Mum’s Nursing Debate

‘How is this helpful again?’ I frowned, flipping open the pamphlet for the hundredth time.

‘How is it not?’ Sabrina asked excitedly.

‘Well, it’s expensive… isn’t it?’

‘Not massively,’ she shook her head. ‘I think you’ll be surprised.’

‘Why isn’t that in the brochure?’

‘The price?’


‘I don’t know,’ she shrugged. ‘I’m interested in this community nursing provider servicing Adelaide patients because of their pamphlet-designing skills.’

‘Well,’ I sighed, tossing it onto the kitchen counter. ‘I’m just not convinced.’

‘Right,’ she said quickly, rushing over to slide into the stool next to mine. ‘What are you worried about?’

‘Community nursing?’ I screwed up my face. ‘What does that even mean?’

‘It’s just like, nursing outside of hospitals and stuff,’ she said. ‘Don’t focus on the terminology, focus on how much help it’ll give her.’

‘She’s gonna hate this,’ I said with a sigh. ‘As soon as we bring up the word “nurse”, that’s it, we’re out of the will.’

‘Since when do you care about the will?’ Sabrina joked.

‘I’m telling you, that creepy painting at the back of her closet is worth something, there’s no way my sister is getting it.’

‘Right,’ she rolled her eyes, grinning. ‘Noted. Now back to this—’

‘What’s the NDIS?’ I interrupted her.


‘I kept seeing it on the brochure,’ I said, reaching out to grab it again. ‘Says that they’re a reputable NDIS provider over and over again.’

‘Just means they can help people on the NDIS,’ Sabrina explained. ‘Have you not heard of the NDIS?’

‘I don’t follow politics,’ I shrugged.

‘That’s not actually a character trait,’ she rolled her eyes. ‘Anyway, it’s the government program to make sure disabled people can get all the help they need.’

‘Ooh boy,’ I chuckled. ‘You want to throw the word “nurse” and “disabled” into one conversation with my mother? What you’ve just outlined is the cause of your death.’

‘She’s not that irrational,’ Sabrina protested.

Tattooist Retreat

‘Reach inside yourself,’ the monk chanted slowly, his soothing tones drifting effortlessly through the temple. ‘Find your inner calm.’

Ow! Son of a—’

I gritted my teeth in pain as the tattoo needle stabbed into my skin again and again, ignoring the withering looks from the disciples all around me.

‘Find your inner calm, friend,’ the monk at the head of the temple said, kindly.

‘Easy for you to say,’ I glared. ‘You’re not getting tattooed by a sadist!’

The acolyte standing over my back with the traditional tattooist needles didn’t say anything to that, but I’m sure his inner serenity was rolling its eyes at me.

‘Pray, friend,’ the monk stood up and walked towards me on bare feet. ‘Why did you come to our holy place, if not for this ritual?’

‘I didn’t know it was going to hurt so much,’ I complained.

‘Pain is merely the last vestige of the inner shadow, wrenching itself free from your body,’ the monk bowed his head and clasped his hands together.

‘No, pain is the nerves in my skin telling me I’m being butchered by an amateur!

The monk cracked an eye open and raised an eyebrow at me.

‘I assure you, Zhong is one of our very best. He has, in fact, tattooed me on several occasions.’

‘An honour,’ Zhong bowed his head at the monk, who reciprocated the respectful gesture.

‘Well, he’s not as good as any of the tattooists who design inks in Brisbane that I’ve been to,’ I frowned, getting to my feet. ‘They’ve never made me hurt so much I’ve seen God.’

A low rumbling went throughout the room. Even the ever-composed monk widened his eyes slightly.

‘What?’ I frowned. ‘I’m not allowed to leave.’

‘Please, leave if you feel you must,’ the monk gestured for the door. ‘But before you do… would you share more of your holy experience?’

‘My holy what?’ I looked around, confused. ‘Oh, that, it was just an express—’

‘What does the face of God look like?’ a woman next to me asked, eyes wide.


The Best Films

You know what I think is cool? Art. Art in all forms. I especially love 2D art, and visiting museums and galleries to get access to all of this cool art. I also love going to art shows to support more underground artists who are perhaps not as well-known. My best friend is one of these underground artists. She paints abstract pieces and hangs them up in a warehouse for people to see with a small fee that ultimately pays her rent. It’s an interesting business model.

