Before the ceremony began, the woman with hairy legs and an air of having just abandoned a cigarette wandered as though at a party to the coffin where – though it was impossible and not so – Clelia’s mother, Margaret, was. Three days ago, four days ago, Clelia had said to her mother, ‘Come and see the blossom I’ve brought back.’ She had just returned to ... More
Georgie heard it too. On the very first morning of this story, though so much had gone beforehand. The usual warbling of the typical magpies, if anything so mysteriously complex as a magpie’s song can be called typical. There she’d lie, day after day, alongside Muir in their countless beds, in cramped corner flats and large creaking homesteads, in cold fi ... More
A visitation of Kindly Death is recorded by the Law List in a glass cabinet beside the sandstone doorway of Court Four in the City Courthouse, the sole item for the day’s business, and for many days:
Trial: R v Ali Bashir. (1) Murder (2) Assist Suicide.
The second count, rather than the first, is the reason f ... More
Behind the houses the river slides away all night. Buttery and resinous, the air hangs heavy with the river murk, the wet stink of the mudbank. Across the water, the railway sidings with their abandoned boxcars lie quiet, generations of graffiti hiding whatever colour they may have been. Beyond, the ibises stalk the salt flats, reeking brackish plains filled with se ... More
Let us take a look at this place. Marshlands. All the way to the horizon. The land drained, but nevertheless sinking. Sinking into nothing, nothing but itself. Frogs volleying noise in the grass unseen. The hazy movement of mosquitoes low to the ground. On a blade of swamp grass a sleek cricket. Blacker than night and – look closely – its antennae twitching. Jus ... More
They were large, stained, rust-coloured. You’d found them in an op shop somewhere. Old men’s trousers. I laughed and wouldn’t believe you when you said they once belonged to Russell Drysdale. So you took them off, right there on the Town Hall steps, and waved them in front of my face, flourishing the tag with the neat red stitching and Russell Drysdale’s nam ... More
We fell into the ocean backwards, making the OK signal for the camera. Later I replayed that footage several times, but it never seemed accurate: all flailing flippers and ungainly limbs, smiles stretched around the mouthpiece, that messy shattering of the surface. Nothing like the slow, deadly grace of being underwater.... More
I got the call when I was too far away to do anything about it. There was a pile of marking to get through, but that had been the case even before the call.
I’d rented a holiday house from a friend of a friend. And they’d probably bought it and all its contents from the children of an elderly deceased lady, or of one who had recently been moved to an age ... More