11. Flying to Australia

Friday was coming quickly. Couch surfing for the days leading up to heading for the bus station to meet Charlotte, had given David the chance to review a few things. More than a few things. He was tying up the ends of this phase of his life in the same methodical manner he went about climb preparations. He had meet folk in so many coffee shops he could see the caffeine in his pee. There’s just so many soy latte no froth, and cappuccino on skim, a man can face. His friends had come to the fore in his hours of need, they lent gear to replace things he had inadvertently left in the Kombi. The rest he figured Sixty Minutes would be good for when they got to Orstralia.

The week had passed quickly since he left the cooperative site, away from Alice.

One day he’d spent in a coffee bar over looking an intersection downtown. On the café audio speakers, Tom Jones had belted out “What’s new pussy cat” and tears welled in his eyes as he thought of Alice’s cute little pussy cat nose. All day the music changed, genre to genre, sometimes funkier, with a unrecognisable lyric and synthesised syncopation at a beat twice that of a pulse. His mind had wandered how it had come to this, losing Alice the worst of all.

Charlotte had called a few times, he couldn’t call her, having run out of credit. All was well with the plans and she had babbled on about getting in touch with some of her relatives in Melbourne and some other unpronounceable places about her family history and something about racial hatred. He took this to be the stuff he had heard about in the papers where the President of Orstralia had met with Obama. President Juliar of Orstralia, had denied that there were any racial issues in Orstralia. She explained to Barak in some detail the fact that all the people coming by boat, who she didn’t want, were coming from Asia, and this was something to do with someone else’s business model. She said she was no raceshit, neatly sidestepping any criticism of Indonesia. Barak liked that. But David knew these right wing conservative politicians were the same the world over and would say whatever was needed to stay in power.

However, Charlotte had seemed to be on a totally different track. He hadn’t really listened, which he knew he was good at. He much preferred the technique of not really listening though sometimes acknowledging, cause he had the certainty in his own mind that he was right. It was something though that he kept very much to himself.

Friday was on his mind, though coming Tuesday he felt better, even his old man looked good, when he went to say, “Bye.” Wednesday came and went but Thursday went to slow and then it was Friday.


Friday broke with a crack of thunder, not a good day for flying he reasoned. He made his was to the bus station making it to the agreed meeting place with fifteen minutes to spare. His things he had packed neatly into the few bags in his possession. He dumped a few things out to be sure to make the weight, and made sure that he knew where everything was, in which bag and at which level. He stood at the kerb and waited.

Charlotte pulled into the kerb in a hire car. He lifted the trunk lid and chucked his bags in. There wasn’t much space.

“Honey,” he growled through the back of the hatchback, “How come so much gear? The excess is gonna be a fortune!”

“Well a girl’s gotta look pretty and I couldn’t decide what to leave so I brought most of it,” she said, her eyes imploring him to hurry and get loaded.

“Damn there’s gotta be eight cases and gee how many cosmetic bags?” he said.

“Don’t you worry sweet, Sixty Minutes will see to it all. After all they want their top talent to look the piece don’t they?”

“Don’t they? ” she added in that coquettish way she voiced when she wanted her way. David had learned that the upward inflection at the end of a sentence was more than just a female trait. How often had he listened to that upward interrogative voice styling? It was enough to drive him nuts or ironically made him want to climb a wall.

“If you got all your things in, let’s go! We got enough time, but we gotta get rid of the car and out through customs, the VIP lounge is fab, wait till you see it,” she said.

Within minutes they had hit the freeway and she treated the speed signs as minimums. She loved driving and he found the chance to catch up on sleep irresistible. He was soon fast asleep, she didn’t mind though, she loved driving and the traffic was a treat. Drumming her fingers on the steering wheel she felt her life was in the groove. Here with her new man, three months of virtual holiday ahead and a chance to dig up the past of her ancestors. Well at least those who had tried to make a go of it panning for gold in Die Gum Sarn, the Big Gold Mountain, as it had been called before becoming Orstralia.

She saw the Qantas advertising with the rampant kangaroo as she rounded the airport turn off. They were traveling on Qantas, as the show had a sponsorship deal. She had not been impressed, hearing that the service was damned surly. The hostesses had been reported as old boilers, but the safety was good.

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“We’re flying Qantas”, she said to him as he shook himself awake. It should be quite interesting. I hear the service is crap.”

“Well so long as I can get some sleep” he replied, ” I’m so, so tired.”

“Okay sugar,” she said,” But do me a favour and shower in the lounge before we fly huh, I don’t want to be sniffing your manliness all the way to Sydney, it’s non stop you know.”

“Okay ok,” he mumbled knowing that he did pong a little but thought no one would notice. He’d made an attempt to disguise it under a more than adequate spray of Eau de Baux, but it must have evaporated hours ago and the idea of a shower in a luxury VIP was a tempting proposition.

They were ushered in to the lounge through a special entrance, security hadn’t been a hassle, apparently on the basis that if you were this famous why would you want to blow yourself up?

He took his toiletries in with him, but needn’t have bothered, arrayed before him he found more than enough selection of eau de this and cologne de that. He let the water rush over him, and sear away the pain of loss he felt for Alice. No matter how hard he tried he couldn’t get the feeling of betrayal out from under his mental skin. The cleansing of the water could only go so far, the rest he would have to resolve with a shower of reasoning. He prided himself on this inner strength, which for now had departed him. He thought of the flight ahead.

The take-off was flawless.

Far above the blue Pacific, wisps of cloud scudded eastward as they headed westward. He imagined the wave heights, which from this altitude appeared as mere ripples in the direction of the surface prevailing wind, not the direction at which it was up here. None of this was apparent in the cabin though. The on board movie screen showed pictures of Tasmanian uplands, the film was the Hunter, the hunt for the thought-to-be extinct thylacine, the Tasmanian tiger.

“We heading there, Charlotte?”, he asked, ” To Tas main eh ah” cutting the syllables into bite sized chunks.

“Not on the itinerary, as I recall but if you need to I’m sure we can arrange a side trip for you,” she said.

“You mean a bit on the side?” he said grinning at her.

“You’ll get a bite on your side if you think you might even like to think about a bi” and they laughed softly at each other as the champagne took effect. The hostess had brought the champagne, well actually brought it to Charlotte three times until she got it right.

