Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Traffic Chaos

I had to work, yesterday. I can tell you why people are going bonkers in the 21st century. Take a drive out the Wesgate bridge/freeway, around the ring road and, let's say, take the Boundary Road exit. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't matter what exit you took. The traffic is a nightmare. OMG! Trucks and cars and trucks and cars.

On my way home,  I came over the Wesgate Bridge and the freeway just stopped. This was 3pm. I shot into the outside lane, the only lane that was moving, because that was vaguely the direction in which I wanted to go and I passed stationary car after stationary car. It was literally a car park. Not working. City Link is not working. I was lucky, as I turn off to the city, and I was out of there in no time, but the rest of them would have been there for hours, at my guess.

It begs the question, rightwing of politics, why would you want to spend billions building Westlink, when the system to which you are joining more traffic is not working. I know that the rightwing of politics want to build roads because of the jobs the infrastructure project generates, but you have to have some concept of what more roads are going to do to the traffic problems that more roads create.  It can just be about jobs, it has to be about people. 

Roads clearly are't the solution. More roads creates more traffic.
Better public transport creates less traffic. Easy for an inner city poofter to say, for sure. I'm glad I don't have to drive the mean streets of Laverton every day. Shiver. I have to do it again on Monday. Shiver. I'm telling jack next time that Laverton is too far for me to go and work. I have to do peak hour to Laverton Monday morning.

I can't just sit at home and write, otherwise my writing dies. I begin to write about the inside of my lounge room walls, I know that. But working 50 hours per week wasn't working for me either, my writing died. So, I think I am going to have to go back to contract work, to keep the juices flowing, so to speak.

Which reminds me, It dawned on me, while I was watching 7.30, or whatever program she is on, Fat Guts Carol Brady is a fat Sarah Ferguson.
Add about 40 kilos. Fifty.
Fatty Cake Snoop Lady changed my pay structure on my final payment to maximum tax. Which tells me she is pissed off. Childish really. She always had that, which was the only thing that made me uncomfortable with her, the little girl with the heart of a killer routine she used to pull. I think it spells control freak, if she goes down, and I am lead to believe that she was struggling before I left by Kirin, who'd clearly heard on the grapevine, it will be like a whale on the beach, she would have lost everything this year. Partner, family, job.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Cute Painter

I must be turning into an old purve, I reckon. Or are all men perves and we should just accept it and embrace it. 11.11am, driving home, thanks to the painter in the, practically, transparent white painting shorts. Cute, well built painted in his white painter’s outfit, which consisted of a white polo and almost transparent long white shorts, the thick, black lines on his white jocks showed off all the curves on that painter to great effect. The lines all curved around and hugged that perfect arse of his. It put a smile on my face all the way home.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

I made apple cake

Afternoon tea is very nice with apple cake

Sunday morning.

I got up early. I like it, I write.

It was dark.

Then I look up and it is light outside, the sun has appeared over the whatever. I might put on Pink Floyd.

Always start with Dark Side Of The Moon, finish with Animals. The temptation is to start with Wish You Were Here, I know, but don’t. That opening to Dark Side Of The Moon, perfect for a Saturday morning. Breathe. That little combo has gotten me through a Sunday morning on more occasions than I can remember.  I count up exactly how many on my fingers. Mind blown.  The cool breeze blows in the back door.

Sam is making congee.

Buddy grunts and groans as he changes sleeping positions.

I drink strong coffee and eat toast with two different types of raspberry jam, I hear it is the chic thing to do for breakfast.

It is a gorgeous day.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

"What have you been doing, cunt?"

"What have you been doing, cunt?"

Kane knew better than to answer that. “Hey Agro, whatch you been doin?”

Agro stepped in front of me, as I tried to walk away, blocking my way, not that that was hard, Agro being the size of a brick shit house, and me, shrug, the size of a mouse. That is what they say, Kane Mouse. That is what they call me. It’s the quiet ones you gotta fucken watch out for, I tell them to their faces. Then I shag their sisters.

“Do you know anything about what happened to Kipper?” said Agro, kind of all secret, like he didn’t want anybody to hear him asking.

Kane knew better than to answer that, too. I knew a little, I’d heard whispers, I will ferret out the truth pretty soon, but nothing, at this stage, I would bet any of my credibility on. “Some thing happen to Kipper?”

