conveying an element of shock as I sat speechless before him. ‘I am glad to say that we did locate his body’ noted the detective after taking a short breath. ‘It was found outside of a park on Rockchester Avenue, nearly twelve kilometres from your place of residence, which according to the video and the forensic evidence taken by the police officers was where the party ensued. Some of that same evidence was located at the mortuary which we’ve linked to your DNA, presumably sweat’
‘Well if you found his body, shouldn’t you perhaps let me off with a warning?’ I questioned.
‘I said we found his body’ grunted the detective. ‘It was decapitated.’
I raised an eyebrow at such a statement.
‘It took us a further nine hours to find his head’ commented the detective. ‘It was located fifteen kilometres east of his body, in a football field between two goal posts. What it was doing there is beyond me, but I doubt he was there to watch the big game.’
I went to speak but the detective quickly cut me off. ‘You would be pleased to know that we attached the head to the body, all in time for the funeral which was held late yesterday afternoon instead of the initial scheduling which had been booked for the morning, for obvious reasons which I doubt I will have to explain.’
‘Well, I guess everything sorted itself out in the end’ I said.
‘However’ said the detective, quickly cutting me off once again, ‘there’s more. We later discovered alcohol in the deceased’s system, apparently planted there after his body had been abducted. This was found after the funeral. It appears the embalming fluid and the alcohol mixed together in the stomach of your friend and caused a chemical reaction, which further caused his entire stomach to explode during the funeral precession. His body was blown into a thousand pieces and scattered across the entire chapel, his head coming to rest in the lap of his poor mother, Daniela Childs, who unfortunately died of complications to the heart at the scene.’
‘I’m sorry to hear that’ I said with a stutter.
‘Okay, now let’s go through the list of wrongs you and your gang have successfully orchestrated thus far’ began the detective, counting them off on his fingers. ‘We have breaking and entering; public mutilation to the deceased; some sexually explicit actions which I am proud to say I did not air to you this evening; public drunkenness; destruction of property; littering; attempted vandalism; successful vandalism; reckless driving under the influence of alcohol, among other substances which stripper Lucky Lucy has attested to providing you and your happy team members. Along with this she admitted to the performing of numerous erotic and illegal actions which the five of you were involved in for a number of hours. We have mortuary theft; attempted grand theft auto; vicious slander towards strangers who wish to remain anonymous; urination in a public place; the unintentional murder of sweet Miss Daniela Childs and the desecration of the deceased. Both Mr. Warrick Childs and Miss. Hilary Watson, whose cadaver was found crushed inside her assigned cabinet within the mortuary, her body, apart from being beyond recognition also appearing to be coated in the same gel found in prosthetic body parts, breasts for example?’ he noted with a raised eyebrow.
I tilted my head to the side, having absolutely nothing to say for myself.
‘I guess what I would like to ultimately know is why throw a party for a dead man?’ continued the detective. ‘It seems a little redundant if you ask me, but then again I’ve always considered myself to be quite the normal individual, I don’t get off on all the fiendish and satanic mumbo jumbo you and your gang orchestrated on the night of these viciously vulgar occurrences. What? Haven’t you anything to say for yourself?’ he probed as I shook my head, the detective beginning to stand to his feet. ‘I’ll be back in a while after I’ve interrogated the other culprits involved in this orgy of insidious criminal activity.’
‘But, you can’t leave me in here!’ I crowed as the detective reached the door, ‘what if I catch my death of cold?’
‘Not on your life’ grunted the detective, the lights dimming as the door closed behind him.

 

Lost in Tranquility

SYNOPSIS: A young man tosses a message in a bottle out to sea which asks the first woman who receives it to be his future wife, in the hopes of finding his certain someone.

 The sun’s reflection burned brightly across the ocean as the waves rippled across the crisp, crystal blue surface. Christopher stood at the tip of the beach where the ocean reached the sand, the water gently nibbling at his feet. He rubbed his hand through his thick, black hair which was stuck to his scalp from all the perspiration that was dripping across his face. His eyes were a dark brown colour, the rays of the sun being reflected in his shining pupils as he crouched down before the sea, a bottle clasped in his hand.
Lindsay slowly came running along the beach, pausing the moment she laid eyes upon him. Her Asiatic face had a yellow tinge to it, her black hair flying out behind her. She was not very tall, her favorite orange Hawaiian shirt hanging from her body as her denim skirt billowed ever so gently in the ocean breeze. ‘Come on Chris!’ she cried. ‘Let’s go back to the party!’
‘You know’ began Christopher in a dry voice. ‘I thought me and Charlotte had a chance, but I was wrong!’
‘Come on Chris’ repeated Lindsay. ‘You’re drunk.’
‘Surprisingly not’ announced Christopher. ‘My head has never been so clear, nor so open. You know what I have here?’ he asked, holding up the bottle.
‘I’m gathering that was filled with alcohol a few seconds before I arrived’ commented Lindsay.
‘No’ smiled Christopher. ‘No, it wasn’t. I have inserted a letter into this bottle, asking the first woman who reads what I have written to be my wife. No pick up lines, no rejections, just a fated exercise.’
‘I think you’d better step away from the shoreline before you hurt yourself’ stated Lindsay as Christopher hurled the bottle out into the ocean which splashed into the crystal depths and began to slowly bob away. Lindsay looked at Christopher in horror as though he had done something terrible as he began to walk past her. ‘It is my life’ he said. ‘And I know in my heart this is the right thing to do.’