“Dumb bitch” Charlotte had thought when she asked for her fav Moet and was delivered some similar sounding, said to be superior tipple. As Charlotte was about to let loose on the old boiler hostess, David’s eyes flashed the “Oh shit, not again look.” She had seen the look this time, not like the last time when she ignored it at the chilli con carne gnocchi a la three cheeses incident. The incident had now been down rated on the YouTube alert. The clip had been found to have positive “likes” far in excess of the “Serves you right you bitch” type posts. The positive aspects of the incident were clear when mince meat, tomato paste suppliers and gnocchi makers were lined up to get sponsor time. The response overwhelmed the advertising department. There was even one cheese maker lauding the possibilities of three cheeses as a health masque. They had been quick to see the potential in using Charlotte’s face covered in a three cheeses derivative facelift product, with a funky cut of the YouTube clip to launch their new product? The suggestion of a face lift product was premature then quickly abandoned after it was mentioned to Charlotte, and she, well, she responded poorly.

” Fuck facelift. You think I want to be associated with a facelift product. My mum and gran ma might, but not this chickee babe,” was roughly what those who heard the exchange at the twice weekly “How to raise ratings and revenue, sustainably, ethically and organically” meetings recalled later.

The champagne took it’s toll, more than ably assisted by the turgid “let’s get another shot of the Tassie bush” production values of the Hunter. When the thylacine made it’s inevitable appearance, it appeared to David that instead of fearing being shot, it turned, and sauntered away out of boredom. The school scenes too, of man sees boy across school ground, boy sees man, rises from bench, walks then runs to man whilst remarkably finding a voice not before heard in two preceding hours of film, were spoiled David felt by the girl’s incessant twirls, hoola hoop round and round in right centre background screen. As the final credits rolled, mercifully the captain asked for the cabin to be prepared for landing. “Welcome to Sydney”, the cabin manager announced, adding,

” We call Australia home.”


Editor’s note: First published in 2011 – Write a Novel in a Month 11

10. Good bye

Charlotte and David arrived back at the Macrobiotic Mung Bean and Tofu Collective driveway, an hour or so after the con carne / gnocchi fiasco. David had needed to dig deep into his inner karma to defuse the situation which had spun out of control. Celebrity colliding with reality is a potent mix, generally bringing out the worst in celebs. He had felt the same when he had faced the wall for the filmed climb. He had felt urged on by an unseen audience.

Charlotte had arced up her anger in front of her audience. But it was, after all an accident, an act of god. He wondered momentarily if she was like this through and through or was it simply the ripping away of the band-aid of stardom which hurt so much.

The ” Do you have any idea of who I am? ” part of what she’d said, was, in fact, unnecessary, totally. He knew it, but he was uncertain if she did. The same dousing of mincemeat and gnocchi on a non-star would not have evoked a cry of “Do you have any idea of who I am?”

He didn’t have the slightest inclination to say who he was. Who you are, is who you are he had always felt. He had noticed in fact some folk were different people to different people. Father here, chemical engineer there, pastor here, clerk there. He was musing on this as Charlotte navigated through the overgrowth on the driveway sides to the collective gates. She pulled the car slightly off to the right side with just enough space for him to shimmy out the door when he was leaving.

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“Honey I know it’s a pain and the café was a disaster, but I do need you to get this one thing done. Please, please sort Alice, for your sake. You know all I care about is you,” she said as she turned off the motor. The car felt cocooned, with the stereo turned all the way down.

“Ok, ok, I will, and I’ll call you later in the week so you know that I’m right to make the connection to LAX with you from the bus station,” he replied with a slight edge to his voice, knowing this wasn’t going to be all that easy.

“And one thing you should be sure of angel,” she purred, “Well two actually. We are going to have the neatest time over there in Orstralia, and, and you got the cutest butt, I mean the e e cutest, now get it outta here!” she playfully added.

He turned his left shoulder then his whole body towards her and leant over to kiss her. Just before the moment of contact, she looked away, out the window to the left and he pecked her on the cheek.

“Babe, you want more honey, than your current honey has got. Go! I mean it,” she said with a sterner edge to her voice than he might have expected.

“Like, how long has it been now?” her voice tapering off. “Anyways, get it done. Now outta here and I’ll see you at the bus station to pick you up next Friday. Now go, go!”

He opened the door, pushed through the bushes, a few steps up the drive, swung the gates on its squeaky hinges and entered the cooperative yard.

Though it was twilight he could see the radiation flicker of the portable tv, reflected off the tarpaulin flaps he had arrayed around the sliding side door.

He approached quietly, the abandoned mung bean troughs giving off the distinctive odour of rot. Whilst he had acclimatised to it each time he had come back, that first pong hit always caught him by surprise. Many things do that he knew. The first sighting of a climb was such a zing. The first kiss, irrespective of where how or when could never be the same as the second or third. It was, however, remembered ahead of the last kiss. He stood for a while watching the birds return to their trees swooping and falling from the sky, unerringly finding their spot, as he had found his. His anxiety rose as he took a few more steps and breathed more deeply as he thought through what he might say. As he approached he could hear the clutter of pans on the tiny stove he had set up under the canvas in front of the back flap door.

As he raised the flap he said “Hi ba…” and that was as far as he got.

“You bastard, you absolute bastard, you’re a shit climber, I don’t know why I ever trusted you. Fuck how could I have been so taken in? Always away doing climbing shit and reconnoitring this and that, while I work away here looking after the emotional and physical well being of our kid.

“Get out you arsehole. Just fuckin go!” her words punching into the air, some lubricated with splutterings of spittle.

“What? What? Hon, what’s got into you, you know I love the way you look after our bean kids, I mean they are so groovy. I simply love your lentils and our vegan life. Geez, what’s up?”

“What’s up is, is where have you been up? Go on, I wanna hear this, I’m sure the folk at Sixty Minutes will be able to make a great series out of this.”

“Sixty Minutes,” he thought, ” Oh, shit no, what’s this about?”

They stood looking at each other. She forlorn, spent from her shouting, he thought all he had to do was enfold her in his arms and squeeze away whatever hurt she was feeling. The hurt of the chilli con carne and gnocchi a al three cheeses video she has seen when searching cheez lentil burger for a dinner recipe, would not let go.

“I saw that anyone for cheez burger YouTube clip, you and that Asian tart, all dripping in it. Some stunt, some stunt! Did they pay you for it? Go on explain that” she shouted.

“What are you talkin’ about? What?” he half-whispered.

“You are too much, David, really too much!” she went on, “Go see it on YouTube!”

“All that meat and dairy, you told me you were vegan and there you were in a place that served meat and cheese, for god’s sake, what were you thinking. Clearly, nothing, thinking nothing, nothing at all!”

