MasterChef Aus S11E02 – Recap

Again, not edited. Enjoy x


The episode starts with the group of grey aprons walking towards the kitchen. And of course, they’re all talking about how they need this, and how they need to do good, all that sort of stuff.

When they walk in, the white aprons applaude. I had actually forgotten about how they stand on the side and heckle and applauded a lot when they’re not cooking.

Gaz starts talking about what’s happening today – how they’ve given away most of the aprons but there’s six left. Then, he singles out Monica and asks her what it would mean to get an apron.

Monica starts to tear up and she’s like, “It’d prove that I’m the same as everyone else and that I deserve to be here, that I’m great, etc, blah blah blah.”

Matt starts to talk, but all I can think about is how he’s wearing a normal (for Matt) outfit. No weird pants, no pocket square, even his cravat is quite normal looking. It looks a bit like brown and orange static to be honest.

Anyway, he introduces the idea of having mentors, not just for today, but forever within this season.

All the aprons ooh and aah.

“Please welcome your mentors for 2019,” Matt says, and the door opens.

The first one is Poh, the runner up from season one.

Then Billie the winner of season seven, who got a job from Heston at the end.

And then Matt, who was runner up of season eight.

Everyone claps and freaks out, Larissa is like crushing hard on Matt.

The trio of judges interview the mentors a bit.

Poh talks about what she’s been doing since running up and how it opened so many doors.

Billie talks about working at the Fat Duck and realising that she wants to do home cooking.

Matt talks about how everything’s changed, blah blah blah, I stopped paying attention to be honest.

Oh, and Poh called the trio of judges her Food Dads, and I was like big mood honestly I’m here for it. That would be me.

The trio start talking again about the mentors and how one of them will be there for immunity challenges.

Then, they talk about the challenge.

Behind the judges and mentors are three large displays. They’re the pantries for the challenge. Each chosen by one of the mentors.

Poh has stuff for desserts; Matt’s is described as things you’d find in a market in Bangkok or Bali; Billie is farm style foods.

Gaz, George and Matt tell them they will have 75 minutes, and it’s a blind tasting, so they head away to chill, drink some wine, and talk about why Gaz wearing a cravat would be impending on Matt’s fashion niche.

Poh tells the grey aprons when time starts and they all get going.

Sandeep goes for Matt’s pantry, and we get a sad flashback. He talks about his family in India, the sad drama, and how he learnt to cook to help his family.

He doesn’t have all the spices he needs for his curry though, so he’s freaking out a bit.

In the background, Anushka starts to heckle, and I’m like, “Ok, Anushka, I love you, but also I hate your heckles.”

Sandeep starts talking about how his cooking is a metaphor and I’m not really feeling that.

Ugh, honestly, It’s mostly montages, Poh and Matt, and Billie are walking around looking at food.

Then the Koala guy. That’s Matt, but in the audition he made eucalyptus ice-cream or something and the judges couldn’t taste the flavour, and I’m like why are you making them eat eucalyptus?? So he’s the koala guy now.

Anyway, he really wants to knock them out with his flavour and has like three or more flavours. Poh and Matt are like, you sure?? And he’s like yeah it all goes together. They remind him to taste it and leave.

Leah (not Lia or Leaha) starts talking about how there’s no tequila from Poh.

I’m getting bored, I’ve got a headache, and I don’t really care about the cooking at this stage.

Billie is walking on her own, but she doesn’t actually look like she wants to be there. I think maybe someone pulled out last minute and she had some spare time so she’s like, “Sure, I’ll be on for a bit.”

Matt is trying to emulate George, and yells out stuff like, “We’re on the home stretch of it guys, let’s go!”

There’s more cooking, and I’m getting done with it.

Matt is REALLY gunning for George’s job at this stage.

Finally, they start to count down, and then cheer.

Sandeep stats to cry about how it’s been a long journey and he wants everyone to be proud of him.

Larissa, the one who’s foundation is a bit too dark for her face, hasn’t made three pancakes, just one. Ruh roh!

The trio of judges arrive again and Gaz starts talking.

Blah blah blah.

Then, it’s time for the blind tasting, so Billie, Matt and Poh take turns getting a food and bringing it to the trio.

They keep a poker face and don’t give feedback.

They get to Dee’s, they scoff it down, and then give her an apron straight away, they absolutely love it and they’re so here for it.

I’m happy for her, she’s a cutie, and I love her smile.

Anushka gets a little bit of screen time (seconds), and she has matched her glasses today. It’s a clear frame. It doesn’t matter, but I will be keeping an eye on her glasses lmao.

So everyone hugs Dee and congratulate her.

George wants to go in for seconds, even though it’s practically raining for him – the amount of sweat on his head gets a pretty decent close up.

It’s just a montage of eating again until the last one.

Here’s the long of the short of it:

Larissa is in.

Sandeep is in.

Christina is in.

Monica is in.

And then there’s one apron left.

There’s a few grey aprons that we’ve heard from a bit already, so it’s like, oh who will get in? it could be any of these bad bitches.

Finally, Leah gets it.

Koala guy is disappointed as he stands with the losers.

