Annabel’s Teapot

This is a short story for the Australian Writer’s Centre Furious Fiction December 2022 Contest for which I was longlisted.

In addition to being limited to 500 words, the other rules were:

  • Each story had to begin with a 12-word sentence.
  • Each story had to include the sale of a second-hand item
  • Each story had to include at least five (5) different words that end in the letters –ICE.

Curious, when the entirety of life’s endeavours is little more than junk. Curious and pathetic. A loose collection of knickknacks, collectable items, kitsch.
Annabel loved her crochet samplers, her porcelain miniatures, her creepily-staring dolls, but she worshipped her spoons. She bid them good night, every night, and she stopped and stared at them every single day, sometimes finishing a nice cup of tea whilst standing unsteadily in front of them.
Her life consisted of very few lasting things. No children, not a single loved one still alive. Those spoons were the only thing she cared about. For them to be here, in this shop, awaiting appraisal and an unfair amount of currency for them was an injustice. Annabel’s life should be worth more than that.
The shop owner regarded the spoons with slightly less disdain than he did the man presenting them. Both were of swarthy persuasion, older and greying, and had been granted citizenship many years ago. But their countries of origin had fundamental differences of policies, and now a prejudice against the other permeated their very cell structures.
Annabel’s spoons would never be here were she alive. The only way someone would get them off her and get them here, was if they knew she was dead.
The man presents a tea set, the shop owner shows even more disdain, pointing out that it hasn’t even been given a proper clean. The tea remnants stain the bottom and one of the saucers shows the striped imprint of a licorice Allsort that was unstuck from it at some point. They bicker, the shop owner doesn’t want it until I call out that I would like to purchase it.
“Fifty.” The shop owner didn’t waste even a heartbeat before turning to me with an outrageous price. The seller’s eyes light up until he looks into my eyes and there’s a flicker, but I don’t think he recognises me.
“Twenty.” It’s a stupid game to play, but play it I must.
“Thirty-five.” The shop owner goes instantly to split the difference but catches the look of excitement on the seller’s face, leans over to him with his hand held up and reminds him, “Fifteen to you.”
The man doesn’t like it, but relents. Perhaps bolstered by this early success, he then takes among the first offers for the spoons and hastily departs. He’s easy enough to follow home because he lives next door to Annabel. I’ve seen him several times, though I don’t believe he’s ever really gotten a good look at me. When he answers the door, his brow gives a crinkle that says he’s confused as to how I was at the shop earlier and now on his front porch.
“I don’t know why, but you got in there before I could finish cleaning up at Annabel’s.” I push into his house. “Now it looks like I’ve got a whole lot more to clean up than just the nightshade from the teapot.”
I pull the door closed behind me.

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Part of the Writing Journey

I’m not sure why I don’t put more in here about my writing, especially since it’s such a significant part of my life. I think I’ve wanted to try and balance my interactions with the world in a one-to-one sense (like emails) and a broader sense (like Facebook or blog posts).

I’d be lying if I didn’t say that there’s a rather high level of anxiety associated with the latter. Posting to a broader audience feels like it’s too one-sided. Like you get to know this about me, but I don’t know what’s going on with you. It’s like you’re cheating.

But I can’t say that’s why. If I had to pick something it’s likely Imposter Syndrome. Like I’m not sure when I’m going to feel like a real writer. I had a short story published in an anthology magazine, The Stringybark Stories. So everybody reading this, go buy that and write a nice review for them. David’s an awesome guy and does some really good work with Stringybark, and more folks need to tell him that.

Stringybark Stories

I entered a short story Crazy Witch Woman and while I didn’t get into the Top 3 prize winners, I did get a “Highly Commended” and included in the published book. So that’s pretty cool. Wifeage gave me a kiss and told me she was happy to be the first to call me a “Published Author”.

I rather liked that.

