Free short stories about Generation End

Archive for the ‘Days Out’ Category

ANAL

slut neck thing - short stories

Things I liked out about Anna: she loved The Weeknd, she loved mixing music and had a following online, she brought Surface Children with her wherever she went, she regularly bought her parents dinner. Things that annoyed me: she secretly loved chaos, she loved destruction, she enjoyed the drama in walking away from the flames.

I walked out of work to find Anna’s fiancé and a friend axing my car. I had only heard stories about people axing other people’s cars before, and it’s pretty much exactly how you’d picture it to be: it involves people with axes, severely damaging your car with those axes. They spotted me and I ran for my life, and after a lot of running and hiding I managed to get into my poor car (all the windows were shattered, there were holes everywhere and there was piss on my seat) and drive off.

I parked at Jude’s place and used the spare key he gave me to walk inside. Jude was out with a girlfriend. I showered, put his clothes on, looked at the mirror. I tried calling Anna but after a few rings it would always hang up. I messaged her a few times – her phone said she read my messages but she didn’t reply. I looked at her social media accounts: her fiancés photos were back, her loving status updates about him were back. There were plenty more logical things I could have done that evening, but in the end I decided to drink Jude’s wine while messaging some girls and asking them if they wanted to visit me. After about an hour or so of drinking, Anna finally picked up her phone:

“Hey.”

“Hey,” I said.

“What’s up?”

“You back with him?”

“Yeah, sorry.”

There was silence.

“You know, you know what he did to my car?”

“I know I’m sorry, baby,” she said, “I just sent him the photos of us together to make him jealous and he took it the wrong way.”

“Why did you do that?”

She giggled a bit. “Don’t worry, it’s not as bad as the other guys he went after.”

“What other guys?”

“Are you drunk?”

“What other guys?”

“I miss you. Please don’t –”

I hung up the phone and wondered if I should catch a bus to work the next day. I hadn’t caught a bus in years. My phone vibrated: one of my friends, who was funnily enough named Annabelle, replied to my message.

Are you drunk? she texted me.

Why is everyone asking that?

Well, are you?

Of course.

I’ll be there soon.

Cool.

Okay if I don’t wear makeup?

I pictured her without makeup. Sure.

Have you eaten?

No. Have you?

Yeah.

That’s fine, I’ll eat something from the fridge.

She came over, and we sat by the balcony and she told me about everything that was happening in her life and I told her about everything that was happening in my life. I walked over to her and kissed her.

“You know I have my period, right?” she asked.

“That’s okay… Anal?”

We drank and we kissed some more and I took her to Jude’s couch. I drunkenly took her shorts off.

“I’ve never done this before,” she said.

“I have, and I don’t know how to feel about it each time.”

She laughed. Afterwards, I tried to put it in her mouth and she screamed at me.

“Fine, I’ll shower first.” I stumbled away, took a shower, and stumbled back out. I looked at her all drunk and sprawled on Jude’s couch: she was watching 12 Years a Slave on Blu-ray, and to her right, next to the remote, was a patch of blood mixed with small pebbles of shit.

 

ANNA’S PHOTO AND JUDE’S FIRST GIRL

Annas photo short story

Anna jumped in my car and we went for a drive and we parked somewhere and she went wild on me and everything seemed okay. Her mobile phone background, which used to have an image of her fiancé, had been replaced by a giant photo of a polar bear. Photos of him had vanished from her social media pages. But I was suspicious of these things, and I was sure there was a truth that neither of us had time to mention. As she sat on me in the driver’s seat she took a photo of the both of us, and as she sank lower I took her phone from her hand and recorded a video.

I drove her to work, and she kissed my cheek and said goodbye.

“Are either of us happy?” I asked her.

“Why wouldn’t we be?”

As I watched her walk off I suddenly wished for something pure.

In the meantime, I spent my other hours boxing, working, writing a novel or visiting Jude or Vail. We went to a wedding one evening, and Jude, drunk, told us both about his first girl. He was twelve years old, and the girl was a twenty-year-old “neighbour or something” of his, and she’d always come over with McDonald’s for him. They’d watch movies together, and she’d always find a way to turn their conversations into something sexual. One day, as she stroked on the straw of her cup of Coke, she asked him if she could look at him completely. Everything after that went quickly, and after a week or so of rather dark experimentation with her he told his father everything and he never saw her again. “I kept her panties, but,” he said as Vail gave me a strange look.

