Alternate Realities: Of walking in sugar

Part 4 of Alternate Realities: A (sort of) fan-fiction series.

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Alternate Realities: Michael Cera hikes in Sweden with his dialect coach

Part 3 of Alternate Realities: A (sort of) fan-fiction series.

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Alternate Realities: Inn

Part 1 of Alternate Realities: A (sort of) fan-fiction series.

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Speak: Meaty Parts

The water lapped gently at the side of the tub as Aubrey eased
back into her arms.

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Speak: Monopoly

It’s raining outside. Not that romantic mist from funerals in films. Fat summer drops that disperse barbecue parties and cleanse the earth.

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Speak: The Show

She was taller than me. The way she walked, I could tell she felt awkward about it.

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Speak: Bats

‘What are they?’
‘What are what?’
‘Those little things there, on either side of what we have said.’

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Speak: Still, always still

When I enter the house my father and uncle are sitting in front of the television. They sip from green beer cans in perfect unison and together they turn, wave to me, and look back to the screen.

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Antipodean: Meroo Camping

There are kangaroo and wild dog tracks but ours are the only footprints on the beach. The sand squeaks with every step as if it’s alive and makes its way between our toes.

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Antipodean: Pipes

My laptop is hot on my thighs. I’m trying not to wake my housemates, so I’m whispering to your face on my screen. I tell you I miss the sunshine and sitting by the canal, watching the swans.

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Antipodean: Carry On Katastrofa!

The casting call asked for men of Slavic appearance, aged twenty to forty, for ‘featured extra’ roles in a comedy feature film about the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

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Lost At Sea: Washing Day

Every Sunday afternoon since they were little girls they had completed this ritual.

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Lost At Sea: Fourteenth Summer

In her fourteenth summer Alex started taking baths in the big green tub by herself.

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Accidents & Emergencies: Concerning the birth

Does the woman giving birth notice her husband running his fingers through her wet hair?

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Reasons to be Alive

It all started when I sat in the wrong seat. I had put my headphones on and was getting all settled by the window when the fat lady whose seat it really was arrived late and out of breath.

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Minutiae: Red and grey pavers

Who was it that thought red and grey pavers were a good idea? Was it for some sort of calming effect?

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The Serious Young Insects

There’s a softness to the sun here ‒ as if Amsterdam was born to be painted ‒ and Lex and I hose the trees below through the slats in the balcony.

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Minutiae: Midnight Feast

The swathe of bites on Jeff’s legs itched like mad inside his jeans.

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Satan in the Smoking Section

God sat at the computer, his foot lightly tapping. He had taken my mother’s dressing gown, the red, stripy one, and I could see that he was naked underneath.

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Minutiae: Pacific Park

The BMX kids have their secret hang-out spot by some wrecked cars of a Union Pacific freighter that derailed some ten or more winters past.

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Drunk on Election Night

It was cold and I sat on my hands and I was only just past tipsy when Ari first showed me his wings.

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Minutiae: Low light

After Cal’s ma died, his father kept up with buying flowers from the market every Saturday. It was a sad thing, a man fixing flowers alone.

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Weather Systems: Honeymoon

I’m out the back smoking when I notice that the dog is dead.

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Weather Systems: Still, I remember the rain

After the rain, the clay went soft under our basketball shoes.

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Happy Hour: A good firm grip

One Wednesday Kate woke at 3am with a syrupy mouth and man hands sprouting from her wrists.

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Happy Hour: How beautiful

Happy Hour was extended on account of the bar’s owner crashing through the doors in the late afternoon, voice creaking like an old gate.

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Happy Hour: Is that it

All we could hear were faint scratches; nails gently scraping across the dry wood. It was all we had heard for a while, and we couldn’t pinpoint the source.

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Happy Hour: Tørst

‘I would not worry,’ Andreas says, ‘this is a good city to fall in love.’

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Heading North: The farewell party

My friends and family said it was a stupid thing for a sixteen-year-old to do.

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Heading North: No vacancy

When they called about Dad I was in the middle of shitting. The nurse asked if I was sitting down. ‘Absolutely,’ I said.

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Heading North: How to get sad when you’re not

Get your driver’s license. Head up the coast and visit the grave of a school friend’s mum.

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Backyards: The Forest

Our ducks were torn apart by wedge-tailed eagles. Our chickens died one by one, eaten nightly by a monstrous carpet snake. My brother tried to stab the snake with a pitchfork once.