FIVE YEARS LATER

‘Why do you still live here?’ asked Jackie with a smile, her wrinkles becoming more visible as the flabby skin on her face was pulled back. She made her way up from the long, wooden table, her great blue dress moving around at her feet as Christopher sniggered to himself. ‘You know you’re the only woman in my life for me grandma.’ She shook her head before entering the kitchen, allowing Christopher the time to sit back and admire the room around him.
The walls and drapes were each a magnificent red in colour, small tables located beside the walls with matching vases placed atop of them. The floor was made from pine wood, the sounds of the ocean being heard beneath it.
Across on the other side of the room was where Asiatic doors opened out onto a pair of twin piers symmetrically placed beside one another which made their way out into the deep, cool water. The breeze that had been carried in on the tide ruffled Christopher’s hair as he made his way to his feet, slowly wandering out onto one of the piers and crouching down to admire the view like he did every morning at ten a.m.
He brushed his hand across the surface of the ocean water, feeling the cold liquid rushing across his hand. The sound of Jackie crying out his name brought him back inside the house as she held the phone out for him. ‘Somebody wants to talk to you’ she smiled warmly.
‘Did this someone give a name?’ questioned Christopher.
‘No’ replied Jackie. ‘She didn’t.’
Christopher took the phone, placing the receiver to his ear. ‘Christopher speaking’ he said, hearing a feminine voice coming from the other end. ‘Yes, I received your letter.’
Christopher screwed up his face, attempting to remember what letter he had recently sent. ‘Sorry’ he blurted out.
‘The message in the bottle’ continued the voice.
Christopher smiled, beginning to snigger to himself. ‘Wow that was so long ago now. I’m surprised it ever made it to anyone. I had completely forgotten about it. I don’t exactly think I was in my right mind when I sent it anyway.’
‘Well’ began the woman, ‘are you still hoping to meet the girl of your dreams, or has that place already been filled?’ The voice appeared to be quite anxious as Christopher shook his head. ‘No, I still am yet to find someone.’
‘That’s great’ cheered the woman. ‘Well, not that you’re out of love, but that I didn’t receive this message for nothing. I have permission to fly over there and can be with you in a couple of days.’
‘Wow’ smiled Christopher. ‘I had never planned for anything like this. Where do you live anyway?’
‘Austin’ replied the woman. ‘Texas.’
‘I could never have imagined my letter could have ever gone that far’ stated Christopher, still bewildered by such an achievement.
‘When we’re about to leave we’ll call ahead to let you know’ stated the woman.
‘We?’ questioned Christopher.
‘Yeah’ replied the woman. ‘My father’s coming too. He goes wherever I go.’
Christopher nodded, about to hang up before asking ‘what is your name?’
‘Summer’ said the woman, the line going dead as Christopher hung up the phone, smiling. ‘Summer’ he said to himself.

TWO DAYS LATER

The crowds of the busy airport terminal flooded past Christopher as he waited close to the front doors of the facility, the late afternoon sun burning brightly in the sky above. He shuffled his feet, feeling nervous with this arranged meeting as those on the plane from Texas began to make their way out, hugging friends and family who they had missed. He held a piece of cardboard in his hands with the name ‘Summer’ written across it in the hopes of gaining the attention of the woman he was to be introduced to. He noticed a young woman and a man point in his direction, beginning to make their way through the crowd and into plain sight, Christopher feeling a little shocked by who approached him.
There was no doubt that the young woman was beautiful. She had a long and slender body, wearing tight blue jeans and a black leather jacket. Her hair was a light brown colour which flew out behind her back, what parts of her face being visible having not a single physical imperfection. The parts of her face which were not visible however were hidden under bandages which were wrapped around her head. Her green eyes shone under the white of these bandages and her lips appeared moist and warm.
Her father stood behind her, a man who was around the same height as his daughter, but nearly twice as wide, a rather large pot belly sticking out from under his shirt. His jeans looked to be on the verge of splitting, whilst his face was covered with a shaggy white beard, his eyes appearing to be quite judgmental.
‘Christopher’ smiled the woman as she took Christopher’s hand. ‘Summer’ he replied.
‘I hope you’re not offended by the way I look right now’ expressed Summer.
‘Oh, no’ said Christopher. ‘I invited you remember. I wouldn’t have done such a thing if I was so full of worry and concern.’ He swallowed before continuing. ‘My car is outside if you’re ready to go’ he said as Summer nodded, Christopher beginning to lead the way out from the terminal.

Christopher stopped his vehicle outside of his grandmother’s house, before escorting both of his guests up the ramp of concrete tiles which led to the front door. The trip back to his place had been filled with plentiful discussion as both Christopher and Summer alike leant about the country the each of them resided within. Summer’s father however reserved the right to take the trip in total silence, every so often giving his daughter a look as though expressing to her mentally not to tell everything to this complete stranger of a man. Christopher had assumed the moment they met that because he had incidentally made contact through the use of an alcoholic bottle, such had not made the best impression on the man who obviously feared the day when the man driving the car might eventually become his son in law.
The tiles on the ground leading up to the house before them were a brilliant red which went well with the overall exterior of the wooden house. The foliage outside of the residence was a brilliant green in colour, with numerous tall trees sprouting forth out from the garden nearest the front window.
Upon reaching the door it instantaneously opened, Lindsay standing before Christopher as the two friends embraced one another. Summer looked at the two of them as though she were trying to decipher what was going on between them as Christopher asked ‘what are you doing here? I haven’t seen you for a couple days and suddenly you arrive, just like that?’
‘Jackie called’ stated Lindsay as they broke apart, ‘and I wanted to have a look at the new young lady who was going to be entering your life.’
Lindsay and Summer introduced each other as the four of them made their way into the interior of the house, Summer slowly taking off her jacket with the help of her father and placing it onto the rack closest to the door. Christopher noticed two bandages attached to Summer’s left arm, Lindsay noticing them too as she cleared her throat before continuing.
‘How exactly did you do so much damage to yourself?’ she asked with a light hearted smile.
‘I’m a professional dancer’ stated Summer. ‘Ballet to be exact’ she said quickly as though ensuring that nobody interpreted her dancing profession to be in the realm of exotic. ‘During my last rehearsal which was, oh, about five weeks ago now, I slipped on the floor trying to perform a new move and cracked my head on the ballet room floor.’
She nodded as Lindsay emphasised a look of pain whilst Jackie made her way out from the kitchen with a platter of tea in her hands. ‘Well hello. I’m so glad to meet my grandson’s new acquaintances’ she smiled. ‘If you’d just follow me to the kitchen I can make us some snacks. I’m sure the two of you are very hungry after your flight.’
 Jackie began to make her way back into the kitchen as Lindsay followed her, Summer looking at Christopher for a few seconds whilst his back was turned as her father made his way close to her ear. ‘I’m happy that you’ve found someone’ he whispered. ‘I only hope he’s the man you need him to be’ he said, before following Lindsay into the kitchen.
Summer nodded before walking towards Christopher. ‘It’s one hell of a view’ she said.
‘You should see it at both dawn and dusk’ exclaimed Christopher. ‘Now that is a view!’
He looked into Summer’s eyes for a second as they began to draw closer together, before their lips gently touched, their eyes closing before they slowly pulled away, smiling at one another.
‘The doctor told me that as soon as I arrive in Australia the bandages could finally be removed and no further ones would be necessary.’ stated Summer. She moved her hands to the back of her head and began to unravel the bandages that were tied around her facial features, dropping them to the floor as Christopher marveled at the face which had been hidden beneath them.
‘Good God you’re beautiful’ he smiled, taking a deep breath before kissing her again, Christopher and Summer embracing one another as they did so.
‘I’m glad you find me so appealing’ smiled Summer. ‘I would have hated to have made this trip for nothing. You did say that you wished to marry whoever read the note you placed inside of the bottle. But I can tell you now, I am not going to spend the rest of my life with a man I have never slept with.’
Christopher stared at her in awe. ‘What about your father?’ he asked.
‘He only wants me to be happy’ stated Summer.
‘I think they would notice if we didn’t show up to eat the snacks Jackie has prepared’ grinned Christopher.
‘We do have all night’ commented Summer. ‘And when that time comes, I want you to make love to me, the same way you would to a woman you have extremely strong emotions for.’
Christopher nodded, taking Summer’s hand in his before the two of them made their way in the direction of the kitchen.

