A short story: “Busted”

Since Catty was kind enough to ask,. I can actually write “By popular request’. This is the shortest of four pieces that will be published in our anthology,  due out this winter:

Busted

Morgana MacLeod

And they pay for this, the tattooist gloated, as a luscious young miss slunk onto his chair. Out loud he told her ‘I’ll just lay the back down all the way, then I’ll get ya to roll over.’

Sharla giggled as she complied. Such a nice old man, not scary at all – he reminds me of Pops.

‘I’ll need you to pull your jeans down a bit.’ Saliva surged and he swallowed hard as she wriggled out of the skin-tight denim. ‘Nah, love, I have to be able to get at the base of your spine. You might have to unzip a bit.’ He didn’t miss a shimmy as she stripped. D’ya need a hand with that?

Sharla lay, face turned to the side as the tattooist swabbed down her back. She giggled again with the trickle of cool antiseptic. ‘It tickles!’

You like that, don’t you? I’ll show you tickles. Aloud, he confirmed, ‘So you want a lotus, here, over the sacrum…’ he traced the outline of the design with a finger stuttering stickily on the taut curves of her buttocks ‘… with the top petals morphing into blue flames, and an om sign in the smoke.’

‘Uh huh.’ she replied, saving most of her attention for dreamy mooning. Matt’s gonna be stoked when he sees this. We’re so in love. I just know he’s the one. Sharla was lost in a rose petal fantasy so seductive she hardly noticed the needle as it penetrated her tender flesh.

Just under two hours later she was standing, torqued around to admire her new ink in the mirror. The tattooist was willing her unzipped jeans to slink just a bit lower so he could confirm his theory that she was a Brazilian girl.

‘Awesome. Perfect.’ Sharla smiled. The tattooist managed to keep his hands from shaking as he smeared Vaseline and applied a sterile dressing.

‘Any problems and you come straight back, okay? Anytime.’ He flashed a smile. If you came back, babe, it wouldn’t be any problem at all. His eyes clung to her curves as she bounced out the door.

Ten days later and less than ten kilometres north, at a private property in swanky Marcus Beach, Matt’s eighteenth was going off.  Under a rented marquee the dance floor was packed with sweaty, writhing bodies in stages of intoxication ranging from merry to maggotted. Tiki torches flared, adding the tang of kerosene to the miasma of spilt beer and cheap perfume. Three couples had already hooked up – one pair, regrettably, in the garage on the bonnet of Matt’s Dad’s E-type jag, leaving a trail of bum and hand prints, slimed secretions and a pre-loved condom hanging from the aerial. More than a month’s salary worth of landscaping had fallen victim to volcanic regurgitation and trampling feet. The neighbours on either side were less than half an hour away from calling the cops.

‘Epic!’ Tallis approved.

‘Yeah, mate, yeah. I’m amped.’ Matt replied. He was teetering on the sobriety tightrope – at the moment his prodigious intake of pre-mixed rum and cokes was nicely balanced by the lines of speed he’d kicked off with, but one more bucket bong and he’d be hammered.

‘Have you seen the girls?’ Matt reckoned he could go a bit of e-type jaguar style action himself.

‘No, man. Wanna nuther bucko?’ Tallis had fallen off the highwire and was floundering in the safety net. Matt left him to it and plunged back into the tent.

At the same time, a girl was looking for Matt. Chemically augmented only by the caffeine-based diet pills she’d swallowed by way of dinner, her mind was clear. If she had a sound-track it would be an ominous accelerating heartbeat of base notes, theme from Jaws style. Single-minded as a hungry white-pointer, she cut through the crowds, circling with intent. Tonight. She repeated her mantra. It’s gotta be tonight.

In the crowd near the DJ, Matt was ambushed. He nearly lost his eye to an acrylic nail as slim fingers blindfolded him from behind.

‘Guess who?’ Sharla giggled.

Geez, I hate it when she does that. Matt got over his irritation by the time he swung her around in front of him. ‘Hey, babe. Lookin’ good.’

‘I’ve got a surprise for you, Mattie.’

Matt was buggered if he knew where. Her spangled mini-dress left little to the imagination and no room for cargo. ‘Well then, give.’

Sharla giggled again – it was her default setting. ‘Not here, silly. In private.’

Matt had no problem with that; privacy would promote his agenda. He grabbed Sharla’s hand and they headed into the house.

Outside, Tallis was slumped in a lounger next to the pool. His half-mast eyes vaguely tracked the swinging of a screaming exchange-student girl. She wouldn’t want to be from a land-locked country, not that Tallis was in any state to care whether or not she could swim. Not his problem, either or.

‘Hey, Tal.’

Tallis didn’t respond.

‘Tallis! Hey, Tal.’ A local chick bent over him, blocking his view.

‘Yeah?’

