Wednesday Wonders: Invitation to a Wedding.

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It is a beautiful day. The sun is warm. The sky is a light blue. Clouds gently roll by. There is the scent of oranges and honey in the air. They are in a country garden of the couple’s home.The music starts playing. Elle Fitzgerald can be heard. At Last. The guests rise from their seats.

The groom appears with his mother attached to his arm. He is dressed in a stylish suit with an orchid resting in his lapel.

The man is nervous. His heart is pounding in his chest. He glances across to his mother. She is smiling, on the brink of tears. The woman squeezes his arm to reassure him. They are doing the right thing. All grooms are anxious.

Chris is thirty years old, a school teacher with a mortgage. He still has university debts compounding his finances. He spends his time searching antique stores for knick knacks, indulging in another science fiction blockbuster and volunteering at a local homeless shelter. The man’s idea of a romantic evening is dinner, at home, followed by a good movie on the sofa.

The groom reaches the altar turning to await his beloved. He smiles, devotedly, feeling the tears prick at his eyes as his partner appears. He refuses to become a basket case in front of all these people. He will not be a stereotype on this important day.

He looks into the other man’s eyes and suddenly feels peace descend around him. There is no longer any anxiety, just happiness.

Dan is twenty-eight years old, a sparkie like his father, with speeding fines, footy training and beers with the boys. He spends his time looking for science fiction memorabilia, working his veggie patch and chasing the greatest mark. The man’s idea of a romantic evening is dinner at Taco Bills followed by some dancing.

Both so different yet, Dan, couldn’t be happier walking toward this man, with his father by his side, slapping his back as they approach. The man couldn’t wait to hold his husband.

He was dressed in a similar suit with a matching orchid. It was his mother’s favourite flower. He wished she were with them on their big day. This wasn’t possible in her life time.

They met one night at a bar. Dan had been cruising Chris but never seem to catch his attention. So ended up literally bumping into him. Chris had always been cautious. He had only been with five guys in the past. He had a couple of serious relationships with each one breaking his heart when they left.

They struck up a conversation about science fiction that led to dinner. When they talked about their past history, Dan stopped mentioning his sexual experiences when he reached one hundred, noticing how stunned Chris seemed to be. His easy-going, uninhibited nature was on the brink of blowing it for him. It was a second date that sealed the relationship. Who knew The Doctor Who Symphonic Experience could steal more than a fan boy’s heart?

That was over three years ago. Their relationship had survived the divorce of parents, negotiating household responsibilities, a father’s heart attack, a gay bashing and a minor indiscretion. They had even broken up, but misery from being apart, brought them back together. It was the longest two weeks in their whole lives.

They managed to manoeuvre the meddling of a mother in law, worked their way through every Lord of The Rings movie and cared for family in times of crisis. Chris looked after his partner when he suffered a serious footy injury and Dan dried his boyfriend’s eyes when his best friend passed away. They had survived the test.

Now, they were using this moment to say that they’re in this forever. The ups and downs, the good and bad, the failures and fears. This is it. Come what may.

They wanted to be bound, by marriage, to each other. So that when times are tough, and eyes begin to wonder, they can remember their vows. They can recall their commitment and keep working to honour it.

This is Chris and Dan’s story. They are like any other couple. The next logical step was always marriage. Isn’t that what everyone does?

Of course not, because this story is pure fiction. These two men cannot be married in Australia. They are allowed to own a house, forge a career and even pay taxes as a couple. They don’t have a Certificate of Marriage providing security and recognition. It is the only thing missing that equalizes their relationship with that of their neighbours. It isn’t about being gay or straight. It is just being married.

If you were touched by this tale of fiction, remember that somewhere in your neighbourhood there is a same sex couple that lives and loves as you do. Chris and Dan’s love story may even sound familiar to your own. The only difference is that you are able to make it official.

Enjoy,

Daz.

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Saturday Edition – The Swede – A Review.

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Ernst Grip, a Swedish Security Agent, is called upon by the FBI to aid them in the interrogation of a supposed terrorist. They need his help to work out if this prisoner is a Swedish citizen or not. FBI Agent, Shauna Friedman, escorts him to a remote island, Diego Garcia, where the suspected terrorist is being held. Yet, the woman seems to be stealthily interrogating him with off-handed comments and remarks alluding to Grip’s past.

