DARWINIAN // Wonky Vision

So, I’m waiting at the lights for the little green man to stutter. That’ll be my signal to cross.

I’m late for the bus again, and my back is sloughing into the seat of my pants via a river of sweat. Sizzling in this heat and humidity like a piece of rump steak is no fun, and the light is searing its bad self into every cranny of my awareness so there’s nothing but blank canvas everywhere I look. Yup, I’m a squinting Mr Magoo at the Seeing Eye Olympics. On the face of the sun. Being spit roasted by Satan himself. Or I may as well be. Summer sure loves to make me its inelegant, sweaty bitch.

I can barely make out the couple in front of me. They happen, as it turns out, to be making out—I can make that much out. Oh, hang on, they’re not actually making out. They’re just holding hands, sharing adoration and kisses despite the sun’s brutal, disapproving efforts. How sweet! I can’t help but smile. Not that you’d know it was a smile. It’s more like a scrunched up, mortified towel really—one that’s been used to exfoliate Donald Trump’s junk. Well, abused more like.

We’re hearing the green man now, so we all step out onto the road. The couple are still hand-in-hand, swinging their arms in time with the endearing skip in their gaits and hearts. We’re halfway across when a horrible realisation hits me. It’s two men! Shit! TWO MEN! I immediately begin to panic. The squinting has to stop. Like. Now. What if they see my expression—the grimacey scrunch that reads nothing like a smile—and come to the conclusion that I’m hating on their public display of affection? God almighty!

I try to unsquint as much as I humanly can, only to be blinded even more. Jesus! Fuck! The pain! The light is so fucking aggressive… and, holy fuck, the tears! My face is contorting all over the place like an epileptic cow with a cattle prod up its arse. It’s a wonder I’m not staggering into oncoming traffic. Still, I’m certain there’ll somehow be blood and recriminations next.

We reach the other side, and it’s only at that point when I realise something. Not only has this couple failed to notice my wank-walk of over the top social maladjustment, they clearly wouldn’t give a damn even if they did. They’re so besotted with one another, and so at ease within themselves and their immediate surroundings that… well, so what if I existed? Hell, it’s not even remotely about me. Or about what I think, for good or ill.

I’m just lucky to have witnessed this unabashed display of affection without getting smeared up the road by a Mack Truck—you know, like red jam over toast. Gaydom’s so normal that I should be considering it a bore really, not something to be noticed and having judgements formed about. Yup, nothing to see here. Just two folks very much in love. All’s right with the world.

And that’s enough for now.

 

by TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018

DARWINIAN // Body Shamer vs. Potty Mind

“Fuck. That’s put me off me dinner.”

I look up in time to see him and his cronies turn away in laughter. And then he takes another bite of hamburger anyway. And then they continue to laugh and laugh and laugh beyond any reasonable point of cruelty. What grade A cunts.

No. I’ve got that wrong.

At least a cunt is warm and inviting, and is usually possessed by somebody who’s glad you’re in the room. And they’ve willingly let you in. Why? Because you’re you, and they like that, and that’s okay. Makes me wonder why cunt has ever been used as a pejorative in the first place.

I wish I was with a cunt right now. Anywhere but here.

So, who’s the tool two tables over? Well, he’s the complete opposite of a cunt, that’s for goddam sure. In fact, I’d call him a dick. No, hang on… I like dicks! I mean, sure, not other dicks. Just mine. It’s not like I go around sucking random dicks or anything. And I’m not saying mine’s the best dick out there either. Dicks, by and large, are simple, unassuming things. In short, a dick’s a dick, and just as there’s nothing inherently wrong with cunts, so too with dicks.

Okay, so he’s not a dick or a cunt. Maybe he’s just not very nice. I’ll have to settle for that.

Note to self: Whenever in public food court, sit with cauliflower ear facing wall. Preferably mirrorless kind. That way, no one sees and laughs. Or sees and comments. Or worse still, sees then completely looks away.

I think my heart is going to kill me.

 

by TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018

DARWINIAN // Woke at the Coalface

‘Eat. Sleep. Sprint. Repeat.’

At no other time in history could I wear this summation of existence on an article of clothing and not be thought of as odd. But nearly everyone’s doing it nowadays, so I guess that makes me somewhat normal — or at least someone somewhere’s definition of ‘normal’. It’s funny how society bolted from the t-shirt as an undergarment in the nineteenth century to being worn as outerwear in the mid-twentieth century. Quite the transition, no? We shrugged from ‘shock of the new’ territory into the realm of blind acceptance in one quick, easy, costume change.

So, what does this actually mean? It means that t-shirts are in. It means that catchy sayings in bold typeface beneath cartoon pics of hollow, burnt up earths with factory stacks belching out poison are in. And it means that the combination of all these things is in. I guess the t-shirt is what society now deems ‘social convention’. Yup. And the only constant is change.

