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WHAT DO ANIMALS THINK ABOUT?

“You scared?” she asked. “Scared of what?” “You know,” she said, “being this close.” “Why, because of the virus?” “Yes, because of the virus.” “A little bit.” Christie had just had her fingernails done up and we had been huddling in my car. The sun was — where was the sun? We didn’t know, we couldn’t see it, but there …

women-pointing-and-laughing

WHAT TO DO WHEN EVERYONE IS DOING BETTER THAN YOU

There will come a point in your life where everyone will be doing better than you. If you haven’t experienced it yet, then get excited! One day it will come unexpectedly in the mail, and you will feel like such, a, dick. This point in life may come quicker if you give up financial stability to pursue your dreams. I …

tunnel drive

LOVE LETTER 2020

Sometimes I still think about you. Sometimes I imagine you looking at my Facebook profile and being a little impressed and a little jealous that you’re not the one doing that thing with me, or being in that place with me, or posing in that quirky restaurant photo with me. But sometimes I imagine you being relieved that you’re not …

sunset on water in distance

HOW TO BE HAPPY: THE 80/20 PRINCIPLE

Lately I’ve been trying, with much laziness and distraction, to conquer depression—to not only conquer it, but to brutally torture and murder it with repeated and frightening strikes of joy and laughter. One exercise I gathered from reading The 80/20 Principle was to think of the things that made me happy, and to spend more time and effort on those …

womans legs

TIM

I spent some time with Tim. Tim is similar to I am, except he’s not similar to me at the same time. He constantly thinks and talks about women. He makes sure every conversation we have ends up about a sexual encounter with a woman of some sort. I once asked him about his gym routine and he ended the …

building your castle

BUILDING YOUR CASTLE

I used to always fantasise about meeting a classy woman in a bar, overseas, while drinking a cocktail as some pianist played Fly Me To The Moon in the background. I pictured it being just like the movies: she’d be sitting across from me, and I’d glance up at her and say something witty, and she’d say something witty back, …

this happened a long time ago

THIS HAPPENED A LONG TIME AGO, BUT…

This happened a long time ago, maybe ten years ago, back when I was studying. I didn’t know that many women but there was one I met in class one day. She wrote this on my notepad: What’s your name? Dean. Want to have lunch? Okay. And we had lunch and I instantly fell in love. I was so desperate …

love-roller-coaster---abstract-image

LOVE ROLLER COASTER

I’d been hearing a lot of nonsense about the importance of walking so one day I skipped work and went for a five-hour walk. I was hoping that some kind of miracle would happen as a result of doing that walk. I was hoping, as some kind of reward for undertaking such a momentous sacrifice, that I’d instantly become more …

getting old whiskey bar

YOU’RE GETTING OLD AND THIS IS HOW YOU’LL DEAL WITH IT

It was with great disappointment that I found myself at peace. I hadn’t been clubbing in years, and I refused to go, so instead I drove Vail to the clubs and just sat in my car, in the Valley, on floor five of the parking lot or something, and making sure all my windows were closed I looked out towards …

old dark alleyway

FAT GOOD LUCK CHARM

“Have you met Brisbane’s good luck charm?” Jude asked me. “No and I don’t want to,” I said. I turned to Vail: “Do you want to meet Brisbane’s good luck charm?” Vail had her sunglasses on and she was driving. “Dean,” she started, sighing, “your stories… have I ever told you about your stories? They need to have an arc. …

Artistic eye background - love

BURNING ALL EX-GIRLFRIEND MEMORIES

I used to be a hoarder. I used to never want to let go of anything. Whenever time would try to drag something away from me, I’d pull onto it for my dear life. The other day, I decided to let that part of me go. Especially the part that clung onto old loves. I had too many memories of …

looking out from a window towards shibuya

THE LITTLE MAN WHO TELLS YOU THINGS

I was drinking Sapporro Beer with Christie in a hotel room. “You know, it’s fine to drink with someone you’re already with, but what annoys me is why we have to drink with people we’re interested in with the sole purpose of getting them drunk enough so we can get dirty with them. Why don’t we just say, up front, …

THE WINDOW

The first great short story I ever wrote was written in a small room in a small apartment in Singapore, and it was so hot in there that I’d constantly be drenched in sweat. There was no air con, and all I had was this square window – that window, that stupid window! You’d open it and all it would …

GOODBYE TIME

There are times when there’s nothing I want to write about. When there’s nothing much I really want to say. Time is so limited. It arrives, then it goes, and it arrives, and it goes – does it ever leave you feeling at peace? I suppose it does. There are times when time itself leaves me alone: it says to …

FINDING THE PERFECT PEOPLE

“There aren’t many perfect people in this world.” This is what she said as she had some wine. “What do you consider as perfect?” She shrugged. “I don’t know. Tall.” “Tall?” I inspected the bottle of wine that stood between us. I ran my finger around the label. “How tall?” “Seven foot.” “Seven feet tall?” “Yeah.” “Okay,” I said, putting …

