On Depression Street, there is a house painted pink. The house: old, renovated, Colonial. Crown-moulding on the ceiling. Pink: the colour of a hopeless-hopeful people, who won’t budge no matter how many times you tell them to. Pink people, you see, are dreamers. They live and suffer for their dream. Do their dreams ever come true? Does someone who’s asleep know that they are dead? This is the Twilight Zone.
Still reeling, like every particle and cell of my body turned into liquid love (Dove Cameron, 2018).
The first time you see her, it’s not love or anything like it. It’s familiarity. Literally, because you’ve seen her somewhere before. Baker’s Delight? You frequent the place, buying new rolls every Sunday. It’s your morning service. No, not Baker’s Delight. Fish and chips? Maybe. Her back is turned to you and when you walk by her to take your seat in the class, you see the yellow box in her hands and smell a whiff of the chicken salt. Yes. Fish and chips. Amen. Her name?
Why am I not smart enough to say things people will like? Where is my future as a social media influencer? Like this content? Follow me on: (xxx).
The Dio Alata was painted purple from the yam it was named after. There were only so many ships in the spaceport and one’s eye was immediately drawn to it: a purple, simultaneously beautiful and monstrous thing. Tall and thin, it cut like a knife through the space in front of it as it pulled out of the port, and two would-be passengers were running after it. They need to get on that ship or they’ll die. Literally, if they jump, they fall into the vastness of space. One of them makes it. It’s not you. This Time Tomorrow, the Kinks.
Received, 1:52am: nowadays i just cbf at all but i know i shouldn’t be feeling that ja feel
Received, 2:23am: oh big mood
Received, 2:35am: if u wanna talk dude im here
Received, 12:12pm: guys where are the discussion rooms in the lawbry
Sent, 12:15pm: god sorry i just got this but ja definitely feel ok, hope ur feeling better
Sent, 12:15pm: top floor Received, 12:18pm: feeling better now but uhh rip 4 hours sleep
Received, 12:19pm: F
Received, 12:19pm: do u have work later? Received, 12:20pm: wait what do i do if someone’s in the room i booked
Received, 12:34pm: is anyone free for lunch lmao im alone
I’m truly a lost thing. My cousin and I talk it over during a game of Monopoly. She tells me this is a good property to buy and I listen. I’m losing money. I tell her I’d like to have telepathy as a superpower, wouldn’t that be cool? But I’d worry about what that would do to my overthinking. “Would it get better or worse?” she asks, hopping the silver shoe around the board. I say I have no idea. I’m still losing money. She sighs with an exasperated, “Ate, oh my God.”
“Sometimes, you just have to let shit go.”
“It’d be great if you had some instructions for that.”
“Grab that shit. By the neck. Let it go.” Four grabbed the whirring, bot-bird by its neck and threw it over the line of trees in front of them. As it flew, feet over its head, the beak opened and recited the last lines of Six’s study notes before disappearing into banksia leaves.
Six closed their eyes. “Wrong bird.”
Four pulled a face. She looked under her arm at the other bot-bird, cuckooing off the hour with a line of black smoke fizzling from its right eye. Rust covered its other eye. Four picked it up and pouted.
“I was supposed to throw you out?”
The Cuckoo opened its beak, and answered with recordings of the voices it had heard in its short, cuckoo life. “Yeah, duh — but — OBVIOUSLY — I prefer not to.”
Six leaned their ear in closer. “Was that ‘obviously’ you or me?”
“You. When you yelled at me for getting drunk at Maccas.”
“The East Note one?”
Six smiled. “Ayy.”
It had been the day of the Re-Entering, and Six had arranged for Four to meet up with them at the South Note Maccas. They knew Four was going to be miserable after seeing Thirty-One re-enter from the New Dim, probably with a hot new number at his arm. Probably some humanitarian neurologist, some lawyer, neuro-lawyer, Four had screamed in her messages, probably someone who can drive! 31 hated that I couldn’t drive! BITCH. She still has to get the inter-dim licence, 31 you fucking idiot. I’m like 67 hours away from getting mine. 67! Who’s better now?!
Maccas always made things better, especially when the sundae machine was working. Six just hadn’t counted on Four to have done pres by three in the afternoon.
“You’re still the one telling me to let go, though,” Six reminded them, “after everything that happened with Thirty-One.”
“That’s different. I actually dated Thirty-One. You’re pining after Twelve like you guys actually went out. You haven’t even met up outside of the Day. All you do is sit next to each other at briefings. It’s like flirting with a brick wall. Six, I love you, but you could dance naked in front of her with ten bots singing your love-confession and she’d still consider you just another person in the armada. Actually, you know what — you should quit the armada. ‘Cause then you’d be the One Who Quit, not the One Who Won’t Stop Talking To Me.”
Six’s shoulders had sunken so much, they ended up just falling backwards to lie on the grass. Bot-birds flew above them, each with their own sound, and Six tried to pick up on each one to see who owned them. All the birds had different sounds. Four’s bird cuckooed. Thirty-One’s bird had whistled. Twelve’s bird trumpeted. It did a brilliant rendition of the William Tell Overture. Six’s own (now lost) bird had whirred.
Six always wondered why their bird was the one with no real song.
Can my stomach stop growling? Where’s the snooze button?
Once again, to Christina. Fight me.
My sister’s solution to all skin problems and normal problems was to smother it with aloe vera. It didn’t sound right, but I didn’t know enough about problems to dispute it.
And she thought to herself, why bother when everything will end and everything that has ended is forgotten? Let’s get deep, she says. What she does today will be forgotten a hundred years from now. How will she be immortalised? She asks this to Pie, who smiles at her and tells her to stop thinking because she’s not going to explain what happened in the movie if she misses something. There is a woman on the screen who eats her child made of food.
East of Somewhere,
“First of all, screw you,” I said, like I had every right to say something like that. I think I did. Why don’t I? There’s something absurdly wonderful about swearing when you don’t mean to, but now all I feel is a great sense of dread and I’m living with the fact that I no longer have a job. And yes, this is the job-not-job. I learned a lot anyway. Like how some customers like to feel like they’re family, and how I should not tell my supervisor to go screw herself. (I’ve run away now).
I read your poem and I loved it. You have a better understanding of metaphors than I do. I don’t know what the ones in the third and thirteenth line mean, but I can tell they’re good. But let go of that girl, I think it’s time. You’ve written four things about her, and when we reach five you know what that means. I think maybe you should consider writing about dragons. Here’s an idea: write about a dragon that took over some castle that belonged to elves or dwarves, and then the quest to reclaim that castle. I know what you’re going to say, but don’t say it.
You still have time. Don’t worry about that. Life goes on, and you learn what you can and if you feel lazy or like you’re not doing anything, that’s okay. We’re immortal, anyway. And, yes, the life of a vampire is infinitely harder now that the humans fancy themselves hunters, but humans are nothing. They smell. That’s it.
I’ll see you at the West Wall, I’ll be the vampire on the corner reading a magazine. When the wall breaks, remember to stay back. The hunters there will be students and they’re desperate to pass. But don’t say goodbye yet. Keep Creating.
PS. I found a ukulele on the side of the road and after scraping off the blood, the strings still work. When we meet again, I’ll serenade you. Send me a song to learn.