Olympic Proportions

My new antenna (1 of 1)

“So, Ol’ mate fetches a round from the beer-fridge and a stubby rolls out and smashes.”

“Where were you?” His pen clicked, poised above the clipboard

“With the rest of the blokes standin’ round the barbie, just shattered watchin’ that wasted beer spread across the cracked concrete.”

“Over a spilt beer?”

“It was tragic.”

“I see,” loosening his necktie. “Go on, please.”

“So, he’s cleaning it up, when a piece of glass stabbed straight through his rubber thong, makin’ him flap like an unsynchronised swimmer trying to get it out. That caused the caged lorikeet to squawk like an uncivilised-spectator in the final seconds of the rowing race. Which scared the chooks off the veranda and into the gum tree. That woke the possum up, causin’ him to fall from his perch and land on the satellite dish, clinging to the TV antenna like a banned Russian gymnast moonlighting as a pole dancer. But the pole broke, sendin’ the possum into the next tree. So then the antenna rolls off the roof, ripping out the power cables, where it all lands like a mislaid Rugby-scrum in front of this cheeky wallaby eatin’ the missus flowers. Made a mess of her flowers.”

“What did, the wallaby or the dish?”

“Um…” thumbing his Akubra’s rim.

“Where’s the satellite dish?”

“Well, somehow those cables hitched onto the wallaby, who broke the world record sprinting across the paddock and hurdled that barbed wire fence higher than any pole-vaulter.  Where the cables caught, launching that antenna like a javelin for its final swan dive into the dam as green as the divin’ pool in Rio. And that’s where the dish is now.”

“A possum caused all this damage?”

“Technically, it started from a wasted beer. Tragic it was. So, my insurance gonna cover that too?”

(300 words)

Author’s note:

For my overseas readers who may not understand some of the Aussie lingo used in the above:

Wallaby: a smaller cousin to the Kangaroo

Akubra: wide brimmed hat and an Australian icon.

Thongs: rubber soled footwear that’s not to be confused with the underwear.

Stubby: a beer bottle containing the same liquid volume as a beer can.

Blokes: a gathering of the male species that is known to cry over spilt beer.

Barbie: Is not a doll, but a barbecue,  that usually involves one bloke burning food while supervised by all other blokes in the area.

A round: known as a shout, and it’s when one bloke fetches a beer he automatically supplies a fresh cold beer for all the other blokes that are busy supervising the barbie. This is a must-do, no question’s asked, and part of the Blokes’ rules.

Possums: do sleep in trees, are nocturnal, and have a habit of falling out of trees in their sleep. They are not to be confused with the Drop-bears (*she giggles).

No animals were harmed during this episode. But, as for the beer, blokes, and the barbie…

 


Summer’s Unshackled Sands

mindil-instameet-sunset-1-1-of-1.jpg.jpeg

“…But as the sun simmers its summer spin…”

An excerpt from “Summer’s Unshackled Sands” I wrote for Silver Birch Press found here:

Summer’s Unshackled Sands, poem by Mel A Rowe (BEACH AND POOL MEMORIES Poetry and Prose Series)

Hope you’ll enjoy it.


A Toasted Benediction

 

 

Eggs benedict (1 of 1)Kate awoke with a gasp, as the pulse surged through veins, and wiped the perspiration beads from her forehead. Tried to swallow the dry lump as she blinked at the red numbers, trapped in that space between asleep and awake. “Only a nightmare,” and turned off her alarm clock that never had a chance to blurt its awakening curse. She tried to ignore the lower gut-gnawing sensation of panicked fear that shivered along her spine.

With her favourite, Eggs Benedict, Kate smiled serving her ‘fancified’ breakfast. Smoothed her son’s hair, who frowned, ducked, and not looking away from his game he shoved his plate of eggs aside to reach for the cereal. The daughter tipped the toppings to gnaw on a toasted muffin edge while tapping on her phone. The husband scanned the headlines on his tablet as his fork blindly stabbed at the plate.

“I had a nightmare,” Kate proclaimed to her family.

They ignored her.

 “I said…” clearing her throat, Kate sat at the table, reached across her daughter’s line of vision where her palm covered her son’s tablet, the other on her husband’s wrist. “I had a nightmare last night.”

They looked at her and blinked.

“I was in front of a gravesite where a priest was performing the last rites.”

“A premonition?” The daughter returned her glance to her phone. Father and son mirrored a half eye roll to each other and resumed to their vices.

“I think so. But I never saw the name and it scared me. So, I want you all to be extra careful today.”