It’s noted that her food went from being wanky to being homely.

The losers are clapped out, and Koala says that the experience has confirmed he wants to do this for the rest of his life.

MasterChef Aus S11E01 – Recap

No editing, publishing as soon as it’s been written.


MasterChef Australia season eleven starts – a montage of the season, promising an interesting and exciting season.

The voiceover man says, “Extraordinary food.”

Guest judges say things like, “It’s a tummy hug.”

Nigella Lawson announces that every year the food gets more amazing.

Then, silence, as we slowly pan over the pantry. Vaguely, the ghosts of MasterChef past whisper. ‘You’re in’, the voices say. ‘It’s a yes.’

Snapping away from the almost spooky theme, a bunch of people stream outside the kitchen into the herb garden. They express disbelief that they’re here, and touch everything.

Someone sees the big MasterChef logo made out of, I don’t know, herbs maybe? Who’s to say? And they’re like, “Oh, wow, that’s the ‘M’!” as if they weren’t really sure that the herb M actually existed before this moment.

Everyone goes around and decides it’s a really good idea to just eat from the herb garden, someone puts their kids on the red Vespa, and generally milling around the front door.

Matt Preston, George Calombaris and Gary Mehigan come out of the front doors and stand at the top of the steps, waving down at those who won the chance to prepare them food.

A man picks up a child, behind him, a blonde woman with big eyes looks like she’s going to cry from seeing them.

Or maybe it’s Matt’s pants, bright stripy colours, making him look taller than he probably is.

It all feels quite Wonka-esque. These people are winners already – only a small amount get to meet the judges in the first place. They enter with their family, but only one will remain at the end of the competition. And Matt is wearing wild stripy pants with a black and white polka dot cravat and pocket square.

Look, it is a Look, and Matt really should have a segment at the beginning where he models the look of the day.

They announce the winner of last year is here, Sashi Cheliah, and he arrives brandishing his plate. Confetti rains down on everyone. People look like they’re going to cry any second. They clap and cheer, and call out that they love him.

Sashi talks about how he was where they were last year, and vaguely points out a spot. You can tell they’re hoping to be standing in the exact spot the last winner stood.

“What advice do you have?”

Sashi doesn’t heasitate. “Flavour, flavour, flavour. These guys love flavour.”

Everyone laughs, making mental notes.

Gaz, George, and Matt talk about the mentorship, what’ll be happening over the next couple of days.

My oven dinged to let me know my frozen party pies were ready, so I missed that, but figured she’d be right.

George reminded them that someone will win, and everyone cheered.

And then a child grabbed a fistful of confetti from the ground.

It’s time to get cooking.

The first person is Tim. While he cooks pork belly, he tells us about Timself. He’s been practicing for years, excited to get his chance to be on MasterChef.

Cue his video.

Honestly, I don’t really know what he does? He works at a school doing cooking, and he looks after the school community garden. He teaches kids to cook and wants to be a role model for them.

Back to Tim as he cooks. He wants to cook good honest food, and let the flavours speak for themselves. He also loves toasted sammies. A lady wearing white glasses yells support. I do not care for her at all.

Everyone counts down to the final seconds, and cheer as it reaches zero.

As Tim wheels his cart to the judges, he monologues about the same stuff as everyone usually does – wanting to prove they can cook.

Gaz, George and Matt are sitting on stools away from the cooking bench. They’re just chatting, looking forward to eating, and it feels like they’ve been waiting there for a bit. You can imagine they’re talking about Matt getting a little teacup pig to store in his cravat.

Tim comes in, walking past big posters of the previous winners.

George basically runs over to Tim and says hello. Then, he asks why Tim is familiar.

Of course, Tim is like, “I have no idea, GC, I’m just a humble teacher…”

George is like, “OMG, you look like Prince Harry!”

Meanwhile, Matt and Gaz are sitting on their stools. Gaz tells George he doesn’t see it, and Matt gives a small little nod. Maybe Matt just needs to eat a bit and warm up first before he’s going to get excited about something other than the food.

There’s talk about dreams and passions, and the trio fall in love with the pork belly.

Tim wins an apron.

The next person is Jess, a travel agent. She’s brought her mum along. Her mum really wants to be included. Jess is making scallops.

Jess has her sad flashback. She had a tumour and thyroid removed when she was 28. It was scary for her, and she, “made stock of everything.” She was always close with her mum, now even more so. Her mum talks a lot through the flashback and in the kitchen.

Jess has to walk a kilometre to get to the judges, walking through the herb garden where everyone ate to finally get to Gaz, George and Matt.

George has decided to be the welcoming committee, and while the others are sitting at their stools, he’s run over to Jess.

He asks her what the dream is, and she tells him it would be to make things at home and sell it at her own market stall.

Really, this comes up every so often on MasterChef – you don’t need training to make things and sell them at a market. Just slap a little sticker on it with your website or something, print yourself some business cards, and get a stall at your local farmers market. Dream come true babe.

They’re all getting excited to eat her dish, and Jess starts to cry as she talks about how much getting an apron would mean to her.