The journey to the island provides an opportunity for the reader to discover the main heroes’ past. The story flits between art thefts in New York 2004, post tsunamis Thailand, a bank hold up in Topeka both set in 2005 and interrogation activities on Diego Garcia 2008.

Ernst Grip uses all his training and experience as a security agent to navigate through the deceptions to find out the truth about the unknown prisoner that will lead him to understand the real reason he was summoned.

All events lead to the discovery of how a prisoner ended up with a Swedish Security Agent’s passport and why these two men were in America at the same time period in 2005.

This story is about people having to resort to criminal behaviour for what they see as necessary for the desired outcomes. Each character has their own purpose for maintaining secrets whether for professional purposes, big picture aspirations or protection of a lover. Does the end result justify what they have done?

It is Grip’s secret life that creates the catalyst for the events that unfold throughout the book. It is his illicit affair that he must protect, but more importantly, the man he has grown to love. He is the reason for past actions that come back to haunt him.

The writer, Robert Karjel, who is a lieutenant colonel in Swedish Air Force, has based his main character on a homicide detective that he interviewed. This man was in the closet, living a double life, using the most dangerous of assignments as a potential way out of his situation. The man was also an effective interrogator because of his own deceptions.

It is these qualities that the writer has used to fill his main character. Ernst Grip uses his training and experience to manage every situation he comes across. It is those skills that allow him to get what he needs from the suspected terrorist, learn the real reason he has been summoned and avoid the FBI long enough to take care of loose ends.

I found the character of, Shauna Friedman, a compelling figure in the story, at first flippant toward Ernst that finally becomes deep probing of his past. They are playing a game of cat and mouse to discover each other’s true motives. She has her own secrets to protect.

As a duo, Grip and Friedman, were refreshing. The writer doesn’t fall back on old habits by pairing this two characters in a romantic entanglement. If they had developed a relationship it would have change the drive of Ernst Grip. He needed to be seen loyal to his lover. It was the man he went back to see, briefly, at the end, providing the reason he had gone through all these events. It was to keep his lover safe and protect their relationship.

The novel is a slow burn, it twist and turns between time periods and locations, taking the reader on a journey that has intrigue right up until the very end. It does need the reader to pay attention because the smallest of details can be a vital plot device in later chapters.

Each time you turned a page there was something new is discovered about the characters in the story, slowly laying the foundations for the final outcome. Each character has a choice that they make during the story that culminated in their separate yet linked destinies.

I enjoyed the story. I found that the hero’s sexuality was an interesting and effective plot device. He is a womanizer at first until you discover this other side to his nature that is being kept hidden from all those he knows. There was enough intrigue and suspense to propel onwards throughout the story. I found Ernst Grip’s whole character to be an alternative Jack Ryan that does deserve a return appearance in the future.

Please check out the book. I have tried to avoid exposing too many spoilers. I have provided enough morsels to interest you in following up on this novel. What better way to spend a Saturday than indulge in a good read.

Enjoy,

Daz.

Wednesday Wonders – The Swede – A Bisexual Hero.

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I first heard about this novel, The Swede aka My Name is N, written by Robert Karjel, a  lieutenant colonel in the Swedish Air force, due to backlash he had experienced from readers of his book. He hadn’t disclosed that the lead character was bisexual. Here is the link to that article. http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/jul/31/my-name-is-n-bisexual-male-hero-american-reviews

I was intrigued to learn that this suspenseful thriller, that usually portrayed a heterosexual action man, would add bisexuality to the character’s profile. He dared to rock mainstream readership by having his hero go through the twists and turns for the love of a man. This excited me. It demonstrated that the publishing world was easing their pattern that usually saw gay characters put through a straight wash and blow to be more palatable by the wider consumer market.

The main issue from the backlash was that the readers weren’t told before getting invested into the story. They felt cheated. They felt tricked. Yet, was it more of a case that they felt a character that was in love with a man, couldn’t be depicted as a strong, resourceful hero that would lead the action? Do people still see gay or bisexual men as weak and lacking strength? Perhaps they only see a limp wrist and a flair for colour. Nothing heroic.

It would be interesting, for those who believe that, to spend time in a gay or bisexual man’s rather stylish shoes to really understand, especially if you dropped them into a homophobic suburb away from tinsel town.