Lion Heart

SYNOPSIS: A young man attempts to come to terms with the fact that the woman of his dreams is arranged to be married by her parents to another man.

Gregory Wiseman lay in a hospital bed in the recovery ward, his face covered in a multitude of scars and abrasions from intensive trauma. He had light brown coloured hair and dark brown eyes. His cheeks were normally a dull red in colour, but today were particularly bright from the abrasions he had received. Tubes ran out from his nose and an additional tube ran from his vein to a drip, his heart and pulse rate being lower than optimal as he slowly breathed in and out. His eyes were closed whilst in the unconscious state he was in, his body completely motionless as he lay with his head propped up against a pillow. How did he manage to get into such a critical state? The answer for this remained in his past…

Gregory had always had feelings for Lisa. To him she was both mentally and physically beautiful. She had dark, curly hair and big round eyes that were brown in colour. She had a radiant glow to her skin and her smile was to die for. Not only this, but she was incredibly intellectual in many different subjects.
So when he asked her if she wanted to begin seeing him socially it just seemed like the natural thing to do and when she agreed to have a relationship with him he was over joyed.
The reaction Augustus, Lisa’s father had however was quite the opposite. Augustus had jet black hair that was shoulder length in appearance, a few gray hairs beginning to appear. His eyes were a cold, black in colour and his nose was rather large upon his aging, yellow coloured face. His mouth was often open in a snarl and he spoke with a strong accent that made him often appear twice as angry.
‘How dare you go against your family like this!’ he roared when he managed to extract the news from his daughter. ‘Lisa, you are my only daughter and I love you, which is why I expect the best for you. Having a relationship with this Anglo is not the answer. That is why we orchestrated for you to be engaged to Mathieu. You do remember him don’t you? He is one of us, Lisa. That is how we preserve our culture, by marrying into families of our same heritage, not by desecrating our family name and completely and barbarically humiliating us by having a relationship with some ocker. Your mother and I did not immigrate to this country for you to marry some Australian prick. We came for the opportunities it would hold for you. Now you are better than this Anglo. Which is why in two weeks time you shall be united with Mathieu and the two of you can start your lives together.’
Lisa had tried to protest against this and had even attempted to get her mother, Maria’s help, but neither attempts to change her father’s mind succeeded. Her mother too felt it was the best thing Lisa could do, although she of course did not wish to anger her husband and take the side of the one person who could embarrass them by bringing home a person who was not of their culture.
Maria herself had jet black hair like her husband which was always tied back in a bun as to ensure it made its way straight down the very centre of her back. She had large, jet black eyes that seemed to not properly belong to the rest of her person, whilst great red lips were placed upon her face that too seemed to exceed the size that was meant for her.
When Lisa had to reluctantly renege on the date Gregory had offered her he was considerably shocked and badly hurt by this sudden change of heart. He attempted to ask her about this immediate change, but Lisa decided not to tell him the truth, believing he would not be able to properly understand nor comprehend.
Two weeks later, just like her father had promised, Mathieu arrived. He was a tall muscular man that seemed to have an interior train of thought, i.e. he only ever thought of himself. He had dark brown eyes and hair that was always drenched in bodily fluid and had a rather tanned body. He walked around wearing a muscle top and a rumor was that back home he walked around with a bare chest. He had large ears that did not properly seem to suit him, making him look as though he was about ready to take off and fly away at a moment’s notice. His stomach too seemed inappropriately large, making it seem as though he was the kind of man who really enjoyed his beer. There was also the rumor that he had been married several times before, the women who had managed to break the relationship off with him never supplying satisfactory reasons as to why they wanted to be rid of him. They just wanted the relationship to end. Although a man who had been divorced numerous times was seen as a disgraced individual, he was still worth marrying into.
When Lisa turned twenty two she thought she was old. Mathieu however was forty six, leaving Lisa feeling incredibly young by comparison. What put Lisa off most about the man she was expected to marry was not just his physical appearance nor his age, but the lack of English he knew. It was true that she was fluent in both her native tongue as well as in the English dialect, but her English skills far exceeded the knowledge she knew of her own native language.  She did of course bring up this dispute with her father who simply waved it away as he managed the wedding arrangements with Mathieu, who would become an Australian citizen immediately after the marriage had been initiated.
Mathieu himself felt offended at his future wife’s slanderous comments towards his ability to speak English, instantly saying in a heavy Greek accent ‘I can to speak your English! Sea shells sea shells by the sea shore! How much wood could a wood chopper chop if a wood chopper could chop wood?’ He seemed remarkably pleased with himself. Lisa however, was not.
Her opinions appeared however to be invalid though and from then on she was forced to escort her future husband around the environment to get him to know the region.
Gregory occasionally noticed them traversing the city and eventually decided to go to Lisa’s house to find out exactly what was going on. Upon knocking on the door she answered, seeming almost relieved to have a distraction from what was currently occurring in her life, her face having a distinct sadness to it.
‘It took me years to sum up the courage to express to you my feelings’ admitted Gregory, holding a bouquet of flowers out to her. ‘The least you can do is explain to me why you can’t be with me.’
‘I am sorry Gregory’ she said, ‘but I am currently with someone else.’
‘Really?’ he probed. ‘Perhaps you could have told me this before agreeing to go out with me.’
‘I wasn’t engaged then as I am now’ said Lisa, looking as though she didn’t wish to express her current marital status out loud.
‘You’re engaged?’ asked Gregory bewildered. ‘And here I was hoping I might still have a chance to spend the rest of my life with you.’
‘I’m sorry’ said Lisa sadly. ‘You’re really sweet, but I’m afraid we just can’t be together.’
With that, the door closed in Gregory’s face as he began to make his way back towards the side walk, before stopping suddenly and spinning around. ‘Lisa Tsarios!’ he cried at the top of his lungs. ‘I am in love with you and from now until the day I die I will continue to be! And before that moment does indeed transpire, I will marry you and cherish you forever!’
He made his way back whence he came after saying this, a plan already in motion inside his mind.
Whilst inside the house, it was not only Lisa who had heard what Gregory had cried.
‘Who was that idiot?’ spluttered Augustus angrily. ‘Doesn’t that Anglo prick have anyone else he could annoy at this time of day? Doesn’t he know we have a wedding to prepare?’
‘If he comes round here again I’ll kill him!’ cried Mathieu in a Neanderthal-like tone.
Lisa however didn’t hear any of this. She was far too busy being swept away by the comment that Gregory had just made to her whilst she lay in her bed, smiling at the idea of being married to him.
Over the next month Gregory began to show to Lisa exactly how he felt. On numerous mornings flowers were deposited at her door which her father chucked out post haste, the remnants of them often found in the trash receptacle. These she dusted off before applying them in a glass of water and suspending them in her room.
Love letters and romanticised poems were placed inside her mail box, both her father and Mathieu ripping these into smithereens. Mathieu often read them beforehand though, which simply made him even madder. On a couple of occasions however he quite liked the verses and read them to Lisa, attempting to pass them off as his own to make his future wife feel more comfortable with the idea of marrying him. However, she could always see through his lies, knowing full well who had written them, finding the prose to be quite beautiful.
One university morning a broadcast was made, specifying for those who had burnt the phrase ‘I love Lisa Tsarios’ into the front lawn to come forth, Lisa giggling upon hearing this announcement which no one ever admitted to.
During a class PowerPoint presentation which students found incredibly boring, Lisa suddenly became attracted to the fourteenth slide which the two students giving the presentation swore they had never inserted. The words on the slide specified ‘I love Lisa Tsarios 4 life’, the class finding this to be the most amusing part about the assignment. The students giving the presentation managed to obtain eighty five per cent of the expected mark for their project.
Later that same week, Lisa was making her way back to her car and discovered a note attached under one of the windscreen wipers which indicated for her to make her way to the park.
Upon arriving, Lisa found a picnic site had been erected, Gregory making his way out from behind her and presenting her with a bouquet of flowers which she took with a dazzling smile. Together they sat down to eat the food that Gregory had prepared, just as Mathieu happened to drive past. He had only recently begun to learn how to drive in Australia and often did so with a huge smile on his face, believing that such a talent was the most amazing thing he had ever accomplished. ‘You see, I am Australian enough already?’ he could be often heard saying as he drove past the houses in the neighborhood. 
On this one occasion however, no such words were to come from his lips. He instantly stopped the car and stormed over to Lisa, grabbing her by the wrist and dragging her away.
‘How dare you humiliate me like this!’ he roared, his English becoming only slightly better. ‘I see the only way to stop this absurd behaviour is to stop it at the source.’ With that, he proceeded to hit Gregory who fell flat to the ground, blood rolling down his face as Mathieu continued to brutalise him, smiling as he did so.
‘Stop!’ cried Lisa, throwing her hands up in the air. ‘Mathieu, I won’t marry you!’
At these words Mathieu stopped and stood to his feet, Gregory lying motionless on the ground beside him.
‘I love him more than I could ever love you!’ shouted Lisa, throwing the engagement ring she had been forced to wear over the past month directly at Mathieu who reluctantly left after kicking Gregory’s motionless body once more.
Lisa proceeded to call the ambulance service, riding in the emergency vehicle with Gregory as he was taken into the emergency ward to access the overall damage which had been done to his person.
Lisa waited outside to hear the news, her mother and father later arriving. ‘Mathieu was just arrested!’ exploded Augustus. ‘I think you had better explain yourself young lady!’ he cried, slapping his daughter across the face.
‘And so he should have been!’ retaliated Lisa. ‘He could have killed Gregory!’
‘Again with the bloody Anglo!’ growled Augustus. ‘Who cares about this damn Australian bastard! He deserved all that he received for meddling in our affairs. If he does die he will die a hero to the people of Greece, because from here on no Anglo will ever meddle in our affairs from fear of what will happen to them. Besides, Mathieu won’t be charged. He was released under the condition that he would never return to Australia. Do you know what you have done? You have ruined the chance you had with Mathieu. He would have been good for you, but no, you had to humiliate us!’
‘Gregory loves me!’ shouted Lisa. ‘I know you don’t want him to, but love has no cultural background like we do. It makes the decisions at its own volition. It has no laws; no boundaries. It does what it will and it has no adversary strong enough to bring it to its knees.’
‘Then love is a fool and deserves the same fate as that bastard in there!’ shouted Augustus, indicating at the emergency ward. ‘If you choose him over your own family do not expect to come back to us. From now on you are no longer our daughter and I am no longer your father.’ With that both of Lisa’s parents left as she stood in the empty corridor of the hospital.
Not long afterwards Gregory was released into the recovering ward, Lisa sitting by his side, waiting for him to awake, just as one of his fingers moved, his eyes beginning to open as he awoke to see Lisa’s smiling face.
‘What happened?’ he asked, a pained expression making its way across his features.
‘Rest now’ smiled Lisa, kissing his forehead before rubbing it with her gentle fingers. ‘We will talk again later.’

