Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cup cakes

They were oval, but needed to be round. Although he had placed all the ingredients carefully into the mixer and stirred them slowly while smiling triumphantly at their wonder, they had still come out of the oven oval. The man walked tense over to the cookbook that lay open at the dinner table, and noticed another book that was standing a few millimetres out of the perfect line on his bookshelf. He was irritated now, at having to deal with that rebellious book, and placed it gently into the large trash can standing next to his bookshelf, allowing it to join Foucault, Nietzsche and Aristotle. They had been rebellious too. He moved to the dinner table and read the instructive words again: "Place dough into cups and cook for eight minutes in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius". He had done that, and had even put two timers in the kitchen at exactly eight minutes and zero seconds to be sure that the cakes would come out round. But they were oval. The man opened a trash can standing next to his oven and emptied the tray of cup cakes into it. He then cleaned the mixer and began reading the cooking instructions on his dinner table once again.

Flash fiction

He was walking down the street and his jacket was red. Rain was coming down from a darkened autumn sky and blended the traffic light colours together so that it looked like my painting palette from home. I was drinking a cup of peppermint tea in a coffee shop far from him. When he began crossing the street, the light was steady - red man walking - and the angry cabdriver was texting on his phone. He did not see the red lights, or the red man. All was white and black, and my peppermint tea was standing cold on Murray street mall. For him it was dark, but for a blur of rain and red.

The Dreamers

I was standing bent down in a stationary store when it began. It was fall and tumbling, colourful leaves outside made me think back to an idyllic childhood of long ago. Turning the aisle in front of me was a beautiful boy who looked like my brother of six back home. A man called out in the manner of the famous "troll in the dungeon" cry from Harry Potter, but there was nothing humorous to his voice. As the siren began wailing the deep voice echoed through the room "Start hurting the children!" and I lined up behind the six-year-old. There was a feeling in the air of violence and destruction, and although our instructions were hardly evident, we all knew it was north against south. As he and I ran down the blocked, concrete stairs I caught a glimpse of a woman standing on the sidewalk below. She looked terrified and was shaking in the rain as if she knew was was going on and could not stop it. I understood in my own mind that she was one of those lucky ones who would shortly be picked up by a black and un-identified Mercedes to watch the ensuing spectacle of horrible, implemented anarchy from afar. The main exit out of the complex was closed by blood thirst and dead bodies, reminding me of images from the Sierra Leonean civil war of the 1990's. I still didn't know the boy's name, but a kind voice inside me yelled out the responsibility I now had for him. As we crossed the parking lot, two reporters passed us, wearing colourful clothing, calm smiles and accompanied by quiet bird chatter in spring. In their hands was a red recording device and as we passed them I could overhear their documentation of the boy's footwear: "In spite of popular opinion about the extinction of Allstar Converse shoes in Canada, I just passed a first-grader wearing a green pair." As I though about the bizarre statement, I could see the odd pair turning a corner that seemed closed to the rest of us, before they were gone. The boy and I were standing beneath a concrete ceiling, few metres from an open, clear exit when I heard a hysteric voice behind us and turned to face a gun. "North side, right?" said the panicked man with an absurd smile, while pointing the gun steadily at me. As it began moving towards the boy, I grabbed hold of it and waited for what I knew would come. There was only silence. Mere seconds later I could see half of my index finger's longitudinal side blown off and as I felt nothing but fear, a woman behind me released three fatal shots into the man's head.

When I woke up, rain was pouring down on my metal roof and my heart was beating at an uncomfortably high speed. Through the wet sheets of the night, black men were moving at a quick pace and I felt like collecting markers in a stationary store once again.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Late night grooves

It's always around twelve o'clock the rush starts up again. After the smooth, gorgeous main act has long ago packed up and the musos from waapa have started their set-up for the late night groove sessions. It kicks off at the Ellington jazz club around midnight and the till by which I'm sitting starts chiming and clinging again. I've been working in late night hospitality for nearly six months now; some nights have been rougher than the next, others fantastic. What keeps us all going though, inevitably, is the continuous flow of Perth customers, dressed up in their swag and high heeled shoes, determined for yet another night on the town. And in the wee hours of a Saturday or Sunday morning, doing woodwork in some obscure corner or carrying wine and glasses to the bar, I haven't been able to help but wonder: what keeps 'em coming back? I can understand the rare I-got-absolutely-smashed-and-can't-remember-a-thing-phenomenon or even the odd hangover that drags your body through a blue Sunday. Even a regular meet with good friends for a few pints and a laugh can appeal to me. But what strikes me as an absolute myth is the desire for a non-stop, repetitive and never-ending high-heeled, short dress, heavy make-up, unlimited tequila shots, uncountable pick-up lines extravaganza that doesn't just happen once every so often or even every month. It strikes me as insane when it happens all the time. Like EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK. I cannot for the life of me begin to comprehend the absolute madness that so many in their twenties, thirties, forties, fifties and even sixties feel ticking into their biological party clock come Friday that drives them to once again go through the fun times followed by the excruciating ones. But I suppose I should be happy; these are the insane ones that keep my paycheck coming on the regular.