 

 

THAT PLACE BY THE BEACH

do-you-remember

we-sent-a-few-evenings
lets-go-skydiving
what-do-you-want

one-night-you-were-angry

 

I-mumbled-something

i-wonder-where-you-are-now

do-ghosts-dream

empty-space

has-love-ever-been-fair

remember-that-place-by-the-beach

 

WHERE DO CHEATERS GO WHEN THEY DIE?

Vicki sexy cheating

… and we somehow made it to the next morning – we were in West End, eating overpriced breakfast. It’s painfully hot in Brisbane now, and Mandy acknowledged this fact by telling me, “It’s painfully hot in Brisbane now.” I didn’t reply. She then spent about twenty minutes complaining about a colleague before trickling off into a silence that I didn’t mind at all. We said nothing, and I ate my mushrooms, and then my toast, and then whatever the hell else was left.

Jude came by. He was hungover, as usual, and he refused to take off his sunglasses. He had a story to tell, a story was about his friend Vicki. He’d been friends with Vicki for about four months now. Vicki was twenty-one or something years old and had been in a great relationship for about one-and-a-half years. One day, without any real reason, Vicki began to cheat. It started with phone calls: she’d call guy friends and ex-boyfriends and start talking dirty with them while her boyfriend would be in the next room. She’d let them remind her about how they used to come all over her face. She’d whisper to them the things she’d do for them all over again with even more intensity: the things she’d wear, the places she’d take them to, the places she’d touch, the things she’d nibble on. She then proceeded to meet men in clubs; kissing only at first, but then proceeding to do more. She had “hilarious” stories about the men she’d hook up with, about how some of them would scream like cats when they’d orgasm, how some of them had triangular balls.

The second last person Vicki hooked up with (to his knowledge, anyway) was Jude himself. It happened in Roma Street Parklands, and it was near some chairs or something, and she “seemed slutty under the sunlight” so he kissed her, and she kissed him back. After some time, she cried and leant against his shoulder, and went on a rant about how she didn’t think her boyfriend was the right one – he simply didn’t meet her needs, he was simply a ghost: he was the dust you never really see form around all of your things. After her conversation with Jude she drove straight to their flat, had an argument with him, packed her clothes, drove to his friend’s house and “fucked his friend all night”. She instantly regretted what she’d done the next morning: she called her boyfriend, crying, and drove back to their flat. She told him that he needed to change, and he told her that she needed to change, and they kissed, and he apologised for how he’d been treating her. She forgave him, and she held his hands and they just lay there in their kind-of-strange-smelling bed (Jude knew it was kind of strange smelling because he’d been there with her himself), and told each other that they loved each other, and to her, that moment, that perfect moment – it was the most honest, most romantic moment in their relationship, and probably the universe. She had an amazing man. She had an amazing life. He proposed to her the next day.

“That’s the worst story I’ve ever heard,” Mandy said.

“I don’t mind it,” I said.

We went to the markets, bought some things, complained about the heat. Jude left. Mandy and I drove to her apartment in silence: all I could think about was Vicki, and all I could think about was this thing called “cheating”. It’s a fucked up word. It’s like a ball of some sort – no, more like a chubby, slippery creature that sits in the back of your head, a creature you’ve always wanted to touch but rarely do. How far do you go before you’re considered a cheater? Where do cheaters go when they die? Is there an island for them? Mandy and I have done some things I would’ve deemed as questionable when I was younger, but now I think it’s all completely normal. The fuck is life meant to be about, anyway?

I pushed Mandy against a wall and kissed her, but before we could continue with anything else, she said, “Let me shower first.” She showered, and I waited, and I waited so damn much I fell asleep. I woke up, and then I showered and brushed my teeth. We watched a few movies from her laptop (Avatar, The Grudge 2, Fading Gigolo, Fast and Furious 6), and when it all became too tiring we lay down.

“I’m kind of tired,” she said after texting someone on her phone.

“Me too.”

“Shall we just sleep?”

“Sounds good.”

“Good evening, Sir Dean.”

I remembered something. “Mandy.”

“Yeah?”

I stood up. I checked my phone, replied to a message, smiled. I plugged my phone into a charger. I pulled something out of my jeans and gave it to Mandy: it was a letter I wrote for her. She read it, smiled. “Thanks, Dean. I love you too.” She folded the letter and put it in her dresser.

We both fell asleep, and I dreamt about death and life and death and I don’t know if I woke up in the middle of the night or not. We both woke up the next morning to get ready for work. She made vegetable juice for the both of us.

 

YOU POWERFUL WOMAN YOU

You powerful woman you“You know I tried to cheat on you,” I told her.

