The Drama Boat by Nicolette Wong

None of us can fight the combustion―not my boss, a soft-spoken man with cunning defenses; not my colleagues who could bring the house down after too much alcohol and a bit of pole dance; not the old lady cleaner who comes in everyday to break her back clearing someone else’s trash; not me, who has problem co-existing with more than a few people at a time and is always on the run.

Jack clenches the bottle of gasoline in his hand. I remember his Australian accent.

‘Calm down, mate,’ I say, ‘you want to go home and row down Albert Park Lake.’

‘We aren’t making a movie here,’ he says, pointing to the camera gear around our office. ‘You guys should have let me.’

The last syllable of Jack’s last word forms a magic ring in the air and for a moment our eyes are burst. When we look again, Jack is drinking up the liquid in a perfect frenzy that no amount of rehearsal or drama studies―which Jack claims to have wasted his early adult life on―could have produced. We can almost hear the lung smash and stomach stove inside him. Jack with no air to dream of lakes anymore.

Then he bends over, rolls off the chair and falls onto the floor.

‘What did you do?’ someone turns to my boss.

‘I told him he’d have to pay if he wanted to be on board, and it’s a lot to pay,’ he says.


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Filed under Nicolette Wong

10 responses to “The Drama Boat by Nicolette Wong

  1. Len

    i read this a few times. really nice, nicollete. it takes turns in all the places a reader would least expect, which is a good thing. some nice language too– “stomach stove.” well done.

  2. Extreme and yet real, playing on today’s economy and the change in society.

  3. I liked the lung smash and stomach stove references too. Cool!

  4. Sounds like a great group of folks to work with. Super prose throughout. Peace…

  5. Kim Hutchinson

    Tragic and powerful. Great story.

  6. great writing, wonderful title for a story too.

  7. Nicolette Wong


    • Nicolette Wong

      one of my co-workers read this story on my computer and left the above message, ha. he doesn’t do or even watch pole dance – he just drinks a lot.

      thanks everyone for their kind comments.

  8. A strong story, a comment on today’s cut throat economics! Only Jack did it his way. Sad, funny, perplexing.

  9. Pingback: Week #33 – Spontaneous combustion | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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