As he rumbled around in the back of the Kombi, for the iPad, he mumbled,

“But they said the beef was organic, doesn’t that count” his voice trailing off, realising that organic beef didn’t make that much sense, but his mind was occupied with more important issues.

“What was the site? He asked, trying his best to stay cool.

“Did you say cheese with the double e s e or cheez or with the z, burgers”.

He was buying time, he had already got to the site, trying to find words to explain what was so damn patently obvious from the clips. They had been snapped from all angles, none flattering, but the worst was the clarity of the audio from the tourist cam recording, every word, the tone, Charlotte’s superiority captured in full flight.

He ran scenarios through his head in fast forward, and none made sense to his tongue.

“Shit, shit, shit was all that came to mind”, but he said,

“Hon, I can explain, um, um. Charlotte was having a bad hair day and this stoopid waiter hit us with the special of the day.”

“Bullshit! Utter bullshit! she spat. “Look at you there, look, so cool and she’s spraying away at all and sundry, you don’t even try to defend the waiter! You are such a coward!”

And he knew he hadn’t. He’d let Charlotte vent, not once raising any concern for the waiter who knew his place now as a fucking little idiot. David had been in such a position, likewise Alice. After all, it had been where they’d met, as waiters in that sleazy little downtown vegan dim sim bar.

“So why,” she asked, “Are you just standing there mesmerised by her cheese-laden breasts. For fuck sake you look like you want to lick the cheese off!”

He knew that he had wanted to, but it was the strength of the smell of the blue vein cheese that had stopped him.

“So what were you doing there with her. You said it was a meeting, that place is right up there. Real snobbish. Surely a Starbucks would have done?” Alice screamed.

He had suggested Starbucks, Maccas, Wendy’s, and a whole lot of places, but of course, being on the reward scheme Charlotte had him on, none of those places would have cut it. Besides this was to be their farewell to San Fran lunch and she felt it needed to be done well.

“Long story”, was his response

“Ok here’s a short story. Get out, that’s G E T O U T, I don’t have to spell it again do I. Get out!” she said looking at him standing, staring at the looped tube video, the dripping cheese and his less than adequate response.

Must be an upside here he mused to himself, been in worse spots, this is no overhang, just needs some quick thinking and I’ll hoist myself up, over and out. He placed the iPad down and sidled over to her. She stood there all huffed up, knowing that the soft and sensitive David was about to enter, stage left. And there he was right on queue, the ever so soft words, explaining the inexplicable. He could have even taught Stephen Hawking about black holes.

As his arms went out to her hips, seeking to draw her to him, she spun around and slapped him full across the left cheek. It stung,

“Shit, that really hurt,” he yelped, the formative weasel words flying back from his tongue to deep inside his brain.

“You mean it don’t you babe?” he said unnecessarily, and he realised it was over, dead over.

“It’s over David, over, over, over! Hear me ..it’s over ” she spat.

“I won’t spell it out, just get your stuff and go!”

His stuff all fitted into a climbing sack and two small day packs, plus a sleeping bag. He packed it in the stony silence of an ended relationship. It wasn’t dark yet, it soon would be. With his three bulging bags, he walked back to the front gate, down the driveway, turning to stop and read for the last time the sign ” Macrobiotic Mung Bean and Tofu Collective (Inc).” There was no last kiss.

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Editors Note: Originally published 2011 – Write a Novel in a Month 10



St Luke’s Revisited

Regular readers will recall

“From Bupa to St Luke – Story continues.”

For those who missed it please go back and have a look!

Recently I was about to deliver food for those affected by the Wuhan Virus, when around the corner came a fellow volunteer.

He was the same old guy I’d bumped into a few weeks earlier, just after my initial debacle at Bupa. I too am an old guy.

After our discussion, later that evening he and his wife checked out  my blog.

He’d been suffering the same inertia to change as me. An afternoon on the medieval rack would have been more pleasant

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However, after ten minutes on the phone to St Luke’s he found better benefit rates for lower cost.

It was all done on the phone and he was effortlessly swapped over.

He turned to me and said with a chuckle,

“We’re enjoying the extra night out a month with the savings we made with St Luke’s, thanks!”

I managed a wry smile.

I felt I’d done good.

9. Iron Climber, Gnocchi Ai Tre Formaggi

” So honey, tell me what’s been so good with you”, Charlotte continued, her gaze, wandering, flicking between the container ships plying the distant bay and the cute arsed waiters gliding twixt the tables in the café. There seemed to be a waiter for each table, and her eyes had followed most of them before David had arrived.

“Well, tell me, c’mon gotta be more than good, good huh” she teased.

“Where you been parked this week, down near my place?”

For a week or so he had parked within walking distance of her parents home but at the rear of a disused public parkland, which had once been turned into a native American mung bean and tofu production area. He had climbed the front fence when he had seen the dilapidated sign pointing up a long overgrown driveway. It was clear to him when he looked closely that the beans had long since sprouted. Who could have been responsible? Maybe baby boomers longing for their hippy past with the more modern tofu invasion wobbling in as latter-day support. The long mung bean sprouting troughs with black plastic pipes to reticulate spring water to each header had started to fall into disrepair. Higher than expected solar UV in recent times had caused the breakdown of the co-polymerized carbon chains at the benzene 4-8-12 link, where a weakness in the cross-chain carbon-chlorine bond was weakest. To save money the pipes had been bought from China, from a long lost relative of the tofu godfather who was behind the venture. David mused on the penny-wise, pound-foolish financial approach which had been adopted here by the Macrobiotic Mung Bean and Tofu Collective (Inc). Not the approach he adopted to his minimal climbing gear, always the very best and that was never from China!

“Yes,” he said to her “Been parked up at the collective. It’s neat, there’s good water and no hassles from the cops or city precinct goons,” he said responding to her question.

“Then how come I haven’t seen you” she queried.

“I mean you could have even walked up you lazy so and so!” she mocked, knowing full well that neither he nor she would have ever contemplated him darkening her father’s door.

“Well babe, I saw you a few times up near Walmart, and also the other night when you went to your chiropodist.”

“Really? Really?” her voice rising in slight horror.

” Have you been fuckin’ stalking me?”

“No, no, babe, I was just there at the same time, had a few things to get in Walmart and I had just seen someone about my bad breath when I saw you going to the chiropodist. It was the same damn medical centre.”

She looked at him, ” Ok, so who was the doc you saw then, huh, who?”