For many LGBT people, it takes guts and determination to step outside the safety of their homes for possible persecution that could await. To walk down a street, to faggot ringing in your ears or projectile spit covering your face, that takes courage.

So, why shouldn’t a gay literary figure be shown to have strength and fortitude, to be a kick-ass hero for those turning the page? That is what a gay man does every day. It would help in breaking down stereotypes and changing perception.

The idea that a book should come with a warning label is insulting. I have never been forewarned about any book that I have ever read. Nothing was mentioned to parents that their children might be influenced into the occult or satanic practices from reading Harry Potter. I didn’t see the banner on the front cover telling me that Christian Grey would be into erotic S & M. There certainly wasn’t a warning that Stephen King’s IT could be harmful to those people with a clown phobia.

When I open a book that is the moment I begin a journey, to explore the world within. A label acts like a spoiler, getting in the way. You already have knowledge that shapes how you approach the beginning of that tale. I rushed head long into the story to discover the character’s bisexuality without properly taking stock of why he is a womanizer in the beginning. It might have made the discovery of his secret life an interesting twist to be surprised by.

I understand the reason you couldn’t change the character’s sexual orientation. It is his secret life that provides purpose for the actions he takes during the story. It wouldn’t be necessary if the love interest were a woman. You wouldn’t need to protect that relationship in the world that this man lived.

By now, you’ve gained some insight into this story that I hope will not deter you from turning the first page. I would encourage any reader interested in intrigue and suspense to grab a copy. You might even discover that not all heroes need to be straighty 180 in their depiction. It gives another type of hero that a young reader, questioning his sexuality, may find inspiring.

Let’s not judge a book by who the character shares his bed but by the purpose of that relationship to the story. The writer isn’t using the hero’s sexuality to pander to a certain group, it provides motivational context for the character. That is the most important factor.

Books do not need to come with a label. Just an open mind and a good plot. So let me know what you think.

PS: I will write a review of the novel in a later post once I get down off my soap box.

Enjoy,

Daz.

Friday Feature: What Doctor Who Taught Me.

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I have spent a lot of time in the company of Doctor Who. I was there when he destroyed The Dalek Incubation room on Skaro, escaping the murderous clutches of Sharaz Jek and evading the farting Slitheen in Downing Street. I followed his every move, from munching on jelly babies, twirling umbrellas and fencing with The Master. I cried as he lay dying beneath The Pharos Project. I was transfixed when he knocked four times.

I learnt a lot of nonsensical fantasy, visions of what could be and even real factual history. Marco Polo. The Crusades. Aztec rituals and Shakespearean words.

1.) I discovered useful ingredients that a kitchen should always stock such a salt, cocoa and celery.

Salt: Useful for seasoning soups and stews but also handy to throw over your shoulder should you ever find yourself being chased by a Fendahl. Rock salt is the best.

Cocoa: Can make a delicious warm drink or be used in baking treats for the pantry. It is also useful when planning a marriage proposal.

Celery: This vegetable is great in hearty soups and mixed in a crisp salad. Yet, if you should find you are allergic to gases in the Praxis range of the spectrum, the celery will turn purple and you can eat it. This will see you right once more.

2.) I developed a superstition. My quirks and behaviours have kept me in good stead. Touch wood. I hope they give you similar warnings such as:

Never turn left at an intersection – this could cause a dimensional anomaly.

Beware of cats – they could be Kitlings preempting a hunt from The Cheetah People.

Always count the shadows – you may have a Vashta Nerada attached to you. Hey, who turned out the lights.

3.) I found words of wisdom following the exploits of a Time Lord from Gallifrey. I have used his teaching to appreciate words such as IF

If is the most powerful word in the English language. It also helps that it stands for Index File too.

You can’t change history not one word of it unless you want to end up causing a temporal paradox.

Cat flaps don’t just let creatures into the house.

Wall scrawl isn’t just angry Kangs expressing themselves.

Never let a Killjoy look so depressed. Make them laugh with a joke.

4.) I never forgot a warning issued by The Doctor. I even made notes. I wasn’t going to end up taken over by a disembodied voice or possessed by a snake.

Don’t Blink!

Be aware of shop window dummies.

Check to make sure nothing is clinging to your back.

Never fall asleep under a giant wind chime.

Don’t go mixing powerful pesticides you could kill more than insects.