“Fuck off!” he pulled a pleading face. “Man?“

“Did something happen to Kipper,” I said. “You’re telling the fucken story.”

Agro suddenly got me in a headlock. We scuffled a bit. “You better not be bullshitting me,” said Agro. “I wanna know what happened to my boy.” He rubbed my hair aggressively up and down with his hand. He let me go.

I reeled around to keep my balance. “No use coming down on me." I straighten up, regain my balance. "I’m not your crew.” Come to think about it, it was rare to ever see Agro without his boys. There was very rarely ever a, shall we say, personal visit, as there was today. Kipper is his right hand man, sure, I understand that, but on his own? What did Agro suspect? Fear? A rat in his ranks?

I exhaled. My head stops spinning. “Where are your boys?”

I hear that Kipper was in very dodgy company, in a very dodgy part of town, and he got shanked in a robbery gone wrong. Getting into his Mercedes parked down some narrow back alleyway, in the fashionable inner suburbs, where parking is a nightmare and often has to be done in the shadows in which you wouldn’t normally find yourself. That is what the smart operators are saying. But, it is still only third hand at best, forth hand probably.

I shrugged like I knew nothing. Fuck it, I thought. “What are you doing here, anyway? On this side of town?”

“It’s a free world, maaaaate, just don’t you forget that.” He lent in closer, “Well it was, where I come from, last time I checked.”

“Yeah, well, keep off my back,” I said. “You’ve got Cone and Crack to do your dirty work. I can’t see them lurking in the shadows… anywhere close at hand.”

“You don’t worry where my Cone and Crack are, do you know anything about Kipper, or not?”


He poked me with his hard, pointy finger, his lips twitched, he pulled his quavering jaw in tight with his neck muscles. “You keep off my sister.”

“She’d woop your arse if you ever said that to her, so why say it to me?”

“She’s my sister, man, I can’t look at you when I know you are…”

“Tell her, not me,” I said. “I’m the free agent here. I don’t have a gorilla brother I have to answer to, you know what I mean."

“Don’t lead her on,” said Agro. “If I catch you making them fucken gooey eyes at her, I swear, I swear, I will smash your pretty face in." Agro's voice gets really high like he is really excited. "Do we understand each other?”

I seem to remember something quiet different with Rosie.

We were pashing up the walkway of a house party in the suburbs, the parents were at their beach house. We’d all just finished school, it was our year twelve end of year party. People were drinking beer out of long necks. All the globes in the house had been changed to coloured. There were lava lamps, incense, loud music. People were everywhere, back yard, packing the house, spilling out into the front yard, it was hard to find a private place.

I asked her what Agro was going to say, about me and her, hooking up.

“Are you bi?”

“No! Why?”

“If you want to sleep with my brother, honey, why didn’t you just ask him home.”

“What are you taking about?”

“Stop talking about him."

Then I asked her why she didn’t go for the over-steroided crew that Agro was head of.

“I like greyhounds like you baby.” She grabbed my nuts. “Little jockeys, big whips.”

“Hey!” She had the grip of a truck driver.

“Less talk,” she said.

2am. Boozy loud pub, last drinks everyone out.

“Rosie, where have you been?” I was pretty sure it was Rosie. It looked like Rosie. Jesus what had I had to drink?

“Where you been Kano?” said Rosie.

“Looking for you, baby.” She smelt like Roses. “Have you been keeping away from me?”

In the back of the taxi, Rosie looked like the most gorgeous thing, and I was going to get my reward for living a good and wholesome life. Rosie was good and wholesome.

“I’m glad we left, it was stuffy and hot in there.”

“It’s hot in here, baby,” said Rosie. She put her leg over mine.

Rosie’s fake nails pushed into the palm of my hand but I didn’t want to let her go.

There was one point, where my cock was deep inside her pussy, “Yeah BABY!” doggy style from the rear, where she’d pushed back, “AAaaa a a a…AA!” and I’d thrust, “ErrrrrrrrrRRR RA RA RA RA RA!” And we’d stopped momentarily to suck breath deep from within both our fucken souls, I lay back, just slightly, and I looked down and I thought of Agro. Got his face in my head. Don’t tell me what I can and can’t fucken do! I felt smug. I felt smug ‘cause me and Rosie are tight, we always been tight, since prep school. So this was just us, being us. And it would get up Agro’s nose, anyway. Win, win. It was a victory, my powerbase was small. So, yeah, I felt smug… “AAAAAAAAAA! Gasp for breath. Jesus! FU…CKEN JE…SUS! AAAAAA!!!!!!”