“And then what happened?”

“She wasn’t interested.”

“You poor man.”

“Women have it easier,” I said.

“When it comes to what?”

“Finding men.”

“Quantity over quality, honey.”

I turned my phone on silent and placed it next to my plate. “That’s the whole problem with this world. Men want quantity, but never get it. Women want quality, but never get it.”

She laughed at this, but it was a sad kind of laugh. We were out somewhere, in the Valley, I think, trying out a new restaurant. As usual, she was wearing something expensive, and she was probably going to pay for our meal. This has become a trend lately: women who have more money than their men. Women who have more options than their men. Women who do the dumping and men who do the chasing. Women with their books on girl power and their music about sexual independence and men with their, with their… hip hop?

“Tell me more about yourself,” she asked me after taking a photo of her vegetarian meal and posting it on Instagram. “We’ve been together for some time now, but I feel like I barely know you.”

“Does anyone truly know anyone?”

“Don’t be so dramatic.”

“I’m twenty-six years old. I’m a Leo and I like having coffee with friends and long walks along the beach.”

“Very funny.” She took a bite out of whatever the hell she was eating. “I have an idea for your next book.”

“What ideas do you have now?”

“I know you want to do a simple love story, but I think you should do something about magicians.”

“Magicians?”

“Yeah, something with a fantasy element, you know? They’re selling a lot lately. Look at Game of Thrones.”

“If I wanted to be a sellout,” I said, “I’d do a vampire novel.”

“No, vampires are out of fashion now. But fantasy, or something about a young guy who finds out he has powers: that’s what’s going to sell. I can tell. And you know,” she added. “who’s to say it won’t also have a romantic element to it?”

“You’re the worst.”

“How am I the worst?”

“You’re just a horrible person.”

She sighed. “Whatever. I was just giving you ideas.”

“Keep ‘em coming, because they’re brilliant.”

“I read this article about some self-published authors who are millionaires now. How much are you making again?”

“Well I’m not those authors,” I said. “My work isn’t for everyone.”

“Do what you want with your life.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means this.” She raised her middle finger.

“Oh, don’t you mean this?” I raised both my middle fingers at her.

We ate in silence for a while. We’d been fighting a lot lately, and she’d cry in front of me at least once a week. No matter whose fault it was, it was always me who ended up apologising. I was a fool to her tears.

We walked to a strip club and watched this girl dance for half an hour. Mandy called her over after her performance and whispered something in her ear – the stripper smiled and looked at me, and then giggled. Mandy had problems, horrible problems, and I knew after she had her way with the stripper she wouldn’t be giggling the next day. The stripper gave her number to Mandy and she smiled at the both of us and walked away.

We drove to Mandy’s apartment. As she showered I looked at some of her books on her bookshelf: Robert Kiyosaki’s Cashflow Quadrant, #girlboss, Robert Kiyosaki’s The Real Book of Real Estate, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Profiting from the World’s Economic Crisis, The Secret of My Success. I opened The Secret of My Success and a piece of paper fell out. I picked it up and opened it: Mandy had handwritten a whole list of her 10-year goals: Have a minimum of 20 properties around Australia and 10 in strategic locations in USA and Asia and Greece, have three kids, fuck 100 men, buy a Mercedes-Benz S-Class in cash, travel to over 50 countries, have a passive income of at least $500,000 a year.

 

***

 

NEWSYou can now also purchase paperback copies of Surface Children in Melbourne, at Polyester Books.

 

 

SKYDIVING

skydiving and falling - short stories

The next weekend, we went skydiving. We got to the place too early, so we walked to the beach, and she did star jumps and I threw rocks at birds. We went to McDonald’s and ordered some juice and we spoke about things that I no longer remember. I looked at her and took a photo: we’d gotten to that point in our relationship where we were completely comfortable with each other, yet still somehow completely attracted to each other. We still laughed at each other’s farts and left notes next to each other’s pillows.

Finally, when it was time, we went inside the skydiving place. They passed us some outfits to wear and briefed our group about safety and all that other shit before taking us all to a tiny, old airplane. I smelt my skydiving suit – it smelt like sweat. We walked to where all the planes were and filed inside the smallest and oldest looking plane out of all of them. The plane chugged a bit before finally lifting off and as I looked around its rundown and cramped interior I pictured the plane exploding and our body parts flying into the sky.

