Thursday, 29 March 2018

Beth and the Lemons

I got up at 4am. I woke early and could get back to sleep. It's the trouble with going to bed early, falling asleep on the couch in front of the TV and then stumbling off to bed.

I went jogging at 6am, just as the sun was coming up. It rained. It had already started as I was leaving, but I thought, hoped, it would stop. It got heavier. I pulled my hoodie over my head, to keep my head phones dry.

By the time I got home, it had stopped. And I was freezing. I stood in front of the fire in the lounge. Bruno snuffled around my feet and licked the sweat off my legs. It tickled.

I was just drying my hair with a towel when there was a knock at the back door, it was my neighbour Beth.

“You been jogging in the rain again?”

“Yeah, well, gotta do what ya gotta do.”

“It will lead to no good,” said Beth. “I’ve told you before. Pneumonia and death not long after.”

“Good morning to you too, Beth.”

“And a jolly good morning it is too.”

“I’ve got to keep it all trim,” I said. “I never know when I have to use it.”

“Meditation,” said Beth. “I’ve told you before. Too much emphasis on,” she looked at my crotch, “ya thing…”

“Beth!” I laughed.

“Empty vessel, Joshy boy, empty vessel. You just end up chasing it around and your never ending wants leave you unfulfilled.” Beth’s right eye ticked, like she was winking at me. “Ends up driving you nuts. Driving you nuts, Josh.” She ticked uncontrollably for a few seconds.

“Jogging is my meditation…”

“False god, Josh my boy, false god…”

“It is when I relax…”

Beth held her hands out in front of her like she was holding the entire world in her hands. “You think,” emphasis on the think, as she pulled the world towards herself, “you are relaxing, Josh, but you’re not…

“But, I am…”

“No Josh, no Josh. You are still feeding your ego. You are doing it all for the wrong reasons. Besides, high impact is never going to lead you to nirvana.”

“The wrong reasons?” I pretty much knew what the answer to this was, why I asked I don’t know.

“You want to be discovering inner peace, not outward beauty.” Beth’s shoulder rotated quite unexpectedly. “Inner peace, Josh, not outward beauty.” She flattened her palms and slid them through the air in front of her. “Sanctuary is inside every one of us, we just have to take the time to look for it.” Her hands spread out like stars, as she briefly closed her eyes.

“Would you like a coffee, Beth?”

“The devils brew, Josh, the de..vil..’s brew.”

“Well, I was just about to have one.”

“Lemons,” Beth suddenly said. “I want lemons.”

Ah yes. She had stopped me in our street yesterday, to say is was curd making season, or some such thing. Out in the sun shine, in the light of the day, Beth talks at a much quicker clip, and she kind of cowers and speaks to the ground, as though the sun is super powering all of her anxieties. But I did get that she wanted lemons.

I glanced over at the fruit bowl to see a number of the yellow fruit hiding amongst the mandarins. “Help yourself.”

“You are a prince, Josh, a prince,” said Beth. “What would I do without you?”

“What would I do without you, Beth?”

She stepped with one foot, and kind of slid the other one behind the first, right up next to me. “You are not moving, are you Josh?

Beth has OCD and agoraphobia. “No.”

“You wouldn’t move on me, would you Josh?”

“No plans to, Beth.” We often had this conversation.

She glanced around, I am not sure why, then looked back at me. “Good.” She looked at the fruit bowl and talked while still gazing at it. “I’m not sure if I could cope if you moved, Josh. Pippa and Joe and Tommy either.” Our other neighbours, husband, wife, gorgeous son. She looked at me. “You still banging that boy?”

“Tommy?” I asked nervously. I was guessing she meant Tommy, but as I said it, I wasn’t sure.

“Yes, Tommy,” said Beth.

“No,” I said. “Not for some time.

“He is too young for you, anyway.”

“I’m only in my thirties.”

“Yes, old enough to know better.”

I had to change the subject. “Nobody is moving.”

“Nor Rob and Sally,” Beth reached out to the fruit bowl and picked out three lemons, one by one. “Rob and Sally aren’t moving, are they?”

“Not that I know of, Beth.” Rob and Sally are in their thirties, they are a professional couple with no kids, they have been married for ten years.