“YEAH!"… she slammed her open palm down on the mattress. "BABY!”

8pm Sunday night.

Kane had felt much, much better. I was feeling so shit, I was willing to give anything a go, so when one of the boys said, “Cone,” I sat right up like I was resurrected, and I sucked on that bong with the skill of a pro, all down in one inhale, until the cone went pop and was empty.

I spat the ashes out onto the floor.

I was mistaken to think that I couldn’t feel any worse. At least, before the joint, I was fucken stationary. The room spun, as I rode the fast track to chunderland. Close your eyes. OPEN your eyes! NO, NO, close your eyes. NO, open them. OPEN. CLOSED.

“Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh.” I felt the bile come up into my mouth. The room was still spinning. After it had passed, I felt weak and powerless to stop myself from flying off of the planet altogether, I was drenched in sweat and shivering. I was slippery. I was foetal, just naturally, trying to hang on.

And then I dreamt.

Well, I thought I dreamt, when I woke up, I shook my head and thought, I gotta get off this sit! Man, I GOTTA get off this shit! That was until I spoke to the boys, Monday morning.

Someone boof-faced apparition in my vision, in my dreams as though it was all filmed through a cat-eye lens. I thought I had gone bi, but I wasn’t telling any cunt that. At least that was what I thought I saw, think I saw. Huge. Technicolor. Great big faces. I might have pashed. Oh? Wince. Maybe, there was a rollercoaster? There was a crashing helicopter. There might have been a gorilla. What the fuck!

Apparently, I found out after that… that mad cunt, Agro, had arrived and tried to wake me. He tried big time, apparently, shaking me the fuck about, slapping my face. Kane held his hands in the air as if to say, what’s that all about? Mum always said I slept like the dead. The boys stopped him… eventually. Someone had told him that I’d said something about someone who said something about Kipper. I don’t fucken know.

How out of it was Kane? Somebody must have spiked Kane's drink. I drank a shitload, but that was just a weekend, nothing new. There was no way I could have got paralytic on what I drank. Six, or seven long necks and that was about it. Jesus! Nothing. A couple of shots. One Daniels.

It was the cone. Had to be.

Friday, February 05, 2016

I got me 2 days in Footscray

Jack text again, wanting to confirm my departure from (the name of the company). I don’t know what number message that one was from him, but there has been many since Monday? I text him back that I had left (the name of the company), and that I was planning to take some time off. Then I called him, I’ve got no reason to ignore him. Everything is fine, I’m taking time off. I even used my mother dying card. (I always negotiate too hard with work, I’ve got to learn to relax, take my time?)

“You take all the time you want,” said Jack.

Lovely Jack, oh how I’ve missed you, Jack. My Mr Phelps. No, I guess I'm Mr Phelps. My Charlie. That makes me an angel.

Later in the afternoon came the message, I know you were taking time off, but I am really stuck, how would you consider doing 2 days to get me out of a hole. Footscray, half a day, followed by a whole day.

I found myself texting, Footscray?

I’m really stuck, came Jack’s reply.

I guess it is nice to be needed, Jack is the only person who gives me that feeling. Sad, when it is just a voice on the end of the phone? I found myself texting, sure. Jack says that is why I am his favourite contractor? You always say, sure.

I needed to keep Jack happy, let’s face it, he is the only employer that ever wants me to work for them. No other employer ever has. Never. I've never been indispensable. I wonder what that feeling would feel like? When I hold out for a higher salary, it always means I am one step away from out the door. I always play it far too take-no-prisoners. Why don’t I remember that? Clearly, I have no skills in this area. The sum result of my recent salary negotiations is that I got me 2 days in Footscray.


Jesus! What did I do? I traded a job at the end of the street, for 2 days in Footascray? Way to go Christian. That's a great improvement. Oh, yes, I can see why you did that? Maybe, I was more stressed than I thought? The reflux pain in my chest has all gone, since I left work, maybe it just wasn't that I forgot to take my pills for a couple of weeks? (I was imagining tests and then open chest surgery) I am taking my pills now. I was working 12 hours days, a couple of days per week, at least. It maybe 2 days in Footscray, but that also translates to 8 days at home, if we are still thinking in fortnightly blocks.

