Tag: Fiction

A Dusty, Poorly-Lighted Place

He cuts into his steak. It’s rare. He told me in the car that he’d asked around and this was how everyone told him to have it. There’s no point having it any other way, they’d said—it’s got to be bleeding a bit. ‘Are you really only having chips?’ he asks. ‘They don’t do anything…

Grass

We decide to go up the hill on an autumn evening. It’s your idea—you want to watch the sunset, and I’m always happy to go along with your ideas.  The climb is steep, and we are both sweaty and puffing when we reach the top. The sun is still sitting above the horizon. I feel…

The Nazi

Everyone has places they don’t dare go. When we were kids, one of those places was Mr. Dombrinski’s yard. He was our neighbour across a low, wooden, stockade fence. Sometimes an unlucky bounce or an errant kick would sail a ball over that fence into his yard. ‘Go get it!’ someone would yell at the…

Love Handles

It was around census time that he decided to take things into his own hands. Change the situation for good. He’d cleared the kitchen table after tea one night and was stooped over the purple form, staring at it, tormented by the very first question. The cat hopped onto the table, feigning support.  Here we…

Payment to the Ferryman

It had probably started when they saw the golden bird hanging in the sunset over Manukau. Hovering like a fantail, but so much bigger. It was full of people who would never know how magnificent it looked. The cars would surely have been tiny black metallic ants below them, glinting yellow in the light of…

Thursday

Chris says that making these calls, the same ones every day, has made him lose track of time. ‘Is it Friday?’ he will say. ‘Feels like a Friday.’  I tell him like I do every week that, ‘No, it’s Thursday.’  Gene eats the same meal at his desk without fail at 1pm. And Chris asks,…

Please accept this as my notice of resignation

When you get the job, everybody tells you that you are doing so well. You did it!  On your first day, you are led around the open-plan office and everybody introduces themselves. The fifteen names roll around in your head like marbles, and they give you some papers to file. You flit around the shelves,…

Shui Gui

If Val could’ve been anyone, she would’ve been Anya. On the first day Val met her, seated next to each other by luck of the alphabet—Langford, then Liu—Anya had shaken her hand. It was a firm grip, one of old money and future expectations. Val had squirmed in her second-hand uniform and hoped that Anya…

Sound of solace

Newly solo at 30, I move into a one-bedroom unit. There’s a connecting wall with another apartment. First night I notice it, then it continues on and on, the neighbour’s radio is on 24/7. Finally, I knock on their door to complain. A woman, maybe 20 or 22, invites me in to apologise. She’s in…

You, Plural

You start the car and drive slowly, carefully. It is something-very-late-o’clock, you think. But, she is pregnant, and she needs—she says she needs—ice cream and pickled beetroot. You’re tired, but you’re a good person, you think, and anyway, when the baby is here, this time of day will be normal, won’t it? There is a…

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