I’ve also been following this 2D animation company operating in Melbourne for a little while. They do some great work, and make some awesome short films that they post on the internet. I’ve been in contact with the owner of this company and apparently, they want to host a screening for the first time and see how it goes. I think that’s a brilliant idea. They’ve already got a decent following on social media and most of their fans seem to be local, so I can imagine a lot of them turning up for the event especially if there’s free food.

They’re a bit hesitant because they’re a small company and there would be a lot of planning and potential costs involved in hosting such an event. They’ve thought about transitioning to corporate video production because it has the potential to earn them more. I mean, I’ll support them no matter what they do since their team is filled with really kind and talented people, but I am partial to the 2D animation since that was what brought me to their company in the first place and has held my attention for the past couple of years. I have a friend who does catering professionally, so maybe I could ask them to help with the food challenge at a slightly more affordable price than usual? I shall find out!

Nets and Knives

Before I can react, a hole opens on the underside of the ship. There’s a scraping sound, and a thin metal claw unfurls and drops a net over me. I’m trapped. I scream and thrash, but it only seems to dig the grooves of the net deeper into my skin. Even as the metal claw retracts and I am drawn into the belly of the ship, I can hear the gasps of the mermaids still cowering on the coral fields. None of them reached out to help me. They wouldn’t dare to.

This sort of sailboat print design hasn’t been seen in centuries, but everybody knows the legend of the giant squid. This ship belongs to the humans who almost single-handedly brought us to extinction. And I have just been captured by them. When the hatch slides closed beneath me, I am plunged into darkness. I start gasping for breath. I’ve never been above the surface before, so this is the first time I’ve ever breathed ordinary oxygen. Suddenly, rough hands draw me upright and a tube is shoved over my face. Fresh water floods my lungs. Now that my most immediate problem is taken care of, I gather the courage to look up.

Around me stand five humans, all with identical looks of shock on their faces. They each wear coats with the same giant squid design that is painted on their boat wrap vinyl. I’m not sure what to do. I can’t move my arms because of the nets that surround them. My fins won’t work without water. Instead, I simply stare at the humans, hoping that the expression on my face appears braver than I feel. One of them has some sort of timber and metal contraption that I’ve seen littered on the marine floor before. A knife? They reach out and use it to saw the net off my body. With my arms freed, I growl and rub at the welts on my skin. One of them smiles sadly and apologises to me. Then, I am shoved into a chair.

Getting Free Stuff

It’s kind of crazy how many free things you can get when you ask for it. Or how many people are happy to help when you need it. It’s a nice aspect of humanity, I guess. I always try to repay those favours as a token of appreciation. One time, my neighbours volunteered to feed my fish while I was away on holiday, but they also cleaned my entire kitchen and left me food for when I came back. That was super nice of them. I volunteered to walk their dog each morning as a way to thank them.

I also received advice on the benefits of a kid’s eye test from my local optometrist after I booked my own appointment there. I’m a pretty loyal customer, and it’s nice to have that loyalty appreciated with important advice. The information about eye tests is for my twin children, who are both school age now and probably should have their eyes tested, since they haven’t had a test since they were toddlers. It’s a typical test, conducted at an optometrist’s clinic with one of those charts that has the letters and pictures on it. Adults use letters, but the pictures are mostly for children.

Our particular optometrist is an expert at performing eye tests. Located in Bentleigh, and born and raised here, so she always tries to give back to those in the area. I want to give back to her in gratitude and appreciation for her advice on eye tests by continuing to use her services. It’s no problem for me, since she is truly very talented and thorough.

I’m wondering if I can start getting products for free, or at least at a heavy discount. Maybe I can become best friends with my local bakery and get free bread every day. That would be super useful since my family goes through a lot of bread. I’ll even settle for the scraps they don’t use at the end of the day.

Neighbourhood Remodel Watch

‘Have you seen this?’ I gestured out the window for my son Jason to come and have a look. He rolled his eyes – obedient to every teenager cliché he could find – and joined me at the parted curtains.

‘What am I looking at?’ he asked with a sigh.

‘The house next door,’ I pointed. ‘They’re moving building supplies in!’

‘So?’ he frowned. ‘Why do we care?’

‘Because it means they’re going to start remodelling!’

‘I hate to repeat myself, but why do we—’

‘Because it’s probably going to be loud!’ I interrupted. ‘And obnoxious.’