So I laboured over what to do with the book I’d written. It turns out it’s bloody hard to get people to read it and give you feedback. I sent it out to over 10 people and got actual feedback from 2. 20% is not a great rate. But I also worked really hard on my rewrites and after finishing the sequel, I went back and applied the knowledge I’d gained of the characters to the first book. I really felt like they’d come alive in the second novel and I wanted the love that had grown to be applied to them retroactively.

I think it worked. But I’m not sure. I’ve since gotten more feedback but it’s insanely disheartening when NOBODY* talks about how much they like the book and instead talk about it’s problems. And they’re all different problems. Some of them are even kind of genre-specific and I wonder if these people just don’t like reading thrillers.

* Not nobody. Family Matty really quite enjoyed it, and that was the very first draft. Which, to be fair, was not a very good book. But he helped me heaps with what could make it better and I’ll always have much love for him for that.

But my goal was to self-publish it by the end of the year. I’ve written these dystopian, sci-fi, speculative fiction thrillers under a pen name, one that I’ve built all of the online profiles for, and my plan was to finish the two other novels I’m working on (crime thriller and coming-of-age drama) and try and pitch those to publishers/agents and maybe get traditionally published.

Not that the plan was always to get The Council onto Amazon via self-publishing. I queried some agents, you betcha, but they all turned me down with either ignoring me or saying “Yeah, not really my thing.” Which is fair. I don’t know what’s wrong with it, I know it’s not for everybody, but it really seems to put some people off. Which is hard to hear, because *I* sure like it. I liked writing it, I liked reading it later.

So the plan evolved into just taking this one series and putting it on Amazon. Some brilliant advice I got from a great guy I know, one of those author-types, said start with the first book for sale, then tease the sequel, then when the sequel drops make the first book FREE to hook readers and tease the third one. I think it’s a goer, for sure. I’m just wondering if anybody will even purchase the book in the first place.

That will be something I’ll have to work on. Getting people to read it, then leave a review (a good one, preferably) to boost interest, and maybe I’ll get lucky and catch the algorithm in the right mood. Heh.

Anyway, the first book is up on Amazon, but it’s not finished yet so I’ve set it to “draft”. I’m still gathering feedback and some of it is so good that I can’t officially publish it until it’s ready. When your 15-yo daughter blazes through it and takes notes in the margins and draws pictures of the characters, you know ignoring that type of thing is for people with No Soul.

So if you want to read the 7th draft before the 8th (and hopefully FINAL) draft, and have your valuable insights calculated and most-definitely, not-at-all ignored, then drop me an email. Otherwise, just wait patiently, I’ll update here when it’s ready.

A little about what my life looks like.

I am crippled. Broken. I have various bits of my body that don’t work well anymore. Some of them are my doing, living the life I did. Some of them are an accident of birth, genetics, fate. Neither of those differences ultimately matter though. What matters is pain.

Getting out of bed is pain. Getting into bed is nice, but still pain. Making the morning’s first hot drink, for me or Wifeage, is pain. Needing to sit on the toilet for an extended time is annoying for its base reasons, but it’s also pain. Doing nearly everything always involves a level of pain. And I am sick of it.

Except writing. Writing isn’t really painful. Not usually anyway. A new malady in my left arm has hampered things, but I’m learning to work with it. But if it meant giving up writing for the barest hope that this new pain would lessen, I would not. Fuck that. I’ll fight through the pain, and I’ll let the tears fall later when I am confronted that this, my last vestige of pain-free sanity, is now tainted with the same niggling electrical pulses that fuck with every other aspect of my day.

I’ve done The Right Things. I’ve seen the GPs enough that they’ve sent me to others who purport to want to help me. One of them plans to cut me open, fix or fuse or replace the bits that no longer work, and I remain hopeful this holds an answer to all this pain.

For now though, I have only the pain, and the hope. There are no answers yet. Writing is my only answer, and I plan to cling to it forever.

