‘Photograph the Soul’ by Jessica Tucker

 

It’s Saturday. We’re with his friends and he feels happy. Because it’s Saturday. He’s had a drink. I’m here. His friends are here. They are competing with each other and then he picks up his phone. I prepare myself.

See. This is…’ I try to tune out. I might crack if I focus on what he is saying. I might yell. Or cry. Or make a comment just a little too sarcastically. So that he picks up on it even though he is drunk. I go as far as feigning disinterest. But it doesn’t work.

Did you see this one?’ He leans closer, our shoulders touching. I am forced to look at the picture. I haven’t seen it. It could be a holiday snap but because it is not I do not know how to respond. I haven’t seen any of them. I resist the urge to say that and so I just say ‘no’. It is safer that way.

I’ve shown you these pictures, haven’t I?’ I shake my head. It is much safer than to speak. Than to say that I haven’t seen any of them. That I kept getting excuses every time I asked. That he would say he had to organise them or find the right time or enough time to explain them all. I want to say that I haven’t seen any and it is his fault and now it has been too long and so I don’t want to see them because I don’t care anymore. But that isn’t true.

But I don’t say any of that.

I thought I had.’ He frowns quizzically as if trying to recall. He can’t recall. Because I am right. ‘I’ll have to show you some time.’ His phone goes away and I know my chances of seeing any other photos go with it.


Words by Jessica Tucker

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Jessica Tucker is a lawyer, a reader and a writer – not always in that order and sometimes all at once. Her legal background, and her interest in crime, psychology, human motivation and politics, inform both her reading choices and her writing.

 

 

 

Artwork by Rhianna Carr. You can find more of Rhianna’s art on Facebook @RhiannaCarrART or on Instagram

‘Moving Earth’ by Riana Kinlough

 

You feel the low thunder of moving earth and remember a blow like a lightning strike on your temple. Light appears as the dirt vanishes. Your bones strain upwards, anxious to meet the sun. Your rebirth is breach. Small hands pause at the unexpected hardness of your ankle. Tenderly, with new purpose, they uncover all the tiny bones of your foot and continue upwards. As they unearth your left femur, you remember with a pang the heavy boots that shattered it. You were a runner once.

Slowly, every inch revealing another small act of violence on your poor body, the Earth lets you go. The hands that freed you belong to a woman. Her skin and clothes are dark with something more than earth. You wonder, only for a moment, what she was burying when she found you.

 


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Words by Riana Kinlough

Riana is an Adelaide-based writer, whose primary interests include murderous women and keeping her cat off the keyboard long enough to write. You can see her work in the CRUSH anthology.

Artwork by Rhianna Carr. You can find more of Rhianna’s art on Facebook @RhiannaCarrART or on Instagram

New Wave Audio Theatre Episode One: Between

New Wave is a podcast series in which writers and actors work together to present the listener with three unique pieces of audio theatre. This is an excellent opportunity for Adelaide creatives to share their talents and also for people from all walks of life to indulge in theatre performance, despite not having the time or money to get to a physical theatre.

Episode One: Beyond, presents the audience with three short plays. Alys Messenger’s Hurt Money, Taeghan Buggy’s Stateline’s, and Anita Sanders Limbo. Working together with director Connor Reidy and actors Cat Galligani, David Hampton, Kieran Drost, Nicola O’Farrell, Hannah Hilbig, and Max Kowalick, these plays are performed through voice acting, without compromising the audience experience.

Alys Messenger’s Hurt Money follows the story of Lucia (Cat Galligani) and Anthony’s (David Hampton) sibling conflict in face of their mother’s illness. Lucia and Anthony have been estranged since their father died and Anthony convinced his mother to sell the house and invest in a ‘luxury retirement village for rich wankers on the Gold Coast’. But the investment still hasn’t paid off, and, as Anthony admits, it might not have been such a great idea after all. With his honesty and Lucia’s need for someone to care for and about, it seems like they might just be able to push aside their problems and share a nostalgic meal of dumplings from their favourite restaurant.