“I don’t want Rob and Sally to move either.”

“I haven’t heard.” Strapping Rob, there was a street Xmas party – we all live in single fronted terraces, there is a group of them, three either side of a narrow street – Rob drank many beers, more than six stubbies, he stayed back to help clean up, and funny Sally. They live over the road.

Beth had investigated the lemons as we spoke and she put one of them back in the fruit bowl and chose another. She looked at me. She grimaced. “It had a blemish, you don’t mind, do you?”

“Whatever lemons you like, Beth. Take them all.”

“You’re kind, Josh, very kind,” said Beth. “You will always be alright because you are kind.”

“Thanks, Beth.”

She held out the lemons in front of her. There was an awkward moment of silence. “A bag, josh?” said Beth. “Do you have a bag?”

“Oh… yes.”

“A supermarket bag, Josh. Might as well make it double use, while we can, before they ban them, you know.”

I pulled a grey plastic bag from my grey plastic bag carrier, screwed to the wall of the pantry.”

“But… clean.”

“Huh.” I held up the bag I had selected.

“Is it clean?”

“Of course.”

“It wasn’t used to carry raw meat, was it Josh?”


“Or fresh fish,” said Beth. She pulled a face. “Fresh fish would be worse.” She laughed that self-conscious laugh. “No fresh fish.”

“I can’t vouch for every bag, Beth, you understand, but as far as I can remember...”

“Could you look.” She motioned with her chin. “Just a quick look. Humour me, Josh.”

I waved the bag through the air, so it would open up. “There.” I pushed my hand through the bag turning it inside out. “Clean as.”

“Could you put it back the other way,” said Beth. “So, the outside continues, er, to be on the outside.”

I pushed my hand back through the bag. Beth pushed the lemons into the bag.

“Gotta go. I’ll find that mediation book, for beginners,” she laughed. She took hold of the back door knob. “Inner peace for dummies.” She cackled. She disappeared through the door. I turned towards the coffee machine and pushed the button to turn it on.

“Ah Josh…”

I turned to see Beth in the doorway again. “I didn’t mean you were a dummy, Josh. I didn’t mean that at all. I just wanted to say.”

The coffee machine whirred. “No problem, Beth.”

She smiled. She twitched. Then she was gone again, with the rustle of a plastic bag.

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Out Jogging When Tim Stepped Up Beside Me At The Lights

Thick dark hair, widow’s peak, don’t think I didn’t notice that. He stood next to me at the lights. Like Eddie Munster all grown up, don’t think I didn’t think that.

Nice arse.

He looked sideways at me. Our eyes met. He held my gaze for just that moment too long.

He hurriedly looked straight ahead again, when he realised I wasn’t breaking his gaze.

The sun shone. The sky was blue.

I sucked his cock, good and hard, it felt good in my mouth. He moaned like he liked it. He had a nice dick, big and straight and hard. His name was Tim, he said he had a girlfriend who wouldn’t understand. I was going for a jog passed Melbourne uni. He just kind of looked at me and I knew he was on. I wasn’t really looking for it, not really, I was just out running, enjoying the sun shine, headphones on. But he looked keen, thick, dark hair, widow’s peak, which is a bit of a weakness for me. Sparkly eyes, nice smile.

He looked again. He held my gaze. We were at the lights, Swanston and Elgin, trams and all, so we waited for some time for the green man. He stepped ahead of me. I waited for him to look back, before he got to the other side. He looked over his left shoulder. He headed down Elgin Street. He looked back continuously. I kept my eyes fixed on him, so he saw me looing each time he looked around. We headed down a laneway behind one of the buildings there, just before the pub. It was that easy. I wondered if I was misreading the situation, hoping I wasn’t, otherwise he’d find me down the lane with him, not knowing why. I knew that I wasn’t. This wasn’t my first rodeo, and this wasn’t my first cowboy.

That familiar buzz, it comes back to you quickly. Nice arse, good legs, nice eyes.

He got behind a dumpster and took his cock out. “I want to be sucked off.” Nice and thick, uncut. He looked nervous, I reckoned he was 20 years old, I should have felt his arse crack for dew.

“You live around here?”