5.) I was introduced to historical facts that intrigued. History sounded so fascinating when The Doctor was around. It wasn’t some boring text books with foot notes.

I found out that the dinosaurs were killed by a crashing space freighter, The Silence sent mankind to the moon and Aztec gods can be re-incarnated as a woman.

I hadn’t been wasting time watching Doctor Who. I was learning as well. I was gaining an educational experience. I exist now to write this post having avoided being shot at, hypnotized or menaced by bug-eyed monsters. I have ventured into the world watching my step and avoided hazards because of the impact of my travels with The Doctor. I watched every moment on television, feeling as if I was along for the ride. Doctor Who did rub off on me. I can now imagine, create and design concepts because of that education. This could also be just for a laugh. That is your choice.

So, what did you learn from The Doctor?

Enjoy,

Daz.

Sunday Tranquillity-Contemplating IF

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TEGAN: If. My Dad used to say that if was the most powerful word in the English language.
NYSSA: Recursion’s a powerful mathematical concept, but I don’t see how it can help us now.
TEGAN: If. I F! Stands for index file!

Transcript from Doctor Who – Castrovalva – 1982

What does the word IF mean? Is it as powerful as Tegan Jovanka claims? I wanted to explore the concept of those two little letters and how powerful they could be. They do say “The pen is mightier than the sword” because those writing tools create words on a page. So IF being a word can be just as powerful as a weapon. As a writer, every day I sit down at a computer to imagine the What IF’s of a scenario.

The infinite possibility to change course with the power of two letters to inform that decision. To enquire and debate the imagination that occurs with IF. It is the tool that provides the ideas for fiction that become fact when applied to the real world such as International Fashion designs and even Interstellar flight.

Writers are not alone in their use of IF. Creative types in all fields are using IF to investigate into the darkness. The barrier between what is known and what is yet to be discovered. To discover the fire that warmed them, can also cook the meat that they hunted. That when you journey to the edge of the world you don’t fall off into the pits of hell. IF is for the brave and courageous to explore beyond the dark.

IF does have traps along the way. The word can cause hesitation and doubt. There is the fear this one action, caused by IF, will increase the chances of getting it wrong. The unknown can defeat creativity if allowed to consume the writer. If that happened than magic wouldn’t appear on the page. Worlds full of smoke and fire would never be born. Pan would not fly and Mary Poppins wouldn’t be saving Mr Banks.

Yet, it is IF that provides the opportunity to explore, expand and energize the present. The world would become stagnant without those two letters, one syllable word. IF is the ideas factory of the mind. Who knew IF could also mean Index File.

Something to contemplate this Sunday. What words are powerful to you?

Enjoy,

Daz.

Tuesday Thoughts – EBook V Print book

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Warn, tattered covers. Old, yellowing pages. Creased corners and coffee stains. The smell of musty, aged parchment. Hard back covers that are marked and weathered with age. The glue that binds the spine keeping the story together. The travelling companion slipped into the back pocket of dusty, worn jeans belonging to a cosmic adventurer.

The paper based book has romance and quaint charm of another age. The reader can break free from the high-tech world to enjoy a simple pleasure. To feel soft paper and hard edges while lying back in the grass with the sun warming your body and the air buffeting your skin. The reader that is lulled into a trance like state as the book takes them into the world of their imagination.

This format for reading instantly requires time, to turn the page and crease the corner, as the mind comprehends the words captured inside. To understand, be moved and to feel joy. It is a simple past time.

Strong, metallic covers. Small and compact. Immediate and on demand. No stains. No marks. Clear bright screens. Slide of a finger and a press of a download button. An  affordable on-line repository with a variety of genres at the touch of a screen control. Portable library of your own sensibilities.

E-Books are one of the new collectibles for the tech savvy professional. It provides for a busy, intellectual who is time poor. They need immediate fixes to their boredom. They have no time to search on-line or cruise the aisles of a book store hoping to find the one. The reader is looking for the book that commands their attention, helps them to escape and is worth of the money shelled out.

At least, with E-Books if you miscalculated your decision you can always go back on-line to try again with instant results.

As for writers self-publishing with such services as Amazon, they understand the growing demand for E-Books. They can reach out to readers on the other side of the world without leaving their writing space. The audience can instantly find your book the minute it goes live on the site. The modern audience is demanding immediate returns on their time. They want that book now, not two weeks later.