‘How annoying that must be,’ he said, shooting me a pointed look that I didn’t get until later that night.

‘I know, right!’ I cried.

‘It looks like it’s just tiles and stuff,’ Jason squinted at the construction van. ‘So it’ll just be a bathroom remodel or something.’

‘A bathroom remodel? Near me?’ I shook my head. ‘Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve seen a good bathroom remodel?’

‘Didn’t we get ours remodelled like three years ago?’ Jason frowned again.

‘Oh yes, but that was terrible,’ I waved his question away. ‘Your father designed it himself, so it’s never been good.’

‘Fair enough,’ Jason nodded.

‘I wonder if they’ll let me come have a peek at their plans,’ I pressed a hand to my mouth.

‘Why would they let you do that?’ Jason frowned. ‘Do you even know them?’

‘Of course, I know them!’ I insisted. ‘I know all of my neighbours.’

‘Oh yeah?’ he raised a suspicious eyebrow. ‘Name them.’


‘Name the people that live in that house,’ he pointed. ‘First or last name of either of them.’

I squinted in silence for a second, flipping through my mental Rolodex.

‘Maybe I can pretend to be one of their professional bathroom designers from Melbourne and sneak in that way.’

Mum,’ Jason groaned. ‘Why do you have to make everything so difficult?’

‘I don’t make everything difficult!’ I protested.

‘Then leave these people alone!’ he shook his head, walking away.

‘I will, I will,’ I called after him.

Maybe if I make them a pie…

Future of Boats

Rylee wouldn’t cry today. Cole had been gone from her life too long for that, and the body they were sending out to sea wasn’t even his true one – merely a copy. There was a sadness in her heart, but also a relief there too. Maybe now she could truly move on.

“Do it,” Rylee told Maphira.

Her sister released the boat latch, then stood back with Rylee and Vai. Maphira wrapped her arm around Rylee’s neck, pulling her close and kissing her forehead. They stood together and watched as the aluminium box began to sink into the water of Port Phillip Bay.

“So, this is it,” Rylee said. “This is the end.”

“Care to say a few words before we head back to the bait boards for the wake?”

Rylee nodded. “A day hasn’t gone by that I didn’t think of Cole, since he left my life. He was a strange guy, obsessed with utes and their toolboxes, but he also had a kind heart that made him so easy to love. He has been, and will continue to be, missed dearly.”

With that said, the three of them headed for the bait boards, where Vai and Maphira had set up a platter of egg sandwiches, party pies and fairy bread. They ate for a time, completely silent, simply taking in the sunlight that shined down on them.

Finally, Rylee decided to break the silence. “So, I assume it’s back to the marine welding shop. Close to Melbourne, there’s plenty of demand for boat welding, so you must be quite busy, Mai.”

“Yeah, seems like it. I think people are a bit sick of mechanics these days, so a lot more people are travelling on boats. Great for business, not so great for my life being peaceful and quiet.”

Vai smirked. “Maybe the next crazy group to take over the world will be a bunch of marine welders. We better watch out, Rylee – Maphira might end up being their leader or something.”

Maphira laughed. “If I start an evil group to take over the world, you two will be my first recruits.”

Thinking About Plumbers

Being any sort of tradesperson must be really hard work. I don’t envy them in the slightest. Long days, tough conditions and really tricky problems to solve makes for stressful work – the type of work that if you’re not careful, could take years off your life. The reason I’m thinking about this instead of doing my own work is that there are commercial gas installers at our office right now.

I’m watching them fix the gas (I assume, I could be wrong because I have no idea about anything related to plumbing) and I just don’t know how they’re maintaining their morale. It’s extremely hot today and they’ve been standing under direct sunlight for hours. I’m feeling the heat and I’m just sitting in my comfortable private office with reverse cycle air conditioning. I feel really bad for the gas plumbers, if I’m being honest.

I wonder if they’re looking forward to the long weekend just as much as I am. I assume they are, if not more. See, this long weekend is going to be great because if you take an extra four days of annual leave, it works out that you get eleven days off in a row. How great is that? I saw that would be the case on the very first day back at work this year and immediately took those four days off. I needed to get in early so that I had guaranteed time off. 