THE LONELINESS

My loneliness can be an unforgiving piece of shit sometimes. I don’t want it to be there, but it lures me out when I don’t want to come out. It kisses me with its sour breath and proceeds straight to my heart, and it lingers there, and it gets comfortable there, and it calls it home and refuses to leave. …

I MET HANNAH AT A SOCIAL GATHERING

Hannah momentarily entered my life while Christie and I were not in good terms. I met her at a social gathering. “You know I researched scientology for an assignment once,” I told her. “I wanted to be like one of those clever types who make fun of odd belief systems. So I went to one of their presentations so that …

HAPPINESS, JOY, SMILES, LAUGHTER, WHATEVER

“What is happiness?” “Happiness is a BJ that never ends. Just constant swallowing.” “Happiness is being in bed.” “Happiness is having her back.” “Happiness is being with God.” “Happiness is being rich.” I was with about four people who were all discussing happiness. I remained quiet. Nothing I said or what anyone said mattered, really. To me, the definition of …

A LETTER TOO LATE

… I saw you there in between the music, and the people, and the nonsense. Remember what was playing? I don’t. I don’t even know whose house party it was, or what universe we were in, or what purse I had dangling pathetically from my index finger – all I could think of was this: I think about you more …

THE PERFUMED GARDEN

“Dude, you’re wrong. You need to read The Perfumed Garden.” This is what a friend said when I ignorantly asked him if Muslims were always so conservative about sexuality. Instead of actually reading the The Perfumed Garden and coming up with my own opinions about it, I Googled it and found this summary: “Written between 1410 and 1434 for a …

MIRACLES IN WEST END

I had become a mess so Christie told me to visit a lady in West End who performs miracles. Apparently, she helped cure a lady of her cancer, she helped cure a friend of his chronic back pains, she returned joy to a broken person’s life. I went to the hall and sat down among a small group of others. …

SELMA HAD LONG LEGS

Selma had legs that could kill a football team and all the guys loved her, and they all flirted with her, and one day, when we were all walking towards the Pancake Manor I lifted up her skirt, and she had this lacy thong on, and poking out of the thong were both sides of her pad, and everyone roared …

SOMETHING IN YOUR STOMACH

Someone from work once gave me a moleskin, and for some time I just let it sit at the back of my car. “If you don’t want to write in it, why don’t you draw something in it?” Christie asked me from her hospital bed. “Yeah okay,” I complained. “Like drawing is so fucking easy.” She got mad, so I …

VALENTINE’S DAY LOVE

Christie told me that she fell in love with Barry Edgar about four years ago. He didn’t know that she’d fallen in love with him, and understandably so: she didn’t tell him and she didn’t change anything about the way she treated him. Barry Edgar was a waiter who once travelled to Europe. He also once travelled to India. He …

LAST DINNER WITH CAROL

I’ve been writing about Carol for thousands of years now, and tonight will be the last time you hear about her. I’d only promised to write about eight dinners, you see, and you’re probably sick of her by now, and you’re probably wondering what the hell I’ve been up to. What the hell have I been up to? The last …

WATCHING CAROL SPIN

This is my second last story about Carol. It starts off quite simply, and it ends quite simply. It starts at South Bank, during an evening, a Wednesday, with the both of us in a large Ferris wheel. I’d been with Carol since the night before, and during that time I’d made her breakfast and she’d helped me buy some …

FIRST DINNER WITH CAROL

And then I ruined it all by saying, “I don’t want a relationship”. You shrugged and said, “That’s exactly what the previous guy said,” and you told me about this guy you met on Tinder who was in a long distance relationship. You told me that he was a decent guy with a pretty good body and pretty big dick, …

DINNER AT CAROL’S PLACE

Carol lived with a few people, so I would always enter her place through a back door. She had one of the biggest rooms in the house, and I liked it because unlike my cramped room, she had a large bed with plenty of floor space. In the dark, from her bed, a few things would lay huddled in the …

THE TRUTH

There’s a particular spot I like to drive to near the Valley. I won’t tell you exactly where it is, but if you turn right at a certain traffic light and keep driving straight you’ll end up in a private area full of expensive apartments overlooking the river. I like it because of the view, and I like it because …

LOVE

“I don’t believe in love,” was what Carol told me when we were at Carol’s home, having late dinner that she cooked, listening or not listening to music that may or may not have been playing from a small speaker in another room. “You believe in love,” I told her. “I don’t.” “You do.” She sighed. “You can’t just dictate …