He said he was third year. He lived in the eastern suburbs with his parents. I deep throated him. His breathing changed. He’d turned 21 at the beginning of the year and had been dating his girlfriend Emily since year 11. He looked like a private school boy, he said he was. Preppy. Strapping. Like he’d have played on the football team.

He went to Xavier College, so he had all that catholic guilt, as well. And a long list of gays, Tim and John, my mate went to Xavier college too.

“I have been asked if I am that Tim from Xavier.”

“He’s more my age.”

“Thirty years ago,” said Tim.

“Oh? Yes, I guess.”

He had a nice smile,
 even the nervous version that I was getting.

He had the same girl he been with since they were teenagers. He’d got around none the less, all the time in his monogamous relationship.

Tim’s a talker, I like that.
His cock dribbled a fair amount of precum and it was hard like a metal bar, pumped with blood. Rock hard. It was nice to suck, nice and smooth and shiny, that shininess that only comes when the blood is fully pumping. I sucked him hard, he tasted good. It didn’t take long before he was trembling in his ankles and then his legs, up on the balls of his feet.

“Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah! Fuck… yeah!”

And then he was holding my hair up on his tip toes, I moved my head away, and he shot his load next to my ear, shaking as he shot cannon balls of cum out of his beautiful dick, in big, white wads. Splat! Splat! Splat!

He moaned. His cock was post-cum tender.

He shook his hands in flicks, as I got to my feet. It was enough to see him enjoy himself, I didn’t need to cum too, besides, I haven’t had my cock out in the middle of the day since I was his age. Uni public toilets were a favourite, he reminded me of those days. And he didn’t seem to care, if I came or not, as he buttoned up his jeans with sticky fingertips, little fingers extended. Scrunched face.

“I wanna do it again,” he said.

“I thought you were straight?”

“I a… I a… ahhhh…” the final sigh was like him letting go of all pretence.

“Don’t you have a girlfriend?” I asked.

“I am. I guess. I don’t know?” said Tim.

He was tongue tied. “You don’t know if you have a girlfriend?”

“No. I mean, no I don’t know…” Big, brown eyes.

“What?” He was goddam cute. We both laughed.

“I know.” He blushed. “I have one.” Was he flirting, or what? “A girlfriend, that is.” He smiled. He was adorable.

“What are you studying?”


“I should run a mile.”


“You are me 15 years ago.”

“How so?”

“Melb Uni. Law. I did it too.”

We both looked at each other. He was cute. I could tell he was thinking the same thing, it is nice to feel.

“Give me your number,” he said.


“Give me your number, you’re nice.”

“What about your girlfriend?

“What about her?”

“You need to tell her.”


“Are you gay?”

“I don’t know?”

“Come on, you are going to have to do better than that.”

He shrugged. “Whatever.” He smiled. “Sure, I like it.”

I laughed.

“Don’t laugh.”

“You’re gay Timmy…”

He shrugged. “Don’t call me Timmy.” His eyes got really big.

He smiled. “Only my mum calls me Timmy.”

I gave him my number.

“Can I call you?”

“Sure, I wouldn’t have given you my number otherwise.”

He smiled. “I’ll call you.”

“Okay,” I said.

He walked away backwards. “I’ll call you.”

“Okay,” I said again.

He smiled. He’s damn cute, I felt drawn to him. “Fifteen years isn’t so much of an age difference, is it?”

“No,” I said. “But a girlfriend is a problem.”

“Yeah,” he said. “Don’t worry about that.”

“Okay,” I said.

He walked away, up the lane.

I pulled on my headphones.

He stopped again at the end of the laneway. He smiled. Waved. Then disappeared out of sight.

I chose U2’s Vertigo. I jogged out of the lane to Elgin Street. I couldn’t help but think of Tim. He made me smile. I laughed, which was a sign that I liked him. How on earth could I know if I liked him. Those things just happen sometimes, you know, you like someone.

Saturday, 25 November 2017


"Would you like some vegan pie," asks Ivan. "It's made from real vegans."

They all laugh. Mike indicates he'll have some.

"There is a whole clutch of them," Ivan laughs. "Was... a whole... clutch... of... them..." Ivan could feel his own eyebrows rise sharply. They all laugh. "A whole clutch of them, out Healesville way..."