Taeghan Buggy’s Stateline’s follows the story of Sarah and Ria who accidently board the same bus to Victoria, old friends who haven’t seen each other in years. But what could have been a simple, innocent conversation turns into both girls spilling their guts and sharing their problems. Sarah is pregnant with Tom’s child. She’s going to Melbourne to get an abortion, against Tom’s wishes. In doing so she’s risking Tom’s wrath—but how can she keep a baby when he’s too afraid to commit to their relationship? Ria’s life isn’t going much better. She’s headed to Geelong to attend her great uncle’s funeral, but this uncle is the one who outed her to the entire family, causing her estrangement and the shunning of her girlfriend, Kate. Going against Kate’s wishes, Ria is ‘swimming back to her homophobic family’, desperately wanting to give them a chance. The girls use the bus trip to offer each other much needed support and encouragement to do what they think is right.

Anita Sanders’ Limbo follows a male and female character who are stuck in limbo and discussing their future potential—limbo being one of the only places they can stand in one place. The man questions why people must be perpetually moving forward while the woman, who has recently arrived, questions the bus to the future. They are both nostalgic for the past and resent their pre-planned futures, relishing the opportunity to stand still instead of perpetually moving forward— ‘Every decision was made in a hurry, hoping for a future that would be brighter than the past’. The future is a fog, a mystery waiting to be uncovered, yet unless they embrace the future they will be consumed by the dark—the dark which has already claimed Sammy. The piece shows the importance of moving forward and maintaining connections and relationships.

All three of these pieces allow the audience to enjoy, dissect, and consider the messages presented. The audio effects used serve only to enhance the audience experience while the pieces themselves call for a reflection on the various relationships that exist and are maintained throughout our lives. I would highly recommend this free audio theatre experience as a way to embrace theatre and support locally produced art. I look forward to hearing the second instalment, Algorithm, which is due to be released on December 7.


Words by Kayla Gaskell

See more from New Wave Audio Theatre at: https://newwaveaudiotheatre.com/

‘You and I’ by Tanner Muller

You’re standing outside your friend’s apartment building, your body soaking, your phone without a percentage. You lift your handbag over your head and begin to walk. It doesn’t take long for you to slip and fall onto the pavement. You cry, but the tears are hidden amid the rain that falls onto your face. Now, more than ever, is the opportunity to reveal myself to you. I lower the car window and speak to you for the very first time.

‘Do you need some help, miss? You look hurt,’ I say.

Your head turns sharply to face me. ‘Well, you must be a genius,’ you say as you examine my appearance, ‘Do I know you?’

I think, of course you do. I’m your future lover. You just don’t know it yet.

‘Unless you recognise me from Thursday quiz nights at The Lodge, I wouldn’t think so.’

You stare at me, bewildered. You’re clearly not amused.

‘Would you like a ride home?’ I say to break the awkward tension—hoping, praying, that you’ll accept my offer.

‘Give me a good enough reason as to why I should. For all I know, you could be a murderer.’

‘Well, I—’

‘Is this how you pick up chicks?’ you interrupt. ‘Prowling the streets in search for some girl who’s in dire need of assistance?’

‘Did it work?’ I say in my final attempt at getting you into my car. I’ve been anticipating this very moment since I first laid eyes on you. Now, my future with you all depends on these three words. You’ll either tell me to get lost, and refer to me as that maniac who tried to kidnap you on the street that night, or you…laugh. You laugh. I wouldn’t consider it to be my finest moment, but it’s enough for you to take a risk and put your trust into me. You step into the car.

You drench the leather seat covers, but I’m not bothered because I finally have you close to me; close enough to touch you, to smell you. Your sweet peachy fragrance lingers inside the vehicle. This was, of course, despite your soaking body. I could only imagine this scent from outside the window of your apartment, but now it fills my nose with delight.

As we pull away from the curb, I notice how gentle you appear to be from the corner of my eyes. You’re like a priceless family heirloom or an ancient glass vase, look—but don’t touch. And your legs are smooth, as though they were manufactured and shaped like a Barbie doll. I’m resisting the temptation to meaninglessly graze my hand across your knee. Heck, I’m resisting the temptation to pull over the car and penetrate you gently and fill your body with nothing but love. But I don’t. Of course I don’t. I must be patient.

‘What’s your address?’ I ask, though I know perfectly well where you live.

‘Why do you want to know that? So you can stalk me?’

You make the environment uncomfortable again, as though you’re teasing me, playing mind games to analyse my reaction.

You chuckle before continuing, ‘I’ll just tell you where to go from here.’

We’re a few more blocks away, but there is no conversation. Instead, you sit there politely with your hands folded into your lap, providing me directions to your building: right, left, left, right, left, right.

‘So, what were your plans for tonight?’ I say to interject the monotony.

