Microfiction by Doug Jacquier

It began with her putting the kettle in the fridge and calling everybody ‘darling’ because she
couldn’t remember their names. Then she copied the young women’s craze for ash-blond
streaks in her hair and started sending money to the man in Africa that she’d met on a dating
site. Her rooms were soon full with goods that she’d bought online, boxes unopened. Only
when she bought a gleaming white sports convertible and drove it into town to browse the
clothes shops, wearing only a fur coat and her underwear, did her daughters put her in a
nursing home. In her garage they found her collection: No Stopping. No U-turn. One Way.
Steep Descent. All the signs were there.

On his bad days, Alex would imagine slipping a noose with a hangman’s knot around the
neck of some irredeemable moral reprobate who had angered him today.

On his good days, he would patiently spend time with his grandchildren teaching them how
to lash the joins on their makeshift forts of saplings.

On his woodwork days, he would turn now rare pieces of rainforest timber scavenged from
demolition sites into beautiful and functional furniture that celebrated and highlighted the
natural knots.

On his sailing days, he would imagine building a modest craft, with its sails secured by his
masterful mariners knots and see himself lashed to the helm to survive the worst the elements
could deliver.

But on his days of sad reminiscence, he would remember the wedding rings he had crafted
for himself and his late wife, in the shape of golden knots that could never be untied.

Blown Sideways
We didn’t care that the rain came in sideways, driven by the same scouring winds that had
delivered the dust from farms hundreds of miles away for so many summers now and sent our
own on a similar journey. As long as there was enough to drown our despair at fly-blown
carcasses in the paddocks, 100 year old trees falling like matchsticks and harvesters rusting in
sagging sheds because these days real seeds only produced phantom crops. We hoped the rain
triggered flash flooding and washed out the roads and cut off the power; that was pain we
could gladly endure.

Doug Jacquier has lived in many places across Australia, including regional and remote communities, and has travelled extensively overseas. His poems and stories have been published in Australia, the US, the UK, Canada and India. He blogs at Six Crooked Highways (wordpress.com)

Photo by Sebastian Enrique on Unsplash

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