"I love it out there," says Bryan. "So pretty."

"Just like you."

Bryan blushes.

"Vegan pie?" asks Ivan. "Real vegans, you know. We had to burn down the collectives and kill the men folk to get enough vegan meat for these pies."

"Oh, yes please," says Dan. "Never tried it."

"Taste just like chicken, they say."

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Okay, Okay, I Shouldn't Have Eaten Those Mushrooms

The Land cruiser was really comfortable on the trip back into the city, he thinks he may have nodded off. He forgets how high the, what is essentially a, truck is off the ground, when he gets out at Tim’s place in Brunswick, and he slides out in an ungainly fashion. He’s sure he was grabbing on for safety handles as it all gave way below him.

That’s funny, he thinks. Is he unsteady on his feet?

Tim leans into the back of the car to get the mushrooms. “Maate? You ate from both bags.”

“No I didn’t,” he says instinctively. What?

“Both bags are open,” says Tim sounding like mum.

“I couldn’t have.” Even he heard the quaver in his own voice.

It was as if Tim sniffed his admission in the air. “Maaate?”

"Okay, okay, I shouldn't have eaten those mushrooms," he says. He holds his stomach and wonders if he is turning green.

"Maate? Maate? You didn't eat the red cap ones, did ya?"

Red cap, gold cap, I ate them like I'd eat potato chips. "Dunno..."

"Oh maate..."

"I don't reckon..." What the hell do mushrooms do to you?

"You sure?"

"Nah, of course... I'm... I'm not sure." He was sure alright, he knew he'd eaten them, but he didn't want to look like a complete idiot, now did he.

"I told ya just to eat the ones from the first bag, the ones I'd picked..." Tim says. “And then only a few.”

A few? Now suddenly there is a number restriction? "Yeah, yeah, I listened to ya..."

"So, did ya?"

"Did I what?" He was having trouble keeping up by this point.

"Just eat them from the bag, eat the ones I picked?"

Don’t question me. "Yeah, yeah, I think so..." he didn’t, actually, remember eating any of the damn mushrooms, he just knew he had eaten them. One by one as he gazed out the window.

"You think so?" Tim’s voice squeaked ominously.

"Yeah, okay, I did. I did, okay." Why did his voice squeak?

"You don't wanna eat any of them red ones, or any of them gold ones, from the other bag, you really don't want to do that."

"Sweet." He didn’t look at the colour of them. WHO SAID ANYTHING ABOUT COLOUR?

There is silence for a minute.

That's all you are going to say? He thinks. Does he feel well? Is he beginning to feel sick? Is it psycomatic? "Like, why?" he asks.

"Why what?"

"Like what will happen?"

"Oh maate, I couldn't say. Wouldn't like to say. Not really sure."

“Give it your best shot.” He was suddenly feeling desperate, and he didn’t entirely know why?

Tim makes sucking sounds.

"Don't say that." What the fuck does that mean? I don’t like the sound of that.

They hold each other’s gaze.

Tim’s mouth creases first. “So, I have one question for you.” Tim holds his hands out, flat in the air. “Then I’m done.”

“What is it?” You only have one question? This is my life we are talking about.

“Why were both bags open, when I got them from the middle of the back seat, next to where you were sitting?”

He’d done coke in Sydney with Mardi Gras queens after a long weekend of taking every other drug he could get his hands on. “You must have put them in the car that way.”

“I didn’t.”

“You must be mistaken.” He’d done MDMA and trips with drag queens in London until the sun came up.

“I’m not.”

He’d done MDA with drunk girls in Milan. “Ah… er…ah” was all he could manage. He was thinking about the time he got a lift across Milan with a willowy black woman, with bright red lipstick, in a bright red Fiat 500. Was everything suddenly looking red?

“The second bag was what we’d all picked, but I just hadn’t checked it for poison’s rooms.”


“What if I did?” He holds his hands in the air, he’d suddenly exposed an uncomfortable truth about himself.

Tim sucks in breath.

That sucking sound, the only other time he’d heard that was at sex on premises venues with guys sucking cock in the dark areas. He is sure that isn’t good in this situation.