So, the battle for supremacy in the world of eBooks and paper based versions comes down to the efficiency of the format. You can enjoy reading the same story as an E-Book or paper back huddled in the corner of some coffee-house but does the business have a nearby power socket? If the world had a power loss, would a paper back by candle light be just as enjoyable?

Each format has a place in the literary world. It all comes down to the taste of the reader. What they need for their own personal experience. Yet, both have one thing in common, they foster the love of reading. I think that is the ultimate winner.

So what do you think? 

Enjoy,

Daz.

Wednesday Water Cooler: Polly’s New Groove-1

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I thought I would start experimenting with development of a proposed novel putting up chapter sections as I develop them for feedback and interest. Hopefully you will enjoy….please feel free to share around the water cooler.

Polly Fitzgerald sat at the dining table, posture perfect, one leg crossed behind the other. She smoked a cigarette, deep in her memories, as she listened to Anne Murray.

“Could I have this dance for the rest of my life? Would you be my partner every night…”

Polly sighed to herself, looking down at the summer cocktail dress that she wore. She had dressed up in spite of them but it didn’t ease her heartache. It made her feel worse.

She wiped the tears from her face, resting the cigarette in an ashtray before rising from the table.

The woman marched over to the record player ceasing Anne Murray’s vocals. She removing the vinyl record and proceeded to smash it against the coffee table.

A strand of raven hair detached, from the pearl shell hair clip, falling across her face. She took a moment to fix her hair back into place once more.

She stood alone in an empty house with her memories.

Suddenly, a knock came from her front door startling the woman. She hadn’t been expecting any visitors. She hurried to answer it, only to find a tattooed dyke waiting on her front porch clutching a vodka bottle under one arm.

“Hey Sis!”

Eva-Marie pushed passed her sister venturing into the interior of a once loving household. She instantly spotted the cigarette burning in the ashtray and broken pieces of vinyl on the floor.

“I see you’ve taken up smoking again. This must be bad.”

“Just…remembering that’s all,” spoke Polly, as she came into the room behind her sister.

“That’ll stop once you get your bony ass outta this house.” Eva-Marie collapsed on the sofa, cracked open the vodka bottle taking a mouthful before passing it to her sister, “Drink?”

“I’ll get some glasses,” spoke Polly, taking the bottle from her sister wanting to prevent any alcohol from ruining her gorgeous Florentine couch. “So what brings you here? You don’t do family.”

“Fuck-off! I do so!” She called out, resting her feet upon the coffee table.

Polly returned with two glasses and a bottle of lemonade, “This is the first time you’ve graced this house in a year.”

She removed her sister’s feet from where they rested on the coffee table.

Eva-Marie frowned, “I only arrived back in town a few weeks ago.”

“God help the girls!”

Polly was aware of her sister’s routine with women. She wooed them with poetry and charm then dropped them the second boredom set in. She would move on to some other poor soul.

“Shut up! For your information, know-all, there has only been one girl.”

Polly was visibly shocked. She passed, Eva-Marie, a drink, “My god, this is a new colour on you. Could my little sister be ready to settle down?”

“Settle down! fuck no! It’s just a bit on the side for her.”

“Well do you want more?”

Eva-Marie scowled at her, like she was the problem and not her lover, “Don’t be fuckin stupid! We both know the deal!”

“Liar! I know you.”

“You haven’t known me for many years.”

Polly felt the chill descend between them; they hadn’t always been like this. They were once very close, then Polly started a family and Eva-Marie came out. They lost touch in many ways.

Eva-Marie wanted to change the subject, “So what’s with the ciggies?”

“He’s getting married today.”

Eva-Marie sculled the rest of her drink then jumped to her feet, “Well, there is nothing like crashing a wedding to put a new spring in your step.”

“No…Eva-Marie…I couldn’t.”

“Aren’t ya just a little curious?”

“It would hurt too much.”

Eva-Marie grabbed the bottle of vodka, taking control of the drinking, pouring her sister another glass. Her sister could be convinced into anything with enough drink in her, the day just got a lot more interesting.

**********

The church service was going to plan. Everything was perfect. The bride looked like an angel and her distinguished groom was hot for his age.

There was a wave of happiness in the room as they embarked on a new adventure. Finally, they were free to love each other in the open.

In the front row, two teenagers sat, glumly, watching this procession take place.