The trio eat in silence. They don’t make eye contact.

Gaz starts. He loves it. It’s, “beautiful. It’s like a professional made it.”

He says everything about her and the dish is a yes.

George says yes, as does Matt, and she is given an apron.

Gaz keeps eating.

George has decided that this year he’s the friendliest. He welcomes them in, and he gives them a motivational talk before they head off.

Once all is said and done, Jess leaves. Gary continues to eat.

When Jess comes out, everyone cheers. Her mum is still really annoying.

A lot of people hug her, probably trying to get some luck from her and to touch the apron – possibly their only chance to touch one.

There’s a quick montage of people cooking, but we don’t get any sad flashbacks. There are some losers, a couple of winners, and we can only imagine how long they’ll actually last, as we only get the first name of most of them.

Finally, we get someone of substance. Gina is 61, and I love her. She’s a mother and a grandmother, her greatest achievement. She starts rolling some dough. The lady I hate with glasses is back again.

Anyway, Gina is cooking by hand. She’s Greek, loves Italian food, and loves to make it by hand.

Her sad flashback starts, mostly a montage of her with food and family. Gina tells us about how she did the paperwork to be a chef, but her husband didn’t support it so she never did anything with it. This is her chance to do something for herself.

I’m upset on her behalf. Like, not to throw shade on her husband, but I couldn’t morally let my partner not follow their dreams like that that. She had been cooking for YEARS and her husband wasn’t supportive of her perusing it.

Anyway, her pasta looks good, and she finishes up. Everyone cheers when the count down ends.

“I didn’t taste it,” she says.

Sashi looks concerned when she says this, but it’s too late – it’s time for Gina to make her 1km walk to the judging trio.

She walks down to the bench. Like before, George is the welcoming committee while Gaz and Matt wait.

I really want her to do well, but I also want to see someone cry sad tears.

My partner is sitting next to me and looks at the pasta.

“It’s overcooked,” she says.

“How do you know?”

She paused. “It looks off. If it’s not overcooked, its not seasoned enough.”

Then, Gina tells Gaz, George and Matt that she didn’t do it properly, she missed something, didn’t drizzle oil, didn’t taste it, and they’re not here for the confession, especially the lack of tasting.

It’s a no from Matt.

Gaz says it needs seasoning, so it’s a no.

George likes it, he loves her, but there’s a raw tomato flavour. He says no, but he also tells Gina that it’s great that she came in, and he gets motivational on her.

Gina leaves, and I’m disappointed because fuck her husband, I want her to be successful.

When she walks out, there are sympathetic cheers, claps, and whistles. Gina doesn’t look upset – she’s smiling. Really, it’s probably just that she gave it a go and they tasted her food. I think she could’ve gotten in on maybe season one, but at this stage of the game, just cooking home cooking doesn’t really cut it anymore.

There’s another montage of people cooking. The lady with the glasses starts talking about how they’re all here for the same reasons.

There’s a few no’s. A girl makes dumplings, she tells Gaz she love shim. He’s a bit shook and says, “Oh.” They didn’t like her dumplings.

Another guy makes snags, but only makes one, so it’s a banger and mash. George doesn’t hate it, but also doesn’t love it. He’s out.

The girl with the ‘H’ made something. The trio are like, “This is pretty mediocre.” George tells her not to give up. She’s sad and is determined to come back again. She cries.

Derrick is 26 and from Perth. He’s a financial analyst, because he wanted to make mum and dad proud. He wants to be creative like he is with food, so he’s scared to leave finance, but this is what he needs to do.

Honestly the dream is to quit everything and just do my creative stuff, so I feel you, D.

D talks about how his friends kind of make fun of him for baking, but on the same hand, they love his baking, so they don’t give him too much shit.

When he gets to the trio of judges, they ask him why he wants to be doing cooking and get out of finance. He tells them he wants to work for himself, doing what he wants to be doing.

Gaz loves the food, and talks about how good it looks. It’s a yes from all three.

While the next montage starts, Sashi talks about how he’s excited to be involved, and talks about his memories.

The next girl is Abby, who loves seafood, but hates waste. I think she made her thing with prawn heads ????? Matt loves it tho.

Simon is a cocktail bartender who wants to open a smokehouse – but vegetables only. He gets an apron. He annoys me.

Next guy is Joe. He does a good pasta and gets in.

Nicole comes in wearing gloves because she kept cutting herself to make a rib on the bone, cooked perfectly. They love it. Gaz gives her an apron.

The trio talk about how they’ve given away 11 aprons so far.

The next girl is Lia/Leaha. I don’t know, they need to give them little nametags, I have no idea how to spell their names. She’s making a glass ravioli. It looks pretty lit. I also hate her mum too.

“Sometimes it’s a bit too wanky for me,” her mum says.

Like, shut the fuck up? There are a lot of annoying mums today.

And I mean, I identify as a dad, but I love mums, but honestly, these mums… too annoying.

“Just calm down and focus,” Lia’s mum says while Lia carefully pours her glass stuff onto a tray. Once it dries that’s that, and it’s hard work. “Calm down, sweetheart. Keep breaking.”