‘Well, before I was drenched in rain, I was drenched in my friend’s tears,’ you say sarcastically, as though you didn’t want to be there. ‘Every time she has something troubling her, she expects me to pick up the pieces.’

‘That must put a lot of pressure on you.’

‘You want to know something? It does. I’ve never been able to say it out loud before, but it’s exhausting.’

‘So, why do you do it then?’

‘I’m not entirely sure. Perhaps I’ve become used to it—going out of my way to help others. Now listen, are you sure you’re alright with this? I feel as though I need to repay you in some way—’

‘Tell me more,’ I interrupt. ‘How does this person make you feel?’

‘Honestly,’ you pause for a moment, your mind lost in thought, ‘I dislike her, immensely. But I keep disregarding the importance of my feelings towards her, because I’ve convinced myself that it’s wrong to think that way. I place her at the forefront of my life, but have been shown nothing in return. She doesn’t care for me. She—’

You’re wanting to speak more, but you resist and fight to keep the words back.

We approach your apartment building, but I leave the engine running. You turn and stare at me with a polite grin.

‘Thanks for the ride, mister,’ you say.

‘The pleasure was all mine.’

It was in that moment I thought, you like me, don’t you? Even if you won’t admit it to yourself, you trust me already. I gave you my undivided attention and listened to your problems. In this short car ride, I’ve managed to begin chipping away at your walls of doubt and unhappiness. No one else in your life has been able to achieve this. I’ve exposed you to the emotions you were hiding. All you could see were limitations, stops signs. You were trapped and blinded by what you feared most: the truth, the correct truth, the truth you’re meant to be feeling. Through my extensive observations of you, I’ve been able to examine your behaviour, even in your most vulnerable states. So now it becomes clear that you want me. As a matter of fact, you need me.

‘I almost forgot to ask for your name,’ you say.

‘Derek,’ I respond, lying.

‘I’m Valerie.’

‘Nice to meet you, Valerie.’

You exit the vehicle and we wave each other goodbye. I wait as you enter your apartment building before driving away. Your peachy scent continues to linger under my nose on the ride home. I’ll be back soon. No doubt about that.


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Tanner is an emerging writer living and exploring in Adelaide. His work has been published in Glam Adelaide, Mind Shave, Verse Magazine and the Piping Shrike anthology series, among other places.

Website: https://tannermullercreative.com

Instagram: @tanner.muller

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tannermullercreative/


Art by Rhianna Carr. You can find more of Rhianna’s art on Facebook @RhiannaCarrART or on Instagram

Relocation

The stuttering crawl of traffic arrests, and a terminal red line on the GPS tells Gerald he should settle in. He sits straight-backed in a collared shirt, top button still buttoned, in the driver’s seat of his car, in a line of stationary cars, a still frame excised from a zoetrope.

On the passenger side, an emergency stopping lane hints at escape. It runs clear, but only as far as the next overpass. There, a massive pylon erupts from the ground like a memorial. For any who made the attempt, it would mark an end.

Gerald’s spent a lot of time on this freeway, rolling slow in the dusk, but he’s never been held up exactly here, at the top of this low rise. He’s noticed the graveyard, of course, beyond the concrete wall that serves to divide the locals (dead) and those just passing through (ostensibly living). The other side has it pretty good, with their freshly mown grass. Their gated community. Until now Gerald had never noticed the graffiti scrawled against the barrier: If you slept here you’d be home by now.

The vehicle in front of him inches forward in a restless zombie shuffle. Ahead and to the right, a transit van’s indicator light blinks like a tic. Fumes from all these idling motors start to cloy, so Gerald recirculates the air in his cabin. There: he is sealed off from the others, those commuter vessels, also static. Steel cannisters for single occupants. When the traffic flows again, they will diffuse into the suburbs. For each car a garage; for each garage a dwelling. Is that what home is? That’s encapsulation, thinks Gerald, but it’s too transient. Home should be a place to stay and sleep sound. At this rate when he reaches his destination it will be time to leave again.

More than anything else, Gerald wants a shorter commute. So he pulls into the emergency lane. He is moving, picking up speed, tearing past the other cars. He can see his new address.


Words by Andrew Roff

Andrew Roff’s first novel-length manuscript was shortlisted for the Wakefield Press Unpublished Manuscript Award at the 2016 Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature. His short fiction has appeared in Antithesis Journal and Antipodean SF, and has been adapted for community radio. Andrew’s interests in crime, politics and economics inform his writing. He tweets at @roffwrites and you can read more of his work at roffwrites.com.

