100 WORD SKITTLE // Living the Dream

My dream. I ended up leaving my hometown for this.

Melbourne was too expensive. I’d lost my job and the rent was killing, so I upped stakes. I moved to deepest, darkest Peru where I burned through the remainder of my savings in under a year. Even though it was as cheap as chips to live there, I eventually found myself eking out a living on the streets.

I guess I didn’t think things through enough. Now I didn’t even have the money for a one-way ticket back to Australia.

Still, I had my dream. I would write a book.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018

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

CALIXIAN // Ranting Up the Wazoo

I am in a crappy mood. That’s why I’ve decided to kill Darwin this very day. Somehow. And quirkily.

I’m wandering around in the shed when I stumble upon a dusty, old megaphone. This could be exactly what I need! “Darwin, baby, come here! I have something for you.” I can barely contain my glee.

Darwin’s tumbled head pops in at the door. He’s looking at me with curiosity. It’s definitely one of his best traits. He’s as curious as a kitten. I crook my finger at him, beckoning him closer. Darwin enters the shed.

I take my time. I want to savor the pleasure. I smear half a bottle of grease over Darwin’s mop then meticulously comb it back. Then I pick the nastiest tie I can find from a dingy, old wardrobe in the corner of the shed. Yes, the orange tie with the big blue hot-dogs. That should do it.

Darwin twists and turns before the mirror on the wardrobe door, giggling. He obviously thinks it’s a funny role-playing game. Perhaps he’s now imagining that I’ll put on a nurse’s costume, or dress like Harley Quinn, or like a big violet papulose lobster. Frankly, I neither know nor care what this pervert daydreams about.

I take another look at him. Darwin is smiling like a brewer’s horse. He’s shining like a spit-and-polished samovar. I don’t recall him ever being this happy, and certainly not since that time he won ten measly greens in bingo. I feel something approaching a light pang of conscience, but I shake it off. I have to finish this game.

I need a finishing touch. I survey the shed interior before noticing a shabby leather suitcase in another corner. Perfect! Feeling like real Pygmalion, I thrust it into Darwin’s hand and take a step back to admire my handiwork for a moment. It’s unbelievable but Darwin looks even worse than he usually does. Is that even possible? It seems that, yes, it is.

Darwin shoots me a questioning look, waiting for whatever’s next. I push a megaphone into his arms, give him a wink in return, then abruptly push him outside. I slam the door. Right before his nose. Take that!

Darwin knocks insistently, begging to be let in, but not for too long. Curiosity killed the cat, I suppose. I know that a protest movement on the next street over will soon catch his attention. And I know that he always jumps at the chance to rant about his favorite topics, especially now that he has the megaphone and some sympathetic listeners around.

There’s a knock at the door.

Darwin’s tumbled head pops into my bedroom. I barely have time to minimize my window.

“Calix, dinner’s ready. Come and get it!”

“Sure.”

By the time I’m leaving the bedroom, the Sim Darwin is standing on the suitcase, shouting frothily into the megaphone. “Death is supposed to be the last, great refuge for troubled minds!” he squawks. “From ashes to ashes, dust to dust, and into the big black!” His face is flushed. The tie hung loose. Darwin is as cute and convincing as Lenin on the armored car in 1917.

Meanwhile, the Grim Reaper stands just around a nearby corner, wry faced and skittishly rubbing a scythe. He doesn’t like anyone ranting about death too much, you know.

I step into the kitchen and give Darwin the biggest smile I can muster.

“What do we have for dinner?”

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2018