Really? Your daughter’s busy right now for that shit, luv. If that were my mum, I’d tell her to hush.

She starts to cry as she puts the final touches on it.

Lia walks into the room with the trio with a big smile, and I start to warm up to her. She does annoy me though, but less so now.

Matt’s the first to come over to examine her food.

“I really want thing to look pretty and to have a bit of theatre,” she says. I love it. As a dramatic gay, I’m here for t. “My mum says it’s a bit wanky.”

“Well, it is,” Gaz says.

“Can we eat? George asks, and they all go in for it.

We didn’t actually get a flashback from her, so I’m a bit nervous.

Matt starts the critique – it’s not that geat, and it’s a no from him. He’s worried she’s a bit too far away in terms of basic techniques.

She looks like she wants to cry.

George reckons he’s got an inkling that she’s very capable. Gaz and George tell her they’re impressed, but they want more home-style. They tell her to come back tomorrow.

“Very clver, very brave. She’s got some energy. I’m interested to see how she goes tomorrow,” Gaz says.

Two more people go, and they’re told to come back tomorrow.

Kyle works in a brewery, and says he’s used to people yelling at him, so he’s able to be calm while everyone cheers him on. He loves beer and his job, but craves food. He feels at peace when he’s cooking.

His fiancé is preggers again. They’ve already got a kid, and now they’ve got twins on the way.

Kyle wants to be his own boss and follow his dreams to set a life up for his family. He needs an apron.

But also his wife might give birth while he’s away and I’m !!

He made a scallop dish, but no, there’s actually no scallops in this dish.

Gaz is interested in a scallop dish, it’s only when they actually get to the food that they realise there’s no scallops. They seem disappointed.

But it’s ok, don’t worry, Kyle isn’t a vegetarian, he’s pescatarian. He just wants to show that vegetables can stand on their own.

He’s in.

Two more people come by, both cooking an Egyptian dish, both getting in.

Next is Mandy, a stay at home mum, creating a middle east feast.

“It’s my time now,” she says.

They like it. Matt’s a bit concerned by the harsh dry spicing, but it’s a yes.

Next is Anushka from Melbourne. She’s the glasses lady I don’t like. Anushka is Armanian but I’m pretty sure she said she was born in the Soviet Union.

It’s only during her sad flashback that I realise that she actually uses her glasses as accessories. She wears a yellow shirt and wears yellow glasses, pink shirt, and pink glasses. And here she is, white shirt, white glasses.

Seventeen years ago she moved to Australia to get a better future for her kids after the war. Which war? That’s a surprise for later.

I’m actually looking forward to seeing her glasses over the course of the season, if she gets in.

She has a worry with her honeycomb. She doesn’t have time to redo it, but it’s also not quite right…

Ah, she runs her own optical business, which I guess is how she has a pair of glasses for each outfit.

The honeycomb is good, she’s not too sure about it.

My partner is freaking out, really wanting to eat it.

I’ve decided, I love Anushka, even if I can’t spell her name, probably.

The ads start, and I wanna snack on some honeycomb.

When she gets into the lair, the boys are excited to see her. Matt is quick to identify that it’s a honey cake. They ask if she takes photos of them, and she says she does.

“Do you post them?” Matt asks, before pulling up her Instagram.

Gaz and George come over to look at her Instagram. They’re all excited, and she ends up getting two photos – one with Matt, one with Gaz.

She tells them that she’s disappointed with her honeycomb, but they love it anyway.

She’s got an apron, she cries, and tells them she loves them before leaving.

The boys look over the photos with Anushka and laugh a bit at how giant Matt is. Gaz calls Matt’s pants lollypop pants and I love it!

Matt does look like a giant compared to her. He also looks a bit uncomy too…

And that’s episode one!

Storm – Poem

This is another piece I wrote during university, but I won’t be updating or re-writing it. ‘Storm’ is the first long poem I’ve ever written. Let me know what you think.


At night when the sky is screaming,

I wrap myself tightly away.

A warm burrito safe from the storm,

I imagine the stars that sparkle.

Furious clouds shield them from me.

Does someone admire the shine?

Imagine a storm on a planet so far,

it’s sun a speck among stars,

and a being like me, safe from their sky

listens to cries from black clouds.

As lightning peers through the cracks of the curtain,

I curl deeper into the comfort

and sleep in the captured warmth it provides.

The sun is a craved desire.

During the day, I’m huddled at work,

The clouds are sill for now

so umbrella ad raincoat forgotten.

As my shift ends, a bang like a gun,

The thunder signals the start

of a rapture of rain. My stomach drops.

I’m trapped in my office, no warmth for me here.

Should I accept it, or run?

I wait by the door for my moment to strike.

My car is lost in the haze.

I step outside, greeted by

the deafening downpour of pain.

My steps splash my pants and my makeup melts down..

But I get to the comforting cave.

When I get home, I am a burrito

and snuggled up in my bed,

embracing the encumbering warmth.

My soul and my bones sigh in content

as the sky screams, yet again.