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Backyards: Perponcherstraatstudio

I love how the Dutch cram words together. I love this studio. I love the rubbish truck idling in the back alley, beyond the brick wall, where we lit firecrackers on New Year’s Eve and drank red wine mulled with cloves and orange peels.

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Backyards: Jungle Pool

Our father bought us the jungle pool during a heatwave, after Josie and I tried to dig an in-ground in the garden and Josie got bitten by a bat.

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Backyards: Alex

Last month, my cousin stopped moving. My aunt Josie called me, out of the blue, and told me this.

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Mothers & Fathers: Big Talk

My dad could beat your dad in a fight. He’s super strong and can lift heavy things.

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Lady Luck: Gold Lotto

Mum received a novelty cheque and Gold Lotto labelled champagne when she won second-division lottery.

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Lady Luck: Auditions

Robert Aldus performed the Australian national anthem. The audition was his wife’s idea; he needed a more productive way to spend the nights, she thought.

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Lady Luck: Vegas

‘You need to use Chapstick,’ Emily said. ‘That’s the first thing.’

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Lady Luck: Fortuna

He used to write about her all the time — moments in parks where he would locate his anguish not within the actual girl but through her archetype.

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Ten: Road trip

Ten minutes into the holiday trip down South and our dog Sheeba vomits in a loud cough between Mum’s legs.

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Ten: Places where the Brady Bunch children lost their virginity

Firstborn Greg Brady was the only sibling to lose his […]

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Ten: Tableland

My father and I are geologists so of course we both love nipples.

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Celebrity: The moment when I become famous

I order a green salad and black tea. I want a toasted sandwich with salami and perhaps some provolone but there might be someone taking a photo of this moment with their iPhone, and it’s important to be photographed eating salad.

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Celebrity: Fighters

Dad had put posters up all around our neighbourhood advertising his upcoming fight with me. He’d made a ring in our backyard.

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Liner Notes Wild Card: Side A / Side B

Ray went to break it off with a condom in his pocket.

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Witches: Part 4

When I was younger the witches next door took our dog.

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Witches: Part 3

The crossroads are next to a Circle K and a drycleaner, but it’ll do.

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Witches: Part 2

Ellie first met the devil in shop. She was the only girl in the class and this had not been nearly as much trouble as she thought it would be.

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Witches: Part 1

The women who ran the diner were sisters. The elder was tall and angular, and the younger was short and sinuous, and one was Velma and the other Ellie, it was assumed.

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Liner Notes: Til the morning comes

I look down the road past the park bench and the payphone. I’m the only one here awake.

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Other Houses Wild Card: S. for Sam

J. and I ate breakfast in her living room that day.

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Other Houses: Hey. Hey!

Mum wants to pick us up from the airport but I tell her we’ll get a taxi to save the trouble. She insists. I insist.

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Other Houses: do you think we could?

Some nights there is a person living in a van out front of the house. We watch him hang his towel over the front door and jam it closed.

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How To: Howl Like A Girl

So mum sat me down and put my hand in hers and she said, baby it’s time we had a talk.

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How To: Walk All The Way Home

Say goodbye to your friends and leave them standing in the street deciding what to do next.

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How To: Do Sundays

Wake up behind the train tracks and also behind a strip club in Richmond.

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Catastrophe Wild Card: Beautiful Lake

I came to the lake because he told me to. My housemate, Lukas. Again and again, he insisted: ‘Visit the lake,’ he said.

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Catastrophe: Playing Uno

All three of them wedge into the back seat of the van, pillows on their knees, summer shorts and bare feet, their mum and dad in the front.

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Catastrophe: Dear Suzie

Firstly: Two friends of mine, an old man and a young man, boyfriends I met making deliveries for the food company, got caught on Friday night lifting low-grade medical equipment out of a warehouse in the city.

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Things I brought home: What I left in Bombay

He calls me up one day when I’m mopping the floor in the backstreet cafe that pays my rent.

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Excerpt from Hard

She’s seen the wedge-tailed eagle on days like this. Circling the sky above while she travels down the range.

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Excerpt from Pandora

The box looked heavy. She tugged at its lid. It was heavy.

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Excerpt from Breeding Contempt

Kira wasn’t a virgin, thankfully, but her skin was smooth and young, like her voice.

