The Three Treasures

(Best Australian Stories, 2015)

Some things happen without any warning or deliberation. Wu Wei. Action without action. 

Jase finds me up in the corner of the west paddock, re-stringing a section of fence. I watch him stalking his way up the line, his shaggy mop of hair like an African marigold just past its heyday.

‘George Carlyle,’ he greets me, grinning. ‘You guys are hard to find.’ 

He watches me remove the elbow-length leather gloves and push my sunglasses up. In spite of these tokens of protection, I’ve just given myself a long, complicated scratch on my shin from the violent scrolling of barbed wire back into its inert coil, the shape it apparently wants to hold forever. That’s an interesting thought, and if my schoolmate hadn’t just shown up, I would probably have sat down and dwelt on it at length. [continue reading]

Nothing to Fear

(Best Australian Stories, 2007)

When I catch up to the others and bounce through the wave at the bottom of the rapid, the pool is already jostling with kayaks, giant plastic jellybeans.  My own is black and I have never liked it.  Andy chose it not long after we started going out, for its sturdy lines and boxy shape; but to me it looks like a coffin.  There is even a white cross emblazoned on the front deck, a Japanese symbol meaning something or other.  It is late afternoon and Andy is already at the bottom of the next rapid, running safety.  This means he is standing on a rock beside the river with a throwbag in his hand, waiting to toss a line to anyone who may need hauling out of the river… [continue reading]

Pseudechis Australis

(The Big Issue, 2015)

In the night I dream of Cat. Her shapely white hands snaking their way down my chest, her body sliding head-first down mine to lie hot and sinuous over my groin in a way that is at first exquisite, then heavy, then uncomfortable. On the blurred cusp between sleep and waking I know she is still there, and that she needs to go, quickly. 

She is still there. She must be. There is a heavy, hot-water bottle weight on my stomach that is neither a full bladder nor the world’s biggest morning glory. [continue reading]