‘You seen Matt?’ She shuffled her slight weight between high-heeled sandals while he thought about it.

‘Inside.’

She hurried away, which suited Tallis just fine. The dunked girl’s skirt clung to her in all the right places, riding high over her g-string as she clambered out, over the edge.

Inside the house in his upstairs suite, Matt lay on his bed, eyes closed.

‘Okay, you can open them now.’ Sharla stood in front of him, naked, facing away to show off her new tattoo. ‘Look, Mattie, it’s just like on your surfboard. Do you like it?’

Matt went cold all over, but soon defrosted when he contemplated Sharla’s perfect legs and what lay at their juncture. ‘Yeah, babe. It’s da bomb. Now get over here.’ He unzipped and shucked his jeans, indicated his burgeoning enthusiasm. ‘Surf’s up.Wanna ride?’

Sharla giggled and climbed on board.

Matt closed his eyes again to concentrate, straining towards his climax. Getting off was fine but he had to get back to his party. Bros before hos, man, every time. He flipped her over and around, searching for the sweet spot. After a medley of positions, Sharla was back on top.

‘Oh yeah, that feels so good. Give it to me, Mattie, oh yeah.’ She forced out a counterfeit groan.

Sharla’s lines were getting a bit stale. Matt would have to get her to watch more porn. ‘Yeah, babe. You like that?’ He grunted and strained. Just as he was about to cross the finishing line his bedroom door swung open.

‘Matt? Mattie?’ the intruder squealed as light from the hallway slanted across the bed. ‘Oh my God, Mattie?’

Sharla gave a squeal of her own, authentic this time. She dived for cover under the crumpled sheet at the foot of the bed.

Matt lay where he was, shrivelled but not spent. ‘Brooke, babe, it’s not what you think.’