“Whatever, mum.” The son rose from the table.

“I mean it.” Kate followed and hugged him, then watched the re-ruffle of hair her son spent ages perfecting the messy cool,  and spill workbooks from his backpack to the floor. “Those go in your room.”

“Later.”

She’d pick them up herself. They both knew it. “Be careful today.” Kate hugged her daughter who was too busy tapping on her phone’s screen. Then turned to her husband who was patting his jacket’s pockets for wallet and phone. “Careful driving.”

“Yep. Gotta go or we’ll be late.” He gave his wife a peck on the cheek and headed for the door juggling keys in hand.

“I love you all.” Kate watched them leave without a backward glance, not even a goodbye. “Be safe.” The words echoed with the slam of the front door that was soon swallowed by the pressing silence of an empty house.

She cleared away the breakfast table, flicked on the tap to fill the sink. Turned to wipe the bench. Lifted the toaster to wipe away the breadcrumbs. When her footing slipped on her son’s glossy covered workbooks. She gripped the sink as the toaster fell into the soapy water. The lights flickered in the house and the smell of burnt hair and an acrid electrical smoke permeated the air.

Everything fell silent, including Kate, dead before her body crumbled to the floor.


A Knight’s Birth

wintered tree 2 (1 of 1)

They fed

off others’ fear

polluting the atmosphere

like a sideshow of mirrored shrieks

unleashing their own wintered Dorian freaks.

Until, a battle-worn body

with a mind

once confined

to the catalogues of chaos,

found his newly lost identity

amidst an ancient assassin’s ancestry.

Where once,

slave sold

by blue-blooded gold,

reborn of the hunted he preyed

for the revenge he carried against all those betrayed.


The Halls of Parliament

Parliament House 1 (1 of 1)

Main foyer, Parliament House, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia. (Last night)

“I’ve got no balls.”

“But, I’m stripped bare.”

“It’s okay, I’ve got a dildo-bird which makes me happy.”

“Oooh, I’ve got a double headed dildo-bird in my collection, my boyfriend got it.”

“But, my egg’s incubating -”

When the security guard reefed opened the door. “Parliament’s halls are not the place for – what the?”

Three women looked up from their handheld phone screens, blinking. “Are the speeches finished?”

The guard frowned. “We’re closed.”

“Wow, this Pokemon game is addictive.”

“Goodnight, Ladies.” The guard stepped back pointing to the exit, shaking his head at the women in cocktail gowns, as click-clacking heels echoed across the deserted marble foyer.

“Wonder if they have any Pokemon politicians?”

“For breaking promises or the game’s eggs?”

“Hey, let’s go toss a lure in the bar across the road and see what we catch?” And with phones in hand, the game led them astray.

(150 words)

 

To the ‘Pokemon Princesses’, you know who you are, I said I would… And I did. (*Exits, giggling.)

 


Spyglass Spy

Spyglass sighted (1 of 1)

Like balancing on a tripwire,

floating in the blue space beyond a broken bridge,

he searched for his silent movie sanctuary.

On  the pier, he watched for days

via stilled spyglass sights,

his solo soul stared

at their shared,

star scattered

pewter skies

to spy his

one true

destiny

– Her.


Hands In Mouth

Clown case 1 (1 of 1)

 “I’m not touching that.”

“Why not.”

“Don’t know where it’s been.”

“It’s harmless. Come on,” holding out the ball. “You’ll win a prize.”

“Which’ll break before the nights out.”

“Just see if you can beat the machine?”

Fingertips clasp the plastic ball, poised for the perfect moment. Fingers release, passing smooth gums of an open, dark, toothless mouth. The ball rolls down the throat spilling from the open chest cavity, as the vacant painted face swivels in a procession line of stiff necks.

“Ow.” Shaking her fingers. “Something scratched me.”

“Sorry, you lose.”

As teeth recede into open reddened gums.


The Nature Show

My thongs sink slightly towards the gravelly edge of a red muddy beach, where the bitumen road disappears under the floodplain giving life to this one red-dust riddled land. The water mirrors the e…

Source: The Nature Show


Four Wheels Of Reason

We’re saved.” Rick waved his arms at the vehicle weaving along the dirt track.  His three companions rose from their gum tree shaded campsite, also waving with vigour.

Amidst a whirl of red dust the Ute stopped. The driver thumbed the rim on his sweat brimmed Akubra, examining the grime riddled, young couples. “Ya bogged?”

Rick patted the Ute’s bonnet that carried their rustic knight. “We’ve been stuck here for four days,” pointing to their stranded wagon.

