Short stories

Below are all my short stories published online – you can read these for free.

You can also pay to read my stories at Review of Australian Fiction (Lake and Amy’s twin, which is a prequel to my novella Formaldehyde), Tincture and Funny Ha Ha.

The last idea

The last idea was first published by Slink Chunk Press in May 2016

The hurricane lantern was flickering more than usual. She checked the gas line but everything seemed fine. Oh blimey, she thought, not the mantle. Last time she’d had to ransack the outdoor shop in town it had been a two-day round trip. ‘Don’t be the mantle, don’t be the mantle…’ At least it wasn’t getting worse. She picked up her pen. Read more

Rhetoric – Bob Brown

Bob Brown was first published in the Seizure – Rhetoric project.

Are you OK? Is everyone OK back there? Alright then, let’s rest here awhile.

First, I want to thank all of you – my fellow Earthians – for being here with me today. You’ve come so far, achieved so much, to be here this afternoon. To the survivors of last summer’s Victorian holocaust, I salute you. Those who made it here after Sydney was cut off from food supplies, who escaped the slaughter of Surry Hills, I can only imagine the horrors you have seen. And the orphans whose parents sacrificed everything to get them here as Brisbane went under, I’m sorry we couldn’t do more for you. All of you have contributed so much to our little community, and I thank you all for your self-sufficiency, your resilience and your undimmed hope. Read more

 

We saw the same sky

We saw the same sky was first published in Overland 218, Autumn 2015.

‘You are not going to make it to Australia,’ the Minister had told the Clients. ‘Not even in your dreams.’

The Bureaucrat watched her reflection in the mirrored window. Her colleagues’ screens flickered blue-green. Coffee cups clinked against glasses and papers rustled as her desk-mates packed up for the night. The hum of the fluorescent tube above her head had almost become inaudible. She clicked it off. Glimmers of faraway screens, islands in the dark, were picked out across the mirrored window. She pressed her face against the glass so she could see outside. Read more

 

Iridescence – clarity

‘Please,’ Sal begged.

‘Mate.’ Iri was only half listening now – he had accounts to check. ‘I already told you we don’t do replacements.’

‘But I…’

He cut her off. ‘You got the spiel when you came in for the removal. This is a one-way procedure. Once it’s off we can’t put it back. You should’ve done your research.’ He looked up, then wished he hadn’t when he saw Sal’s look of utter despair. His voice softened ‘It’s a serious procedure, Sal. That’s why we make you wait a week. I’m sorry. There’s nothing I can do now.’ He pushed the cut-glass tray of mints over the counter and went back to his accounts. Read more

 

In Registry

In Registry was first published by Sleepers in 2009 in the collection Sleepers Almanac 5.

‘Did I tell you about the time everyone on my train was reading the same book?’ I said, but Steve wasn’t listening.

‘I said,’ I said, and he told me he heard what I said but that there was never a time when everyone on my train was reading the same book, and he was sick of hearing about my imaginary stories. Read more

 

Instructions for an installation

Instructions for an installation was first published by Cardigan Press in 2003, in the collection ‘Normal service will resume’.

Now

‘Here,’ he told me. ‘These are the taste buds for fear. These ones taste jasmine when it’s cold outside but the flowers think it’s warm. These ones are for the times while you wait for your friends to finish saying their goodbyes; the times you know the bus is coming but they just don’t care enough to wind up, to say “Hey, I’ve got to go. The bus is coming.” These ones taste oily grit under your fingernails when you’re looking in the bottom of your bag for 50 cents, but can only find 10. They taste what it’s like when the phone is there in front of you and all you have is the weight of 10 cents in your hand.’ Read more

 

A dynasty of square standers

A dynasty of square standers was first published by Vignette Press/Mini Shots in 2008. It later morphed into the novel, A wrong turn at the Office of Unmade Lists.

We set fire to the shrivelled Christmas tree and we squat by the edge of the basketball court to watch it burn. It’s starting to rain so I turn my collar up to stop the water dripping down my neck. From a pub behind us I can hear football – it’s getting colder and I guess cricket season must be over by now. Read more

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