‘Crashing Waves’ by J.R. Polkinghorne

 

Wind whistled over the deck, howling through every nook and cranny, growing in strength and lowering in pitch as it whooshed around me like a cold blanket encasing my body. Waves clashed on either side of the ship in rapid hits like a hundred thrashing drummers beating endlessly away at the ship’s wooden panels.
The wind picked up and the waves grew larger around me, while the crew snored away below. I was showered in a spray of icy salt water as I clung desperately to the ship’s edge, watching as Davy Jones pulled and tugged at the vessel, trying to drag us down into the watery depths of his locker.

I tied myself to the deck, the coarse rope rubbing against my soft flesh as the waves knocked me back and forth. One moment I was standing upright, and in another a wave had bashed me down onto my hands and knees. The first time it happened I tried to scream, but nothing came out. All I accomplished was filling my lungs with water and heaving it up on the deck until another wave came.
I should have stayed below with the others; they were all tucked away in their beds, warm and dry. I should have ignored the sounds coming from above, but by god, I was stupid. The thought of drowning in my sleep sent such fear over me that I scrambled on deck in nothing but my pants and socks. What a mistake that was. Every time the icy water hit me stabbing into my skin over and over. My limbs were getting stiff from the cold and yet the waves could still toss me around as though I was a ragdoll. And although the rope didn’t let me go far I still managed to slam painfully into everything. I thought of going back. Back into the dark under the deck, and yet I stayed frozen. The fear kept me in place and the fear would be my doom.

My skin was turning purple from both the cold and the bruises. I was starting to look like a prune. I was damned soul stuck forever in a loop of pain and suffering for the sins I have no doubt committed in my short life aboard this ship. This wasn’t the hell my mother warned me about, but I couldn’t think of another word to call this.
My body was going numb and all I could do was think. Right now I wanted nothing more than to curl up in my mother’s arms against her breast and cry as though I was a boy. She would sing to me, her voice sweet and soothed my aguish.

I wanted to sing, I wanted to open my mouth and let the words out, but I couldn’t, not with the fear of filling my lungs again with foul fishy water.
My thoughts left me, and all I could do was stare blankly at the deck, as it sank into the endless depth of the sea, the impending doom of my watery grave mocking me, the promise of gold and adventure sinking along with me. I shouldn’t have jumped on this ship, shouldn’t have thrown away the life my mother gave me for a chance at adventure, but the idea of sailing across the sea, my name striking fear into the hearts of men, so tempted me.

But alas, my dreams were lost and my hopes were drowning, falling deep into hopeless despair. My death was forming around me clinging tightly to my skin as the darkness crept in. Death was on my shoulder, his breath like rotten fish, as he waited for my demise.

As the gloom started sneaking in, another sound picked up through the beating of waves and screaming wind. It was just a faint whisper, carried out along the sea, settling down against my cheek. The whisper turned into a song, moving in time with the waves and floating along the breeze. It was truly beautiful and it brought a small flicker of light into my soul, fanning the fire of my heart. I tried to stand—but to no avail. I still couldn’t move, my limbs cold and numb. The best I could do was open my mouth to call out, but as I tried another waved crashed down. This was the end. I didn’t have the strength to force the water out, nor the strength to search for the angel calling out to me.

Another wave washed over, covering the ship and bringing silence with it. I was no longer cold, only the suffocating embrace of the ocean was around, squeezing my lungs. My body didn’t hurt anymore. My lungs did though, and in that moment I felt the urge to breath, to move, to swim away. My limbs sprang into action and moved against the pull of the sea, but I was tied down; attached to the ship as it sunk. The thing I thought would be my saviour was instead aiding in my death as I, too, was dragged down with the ship. I tugged at the rope, my skin rubbing raw. It was no use. I was trapped.

I was dying and there was nothing I could do about it. Scared, helpless, and small, I was held down by something bigger than me. Even though I knew it was hopeless, I still struggled to swim towards the surface. I still struggled for that last breath of crisp air.
But I only sank further, my strength leaving me, my limbs stopped moving.

It was then, in that moment of defeat that I heard it again. The sweet voice kissed my cheek, a whisper through the silence of the sea. I wanted to see it. I needed to see the angel calling out to me before I was gone, before everything was gone and the only thing left was this vast sea. I gritted my teeth and forced my eyes open, the salt stinging them every time they opened even the slightest bit.

