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and in doing so blurs the line between what is good and bad writing.

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Venn Diagram.


First published at http://flash-frontier.com/

An irresistible force meets an immovable object.

YOU. ARE. SHITTING. ME! The pine trees too?!
Richard’s rising intonation peaked, piqued with indignation.
He was heightened, his brother remained grounded.
“This hill, the track, the cottage, that hill, the wool shed…” He squatted to batten level, closed one eye and focussed into the distance: “…the hay paddock, and the FUCKING PINE TREES?!”
“Yep,” said James.
Richard leapt, full stretch, like the live wire had given him a jolt. James was still, forearms resting on a strainer post.
“NO. WAY! Are they going to carpet bomb the place? It’s a massive chunk. Massive. It’ll be gutted. Ruined!”
James regarded Richard. He’d visit what, twice, maybe three times a year? On the way to Matakana (Havelock North’s immature sister, James called it). Now though, as soon as the plans were finalised, he’d been up from Auckland like a shot. ‘Concerned’ for the place. Of course. Funny that. His unspoken but not unknown dreams of a subdivided ticky tacky toy town dealt a significant blow by a competing progress. You’d think gracious resignation would be in order. But no. One last roll of the dice.
“What about the cows and sheep?”
“Heifers and ewes’ll be temporarily moved. May get to run more stock by way of compensation.”
That was that, then. Richard sped away, perplexed, like he’d lost something he’d never had. James enjoyed the irony. The farm was secured a future as a farm. Albeit with a new motorway through its middle.

Monday, July 9, 2012


Flash fiction first published at: http://flash-frontier.com/2012/04/20/april-after-the-party/ 

Orphans' Christmas.

‘Orphans’. All rounded lips, sibilants and breathy voiceless fricatives. The word has a softness which belies its hard factual edge. 


My brother and I wondered who’d rung the cops.

When our parents drove south for their eighteenth anniversary, in late December 1988, we held an impromptu party. The lounge, where usually mum knitted as dad commented through newspapers, became a den of iniquity. Friends gathered. Thirty swelled to sixty. We roughly pushed aside the lush fresh-smelling Christmas tree. Music played. Pot was smoked, beer was sculled. Noise control visited, twice. Drunk kids lurched onto the street, hurtled over fences, traipsed through gardens and rolled semi-naked on front lawns. Neighbours’ tempers frayed. The cops came the next morning – later than anticipated, considering. 

I answered the door to a navy blue uniform. From under its severe peaked cap, a deep voice demanded an answer: “Ashley and Paul Adams?” 

A silent colleague stood unblinking beneath his own authoritative headgear. Scared, I recalled the night’s illegal activity.

“I’m Ashley,” my brother bravely admitted. His age advantage determined he speak first. 

The deep voice delivered a sucker punch. “We regret to inform you... .” 

It wasn’t what we’d feared. 


Now, every Christmas, a decorated tree’s scent evokes extant memories of that night: a former version of itself topples at our party while a larger remote manifestation simultaneously falls unseen across SH5 near Napier, failing to be avoided by my parents’ southbound Holden Commodore. 

‘Christmas’. After the party, the word’s joyous sonance belies its truthful dread.   

Monday, July 2, 2012


Flash Fiction, first published at: http://flash-frontier.com/2012/06/28/june-hold-my-hand/

Hear our voices.

1.0 – The Great New Zealand Literary Vignette
The literary vignette has cancer of the eyes. Daring to look up from its
navel, gazing outwards, surveying You in preference to Itself, its
malignant words broadcast the true shapes of lives.
2.0 – Tall Poppy
“‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’ was invented to avoid criticism. Success isn’t your
flaw; your personality is. You’re a jerk. Blaming your fall from grace on
‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’,” Jane mumbles to no one, “is another way you’re a
3.0 – 100% Pure Imperfection
David, who once won advertising awards and is now constantly anxious,
ducks around the corner to smoke a large bowl. Sweating, he returns to his
spot on Queen Street. “Y’know who I used to be?” he spits. He used to be
the small boy who’d fall asleep with his head on his sister’s lap. He
misses Jane.
4.0 – No.8 Wahine
Jane was a ward of the state during the 70s. Today she walks past leaky
homes in Waterview. Workers erecting a wire fence cat-call “Phoooowar!”
Leering men with calloused hands are something Jane’s always been used to.
5.0 – A Common Senseless Approach
Dad died in what was reported to be a home invasion. Brutal and
newsworthy. David learned this via a static-filled radio, between hisses
and scratches of analogue interference. The report was later amended: no
one else was sought in connection with Peter’s death. But by then, David
was already living on the streets.
6.0 – Hand of the Wrong Frightened Crowd
Northland’s forests, Southland’s fields, Westland’s bush, Eastland’s
hills, New Zealand’s homes are in this with us. Jane and David extend their
hands as cancer spreads from the vignette’s eyes into the Yous and Wes