Quick Fiction: “So, you’re telling me you’re not having an affair with another man?”


“So, you’re telling me you’re not having an affair with another man?” Smirking like he knew I was full of bullshit, my husband said this, then tipped his head to one side in that self-righteous way that makes me want to castrate him with a pair of blunt scissors.

“No,” I said, and continued to scrub the stainless steel stove top with Vilex Kitchen Cleaner and a scrubbing sponge.

“So where have you been all week? You’re here in the morning, the house is a mess. Then you’re gone in the afternoon, and the house is still a mess.”

I could offer up a number of explanations and make them all sound reasonable. But the truth was, I wanted to slap him senseless for bringing up house work like that was my only worth.

I turned. Dante still had his head cocked to the right; his eyes still wide and self-righteous.


“Dante darling, I’m not seeing someone else. I married…you. I made a commitment.”

“Then, explain why you come home smelling of another man’s aftershave.”

I dropped the scrubbing sponge into the kitchen sink full of hot water and soap bubbles, and walked towards the bedroom. I didn’t need to rummage. I pulled a glossy printout from my handbag and unfolded it. I showed it to Dante and waited for his questions.

“This is an ad asking for local acting talent. What are you telling me? You don’t act.” Dante had never been a man who coped well with loss of control.

“I applied and got a role.”

Dante gasped, then tried to calm his laughter. “As what?”

“My bum is a perfect match for Laura Grayson’s. She’s shooting a movie and needed a stunt bum for her romantic scenes.”

“What…Laura Grayson? She’s really famous.”

“Yes, well… at least someone is finally interested in my bum.”

My husband’s face clenched. His dull eyes said everything. He knew he had never been a particularly intimate man, even before we married.

I plunged my hand into the sink full of water and found the scrubbing sponge. I smiled to myself and thought of my sexy lover, Franco. He would laugh so hard when I told him that his ‘bum double’ story and glossy homemade printout had worked.

Humbly written by X


Quick Fiction: The Shadows Can Devour Me

I love the play of light and dark in this McComb poem.

Sunlight tastes stale, its bleached scenery
Night has the advantage of strangeness;
It will do with you what it will.

I love this section of EVENING CLENCHES because McComb suggests that there is a sense of boundless possibility in night. Night is mysterious and strange, where light, daytime, is stale, boring and familiar. Most people, I dare suggest, wouldn’t agree. Night and dark may lend themselves to mystery, but also to being threatening and scary as hell.

This poem, which I have loved for years, started me thinking about light and dark.

The idea that light is safe and shadows are to be feared has fascinated me for years. Is it sensible to think that a situation is less scary or to be feared less, simply because we light illuminates it. I’ve been known to not go into my backyard at night simply because it’s dark and I can’t see ‘what might be out there’. My quick fiction poem attempts to upturn the commonly accepted notion of light and dark. I hope this comes across.

Eyes blackened,
blind with deep night.
A wind skitters,
a branch scratches.
Only the rhythm of my own breath,
keeps my heart beating loud and even.

A dark inner fog consumes all sensibilities,
diffuses and steals me.
I am convinced of stalking shadows,
of silhouettes and strangers.

A chair crouches and shakes like a drunk.
A vase rises to strike,
doubling its height.
A man sneaks on his toes,
a torch beam in his hand.

It blazes only metres off and then rushes close.
It threatens the shadows,
it consumes and strangles and hides nothing.

If his lit face,
and the taste of his nicotine breath,
are my fear,
the shadows can devour me.

Humbly written by X

Quick Fiction: The Note

I thought a quick write might ‘warm me up’ so I could work on my novel. This is the product.

The Note
Why does she look at me that way, like I’m grime on her shoe? Did my birth really force her dreams to dissipate? She said it, but maybe she didn’t mean it. Her face was purple with despise, her eyes wide and enraged, but maybe she didn’t mean it. Sometimes she does this and it’s not me. It’s something else; a bad day at work or quite often money troubles. But I need to ask her something. I need a note signed for school. If I don’t return it today I won’t be able to go, and I really want to go. When I was little, I hid in my wardrobe until the house dimmed to silence then like a rodent I’d sneak into the kitchen for food. Now, I don’t react. I say nothing and behave like I’m numb to her shrieking.

She’s sitting there in her chair, a crossword puzzle in her hand. Her face is still purple, but closer to white than before. Her eyes have settled and seem less glassy. She’s watching me cross the kitchen; I can feel her eyes hot on the back of my neck. I straighten taller. I can feel my armour shedding, but I can’t allow it. I can’t go back to letting myself feel. My insides growl. ‘Force her out!’ they roar in unison. And I feel like I have an army of foot soldiers bracing with me.

I reach for a milk carton and smell the opening. It’s fresh. Mum’s good like this, always on top of the housework and groceries. And she cooks well too.

“Mum, can you sign my note?”

“What note?” There’s regret in her tone, and I know her rant wasn’t only about me.

“It’s a school note, the excursion. Remember…I’ve been invited to the Women in Engineering workshop. It’s usually for seniors, not juniors, but I was invited.”

A statue sat where my mother had; not a single emotion lightened her face now. Not a single blink of hope. “I wanted to be an engineer,” she said.

My foot soldiers dropped their weapons. I raised my white flag. I walked away.

Humbly written by X
I hope you like it.