The voice was louder now, and I could almost make out words. Against my lids I could feel light shining, begging me to open them. Again I tried, and every time I did I let out a little more breath from the pain. I was running out of time. I couldn’t let it end like this. I needed to fight through the pain, through the despair and hopelessness, but it hurt. It hurt so much, and every time I tried it seemed I only got further from my goal. Even in the water I knew I was crying, for that one little glimpse of the light that was taunting my death. I don’t believe I have ever wanted something more in my entire life.

The song kept playing, and it was now that I heard my name. The angel was singing for me and me alone. I needed to see it. With the final force of my body I flung open my eyes. Light consumed me as I was blinded by it, but after blinking I could see it. The angel calling for me was no angel at all but the captain holding a candle by my face, her gruff features illuminated by it. I was still on the ship. The storm had died down and we hadn’t sunk.
I was still tied to the ship and wet from the waves, but the air was light. I could breathe. I was cold, but I could move. I sat up and looked at the captain who gave me a puzzled look before standing extending her hand to me. “You shouldn’t sleep on the deck. Men drown doing that you know.”

I laughed. I laughed so hard it hurt my lungs but I couldn’t stop. Even though the captain kept staring I still laughed. I laughed at the captain’s words. I laughed at my foolish dreams. But most of all I laughed because I could, because I was alive.

 


Words by J.R. Polkinghorne

Art by Rhianna Carr. You can find more of Rhianna’s art on Facebook @RhiannaCarrART

 

‘You, the Artist’- Poems by Leeza von Alpen

you are colour

this life is a canvas

and we are all artists

but I often stop and wonder

why we dare would choose to squander

our ephemeral moments by never, or barely ever,

staining our brushes in paint pots at all;

doing nothing to fill in the shades of grey

You, the Artist’

you are colour

this life is a canvas

and we are all artists

but I often stop and wonder

why we dare would choose to squander

our ephemeral moments by never, or barely ever,

staining our brushes in paint pots at all;

doing nothing to fill in the shades of grey

but you

oh you

you who splatters hues

leaving paint smears on your shoes

because you wander through the world

wearing as many colours as you choose

with a laughter tainted yellow

and an old temper tinted black

using charcoal and pastels with tones so mellow,

and graphite pencils, oils and ink

that attack

the senses

you add texture to the world

with the way your mind can think

because you paint pictures with your mind

and I do so hope that in time

that you will see, how clearly,

that your heart is full of colour

 

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Our Silent Language’

I’ll utter nothing with my lips,

but I’ll keep speaking with my eyes

as I try to come to grips

with what I’ve suddenly realised

how surreal, this thing I feel

all contained within my chest

buckled down behind my breast

as I endeavour to conceal

but then instead you nod your head

yet not a single word I’ve said

because you heard every word

in our silent tongue through which we talk

so side-by-side we’ll pace, we’ll walk;

and I can’t explain, though try I may

how your grin makes the planets spin

how it makes the sun hiccup flares that

stretch out to lick the milky way

but still I simply cannot say

these heart whisperings to you

but I don’t think that I need to;

so I’ll mutter nothing with my lips

but I’ll keep speaking with my hands

as I try to come to grips

with what I still don’t understand

it’s breathtaking, the way your raking

of your fingers through your hair

can stop me still and make me stare

and smile even while my heart is quaking

and I turn to you, those blue eyes in view

and release a sigh in relieved reply:

I don’t need to speak or sing or sign

(which is good, because I’m shaking);

we don’t need the words to reveal

the sheer extent of love we feel.


Leeza Headshot

Poems by Leeza von Alpen

Leeza is a writer and poet (both written and slam), and an English and History high school teacher. In her spare time, she treks through rainforests and star watches. She loves paperbacks, Hayao Miyazaki movies with milkless tea, and puns. You can follow her on Twitter @Leeza_Jayde

If you would like to see your work featured for Fiction Friday make sure to check out our submission guidelines and send us your stories and poems. Genre fiction is most welcome.

 

‘This Type of Exchange’ by Jess M. Miller

9:53

London Bridge is down.

That’s what they’ll say when the Queen dies. He’s read about it online. Couldn’t get the image out of his head. It ought to be something similar, over here. Eagle is down. That’s what they say in action films. It was Clinton’s code name, and it works better than anything. It works so well that he barely remembers the actual code. But this is not an action film; there is no script, and they have no other selves to escape to when this is over. Alice has been his secretary for seventeen years. Her face is blotched and gushing, ugly in the way that on-screen women rarely get to be.

