V/Line Vignette 9

09.07.19 Mr Farrow’s Parcel

The bell painfully warbled Green Sleeves, only just powered by its almost-dead battery, with no consolation of Mr Whippy approaching. Faye looked up from her stack of boxes and saw the last digit of the wall mounted clock flip; 6:13 AM, the first for the working week. She pulled open the metal hatch on the early collection window. The heavy opacity of the wrought iron hatch kept out the cold and the peering eyes of passers-by while she sorted, stacked, and amused herself with a life-sized game of Tetris. The window was narrow, taller than it was wide, meaning she saw most people with spliced faces, depending on where they stood, until she found their parcel, and if it was too large for the window, she’d open a side door and see the whole person. Continue reading

V/Line Vignette 7

Digging 11.06.19

George was on his way home from an interview with a construction firm. It was the first interview he’d had in over 37 years and he had to admit, he was rusty. What did diversity and inclusion have to do with laying reo and pouring concrete? He’d been given ‘voluntary’ redundancy following the merger of LH Kirby & Sons with a conglomerate that was buying up all the work along the northern sprawl out of the city and unsurprisingly, squeezing all resources to maximise profits. He didn’t need the money, but after 18 months spent excavating then backfilling his backyard, he decided it was time to return to the workforce.

To remain ‘in the game’ as he put it, he woke at 04:35 each weekday, donned his work gear, fed Henry his green parrot and meandered to the shed where he kept a bar fridge full of supplies for work lunches and smokos. Cranking the pie warmer on the bench was his first task for the morning, then he’d walk the length of the drive to the front lawn where the rolled-up paper lay waiting in its blue plastic sheath. To make up for the lack of banter, he’d turn on 3WAWA and listen to Robbo and Jonno talk about the traffic, sport, weather and the latest political and or celebrity scandal. Continue reading

V/Line Vignette 6

Actual Stream of Consciousness. Literally, Really 03.06.19

I entered the carriage and immediately registered the smell of curry and the many faces looking tired, dishevelled and defeated by the wintery Monday. They’d done their time and now the journey home was as comfortable as their fellow passengers would make it. There was the annoying whistling sound of two women speaking quietly, wet umbrellas without a designated place to rest till their owner disembarked, and the smell of snacks and early dinners. A four – seater was waiting, only steps into the carriage so I took it and removed my coat, placed my bags in the overhead compartment and got comfortable before realising the curry was coming from the seat opposite and diagonal to me. Continue reading

V/Line Vignette 5

Traveller 27.05.19

The walk across the elevated platform then down the escalators was messy. Rob and Elaine had been playing tag on the phone all morning so when he rang again, despite the awkwardness, she cradled her phone on her shoulder and pressed her left ear against it while tackling a pillow under that arm and with her right, dragged her two-wheeled cabin luggage and tried to not spill a freshly pressed juice that was filled to the brim with a week’s recommended dosage of sugar, no more wholesome for the antioxidants and ‘super’ ingredients optimistically touted on the colourful disposable cup. Her cabin luggage was the cheapest option at the Reject Shop that morning after her heavy rucksack’s flimsy stitches unravelled at the straps before she made it to the station. Continue reading

V/Line Vignette 4

Sketch of a streetscape showing buildings and parked cars

Parking 20.05.19

Lenny drove an unmarked van. He could have been a tradie or a grocer, no one would have known. It was early enough that there wasn’t anyone around who’d care, but just in case, he drove past the one-way street to scan for passers-by. It was day three of early voting and on previous days he’d only noticed old ladies shuffle from car to indoor pool or indoor pool to car for the keen ones who’d been up since the crack of dawn, but no sense in tempting fate and a run-in with what were predominantly left leaning locals in the Labor safe seat, he reasoned. The coast was clear, so he did a U-turn and parked in a disabled spot despite only one other car parked in the street, a fluorescent notice ordering its removal. What are the chances a disabled person will come by now?  That thought was in the deeper recesses of his mind, on the surface was in fact no thought.

He opened the back door and saw that the items he’d lugged- a pole, a base on which to mount the pole, and a placard, had rolled around and were now at the far end of the van’s boot, resting against the cage that separated the driver’s cabin from the rear. He had no choice but to climb in. A little contortion was required to move a sandbag out of the way while crouching in the confined space. It was a race against time, he wanted to set up and leave before a confrontation. Bang! Lenny was suddenly enveloped in darkness, the wind howling in such a way that the two doors swung shut in the right sequence. His keys were on the other side, swaying on the stationary door. Continue reading

V/Line Vignette 3

Cloakroom 6.5.19

She adjusted her cloak then pushed open the heavy arched door. Of course, the cloak wasn’t real, but neither was the door, yet when her phone lit up and ‘mum’ flashed on the muted receiver, it was what she did. Her parents were of an age now where L dared not risk ignoring The call. The one she’d imagined all her life. As a child, she’d pictured herself living in a large, echoey house, all timber and marble with generous servings of sweets in crystal bowls and lots of room to pace while having long conversations with friends on the phone, or if she was done pacing, she’d sprawl out on a soft shag pile carpet that would be used solely for late night talks that required the phone to be dragged on its extra long cable, the curly cord draped beside the round of carpet like the tail of a poodle, but longer. Continue reading

V/Line Vignette 2

The Drive 29.4.19

‘It’s not over till it’s over’ he’d said. If it hadn’t been such a heated conversation and had she not been walking out on him, D would have burst into song, repeating his lines and adding ’till I’m over you’. It was 5 years since that day, also his birthday. The reminder had been in her phone up until last year, but by then the date was lodged in her mental calendar. She’d felt horrible doing it on his birthday, but there was hardly an opportune moment to talk with him, and he’d given her his full attention in anticipation of being showered with gifts and adoration.

‘Shit!’

She slammed on the breaks, bringing her ricocheting into the present. Continue reading