“The Glass House” Book Review

The Glass HouseThe Glass House by Brooke Dunnell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Riveting… is NOT a word I’d use, so why couldn’t I put the bloody thing down?!
Because it’s Just Good Writing. With a relatable and interesting main character and vibrantly colourful supporting cast. Holy cats, I guarantee you know somebody just like every character in this book, and you sometimes love them, sometimes they make you want to scream.
It wasn’t even that there’s this Unknown Mystery hanging over everything. I mean, there is, but that wasn’t what drove me to keep turning pages for a solid 6 hours. With Julia, you’re just drawn in and taken with on her journey. She’s flawed, she’s human, she’s mutable and best of all, she’s that perfect blend of humble/arrogant about her life decisions that nothing is a given because she (like all of us) is still figuring this all out as she goes. I don’t think I knew that was the biggest draw until I wrote it just now. Julia is All Of Us. So good.

View all my reviews

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Thanks, Corona

After bravely donning masks, goinking our hands with “anitiser” at every entrance, and exit, for months. Nay, YEARS. We have finally fallen.

I have the younger one trained well, he dutifully puts his hands out when he sees me getting a goink from the hand sanitiser stations at the front of stores, and he always wears his mask unless we’re at the park. Alas, it was the teenager that was our undoing. Cooped up at home and longing for socialisation, contact, we thought we’d hit it for six when we found the Pride and Progress Ball going on in early November.

We got her dolled up, we went out for an evening of young people who were so incredibly FREE to just… be, that I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anything quite like it. It was beautiful. But… they had free ice cream. And when the mask came off for that and she fled from Dad’s Protective Space to go out and make her own way like the Independent Teen that she is, the mask stayed off.

The very next day came the Pride Fair in the city. Same deal, really. When walking up, Dad said that since we’re outside, the mask wasn’t a 100% thing, but “when among other people” it goes back on. Instructions that were lost amongst the din of potential friends, freedom, and more ice cream.

A week later and she’s not feeling well, complaining of a sore throat, then lots and lots of headaches, the kind that panadol wasn’t touching. Then aches, and even though it’s insanely-difficult to tell with a fifteen-year-old, lethargy. Then a few days after that and I’m feeling coldy. I even whinge to Wifeage about how I’m coming down with something and she better not. But then she’s asking if my headaches were the same, and she’s a bit achy. Dammit, so she’s got the cold too, I’m thinking, poor dear.

Then she’s got aches in her legs, just above her knees, and she hasn’t gotten that sort of thing since… her 3rd Vaxx. Which got her thinking, and she takes a RAT. Now, I’d done a RAT already, standard practice these days, but I’d forgotten to give one to teen. So when Wifeage sends me a pic in Messenger and says that even though it’s only been 5 minutes, she’s SURE she can see a line.

I give me and teen another RAT.

FUCK.

My line’s still faint, but it IS there. Teen’s is as strong as Wifeage’s, who gives me another one from a different box, just in case.

Nup. We’ve all got the COOVE. Just like that, our fight is over. All our efforts, in vain.

Oh, and it sucks. Like it really sucks. We’re through the headaches and now just into body aches territory. Which, for two people that already battle that shit on a daily fucking basis, is fucking Turd City man. Bugger.

At least we’re not puking, shitting ourselves, or not breathing and dying. We’ve managed to avoid that, thus far. But I’ll keep you updated if we die.

Westpac doesn’t consider my pension “income”.

When you’re trying to just find out if you can even afford to EVER purchase a house, the first thing you do is talk to your bank right?

Well after playing email tag a few times, divulging ALL of my life’s most interesting financial aspects, spending 12 minutes on the phone with chit-chat and bullshit T&C’s, I was told that the only income that Westpac would consider was my wife’s Disability Income, and NOT my Carer’s Pension.

Because… get this, “if something were to happen to that person, then there wouldn’t be that Carer’s income any more.”

That is FUCKING COLD.