‘A sniper, Ted. A sniper.’ She talks to him in the way that she builds his schedule, in bullet points which live up to their name, words that carry death.

Secret Service men spill in behind her, black and slick like ravens. ‘Come with us, sir,’ they say. But his brain is sludge. He can’t remember how to work his legs.

9:54

Slowly, he peels back his cuff to look at his watch, at the engraving on the other side facing his skin. Gratias ago. Thank you, in Latin. An inauguration present, the precursor to this present, he supposes—and for a moment he is a child at Christmas. Bleary and confused under wrapping paper; not sure if this present is the right shape, whether it matches what he asked for. But this is not the kind of present you scrawl down on paper. He unloops the watch from his wrist, lies it face-down on his desk. Not his desk anymore. He looks straight at Alice, takes her all in. This type of exchange is almost as heavy as she is. The next one will be different. The next exchange will not recognise the one now.

‘Sir, we have to move quickly.’

Eagle is down. He nods. He stands.

9:55

Alice steps towards him but the ravens push her back, lead her to the couch. An agent’s jacket catches on his holster. The momentary glimpse of a Glock 9 mm. Has he ever used it? Will he need to use it again? Does he ever think about it, on nights when he can’t sleep?

‘You think too much.’ Eagle’s words, just the other day. ‘You think more than all of Congress put together.’ It had been meant in affection. Let go in those few precious moments of exhale between the 8.45 and the 8.50, on a day still too young for malice, a day they’d let sleep in while they’d worked. Their own staff bleary-eyed since five thirty; their wives recently left for that peace conference in Geneva.

Hazel. Does she know? Has she seen it on the news? He should call her. But he’s left his phone on the desk, and they won’t let him turn back now.

9:56

These portraits on the corridor wall have watched him trudge by for two years and nine months. They’ve seen his bad days and his good days, his wins, and his losses. This convocation of eagles. Their faces stretched across time, across bank notes and history books. His Eagle looming at the end of the procession—the man with the shoes that will be the biggest to fill.

Ted’s own feet are two full sizes smaller. He is two inches shorter, twenty pounds heavier. They will have to expand the nest, add sticks and twigs and shiny things.

The corners of the painted man’s mouth are turned up in a smile. Tobacco has crinkled him in real life, but they haven’t painted that, of course, they haven’t. Smoking is a bad habit. And the President doesn’t have bad habits. Eagle told him that once, four moves from checkmate, ash collecting like dust on the shoulders of his knights. Both their ties dangling from the Deputy Chief of Staff’s office lamp. There was a man outside their door, but they liked to imagine that no-one knew about them here, playing chess in this deliberately abandoned office.

‘I don’t smoke,’ he’d said, and tapped his cigarette. ‘There is a reason, Ted, why your title includes the word vice and mine doesn’t. Ask the press. Any decent reporter will tell you that what you’re seeing now is an illusion—and the press only prints the truth. We all know that.’

He looks at the empty space on the wall. His own portrait will hang there soon. He wonders what they’ll paint out of him, to make him match the others. He lingers. And then the ravens carry him away, around the corner, and there it is. His oval office. His nest of shiny things. He looks once more around him. And then in his head, he says, action.

9:57

Cameras. Click, flash, click, flash. Like an old movie. He is photographed into being. The Secret Service steps away. One by one. Click, flash. His first captured moments. Frank walks over. Holds him by the shoulders. Click, flash. Everyone is there. The leaders of the free world. Of the saved and the damned. The ravens, the vultures. All the other birds. The Chief Justice picks up her Bible. He is sure to take short, sharp breaths, to paint shock and grief in nuanced layers onto his face. He’s been practising.

Networks will broadcast his moment across the world. Across time and bank notes and history books. And the press only prints the truth. We all know that, don’t we, Eagle? We all know you do nothing wrong, and when you do it’s either left out of the painting or passed on down, to the Vice President, because there’s a reason the title is called that, there is a reason these four letters distinguish the eagle from the crow. Because the Vice President will take your punches for you, won’t he? He helped you get here and asked no questions and certainly won’t ask any questions now. But your Vice President thinks too much. You told him that yourself. Gratias ago. Thank you, very much, for the advice.

‘Sir, please raise your right hand and repeat after me.’

Click, flash.

 

Written by Jess M. Miller.

Artwork by Rhianna Carr.