‘Matt…’ Brooke paused as she yanked down her top to expose her left breast. A crisp new tattoo of a lotus wrapped around the small swell of her tit, just over her heart. It was complete in every detail, om sign and all. ‘What is that bitch doing with my tattoo?’

~~~

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56 Responses

  1. This is gorgeous, and going by The Brat’s friends, you could have added “RIPPED FROM THE HEADLINES”.

    Loved it!

  2. Aw shucks, Mayhem, glad you liked it – thank you!

    Actually, it’s based on my own (distant) misspent youth… funny to think that each generation mucks up in similar ways to those that staggered (and spewed) before them.

  3. Switch the sound off for this one. The original apparently gets blocked from Youtube, the bastards.

    did you ever see the skit from Saturday night live on ‘Turlington’s Lower Back Tattoo Remover?’

    The slimy doctor voiceover is just hilarious.
    Starts off with the doctor talking about Mispent Youth and the things leftover from that wild vacation in Majorca and there’s the rueful respectable young mum putting her kids on the school bus – camera rolls to the tramp stamp on her butt that says ‘Pretty Lady’ and shows what that will turn into as gravity affects one’s skin tone over the next forty years. The letters sag into ‘Pretty Lame’.

    Its hilarious.
    When she applies the Turlington’s Lower Back Tattoo Remover he says ‘it may sting a little’ and you see her yelling ‘M*ther F*CKER!”

    Hilarious.
    I gave it to Abe when his missus got a tattoo a year or so ago. I suspect he still hasn’t forgiven me…heh heh…

  4. if you search SNL and ‘tattoo remover’ you might come up with the original. It FKD up when I tried to play it and I’m too tired after class today to stuff around installing flash player and then discover too late I’ve got digital herpes and a trough full of Spam.

    So, where’s your tattoo, missy?

  5. I’ll try and track it down, Quokka – even just the description cracks me up!

    Mine wraps around my ankle, and is a Celtic cross with band. I got it in memory of my Grandma, because we don’t have any tangible memorial for her, even 17 yrs after her death. Her cremains are still sitting in a plastic box while we agree where and how she should rest in peace.

    Funny, until I wrote that para I was under the delusion that we were quite functional…

    Speaking of tiredness and classes, how are the carpal tunnels treating you?

  6. I have cut back on vacuuming and had a lot of acupuncture.
    All the symptoms in the right wrist stopped and then they started in the left hand. Then I discovered I was sleeping with my left hand pinned under the cat and against the wall, made adjustments (bought bigger bed for fluffy fatso cat) and that stopped that.
    All good for now.

    I’m putting off the surgery till winter when I will have asthma and be FKN miserable anyway (winter in Brisbane does not agree with my lungs) and they can slice me up then.

    Was also putting it off because Big Evil Developers that employ my spouse were threatening to make him redundant but not coming up with the goods…just encouraging him to move on…and, er, money, you know. 4 grand in private hospital as opposed to public health butcher.

    The vultures came up with the goods today and finally gave him a redundancy package.
    Yeehah.
    So tonite after I pick up him and his cardboard box full of chewed up drawing pencils…about all that he has in his drawer – we celebrate with takeway from the Tibetan Cafe in West End.

    All good.

  7. You must be weeping blood about the reduction in vaccing. Poor Quokka! 😉

    May as well put cold steel to flesh when you’re sick as a dog and gloomy with seasonal affective disorder anyway, I suppose. Cats can take up a disproportionate amount of bed-space – so does Elf Boy, who likes to sleep sideways, thereby taking up 2/3 of my Queen size with his tiny 20kg body.

    Congratulate the Bloke on his escape from the clutches of the Evil Developers. Maybe he’ll find something with the Warm Fuzzy Developers… or win Lotto. Odds of the later probably better than there BEING any WF Developers, when you think about it.

    I’ve often driven past the Tibetan on my way to Kim Thanh – it’s good, is it?

  8. Ooh yes, it is indeed good.
    Just gobbled up leftovers for lunch.
    I wonder if they have the menu online? Most places do these days.

    We started off hooked on the Himalayan over at New Farm but can’t be arsed crossing the story bridge to eat, these days.

    The Bloke has something in his sights, or I should say, someone else has him in their sights.
    Unlike me he’s very employable.
    I just make sure he stays healthy and up to the task of keeping me and the cats in chocolate and kitty litter.
    Its exhausting, but someone has to do it.

  9. It’s funny, there’s always been a culinary and cultural track between New Farm and West End. I spent a good decade of my misspent youth, misspending it in New Farm, and we’d often do the Story Bridge trek to visit King Ahraim, Kim Thanh or the Bohemian Cafe (R.I.P). That, and visit the book shops.

    The traffic is not funny anymore, though. Maybe Council should bring in commuter zeppelins… or the techno revolution we’ve been promised should actually kick in and people could work from home.

    Good on you, Bloke. Chocolate, kitty litter and internet access, don’t forget – funny, they kind of sit together well, although they shouldn’t…

  10. Gosh, I dunno.
    If I had a rocket launcher and permission to take out all the lexus 4WD’s you see in my suburb and in New Farm, that problem would be solved.

  11. Lexus MAKE a 4WD? That is a problem in itself, isn’t it.

    You have my permission – and surely Havsy or Bangar can facilitate the ordinance.

    Think of it as Citizen-lead Traffic Cleansing. Hmm, who wants to field a Lord Mayoral team for the next election? I’ll back Quokka for LM

  12. We live within a skip and a jump of a rather expensive private girls school.