Because of the weather conditions we were only able to fly about ten thousand feet. My guide, who was attached to me, told me to sit on the edge of the plane, and before I could ask him why I was doing this he pushed us both off. Everything became a loud rumble of wind: I looked down at another skydiver beneath me, facing me, waving at me, hoping that I would wave back at him. He was yelling something I couldn’t understand, so I gave him the finger. He gave it back. I looked to the right and Mandy was there, screaming and laughing.

It was frantic at first, but when everything settled I wanted to keep falling. I wanted to be trapped in that fall somehow, and I wanted my skydiving instructor to detach himself from me and I wanted to keep falling, and falling, and falling. I was over the overwhelming burden of pretty much everything: the rich people and the poor people and the people on the internet and the people not on the internet and how subjective everything is, all the questions we have, all the answers we have, how unnecessarily necessary things are supposed to be. And I thought about heartbreak: I felt it before, and it was real, but with Mandy there, the word itself seemed like something alien. As the ocean and the city grew bigger I pulled the parachute thing and we bounced up and glided, and the guy behind me told me I could steer us wherever the hell I wanted.

We paid about a billion dollars for video footage of the fall. I drove Mandy home, and then I drove to my own place and called her and she said something and I laughed, and then she asked me what I would think if I filmed her kissing a girl and a guy, because she’d think it would be hot if I did the same, and I kept quiet for a while, and then we spoke about other things and I said goodnight, and she whispered that she loved me.

 

ONE DAY YOU’RE GOING TO LOSE ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS

Balloon over Gold Coast“If you have the weight of the world on your shoulders, then why are you standing so upright?”

Mandy told me a few stories and I told her a few of my own. We were in some place around the Gold Coast, and we were in a hot air balloon and I hadn’t seen anyone but her for the past few days.

“What do you think?”

“What do I think of what?”

“Of the view.”

The sun was just rising and there was orange, a warm orange, and the tourists around us smiled and took photos of the trees and fields near the horizon.

The balloon landed and we all had to roll it up. The organiser then drove us to this winery. I drank and ate as much free wine and food as possible while Mandy smiled, drank water, watched the green hills and the sun’s calm but confident rise.

“You have to drive us back!” I said to her eventually. I hadn’t had alcohol like that in months and I didn’t know how to feel about it.

“But I haven’t driven in years.”

“You’ll be fine,” I said, giving her the keys. She started the car and began driving forward before I had the chance to stumble in. She ran over my foot and I screamed in pain. “YOU BITCH!” was all I managed to say.

She stopped the car. I jumped in.

She crossed her arms. “I can’t believe you called me a bitch.”

“I can’t believe you ran over my fucking foot!”

“You yelled so loudly.” She began crying.

“I don’t get you. Stop crying.”

She wiped her eyes, looking my leg over. “Well, should we go to a hospital or something?”

My foot. I didn’t want to look at it, didn’t want anything to do with it. “I’m fine.”

We drove back to Brisbane in silence; we parked in her guest car park and didn’t say anything for a while.

“I’m sorry I’m like this,” she eventually said. “You know what? I don’t really have friends anymore. I mean, like, I’ve been in a bunch of relationships, but I don’t really have friends, friends. And I don’t even know if it’s a good thing, or a bad thing.”

“It’s both.”

“I just don’t enjoy socialising as I do working and improving myself. Have you ever been to a swinger’s party?”

“I don’t remember.”

She looked at my foot. “Are you sure you don’t want to get that checked? You don’t look happy.”

“I’m fine.” I wasn’t.

“Anyway, there’s a swinger’s place in New Farm. And I remember so badly wanting to go with a girlfriend once, because I heard they’re not that strict about you needing to be a couple or anything, but when I looked through my phone I seriously didn’t know who to invite. I’ve just been working so much that I don’t know what a normal social life is any more.”

“How old are you?” I asked her.

“You should know that already.”

I thought about Jude and Vail and that was about it. “One day, you’re going to lose all your friends. But then you’re going to make new ones.”

“Like you’re so wise. You don’t even have kids.”

We went to her room, changed, and as much as I just wanted to sleep, she persuaded me to go to the gym with her. I pretended to do weights while she did Zumba.

 

 

NUDE AND CHILDISH GAMBINO

Nude And Childish Gambino

“It’s July,” she eventually said. “Like, well, it’s like Saturday, and we’re near the end of July.”

“Let me ask you something. Have you been hurt before?”

“That’s such a typical thing to ask. Are you a typical person?”

“I like to think that I am.”

She stood up and put some underwear on and tapped on her phone. “Here. I’m going to play Childish Gambino.”

