Shit wife of the year award

Life in Lockdown

“Seriously Pete,” I say, staring down the webcam. “I can’t handle another day of this. Patty is doing my head in!”

“What, team Terry and Patty in trouble? Pete scoffs. “Hard to believe, mate.”

“I agree, normally. But mate, she’s being very hard,” Holding up a lumpy looking sandwich, I ask, “What the fuck is this? Vegan or something.”

“It’s healthy, mate. Lots of people doing Vegan these days.” Pete tries to console me.

“She thinks I’m fat! Last night, I was poking around in the fridge looking for something exotic to eat, and she starts into me.”

‘You’ve had enough,’ she says. ‘You’ve eaten your dinner, my leftovers, all the bread rolls and licked both plates. You’re at the fridge And, you’re getting pudgy.’

“You said that’s just posture.”

‘Well, that doesn’t help.’ She grinned, continuing. ‘You eat too fast, and your brain doesn’t know you’re full. Stop looking in the fridge!’

My cheeks are red, and I’m breathing hard as Pete begins to laugh.

“She’s a shit wife!” I shout.

The door opens and Patty comes in with coffee.

“Hello darling. Thought you could do with one. Is that Pete? Hi, Pete! How are you?” She waves wildly at the laptop. “Don’t mind the PJs.”

“You’re a vision, boss.” Pete laughs. “You know, Terry is not happy.”

“Oh, gossiping, again?” Patty asks, calmly. She turns to me. “Is this a work meeting? Or a drinks night with your boyfriend, moaning about his tiny thing, like a dizzy blonde.”

Then she gets stuck into Pete.

“Have you called Dave?” Pete’s smile slips. “It is a priority. Clients come first. Remember your budget …”

And on and on she goes. Her voice seems to fade, as my ears begin to bleed.

Then, I deep hawk into my throat and Patty literally growls!

“That’s disgusting! Blow into a tissue.You’re always doing that. Even in the shower.”

I’m mortified and feel even worse when I see Pete smirking and shooting hand pistols.

“Blowing does nothing. Anyway, it’s okay in the shower.”

“It’s still disgusting.” She’s smirking too.

“You’re a shit wife, Patty. You could win Shit Wife of the Year. I should post that on Facebook!”

“You should!” Patty cries. “I’d love it.”

“Really?” Why was I surprised? “You’re twisted, you know?”

Patty hugs and kisses me, and I notice Pete chuckling.

“We’re a great team,” she says, leaving the room. “What would you do without me?”

She might be a shit wife, I think. But she’s my shit wife.

As I turn back to Pete, he says “You have been in a premium paddock, bro!”

Swearing under my breath, I try getting back to business.

 “About tomorrow’s meeting.”

This short story was written for Australian Writers’ Centre Furious Fiction competition for August 2020. Word length, 500 words or less. Each month, certain criteria are set and for this month the criteria was:

  • Your story must contain HUMOUR/COMEDY
  • Your story must include the following five words: DIZZY, EXOTIC, LUMPY, TINY, TWISTED.
  • Your story must include a sandwich

You can read the winning entry and long-listed stories here.

Re-Creation Story

This very tongue in cheek story came out of me asking my friends for some ‘What if’ prompts. My friend Bobbie suggested ‘What if … the beginning’. My first effort was along the evolutionary lines. Then for my cousin Kevin, I wrote a cheeky version of Creation. Apologies for any offense caused. 

God is stoked. He feels very jolly.

But he is also knackered.

Fair to say, He has had a very tough week, having undertaken the heaviest workload in like, forever!

He’s looking around, checking things out and feeling good!

“Everybody will love it!” He exclaims. “I mean, one day everybody will love it. When there is an everybody. Well,” God concedes. “I guess I am ALL. And so, I am everybody and I love it!”

God takes a moment to review his work. Ticking off achievements on his mental list. Boy is he proud of the something out of nothing he’d been pulling off all week!