The Day the Music Died – short story

This is a piece I wrote during my first year of uni. I remember receiving a mark of about 60% and feeling disappointed – I thought I had done such a good job, and my writing had improved drastically since the end of last year. Looking back, now with a degree under my belt and having completed honours, I can absolutely see how I received the mark I did.

In the future, I would like to go back and re-write most of my uni assignments to see the difference. I will start with this piece.


The day that the music was cancelled, I was working at the bar. The final message of the day was broadcasted at about seven that night. I had just finished pouring a beer and set it on the counter for a woman when I looked up and saw a face. This wouldn’t have alarmed me, had it not been on every screen in the bar. He was on the big screen, the KENO screens, and the racing screens. I stared at them with mild horror and fascination, and the woman in front of me stared up at the screen behind the bar. Everyone was silent as we watched the man talk, even though we had seen it several times prior.

The Government of your country, in association with the General Assembly of the United Nations, and with the co-operation of the United States of America, The European Union, The Republic of Russia, The Peoples Republic of China, The League of African Nations, the Association of South East Asian Nations, and the Federal Governments of Canada, Australia and New Zealand announces that, as of midnight, Friday March 6, 2015, music in all forms and expressions is henceforth illegal, and persons caught engaging in any form of musical activity or expression will be deemed seditious and dealt with accordingly. We thank you for your co-operation in this matter.’

My first thought was, ‘How will this affect business? What’ll happen if the bar closes?’

~*~

We were forced to close the bar at ten that night. Government officials came in and told us we had to close. They said they had to make some changes.

The manager, Aaron, sent me home.

“Janet,” he said, running his fingers through his hair. “Go home. I’ll look after it.”

~*~

The next night, I came to work to find Aaron standing behind the bar with a small, forced smile planted on his face. He glanced around at the patrons and looked down at his hands.

I put my bag away and signed in. As I walked over to Aaron, I cast a smile at a regular who glanced over at me.

The smile still stuck on my face, I spoke to Aaron.

“What are the changes?” I asked.

We both knew I needn’t have asked. The pokies were silent, the music wasn’t playing, and the jukebox in the corner was missing. Most of the screens were missing, save the betting screens which were on mute. The patrons sat, talking in hushed tones. He looked over at the cash register and pointed at a button under the till.

“If anyone so much as whistles or hums, we have to press that button.” His eyes swept the bar, watching the patrons, and he rubbed his chin. “They have microphones rigged up as well. If someone reports it and that we didn’t take action, they check it out.”

I heard what was happening around the world – musicians injured or killed. I knew it was happening to Australians as well. One of my friends had messaged me shortly after the announcements and told me he had decided to,“Fuck it, Janet, I’m busking tomorrow.” I haven’t heard from him since.

~*~

When I got into the car after my shift, the only noise from the radio was static. I flicked through the stations I knew and found they were all playing the same tune.

I got home and found my laptop and iPod both unresponsive. I walked into the lounge room and turned on the TV. The news was on so I watched clips of what was happening around the world. Most of it revolved around the Silence and how it was affecting people around the world. As it turns out, Apple had gone out of business. iTunes was deleted, their computers were wiped, and they had nothing left. It was also revealed that they had access to every device in the world. Every device was wiped and made unresponsive.

~*~

It had been nearly three weeks since the silence around the world. At work, less and less people were coming in. The patrons spoke in hushed voices – no-one wanted to break the silence.

There were one group of men that came in, though, with high spirits and a lot of money in their wallets. They ordered three bourbon and cokes and sat in a corner table near the pool room, where the jukebox used to be. One round turned to three, and three to six. Their laughter radiated through the bar, spreading some noise and breaking the uncomfortable silence that settled at every table. The several other patrons had started to make some noise as well.

“Nah, man. You can’t sing for shit!” one of the three laughed.

Grinning, a second stood up and came to get another round. He looked over at his friends and gave me a hesitant smile.

I made the drinks and set them on the counter. He glanced over his shoulder again and his smile started to slide off a bit.

“Wh… what happens if, ya know, they sing?” he asked as I rung him up.

I glanced over at Aaron who was counting the money in one of the tills. I looked back at the man and shrugged.

“I dunno,” I said with a sigh, “but it won’t end well.”

The man nodded, a small, forced smile on his face. “Alright.”

He turned around and began walking back to his friends who were still arguing.

“You’re so bad,” the first one said, “that they banned music.”

“Bullshit!” the accused laughed. He cleared his throat and smirked. Then, he stood and began to sing. Badly. “Carry on my wayward son! There’ll be peace when you are done!”

His friend sitting opposite jumped up, his eyes wide and his mouth dropped. “I was kidding. Shut up!”

The bar fell silent and all eyes fell on them.  The man with the tray dropped it and ran towards his friends, yelling, “No! Stop!”

I looked over at the manager and he slammed his hand against the red button under the till.

“Lay your weary head to rest!”

I looked down at the beer I was pouring and found it overflowing.

“Don’t you cry no more! Bow bah dum dah-”

His friends tackled him to the ground as he sang the instrumental and pressed their hands to his mouth.

“SHUT UP!” they yelled in unison.