And so they did.

Hole in the Head

SYNOPSIS: Explores the final few days in the life of police officer Marcus Lithammer, revealing how it was that he died and the culprit responsible for his murder.

Officer Marcus Lithammer was found dead this morning inside the house of a Mr. Dominic Chase. He died instantly from a bullet to the side of the head, the murder weapon; a magnum revolver located a couple of metres away from the body. Dominic Chase, who is believed to be dealing with psychological issues is the prime suspect in this murder investigation and is still unaccounted for. Dominic’s family has told police they will do everything they can to help bring their son in swiftly and safely. Officer Lithammer, a decorated veteran of the Melbourne police force leaves behind a fiancé. 

Fifteen nights earlier:
The sound of the loud bar echoed around me as I shuffled in my chair, staring into the face of the soon to be Mrs. Marcus Lithammer. She had brown shoulder length hair and a spectacular smile. Her teeth were a bright white that was almost artificial in appearance whilst her lips were covered in a bright red lubricant that made them glitter under the lighting from the ceiling above. She wore a fabulous black dress with what looked to be small sapphires located across every inch of its design, the garment placed tightly across her body, revealing all of her curves. She smiled back at me as we shared a toast, downing the drinks in one gulp. I smacked my lips, feeling my revolver pressing up against my lower thigh as I moved it over to the adjacent side. ‘What do you say we call it a night?’ I asked, alternate devious intentions in mind.
‘But it’s not even eleven p.m.’ retorted Abigail. Before she could say anymore her beeper went off, her face becoming contorted in frustration as I sat back in my chair, holding my head in my hands.
‘And it’s a mystery as to who that could be’ I said sarcastically as Abigail gave me a dirty look.
‘He’s my brother’ she retorted, reaching around inside of her black leather hand bag for the device that was irritatingly ruining a perfectly orchestrated evening.
‘Yeah, your brother’ I grunted, ‘who appears to spend more time with you than I have in the past six months. I want to spend time with my fiancé for at least one night without his interference. Is that too much to ask for?’
‘You know about his condition’ shot back Abigail.
I nodded, rolling my eyes into the back of my head. ‘I know, I know, fear of the dark, fear of tight spaces, fear of being touched. I ask you, how many things can a guy be afraid of?’
‘I told him, if he needed my help to call me’ retorted Abigail. ‘So if you intend to vent your aggression on somebody, let it be me. He’s innocent’ she said, storming out of the bar as I quickly paid the tab before hurrying after her. ‘Shit’ I thought, ‘if everyone was so damn innocent I’d be out of a job and living out on my arse.’

