Interrupter on the wireless

“And then lunch, and your winter desserts. Hot custard over steamed puddings. Home-baked. You never used much sugar. Bad for the teeth. And then Mummy’s comments. She always had something to say. ‘It could use a little more sugar, this dessert,’ and you’d tell her that maybe she could make dessert the next time. And that look again, across the table. Not in front of the boy.” My short story Interrupter has been dramatised for broadcast on Cover To Cover on Vision Australia Radio on Friday 6 April, repeated Sunday 8 April. The program can be heard on the radio … Continue reading Interrupter on the wireless

Playful Arrangements | from Roomers #59

He’s up with the birds, usually. Before them, even. Reeling at the shock of cold water splashes on pasty skin. This is always where the day starts: staring out into the sky, into the depths of dark yard silence. Waiting for light to peel over the edges. In this way, he considers the things done the day before, and how these activities might easily become those for the day ahead. He could visit once again the strangers who live by the bridge. He could stare along the river’s reach, towards the lumbering shipyards, and at the fishermen dotting the rocks. … Continue reading Playful Arrangements | from Roomers #59

TONGUE | from Roomers #62

1978, a birthday party. One of those once in a blue moon family dos where a local hall gets hired, there’s catering, a DJ. The adults end up drunk and misty. Someone overdoes it, creates a spectacle. There’s a fight. No blood’s spilled, but there’s harsh words, someone gets upset, there’s tears and the gin gets blamed. And so on. That kind of a night. I spent most of it watching Tommy and trying to pretend otherwise. I’d always thought of me and him as the same age, nearly, but since the last time he’d become old enough to drink … Continue reading TONGUE | from Roomers #62

Front of the house

Look at him working. The way he smiles at every customer. He’s impeccable. But when he goes to his room at the back, at the side of the kitchen, the smile is gone. He sips clear liquor from a teacup, swears under his breath, and watches everything through the small glass in the door. When he sees a new customer, he’s out to greet them, bounding over, showing them to a table. Then as he bows slightly, moving away, he nods to a waiter to bring menus, water. He returns to his room, sits down, stares through the glass, sips … Continue reading Front of the house