Lizzie was the eldest child, on the brink of adulthood, confident and capable. She was in her first year at university, meeting lots of interesting people and finally thinking for herself. She was in charged of her own life. Now, she just had to find a way to tell her mother she was moving out.

Toby was less capable than his sister, awkward and gangling, still scared shitless of his burgeoning puberty. His long hair was cast over his face as if hiding from the world.

His future was full of nightmares; being pushed and pulled between access visits, wondering if those wet dreams would stop and whether the ozone layer would hold.

The children heard it first, the roar of a motor bike, like some belching, hungry beast. It sounded familiar.

The noise grew louder, almost drowning out the priest, causing everyone to turn toward the lead light window to the side of the church.

An object hurtled through the window, shattering the image of Christ on a Cross, showering the guests in debris.

The motor bike landed before the now unhappy couple, as the groom recognized the intruders that clung to the hog for dear life.

Lizzie and Toby laughed, as they watched their mother climb off the beast, a little dazed, a strand of dark hair coming loose from the hair clip,“I’m so sorry, Patrick, Eva-Marie didn’t break in time.”

Eva-Marie removed her helmet, sneering like a devil, her body pumping with adrenaline that almost made her climax.

**********

Polly lent against the cop car while Eva-Marie and Lizzie tried to placate the police officers; Eva-Marie was volatile and Lizzie was calm.

Polly looked across at her ex-husband who was consoling his new bride. It was one big embarrassing mess.

She felt her son’s dainty hand encircle her own, “Don’t worry, Mum, you still have me.”

Polly pecked him on the forehead; she worried about him.

These days, Toby seemed to have a heavy burden on his shoulders. He had become silent and withdrawn.

“It’s not one of my finest hours,” spoke Polly.

“Did it make you feel better?”

Polly couldn’t help but smirk, “Yes, but that’s no excuse for acting like a nut. It was wrong of me. I hope I didn’t embarrass you?”

“You made a bad day bearable,” spoke Toby, sharing a smile with his mother. “I miss being a family…you, dad and Lizzie.”

“We’ll always be your family. We just don’t live in the same house,” replied Polly, he was sharing with her perhaps this was the right time to probe deeper. “You can talk to me about anything, okay? I’m your mum. I’ll always have your back.”

Toby looked up at her, his eyes peering through the mop of hair, “It’s just school…it’s nothing.”

“Toby…tell me? Please. I worry about you.”

Toby looked down at the ground once more, grinding his shoe into the dirt, “I’m being picked on…that’s all. I can handle it.” Polly’s heart sank; she just wanted to protect him. “It’s okay. You don’t have to march down to the school yelling at anyone. I’ve got it under control. There is this new kid. He’s kinda looking out for me.”

Polly beamed for joy, “Really! How sweet! Does he have a name?”

“It’s Jarrod. He helps me with the bullies while I teach him about Shakespeare.”

Toby seemed to light up when speaking about him. Jarrod was obviously important to her son. Polly began to speculate.

***********

Polly and Eva-Marie sat on a bench seat in a holding cell at the local police station. Polly felt less gloomy than she did that morning. They were waiting for bail to be posted.

Eva-Marie sneered, “I’ve never seen his face go from bright red to dark purple so quickly.”

Polly became quiet for a moment, “I just wish the children hadn’t been there. They didn’t need to see that domestic.”

Eva-Marie placed her hand upon her sisters, “They’re pretty tough…they do come from our stock after all.”

“So…where have you been Eva-Marie? I’ve missed you.”

“I’ve been here and there. No place special.”

“It is days like this I am reminded how it used to be with us. We were so close,” spoke Polly, wistfully. “Yes, we argued, usually over your unhealthy obsession to decapitate my Barbie dolls.”

Eva-Marie scowled, “Well, you were always trying to dress me up like a girl!”

Polly examined her sister’s hair, it was so dry and oily, “You could, at least, use a shampoo more than once in a blue moon. It wouldn’t make you less of a lesbian.”

Polly adored her sister when not fighting. There wasn’t anything she wouldn’t do for Eva-Marie when it counted. They were blood. They were bonded for life.

Eva-Marie bowed her head, in deep thought, like her nephew, “When I came out, did it repulse you?”

“No. It made me scared for you,” replied her sister. “I knew the world would be cruel.”

“It was…for a time.”