    My project to purge the world of Lexus, Porche, and BMW 4WDs would decimate the fee paying parent population.
    None of whom will allow their Precious Darlings to catch the train, bus or city cat, which are all right FKN beside the GD school.

    Is there something really wrong with humanity or did I just wake up today more inclined to notice it?
    We went off to local pool to do our laps. There’s an allocated kids area and 5 lanes fenced off for lap swimmers…all full of lap swimmers.

    Mummy Senior (one of those late bloomers who’s dementing even as she breastfeeds) observed that Little Jimmy needed to do a wee. So she rushed Little Jimmy over from the kiddie’s section – no, not into the nearby toilets or onto the even nearer grass, with shrubbery… but over to Lane 1 where she pulled down his Aqua Nappy and instructed Little Jimmy to piss all over the heads of people engaged in lap swimming (that would be me, my spouse, and an obnoxious German whose head even I was tempted to piss on (or worse) at several points). Once the crisis was past she took off Little Jimmy’s grass flecked shoes, washed them in the pool – again, 3 inches from my face – and beamed brightly at me.

    I’ve noticed the Shoe Washing Habits of some pool visitors and I’ve been sorely tempted to ask them if they were brought up in a brothel.

    Is it me, or is this sub species EVERYWHERE these days?

  13. Okay, I’m assuming that it works like our local pool, and the kiddies play area is separated only from the lap swimmers by lane markers. So the urine ended up in the water, anyway, but she chose to direct it straight onto your labouring heads, rather than let it drift over in diluted form from the other side of the pool.

    I wish I could say “unbelievable”, but unfortunately these things happen.

    I was at our pool a few years ago, with my 2 – one just swimming independently, one a confident but under-skilled toddler. I also had responsibility for my friend’s 2 kids, as she is an MS sufferer. Needless to say I had my hands full. Then, out of the blue a woman who had been adjusting her bikini, way over on the grassed area, rushed over to berate me at length, in strident tones and fruity language. She accused me of failing to rescue her son. I had noticed him flailing around a bit, but wasn’t going to touch him unless he went still or blue. Silly me, I assumed a child swimming without a parent or other supervisor knew what he was doing.

    The more I see of people, the fonder I am of my shower mould.

  14. I wonder if that was the same woman who does squad at one of the pools I frequent, and who used to cage her two children in one of those wooden playpens. She set the pen up in full sunlight on a 32C morning and jumped into the pool, late, to join her bimbo squad mates.
    Being as I swam there every day, was on a ‘smile and say hello’ chatting basis to her, I looked at her training hard, considered saying ‘Your children are melting, would you like me to move them?’ but given that she’s not someone to stop for air in or out of the water, I didn’t like my chances of catching her eye.

    Unable to do so, I walked over the kids, who also knew me as a regular, said ‘Are you guys OK or are you hot?’
    They looked too scared to talk to me so I said ‘You look hot. Would you like me to move your cage back a few metres into the shade?’
    Nods and yes please.

    So I shuffled the cage and the contents backwards into the shade.

    Mother observed what I was doing, glared at me, got out of pool, gave her kids a good blast, and shifted the cage back into the sunlight. And then glared at me like I should be jailed for paedophilia.

    I was on my way out so I spoke to the life guard, pointed out that in ten minutes she’d either need treat the kids for heat stroke and possibly call an ambulance, and suggested that she might want to tell Crazy Bitch to move her kids.

    Which she did.
    Crazy bitch hasn’t spoken to me since and nor have any of her Crazy Bitch Squad Friends.

    I was tempted to show her my Blue Card but I figured she was nuts enough to write to them with some manufactured tale of woe (I’m not paranoid, I have relatives who do this) so I just ignore her now.

    However I’ve noticed that she no longer brings the cage or the children to squad so I’m thinking if Child Services hasn’t removed them, then they’re much safer at home locked under the stairs.

  15. Yep, sounds like the one. She’s probably leaving them locked in the back of the car… or free-ranging around the casino?

    I know I’m getting old and cranky – I don’t like much of this modern music, for example – but I keep thinking:
    “You need a license to breed oriental cats or Vietnamese miniature potbellied pigs, why are humans still allowed to procreate willy-nilly?”

    There seems to be an anti-Darwinian law of inverse proportions, whereby those least capable of producing and raising viable offspring reproduce the most freely.

  16. Yes, this last day or so I have been musing that there’s a few people in my surrounds (cyberspace bullies most particularly) that would benefit from DIY castration with a rusty set of pinking shears.

    Am going by that tried and trusted rule of ‘do not engage, and do not feed the trolls.’
    Seen Greybeard’s latest post?

    Says it all, really.

  17. For all those too young, drug addled or craft deprived to remember pinking shears.

  18. The “Natural History of the Mailing List” post?

    Hmmm. But surely he’s not talking about US? OMG, that was “smugly complacent” of me, wasn’t it… so maybe it IS true?

    Nil illegitimi carborundum, Quokka. Not while there’s still bacon and chocolate in the world.

  19. At some point in my travels in cyberspace I found an image of a bacon covered donut.

    So wrong, and yet, so right.

    How wet is it up there?
    We watch the ABC weather every night and it looks like the north coast had a soaking.

    The rain seems to be keeping the Irish backpackers beside us indoors – with nasty croupy coughs (well deserved after their level of nocturnal Yahooing on the weekend) so no complaints from me.