No Fatty to say, "I found these chocolates in the kitchen which one would you like?" She was a feeder. Feeders are very needy people. Let's face it, you don't get to her size without some seriously fucked up thoughts going through your head. She thinks her cunt is a spider, and she is constantly having to build a protective layer around it to protect the world from it. Or, closer to the truth, she is constantly building a protective layer around it, so nobody sees it and tells her how ugly it is.

Poor Fatty Snoop Cake Baby, that one piece of cake was never enough to completely blot out those feelings of unworthiness you always felt. Never has been since. You don't get a skirt of flesh hanging down over your knees without some serious insecurities, I don't reckon.

There is quite a lot of chaos in F's life, she needs lots of maintenance, as is not surprising in someone who is clearly dedicated to the desires of self. She requires a lot of time off to manager her life, there are some days when she really can't overlook it all to get out of bed. She would, literally, drag herself out of bed, every morning, even when she is feeling well. I am really laid back, come in, don't come in, I don't care. I hope the new person is as laid back as I am. Remember, they are bitches out there.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Do You Have a Minute?

Jon Austin must be the most boring man ever born, born with the most boring monkier, just in case people couldn’t tell on sight. It was kind of a give away, Jon Austin. He took up the most boring profession, law, oh his parents must have been so proud. He had a boring child late in life, the perfect Charlotte, who he brings into the office from time to time, who questions all of the staff one by one, as her father works at his stand up desk. All sports casual, Mr Suburbs, neat, his ensembles usually shriek. Mr Beige a.k.a. Mr FlatLine. That's what I call him. The fact that he was born into the dizzy environs of Canberra, escaped no one. Do people, actually, admit to coming from Canberra? Seriously? To Melbournians? Really? There’d be derision, even if the judgment was subconscious, that’s just how Melbournian’s roll. Melbourne, or Sydney, they are the cool choices, no other city really measures up. It had not escaped me, certainly, I feel my blood pressure drop just by working next to him in the office. I’m sure it would have the same effect as patting a small cat. How it escaped anyone is a mystery.

“Oh really, how lovely,” says benefactor, Dowager Baillieu. Baffled look on her face. She held out a drooping hand. Her other hand reaching for her pearls, at the same speed as his puckered lips glided downwards towards her non-gloved skin.

“Yes, my wife Jane and I… like the writer?” He stopped, seemingly mid sentence.

“I’m sorry?”

“Jane Austin, my wife.”


“Got a good deal on a small apartment near work.”


Anyone's guess, really? There is just something, an inescapable something. How he made it to Melbourne is... who knows? He’s the Zebra who dares to wear red shoes, back where he came from. No doubt. Barton, or Page, or Dunk, all those terrible Canberra suburbs have terrible names like that. More chance of winning lotto than a Canberrian, is that what the collective noun is for them, fitting in with Melbournians.

“He’s one of the Canberra Austins?” asked the dowager, mystified. “Apparently, his wife writes.”

The man is the embodiment of pain relief. Some, mostly the twinset brigade, say a voice as smooth as honey. I'd say a monologue as relentless as a tsunami, but not nearly as interesting. Have A Chat, that's what they call him, Mr Have A Chat, sadly no body listens, as those who do soon glaze over as they look down at their watch. For Jon is Valium in human form. He even makes ditch water look like a Monet painting. Five minutes in a room with him and sloths are trying to slit their wrists.

He's not even a nice bloke. Some would say rude. The chip of the colonies. I'd say who cares, as long as I don't have to listen to him any longer. Thank the universe for office reshuffles, my life is saved. Mazz hated him, called him non existent. "You can see right through him, almost as if he wasn't there."

He’s just a shadow, he works in the shadows. He is that moment that your reflection tapped you on the shoulder and said, Now about that misdemeanour, you know the one. Talking to the local media about Empire’s work, you thought nobody would notice. Ring, ring. “You got a minute.”

“What’s this about?”

“Oh, nothing heavy.” Just talking outside your role and potentially jeopardising your funding, but we will get to that.

Oh when I heard those faithful words, unexpectedly, first thing one Monday morning. "Jon Austin here, is it a good time for a chat?"