Tim looks into the second bag. “The ratio of poisonous is disturbingly high.” Tim sucks in breath again. “I should take you to get your stomach pumped.” His eyes blink fast. “It would be the kindest thing.”

“What!” Even he hears his own voice squeak.

“Did you eat…” asks Tim. His right hand does a kind of Sale of the Century’s model’s hand gesture to the bag he is holding in his other hand. “These?”

Ambulance. Emergency. ICU. All flash through his mind. “What?”

“What did you eat?”

“Just what you told me.”



“Okay then,” says Tim. “Well?”

“Well what?”

“I’ve gotta go.”

He’s what? Oh… yeah… okay. Will suddenly closes the Landcruiser door with a jerk of his arm, as though suddenly he wasn’t in full control of his arm. He sees it close. He could tell he’d closed it too hard, as Tim’s mouth makes an O shape and his eyes widen noticeably, but Will didn’t hear the door closing make any sound.

Tim guns the engine and selects 1st gear with a crunch of the gearstick before he accelerates away.

Will stands and watches the big truck disappear out of view. Then he stands there for a bit longer, gazing at the spot Tim disappeared around the corner.

Will’s eyes lids suddenly feel heavy, he’s not at all sure if he has both eyes open.

The front path comes up at him in the most peculiar way. The front door feels huge. The last thing he remembers is the hallway carpet coming up and smacking him in the face.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Maggie's Night Spot

Serendipity was swinging around her pole slowly, it was a slow night at Maggie's Night Spot. None of the regulars were in, just a few losers who seemed to be staring down the misery in their pint glasses, more than they were staring at the girl's tits. 

Where were all the fun guys. The drunk guys. The guys with full wallets. The easy guys. A grab of your tits and they were happy.

Serendipity had a hand full of lard, so she just kept spinning around that big, greasy brass pole. 

The piano player, Johnny, was playing honky tonk, as if he were on Serapax. Serendipity knew he drank two bottles of red, and smoked half a bag of weed before he came on. The jukebox of emo go slow.

Serendipity spun and she spun and she spun.

Daaaah, Dah, Dah, Daaah, Dah, dah, daaah. Dah.

Serendipity spun and she spun and she spun.

Daaaah, Dah, Dah, Daaah, Dah, dah, daaah. Dah.

"It is me, they are coming to see," saig Johnny. "To forget about life for a while."

Daaaah, Dah, Dah, Daaah, Dah, dah, daaah. Dah.

Daaaah, Dah, Dah, Daaah, Dah, dah, daaah. Dah.

Serendipity spun and she spun and she spun.

Daaaah, Dah, Dah, Daaah, Dah, dah, daaah. Dah.

"Man, what are you doin' here?" Johnny screamed.

“Oh, la la la, di da da, la la, di da da da dum.”

Daaaah, Dah, Dah, Daaah, Dah, dah, daaah. Dah.

Serendipity spun and she spun and she spun.

Daaaah, Dah, Dah, Daaah, Dah, dah, daaah. Dah.

Serendipity spun and she spun and she spun.

"Well, we're all in the mood for a melody."

Johnny’s fingers crash off onto a classical music version of Hey Big Spender, still with a stripper’s beat, naturally. Tits and arse. Snatch and feathers. "Da da-da da da-da da da-da da da..."

Serendipity spun and she spun and she spun.

"And you... " Johnnie’s voice soared.

Johnny plays a crashing piano solo. High art. Avant-garde. Da da-da da, da da-da da, da da-da da da.

"Got us feeling alright," wails Johnny’s bluesy voice.

Daaaah, Dah, Dah, Daaah, Dah, dah, daaah. Dah.

Serendipity spun and she spun and she spun.

Daaaah, Dah, Dah, Daaah, Dah, dah, daaah. Dah.

Serendipity spun and she spun and she spun.

The guys weren't coming in. Serendipity was getting a pain in her shoulder for no money, for no cash. She spun and she spun and she spun.

Daaaah, Dah, Dah, Daaah, Dah, dah, daaah. Dah.

Serendipity spun and she spun and she spun.

“Oh, la la la, di da da, la la, di da da da dum,” sings Johnnie.