The man wiggled free and stood up. He laughed and threw his arms in the air. I heard the sound of boots running up the stairs.

“It doesn’t matter! It’s just words! What’s it gonna do? What’s gonna happen? Nothin’!”

Four police officers burst into the bar and walked over to them. At first, I didn’t know how they knew it was him, but then I looked around and realised everyone was staring at the man. His friend took a few steps away from him. He looked at the newcomers with alarm and took a few hurried steps backwards.

Two of the officers grabbed the man and dragged him towards the door.

“Hey! Lemme go!” he cried, wiggling in their arms.

The other two officers watched the bar as the patrons ducked their heads and looked down at their drinks. The officers left with the man and I glanced at the guys near the pool room. They stood in silence, staring at the exit. We could still hear his screams as he was escorted away.

~*~

The two men came in again about a month later. They bought two bourbons and cokes and sat at the same table. This time, there was no laughter and fun. Other than myself, they were the only ones in the bar.

One of them came back to the bar after they finished the first round and he asked for two glasses of coke – no ice, no bourbon. I wanted to ask about the friend but I didn’t know how to without sounding insensitive.

As I swiped his member card and opened the till, the man sighed.

“We haven’t seen him since…” he trailed off, speaking as though he had read my mind.

I looked up at him and frowned. “I’m sorry to hear that. He seemed like a nice guy.”

The man nodded and pocketed the change before walking back to the table and handing over the drink.

~*~

Since the silence began, we lost most of our regulars. They could have better, more private conversations at their own home with the same beers at a cheaper price.

However, we had gotten some new regulars. They were not like the old regulars. They used to come in, sit with their mates, have a few drinks, and have a good time.

The new regulars were sexually creepy men who leered at the female bartenders and sat facing the bar. They called me sweetie, gorgeous, beautiful, and the new regular punters told me they’d jackpot one day and take me out to dinner.

They made me feel sick.

~*~

It was three months since music was banned. Since then, I’ve only changed one keg. One of the new regulars requested a beer.

I started to pour it when the line cut off. I groaned and forced an apologetic frown at the man.

“Looks like it’s out. I’ll go change the keg and it should be right in about five minutes.”

He nodded and walked away. Being the only one on the shift, I had to go down and be quick.

Kegs weren’t changed often these days. But let me tell you something about it: you knew it had to be changed when you were pouring a beer and the line just cut off.

When it cuts out mid drink, you let the customer know and tell another employee.

Then, I have to go to the basement.

While that doesn’t seem all that bad, it is. Behind the bar, behind the fridge with ‘Ready To Drink’ bottles, theres a small corridor. There’s a flight of stairs on the left. As soon as you go down, the paint cuts off and you’re stuck in a concrete corridor. A few meters from the bottom of the stairs is the first corner. Ten meters from that is another. Then, you enter the basement. Most of it is just a large room with a washer, dryer, and a few things being stored.

In the far corner on the right is a cool room filled with wine and spirits. Next to that is the fridge where all the kegs are kept, the drinks that need to be refrigerated, and the keg line. I have to go in there and do my thing.

Before music died, I would hum to myself. I hate the cold, quiet, disconnected basement and going down. I always feel that someone is going to be standing there, waiting with a weapon. In the basement, no-one can hear you scream.

I was already feeling a bit sick. There was a man waiting upstairs for me and I was in a creepy room. The cool basement added to my discomfort. I walked into the fridge, found the keg that had to be changed, and started to talk to myself.

Before the man appeared on every screen around the world, I would hum a classic song to myself, such as “What’s New, Pussycat?” by Tom Jones, to myself as I changed the keg, trying to take my mind of the creepy space.

“Just breathe, Janet. Take a deep breath in.” I paused and followed my instructions. “And breathe out.”

I continued this as a bit of a chant as I changed the keg and raced out of the room. When I got back to the bar, the man was waiting for me. I forced a smiled, poured the beer and rung him up. He grinned at me (more like ‘bared his teeth’) and his eyes raked my torso.

God, I missed the music.

Motivation – non-fiction short story

I rely heavily on accountability. Through high school and university, I had to get assignments done on time or face consequences. The short-term motivation caused me to complete what I needed to. They were easy, measurable tasks with a time constraint and an overall achievable goal.

For my personal goals, they’re more abstract. They aren’t as easy or as measureable, have no time constraints, and the overall goal isn’t something I can hold.

It’s difficult for me to keep motivated for goals that require daily action.

I don’t have a daily schedule, as my work is ever changing. I wake up with just enough time to get ready for work, I don’t have a set, nor guaranteed, lunch time, and depending on the day depends on when I finish. Sometimes, I also work in the evenings, so I’ll finish my work in the day, go home and nap, and then back at it again for a couple more hours.

When I remember about the things I want to achieve, like going to the gym, or learning a language, I’m already in bed, curled up and comfortable, about to fall asleep. Then, it turns into an, ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’. Rinse and repeat.

Although I’ve tried setting reminders and searching, ‘How to be motivated’, but no amount of motivational phrases or images of workouts to do at home without equipment ever actually encourages results.

Nonetheless, I’ll continue to try until something breaks my system.