  20. Mmm…. pigs are so sweet and intelligent – and so tasty cure and smoked. The delicious aroma of sizzling bacon has cured many a vegetarian, according to the Two Fat Ladies.

    It’s a pretty sad state of affairs when the sound of Irish backpackers barking like seals is PREFERABLE to the sounds they made when well.

    Can you get the hostel condemned or deregulated, perhaps? It Let’s see… adequate number and functionality of fire escapes, toilet to yob ratio, hygiene in the kitchen. We can send council a few letters expressing our “concern”.

    It’s been insanely wet up here. The Maroochy river broke it’s banks on Tuesday and since then we’ve had several 100 mm. So, guess which seldom-used appliance of mine decided to go on strike? You guessed it, the tumble dryer!

  21. No dryer, 2 kids.
    That’s bad. Oooh, the smell of damp clothes and boys.
    We have a dryer but it fogs up the entire house so I’m holding out for a sunny day to do the towels and the sheets.

    Still, I’m very pleased to see the rain and I just hope some of it makes its way to South Australia. We drove from Melbourne to Adelaide two years ago and got to see first hand what the drought was doing to the Coorong (we held our noses and I planted my foot on the accelerator to get past the sulphur smell ASAP) the lakes, and the Murray.

    Re: the Green Beer Menace next door – Thanks for your sympathy.
    I wrote all those letters to council when it was still a registered boarding house to no avail. (flats, now, new owner – not BH anymore so not up for the same sort of regulation)

    We’ve taken to sleeping with ear plugs in, at the far end of the house away from them, and we’re hoping that Nature Will Tend to them. (As in ‘Darwin Award)
    They’ve actually shut the hell up for the last few days – I think they’ve all got horrible hangovers or flu from the weekend’s party efforts.

    The cops rang me just before, re my weekend complaint of the Irish making noise, coming onto our property to retrieve stuff they’d lost while skylarking (told them to FK off and ask for it politely in the morning, next time) and playing Racing Car drivers in the 40k zone outside our house. Cops were great and said they’ll do regular drive by patrols in the Problem Hours and will do their best to discourage any antisocial/dangerous behaviour.

    Meanwhile I’ve decided to look at the fire hazard as a positive thing.
    Given that they’ve dismantled the fire alarms so that they can smoke/BBQ indoors, I figure these are the Tenants Most Likely To Burn the Rat Hole Down.

    I did speak to the Fire Service a few years ago about the same problem when it was still a boarding house and they assured me they were aware of the ongoing problems on the property, which made it unsafe for their boys to be inside the building – and if there was a fire they’d be focusing on getting the tenants out safely and protecting surrounding properties.

    Thus, my mantra when they leave the house is ‘Oh, great creator spirit, please see that they’ve left the Hair Iron on. Preferably in a large pile of dirty clothes and empty pizza boxes.’

    Odds are good…
    We’ll probably move in the next few years.
    I’m getting too old and cranky to live this close to Yoof.
    Drugs, alcohol and domestic violence just don’t look like fun to me these days.

  22. Just checking in & dodging the Anti Faff Police at CBG:

    Greybeard has confirmed
    Lock n Load
    9am
    Sunday 28th March.
    All you can ingest, Bacon and Faff

    That OK by you?

    There’s a link to GB’s grumblings at Mayhem’s blog if you need to work out another time.

    Looking forward to meeting you.
    Q.

  23. *Gasp*

    Coming up for air…. I posted assignment number 1 of 4 on Tuesday. Have been struggling for a topic for number 2 ever since.

    Page after page of meandering ramblings… written, then deleted…. where to turn for inspiration?

    Madam Morgana’s blog, that’s where!

    You haven’t let me down, Madam. Loved this piece! You are truly talented. You’re not really Kathy Lette, are you?

    For now, though, I must return to my prolific rambling and meandering. Still not sure of a topic, but at least I feel optimistic. (A pleasant change from my usual slightly panicked angst.)

    Thank you for inspiring me.

    I’ll be back once assignment number 2 is in the post.

  24. Quokka: Breakfast is a date. Mmm… bacon and faff. My favourites!

    Now, at the risk of freaking you out, you’d be aware that it’s St. Patrick’s Day coming up? I’ve strategised and I reckon your options are:

    (1) FLEE! Head for the Peninsula. Hell, feel free to come further up the coast and stay at mine for as long as you need.

    (2) POISON: Buy a bottle of nice cheap vodka, and a flagon of antifreeze. Use the vodka to kill mould in your bathroom, as a preservative for the soft specimens in your natural history collection or in pickling. Rinse bottle thoroughly and then fill with lovely green antifreeze. Present to backpackers next door saying: “Happy St Paddy’s, Irish! I made you some green vodka.”

    Note: On no account mix the antifreeze and alcohol. The latter is an antidote to the former.

  25. Catty: Thank you, kind lady. And congratulations on your success thus far. Regrettably I’m not Kathy Lette – if I were I’d be wallowing in millions of pounds and have MUCH better legs for a miniskirt.

    The right topic will probably come to you when you’re washing up, or in the shower or something. It’s amazing what your subconscious can do.

    See you next time you surface 🙂

  26. Excellent, we have a breakfast date.

    Catty – you have my sympathies.
    I’m back at school this semester too and have lots of revision to catch up on from previous subjects – so that I can figure out WTF they are talking about with this one – and I have one big horrible assignment to do.
    Ack.