It was a short drive to her brother’s house, the streets dark and gloomy, the moon being extraordinarily bright at its pinnacle in the sky as I stopped the vehicle adjacent to the intended residence. The double storey home looked pale and gloomy in the darkness as Abigail looked at me, before exiting the vehicle, her breath visible in the darkness as I did the same.
The door to the residency flung open before Abigail had even rung the bell, her brother looking at her with glee filled eyes.
‘Hello Dominic’ smiled Abigail.
‘I’m glad you came’ said her brother. ‘I was having trouble sleeping. Whenever I closed my eyes this nightmare continued to play in my mind. Might you be able to stay with me tonight, at least until I manage to get to sleep?’ he asked as Abigail nodded, leading the way into the home.  I managed a nod as Dominic looked at me, being unable to properly master a verbal greeting as the door closed behind me.
The interior of the home was shrouded with wood; wooden floors, wooden walls, even the furniture sharing the exact same pattern. Abigail led the way up the stairs, before turning right upon reaching the landing and escorting Dominic into his room, Star Wars posters littering the walls as I stood at the doorway as both brother and sister made their way into bed. I watched and waited patiently as Dominic began to count his usual numerical sequence in his mind to help him get to sleep, Abigail looking up at me with apologetic eyes as she mouthed the word ‘sorry.’ I instantly realised that she was not coming home with me tonight and it was with an angry heart that I briskly made my way down the stairs, slamming the front door behind me, hoping I kept that bastard of a brother awake for just a short while longer.

After driving around the town for a short while I eventually made my way back to the police station, logging into the target range and shuffling over to the farthest lane. Setting myself up in front of the target, I removed my magnum revolver from my belt and loaded all six chambers, pointing the loaded weapon at the intended target and squeezing, watching it go away. ‘If only everything were so easy’ I thought with a mischievous grin, ‘if only everything were so easy.’

Eight nights earlier:
I had parked my vehicle outside Dominic’s residence, waiting for his return home to speak with him. I took a deep breath as I turned on the radio, listening to some agonisingly brutal rap song which made my blood boil as I shut the radio off once more. Staring through the rear view mirror I suddenly noticed Dominic hobbling up the street, holding a cluster of books close to his chest, his eyes darting back and forth as though he were expecting somebody to attack him. Paranoid bastard, I’ll give him something to be worried about.
I exited the vehicle and hurried across the road over to him. ‘We need to talk Mr. Chase’ I began, being a little out of breath as I continued. ‘It’s about your sister. Well, actually it’s about your sister and I.’ I looked at him, his face looking puzzled, as if he were attempting to play coy, pretending he didn’t know who I was. ‘You do know who I am right?’ I continued, my voice tightening with anger. ‘We’ve met countless times in the past. You must have recognised me at some point in your ridiculously useless life! Anyway, I’m just here to say that I want you to lay off your sister. Why don’t you call your parents next time you have trouble sleeping? Now, I know about your little problems and I feel for you man, I really do, and many people in my position wouldn’t. But I would like to at least spend a little time romantically involved with your sister. Can you allow me that?’
The bastard didn’t even respond, appearing to completely ignore me as he walked past me and towards his front door. ‘You can’t have her you know!’ I cried as he slammed the door behind him.

One night earlier:
I lay in my relaxing bed, the wooden slats beneath me groaning as Abigail made her way over to me, unbuttoning her purple blouse and dropping it to the floor. Her amazingly luscious body that I had not seen much of recently looked as delicious as ever as I licked my lips, eager to taste her succulent flesh. I found myself salivating at her image, her dark hair rolling across her shoulders, her darker eyes looking directly into mine. Her brassiere matched the colour of her panties, both being a filthy black in colour as she made her way into bed beside me. I reached my arm around her and caressed her skin, kissing her moist lips as she groaned.
‘We haven’t done this in a long time’ she purred, beginning to unbutton my police uniform, falling on top of me and giggling as I embraced her in a warm hug. The two of us locked lips as her tongue ventured into my mouth, exploring the environment as I closed my eyes. Her hands reached for my zipper as I began to feel myself getting an erection – the phone spontaneously ringing and breaking through my greatest fantasies.
‘No, no, no!’ I shouted, infuriated at what had just happened as Abigail made her way off from my person and reached for the phone. Speaking for only a few short seconds, I instantly knew what was happening as I fell back into bed, holding my head in my hands as she put the phone back down. ‘I’m sorry Marcus’ she said. ‘But I really need to go.’
‘You don’t have to’ I said, becoming aggravated. ‘You need him like a hole in the head. I’m your fiancé! Could we at least spend some quality time together before we seal the bond? I was accosted by an attempted murderer today but you don’t hear me crying out for help, do you? I come home and I want to spend some time with the woman I am so in love with, not watch her leave to spend time with her brother. Do you not want to feel my erected penis inside you? Do you not want me caressing your succulent breasts? Do you not want me sucking your delectable clitoris? Jesus Christ, if I didn’t know any better I’d say the two of you were engaging in an incestuous relationship!’
‘That’s enough Marcus!’ shouted Abigail, putting her clothes back on. ‘I don’t need this crap from you right now’ she cried, tears in her eyes. ‘So just cut the bull and leave me be. I’ll be back as soon as I can’ she said, leaving the room as I fell back into the bed.
‘I can drive you!’ I shouted, hearing her cry ‘I’ll take a cab!’ the front door slamming behind her. I watched her from my window as she hurried down the street, cell phone to her ear. I buttoned up my shirt, grunting whilst I did so before eagerly hurrying down the stairs two at a time with the intention of following her.

