Floyd Collins sat on the hood of his Dodge putting on his walking shoes. The “hood” – a much more appropriate name to describe the flap that opens up to the engine than what the English would refer to as the “bonnet”, which is what you put on the head of a one year old English girl who’ll grow up to marry a gentleman of the aristocracy.
One wet, cold September night some years ago now, a boy was born. It was late, his father, a veterinary surgeon, was out tending to another birth, a cow, in a time when it was hardly expected that a father would be in attendance for the birth of his child, he would be much more likely to be asleep, or having drinks with friends, than with his wife about to give birth.
Patrick Allen bent down, the brown paper bag lay on the ground in full view. He picked it up and he looked inside. It was money, a lot of money, crisp new notes. Someone’s betting money Patrick thought. Maybe it’s ill gotten gains, he had no way of knowing, it was a racetrack after all and gains were there to be had, both ill gotten and legitimate.
Webber and King were walking towards the one cafe on the main road of Grey’s River, it offered what appeared to be the best chance of a decent breakfast.
Lulu sat on the edge of her bed and contemplated it, before she started slashing. And so the violence began, controlled violence though it was, down the arms, across the chest, down the back of legs; none of it designed to inflict real damage but enough to draw attention to the inalienable fact that Lulu wanted someone to listen to her.
What was meant to be an evening of conviviality amongst friends and acquaintances amidst the deep furnishings, large squashy cushions, paintings and dark woollen wall hangings from Turkey in the living room lined by book shelves containing manuscripts and novels, texts and biographies of those who pleaded to have their stories told…
The road from Hamilton to Melbourne has nothing to recommend it. Most of the time it’s the heat. It seeps and the wind, dry, ruins thoughts. It glints out over horizons, like a youngster peering through his neighbour’s window, but with sinister intent, to prize open pores and exhaust prior options. Grass screams for rain, earth begs for seed and the eucalypts and iron barks tilt against the wind and against the flattened nothingness of the land that they fete, to renounce former allegiances to protect the earth, that has, to this point, given them life. It’s where the omega light of morning stalks the unsuspecting like the jesting fiddler, playing tricks with his audience.
My mother played Liszt. Not the transposed for modern players Liszt but the original bastard’s manuscripts that he didn’t want women to play, or anyone else for that matter, so betoken was he to his own musical genius.
Am I happy? It doesn’t matter, it’s not relevant, I accept my fate. Thoreau was right, the mass of men really do lead lives of quiet desperation