• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 02
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Good luck with the arseholes

Comes home and he is clipping his nails. Sitting by the balcony, door pulled right open. TV on but muted. Left hand, right hand, right foot, left. When all his nails are clipped he folds them in a tissue. She watches and he ignores it. In the bedroom his leather work shoes are next to the bed where he took them off. Neighbour’s kid is screaming, clattering pots and pans.

She dresses in her house clothes then pads back out. Finally, he is looking at her.

— What? she asks.

He grimaces.

— What? she asks, and a laugh gets caught in her throat.


And so she sets out. She is taking champagne and caviar ironically, because they will all die soon, though she won’t say that.

At the station, she watches bats flying in the wind, trying to manoeuvre, looking lost in the twilight sky.

Someone on the train is crying. Or Laughing. Funny, she thinks, they can sound so alike. She wants to get another tattoo. This one will more explicitly symbolise death. She is on the way to a party, probably will only think about death, talk about death, ask the party people what they think of a death tattoo. Or maybe she shouldn't — they will ask if she has any other tattoos and she will need to admit she has the name of somebody at the party she is avoiding. Her ex-boyfriend will be there. He reminds her of death, his skeleton smile. His name is tattooed on her foot; she has tried to scrub it off in the bath with a loofah.


Good luck with the arseholes

At the party, the champagne is shared around but she drinks most of it. The caviar sits uncapped on a table inside. She ends up in the pool with the others watching, watching her tread water in the deep end. She is reminded of a time in the summer at the end of high school. Her neighbour Imre had a house party and two of her friends said they'd jump in the pool if they were paid enough. Money was collected, they stripped to their underwear, jumped in, took the cash and walked away dripping. She’d envied them, their scam. Now here she is. Later, Imre claimed she’d sucked his dick in the pokie room of The King’s Arms. Somehow everybody heard about it, and it is this, everybody hearing about it, that has stayed with her, not whether or not she actually did. Chin just above the water, her eyes meet her ex-boyfriend’s; his skull grin is absent from his face.

On the way home, her dress and her underwear and her socks and shoes especially damp, she thinks about caviar and champagne and their providence — not where the products are from, but their place as things, objects, in the universe. Baby, love is hard. Somebody said that, maybe in a maybe in a song. And it is hard. She thinks of death everyday, like a samurai.