Frankly, I’ve never understood the appeal of t-shirts. To me they’re just walking billboards littered with guache advertising for untruths mixed with half-truths dressed up as ‘The Truth’ that you absolutely cannot live without… so buy today. And I happen to live at the fraying edge of all of that. Oh, damn, I don’t know what to do! Should I wear this shirt and risk exposing my unmanly physique for all to snort in derision at? I’m barely hanging on here, trying not to be the wonky thread that makes my carefully insulated life come undone. My face is already unacceptable by society’s standards. Now my body too?

Is this irony? The fact that I can be shamed for my pear-shaped body rather than the trite maxim on my overstretched top doesn’t seem right to me. Maybe I’m overthinking this. Maybe I shouldn’t be perturbed that not only is this the uniform that must be worn if I want to be part of society’s cabal of acceptance but that I can also be rejected if I fail to squeeze into it in the prescribed manner. No, I should just push these thoughts out of my mind…

The earth coughs up flowers for no one to notice.  The mighty dig past said flowers for coal to burn to make loot. Said mighty diligently practice their brand of self care, amassing said loot to the neglect of everyone else. And here I am, trying to decide whether what I’m feeling is mere vanity or the emergence of some awful realisation.

God. What possessed me to buy this stupid shirt anyway?

 

by TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018

GUEST POST // The Holocaust Box by Paol Soren

I have a box on my desk. Here is where my father lived.

One year ago today I received a large box with all Papa’s papers in it. It came from Douglass and Cohn, Solicitors of Bank Place, Melbourne. In it were all the records of my family’s dealings with the law as long as I can remember. They keep all documentation for twenty years and then destroy it unless any of the family wants it and I am the only family.

I have two fathers. I know that now but I only found out one year ago. One year ago I only knew Papa. Mama died when I was twelve and I loved her dearly. She was always such a happy person. I really could do with her now but that is asking too much – I am eighty years old and I will join them all soon.

Papa died in 1993. He was as old as I am now and he never told me who I was.

Here is where my other father lived – in a box.

My first real memory was of the ocean. I cannot remember my childish feelings but I do know the ocean was cold and then very hot and then quite cold again and we were on a boat with thousands of other people, old and young but mostly sad. I remember coming to Melbourne although I didn’t know what a Melbourne was, then. But it was a house and it was quiet and peaceful and I think I know that because I felt that it was different.

At home we spoke German. At school I spoke English and as the years went by I spoke German less and English more. But on Sunday we all spoke only German for Papa was the pastor at the German Lutheran Church in our suburb.

I was proud of my father. He spoke well. His sermons were clear. The congregation were very supportive. But as I grew and went to school I learned that being German was not as good in this world as I had thought. I learned about Hitler and the things that had happened in Europe. I put my age and the dates together and knew that we had been involved.

I knew without asking that something momentous had happened in our small family but I was busy with my school and although they said little I asked even less.

At school I learned that Australian soldiers had died in the war against Germany. I knew that some Australians hated Germans with a clear and open hatred. And I was included in that. And I wondered what I had done.

But as the years went by, and as I grew and my friends grew we forgot the early hatreds of the war and established our lives and established our families and I married and went to work.

At the church where my father had been pastor we stopped using German and all services were in English. Many parishioners were ordinary Australians and the German character changed and we became an ordinary old “Aussie” church. I became a member of the church council and some people suggested that my commitment was such that I should study to become a pastor as my Papa had been but work was also an attraction and I never did commit myself. I knew, always, that I was a true and faithful Christian.

This is not about my life and my marriage and my children and all that that entails. I could talk forever if I was writing a history of my life but I am not. Because everything that my life, my marriage, my children were to me, changed that day, one year ago, when I opened the box.

I am Jewish. I am not my father’s son. My mother, whom I loved dearly, lied to me all those years. In the box I learned the truth. I learned that I am Jewish. I am a ‘Yid’. I am supposed to have curly hair and a big nose. Oh, and I am supposed to be in the financial world. And I am not. I knew nothing of being Jewish, only those stereotypes.

And in the box I learned that Papa, and Mama, whom I loved dearly, were no longer my parents. And I slammed the lid of the box shut and cried and cried as only an old man can cry. I had few tears left inside my head but I sobbed and sobbed.

And I opened the lid of the box again and read. And again I slammed the lid of the box shut and cried and cried as only an old man can cry.

And then I stopped. I stopped sobbing for I am an old man and sobbing is for old women.

And I will tell you the box.

The box spoke of Hitler and the Brown shirts and Kristallnacht which I didn’t need to learn because I had learned it at school. At school it had just been one more factor in our year twelve Modern History Course – just another subject to pass to get into University. Make sure you impress the examiners if you want a good score. Do you want to study Law? Modern History is a fairly easy way to get a good score. Crystal Night. They burnt books. Or was that another night. I don’t remember. It was the Jews.

I am a Jew! I slammed the box shut. I will leave it for a while. Maybe it will be a dream.

But the dream did not let me alone.