Anybody else in the department getting that phone call, with those opening words, they’ve told the rest if us. Compared stories, misdemeanours. How were you supposed to run campaigns, if you had to get every small detail checked off by the man himself, every time you wanted to make a decision? It bought shivers. Always, whenever you had strayed outside of the brief. Some times you knew when you did it. Oh, is that going to bring a phone call. Shiver. You know you just said what wasn't meant to be said.

"Is now a good time?" Jon asked.

Any sane member of the team would be begging, I begged kill me now, as the words were still passing, meticulously timed, out of his mouth.

"Yes." Meek. In reaction already. Flight or fight. Defence, be small, the smallest target that anyone could possibly hit.

Why me? Who have I spoke to in the last few days? What media releases says? Who said what. Why did you have to send in Jon Austin? Internal Investigation. Faceless auditor. The shadow behind every decision you have ever made.

"I just want to have a civilised chat about what your side of the story is..."

"What story?" I was stupid enough to ask once.

"Christian, you were named in the news report as the source."

"My side of the story."

"Why don't we start there," coo'd Jon's voice, less like a trickle of honey and more like being suffocated by too much rose scented talc in the air.

"Now just so we understand what we are dealing with." He would list the crimes with which you were now charge in order of least importance, finishing with the big kahuna, the most criminally damaging allegations on his list of you digressions.

Once your side was done, put out there, offered up, then he was relentless, the chilled voice, like a velvet tsunami, never stopping, never relenting, never changing speed, on how it was going to be in the future.

“You know,” Jon laughed for the first time. “Just so we are on the same page.”

What is he? COO Brand of Empire Group. CEO of operations of Service Empire International. Frightening, he truly is. What is he? He is so whacked up on his own self importance, that just isn't any questions coming from him re authenticity. You don't deign to speak to him, unless he has business with you. He's a cold fish. He gives me the creeps just now thinking about him.

“I didn’t realise the implications.”

“That is why I am here,” Jon coo'd.

He's neat. Shoes that always matched his belt, no matter what he was wearing, it was almost psychopathic in its adherence. Of course, he only wore camel pants, or jeans, a short-sleeved shirt, more often than not checked, leather moccasins, or a pristine runner, the occasional wow factor suit and tie, but that only if he was going out for some forensic smoozhing.

Friday afternoon he’d finish at 3pm, as he has a kid, he’d leave the office on his way to pick up the insufferable Charlotte wearing her pink backpack. Or he worked from home, three day weekend, those days are free and liberating, just a small taste of how things could be.

Fran and I have been known to crack a bottle of red Friday afternoons, once Jon had departed the building. He never knew. It was one of the perks of not driving to work. Fifteen years ago, we’d have been outside having a fag, but Fran and I had long since given up the gaspers. We’d go into Fran’s corner office and close the door. One of the few, still with an office, thank god. Let the inmates have full reign. Only occasionally, you understand, not every, single Friday afternoon. I’m not exactly sure what he would have said about that?

I don’t think he is as important as he likes to think he is. Fran Di Dio does a good job, what is she, COO Empire People, and is way more respected than Jon Austin. He’s not one of us, he never has been. Fran's a no-nonsense kind of, hands on her hips and knuckle down and fix the problem through hard work, kind of gal. I think of her as the Katherine Hepburn of the NGO world. She never has a need of the existential, like our boy Jon. He's the master of it. I bet you he does cross words.

Fran brings her dog in to work, Tilly, the standard poodle. You can bring your dog in whenever you want. Bruno knows the routine and is at the front door waiting for me, the only time he wants to walk with me, I have to add. Fran always arrives at your desk in person, if there is a problem, if she wants to "have a word". She has no tag line, no not for her. “Christian, about the Men’s Program?” She wouldn’t refer you to some mythical spirit of the organisation, she’d just give you an answer. Done. Short and sweet. Problem fixed. Tilly would often lick you, in Fran’s wake, when it was all done. Fran wouldn’t suck your ear down a phone for 3/4s of an hour on the philosophies of the organisation and where we’d like us all to be heading, together.

Fran’s alive and real and earthy. Fran photosynthesises.

Jon is a hologram, a perfect corporate image. Jon sucks oxygen.

Tilly and Bruno lay together in the after noon sun, in front of the floor length windows on the north side of the floor. Cindy, Jon’s Schipperke, cowers and growls from under Jon’s desk, when Tilly and Bruno go and sniff around her, whenever Jon isn’t around.