“Well it was Dr B.O Halitosis, he’s world famous for smells of the body.”

“You are kidding me, aren’t you?” she said incredulously.

He went on, “No, no, I swear, there’s a building full of them, well, they’re not all body odourists, but specialists who have changed their names to their specialities. It’s tax-effective, saves advertising and is a great party starter!”

“So they get that front of mind awareness we all seek as a first impression, is that it?” she said trying to latch on to the idea as quick as she could. Another part of her brain thinking of the endless possibilities as a possible short segment for Sixty Minutes.

“So who practices there?” she went on.

“Well a proctologist Dr U.P. Ewe, Associate Professor A.D.D. Isorder, a “kiddies who can’t pay attention” sort of guy, and Dr Dr H. Onos, a Doctor of religion and PhD in the psychology of religious and other mania specialist who measures psychiatric effects with his instrument,” he proudly went on.

He actually loved going in for his appointments. He didn’t feel that what he did, climbing sheer walls nude was all that bad when these wankers changed their names in the search of more business.

“So what was I wearing when you saw me?” she thought she’d test his memory, and she loved to watch him squirm when he talked about her. She knew she was out of his league, but he was an amusing and very sexy diversion.

“Um…um… er well it was more what you weren’t wearing hon,” he offered. “Good boy, you got that right” she thought,

“Ok, ok go on, go on” she encouraged.

“Well it was that gorgeous halter top you pour yourself into and those hot, hot shorts that show so much of your butt it’s like a melon cart overturning.”

“Good boy, good boy” was all she could think, and her heart pumped a little stronger, blood rushing to her yellow cheeks, whitened by the foundation she applied each morning.

” And what else, huh what else,”

“Ok the heels, those heels, I never see you wear the same ones and these were knock out,” he drooled.

“So what were they then, describe them to me?”

What were the words he thought? How does one describe the gloss, the wrap over strappiness reversed on either side of the shoe, silver inserts arresting the eyes glance while leading from the exquisite foot shapeliness all the way up to the slender calves perfection? Then he realised he had just described the shoes and their effect on him in mind-words, words he would never dare say or thought he would dare say.

He prepared his voice with a sip of diet Pepsi, leant out of his chair, placed his hand on her knee saying,

“How does one describe the gloss, the wrap over strappiness reversed on either side of the shoe, silver inserts arresting the eyes glance while leading from the exquisite foot shapeliness all the way up to the slender calves perfection?”

“Oh my god” she whispered and placed both her hands over his, easing them slightly further up her thighs. Did I really hear you ask about my heels by saying “How does one describe the gloss, the wrap over strappiness reversed on either side of the shoe, silver inserts arresting the eyes glance while leading from the exquisite foot shapeliness all the way up to the slender calves perfection?”. She could scarcely believe he had said it, neither could he.

“Was that Shakespeare or Anonymous?” she queried.

“Dunno, just David I guess” he replied.

“You are joking me, aren’t you, really aren’t you. You never say things like that, I mean never, never ever!”

He looked a little perplexed, well more than a little. He had thought about the heels when she asked and had simply, or so he thought, gone back to those stirrings when he saw them the first time.

It was true he had never said such things before but had always felt on the inside that heels meant something more than a means of keeping a girl’s feet off of the dust of a pavement. Heels were more than footwear, the same as his climbing shoes weren’t Volley OC’s.

Image result for original dunlop volley oc

“Well babe it was the black and silver ones, and now do believe you saw me,” and she leant right over, and feeling the pressure of his hands on her thighs, pushed her lips and mouth right into his face.

“That’s my boy, you can have me anytime!” overcome by the realisation that he had noticed her heels and that he could so eloquently describe the effect. The way his words came out reminded her how oafishly Shakespeare had been played in Anonymous, but from whose pen it was alleged came the “Where for art thou” ” et tu Brute, ” and “bubble, bubble toil and trouble?” As hard as it was to attribute such words to this Shakespeare, she struggled to compute that these were David’s words.

She inched back a little in her seat, though their knees remained in contact.

“So we all sorted for the trip? How is Alice feeling about it? Not that Charlotte cared at all, it was more a conversation filler.

“She’s cool, I told her it was a reconnaissance mission and that we hoped to get some scenarios set up for possible shows such as Iron Climber, Celebrity Climber, Climbing Nightmares, and Big Climber. I think she bought it.”

“Really” Charlotte explained,” I mean how would any of those work. This trip is about you and what you do babe, and what you and I do won’t be hitting the screens, or my Facebook page.”

“Ah, just some random ideas I thought through to help the ratings stay where they need to be. ” Charlotte was more than a little incredulous that he had started to see the marketing and product placement aspects of climbing. Those dim sim shots on the rock pile had clearly had an enduring effect on him.

“Let me tell you my ideas, have we got the time?”

“We got all the time in the world, any man who gets off on my heels has my undivided attention, and so damned spunky too,” she laughed across at him.

“Well, the idea for Iron Climber has a panel of three ace climbers in different disciplines being challenged by different climbing schools. There’d be an Iron Climber Indoor, Iron Climber Free, that’d be me, and Iron Climber Roped. The compere would reveal a cliff face, mountain or indoor centre anywhere in the world and the challenging climber would choose an Iron Climber to compete against. Imagine a roped climber going up against an indoor climber on a sheer rock face! Wow, I can see it now!”

She couldn’t, but feigned some enthusiasm.

Then he turned to Celebrity Climber where out of date celebrities try to give their PR machine a last gasp jump start by climbing impossible sites. Being a rising star, she could see the concept but couldn’t contemplate participating

Climbing Nightmares would give a rare glimpse into the mouths of climbers with close-ups and lots of cussing and profanities shouted into the mountain air but captured crisply on throat mounted mics. That’s the reason I have been seeing Dr B.O Halitosis, or as he likes me to call him, Haly. I don’t want to put off the sponsor’s with my bottom of a birdcage breath.”

“So what’s Big Climber? Would that be part of the Big Brother franchise? She asked.

“You’re more than a pretty face babe, aren’t you? ” he said. She loved the squirmy feeling she felt when he complimented her. She got complimented and sucked up to all day long but his words hit the mark every time. She loved it, and slowly him.

“Big Climber we build to. Probably after the other series are squeezed dry, we launch a climbing show where a bunch of smart arses are roped together to climb a mountain, or better a rock face and the first to the top wins. Simple huh, “his eyes glinting as he got more into explaining.”

