Short Story 1, first submission.

16 Feb

An Argument.

4am. A single line of smoke rolls off the balcony like bad calligraphy. Curled fingers brush ash off a fledgling pumpkin. John leans his head around the door.

“ Do you think children are easier to frighten than they used to be?” He asks, blindly reaching for the cup outside with his free hand. David scrunches his forehead and leans in slightly from the couch, his eyes not moving from the helicopter chase.

“Children like me or children like you?”

“What is that supposed to mean?” John swaps hands to drink from the plastic tumbler covered with glittered frogs. “Are you implying I’m some sort of wee jessie?”

The armoured police van explodes, and David taps his foot to the coffee table in quiet celebration. “Your scottish accent sounds like a dog food commercial, and yes. You scare incredibly easily. Also, while you were outside I drank the last of the wine”

“You arsebastard” John runs to the kitchen in exaggerated panic.

“See?” David replies, pausing to watch him check empty bottles. John finds a full one behind the toaster, and begins pouring two more cups while he walks back to the couch and sits down.

“Seriously though children are useless now. I told a kid in Bunnings that the rattle in spray cans is children’s teeth and the look on his face was like I’d twisted the head off a kitten”

“Dude you can’t just say shit like that to kids, somebody’s mum will slap you”

“But it’s a 20-year-old joke!” exclaims John “ I heard it on The Simpsons when I was younger than him. They don’t even show the really good episodes anymore; when was the last time you saw Last Exit to Springfield on tv?”

“I don’t know man, I don’t think they even have reruns on at 6 anymore” David gives the kind of shrug imperceptible to the untrained eye.

“Jesus Christ what is the world coming to when there isn’t a minimum of four hours of Simpsons available for free every week, nine if you have foxtel. It’s bullshit. Do you know they’re going to change Humpty Dumpty so that they fix him at the end? What kind of shit is that? That’s not even worth a rhyme, oh no some guy fell but he’s ok now. Nursery rhymes are supposed to be a child’s first exposure to horrible acts of violence and cruelty. Sing a Song of Sixpence is a recruitment song for bloodthirsty pirates, Jack and Jill is about two terminally ill children forced to fend for themselves in a cruel pre-industrial society and ring-around-the-rosies mourns those who died from the plague. Actually that last one’s not true so forget I mentioned it.” John realises how long he’s been talking and stops to finish his wine.

“I can see the benefit in couching the cold reality of life in rhymes if you live in Dickensian London but 9 year-olds don’t work full-time much these days, so it’s probably a cultural hand-me-down that’s ultimately served its purpose ah fuck” David exhales as his gangster falls under a hail of bullets.

“Do you think we’ve been affected negatively by it” asks John as he returns to the kitchen.

“Probably not.”


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