Okay, so I tell them that we have a disabled child, who will be special needs his entire life. No go.

So I told them I also have a verified disability and whether or not there’s an income stream for somebody being disabled in this house shouldn’t be an issue.

She told me “It’s not whether or not I agree with our policy, but it’s my job to enforce it.”

Man, Bree Hamilton. I hope you’re second-guessing that career as a Barista or some shit, because having to do that kind of thing would EAT MY FUCKING SOUL. But maybe you’re safe and don’t have one, dunno.

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Maybe it’s just me.

Maybe it’s just me, but if I were a man (and I am) and I was white (and I am) and I was interested in keeping my life as good and as full and as blessed by my chosen deity as possible, I might think about the best ways to do that.

If I get to do a whole lot of whatever I want, I’ve got to make sure I get to keep doing that, and I think the best way to do that is to make sure other people keep doing what they’re doing, which is letting me.

The world used to be structured in such a way where I, as a white dude, got to do ANYTHING I wanted, even if it meant to somebody else. No restrictions.

But some of the Somebody Else’s decided they didn’t like me doing anything I wanted to them. They started going on about their right to have a say in what I did to them. They started to restrict what I could do, and I didn’t like that. But more and more of the Somebody Else’s got together and decided they all agreed to restrict me.

I started getting to do a whole lot less of what I wanted, so I really needed to come up with a plan to make the Somebody Else’s believe they were getting what they wanted, while I still got what I wanted. It took a lot of planning and some really, really subtle ways to go about things.

It wasn’t easy. But I wasn’t just going to give up all the good things in my blessed life. But I couldn’t just openly fight back either, there are now far too many of the Somebody Else’s for me to outright aggress them. I have to convince them they’re getting what they want. Since I can’t change their minds about what I was doing to them, I have to change their minds about whether or not it was even me doing it.

Then, the idea came to me like a voice from the heavens.

I can take somebody that most of the Somebody Else’s trust but doesn’t ever speak on their own. I’ll take all the things that I want the Somebody Else’s to do for me and I’ll say that our mutually-believed-in deity said for them to do it.

Maybe it’s just me, but this sounds like an excellent plan.

It just gets better and better too. Because not only do I have a peripheral someone advocating for the stuff I want, but I can use all the deity’s associated documentation. Brilliant! The single most popular book in the world will back up what I’m saying, I just have to find ways to creatively quote it so that it says all the things I need it to.

This plan was perfect, and it’s working like a dream.

Until the Somebody Else’s go and get loud again. Which, for the most part, is manageable. It’s actually pretty easy, I just make sure I focus on what’s different about them, and I make sure that corresponds with whatever I want my deity to say through that most-popular of books. Simple.

If their language, culture, region or skin colour are different, I’m all set. The plan is working beautifully still, and I’ve got everyone convinced that it’s not me doing it, it’s just the will of our unseen deity.

The plan took some big hits though. The Somebody Else’s were suddenly everywhere. In my house, in my bathroom, in my kitchen, in my very bed. This was a real problem. It had been managed for time immemorial but this time the problem was unprecedented in scope. Because I had always had leverage, I’d always had the final say over them when it came to one very fundamental difference between us.

They were the ones responsible for growing and producing life.

I tried, but there was no way I could do it on my own. I needed them for this. And since there were so many of them, easily as many as there are of me, this was a real problem.

Maybe it’s just me, but if I was going to keep getting all the good things I really needed to call upon the words from the most-popular book. I really needed to make them sound like they were straight from the deity. I really needed to keep the Somebody Else’s from thinking too much about this on their own, so I distracted them with other parts of the most-popular book.

I hit them right in their virtues. I made the most-popular book all about being good. Not just regular good, there’s not enough inspiration and pressure and distraction behind that. No, I made it about being better than regular good. A level of good that was nearly unattainable. Something we all were striving for. I even convinced everyone that I was equal to them in this regard. I never believed it, but they did, and that’s all that matters.

