A Story by Brett Hernan

An extract from an expansive work 1991-1997.


   Now for some of the other things that happened. I wouldn’t mention it if there wasn’t really something to it. There are only a few spaces left. I stuck my finger up my nose to end the century, I’m sure that was what he just said, feeling wistfully for the microphone. Vapour bleating lamp. M. lipstick powder, making escape very difficult, what ever it was it’s gone now, what ever they say when they use the telephone. Identifying each character as X. or C. even though their name’s probably Duane or Matt or Simon, (you know 'em).

  Tinkering, hankering for a few small pellets all over the place. Twenty one to get ninety four. Hang on there’s a guy over there who’s running up with something, duck. A fir tree over his shoulder. M. passed out in the telephone booth being helped up by a policeman in the center of the city mall, smacking the kid’s backside in the supermarket so they all agreed the Santa suit thing was a really great idea with a kind of loser Santa who wasn’t really into it, I don’t know it could be a bit difficult with the censors I’ll let you know after I let go of the wall rack making time impossible to estimate sort of spinning with pale chalky blue and yellow corners sucking in and out due to the optical effects of the rotors. He’s handing me an envelope unaware of the charcoaled timbers blowing around. We found the chook but it wasn’t doing anything. Last time I went there the guy tried to make out that I earned a living from returning objects that I’d found in their products. The last thing that we ever heard from him was that he was going out to get something to eat, a psychologically loaded statement, really.

   I hid in the alcove of the fish and chip shop and wrote in a notebook resting on the too sticky glass top of the ‘Pin-Bot’ pinball machine. It had the sun right in the middle and bore a suspicious looking small lump of chocolate strategically placed in the middle of the glass top. The people waiting dead pan for their chips to be ready wondered why I was laughing there alone behind the chip rack door way alcove ripping off all these words behind the sombre flesh bubbling sound effects of hot frying oil.

There must have been a point where the electrodes still made contact with the flippers through the congealed residues of mouth sprayed chocolate milk spurted in post coin loss disgust and the machine startled me when it sprang into action with its unexpected little performance of clicking, ticking, light flashing sequence and its pre-recorded tape loop distortion filtered mechanical voice declaring, like it had smoked five packs a day since before birth,


Well, that just made me feel conspicuous and clumsy! I still had to make that phone call.

   I wonder who will win the prize for the most inane name for an ice cream when the time comes? It was too dangerous to be read aloud. Inquiring in the guise of a public citizen why there was no indication of the net weight of the tartare sauce, inhaling the sense of danger.

That pretty much outlines the people who are in my neighbourhood. I couldn’t stop laughing, no matter what happened, it’s just a small scar now. I was going to ring but I forgot how long ago, kept his head down at night to avoid the serious fireworks. There are millions of people trying to forget. It was too late, they had invented a machine that could tell if you were lying. I voted what ever the voices say.

© 2017 Brett Hernan

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Added on September 1, 2016
Last Updated on January 6, 2017
Tags: australian writer, australian, tasmanian, tasmanian writer


Brett Hernan
Brett Hernan

Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Low-resolution sample only. Born 1968. All of the images accompanying each of these written works are my own. (Except that one of the guy putting a flower into a soldier's rifle barrel!) more..