I DON’T BELIEVE IN MAGIC

“I don’t believe in magic,” Carol said. “I just don’t.” “Why the hell not?” Carol looked at me like it was something that didn’t need explaining. When I didn’t say anything: “Where have you seen magic? Tell me, where have you seen magic, Dean?” “I saw it the other day.” “Really? What happened?” “This guy.” She scratched her arm irritably …

HOPES AND FEARS FOR 2016

Carol took a sip of her drink. “My only wish is that I find good music this year. I mean the music in two thousand fifteen was great, and like, I really got into Spotify and Pandora and that, but like, I mean, The Weeknd’s album was pretty good, but really, I wanted more, you know? Do you ever get …

ABEL’S HAIR

“I just spent fourteen hours looking for the right shoes to go with my new chinos,” Jude said. “No you didn’t.” “I did.” “Fourteen hours,” I said. “Fourteen hours,” he repeated. “Fourteen hours straight.” “Yes, fourteen hours straight.” I faced him, thinking about how stupid he sounded. “It’s impossible to spend fourteen hours straight looking for shoes in the shops.” …

SILENT PERIOD

It was a few minutes past midnight, and this guy, Bill, whose boyfriend was supposedly a “scam artist slash DJ slash art dealer from like, London who had like, fifty thousand followers on Instagram,” had some kind of cover of Earned It by the Weeknd playing loudly from a gigantic iMac placed on a pile of magazines, and I was …

ANAL

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 …

ANNA’S PHOTO AND JUDE’S FIRST GIRL

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 …

THAT PLACE BY THE BEACH

   

ANNA: THE GIRL I WILL END UP HATING

Anna and I continued to text each other every five minutes or so. I learnt that she was twenty years old and got engaged when she was 19. She worked at a dollar discount store and didn’t know what to do with her life and didn’t seem to have any ambition to find out any time soon. She thought that …

ANNA: THE GIRL WITH A MEATY P****

Dear Carlos Fuckface,   This started a couple of months ago, and I haven’t really told anyone about it yet, but given what’s going on right now I think now would be the perfect time to let you be the first person to read this story. You see I was sober, and it was a Friday evening and I was …

HERE ARE 10 THINGS I MISS ABOUT YOU

. . . 1. YOUR SMALL TITS 2. YOUR FLAT ARSE 3. YOUR BIG THIGHS 4. YOUR PRETTY FACE 5. YOUR INFINITE SMILE 6. HOW YOU SHAVE YOUR ARMS 7. YOUR MONEY 8. HOW YOU ALWAYS GAVE WHAT YOU HAD (WE THOUGHT YOU WERE A DAMN SAINT) 9. THE FOURTH TIME I MET YOU 10. YOU MADE ME BELIEVE I …

ENDING IT WITH MANDY

Mandy and I had a fight right after coming home from one of my book signings. She yelled and I yelled but to be honest, none of the things that came out of our mouths were actually new. We fought about what we always fought about: money. We (she) decided then and there to end it, and I walked over …

WHERE DO CHEATERS GO WHEN THEY DIE?

… 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 …

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 …

THE BIG BAD EASTER BUNNY

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 …

THERE IS NO TIME FOR GRIEF

I hadn’t slept in two days. I got to work at ten in the morning, drove home at about three in the afternoon. I drove to Vail’s home, parked on her driveway. I watched her house for a while before giving her a call. No one answered her phone, so I called the receptionist. “Hello?” “Hi.” “Dean?” “Who else would …

VALENTINE’S DAY LETTER

Well, picture this. The year is like, two thousand fifty or three thousand fifty or whatever, and the world is still the same old bullshit that it is. There are still cars that go on the road, and like, your bedroom, the one at the far corner of the house, is still a mess. It still has that strange smell …

AMBITIOUS KIDS

I was in a bad mood about something and I found myself sitting at the RE with two guys and two girls. One guy was working, the other guy was unemployed. The two girls were studying at uni or design college or something. None of them were smokers. “So?” One of the guys, the fat one, asked everyone. “So what?” …

JUDE AND ARIEL IN MY DREAM

There’s a rumour that’s going on about the world. That it’s ending. That food is running out, that resources are running out. There’s a rumour that the government, which is more than happy to spy on people but begins arresting them if anyone reveals any of its secrets, will one day control every single thing, even our thoughts, if they …

HOW TO LOSE SOMEONE YOU CARE ABOUT

Some people move forward in life, some people get worse. Some people, like me, are trapped in a cycle between both. I’d get a job, get a woman, and then I’d lose that job, and then I’d lose that woman, and then I’d get a new job and a new woman all over again. In between all of this I’d …

HER FACE WAS DRAWN WITH CHARCOAL

I want a lot of things. I want a big black car. I want a bunch of money. I want to feel postmodern, relevant, sleepy. I want to eat the stuff that makes the clouds. I want to fuck the moonlight. I want to forget a whole lot of things. But there are also a few bits and pieces of …