And this plan was working. For the most part.

But then the Somebody Else’s really threw a spanner in the works of my plan. They didn’t believe me any more.

Not enough anyway. They tried to tell me that the words I was using from the most-popular book weren’t really about me getting to be the only one to have all the good things. They started reading the most-popular book in ways I had never foreseen, using my words in their surrounding context in the most-popular book instead of in their gloriously sound-bitey ways I’d worked out.

They even pointed out that my behaviour in my daily life didn’t match up with the unattainable good we were all supposedly striving for. All I was doing was just enjoying all the good things in the solitary manner I was accustomed, and the Somebody Else’s started using my words and interpretations against me.

Then the worst thing happened. A whole bunch of the Somebody Else’s stopped believing in the deity with me. Well, they stopped believing enough, anyway. They started believing in their own ways, not in mine.

This was a disaster. Something needed to be done.

I’ve spent centuries making sure that the Somebody Else’s knew they weren’t as good as me, that they didn’t just get the good things that I got. That it was more than the issue of if there was enough for everyone. That I needed to be the only one having all the good things, that was the deal. That’s always been the deal, actually.

I told them in every way I could that still convinced them that it was them, not me. I subtly made laws, changed financial structures, changed entire societal structures. I still did whatever I wanted to the Somebody Else’s, I just had to hide it more. And it was working.

I thought of the most effective ways to get my message across and I was so good at it that after a while it was doing it all by itself. It became bigger than just me. It became a system. A big, beautiful self-sustaining system designed to make sure I get most of all the good things.

Still not perfect, but it was working. They were convinced and all my words and the most-popular book enforced it. But then it started to weaken. The fatal flaw in my plan of convincing the Somebody Else’s that they didn’t get all the good things because they weren’t being good enough was that they started to compare themselves to me.

This was one of the worst possible outcomes.

And I faltered. I was finally forced to irrevocably share some of the good things. Convincing all the Somebody Else’s to give only me the good things wasn’t working like it used to. I’ve been very good at convincing them they were getting some of the good things like I was, but then they all started sharing information every which way, and they stopped being as convinced. I had it all, and I was being forced to share.

The Somebody Else’s had exploited a loophole in my previously-perfect plan. They tried holding me to account.

This was not acceptable.

It was time for me and the other white dudes to really take control. To make a real display of power so that even if the Somebody Else’s got loud and fought back against it, I could just flex my muscle. I could remind them in a heartbeat that no matter how many of them there are, even if all the combined Somebody Else’s outnumbered all the me, I was still the one in control.

The Somebody Else’s needed to know that I still had all the power. I’ve always had it.

Sure, the plan wasn’t working anywhere near as well as it has for so long, but it was still working well-enough.

Plus, the plan was built around us having all the good things because we had all the power and vice versa. This self-sustaining system was built to always support that one very fundamental and important aspect: That I keep all the good things and all the power and it’s still up to me whether or not the Somebody Else’s get any of it at all. One part might fall off a bit, but the other part will prop it all back up.

And don’t let any of the Somebody Else’s fool you. I’ve still got all the power. I still get all the good things. That’s not changing.

Just watch and see what happens when there’s even a hint of threat. I’ll always have the plan. Because I’ll always want to be the only one getting all the good things and doing whatever I want, even if it’s to Somebody Else with no restriction. That’s not changing either.

**

So yeah. If I were like that, that’s how I’d go about doing things.

But maybe that’s just me.

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It’s okay for them to die because they’re old.

It’s one thing to throw the doors open and invite Rona into our previously COVID-free state, but it’s another entirely to simply drop nearly every Safety Precaution (AKA “restrictions”) and just let the shit run free.

And it IS.

17,033 new cases today. Another new record. Pretty sure we’re breaking the previous record every day now.

1 in 40 West Australians are in isolation because of COVID.

Since the start of 2022, there have been 161 deaths.

