Category Archives: Alex Lockwood

Those Dutch Girls by Alex Lockwood

Worms. No, beetles. What am I talking about—spiders! When you helped Simon dismantle his garden shed, those great black horrors holding to the rotten wood. Or those white striped disc-like jumpers, flat as communion wafers, and fast, my god, in that guesthouse in Zambia. Worse than the attempted break in, I remember you said, worse than the stories from the other charity workers about the rapes and HIV. Kept you from sleeping, those spindly fuckers. Or that time the foot-long stick insect got up inside the back of your t-shirt, and you just thought it was an itch?

Ok, now I’m thinking. Wait. Of course. It’s not bugs, but the water. Sharks. Jellyfish, purple gelatinous globes hanging in the sliver of warmth where the sun just reaches down. But you navigate your way around those. Those, you can see. It’s sharks, isn’t it. From out of the black. The invisible deeps, sure, but even the shallows, you’ve seen the nature documentaries. Four feet is all a shark needs. Remember that time in the sea off Bundaberg, wading out? How about those Dutch girls from the zucchini-picking—now, they were liberal—their nipples cold and hard and all you could focus on was the water past the boats, looking for a fin. Even though other times you’d take your boogie board out at sunset and felt no fear. Its coming and going, catching like a breath. Is that what you dread?

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Thiopental by Alex Lockwood

Memories are recalled in long lines. ‘When I think back to that night,’
for example, or when the prosecution lawyers introduce a ‘timeline of
events’. Then we’re really talking about a longitudinal study, isn’t that
so? A chronological profile as much as one that’s psychological. The whole
picture shot through with irreducible lines, as Aristotle might have said
of arrows, with just a little irony. But what’s just? Justice rests on
lineage: where were you during that time? Where was your mind? What
position did you hold to in the night? Did you cross a line? Did you even
know it was there?

It’s not only memories, of course. It riddles the future. A ‘line of
enquiry’ follows a set path, unless you get crossed lines. And the present.
Take part in a line up if you want to feel ‘in the now’. Forget that
Buddhist mindfulness crap. They’re trying it on the Green Line this tour, I
heard. Some federal funding budget got disinvested for that.

We’re made up of long lines. Arteries, veins, capillaries. And things
smaller than that I imagine, in my chest, a network of artilleries,
intricate, outrunning the sodium thiopental, the pancuronium bromide, the
potassium chloride—now that’s a mouthful, that’s a last supper. A last
thought. How long are my artilleries? How magical those blooded
ever-afters? No time. Here it goes. Line after line. Sounds like lying when
you say it quickly enough. Long enough. Just the length of a sentence.

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Carboys and Engines by Alex Lockwood

John clambered half-out the window, then Andy leant out the other side. Matt sat in the front, laughing, pulling on a beer. Their super plan was to shake hands over the car’s roof. I never thought of stopping until the police sirens.

“Step out of the car,” said the female officer.

She led me to their vehicle. I felt the emptiness and the sulphur of lamplight. It wasn’t quite morning. Spray from the road a scattered muddy arc. John and Andy slinked into the back seat, laughing. John put his head out the window, resting his elbows on the door.

“Did you think that was safe?” the female officer asked. She had green eyes. I looked down at her hands. She was holding a straw attached to a plastic bag, like a blood transfusion sac on a hook.

“No, officer.”

“She’s giving him a blow job,” John shouted. “I want a blowie.”

She looked back at John’s face, red from the beer and wind. “Good friends,” she said. She handed me the straw and sac. “Blow, please.”

I exhaled. The diode turned green.

“Is that good?” I asked.

“You’ve not been drinking?”

For once, no.

“You want to keep them under control,” she said. She looked at her colleague, and with a quiet signal they got back in their patrol and drove away.

I got back in the car. I turned round to the boys and smiled and without looking drove headfirst into the oncoming truck.

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