Image of Andrew McCall's solid light sculpture You and I - Horizontal II (2009) at Australian Centre for the Moving Image
You and I – Horizontal II, Anthony McCall (2009). Photograph by Richard Baxter.

Read Part 1: Missing Person

Read Part 2: Forrest Trail

Read Part 3: The Droste Effect

Read Part 4: The Order of Things

Read Part 5: Rift Valley

Chaos: When the present determines the future, but the approximate present does not approximately determine the future. Edward Lorenz

Every news channel was streaming the very little details of the case that were known, each trying to get a more ‘exclusive’ angle than their competitors.

Channel Z8 was running an interview with a local grocery store owner.

‘I’ll never forget when that girl disappeared. What was it seventeen, eighteen years ago? Whole life ahead of her, and boom, suddenly gone, just like that. I’d been watching the cricket when one of my customers mentioned her remains had been found. What I want to know is- how the hell did she end up in Siberia of all places? Long way from schoolies week on the Gold Coast…’

The journalist probed for as much anecdotal fluff for the news piece as he could get  ‘You say you knew Eckles? Can you describe him Albert? Can I call you Al?’

‘Yeah, call me Al. He was just like everyone else in the neighbourhood- nothing unusual in his purchases, milk, eggs, bread, fruit, knew enough about sport to keep up a conversation. But he did have a strange tendency to disappear for long periods of time…’

Fiona rolled her eyes at the familiar face getting his 15 minutes of fame. He was milking it, and the journalist was relishing this ‘exclusive insight’. Switching the channel, she saw news item after news item on the same rolling coverage of the case that was set to change the world. Continue reading

Rift Valley

sketch of train tracks winding along a coastal scenery to illustrate a story set on a transiberian train tripRead Part 1: Missing Person

Read Part 2: Forrest Trail

Read Part 3: The Droste Effect

Read Part 4: The Order of Things

My last terrestrial memory is that of zooming plains through the dirt-speckled windows of the cabin we shared. Crossing the mass of land, and multiple time zones, it was my unwitting farewell to life on firm, solid ground, although I didn’t know it at the time.

I had gone along with Liam’s suggestion to take the trip, guided by a strong sense that everything I would be doing was destined to unfold, that I only needed to go with the flow, so to speak. We shared our second-class quarters with a soldier on his way home from a posting in Moscow, and a grieving widow heading to Irkutsk to collect the body of her fisherman husband who’d met his end while navigating the cruel seas. In that confined space, I’d learnt a lot about my Russian cabin mates, with crude sentences pieced together from the weathered Lonely Planet, and the outpouring of human emotion born of rowdy card games and shots of vodka. Liam however, remained a mystery. Continue reading

Shimmer Like Mirrors

“Only YOU can do something about it.”

“Let me hear you all shout out loud ONLY.I.CAN.DO.SOMETHING.ABOUT.IT!”

The capacity crowd at the stadium dutifully shouted back to Timothy Robbins, not wanting to miss out on any of his calls to action that could guarantee success, wealth and eternal happiness in their lives. As his seminars progress, crowds usually loosened up enough to incorporate foot stamping and fist waving with the shout backs of rallying lines that Timothy asked them to repeat.

Timothy, not to be confused with Andy, although secretly Timothy is always a little chuffed at the confusion, is a motivational speaker. It just so happens they share a surname- quite fortuitous for Timothy going by the number of calls received by the booking agency after people have attended his seminars only to see his face for the first time and realise that they got the wrong Robbins. However, according to Timothy’s estimations, 75% of people who attend his seminars under the misunderstanding of which Robbins they will be seeing leave feeling that it didn’t matter because they walked away with The Skill, an as yet to be trademarked set of guiding principles for life.

Seminar attendees were initiated into The Skill, and also received a Success Pack with a signed postcard sized copy of the principles; a bumper sticker; a silicone wristband inscribed with “The Skill”; and Timothy’s self-published hardcover book elaborating on the guiding principles, complete with high resolution images of Timothy and the cars, houses, holiday destinations and other countless ways that he  spent the spoils of his “Mega, Mega Success”, as he likes to refer to it. Continue reading