I had parked in my usual position, opposite Dominic’s residence. I had watched Abigail arrive by cab, had seen the lights in her brother’s bedroom go on as she knelt down beside him, their shadows moving across the walls. I had waited patiently for over two hours, wondering what was taking them so long as Abigail finally emerged from the house, a taxi pulling up immediately as soon as she reached the curb, beginning to drive her back down the street. I rubbed my hands together as I took a deep breath, exiting my vehicle and walking towards the house. I picked the lock with a thin thread of wire, hearing the tumblers click into place, the door opening in front of me as I walked out onto the landing with the intention of speaking to her brother. I closed the door as quietly as I could behind me before slowly making my way across the wooden floor. Jesus Christ! Who in their right mind had their house comprised entirely of wood?
‘I’m sure I’d get his attention now’ I thought as I began to make my way up the stairs as slowly as possible, before hearing a sound coming from the kitchen. I crept back down the stairs and across the wooden floor, noticing a shape in the darkness that appeared to be constructing a sandwich as I sprang up behind him. Grabbing him around the neck, he instantaneously began to scream and squirm in protest, thrashing his arms around insanely as I dragged him into the lounge room and threw him into one of his wooden chairs.
‘Remember me?’ I growled through clenched teeth, ‘cuz I remember you.’ I took out my revolver and held it at my side, Dominic’s eyes growing wide with fear. ‘You ignored me before, but I doubt you can do that now. You think you know what fear is? Well let me educate you on something – you haven’t even scratched the surface. You know nothing about fear! Now, let me show you what fear really is’ I growled, holding the revolver in front of me. ‘Let’s see who the fates decide is the one most deserving of the love and affection of your beautiful sister, shall we?’
I removed every round but one from the chamber of my side arm, placing the others inside my pocket as I pointed the gun at his left temple and pulled the trigger. Dominic leapt in fear, astonished that nothing had happened. I drew the weapon to my head and smiled, pulling the trigger as I heard the weapon click, the chamber being empty. I pointed the gun back at Dominic, feeling extraordinarily powerful as beads of sweat ran across his face while he appeared to try to mouth sentences, the sounds being incoherent drivel. Pulling the trigger, the gun once again clicked, failing to fire as I turned the gun back on myself. I smiled at Dominic, holding the weapon steadily in my hand, before squeezing the trigger.

Restaurant of the Year

SYNOPSIS: A reviewer of restaurants has his work cut out for him when he finds himself in the presence of quite possibly the single most terrible restaurant he has ever reviewed in his life

 Barry Bardronsky sat in his red Porsche outside of the Overboard, the new restaurant which had recently opened in Melbourne. Bright red neon lights flashed in front of the restaurant, allowing all to be bewildered by its brilliant physical tranquility. He rubbed his black beard and sighed, hoping that this was not going to be yet another insufferable evening of unsatisfying products.
Barry was renown across the state for his reviews of new restaurants in the newspaper, becoming quite unpopular amongst many of the owners, especially when they closed down after the supposedly slanderous words that Barry used to describe their venues. It wasn’t his fault if their food was less than adequate to satisfy his tastes. After all, it was his job to warn the people if there was a problem with the food, not endorse venues that were unable to accommodate a pack of turkeys, let alone human beings.
He rubbed his hands down his blue shirt, admiring his black jeans and brown boots as he stared around at the other vehicles passing by his. He noticed one license plate specifying the owner as ‘KIKASS’ whilst another stated ‘PEN15’. Barry shook his head, not having time for humor much these days in the line of work he was in.
He gingerly stepped from the vehicle, holding a clipboard in his hand and a pen in the other as he made his way to the sidewalk and briskly marched through the cool winter breeze towards the restaurant doors. A man dressed in red opened the door politely for him and the other patrons as they stepped inside onto a magnificently constructed landing. The carpet laid out across the floor was a bright red in colour, with yellow lining around the sides. The walls were decorated in black and yellow patterns, whilst musicians played tender dinner music in the far corner.
Each of the patrons were dressed in fine luxurious clothes, Barry finding himself to be a little underdressed as he fixed his shirt collar, attempting to blend in with the rest of the crowd. The maitre d’ at the front of the restaurant who was allowing the queue of individuals hoping to enter recognised Barry, clicking his fingers for two of the waiters closest to escort him directly into the restaurant proper.
Barry had to admit already that if the rest of the evening persisted in quite the same manner that it would be one of the few restaurants he had ever credited.
He sat down at the finely organised wooden table, with blue napkins, sparkling cutlery and red menus that were each placed before him in a formalised fashion. He pulled the menu close to him and began to quickly skim over what he could possibly order, many of which he had tried at previous venues, each meal becoming a bad memory that he so desperately wished to forget.
The man who had allowed him entry suddenly appeared at his side, holding a gargantuan plush teddy bear in his hands. ‘Here sir, this was left for you.’
Barry didn’t know what to say as he took the plush toy and studied the card attached to its left ear.
‘Good luck at this new restaurant, love Carol’ stated the card as he smiled. It appeared his co-worker was not without a sense of humor as he noticed the strange looks he began to receive from the other patrons. Barry nodded at the man who returned to his post, whilst Barry placed the bear in the seat opposite him.
A waiter appeared moments later beside him, eagerly awaiting to hear what he wished to order.
‘I see you have quite an exquisite list of delicacies here’ specified Barry as the man nodded. ‘Tell me, if I order sausages, how long do you think they will be?’
‘I can’t be too sure sir’ replied the man, ‘but I would assume eight centimeters.’
Barry tilted his head to the side and sighed before continuing. ‘Moreover, do you serve crabs in this restaurant?’
‘Yes sir’ answered the man. ‘We serve anyone.’
‘I’m sorry, have I done anything to offend you?’ questioned Barry.
‘I’m the ‘idiot’ you insulted at the Royal Galah last month. And the ‘imbecile’ you insulted at the Skipping Kangaroo a few weeks before that.’