“The trick is that some parts of the gear are flawed in such a way that when one falls the others aren’t dragged down. Bad look if all drop off the face together and worst on day one! They can buy or earn immunity in novel ways. Folk at home can vote through Arsebook, who should be given the damaged equipment. That guy gets the arse so to speak.”

She looked worried, cause she was. “But, but what about legal issues, for example, insurance and causing the death of others,” she finally said.

He knew this was coming and he had a ready answer ” No problemo. We only go to places where the government is congenial, average household income is one-hundredth of what it is in the States and there are nearby resorts for the crew and talent.”

She looked at him intently, where on earth she thought do these ideas come from. It’s as loopy as some of the stuff she had read on the fifty thousand words in thirty days novel writing challenge. There’d been some weirdos writing there and David seemed to have gone barrel dredging and scrapped up some of these.

“You aren’t serious are you hon? ” she said not sure if a yes or a no was going to better inform her. Maybe she shouldn’t have bothered. She was growing more fond of him, even now as he rabbited on, she only wanted to draw in the leash without tying him down.

“Are you really serious or is that all bullshit?” she said, repeating for emphasis, “It’s bullshit isn’t it?”

But before he could answer one of the beautifully arsed waiters stumbled and laid a steaming hot plate of chilli con carne and then a separate main sized serving of gnocchi al la three cheeses all over both of them.

“Yum dinner!” he said.

She felt otherwise

” You fucking little idiot! Shit for brains! You and this shithole place are going to pay for this, I mean pay! Do you have any idea who I am Mormon, shit, fuck I mean moron! Look I’m covered in this stinking mincemeat and foul-smelling sauces, hell this is the end! The fuckin end!”

The restaurant was in an uproar. The clicking of mobile cameras and the video cam of a lucky tourist got shots from every possible angle as the waiters except the “fucking little idiot” scurried about trying to clean up. An hour later it was viral on YouTube, one short clip getting an astronomical four thousand hits in less than ten minutes the shot showed Charlotte being comforted by David, her sheer top drenched in chilli con carne with three cheese sauce dripping from her breasts. The title of the clip ” anyone for cheez burger?” seemed to strike just the right note. Many of her friends saw it and were aghast. However, Chuck her helicopter pilot nearly had a heart attack laughing when he saw it. Candy her therapist with the tendencies neither discussed or watched it over and over. It was Jake at Cheyne Bend, who had never met her in person, on whom the clip had the least effect. He watched it once on the kids iPhone, turned to the sole customer in the shop saying, “stupid bitch, should have stuck with dim sims.”

Editor’s Note: First Published in 2011 – Write a novel in a month – 9













































8. Kath & Kim, Arsebook

They ate their fill, she made sure that with a quick calorie count she knew that the rest of the day would be rabbit food for her. David on the other hand had no need to worry, what he ate he burned.

“Tell me about Orstralia, is there good climbing there?” he asked licking his plate clean of the cream and syrup.

” From what I recall it’s really, really friendly, nothing like that awful Kath and Kim show with actors Selma Blair and Molly Shannon. Oh my god that was wince able,” and she contorted her face as if sucking lemon and vinegar.

She waited for his reaction, wondering if he had seen the show, which had only had a short run.

“Most I know is the Bindi Irwin nature shows, I know it’s not that fashionable but she’s the dopiest little tart, don’t you think, those faux Shirley Temple pigtails and that know it all attitude. I did see some of the Kath and Kim thing, didn’t understand any of it, did you?” he replied.

See the source image

His answer surprised her, she recognised that he probably hadn’t spent his whole life in his Kombi van.

“Well, yes, it was hard to understand, but it wasn’t even funny. Apparently the humour down under is somehow upside down too.”

He liked that, down under and upside down. He’d been that way a few times and it was no laughing matter. It’s the hardest position, an overhang above with no way to see a handhold, and upside down with blood rushing to head, a position not tenable for more than thirty seconds before blackout. Having trained his body not to panic and cause more blood to pump was essential, an extra few seconds in a tight situation to think through the next release and regrip, had saved him more than once. Timing was everything to keep a rhythm in the climb meaning there was no turning back. Not so with Kath and Kim, they bumbled and stumbled, no way to correct the excruciating pain they inflicted on their audiences and eventually themselves. They tumbled down the ratings wall and the series went back down under, Selma and Molly redrafting their acting bios expunging the time with the series and replacing it with extended study leave in the case of Selma and an ashram sojourn for Molly.

He continued musing about his impressions of down under before casually asking Charlotte when she was leaving for her Orstralian assignment.

” Oh when the set up’s done, and I have some personal research to complete. Wanna make the best of my time there, I’m adding on some leave to make it worthwhile, after all the fare’s paid for and I’ll get comp room rates on accommodation.”

David thought how sweet a life she lead. He hoped it wasn’t jealousy he felt rising from around his kidneys. He believed that emotions spring from body organs, he used this when climbing, more than visualising, he actually drew from the courage, strength or endurance he needed from his spleen, stomach or liver. He could do this sub consciously, a skill developed of necessity. The emotion passed, her presence and demeanour quelled his feeling.

She turned directly to him, made sure she had his full attention and said.

“Would you come with me?

She knew the impact of what she was asking, she had researched him on Facebook, Linkedin and even the less well known Appalachian climbing school website, where strangely his profile was very limited.  It did however include his proposed hectic schedule for the next two years, with climbs in both central and south America.

Nevertheless, he answered “Yes” with a speed which astounded her. She didn’t show her surprise but came right up to him and threw her arms around his shoulders

“Honey, you won’t regret this!”

Several weeks later they meet again downtown in San Francisco, a coffee shop overlooking the bay. The wind buffeted the windows though the temperature was delightfully mild.

They had agreed to meet about weekly, to check off their separate preparations. The time apart had given them an opportunity to tidy up the household and relationship chores which a few months away would inevitably disrupt.

He thought back to the conversation he had in the preceding week in the back of his Kombi, parked by a dumpster east of downtown.

“You sure it’s just climbing reconnoitring you’re doing down there” he had been challenged by his sometime live in girlfriend. At first she had seemed to him to have taken the news calmly.

“What else do you think I might be doin’?” he said, adding, ” so far away.”

“So Sixty Minutes is really taking you there just to look at these rock piles to do more stories on your climbing” her voice betraying her increasing concern.

“I  can’t believe that they would take little ole you over there for three months just to look at climbing sites, there’s gotta be another angle.”

“Well that’s it babe, that’s it, you got no idea how much money these folk have.”