Polly clasped her hand; a fond smile appeared on her face, glad to have her sister with her.

Eva-Marie smiled back, it was a good look on her that she didn’t always use, “I didn’t come by randomly…I heard about the wedding. I thought you could use some company.”

A police officer opened the cell door halting their intimate moment. Their bail had been posted. They were free to leave. They were escorted into reception where a woman waited for them.

She had big fluffy hair, a voluptuous body and flawless skin. She was dressed in a sexy outfit with a plunging neckline; her accessories were jewels that would make a princess envious.

The woman gave Eva-Marie a peck on the cheek before stepping back. She looked a little jumpy, “We need to go, honey, before Herb misses me.”

“I had hoped the fucker would have been long gone by now,” spat Eva-Marie.

“Stop that! You know the deal! Now come on,” snapped Makin, as she hustled them from the police station.

**********

Eva-Marie had managed to convince Makin to stop off at a bohemian bar called Midnight. They found a table in the beer garden, the setting sun warmed their bodies, as a cool air cast a veil over the lustrous grotto.

Polly went into the bar to get some drinks to blot out this horrible day.

Makin, clearly, had something on her mind, fidgeting, “Ahh…look I am glad you called me as I have some news.”

“That tone suggests I’m not going to be thrilled.”

“Stop being difficult! This was just a fling.”

“To you!”

Makin glared at her from across the table, not ready to accept any criticisms. After all, the girl had gotten what she wanted. Hot sex.

“Well, that’s too bad because I’m married. Now, I didn’t want to tell you like this but can’t keep it a secret forever.”

“Christ, you sound as if you’re fuckin dying.”

“Close…I’m pregnant.”

“Well I didn’t do it.”

Makin ignored her sarcasm, getting on with the conversation that needed to be had, “So, this means we have to stop. I can’t afford any stress right now for the sake of the baby. Every time I leave the house I feel Herb’s eyes boring into my mind…I’m sure he suspects something.”

“Look, I told you I was sorry about the lipstick on your neck.”

“That’s not even the strange part of that night. I’m still shocked you wore lipstick at all.”

“There was a fuckin full moon. I wasn’t myself.”

Makin smiled, unable to stay cross with her for long. She clasped her hand like old times, feeling her libido rise.

Suddenly, Makin broke away; this wasn’t good for the baby. She couldn’t afford to get too excited.

“I must leave…you’re agitating me. I won’t risk my family for you.”

Eva-Marie rose from the other side to stare her down, her bitterness radiating from her face, “Then fuck off!”

“And the bail money?”

“You’ll get every cent back. I know how much you adore money.”

With that, Makin stormed out of the beer garden, leaving Eva-Marie standing bravely to attention hoping the woman would leave before she broke down.

**********

While Polly waited at the shabby bar for her drinks, a man appeared beside her, obviously returning to his glass of water propped on the bar counter. He looked haggard, dark circles about his eyes, his thick hair now stubble upon his head.

The man looked as if he’d gone to war with his mortality coming off second best in the struggle.

He glanced across at her, “What’s a classy chick like you doing in a dump like this.”

Polly grinned, “Trying to forget a horrible day.”

“It’s not been much fun for me either.” He looked across at her, a haunted look in his eyes, “The treatments fucking up my sex life.”

She watched as the man picked up his glass of water, shaking a little, taking a gulp. It was the only liquid that didn’t make him sick.

Polly realised that her marital problems paled compared to this shadow of a man, “Cancer?”

The man sneered, “Of the balls. There are plenty of chicks who will be pissing themselves laughing at my diagnoses.” He put out his hand, “I’m Jon.”

The woman shook his hand, “Polly.”

“Maybe if I’m lucky I’ll see you around another time.”

She pressed her lips against his forehead, wishing him good luck.

It was the first female contact that, Jon, had in some time; it made him feel a quiver in his loins again. Every other woman gave him a wide berth as if he had leprosy. It was too uncomfortable for them.

*********

When Polly returned to the beer garden, she found her sister looking despondent. She passed her a Tequila shot, her sister had ordered, “So what happened to your friend?”

“Gone…for good this time,” muttered her sister, knocking back the shot of Tequila.

Polly sat down before her, sipping her glass of white wine, “Maybe it’s for the best.”

Eva-Marie shot a glacial look at her sister, snarling, “What the fuck is that supposed to mean…ya think two women can’t be in love?”