    Re: St Patrcik’s Day, the backpackers are bound to disappear into the Valley for the parade or whatever. Again, I am using the power of positive thinking and hoping that bigger, uglier, more obnoxious Irish men will send them home with black eyes and a few less teeth.

  27. Assignments…. * cold shudder as though a troll just licked my ear *

    All these years later, I still sometimes have Uni nightmares – like the recurring one when I turn up for the final and don’t even know enough to fill in the name/date/course code on the front of the exam book.

    Best of luck, both of you.

    Catty, since you can’t be at breakfast we could express post you any excess bacon? What am I saying, there won’t be any excess. Perhaps a souvenir breath mint from the bill salver…

  28. Thanks!

    Me too, I still have those dreams about year 10 history exams.
    I dream that I hand in my CV and they point out that I never actually graduated from high school, and I have to go back and do grade ten history again. Complete with the hideous uniform, hat, and all the GD badges that went with it and which I was always in trouble for having them on crooked or upside down or such.

    I did finish high school, but the head mistress didn’t sign my reference and I never bothered going to see the bitch to ask why.
    It was school policy that if they handed out the references at the end of school and yours wasn’t signed, it meant that The Bitch wanted to see you.
    She wrote me a glowing reference so I have no FKN idea what that was about – she liked to play head games and I figured that was one of them, and I had no intention of buying into it.

    Its a weird dream. I wonder, What Would Freud Say?

    Catty, if you’re lurking, I suspect you and I really need to start our own blogs. Maybe next semester when I won’t feel so guilty about avoiding study to check it.

  29. Hmm. Were there any even vaguely cylindrical, pointy or sticky-out things in the dream, Quokka… other than the pins on the GD badges, that is? Uncle Sigmund was big on the phallic imagery.

    Speaking for myself, I suspect it’s a combination of: (1) Feelings of inadequacy – until fairly recently I’ve often had these odd moments, at work or during child-wrangling when I suddenly thought “You can’t do THAT! Everyone will realise you’re only a fourteen year old, pretending to be a grown-up who’s on top of things.”

    (2) A perverse longing for the good old days when, sure, lots of idiot adults told you what to do and what to wear and who not to date, and stuff, but also anything was possible and you were bullet-proof and immortal.

    What would you call your blog? IBS is a multipurpose acronym: Irish Backpackers Suck; Irritable Bitch Syndrome; Is Bacon Superlative?

  30. Nothing sticks out that I can think of.
    Years ago someone did say – and I can’t recall the source, probably someone on the radio – that dreams of having to go back to school mean that there’s some sort of stage of development that you missed and your mind is trying to take you back there. I had a lot of responsibility as a carer, due to my father’s alcoholism and mental illness after WW2, so there’s probably all sorts of things I missed out on.

    I might have time for a blog next year, when the worst of my study is out of the way.
    The damned exercycle that we bought on the weekend has set off my carpal tunnel symptoms in the right wrist again – not bad, just back to having tingling at night- so will probably ease off the blogging until Acupuncture works its wonders. And I guess I’d better book that surgery for June.
    Meh.

    Did you see blunty?
    I was frustrated that you can’t see the original article by Louis Nowra at The Monthly. None of our local newsagents carry it. I saw him speak at the writers festival a few years ago & he was quite interesting on the topic of his early life/his mother. Sounds like he carries a bit of baggage from that, though. Friends saw him and Mandy Sayer down at Avid and their assessment was that they both seemed high as kites, the kind flying loose without strings anchoring them to terra firma.
    You see a lot of that at the writers festival, though.

  31. Blunty @ the Geek slagging off litfic? I think he’s partially right. I wholeheartedly agree that the peeps – particularly, for example, preadolescent boys who are already largely disinterested in the written word except where it appears in bomb-making instructions or as a caption to pornographic images – might do better if asked to read scifi rather than Shakespeare. However, just because some litfic is navel gazing crap you’d use to line the cat box, except you wouldn’t want to risk giving Fluffy the shits, doesn’t mean that ALL fantasy and specfic is heartbreaking work of staggering thematic impact. Some are just green nonhumanoids making lots of things go BOOM! Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

    Occupational hazard, I think – writers, comedians, artistes of all genres. A bit of baggage gives you some depth and perspective on life, don’t you reckon? There’s got to be SOME compensation / greater purpose to some of the murk we have to wade through.

    Sorry to hear about the CT flare. I’ll cut your bacon up for you, if you need me too!

  32. I think I’ll eat with my fingers and horrify you all.
    Just checked in at Greybeard’s blog, and he’s going to make a booking.

    Yep, that’s the appeal of the writers festival for me.
    Kind of like the annual trip to the zoo.

    Drying out up there yet?

    We wanted to come up to the Cable Park on the Maroochy River one day this week (kiteboarding practice for The Bloke, the poor dear keeps falling on his face in the mudflats at Sandgate and this, apparently, is the cure) but he has been summonsed to come in early to his new job, so c’est la vie.
    I was going to ask you if you’ve been to it and what you think.

  33. The Bloke got a new job already – awesome! Hope they treat him much better than the Soul-less Developers.