We listened for a while before getting out of bed. I watched her take some medication before following her to the blender: she put spinach, tomato, beetroot, kale, banana slices, apple slices, protein powder, almond milk, orange juice; she blended it and we drank it together. She had scars on her thighs and I found them pretentious.

“You know,” she started, but never finished. She pulled out a pad, wrote down her daily goals. She then meditated for twenty minutes as I lay down and attempted to read her signed copy of The Alchemist before throwing it away.

She took me to a business and wealth seminar that I would “totally love,” and afterwards, in the late evening, we drove around for a while; we headed to a peep show in the Valley and she sat with me in a booth, and when we grew bored of it all we walked upstairs and she bought a porno about interracial anal, and then we went for a drive, east, I think, because I vaguely recognised Redbank or Red Hill or whatever it’s called; she took some medication and we parked and she told me to take her in the cold and the dark of the public toilets of some park. We changed into our running clothes and went for a two-hour run in the dark, and at the end, when she was well ahead of me and I was pretty sure I was having a heart attack, she took her clothes off and asked me to watch her in the distance and she was blurry, and I squinted and asked her what she was doing as she swayed and smiled and bit her lip in the silence of the cold.

 

***

 

NEWS: The Things We Do For Those Who Don’t Love Us, a short story from Surface Children, is now available as a standalone short story on Amazon.

 

OUTSIDE THE BALCONY

Outside the balcony
Break up a bit after Easter. Lost for a while. Happy for a while. Nothing much for a while longer. April comes. Excel at work. Make a few thousand dollars. Make a few friends. Meet a few people. Learn a few new songs. Nearly complete a book. Look at photos. Buy food alone. Buy clothes alone. Buy alcohol alone. Watch a homeless woman cry one night. Smile. Pay rent. Slight sound of fireworks one evening. Stare outside the balcony. Projector screen and horror movies. Go out drinking with friend. Go out drinking with friends. Work on a novel. Work until midnight. Work until eight in the evening. Work until six in the evening. Skip work. Meet a girl who can’t speak English; grin and stare at her lips as she fakes it. Start drinking more. Make a few thousand dollars. Walk around store. Buy a few things. Go out drinking. Go to work. Fall in love with an engaged girl. Become happy for the first time in months. Become delirious. Warned by friends not to pursue it. Warned by family not to pursue it. Girl gets married. Never hear from her again. Stare outside the balcony. Go to work. Make a few thousand dollars. Watch a man cry during the train ride home. Buy some clothes. Work until midnight. Laugh at people’s clever jokes. Stare outside the balcony. Work on a Saturday. Drink with friend. Get high with a guy wearing a top hat in a cubicle. Take Viagra with a girl with nice legs. Get home twelve in the afternoon. Get home two in the afternoon. Get home six in the morning. Kiss two girls at the same time. Not exactly the same time – a few seconds after the other. Another girl, an uglier one, joins in. Shower for a long time. Look at photos. Listen to music. Buy clothes. Buy shoes. Buy clothes. Buy CDs. Buy food. Pay rent. Drink more. Start smoking. Go to work. Work on a Saturday. Work on a Sunday. Work on a Monday. Work until midnight. Listen to a woman cry over the phone in the toilets, cry about some guy. Go to church. Pray hard. Make a few thousand dollars. Have green tea with a girl who tells me her vagina smells “raw” when wet. Excel at work. Make new friends. Meet a few people. Learn a few new songs. Look at photos. Swear at someone. Nobody’s fault. Buy a motorbike. Crash the motorbike. Buy a car. Sell the car. Move out. Move in. Be inspired by something. Tell people about inspiration. Send message to ex-girlfriend. Send another message to another ex-girlfriend. Send another message to another ex-girlfriend. Tell depressed people about the power of positive thinking. Listen to music. Look at photos. Write a short story. Refuse to get drunk. Go to church. Refuse to fall asleep. Refuse to eat. Refuse to get drunk with friends. Refuse to watch a movie with a friend. Refuse to exercise. Refuse to write. Refuse to meet people. Stare outside the balcony. Go to work. Raise fist at someone at work but don’t get fired. Make a few thousand dollars. Meet girl in library. Meet girl in shopping centre while buying shoes. Meet girl in a party. Lots of tears and lots of yelling and nobody wins. Stare at drunk person on sidewalk cry before falling asleep in pile of vomit. Find a free magazine and read through it and tell everyone about it and cut out some pages and use them as inspiration. Continue writing. Refuse to drink. Become afraid of being murdered by someone or a group of people. Go to church. Pray. Pray at night. Pray after waking up. Pray before meals, but never after. Stare outside the balcony. It’s nobody’s fault. Ride a rollercoaster. Stare outside the balcony. Charity work. Stare at some guy cry while watching a movie, 12 Years a Slave. Look at photos. Friend has breakdown in front of everybody. Watch someone drive a BMW. Watch someone buy a BMW. Watch another someone buy another BMW. Refuse to sleep. Have drinks with friend; pretend to order something alcoholic. Go to work. Fireworks in the distance somewhere. Smile. Smile. Smile. Show everyone a smile. Buy clothes. Stare outside the balcony.