I wonder if it’s as competitive to get time off for employees of hot water repair companies servicing Melbourne as it is for general office workers in Melbourne. Maybe next time I get up to make myself a coffee with our fancy coffee machine I’ll ask the commercial plumbers if they’re looking forward to the long weekend and whether they have time off or not. I hope for their sake they do because working when most people have holidays would suck. 


Nursing Confession Concerns

My brother burst into my room, pressing himself against the door and panting deeply.

‘You know, you’re allowed to knock,’ I said dryly from my desk.

He ignored me, pressing his ear to the door and listening intently. I heard heavy footsteps on the landing that paused, briefly, and then disappeared down the stairs.

‘Phew,’ he whispered, sinking to the ground. ‘That was a close one.’

‘Was it?’ I frowned. ‘I didn’t realise you were being hunted by a snow leopard.’

‘Close enough,’ he shot back. ‘Dad just asked me what I’m gonna do for a career after school.’

‘Just tell him,’ I rolled my eyes. ‘He’s already taken his anger out on me, anyway.’

‘Ohhhh, I think he has more,’ Josh shook his head.

‘Look,’ I gave up on my homework, closing my textbook and spinning around. ‘You have to tell him sometime. It may as well be now.’

‘I guess,’ he frowned. ‘What do I say?’

‘Tell him your dream,’ I implored. ‘Tell him you want to work with the most trusted company operating in community nursing. Adelaide only has a few of them. He can’t get mad if you get into the best place in the state.’

‘See, I’ve literally already seen him get mad at that,’ he pointed at me.

‘Me?’ I said. ‘Somehow, I think you’ll be spared most of his wrath.’

‘Why’s that?’ he seemed puzzled.

‘Well,’ I shrugged. ‘You are the golden child, after all.’

He snorted, then frowned. ‘Wait, you’re serious.’

‘Yep,’ I nodded. ‘Deadly.’

‘But that’s ridiculous.’

‘Is it?’ I asked. ‘Do you remember how many rewards you were given for your positive behaviour? Support when you needed it? Your cake was even bigger than mine, the last four years in a row.’

‘That can’t be true,’ he rolled his eyes.

I wheeled my chair backwards and pulled up a folder on my computer, showing him images of the two birthday cakes.

‘So, uh… you just had this sitting there, ready to go?’

‘Sure did,’ I nodded. ‘Now buck up, golden boy, and go tell your dad you want to be a community nurse.’

Revealing the Build

‘Wow,’ Laura nodded, arm on my shoulder. ‘Colour me impressed.’

‘It’s better than you thought?’ I grinned proudly at her.

‘No, I’m impressed you actually finished the thing.’

I dipped my shoulder so her arm fell off, and she laughed as she caught her balance.

‘Do you think my mum is going to like it?’ I asked her.

‘I don’t know,’ Laura shook her head. ‘She might pull out the electrical work and rewire it herself.’

‘That’s actually why I made the walls out of solid steel,’ I nodded. ‘To keep her out.’

‘Do you think it’s enough?’

‘At least until I can get the lasers working,’ I said. ‘Plus, as an added bonus – fridge magnets work on every wall.’

‘Revolutionary,’ Laura nodded along. ‘You might have trouble explaining to the accountant why you spent so much time at a store that specialises in plumbing supplies. Cheltenham houses are rarely made of just plumbing supplies and solid steel.’

Laura cracked first, and let out a laugh that made me start chuckling.

‘You two seem to be enjoying yourselves,’ my mother’s voice drifted towards us. We turned and watched as she picked her way across the last bit of the backyard to stand in front of her new flat.

‘What do you think?’ I asked her, nervously.

‘I like the colour,’ she said after a short wait.

‘The… the colour?’ I frowned. ‘The colour, cool. Great.’

‘Didn’t she pick the colour?’ Laura murmured next to me.

‘Yep,’ I said, through gritted teeth. ‘And it only took five trips to that local hardware store. Sandringham is local, isn’t it?’

Laura snorted.

‘Is there a key?’ my mother asked, turning to me. ‘It seems to be locked.’

‘Oh, right,’ I patted my pockets, looking for the copy I’d had made. ‘I have a few spare copies, in case we ever—’

‘Excellent,’ she interrupted me, reaching over and taking the whole keyring ‘I’ll hang onto those.’

‘Actually, I was thinking we should all—’

‘See you at dinner,’ she called over her shoulder as the door slammed shut.