Wednesday, 29 May 2013

a funny little voice

I think I was on my fourth beer, don’t worry, I got em cheap.  I was sat in the kitchen with my girl and a friend of ours.  Sarah was talking about how her partner was heading to Tassie to study stone crafted tools at the museum.  She says he’s hopeful of tracing their journey across the coast, he suspects they may have been made for trade.  I started to ask Sarah how he was going to do this, and then stopped.  She could tell me, but what’s the point?  I don’t get science.  I’ve watched docos, read articles and even been lucky enough to speak to real live archaeologists (without the hats, but they still count) who have patiently explained what they do when they dig and study and grow our world.  I listen, fascinated and faltering, grasping what I can and waving in the rear view mirror at the facets and facts I can’t retain, watching them bob away in the wake of a story on an ocean of things I will never really understand.

My phone rang.  This phone, it’s what the kids are using these days.  It’s a mobile.  No cords, no wires, no worries - It’s a smart phone.  I answered, and then heard my little sister’s voice in my ear.  She was calling from the country, sitting in a room I couldn’t see, talking into a little piece of plastic that turned her voice into binary and sent it to the little piece of plastic smushed up against my cheek.  The data (Meg’s voice) I think bounces off satellites before it gets to me.  It might also travel through some cables along the way maybe, I’m not sure.  I know it works, I’m not sure how, but it’s science, it’s ok.

Meg sounded light.  She was tired, but beaming.  I didn’t know people did that on the phone.  A voice gets scrambled up into numbers, shot from a cannon and then put back together a split second later, usually things come out in the wash.  But last night, on the phone my little sister beamed, she was as happy as an idiot in a sunshower.  She laughed, and then I heard another voice, a smaller, higher, funnier one.  It was my nephew, a tiny little human I have never seen.  His funny little voice a new toy, his dad a mountain no monster could scale, his mum an answer for everything.  I pressed my smart phone up to my stupid head and drank my ear full to the brim.

Later I hung up and walked back into the kitchen to open a fresh beer.  I had an eyelash in my eye; the girls didn’t believe me.        

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

eyeballing the everything


Harry was thick skinned, that’s not a turn of phrase.  To be fair he was thin skinned where it counted, but his wrists?  Thick.  He’d been digging away with a bone saw for twenty minutes before he saw a single drop of blood.  Thankfully his persistence paid off, and bleed he did - finally.

It was time to celebrate.  He made himself a toasted cheese sandwich and sat on an upturned bucket in the backyard.  The morning sun shone warm and easy on the back of his neck and rolled down beneath his shirt like honey.  Above him the sky sat still, open and honest.  Harry crunched into his sandwich.  A warm oily glob of gooey cheese greased through corner of his mouth and landed on his shoe, man, it was a really good sandwich. 

As he sat there soaking up the sun, eyeballing the everything, chewing, slurping and bleeding, Harry realised he had it all.  Every little bit, and then some.  Harry started to sing.  He didn’t bother with words; he just set loose the sounds in his head, in his fingers and balls, blistering and free to the wobbly cadence of his tin can heart.  A spittley crumb peppered mist painted his song as his joy rang up and out into the May morning sky, a disgusting, blood pounding, dream-weaving warble.

A magpie fell from the sky and stuck like a javelin in the grass, stone dead.  Its bird beak in the earth and its bird bum mooning the heavens, a mere foot from Harry’s mere foot.  Amazing.  Harry kept singing.  A seagull landed on its side, stiff as a board.  Harry bit deeper into his sandwich and pushed his song out harder, and higher.  Another bird fell, and another, and another.  They kept on coming, thicker and faster.  The heavy thump of stiff bird on crisp cut grass played beautifully with Harry’s song.  A jumbo jet crushed the house next door, and then seconds later the burning screaming rubble was subsequently body slammed by a police helicopter.  Harry’s heart opened up and he sang and sang and chewed and sang.  Meteors came crashing around him, and satellites, then stars, a shitty old space station and the moon.  It all fell at his feet, begging forgiveness. 

Harry finished his sandwich.  Harry finished his song.  He went inside and did the dishes, wondering if his friends would believe him.