Justice – short (tiny) story

I looked down at my knife and turned to my best friend.

“Am I a bad person?”

She frowned as she looked up at me. “Why would you think that?”

“I don’t know…” I looked back down at my knife. “It’s just… I’ve always tried to be a good person, but it’s never gone the way I’ve intended.”

“Oh, babe. No, you’re a great person! You’re fulfilling Monique’s dying wish, that’s about as good as it gets.”

“You’re a good person,” Monique’s abusive ex, the one who put her in the ICU said. “Please don’t do this!”

“It’s what she wanted…” I paused and nodded. “Alright, let’s do this.”

“No, please! Don’t!”

My best friend smiled at me. “Yes, let’s.”

Our Lost Worlds – short story

I watch as my five nieces and nephews ran around the park, brandishing toys and sticks. We’re here for my grandad’s 80th birthday, and the whole family had come together to celebrate.

I sit down next to my brother, who’s popping a cap off a new beer.

‘Do you remember when we did that?’ I ask, nodding towards the kids.

With a laugh, he says, ‘We had so much fun,’ before pausing to take a sip of beer. ‘Do you remember all those stories we used to make up?’

I nod. ‘You always made me the servant in your fictitious worlds.’

‘You weren’t always a servant. You bitched to mum, so we had to take turns.’

‘Well you can’t be the king every time,’ I tell him.

‘First of all, you demanded to go first in every board game, so it was only fair I was the king. And second of all, I’m the eldest, I choose the characters.’

I shake my head with a laugh. ‘You pass that down to the kids?’

‘Only the eldest.’ He winks.

One of the kids screeches, and we look over at them. The youngest, wearing a pink tutu, is chasing the rest of them around.

‘Don’t let it touch you!’ one of the kids yells.

I turn to my brother. ‘It always felt like the story would stay with us forever. All I remember is the fun we had.’

‘Even though you were always the servant?’

I point at him with the top of my beer bottle. ‘Ah ha! So you admit it!’

With a scoff, he smiles and shakes his head. ‘You’ve never changed.’

Chardonnay Richardson – short story

The first time I met Mr Richardson and Ms Jordan was because their (inbred) child, Chardonnay, grew wings. Personally, I thought her parents were high. I pulled the A Current Affair car up outside a small house in the housing commission suburb. The grass was brown and crunchy. It was a plain brick house, with an old car sitting in the driveway, the paint peeling. The curtains in the windows were drawn, probably to conceal the derelict horrors inside.

“Let’s go,” Steve, my co-worker, said.

I looked over at him and he raised an eyebrow.

“We don’t have a choice,” I sighed. We opened our doors, letting the stale cigarette air float into the car. I crinkled my nose. “Let’s just get in, see if we have a story, and get out.”

Steve followed me up the drive way and towards the front door. The first time I met most of my “talents” were at their homes. I was used to filth like this, and used to getting scammed with bogan dole-bludgers thinking they could get their five minutes. I hated it, but it was my only choice. I had to start somewhere on television. Sadly, that meant ACA.

“Get the door!” I heard a woman yell from somewhere inside the house.

“I’m feeding Chardonnay!” a man yelled.

I rolled my eyes and sighed.

The door flew open and a thin woman glared at me. Her hair had been dyed blonde, but more than an inch at the top was dark brown. She looked me up and down and I did the same. Her blue shirt was old and stained. She wore grey sweatpants and pink uggs.

“Hello, I’m Brent from A Current Affair. We’re here regarding Chardonnay,” I said, doing my best to not sound as if I was repulsed by her appearance.

She nodded, showing her teeth, yellowed from cigarettes. “Oh, hi! Come in! I’m Shaz, Chardy’s mum.”

She turned around and started to walk away. I walked in and looked around the dirty room. Sheets of newspaper had been placed on the ground. I felt my face scrunch up in disgust. The house smelt like human faeces and I felt as thought the smell would cling to my suit. I looked over at Steve who stared at the room with narrowed eyes and a dropped jaw. Sharon “Shaz” Jordan stood in front of the couch and motioned for us to take a seat. The couch appeared to have been Glad Wrapped.

“Tea?” she asked.

“Ah, no thank you,” I said, forcing a smile.

She looked at me and I felt compelled to sit. Across from me was two fold up chairs, also Glad Wrapped. I looked at the ground, stifling a groan of disgust. The Glad Wrap stuck to my pants, and I didn’t know what was keeping the two together.

Steve sank beside me and I looked at Sharon. “Ms Jordan, I think we might just get started, if that’s alright with you.”

“Yeah, nah, sounds good. D’you want me ta get Chardy and Baz?” she asked, taking half a step back.

I looked at Steve. “Yes, if you’d like.”

She disappeared and I was stuck on the couch. Steve coughed. “I, uh, think I’ve stepped in…”

He trailed off and I looked down at his shoes. A brown muck seeped from underneath.

“That’s not getting in my car,” I said.

“Great.” He frowned at his shoe and looked around the room. “Let’s just look at this kid and go.”