I opened the box. I will tell you the box’s story.

The box told of the Jews disappearing. They got on a train and were never seen anymore. Papa was a young Pastor then. But he had a very old friend from when he was a boy in school in the village. Yakob Aronheim and Papa had played together as friends. And now Yacob was a Rabbi. And Papa and Yacob were still friends. The Nazis knew that Papa was sympathetic toward the Jews. Many Christians were not. Papa was so concerned that he was soon to be targeted by the Nazis. He decided to go quietly to Belgium. He spoke with Yakob and Yakob’s wife and suggested that they should also leave. But Yacob could not get the right papers. I know this sounds very terse but it is as the box told it.

What way can I help you?

Miriam and I have talked. Would you take Yacob, our son, and have him as your son?

Of course.

And do not tell him we left him.

Of course not.

And don’t let him be Jewish or he will die as we will.

Of course. But No! Not of course. He must know who he is.

Then when he is old enough to understand.

But I do not understand and I am old. And I slammed the lid.

I opened the lid. The box will tell. But the box told no more.

And I am a Jew. And I have two fathers and two mothers and I knew only one father and for a short time a mother. And I am a Jew and I have nothing to say – nothing to think – nothing to know.

And I started to run – to run to books – to run to friends – to run to my father. But my father was dead. Who is my father? Papa, are you my father or is Yakob my father?

And as I cried this time I cried, ‘My father, who art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy …… ‘ And I slammed the lid shut.

I am a Jew. I am a Christian. My God, My God, who am I. Why hast thou forsaken me? Who am I now?

And I ran to the box but the lid was shut. There was no more in the box. I knew I was alone. No father, no parent, no God.

And I stopped crying like an old lady.

There is a suburb in Melbourne that I drove through every day to work. Carlisle Street, Balaklava. Strange men walking with large black hats on their head. Young men with yarmulkes keeping their heads covered whether they know why or not. So I stopped and walked down Carlisle Street. I won’t say I felt at home. But I was quite at ease. A young man in a beard and a black suit with his white shirt hanging out and tassels stopped me.

“Are you Jewish?” he asked.

“No,” I answered. “Do I look Jewish?”

“Well, yes you do.”

“Well I am not. What do you want?”

“We are praying for peace in Israel,” he said, winding some black string around his arm. I ignored that.

“No,” I said, a little more gently than before, “But I think I am on your side.” And I walked away feeling quite pleased with my self although I had no idea why.

I looked up Jewish Museum in the phone book. I lived quite close and it was Friday and I drove and parked and walked and it was closed. It is always closed on Fridays and Saturdays when all the other museums in Australia are opened.

And the days passed. And the weeks. And I went to libraries and read and read and read and then I started to cry again.

When I was in school we learned of things that the box had said. The box spoke of Hitler and the Brown shirts and Kristallnacht. But I already told you that. At school it had just been one more factor in our year twelve Modern History Course. And I told you that as well. I don’t remember Year Twelve Modern History. I learned more now. I learned of Crystal Night and Dachau and burning and gas. But now it was personal. I went back to the box.

And in the bottom was a small dark letter and my father Yacob was dead in Auschwitz. My father and mother had made it to Belgium but that was not enough. My mother was Miriam.

And I am a Jew. The box could tell me no more. It told me where to start but I had to find my own way.

The next Sunday I went to church – as I have done for all my life. And I know that when I got up, halfway through the sermon they all looked at me. Is Jacob all right? Why is he leaving? Why doesn’t someone go after him? He doesn’t look well.

I will tell you this. Jacob is not well. I am Yacob, and I am not well.

My God! My God! Why hast thou forsaken me? No I am not well.

I walked that day right in to town. I left my car. I did not notice the tram. I walked all the way to the Cathedral. If God is here, here will he be.

I knelt to pray. But I could not pray. “Father forgive me for I have sinned.”

My God! My God! Why did you forsake me? Why did you forsake my father and my mother? How many did you forsake?

I was Jacob wrestling with the angel. I was Job in all his torment. And God replied but I could not listen.

For I am a Jew and I haven’t learned to forgive God.

And I closed the lid, and I took the box.

And I burned my own private holocaust.

I am glad I will die soon.

 

by PAOL SOREN
© All rights reserved 2015

Oops!… We Did It Again (you can not redo)

Erm… hullo there. (This is rather awkward…)

Dear Reader, the stuff that was originally posted here has been removed.

We have done this because said stuff has since been included in one of our published books. We hope you’ll believe us when we say we’re not trying to be stingy. No, this has been done to honour the people who have already spent their hard-earned money on our eBook creations.*

If, however, for some reason you’re unable to buy one of our books, and feel you’ll die without seeing this piece of writing, then please contact us via admin@unbolt.me. We won’t allow our Dear Readers to fade away in the dark. We’ll send you the piece in question, and it will be absolutely free. All you need do is ask.

* Of course, we would be like two happy puppies if you too decided to buy one of our books.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2016-2018