MasterChef Aus S11 Sandeep – Rant

I was saving this for tomorrow, included in a larger post, however given the circumstances of yesterday’s elimination challenge, I feel it’s important to talk about this as fast as possible.

As this is opinion based, I welcome comments and discussion as long as they are respectful and have substance to back it up.


Back issues

Sandeep had to sit out of the picnic challenge because he had a back injury and was unable to compete. This meant he was automatically in the elimination.

At the beginning of the elimination challenge, Sandeep had to make the choice of cooking or using his only immunity pin to sit out. He decided to use his pin so as not to risk anymore injury.
It’s then revealed he has injured his lower back and has an issue with a disc.
We didn’t see Sandeep for the rest of the episode.

When I wrote the recap, I didn’t know how much of my own information to include. I didn’t want to derail the recap and focus heavily on this.

My partner had an accident recently and has a herniated disc in her lower back. For several weeks after the injury, she was in crippling pain. She couldn’t drive, she was on heavy pain relief, was seeing a physiotherapist twice a week, and her doctor weekly. The only relief she had was when a heat pack was on her back and she was drugged up.
She was unable to be comfortable sitting, standing, or laying for extended periods of time. For a long time, she was continuously cycling through these just to stay comfortable.
There was many times where she would cry at night from how much pain she’s in.
Even now, several months on, she’s still in pain and taking medication, and can’t work like before the accident.

Knowing this, it’s completely unfair that Sandeep was forced to sacrifice his pin for an injury. Back injuries especially need to be taken care of, lest it gets worse. Considering he wasn’t even able to stand with the other contestants and watch the elimination challenge, it’s absurd that he was forced to use his pin to avoid the challenge.

Immunity Pin

Context

It wasn’t until Sandeep’s montage that I remembered he won his pin in the Secrets Week immunity challenge, episode 22. He achieving a perfect score of 30/30, beating the guest chef, who scored 24.

The judges even said that this was possibly the best dish they’ve had over the 11 seasons.

Using it with Maggie Beer

Michaela Morgan, a 10 daily reporter, wrote, “He had to make the difficult decision of using his hard-earnt immunity pin for a challenge that he would have blitzed — Maggie Beer’s herb garden challenge.” (10play.com, 20/7/19)

This wasn’t even something I had initially thought about, but upon reflection, she’s absolutely right. Even if Sandeep hadn’t wow’ed the trio of judges and Maggie Beer in the first round, the herb cook, he would have nailed it in the second cook, the spice.

In previous seasons, if someone was sick, they were automatically in the elimination. That’s absolutely fair enough, but should it also apply to new injuries?

If Sandeep had been sick and couldn’t cook on the day of the team challenge, that would be one thing, because he could hypothetically be better by the elimination, or take some medication and keep going. He could use his pin and easily justify it, knowing that next time he’ll be back to his A game.

But with a back injury, and from Michaela’s article, it’s clear that this isn’t a quick fix, and he won’t just be ok for the next cook. This is something that could plague him for the rest of his life.

While the details of the injury haven’t been discussed, it was eluded to that he had the injury at the MasterChef house, and wasn’t a preexisting injury.

Michaela also wrote about Sandeep regularly attending physio, and the MasterChef crew looking after him, making sure he was taking the appropriate medication, etc.

But what if Sandeep didn’t have the immunity pin?
Would he have been able to sit it out this time?
Would the rules of this cook have been twisted to accommodate him and look after his injury?
Or would they have been happy to let him risk further damage to his back?

Regardless of whether or not it was fair to force him to use his pin on this elimination, the above questions need to be considered.

Sweet Week elimination

During this episode, Sandeep said he doesn’t cook desserts.

“Desserts and I are best friends when someone else cooks and I eat,” Sandeep said.

I have no doubt that if Sandeep was allowed to keep his immunity pin in the Maggie Beer elimination, he would have played it here, knowing desserts aren’t a strong suit, and he’d still be in the contest. While it would have been sad to see Tati go, as she was the other contestant veering on the edge of elimination, I wouldn’t be angry about her leaving.


That’s my rant for today. While I’m aiming to get a general rant up tomorrow, I’m also working, so it may have to be saved for next week.

You can read all the recaps of this season here, or catch up on episodes here.