THE BIG BAD EASTER BUNNY

The big bad Easter Bunny - girl in bar raising drink
This was the first Easter Sunday where I woke up not knowing how I got to where I was. I woke up in a café in the Valley or New Farm or West End or something and Jude was there, and so was his girl, and so was some other girl, and all they did was laugh at me. We were in one of those industrial cafés everyone is so fond of now: you know, those cafés with crooked seats and crooked tables and concrete everywhere and tanned, blue-eyed, blonde wait staff who will never truly know you. I ate whatever they ordered for me – eggs, greens, sausages, avocado, mushrooms, salmon – and walked off, caught a cab to the nearest shopping mall with the hope of buying Easter eggs for people but everything was closed. I sat down, scrolled up and down my Facebook newsfeed, liking status updates that didn’t mean much. I vomited somewhere, drove home, checked my Facebook again, vomited again, drove back out to an Easter mass nearby and just stared at the altar until my mind wondered too often – I frowned, left and drove to an Easter picnic that Vail was having.

There were about thirty people in that picnic, and the only person I’ll be writing about was the man dressed in an Easter Bunny onesie. He was probably only a few years older than I was; he had a dark stubble and dark curly hair and he was loud but not too drunk.

“Why the hell are you wearing that?” I asked him.

“It’s Easter.”

“I think I’ve met you somewhere,” I said to him. “Were you at Jamie’s house party?”

“No,” he said, but then: “Yeah.”

I adjusted my sunglasses. “Jamie and I – we broke up.”

“When?”

“Last weekish?”

“I’m sorry to hear that, man,” he said, reading a text message on his phone.

I shrugged, thinking about her smiling in my arms right before the both of us slowly passed out on a stairway somewhere. I woke up to her drooling over my shoulder. She flinched and opened her eyes and asked, It’s time for a blowie already?

“Wasn’t meant to be?” I found myself asking.

“I got drunk last night,” he said. “Shit myself.”

“Where?”

“Down Under Bar,” he mumbled as he continued texting.

“What did you do?” I asked him.

He kept texting.

“What did you do?” I asked him again. “After you shit yourself?”

“Kept dancing, man.”

“People would’ve stopped dancing near you.”

“You’re absolutely right.” He put his phone down momentarily. “Have you ever had an abortion before?”

“I’m a guy. Guys don’t get abortions.”

“No I mean have you asked a girl to get an abortion for you?”

“What are you on about?”

“I never did. Don’t believe in them, dude.” He showed me his phone: there was a photo of this kid who looked about ten years old. He had dark curly hair and was in a school uniform, grinning into the camera. “The chick sends me pics of him every so often because I ask for them. But I don’t want to meet him man, never. It’ll fuck me up. You should see how fat the chick has gotten. Used to be really sexy though.” He went silent. “Ah fuck, she was always fat. Fuck. I pulled out and everything but I don’t know what happened.”

“I wonder if he hates you,” I said.

“He hasn’t met me.”

“Sometimes people hate those they’ve never met.”

He mumbled something and for a brief moment, I thought about Ariel. How she’d hold her drink up and smile. I suddenly wanted to fly to Italy. Canada. Mars. I probably wouldn’t call her if she was still alive, I probably wouldn’t even text. But she would still be alive, and that would’ve made life a little bit more understandable.

The Easter Bunny and I walked over to the barbeque area as The National’s “I Need My Girl” played depressingly in the background. We put some sausages in bread, spoke to people, shared stories, checked for text messages, checked Facebook, laughed at some things that actually weren’t that funny, frowned at some things that actually weren’t that sad, ate, drank.

 

***

 

NEWS: Paperback editions of Surface Children are now available at Mary Ryan’s store, in New Farm, as well as Avid Reader in West End. Grab one today, and support local businesses and the work of indie authors.

One Hundred Sixty Kilograms, a short story from Surface Children, is now available as a standalone short story on Amazon.