“You sure honey,? You seem mighty keen to be goin’, when before this you’d not have spent more than a week away from climbing. It’s all happened after that Sixty Minutes show.”

“Well that god’s truth,” he said, realising that he only needed to avoid the question and not take it full on with such a forceful affirmation.

He recalled the conversation he had had with Charlotte several week earlier when she had sworn “god’s truth” knowing she had truly meant it. And here he was likewise swearing to his girlfriend Alice that there was nothing going on except a climb reconnoitre when he knew that Charlotte had arranged for him to come along as her partner. Subterfuge and half truths had been drilled into him as the easy way to perdition. He had totally forgotten the meaning of perdition, but the sanction remained strong in his mind. He had left the Kombi in somewhat a more dishevelled state than usual. His unwashed jeans and unironed shirt, mimicking the turmoil in his brain. He had effectively lied straight faced to Alice, and it hurt. The sting of remembrance brought him back to earth, and the vista  before him.

It was now mid afternoon and across the Bay, he could see the wind picking up speed, white topping the rolling swell, then rippling the foreshore shallows into parallel waves petering out into the wet sands exposed by the lowering tide. His gaze adjusted to the dimmer interior, it was hard to pick hair colour. He picked Charlotte out and angled his way through the crush of chairs. She was sitting with her back to him taking in the view as he walked up behind her. The lightness of his touch on both shoulders sent a tingling down her spine. It was as close as touching as they had been since the wild night in the penthouse and the pancakes.

She turned her head to him, looking over her bare right shoulder as he bent to kiss her offered cheek, her perfume hitting him like a wave.

“So how you doin? It’s so nice here, come sit,” she said softly.

To take in the view he sat beside her in a separate chair pulled up so close their knees touched.

“Yeah, good, good” he half mumbled but knowing he was in a better café, he tried a little harder, finishing the second good with his lips pushing more forward. His attempts to make her grade hadn’t gone unnoticed, and she had rewarded him by booking classier and classier cafes as he progressed. Of course she didn’t want to make a complete arse of herself without letting her fan base know that ” a man” was on the scene, so a slower more calibrated approach was called for.

She was still conscious of her Facebook image and fans. Her sessions with Candy her therapist had proven to be successful, even though her failure to make her second  appointment had their relationship off to a bad start. She had sensed Candy’s gayness, and worked hard to finally overcome her fears, seeing them as lesser than being Facebook disliked. Once they had started in a full therapeutic relationship, she found Candy’s guidance really helpful. In fact together they had found one of Candy’s ideas so brilliant that she had used some of her bonus money to set up a small software development company. Recalling that her therapy had been nearly successful in ridding her of her FDS (Facebook Dislikers Syndrome) Charlotte got her geek brother to set up a small collaboration with a few Bill Gates look-alikes. The beta version of Arsebook had proved enormously successful and had been credited with reducing Facebook’s value as a public listed company. The concept was simple. Rather than face the odium of having dislikers on your Facebook page the comment and thumbs down was immediately transferred to Abook (this understandable shortening valuable for marketing purposes and ensuring that it could pass the google filters.)

Once the dreaded negativity had been drained from the happy Facebook page, Abook looked after all those folk who had been, given the arse. In fact the very opposite of Facebook, anatomically speaking. It had been a great success and the disliked hit more than two million in the first week. Therapeutically this was so supportive of Charlotte’s  condition. She had been more than happy, ecstatic actually, to do the promos for the site for free. Some bugs to start with were soon overcome when it was found that some bloggers actually started squatting on the site. A few days of Candy the therapist’s pic being mixed up and shown as the arse end of a camel had been quickly rectified. Though the geeks had reassured her it was an understandable mistake, Candy wasn’t so sure.

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Editor’s Note First published in 2011 – Write A Novel In A Month – 8

7. On the Seventh Day

“And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”

It came through the television loud and clear. It was the tele evangelist Pastor Hyrum Z Clarke, famous in these parts for his good sense and humility.

“That’s the King James Version bothers and sister, it’s a relevant now as it was when written and all the more so when God made each and every little one of us” Hyrum went on.

David had channel surfed through five hundred and forty two channels and this channel had caught his ear. It echoed back to his childhood, the blessed and the sanctified. It was after all Sunday and he realised it was ages since he too had rested on a sabbath. After all he had worked so damn hard on the wall, eaten his fill of his dim sims and he “saw that it was good.”

Preacher Hyrum was making the point that all should take a break and chill on day seven. Seemed like the natural thing to do. David’s climbing fraternity had been warning him for ages that he should chill and not climb obsessively. He knew he did, not eating, always thinking of his next challenge. Three parts of the way up the rock pile earlier in the afternoon, at what he regarded as an easy overhang he had imaged the Most Beautiful Place in the World as his next challenge. He knew of the “three Seven Star Peaks, Morning of Camel Hill, and Crescent Rainbow  Shadow.” He wanted to climb the thee Seven Star Peaks. Not so much wanted, but its attraction was almost physical, a desire to blend into its surface, to be at one with it.

Hyrum though was taking him elsewhere. David could see from his right peripheral vision, Charlotte gazing at him, her peaks glistening with what could only be described as gold. She had busied herself in the bathroom and now with the sheerest of open negligees, stood out of his direct line of sight, but knowingly in view. He could sense his morning of camel hill rising in a single peak. Though tired he was hearing but not listening to Hyrum’s admonition to rest on this the seventh day.

“You want the television off or is that to be our bolero,” she seductively suggested.

“It’s so, okay, it’s cool,” though like her now he wasn’t feeling as cool as his words implied.

She carried a crystal goblet to him, which like hers was full to the brim. She walked across the room to the bed, then ducklike waddled on her knees across the bed, champagne cascading onto the sheets. The goblet he received was by then less than half full, she splurged the contents of her’s mostly onto his bare chest, a vapor spray cooling his face.

“Now isn’t this just so much fun, honey, the broadest of her collection of smiles breaking out across her face. Without makeup she was even more beautiful than he had seen her on the rock pile. The carefully stylized Asian looks toned down for a different demographic. Her almond eyes, well he thought, they’re always almond aren’t they, glinted in the half light, which had settled in the room.

“Yes it is fun isn’t it,” was his lame reply.

She planted her lips on his, then rooted her tongue in his mouth.

He could hardly breathe it was a suffocating sensation.

She writhed on his torso, sinuously intertwining her arms under his arms, pinning them to his sides then wrapping her arms up under the back of his neck. He was pinned, stuck, as stuck as he had never been on any wall. But this was all horizontal.