    It stopped raining long enough so that the munchkins had a fabulous party for Elf Boy’s 6th. I woke up on Sunday, not hearing rain on my tin roof, and realised there IS a Goddess and she’d answered my frenzied pleas. It’s clouding over nicely this morning, though, with the sticky, expectant air of an impending thunderstorm, so I hope all the people downstream still have their sandbags in place.

    The only water sport I engage in is bodysurfing, so no first hand experience. I have a friend, though – let’s call him Action Man – who swears by the cable ski joint. And, don’t know if you knew, there’s a barramundi fishing place right next door… well, kinda part of the same complex, really… so while the Bloke is practising, mud-free, you or the offspring could catch tea. Mmm, barra.

    I’m looking forward to this year’s Brisvegas Writing Festival… I’m going to chain myself to agents until I can get represented.

  34. Wow, that is so lucky about no rain on party day.

    No offspring here, just dog, and cats.
    I can’t eat fish so can’t really justify killing them. Used to love fishing as a child, though.

    The writers festival is always fun – getting a bit crowded though. I have fond memories of quieter days when it was held in tents on the river down at South Bank.

    Sorry I haven’t read your most recent offering yet. I’m cutting back on internet time to try to catch up with study.
    I keep promising myself pleasure on the net at the end of the day but I just end up getting called away for something else or I fall over on top of the TV with my spouse.

    Yes, new job is fantastic but he wasn’t meant to start for a while, yet. A client insisted on having a meeting on Thursday so they called him in for today (to tell him WTF its about) and for tomorrow (to impress the client with his
    experience and credentials).

    RE: agents, I met one I really liked a few years ago, Tara something or other with Curtis Browne. JB knows her and he too says good things about her. I’m pretty sure she was credited with a mention in the joint venture by Nick Earls and Rebecca Sparrow, too.
    Tara struck me as a ‘no shit’ kind of a girl.
    I liked her a lot.
    Met her at a workshop held by the Qld Writers Centre, a few years ago when they were at Metro Arts.
    Which reminds me, I’m looking forward to seeing their new digs down at the State Library.

    Are you involved with a writers group up at the north coast?

  35. Yes, we have about a dozen merry (and tortured) souls who meet once a fortnight. Hence the anthology. We’ve finally resolved the vexed question of which work to include, so now we’re down to nitpicky detail like a title. “Shadowshine Coast” is the forerunner but I can’t love it. Shadows DON’T shine, damn it! By definition, a shadow is the GD absence of shine. However, it beats “Plot and Plotters” which was the working title for the last many moons. I know, sounds like a text book on drafting the Bloke might have read, hey?

    I have joined QWC, although I never get there… hey, want to go for a field trip to the new HQ after Lock n’ Load? Or will we be too full of bacon to roll down to the river…

    Don’t worry about the story, it’s lengthy. I, too, am trying to reduce internet faffing time, so I haven’t posted anything for ages. I read somewhere that writing is 3% inspiration and 97% not getting distracted by the internet! Present company excepted.

    Study hard and nurture your carpal tunnels!

  36. Thanks.

    I wonder if the new QWC digs will be open on a Sunday?
    I might have to wait and see – Big Nasty Assignment due 10 days after that.

    I think the title needs work too, if that’s any consolation.

  37. Thanks, I’ll see if the group will let you have a proxy. “Shadowshine” my arse – sounds like a Twilight sequel.

    We’ll stick to brekkie, then. I’d hate to be the cause of a Big Nasty Assignment malfunction!

    Only a couple of dozen sleeps to go….

  38. http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/irish-national-critical-after-4-metre-fall-from-railing/story-e6freoof-1225839859503

    Our backpackers came home sounding very chipper last night so I’m theorizing the obnoxious one in their midst may be the one whose antics at the pub last night made him so newsworthy.

    Shadowshine sounds like it comes out of a still, made by fourth generation locals from Gympie.

    Looking forward to brekky.

  39. LOL to the Gympie still – but after four generations, would the locals have an operational number of fingers on their hands, requisite for moon-shining? Although, since they probably have prehensile toes and maybe tails, it may not be an issue.

    If that injured youth is one of your Irish Backpackers, he’d be a tough nut for the neurosurgeons to crack… how can you diagnose brain damage in the absence of baseline cortical functioning? Hope the travel insurance covers a finder’s fee.

    Me too! Who have we got – you, me, Graybeard and Mayhem? Troll free, fingers crossed.

  40. Since Faff (whatever that is) is not permitted I don’t think we’ll be repeating the invitation at HQ.

    Six.
    GB and I are bringing our significant others, who like bacon.

    That Irish boy has since died. I googled the pub and it’s a place at Garden City where my nephew’s band played a few times, and where I went for my hairdresser’s baby shower.

    Things are very quiet next door, but my spouse says that there’s probably thousands of Irish tourists in Brisbane at any one point so odds are low that they even know him.

    Having seen what they get up to, though, I’m no longer surprised when one of them does take themselves out of the gene pool.

    Hopefully that maudlin bit of news might sober up some of those next door who do get a bit out of control.

  41. You’d hope it would be a wake-up call to all drunken foolish boys – of any race, colour or creed – but the states of drunken foolishness and heeding wake-up calls are notoriously mutually exclusive.

    I find the “faff-free” designation intriguing… it seems to be quite mutable and situation dependent. If women chat about anything… including stuff that’s as close to topic as dammit… it’s toxic faff, but boys can slag each other off or deride anything with an x chromosome and it’s fair enough.