Barry nodded, failing to remember such insults, but coming to realise that he insulted nearly every waiter at every venue he had ever attended, so it was quite difficult to keep track.
‘In that case I’ll have the crocodile soup with your finest Merlot. On top of that I would like to have a breadstick. And step on it, I really don’t have all night here you know’.
The man nodded before turning to the plush teddy bear figurine. ‘And you sir, what would you like. Oh, I’m sorry, you obviously don’t want anything because, as I can see, you’re stuffed!’
With that the waiter turned on his heel and left back the way he came, a couple of the patrons sniggering at what had just occurred as Barry rubbed his temple. It was going to be a long night he thought as he put a mark down on the service at the Overboard.
A man dressed in white and black attire suddenly made his way out, bringing a plate over to Barry’s table with what he had ordered. Barry picked up the breadstick and shook his head. ‘Why has my bread been squashed?’
‘Well, the waiter said that you wanted me to step on it because you were in a hurry’ replied the man.
‘Not figuratively you moron!’ hissed Barry.
Barry took the spoon from the plate and had a quick taste of the soup he had ordered, spitting it back out in disgust. ‘And what’s more this soup tastes funny!’
‘Well, I don’t hear you laughing about it’ stated the man.
‘None of you are taking me seriously’ grunted Barry, becoming aggravated. ‘I’ve changed my mind. I no longer want what I’ve ordered. Instead, I would like a medium salad with egg and vegetable soup on the side’.
The man before him nodded slowly before taking away the products which Barry had refused as he yanked the cork out from the bottle of Merlot and took a great swig of the alcoholic beverage.
A few moments later the new order that Barry had asked for began to be brought over to him on two different plates, the man quickly retreating back to whence he came after deliverance of the products.
Barry took a forkful of salad before applying it with egg, placing the fork into his mouth, a foul expression coming over his face as he turned to the soup to look for something to wash it down. He quickly turned away after seeing what was in the adjacent meal, taking yet another great sip of Merlot and crying out for the nearest waiter to help him.
‘Yes sir?’ questioned the man as he arrived.
‘Waiter, this egg is awful’ explained Barry.
‘Well don’t blame me sir’ replied the waiter, ‘I only laid the table.’
Barry gave him a dirty look before proceeding with his complaints. ‘On top of that, there is a fly in my soup!’
‘Oh, don’t worry sir, the spider in your salad will get it!’ smiled the waiter as Barry quickly checked to see if he were been serious.
‘I’m joking sir’ grinned the waiter.
‘I don’t think you quite understand the situation’ grunted Barry. ‘There is a fly in my soup!’
‘If you like I can arrange for you to have a bigger one’ suggested the waiter.
‘No, I don’t want a bigger one’ shot back Barry angrily. ‘I already have one and I am telling you I did not order it!’
‘Please sir be quiet, or else everyone else will want one’ said the waiter as a man who happened to resemble a garden toad sitting near Barry’s table looked at his order and noted to the waiter ‘I’ll have what he’s having.’
The waiter beside Barry appeared to look a little upset as he continued on. ‘At least the hot water killed the fly. It could be a whole lot worse; it could still be swimming.’
‘Don’t you understand what is happening here you temperamental twit?’ cried Barry, beginning to attract some unnecessary attention. ‘I wish to talk to the owner, immediately!’
The waiter nodded as he began to escort Barry in the direction of the kitchens, making his way past the cooks who each eyed him dangerously before reaching a young woman in a gray uniform at the far end who was talking to the head chef. She turned to Barry as he arrived, her dark hair flying across her face before smiling.
‘You must be Barry Bardronsky’ she said. ‘I was just about to come out and talk to you.’
‘Yes’ nodded Barry, ‘well there’s no need now, is there?  As for why I am here, I think it is plainly obvious. I’m looking for the ring leader of this circus.’
‘Well you found her’ smiled the woman. ‘Abigail’s the name and cooking’s the game.’
‘Good’ nodded Barry with a nod of his head whilst pointing at her with his finger before noting, ‘great slogan too. Is there somewhere we could talk in private?’
‘Right this way’ nodded Abigail as she escorted Barry into an office at the back of the restaurant that was incredibly small and compact, Abigail seating herself in a small chair behind an even smaller desk.
‘You know’ commented Barry. ‘I’ve seen mental asylums saner than this dive. I can see you have a real handle on things here.’
‘Do you have an actual complaint you would wish to bring to my attention?’ questioned Abigail bleakly. ‘Or did you just come here to bitch?’
‘Is it just me, or do you and your little gang of nitwits enjoy getting everything purposefully wrong?’ cried out Barry. ‘I mean, what is wrong with you people? I mean, do you have any endeavours to do apart from live and die in this rotten restaurant? What do you wish to be when you’re older?’
‘A weather girl’ stated Abigail.
Barry threw his arms in the air. ‘What can I say to that? This place is filled with the most incompetent ignoramuses I have ever had the incredible misfortune to meet in my entire life!’
‘Well, you would know, wouldn’t you’ commented Abigail. ‘You know, a little bird told me you were an ass. I didn’t actually listen to her at the time, but don’t worry, I shot the little bugger before the news spread any further.’
‘I can’t take anymore of this utter rubbish’ grunted Barry as he began to leave the office.
‘It’s such a shame that you’re leaving us’ said Abigail, shaking her head with a laugh.
‘Yeah, I’m grief stricken too’ retorted Barry. ‘Especially since I won’t be able to see you go through puberty.’
‘Tell me Mr. Bardronsky, before you leave’ began Abigail. ‘You have quite a stomach on you, along with an appetite for been a total arsehole. Has anyone ever told you that you should work out?’
‘Work out?’ asked Barry with a snigger. ‘You see this?’ he laughed, bringing his hand up to his mouth. ‘I’m working out every time I bring the fork up to my mouth’ he said before leaving.
Abigail shook her head before sighing. ‘Idiot!’ she whispered.
‘I heard that!’ cried out Barry as he exited through the kitchens and back through the restaurant, grabbing his plush teddy bear before making his way to the exit. ‘Come on’ he grunted as he grabbed the teddy by the arm, the chair he had been seated in falling to one side with a loud clunk. ‘We’re leaving’ Barry hissed once more as he continued to head in the direction of the entrance.
Whatever the case, Barry was certain that by this time next week, the Overboard would be no more. His column in tomorrow’s paper would easily attest to that. It was true what they said – revenge was a dish best served cold.