“Not when one is already married! I noticed the ring.”

“That is just bullshit! She should never have gone ahead with it.”

“But obviously she did. So leave it be.”

“What if I don’t wanna? She means everything to me.”

Polly rested a hand upon her sisters, tenderly, “Makin doesn’t feel the same or she wouldn’t be doing this to you.”

“I feel so fuckin foolish! Me, the woman who fucked and ran, reduced to a cry baby over one stupid girl.”

“You can’t help who you love but you can stop them dragging you down.” spoke her sister, wisely. “You’ve got to move on for your sake.”

“And what about you?”

“Huh!”

“You need to take your own advice,” spat Eva-Marie. “Why are you hiding away at home when you should be out finding yourself a life?”

“It’s just so hard when you’re so use to the old one.”

“Well, sis, you need to get a new groove starting now.”

By focusing on her sister, Eva-Marie could avoid facing her pain at losing Makin.

She extended her hand out toward Polly, “Come on. We’re going to dance.”

*********

All the time she was dancing to Cyndia Lauper, Polly couldn’t take her eyes off, Jon, still hugging the bar counter as if it were his life raft.

Eva-Marie was getting some attention on the dance floor from a lipstick lesbian. They seemed to be enjoying each other’s company. Polly felt like a third wheel.

Polly came to a decision. She couldn’t watch him another minute. She had to intervene. She marched over to him, just as Cold Chisel’s Khe Sanh was put on the turntable.

Polly held out her hand, “Come on. You can’t miss Cold Chisel.”

“Nah, I’m right. I prefer to keep to my own misery.”

Polly wasn’t taking any knock backs, she grabbed his clammy hand, dragging him toward the dance floor.

It took a while, but eventually he began to respond to the music. He wasn’t fighting it. He even smiled. She noticed the color begin to return to his face once more, and those baby blue eyes began to flicker with light.

*********

When she got home, Polly found her children waiting for her. They looked worried. Toby went to make her a cup of coffee. She noticed that they had cleaned up the smashed record and hid her cigarettes.

“I’m fine! I just went out with your aunt.”

“Really? That must be a first,” put in Lizzie.

“That you know about. We weren’t always at odds with one another,” spoke their mother. “So, why aren’t you at the wedding reception?”

Toby brought over a cuppa, placing the mug in her hands, sitting down on the edge of the coffee table opposite his mother, “We told dad you could do anything in your psychotic state.”

Polly grinned, sipping her coffee, it was just right; Toby always knew how to make the perfect cup of coffee.

“Well, let me assure you both I am now quite sane. I shouldn’t have crashed the wedding…that wasn’t fair to the both of you.”

Lizzie smirked, “I wouldn’t worry, mum, they were back to acting all lovey, dovey again once you’d gone. It was sickening.”

“So, how about I order a pizza while you two find a movie,” spoke Polly, placing down her coffee cup. “Let’s eat a lot of junk food and think about the hips later. Being with you guys is all I need.”

**********

In the loft, at the very top of the bar called Midnight, Eva-Marie was smoking a joint. She stared out at the shining lights of the pleasure strip below.

The room was in darkness reflecting the woman’s emotions. The only light source was that coming from her laptop where she had penned her latest piece of poetry, in French, of course.

The lipstick lesbian was cute, they had kissed a little but that was it. Eva-Marie’s heart was already taken.

A knock came from her front door, Eva-Marie went to open it, finding Makin standing there looking sheepish.

“Hi, honey! I hated the way we left things. I really need to talk to you.”

“And throw in a last hurrah in the sack?”

Makin approached her, caressing Eva-Marie’s face, “You know, the best sex is always the break up sex.”

Makin lent in toward the woman, kissing her soft, tender lips. Eva-Marie abruptly pulled away.

“I can’t let you inside…I need to hate you if I’m ever gonna get over you,” spoke the woman.

Eva-Marie slammed the door in her face, barely, containing her desire to fuck. She had to be brutal in order to cut the ties between them.

Then Eva-Marie had a thought, it wasn’t a particularly nice one, but right now the woman remembered just how big of a bitch she could be. She had allowed the love of this woman to tame her.

Eva-Marie picked up her mobile, punched in a number and waited for the other end to answer. She sneered when he spoke, “Hi…Herb have I got one hell of a story to tell you.”

To be continued….