There can only be one – Drabble

I never know what to do with myself on a non-MasterChef night, but today I decided to write a very short story.


She stood at the end of the bed, glaring down at the sleeping woman, Katrina. Slinking around, she held a knife tightly in her hands.

Katrina began to stir, before slowly opening her eyes. She looked right at the other woman.

“Morning. How’d you sleep?” Katrina asked.

“There’s something you should know,” the woman said. Before Katrina could speculate, she continued. “My name isn’t Nora. It’s Katrina as well.”

Katrina sat up. “Ha, same name. I’ve always wanted to bang someone with the same name as me.”

Ignoring her, other Katrina said, “There can only be one.”

She pulled the knife from behind her back.

Untitled – Short Story

Written as a dream sequence. Let me know if there are any phrases that stand out to you, and generally what you think. I want to expand this into something a bit bigger, although I don’t have an overarching plan for it yet.


I was walking down a path in a forest, streams of light pooling between the foliage. Somewhere forward was a waterfall, the rushing water reverberating through the trees.

Birds perched high above me, singing, calling, and replying to each other. They flew between the trees, not making a noise as they landed on branches. And there was something roaming through the underbrush. Something small. There was a movement on my left, passing between a tree and a boulder. I looked over and saw a brush of red against the large rock.

The path ahead twisted out of sight, around trees and curving away to the right. I knew this path, it would return to the left and travel down to the waterfall, where the crystalline water broke against itself and poured around the rocks, splashing against the bank, and travelling further down, to places not seen before by humans.

The rock with the red stood, beckoning me to venture forth, promising something of interest.

So, with a glance over my shoulder at the deserted path, I stepped into the plants.

Walking up to the boulder was no easy feat. Something squelched under my shoe, but the foliage covered it up. I felt something jump onto my back and my breath hitched. I reached back to grab it, but my hand made contact with nothingness, despite the feeling of legs scuttling about. Both hands went forth, grabbing, swatting, groping, but there was nothing there.

The legs continued.

I walked forward, finally reaching the rock. Lifting my fingers up, I swiped at the red and came back with a warm, wet, copper hand. It stunk of metal and I walked around the rock, looking for some more blood. It slowly sank away from the boulder and dragged along the plants lining the earth. I followed it.

As I walked, the waterfall seemed to get further away. The loud crashing that I was expecting soon fell into a distant memory of sapphire.

The red became thicker and seemed to settle in my nose. And suddenly, it stopped. The trail ended with thick, goopey gore nestled under a tree. It smelt fresh, not decomposing yet, although some flies seemed to have found it before me.

The Death of the Author – short story

This is a very short piece. The inspiration came to me while I was driving today. It’s an idea that I plan on investigating in length later. Based on the idea that once a book/story is written, the intent of the author is irrelevant because it’s in the hands of the reader to interpret. I could write an essay about this, but I’ll spare you.

Anyway, just putting the idea out. This would likely be the first draft of the final part of a larger story. Let me know if you like the idea and if you would read a longer version of this.


Today had just been exhausting. This had to be the second maths test Laura had failed in the last three weeks. It was also the first time she’d had two maths test in three weeks.

Maths was the last straw – the last piece of evidence she needed. All Laura had to do was find a way to persuade her author to make things more desirable.

She closed her eyes, turned off any source of sound, and tried to zone out.


The author heard a noise behind them and turned around.

A sixteen year old girl stood in the middle of the lounge room, looking a bit confused.

“What the hell are you doing here?” the author asked, standing up.

The girl stopped and looked at the author. Her eyes narrowed.

“You’re the author.”

“And you’re Laura,” the author said. “But you’re not supposed to be here.”

“You have to change my story.”

“I don’t have to do anything.”

Laura looked around the apartment. It was a small one bedroom, mostly white surfaces, minimalist. The fanciest thing here was the authors laptop, the thing controlling her life.

“At least change my maths score,” Laura said.

The author sighed and crossed their arms. “I don’t think you understand. Sometimes I write things because it was part of the plan. Sometimes, the characters are just idiots and don’t study hard enough.”

“I studied.”

“Not hard enough, evidently.”

Laura picked up a pair of scissors sitting on a bench. “What happens to me?”

“I don’t know yet. You’re the master of your own fate.”