Heels click across the concrete floor. “Step it up a bit, you two” says Maggie. “People will think somebody has died here soon, if you keep that up.”

“Not exactly a jumping night,” whines Serendipity.

“Well, do something about it,” says Maggie. “It’s not a fucken wake.”

“What do you suggest?”

“Shake your arse, get ya fucken tits out, that’s what I fucken suggest,” says Maggie. “Before I get up there and show you how it’s really fucken done.”

Serendipity spits her gum. “That won’t be necessary,” Serendipity says, on all fours, twirking her arse slowly in the air. Serendipity gets to her feet, she steps up to her mic. "Fuck you,” she wails at Johnny, pointing in the air at him. She breathes in deep. “It is me,” she pulls her tits out. “They are coming to see," Serendipity wails. She slides her hand down her stomach and into her panties and clearly into her vagina. "To forget about life for a while."

Johnny’s harmonica soars as the piano pounds.

Maggie whistles. The boys instinctively make their way to Serendipity’s stage. “That’s my girl,” yells Maggie. Two thumbs in the air as she walks away.

Serendipity kicks her leg high. She shakes her tits.

“Oh, la la la, di da da, la la, di da da da dum.”

Two of the boy’s wolf whistle.

Hector is at the front of the stage. The young, Greek fish monger from up the market. Handsome Hector.

Serendipity grabs her mic and goes down on her knees in front of Hector, black g-string and black leather boots. Serendipity wraps both her arms around Hector’s head, she slides on of her nipples into his mouth.

The punters go crazy. If Hector gets to suck tit, it means the rest of them have a shot of sucking nipples too. Hector sucks her breast like a poddy calf.

Serendipity stands up. “The minute you walked into the joint.”

“Boom! Bang!” Johnny ponds the keys.

“I could see you were a maa, an, an an aan,” sang Serendipity.

Da da-da da, da da-da da, da da-da da da, Johnny plays

“A man of distinction.” Serendipity slides her g-string to her anckles.

Da da-da da, da da-da da, da da-da da da.

“I pop my cork for every man I see.”

Serendipity squats in front of Hector. She slides a finger into herself.

“Spend a little time with me,” Serendipity sings.

Serendipity takes Hector’s hand and puts it on her hand, the finger of which she is fingering herself.

“I pop my cork.”

Serendipity fingers herself open for all to see.

“I pop my cork.”

Hector’s finger disappears inside Serendipity.

The boys all start to cheer.

Serendipity stands.

“For evvvvery… Maaaaaaaan,” she wails. “I” She turns to face the men full frontal nude. She blows air kisses. “Seeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.”

Lights up. Serendipity takes a small bow. Lights down. Serendipity heads for the back of the stage.

The next stripper Coral, with her python, heads towards her.

“Well,” said Serendipity. “I think they are warmed up enough now.”

“Yeah, thanks a fucken lot for makin’ my shift that much fucken harder,” said Coral.

“If you’ve got it, you’ve got it.” said Serendipity. “What can I say?” She laughed 

“Well, next time you decided to wake up from your fucken drug nightmare and do some fucken work for a fucken change, instead of thinking about how you are gonna fuck Johnny next,” said Coral. “I’d have bought my dog in if I’d known that.”

“Maggie is on the snarl, apparently we aren’t bringing in enough of the filthy.”

“Was that her down the front,” asks Coral. “That I saw tonight?

“Perhaps we should do a double act?”

“Have another nosefull and come back out,” said Coral. “I could ditch the snake if you do.”

“Nah, I got me a big, Greek stallion tonight.”

Johnnie’s piano started to wail on stage.

Coral stepped up to the microphone.

“I was five and he was six.”

The door banged shut behind Serendipity. The music stopped.

She had told Hector to meet her out the front. She didn’t want to leave him standing around the building. Serendipity knew what slags the girls were. Any handsome thing with a pulse.

“You been waiting long,” Serendipity said to Hector.

“No,” said Hector. He laughed. “You know how long I have been waiting.”

Some Greek men are truly gifts from the gods, thought Serendipity, as her head hung off the side of her bed and she saw her room upside down. Hector snored. She didn’t make him use a condom. She didn’t have one. He didn’t have one. She took it as a sign. He could be the one, she thought girlishly to herself.