“Life imitating art,’ I said to Fran. It didn’t quite come out right. “You know what I mean?”

“They say it is all in the upbringing,” said Fran. She pointed to Cindy with her chin. “The first 6 weeks are crucial.” She laughed.

“They really should just beat her up one day,” I sneered, slowly, as I watched Tilly and Bruno sniff at the snarling Cindy, questioningly. Tilly, long nose down. Bruno, sniffing up close from behind.

“Oh Christian.” I felt a hand grab my arm. Fran was trying very hard not to laugh, but she couldn’t stop herself. She walked off chuckling, shaking her head.

“Do you have a minute,” she said, seemingly into the ether as she walked away.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

The Sun Was Shinning

Pretty cute, huh? They were adorable boyfriends, you could see it in the way they looked at each other. They had accents. German, maybe?

Life Sentence

"Thank you Mrs Houghton, can you tell Belinda I came to see her."

"Yes, yes, I'll tell her," said Mrs Houghton. "I don't know what time Belinda will be home." She closed the door. She shuffled back to the sitting room, her fur-lined slippers felt sloppy on her feet, making shuffling easier than striding. Her towelling dressing gown was tied too tight around her waist. The television was set to the ABC. The peanuts in the bowl next to the one armchair were half eaten, broken shells litered the table top. She sat down making a noise as though she was exhausted. She grabbed a handful of peanuts.

"Muuuuuum," came the plaintiff call from beyond the room.

"Yes, honey?"

"Who was that?"


"Rachel J?"

"Yes, honey."

"So where is she?"

"She's gone... honey."

"Why didn't she come in?"

"If you want her to visit, you know what you have to do, darling."

"Oh... mum!" came the angry voice.

"We've been through this, honey."

"I wanted to see Rachel."

"You know what you have to do."

"I can't, I just can't."

"Then you don't get to see Rachel."

"I'm not hungry."

"That is not the point."

"So, what is the point?" screamed Belinda. "What is the lousy point?"

Mrs Houghton took a big breath. She kind of sighed on the exhale. She said very quietly. "Belinda, we have been over this many times."


Mrs Houghton picked up her cigarettes and headed out into the garden to smoke quietly, it was the only thing she knew to do when Belinda got like this. Her only vice, the only one left, she would say, in polite company, and then she would laugh.

Got like what, Belinda would snap back if Mrs Houghton ever approached the subject. "GOT LIKE WHAT!" she'd scream.

Got like what, repeated in Mrs Houghton's ears as her hands shakily opened the packet and took out a cigarette. Got like what? She lit a cigarette. Got like... her nerves began to subside as she felt the calming effects of the warm smoke in her lungs, as she felt the fresh air blow on her face. Suddenly, not so claustrophobic. Even if it were momentarily, it was worth snatching.

She will never be the same again, the doctors words sounded in Mrs Houghton’s ears. She's not coming back from this unscathed.

Secretly, Mrs Houghton wished Belinda had, well, um… something she'd never say out loud, something that made her admonish herself if ever she thought it. Something she would deny, if anyone was ever to repeated it, not that there was any chance of that.

How easy life could have... no, she won't let herself think such thoughts. Belinda was sick and she needed her help.

She paced the garden. The grass was green, soft under her feet. The garden was lovely. Oh the Tiger Lilies were blooming. The Dahlias are beautiful her pink.

She inhaled deeply. She held it until her lungs burned. She exhaled again. She coughed. She dragged on the orange filter again. Music started to play in her head. A waltz, from the country dances her boyfriend, who was to become her husband, took her to.

"Muuuuuuuuuuuum!" came the cry from inside the house.

The music stopped, like an old fashioned stylus skipping across a vinyl record. She took a few steps and slipped behind the large Camellia bush and out of sight of the house.


She didn't move behind the flower covered bush.

Belinda appeared at the door in her jogging clothes.

Mrs Houghton dropped her cigarette to the ground, squashed it with her pump, and stepped out from under the under growth. "Oh no darling, not that."

"I'm going for a run."

"You know what the doctor said."

Belinda waved her away.

"Darling, please don't." Mrs Houghton stepped through the garden towards the emaciated figure. "It's not a good idea."

All she could do, was watch her leave.

The house was quiet. She felt the stillness. How it used to be. She stopped and drank it in.