Scoffing, Laura opened the scissors. “No, you’re the master of my fate.”

“I think it’s time for you to leave.”

The author turned around to start writing again, but before they could finish their sent


When I opened my sapphire eyes, I was lying on the ground. I never go on the ground, because it’s dirty, so this was really weird. Anyway, I stood up and brushed the dust from my short blonde hair. My red dress with white spots was a bit crinkled, but I smoothed it down and walked to a mirror.

The Bar – short story

This is another piece I wrote at uni. I’m planning on rewriting and expanding this piece. MasterChef is back tomorrow night, and with it, a recap.


I parked my car and walked into the bar. My favourite bartender was there, a friendly smile on her face as I approached.

She had blonde hair, pulled up in a bun. She wore a contagious smile, the black work uniform, and blue nail polish. I looked at her name tag that sat prominently on her shirt.

Beth.

“Hi, what can I get you?”

I wanted to say ‘my usual’, but I knew she wouldn’t know.

“Vodka and coke, thanks,” I said with a wink.

Beth grabbed a glass and put some ice in it.

“Where are you from?” she asked.

I paused. “Just this small town, you wouldn’t know it.” I waved a hand around, shaking it off.

“Oh?”

“Yeah, it’s in the middle of nowhere.”

She turned around as she nodded and grabbed the vodka from the shelf behind her. I watched her in the mirror as she bit her lip and grasped the bottle. Beth turned around and looked at the glass.

As she poured the vodka, she asked, “What brings you here?”

“Staying here for a while. I’m planning on moving here for my girlfriend.” I smiled again and she smiled before turning around to put the bottle back. She turned back.

“That’s nice.”

I nodded and watched as she poured the coke.

Beth put it on the counter, and told me how much my drink was. I handed over the money and bit my bottom lip.

“I’ve never really left Sydney,” she told me and I nodded.

“Yeah. Born and raised,” I said.

She seemed to take this as a question and nodded. “Yep. I’ll probably die here,” she said before her eyes widened. “Oh, sorry! That sounds so morbid.”

“No, it’s fine. I love morbid.”

I took my drink and sat at a table, watching the bar as she served a few more people and talked to the other patrons.

I watched for a few more minutes as a couple of men came up, flirted with her, and got their drink. I frowned as they did so, and her willingness to let them.

I downed my drink and came up to the bar as she poured a beer for the man next to me.

Beth frowned and sighed.

“Mike, I’m sorry to say this, but the keg has just run out.” She looked up at him and gave a small smile. “I’m gonna change it, and I’ll bring you the beer when I’m done.”

The man beside me nodded and she smiled before walking away from the bar.

I cleared my throat and leaned on the counter, my arms resting on the fluffy bar mats.

“I saw you flirting with her,” I said, nodding in the direction she had left.

Mike shrugged. “And?”

I looked him up and down. He had messy brown hair and narrowed brown eyes. His shirt was creased, as though he had worn it all day, and his jeans had dirt on them. I looked at his boots and scrunched my nose. They were unpolished and scuffed.

I made eye contact with him and he raised an eyebrow.

“Beth’s my girlfriend,” I told him.

He scoffed. “Yeah, sure.”

“I’m serious. I know nearly everything about her. Ask me anything.” He shook his head and rolled his eyes, taking a step away from the bar. “Seriously.”

“Alright,” he said, crossing his arms. “What are her parent’s names?”

I shook my head and sighed. “Easy. Tina and Markus.”

He turned around and returned to his table, shaking his head as he left.

I looked back at the bar, and admired my face in the mirror behind it. Beth still hadn’t returned and I was getting a little nervous. I hoped she was alright.

I smiled in relief as she returned, her face calm. Beth looked up at me and gave me a smile before grabbing a glass and pouring the beer.

“I’ll be with you in a sec,” she said.

I nodded and said, “No rush.”

Joey – short story

This is another piece that I wrote for uni. I’m not sure if I would re-write this, but I do have a few ideas to make this a bigger piece. Let me know what you think.


We followed Joey behind the sports shed and towards the oval.

“Are you sure there’s a good spot here?” Samantha asked.

Joey looked over her shoulder and rolled her eyes. “Of course I’m sure.”

She continued to march on, and I took a muesli bar out of my lunch box.