But nobody cares.

Nobody cares because nearly all of the people who have died are old. The average age is something like 75.

These people are dead, and no one cares.

A teenager dying made the headlines, as did a man in his 30’s. But they were small headlines, and always accompanied with the phrase “pre-existing conditions”.

Well holy fuck. If you pare it right down, there’s a heap of us that have pre-existing conditions.

Take me, for example, as I was pre-diabetic at one point. I am 47 years old. I am overweight. I am male.

Each of these PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS ups my chances of serious illness or DEATH as a result of catching COVID-19.

I’ll say it again, just in case there’s any confusion: I have an increased chance of DYING from catching COVID.

So naturally, I don’t want to catch it. I don’t want anyone I love to catch it. I don’t really want anyone to catch it other than Clive Palmer, and probably that fuckhead Paul Papalia.

But nobody else feels that way. Because nobody cares.

Where they would wear their masks underneath their noses, if at all, before, they now walk around free and unencumbered with forced accommodation for those of us that DON’T WANT TO DIE.

I honestly don’t even know why I’m writing this other than to document the fuckery.

This is completely fucked.

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Western Australians all getting COVID because of Federal Election.

Bear with me. Slap on the tinfoil hat if you must. But I believe that our Labor Premier, Mark McGowan, was strong-armed from multiple directions into not only opening WA’s borders, but in dropping nearly every COVID Safety Precaution (or “Restrictions” if you’re one of those).

We were COVID free, you see. Our borders were closed. You couldn’t even book a ticket unless you were double-vaxxed and you couldn’t leave isolation until you tested clean after 14 days. We were getting it done.

Then Delta hits Australia and everybody over east is getting COVID. Tens of thousands test positive, thousands are very sick, hundreds die. We’re still safe in WA because we don’t let anybody in.

Well, technically that’s not true. We let plenty of people in, you just had to have done the right checks and applied appropriately.

Naturally, the media pushed the message that WA doesn’t let anybody in.

Mark McGollum and his Hermit Kingdom was pushed rather hard. The yobs here pissed and moaned about it, everybody over east pissed and moaned about it. Nobody pointed out that just about anybody could get in, they just needed to test clean, be vaxxed and quarantine.

They just didn’t fucking want to. They just wanted to fly in and get off the plane.

So then Omicron sneaks through with some French backpacker. Do we lock down? Do we get crazy and seal up? Nope. We carry on with all of our relaxed ways, but Mighty Mac is pressured, left, right and centre, to open the borders. The loudmouths and their protests here, the jealous shitstains over there, it’s coming from all sides.

So we do. We make a plan to get everybody vaxxed, then set a date. And Omicron blows up. So we move the date.

And you’d have thought he’d shot the fucking Queen.

Now it’s coming from everywhere, WA media especially, even Auntie ABC is shitting on McGowan whenever they can, calling his decision to postpone the date a “backflip”. Fuck me, it got stupid.

Then Mighty Mac throws the gates open and we buckle down. He’s weathered all the shit thrown at him for all the vaccine mandates (and some of those, yes, were a bit poorly-handled) and reckons we’re ready to get hit right in the face with the Viddy.

But that wasn’t enough. Because now the pressure, in my opinion, was internal. The Federal Labor Party.

See, a Federal Election was sure to be called soon. And Labor needs to win this one. We can’t have a MAJOR Labor Leader be seen as some asshole in the west that doesn’t let even his own Party in!

“Oh, and when we get there, we can’t have a bunch of press conferences and photo ops with us in fucking masks.

NO MORE MASKS, PLEASE.”

And the next thing you know, WA is hitting a COVID peak like nothing we’d ever seen.

**

So just in case I get Assange-inated. I’m writing this shit down.

I hope the families of the 131 people in WA that have died in 2022 of COVID personally write to the new PM (please be Albo, please) and remind him that when he wins the fuck out of WA, he’s done it with blood.