As Hyrum droned on, periodically injecting rousing guitar folk “save me Lord for I have sinned” and “Jesus is a soul man” into his monologue, they set about creating a world to which Hyrum referred to as the goal of being saved,  Heaven.

Morning  broke early, the sun’s angle finding it’s way to the ceiling first in the penthouse. The bed was a bomb site, with the survivors part intertwined, part separating. Three calls had gone unanswered to her cell, he had heard them all, though she had not stirred. She was in the zone of bliss which she seldom found in the arms of any man. He’d been perfect, or so she thought.

She knew she had a schedule which had her flying back to Orstralia. She’d had what she wanted, no matter what he wanted.

“Coffee” was her first word. “Coffee” her second word. Idly he wondered if she had a wider repertoire. No. It was also her third.

“Babe, they brought the coffee ages ago, it’s on the hob and hot. I’m kinda guessing you want a cup. How’d you have it?”

“Straight up, two sweeteners, are there any pancakes?”

“What the fu..” was as far as he got, as he realised he had not had pancakes made by an American woman for so long.

“We can get them brought up, I’m a guessing. That ok?”

She had a better idea,

“Why don’t I make them for you, how fun would that be?”

He could think of two hundred and thirty four funner things to do, but said,

“Sure babe, if you’re makin’,” I’m eatin’.”

The kitchen had had stranger requests, the third chefs recalled when they had to assemble haggis ingredients for a penthouse cook out. Then there was the whale sashimi for a convention of Japanese funeral directors on a tour of burial practices in western culture.

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The trolleys arrived laden with all the goodies including the very best buttermilk. She mixed up a batch while he stood watching. The griddle sizzled with dollops of fresh mix spooned onto the surface. Lightly buttered the first sealing melt had been poured off and the surface wiped smoothed and polished with absorbent paper towel. Watching, he could see the see the rising, the puffing of the air bubbles from pin pricks to pulsing gasping air vents, each hissing steam. But it was the aroma which drew him closer, he could sense in the warm air from the rising pancakes the mornings of his childhood, happy times, not forgotten. He lifted his gaze from the pancakes to watch her. Well, not watch intensely, but to watch so as not to stare. The casual glance she had found so damn attractive, his pupils dark and oh so impenetrable. He noticed she moved effortlessly. Swinging on the fridge door as she returned the buttermilk carton to the door shelf, but having to reopen it moments later to place the butter on the shelf below. His eyes followed as she disappeared behind the fridge into the small pantry then caught a glimpse of her butt as she reached up near the pantry door to the uppermost shelves.

“What’s up there hon, can I help get it down?”

She had already put her fingers round the ever so familiar maple syrup bottle but said anyway, “Sure babe, while you look so good, you can be so, so helpful too!”

The bottle slipped from her fingers and back to the shelf, as he rounded to centre bench and stood beside her.”

“Now what is it you want up so high, huh?”

“It’s that sticky little bottle of maple. You see it up there, I can’t just reach it and we need it.”

He reached without overextending, placing the bottle on the bench beside the plates and cups, ready for breakfast.

“Can I make the tea and do something useful?” she heard him say.

“Why not, course, and I love, Earl Grey.”

“You do? That’s amazing, I can never have it before noon, for me it’s Russian Caravan to start the day.”

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“Is that true,” she said in mock disbelief, “just like my gran, she said she always thought that the tea came from the same area as the morning of camel hill, do you get it?”

“The morning of camel hill, really? ” for a moment he wondered pursing his lips into a near pout, then drawing them flatter and wider as he said,

“I get it, camels and caravans”

“Yep that’s right camels and caravans. In our house that was a fav saying most mornings, in fact I still hear it when I go home.”

He noticed that her eyes had come off the rising pancakes and drifted to catch the rising sun through the windows momentarily.

She continued, “Well I don’t get home all that often with the assignments and all, my life isn’t really my own anymore. Don’t get me wrong I love it, but sometimes I just wish I could decide what I am doing and not the studio.” Her voice betrayed a longing to continue her growing up, thrust too soon into being a puppet of the corporation.

“Dad warned me and said that I really should be more assertive with myself.”

“I can hear him now telling me to always make sure you lie straight in bed.”

The image formed simultaneously in both their minds, far from the entanglements of last night.

” I get what he means,” he said, “my climbing is all of that to me.”

“Hey are those pancakes nearly done. I’m starving,” he ominously fake growled.

And the moment evaporated. She lifted the pancakes carefully onto the plates, he poured steaming cups of Earl  Grey and Russian Caravan and they carried them to the glass top table set against the window. From the fridge she returned with the double whipped cream and a bowel brim full of mixed berries.

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“Go on, you go first” he said as he passed the maple syrup bottle to her.

“Thanks,” she smiled, ” but you be sure now to pile those berries on, have you ever seen berries as  plump and juicy?”

“Well no, come to think of it, but I know where they grow,” he teased.

“Where’s that , come on tell me,” she implored.

“Someday, maybe some day,” he said as they hoed into the pancakes.


Editor’s Note: Originally Published in 2011 – Write A Novel In A Month – 7

6. Steamed Dim Sim

It’s hard to know who smelt them first. She glanced at the chopper touch down, the swirling dust, the low sage further flattened by the down draft. While waiting they had conversed in a lazy way, the twists and turns of her life interwoven with his shorter story. She could feel the tightening of interest in him, he sensed nothing save for the knot in his stomach, now craving dim sims. As the blades slowed to a stop, he caught his first whiff, that unmistakeable pork and shallottness, the wet steaminess which he loved, a steaminess fatal on a climb.

Chuck sauntered over, his face smiling from the thrill of landing on such a small helipad. Complex, yet his years of experience favoured him.

“You guys, look what I got here y’all.”

He had grabbed the top two steamers and set them down on the foldout table, set by the two women support crew.

“You are in for the treat of your life, now just keep yo cotton pickin’ fingers off of the special double pork, there’s enough for all, but I need to chose first.”

He took two, offered the steamer to Charlotte, her manicured fingers ever so lightly pressing the skin.

David, aka fat lips, could hardly wait. He could see a selection of dims sims that he had only ever dreamed of.

“Ok, ok already, this is a feast fit for a king,” he exclaimed, and  before he had finished the sentence it was gone. Cameraman Pete could see the angle; the light was right, he shot away with the SLR Nikon, urging his sidekick to get the video running to capture these clearly commercial pics. Charlotte was finding it hard to keep up, though it wasn’t for trying. Ah Ma’s dim sims she had to admit were no match with these.