the Town that Civilisation Forgot

SYNOPSIS: A young man makes his way out to a long forgotten town, and discovers that he should embrace life and love, rather than let all of it slip away.

 I don’t know what was going through my mind when it happened. I was walking the same route I always took towards the train station which would lead me to university. The bag was swung over my shoulders; my wallet was in my pocket. My dark hair was blowing into my eyes, the wind picking up speed as it always did around the shadowy corner I walked by. And there all of a sudden it was; a bright blue bus which pulled up beside me at its intended stop.
Now, I don’t know whether it was because I’d never seen it before, or because I knew I’d never get a chance to ride it again due to the death sentence hanging over my head, but I suddenly had the urge to deviate from my usual schedule.
Now, I’m not a man who normally takes risks, but all of a sudden, instead of walking on I decided that I would ride the bus. I didn’t care where at this point in time; I just knew I wanted to be sitting on one of the luxuriously furnished chairs positioned across the interior of the strapping vehicle before me.
After purchasing a fair from the driver I made my way down the centre of the bus and sat down on one of the farthest seats from the front, placing my bag atop of my chest and resting my head against the soft backing of the chair. My eyes began to droop and sleep came over me as I felt the bus beginning to pull back onto the road.

I don’t know how far I’d travelled, but by the time the bus driver woke me the surroundings outside of the bus had drastically changed since last I’d seen them. Instead of a city made up of metal and bone I found a country atmosphere greeting me from my window, not a single thing reminding me of home. I yawned before rising to my feet, hanging my bag over my shoulders as the driver said ‘end of the line.’
‘Where am I?’ I asked, staring outside the window, a radiant sun beating down onto the metal hull of the bus, while a light breeze carried leaves across a dirt road, small estates located across the dry terrain around me.
‘Townsville’ said the driver, nodding for me to exit.
‘Is there really such a place?’ I asked, scratching my head.
‘Must be son, ‘cause you sure as shit are in it’ chuckled the driver as I made my way off the bus, watching it disappear in a cloud of smoke and back up the dusty highway from whence it came.
I stumbled across the road before making my way across a small dusty trail which led to a rundown hotel with white paint peeling off from its exterior. I sighed before walking through the creaking door which swung upon loose hinges, a bell ringing above my head to signify my presence. A minute passed before a rather stocky woman made her way out from the back. She wore a dirty white apron over a blue and white striped shirt, her face appearing to be as run down as the hotel she resided over.
‘Ah’ I began, before proceeding on. ‘Forgive me for asking, but where exactly am I?’
‘A few miles away from civilisation’ said the woman in a croaky voice as she lit up a cigarette. ‘And that’s exactly the way we like it.’ She looked at me inquisitively before continuing. ‘You’re not from anywhere around here, are you?’
‘If I knew where here was that would be greatly appreciated’ I said.
‘I already told yer’ expressed the woman. ‘Imagine wherever you were before arriving here. This place, is a long way from that.’
I looked at my watch, noticing that one and a half hours had gone by since I had made my way onto the bus.
‘What, you gotta be somewhere?’ guffawed the woman, before extending out her hand. ‘Name’s Trudy Watson.’
‘Ryan Shields’ I said, taking her hand in mine.
‘Okay Ryan, perhaps you could start by telling me what yer doing here’ began Trudy, ‘then perhaps I could help you out.’
‘I honestly don’t know’ I said. ‘I just had this inkling to get onto the bus; and so I did. Suddenly, hey presto, I’m here.’ I sighed before going on. ‘Ah, perhaps it’s because I felt that I should not continue living the way I was used to and try something a little different, especially since I won’t be around for much longer.’
‘What are yer talking about?’ asked Trudy. ‘You’re a young man. Me, I’ve got cancer and you don’t see me doing anything that ain’t what I’m used to. So what could possibly be prohibiting you from living till the age I am now?’
‘My liver’ I said. ‘When I was younger I contracted Hepatitis A through food. That taught me not to eat at a restaurant, that’s for sure.’ I gave a weak chuckle before continuing. ‘Anyway, it damaged my liver and over time it has gradually become worse and now it’s inoperable. The only way to fix me up is to replace it entirely, but I’ve been warned that the risks are too great. I’m booked in to have the surgery in two weeks time. I did however sign a DNR.’
‘DNR?’ questioned Trudy.
‘Do not resuscitate form’ I said. ‘My lawyer looked over it and confirmed everything was in order. So if I flat line during the procedure, I stay that way’
‘Why would a young man such as yourself want to go kill yourself for?’ asked Trudy.
‘Everyday for as long as I can remember I’ve lived a life of regret’ I began. ‘I’ve only managed to accomplish half of what I wanted and I know that if I do survive the operation, nothing’s going to change. I’m not going to have a sudden epiphany and do everything I never would have. Including asking the girl I’m infatuated with to go out with me.’
‘Girl?’ asked Trudy. ‘Wow, if you’re willing to kill yourself to ensure you don’t have to talk to her she must be something special. What is her name?’
‘Cassandra’ I said, taking out my wallet and showing her the picture I carried around with me. It was a photo of me, Cassandra, and three others within one of my classes during a group exercise. Cassandra however stole the lime light. Her light brown hair shone brightly in the camera flash, which preserved her physical beauty forever in the image.
‘The ideology I live by however is; what’s the point of intimacy when you’re already dead inside?’ I stated, sighing to myself.
‘I think I know why you’re here’ said Trudy, handing me back the photo. ‘Everyone in this town is here for the exact same reason’ she said, taking off her apron and beginning to make her way out from behind the counter. ‘Follow me, I want to show you something’ she said, before beginning to lead me back out into the open.
We slowly walked along the dirt trail before stopping outside a small cottage a few metres down from the hotel. ‘Here lives Mr. Bristol. He arrived here about eleven years ago. He’s an athlete who never believed he was good enough to attend any of the major events, and when given the chance to compete believed he wouldn’t succeed, so instead, came out here.’
Trudy slowly began to continue up the trail before stopping outside a small metallic house on the opposite side of the track. ‘Here lives Mr. Sall. He’s an artist who never believed he could cut it. When his wife died of Leukemia her only wish was that he would allow others to see his paintings. He however failed her, as he did himself and retired here not twenty years ago.’
Once again Trudy began to make her way back up the trail as I slowly followed behind, the track becoming steeper as we stopped outside of a double storey residence which was constructed from pine. ‘Mrs. Smeath lives here. She used to sing in a church choir group. When a man she had always loved came up to her and asked her to accompany him with his band as they toured the country she agreed. On the day she was to meet him however she felt that he would not like her if he were to hear her sing once more and instead came out here. That was sixteen years ago.’
Trudy took a deep breath before slowly moving a little further up the trail to a house which had a jet black coat of paint draped across its exterior. ‘Mr. Turtletaub resides here. He was engaged to be married to an incredibly beautiful Turkish woman, but a few days before they were to be wed he left, believing their relationship would not last because he felt he was not going to be good enough for her. He arrived here eight months ago. Like everyone else here, he ain’t ever going to leave.’
Trudy sighed before making her way a little further up the trail, the wind billowing before us as we came to stop in front of a thinly crafted double storey residence made from a metallic substance. ‘Mrs. Valdreski lives here. She’s a woman with a Croatian background who fell madly in love with an Anglo Saxon woman. She however never confessed her feelings because she believed that she would be not only be rejected, but completely humiliated as well. On top of that, she thought a blending of different cultural backgrounds would not go down to well with either parities parents, and so instead came out here. You’d think that the hate people have for homosexuals would be yet another fear which corrupted her sensors, but no, it was not funnily enough. For fourteen years she’s been living in this house. You might recognise the woman she fell in love with. She’s now the leading woman behind a homosexual movement in Melbourne.’
Trudy smiled weakly before beginning to make her way up a little farther to a small house on what appeared to be the outskirts of the little town I’d discovered. ‘And here, the crème dela crème of all bad cases is where I live. I came up here twenty four years ago because I couldn’t face my family.  I’ve a daughter who I’ve lost touch with. She hates me, or so I believe and personally I feel that if I were to ever see her she would not even bother attempting to make conversation with me.’ She sighed before continuing. ‘I guess the point I’m trying to make here Ryan is that I don’t want to see another person wind up here. All of us are here for the exact same reason. None of us could ever face whatever it was we wished to accomplish with our lives. I only hope that you can go back to civilization and do for all of us what we couldn’t do for ourselves and live God damn it, live.’

I found myself back in university the next day, my class coming to an end as I began to leave in the same manner I always did, completely avoiding Cassandra on the way to the door. Before I could stop myself I had stopped in front of where she sat and had opened my mouth to speak. ‘Excuse me’ I began, Cassandra looking directly up at me, my heart skipping a couple of beats.
‘Yes?’ she asked. ‘You’re Ryan, right?’
‘Yeah’ I managed, surprised she even knew my name.
Cassandra smiled. ‘Is there something you wish to tell me?’
As for what I said, I doubt I have to write it down, for you know, just like Cassandra does now, exactly how I feel for her. She stood by me during my operation and now we’re engaged to be married this August. As for every other man out there who’s in the same position I once was I ask only one thing of each of you. Find the one thing that you need and hold onto her forever.