“Don’t eat!” Joey looked over at me. “We’re almost there.”

We arrived at a large tree, the branches stooping low and providing a lot of shade.

“Is this it?” Samantha asked.

“Is this it?! This is the best spot to have lunch! It’s close to the classroom for the end of lunch, but it’s also away from the boys, so it’s not noisy,” she told us, before sitting down against the trunk.

I sat down beside her and took out my muesli bar. “It is a pretty good spot.”

Samantha rolled her eyes and sat down as well.

Joanne “Joey” Miller was my best friend in year three. The last night I saw Joey, she was pulling on her faded green socks. They were a bit smelly, but she always wore them to bed.

“Ew!” Samantha shrieked, pointing at the monstrous socks. “What are those?!”

“They’re my socks. I have to wear them,” Joey told us.

“No, you don’t!” Samantha exclaimed as she scrunched up her nose.

“Yes, I do!” Joey slithered into her sleeping bag. “My dad gave them to me to keep the monsters away,” she muttered.

Samantha pinched her nose and battered at the air in front of her. “They stink!”

My mum came in and told us it was time to sleep, and she turned off the lights.

The next morning, Joey was cramming her sleeping bag away when her mum’s, Rosie and Christy, came to pick her up.

My mum talked to them both in hushed tones.

“I thought we talked about the socks, Joanne,” Joey’s mum Christy said.

Joey’s mama Rosie picked up her backpack. “We’ll talk about it at home. Come on, it’s time to go.”

Christy turned back to my mum. “Thanks for having her. And I’m sorry about that.”

“It’s no problem,” my mum said. “I just thought I’d let you know.”

Joey tucked her sleeping bag under her arm. “Bye, guys! See ya on Monday!”

But when Monday came, Joey wasn’t at school. Samantha and I thought it was weird. She liked to be at school early, so we decided she must have been sick.

Mum was waiting for me outside the classroom at the end of the day. She peered into the emptying room and looked down at me.

“Did Joey come to school today?” she asked me.

“No.”

“Have you seen or heard from her since Saturday?”

“I don’t think so. Why?”

Mum paused for a second, and she bowed down to me and looked me in the eye. “Jemima, I’ve got some bad news. Joey’s mums think that she’s run away.”

That night, as I was finishing my homework in the lounge room, dad watched the news. A lady started to cry and I looked up. It was Joey’s mums, Christy and Rosie. Cutting across them was a yellow banner on the screen that said, ‘Breaking news: ten-year-old girl missing’.

“We just want to find her,” Christy said.

Rosie held a photograph in her shaking hands. “We last saw her in these pyjamas.”

Christy looked at the photo. “She wasn’t wearing the green socks, though.”

Joey was wearing blue pyjamas with pink spots, and bright neon green socks. She stood like a starfish, her arms and legs spread wide, and she had a large smile on her face.

I frowned at the screen. She always wore the green socks. It didn’t make sense to me that she would be in her pyjamas without her socks.

A police officer started to talk, and I returned to my homework.

A few days later, mum took me to Joey’s house after school. She brought along a casserole. We sat in the lounge room with Christy. Joey’s grandparents were here, and Rosie was talking to them. A couple of my friends were here as well, with their parents. Most of them had brought along containers that looked like our casserole dish.

When I came back from the bathroom, I saw Rosie and she smiled at me.

“How are you, Jemima?”

I shrugged. “Alright, I guess.”

She nodded and I gave her a small smile.

“I bet you miss her,” she said and I nodded.

After a pause, I asked, “Why wasn’t she wearing her green socks?”

Her eyes widened at the question. “Oh. Well, er, they weren’t in very good condition, so we decided to throw them away. And she’s a big girl; she doesn’t need to wear socks to bed. There aren’t any monsters to keep away.”

I frowned back at her. “But she always wears them. She says she has to.”

Rosie’s eyes started to well with tears. “Really?”

I nodded. “Is that why she ran away? Because she didn’t have her socks?”

“Uh, I don’t know.” She paused and forced a smile. “Why don’t you try some of the sponge cake?”

She pointed at the table with food on it before leaving me. I saw her go to Christy, and put a hand on her arm. They seemed to whisper to each other, and I think Christy started to cry.

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.”