    I suspect it’s a good thing that the only contact most of those men have with women is in a professional context 😉

  42. Yes.
    I did a year at teacher’s college before changing courses, and I vividly remember a lecture where they discussed the pros and cons of segregation in schools on the basis of gender.

    The studies showed that girls did better in an all girl environment because boys tend to demand the teacher’s attention and in many instances the teacher offers more attention to the males than to the females. There was also the problem of the boys becoming very jealous if the girls outshone them and then they’d do their best to bully the girls and stomp on their self esteem.

    The other plus with an all girls class was that the girls weren’t distracted by vying for attention of the boys, so they were happy to compete with each other and did better academically than their sisters in co-ed.

    There were no advantages to having all male classes.
    Bullying increased, and it was shown that social skills were lower.

    Apparently boys benefit from having girls in a group because there tends to be less aggression, girls having better social skills – so that when a problem comes up, girls use problem solving skills and good communication to resolve the problem. Boys on their own will resort to violence.

    That was 25 years ago, I don’t know what’s changed given all the technology – because obviously there’s now a huge issue with cyber bullying, and there’s an increase in the amount that society (parents) and teenagers are drinking – not to mention the drugs that make them agro – but I suspect if you dug up the same studies, there’d be similar findings.

    I think the results would be skewed by the increase in bullying.

  43. Fascinating, and eerie parallels with studies of the effects of marriage on health.

    In a nutshell, married men are longer lived, happier and healthier than their bachelor counterparts, whereas marriage decreases a woman’s lifespan and is likely to worsen her physical health.

    Not that I’m biased against marriage, or anything. In fact as far as I know, I’m still married myself… not that I’ve seen the spouse in 15 years or so.

  44. http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/people/ring-of-fear-frantic-call-to-plumbers-in-the-night-20100313-q532.html

    On the topic of marriage…how nuts is this?

    • As nutty as Kingaroy at harvest time. The whole saga is quite mind-boggling.

  45. Madam, you’re short story needs a sequel, where the agrieved girls “fix” the cheating bastard in his sleep, no. . . tie him to a chair and let him enjoy the experience!
    On the faff-free thing,the site seems to have slowed down as if everyone is walking on eggshells. I find myself spending less time at CBG since. Less comments, a stilted flow and worse of all a drop in the humour factor. Can’t do humour, but love reading/watching it.

  46. Thanks for the editorial comment, Scott. I’ll get right onto the menage-a-vengeance for you!

    I feel the same way about CBG, but for different reasons I suspect. I’ve never minded anything anyone’s said before… no, not even SJS… but that comment about women being brain dead and better off banned from reading and writing has STILL got me on a slow burn. Life’s too short to hang around people who think like that, for mine.

  47. Excellent, they’ve been infiltrated by the Taliban.

  48. Madam, agreed that comment was over the top, among others. I’ve also witnessed double standards.
    What amazes me in this situation and others I’ve seen is how one or 2 individuals can completely dominate a group. Quokka, if they have been infultrated perhaps you could convince the yanks to put in a drone strike?

  49. Ah, if only the drones would go on strike, we’d all find things a lot less tedious back at base camp.
    My theory is if we leave them to drone on and on and on for long enough they’ll all get bored with the droning of the drones…

  50. “CBG: Remorse of the Drones”

    Let’s tip ASIO off.

    Quokka lives near a cafe strip, and I’m in a tourist town. Apparently we’ll find ASIO agents sipping lattes and wearing mocha patterned couture at any sprauncy venue.

    Just wonder past and casually say:
    “Heads up, mate. You look like the kind of keen observer who would be interested in knowing the following: I heard Lobes screaming ‘Death to the Infidels!’, preaching that womens’ writing has less literary merit than the blurb on a Whiskas tin, and threatening to annihilate KRudd’s next BBQ. The dog will be the first one taken down.”

    And then wander off before they can ask you where you bought that FABULOUS tote.

  51. Quokka – just read best commentary so far on the Bingle bungle:

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/the-same-old-waltz-of-prurience-and-prudery/story-e6frg6zo-1225840645280

    Thank you, David Burchell. Beautifully put.

  52. It is sad to hear of a man spending his days reading the blurbs on the whiskas tins.
    But this is what happens when you lack Pal, or Chum.

  53. Sadder yet to think that a man spends his days WRITING the blurb on the Whiskas tin.

    Are there teenagers out there now, lying acne and angst ridden on unmade beds, thinking to themselves:
    “God, if you’re listening… one day, maybe if I want it badly enough, and give it my everything – they’ll let me be a cat food copywriter!”

  54. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head.
    I see now that thwarted ambition and jealousy is what motivates some of the nastier types in our midst.

  55. Isn’t ‘thwarted’ a marvellous word?

    You’re not wrong, Quokka. IMO, people who have it all (or mostly) together, and have perhaps cultivated a degree of maturity and healthy self-esteem, don’t need to get their rocks off by being cruel to other people. It’s the animals in the middle to bottom end of the pack that constantly snarl and nip at one another.

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