When they’d eaten their fill, the remainder were parcelled out to the crew.

” So, what did you think of that? ” she queried him.

David didn’t need to think long. The exhaustion of the climb was settling on him.

“Damn, they were the finest, who makes ’em, they’re genius?”

“Well you keep on eating them like that, I’m sure we could get you a sponsorship deal, then you’d get to eat then wherever you climbed.”

“What? You gotta be kidding me.”

“Nope that god’s truth.”

“God’s truth?” his face wrinkling from mouth to raised left eye,

“God’s truth?

She realised she had let her guard down.

She’d picked up the slang of Orstralian school yards. She knew that when she was hyper excited she reverted to childhood certainties. There was a comfort in the sound of the familiar words, the cadence, the intonation.

By questioning her she momentarily thought he was a Mormon, then internally corrected herself, a moron.

He’d relaxed a lot, the adrenalin flowing away into his veins, he seemed even more at ease than when completing the climb.

He posed as suggested by the PR folk, standing, sitting this way and that, jutting the jaw, and somehow holding the dim sims in the way he’d seen Mars bars held to maximize the wrapper writing in the shot.

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They had said to him that post production would use the dim sim as a canvas on which to photoshop the name of the maker, apparently the idea was new. The smart guys and gals from creative having workshopped the idea. There was a whole world of post production branded products in the hands of celebs to drool over. Someone had researched an organic dye which could be used to multi colour print dragons and other oriental motifs onto the skins. The copywriters had come up with a whole range of “now” logos and phrasings none better than iSims. There was, however, clearly a risk of a law suit from Apple.

“You guys done with the pics?” he asked, “I’m beat.”

Charlotte saw a chance.

“We’ll take you down to your base, pickup what you need, then take you on to the resort we’ve got set up.”

Wearily he agreed, she looked wonderful, she thought he did too.

Before the site was packed, they lifted off the rock pile, watched it receding in the copter’s rear mirrors. They swept away westward at first and then fifty minutes later, touched down on a resort golf course, some one hundred fifty miles away. It was another world. Lush, verdant green, totally out of place in the semi desert, a mecca for the rich and not so famous.

A golf cart picked them up and whisked them into the foyer, past the shiny black marble fountain shimmering with the reflected light of a thousand point lights in the ceiling, mimicking stars. Desert sun outside, cool Arabian nights inside. She raised her usual commotion as she lead him to the VIP area, heads turned as they strolled by. Whilst he sought to be oblivious of this, he couldn’t. He hated crowds, it part of the unexplained reason why he climbed, to be his own master.

“Are our rooms ready?” she said to no one in particular. Minions always wait to spring upon the throw away line, a chance to be of service.

“Straight through to the gold elevator, the far side of the atrium ma’am,” came the response.

He looked upwards into the cavernous vault, technically a difficult climb he thought before they were safe in the elevator. It rose rapidly, almost to the top level,  smoothly coming to rest in the lobby of the three floor upper most penthouse. Stepping from the lift the view through the floor to ceiling glass was spectacular, and though only a couple of hours from where they had stood in the up draught on the rock pile, this was another world.

He leapt, then lay on the bed, it felt like an acre, piled high in the corners with silk pillows. Gardenia scent wafting from the arrangements in each vase supplemented with artificial scent blown through with the air-conditioning.

Charlotte dismissed the help. They were alone. Alone as he had felt on the wall, though never lonely. His aloneness was more solitude from which came his peace. Her aloneness, well aloneness with this man gave her anything but peace.

She had arranged for the room to be fully stocked, each nook and cranny stocked with whatever might be needed for a time away, a journey into the unknown. David could see none of this preparation no matter how hard he scanned, he would not. He’d been plucked from his world and dropped like an ant into a glass jar.

“We’ll ma’am this sure is rad, you do this often?” he said.

“Not as often as I’d like,” she said smiling seductively while first slipping off her jeans, then cashmere figure hugging top, and bling, lots of.

She was throwing these items to left and right as she paraded round the bed, circling more tightly on him, he seated on the right side of the bed, halfway between the bed head and foot.

“Not as often at all,” she repeated slowly, each word extended for just long enough to follow a piece of clothing to the floor.

“Hmmm, ” she purred whirling her thong on her right index finger gaucho style. She could feel it twirl bolas like, to entangle her steer’s galloping feet and bring him down. She let fly, and hit fair in the face. She giggled, then laughed, not too coarsely, keeping the moment in her control.

He inhaled them, he scented them and wondered what he was in for.

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He rolled over and crawled his way to the pillow mountain, turned back over and faced her. She was almost starkers, the starkers starlet she saw herself as. He could see the presenter’s face, which he had sometimes seen on the television, mostly in in head shot explaining this or that in the language preferred by Sixty Minutes, seventh grader, only ever using more than two syllables when naming a foreign dignitary, to whose country access was needed. She spoke so beautifully. Pouting lips, full as his, she wanted to pash his so damn badly. Her body frankly swayed, to the languorous murmur from the surround stereo. Frank Sinatra.

“I’m in the nude for love” she lip synched along with the melody, and in case he hadn’t noticed, or heard, she raised her pitch above Sinatra’s.

She was headed towards a Rod Stewart rendition when he stopped her.

“Babe, can you come on over here and turn that shit off!. I can’t stand Rod fuckin’ Stewart.”

“But it’s not Rod, it’s Frank”

“It’s all Rod to me, I can’t hear that and not think of the abuse each word suffers as it is dragged over those sand paper tonsils.”

“Ok, ok,” she whispered, going over to the window, appearing to look for the stereo control. Knowing where it was but looking for it, allowed her to prance and strut around. Carpet to tiles then back to carpet, her heels clickity click-clacking in the feminine way she adored. They were stiletto heels to make a pavement cry, and Prado.

The stereo fell away, the evening star was rising phoenix like to the east, the direction to which most of this floor faced.

He breathed easily, as he watched her pirouette before him, each turn spotted on his body.

“All those ballet lessons weren’t wasted Dad,” she mused.

“We seem to have drunk all the champagne,” she said, shuffling her jeans under a chair with the toe  point of her heels.

Picking up the phone she ordered more, twirled en pointe, and again for the hell of it. She loved the caress of air rising over her Brazilian shaven body and let loose her hair.

The butler arrived, she knocked, pushed the trolley in, asked,

“Will that be all?”

The butler turned and left.

She too was shaven.


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Editor’s Note: Originally Published 2011 – Write a Novel in a Month – 6