Sharon returned with her daughter in her arms and her defacto trailing behind. I unstuck myself from the chair and reached out to shake Barry’s hand. “Pleasure to meet you, Mr Richardson.”

“It’s just Barry, or Baz, mate. No need to be formal,” he laughed, taking my hand.

He sat down on one of the fold up chairs and smiled.

I looked at the child in Sharon’s arms. Chardonnay was squirming around and I smiled over at her.

“And this must be Chardonnay,” I said.

Ms Jordan beamed and nodded. “Yeah, this is Charddy.”

The baby looked healthy, her cheeks were fat and rosy. I smiled at her and she cooed back.

“May we see her wings?” I asked.

She spun her daughter around, showing us her back. Two large wings grew out, looking very attached to her. They fluttered a little and my jaw dropped. The feathers were dirty white and still growing in. Some spots, specifically around her back, were exposed, showing patches of skin. “Wow,” I whispered, leaning in to take a look. “How long has it been like this?”

The parents looked at each other and frowned.

“What? Two, three months?” Mr Richardson said.

Ms Jordan nodded. “Yeah, about that.”

“Do you know why it’s happened?” I asked, looking up at them.

They shook their heads.

“I was in the kitchen when Charddy started to cry. I thought, “The fuck does she want now?” and I walked in to see red spots on her back and I was like “Shit”. I was rubbin’ some cream on it, when I felt these bumps? And I’m thinking, “How the fuck did she hurt herself?”. A few hours later, I looked at it again and found wings. They looked like them wings you get at KFC.” Ms Jordan shook her head. “I dunno why it happened to her. But we’ve gotta look after her.”

“I think,” Mr Richardson started, “that it has to do with the Wi-Fi and all that radiation shit. You know? Them scientists reckon it causes cancer. I reckon it could make kids grow wings.”

I nodded along.

Chardonnay cooed in her mothers’ arms and we all looked down at the baby.

“Can she fly?” I asked.

Ms Jordan scoffed. “Can she fly? Why d’ya reckon we’ve put down newspaper? Not just decoration.”

Mr Richardson laughed. “Charddy’s really picked it up. But, I think the worst thing is that she ain’t toilet trained. We want her to grow up natural like, and if she becomes a bird, we want her to feel comfortable. Shit hits the fan, but.”

Steve giggled and I smiled.

“How have you accommodated this?” I asked as Steve calmed down.

Ms Jordan stood up. “Lemme show you her room.”

The couple walked in front of me, making their way down the corridor. Steve and I avoided the excrement on the ground like they were landmines. We entered the room and I frowned.

It was lined in chicken wire. It had been pinned to the walls and windows, creating an aviary appearance. Sticks had been stuck between gaps in the wire, almost like perches. My jaw dropped as I tried to take in the room before me.

“I, uh, got inspired at the zoo a few weeks ago,” Mr Richardson explained.

I looked over at him and frowned. “A… a cage?”

“See, she was rammin’ her head against the windows like them birds in shopping centres, and I thought, ‘We can’t let this happen’. And as I said, if she turns into a bird, we want her to be used to it.”

I nodded and looked around again. There were mirrors dangling from the celling, a birdbath on the ground, water and food containers hanging from the walls, and the bottom had human faeces.

I looked down at the baby who seemed to smile up at me.

“What are your plans in the future?” I asked, looking back at Ms Jordan.

She shrugged. “Do what we can with what we’ve got.” Ms Jordan looked at her partner. “We’ve got a friend who gonna install a sunroof in our car with a chainsaw. If we take trips to the coast, we want Charddy to be able to stretch her wings.”

“We can’t keep her cooped up and we can’t let her fly orf,” Mr Richardson said. “We’re not bad parents.”

Steve looked around. “This can’t be cheap.”

“I’ve written in to Take 5 and That’s Life. They give people money for tellin’ their stories. We haven’t gotten anything, but ya gotta keep tryin’.”

Mr Richardson nodded. “I wrote to Doctor Harry, so he can teach us ta clip her wings and stuff. We wanna look after her the best we can and we reckon he can help. Look, at the end of the day, we want the best for her.”

I nodded. “I can see.” I paused to appreciate how this family functions. “I think we’ll leave this for today. We’ll be back soon to shoot some footage, and whatnot.”

I shook their hands, and Steve and I manoeuvred our way out of the house.

As we climbed into the car, Steve minus one shoe, I sighed and shook my head. “Wi-Fi signals, Steve. Wi-Fi!”

“No scientist will respond with assistance.”

I scoffed. “If one responds with something even remotely sensible about this topic, I will quit my job.”

We laughed as I pulled away from the house and returned back to the studio.

Published on Wattpad.

Writing and Me

I started writing fan fiction when I was about 14 years old. I can barely read what I wrote, I just cringe too hard.

In years 11 and 12, I did a writing course over the two years. At the end of the first year, my writing was still pretty terrible, but at the beginning of the second year, there was a huge improvement. My writing has continued to improve onwards from there.

My honours thesis has to be the best thing I’ve written so far. It is a clear difference from what I wrote at the beginning of my undergrad, which is also a significant improvement from my first fan fictions.