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Excerpt from Sing Fox to Me

Jonah liked his grandfather’s property because it wasn’t like home. Here the air smelt thick, the trees were thin and sleepy, and the sun trickled instead of poured.

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Krissy Kneen writes a horror story

The baby was born with facial hair. Not just hair on its chin, like a grown man, but hair on its cheeks and forehead and on the tiny baby whorls of its perfect ears.

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We have guests: River-View Lakes

Gloria met Bruce at her cousin’s wedding. They were seated next to each other at a table in the corner.

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The First Time Series: Breasts

The first time she showed a boy her breasts she apologised. She knew there was something wrong with them because they didn’t look like the ones from magazines.

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The First Time Series: Car Crash

There was a time Leigh-Anne Wallace could go to the supermarket and stand out no more’n you and me did.

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The First Time Series: The carriage, last but one

‘I can’t begin to tell you,’ the woman says, ‘how wonderful it was, that first marriage.’

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From the Avid Reader Desk: Father’s Day

When it comes to special occasions, I’m a pretty terrible son.

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The Prophecy Series: True Brides of Christ

Here’s something I remember: Two women coming into Frederick’s by themselves, sitting alone in the back corner, well past midnight.

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The Prophecy Series: Water Park

The first time you realise your parents are unhappy it’s the middle of summer. The pools are overcrowded with red-skinned shiny-faced people.

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Dear Small Screen Video: Part IV

Dear Barbara,

I have written you a story about a friend of mine. Please find it below.

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The Sea Series: Friends

The new ambassador’s previous wives, I am told, are all deceased. All three of them drowned in completely separate instances between the years 1930 and 1939.

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Dear Small Screen Video: Part III

Hold your tongue, dear manager, for I know how hard you work.

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The Sea Series: Down the bay

My brother asks me for a ride to the shops and I say okay because it’s summer and my mother is driving me crazy about the heat.

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Dear Small Screen Video: Part II

Dear Barbara, Thank you for confirming my position at Small Screen Video.

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Dear Small Screen Video: Part I

Dear Small Screen Video, I am very excited to announce that I would like to work in your video store.

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The Recipe Series: Turkey Sandwich

After my mother died I couldn’t stop thinking about food. I thought about hard-boiled eggs and I thought about lobsters red and gleaming.

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The Recipe Series: Venison Stew

Our mum’s new boyfriend moved into our kitchen not even two weeks after he first came round.

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The Pilgrimage Series: Wedding

We were in the car because George’s old man was getting hitched and his bride’s family owned a farm up in Maleny and that’s where the wedding was.

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The Pilgrimage Series: Antarctica

He made good on his promise, but it only took me a day after leaving Argentina to realise that I didn’t want to go to Antarctica with him anymore.

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The Brothers & Sisters Series: Dinner at the Green River

Incidentally, it was the first time my immediate family had ever been in the same room together outside of a judicial hearing or sentencing.

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The Brothers & Sisters Series: Backyard cricket

At breakfast the brother and the sister sit across from each other at the table.

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The Summer Series: They could have been anyone.

The summer they moved it hit forty degrees. More even. The arrow on the sign outside the cop shop pointed to extreme for most the season.

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The Summer Series: Wednesday

It’s been about thirty five all week.  Houses are shut tight and blinds drawn.  Inside the gloom people watch the Adelaide test and drink jugs of water from the fridge. 

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The Summer Series: The Colonials

We were peering in through the gas-station’s dirtied up windows when David called that he’d found something out behind, and we, China and me, went round to see what.

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Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens series: Part II

Before she left to live in Sydney, I asked my mother one afternoon where her favourite place on earth was.

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Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens series: Part I

Agent Salt (Angelina Jolie) first realised she was drunk as she was talking to a man at her table whose entire natural jaw had been removed, many years earlier, by Korean scientists.

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The Jack’s in Germany series: Part IV

I met a man named Tom Holiday Delaney in the lobby of the hourly hotel at Beijing International.

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The Jack’s in Germany series: Part II

In the mornings I hear Mother Gothel’s call and throw my thick buttery rope of hair out the window.

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The Pub Series: Part III

Danny was at risk of dying but surgery, he said, wasn’t an option.

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The Pub Series: Part II

He wasn’t tall but it seemed that way. I watched him as you might stare down a steel barrel raised to your chest plate.

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The Pub Series: Part I

The morning after the fires settled, ash fell from the orange-stained sky and covered the slumbering streets in the centre of town. It was late January.

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