End Stage

The large piece of black sushi from the header graphic above is a stylised caricature of our sweet cat, Seven.

He had gone skinny for a brief bit, so we were feeding him more.  We always said that his heart was where his brain should be, so we’d kind of assumed he’d just forgotten to eat for a while.  He always liked it outside in the Cat Run more than the other two, so we figured he might have stayed out there so long he missed feedings.  He would often come in after a rainstorm, soaked through.  He was not smart.

And he was eating, lots.  Feeding him separate was working, we thought.  Then he just crashed.  A cat that never let anyone pick him up was suddenly falling over and quite cuddly when scooped up.  I made an emergency appointment and Wifeage loved on him on our way out, but stayed home with our smallest while I had our middle kid with me.  We kind of knew.  When we parted, that is.  We kind of knew.

He was in end-stage organ failure.  All the numbers were very bad.  I had to take the doctor aside to level with her and force her to level with me.  I told her that despite our poverty, money wasn’t an issue.  I’d sell the car, a kidney, drugs, my body.  Money wasn’t going to be what factored in a decision for our beautiful boy’s life.  She hemmed and hawed in the way that doctors are supposed to do.  They can’t sway you in your decisions, it’s like, a part of their oath or some bullshit.

But when I asked for chances, even IF it could be fought and we were willing to put him through that sort of treatment.  This sweet, stupid, lovely, semi-feral boy, being held down and tubed and blooded and caged for days.  If we DO this, what chances might he have?

She frowned.  Said, “I haven’t seen it, in all my years.”

At first I scoffed, because she looked barely older than the 14-yo I’d left in the waiting area with our sweet boy.  Then I realised that she was probably doing this when she was 14, and probably had plenty of years.  Enough to warrant that reaction.  She gains nothing from suggesting to me that he’d be better off being slept out.

It was straightforward and the constant communication Wifeage and I were having had no doubts involved.  I held him, for a long time, and he purred smoothly and nuzzled into my chest.  This gorgeous idiot that was so feral when we first fostered him that he’d panic run from any room I entered.  It was 6 months before I got to even pet him, yet here he was having the best Dad Loves of his life on my chest.

He barely flinched when he got his final shot, and he had the best nap of his life in my arms.  Then he was gone.

**

Now I’m told via emails from my mother, that my brother has end-stage liver failure.  She’s got a Master’s in Nursing but I still don’t really understand what she’s saying.  To me it sounds like, “His alcoholism finally caught up to him.”

My father, the doctor, hasn’t replied to my emails.  It’s my own damn fault, ultimately.  I trained them all that email was best for me and I hated phone calls and that it was okay for us to go a couple of months without contact sometimes.  Now my phone is silent and I’m not sure I wanted that.

But then again, it’s standard for me to hear about a death with an email from my mother that simply has that person’s name as the subject, usually weeks after the event so I have little to no time to be a part of anything.  This can be particularly troublesome when she sends me an email subject name of some young and healthy person who has recently proposed to their true love.  Because when I go to open it, I think they’re dead, only to find them blissfully happy.  So name in the subject line doesn’t always mean dead?  Got it.  Sort of.

My father is famous for telling me that my grandmother died by responding to a question about another event that he might not make it because he was still in California for his mother’s funeral.  That she was my Grammy and I might’ve liked to be told she’d died was lost on him.  I don’t expect he’s considered I would want to hear about my brother now.  He’d probably tell me afterward, I think.  No guarantees though.

So I’m not new to any of this, but I sure as fuck don’t like it.

I didn’t like what happened with Seven, either.  But at least everybody involved knew what was up.  It was hard, there were explosions of tears, there were sentences that were incredibly difficult to finish.  But I’d so much rather it that way than this.  This feeling that I’m forgotten.  Not important enough to keep involved.  While my only brother lays dying.

I don’t like this at all.

And what’s to come doesn’t promise to be any better.