The driver’s door creaked as the engine idled and as he inspected their car as his rubber thongs made miniature dust clouds beneath each step. “Four days, huh? D’ya radio anyone?”

“Wish we did,” said Rick.

“Don’t see no recovery gear. No winch. No shovel.”

Four heads shook.

“D’ya tell anyone where ya goin’?”

Rick shrugged. “Our social media followers knew.”

“Followers?” The driver scanned the red track slicing through a harsh sun-faded green scrub against an undisturbed skyline. “Why d’ya want media out here for? When reporters are nothin’ but a mob of corruption chasin’ conspirators -”

“Social media.”

“That face-bird thing?”

The quartet giggled. “We contact them through our smartphones,” said the young woman raising her phone.

The driver tilted his head, cocking an eyebrow. “Why didn’t you use ‘em smartphone’s to fetch help?”

“There’s no reception.”

“That’s why we have radios out ‘ere.”

“Do you have Wifi?”

“Me, no. It’s in town. Just look for them tourists sittin’ round this white pole in the pub’s carpark, staring at their hands like they’re prayin’ to some rod-god.”

“May I take a selfie with you?” She smiled, white teeth a contrast against sunburnt skin.

“What for,” screwing up his bronzed nose.

“You’re our hero,” readying for the shot.

“Nah mate, I’m just a bloke on the way to the pub, where ya can explain all while shoutin’ me a beer,” and checked inside their car.

“When we find civilisation I’m having the biggest beer,” Rick said to his three friends.

“I want a shower.”

“I want a pizza and –”

“Hey, we could be famous,” said Rick. “Survivors of the Outback.”

“We’ll sell it to the media.” Her camera phone videoing their rescue as the others followed suit.

When their engine roared into life and clunked into gear. “What the -”

“What,” the four asked in unison, as smiles sagged?

“D’ya know what ‘four wheel drive’ means?”

“Yes. We hired it for off-roading,” said Rick. The other three nodded, their phones still recording.

“But ya need to engage the four wheel drive to make all the tyres move.” He drove the car forwards with ease and parked it up, walked to his own Ute, its closing door creaked as he smirked at the foursome with lowered heads and phones. “Yep, you’d wanna tell ya mate’s all about your adventure. I’ll be at the pub – it’s just over that hill. Surprised ya can’t smell the beer from ‘ere,” and his laugh echoed in the midst of a red dust swirl.

Random Authors Note:

The above is based on a true story, and you’d be surprised how common this is. So common in fact that if I had a carton of beer for every time I aided a stranded tourist – I’d own a pub!

So here’s a few ‘simple’ tips should you wish to indulge in the amazing addictive wonderment of a 4 wd adventure in the Outback :

Research : read/ view all you can on 4WD for tips and tricks and Outback conditions. It’s not rocket science and there’s no race to get anywhere and the more you drive the better you are. I’m lucky to be under a life long apprenticeship from many a wise local, but for those who don’t have access to this sort of a gold-mine,  I recommend these guys : 4wdaction.com.au

Equipment: make sure you have a mechanically sound 4WD vehicle with the added basics like a radio, maps (because paper never runs out of range), water, ropes, chains, spare wheels, tarps, and a shovel. Of course, you can purchase much more in fancy winches and other endless gadgets that could be worth a house mortgage too. But I’d recommend an EPIRB for long trips that you can hire – that’s how a group of tourists in the same situation above were rescued only last month.

Most Importantly – “TELL SOMEONE”  Best places are the National Park Rangers or the Police where you register your travel times. You can also do this at local Roadhouses and Pubs where the ol‘ mates are more than happy to share advice on what tracks are best to travel in their backyards.

Okay, rant over, I’m going for a drive.

Thanks for reading.

(Oh, and snapshots are mine.)


It came in the mail

By John Stokes:

“Tommyyyyyyy,” hollered the housekeeper from the front door.

“Stop ya bellowin’,” his boots echoed on the wooden floorboards. “What, woman?”

“This came in the mail, got proper paperwork ‘n everythin’.” She passed the envelope and pointed outside.

Tommy opened the packet, his eyes darted across the pages, then flicked to the open doorway. His frown deepened as his jaw locked tight.

“What’s it say?”

He cleared his throat, licked his lips, and stepped forwards, mumbling, “It’s time to stop being the villain of this tale.”

“What does that mean?”

“What do you have to say for yourself, boy?”

“Hello, father.”

 

 

(image by John Stokes, courtesy of Pinterest)


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