  • Planet out of the void. Great illumination. Check.
  • Liveable, with an atmosphere, water of life, and so forth. Check.
  • Trees and plants, grasses, the Garden – beautiful! Check and check.

God thought the planet seemed a little lonely, just hanging there in a void and so, He came up with some very cool ideas:

  • The Sun and Moon; because when He became busy elsewhere, the planet needed the ability to phase out of light and dark, day and night, and evolve with growth cycles. Ah, very scientific thinking, thought God.
  • Adding the other planets was a point of interest! God hadn’t really thought ahead too much about purpose. But by gosh, that sky sure looked pretty.

Then God thought LIFE! And brought forward creatures (big and small, and slithery!). Sea creatures, and birds. He’d had a marvellous time letting his imagination rip!

Amid all this activity, God found the need to create words to describe all he had created. God became history’s first Lexicographer. Even before there were Lexicons and even before there were beings to care about words.

“One day,” God thinks “there will be people to use language. I’ll need to drop some clues around, at various points in the planet’s future.”

“People,” thinks God. “Animals, birds, trees, sky, stars, oceans, water! Ooh, such words. Man, oh man!”

Then God creates Adam. Ah, Adam. Man, in His own image. Well, as God imagines Himself, if He took form.

“I could take form. I shall take form. Sometime when this planet has evolved along its natural path, I might just pop in from time to time. See how they’re all going,” God tells himself, as he watches Adam and his woman playing in the Garden.

His final trick, creating the woman Eve out of Adam’s rib. Ouch, that must have hurt.

“I guess I created pain then too,” thinks God. “Downright nasty of me, that one. Why did I do that? Oh well. Don’t want to give them false hope of everything being too rosy. A being needs challenges.”

“Look at me!” God cries to the great unknown. “I could just lounge around in my heavenly abode, tossing grapes, creating angelic beings to play soothing music on golden harps. But no! I’m out there, challenging myself!”

And God looks around, smiling. And feels good. Tired but good.

Then boredom hits and He wanders off to find other entertainments. He’d need to remember to come back and see how Adam and Eve fared; in a millennium or two.

Might be some smiting to do.

Friday Fictioneers – Cancelled

Photo prompt @ Jeff Arnold

Somewhere over that rainbow, a better life awaits.

Something to look forward to. Something to hope for.

In my country (a lucky country) we’ve moved through several heartaches


Widespread bush fires

Months of unbreathable, smoke-filled air



We were looking for the light at the end of a tunnel, the gold at the end of the rainbow

And we got Corona Virus. Isolation. Quarantine. Lock down.

Families separated. Dying abandoned. Easter, and weddings, and funerals cancelled.

As time stands still. Lives put on hold. These boats are waiting.

All heading out to sea, is what I see!

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here.

Cowboy Blues – Devolution

I dislike visiting the library in St Augustine Street. Rundown and grubby, the pungent air announces mouldy age; furniture is beige and unloved; the nameless staff appear tired and broken.

As a repository of excellence and knowledge, it is not what I expect in a modern world.

Need alone forced me, twice weekly, through the door. Armed with coffee and dreams, game face on, I’d sit in a smelly booth, staring at my untouched notebook.

This mausoleum of misery was still a refuge from the cowboy boyfriend, and his nasty put downs.

When I met Toby at our theatre group, he was a brilliant light in a fog of disillusionment. The group, once a haven of joy in a bleak world, lost first our enthusiastic director, then several inspiring actors; leading to a gloomy and disheartened ensemble. Toby was my reason for staying.

I was slow to realise that Toby was bad news. Praise turned to taunts, encouragement to disparagement. Toby was toxic and I was in trouble.

I’d joined the group not as an actor, but aspiring writer. The creative process between the writer and director was exhilarating; the pleasure of hearing your words spoken by such talented people, shared with an appreciative audience, was uplifting.

Toby was a star from the start. My male characters began to emulate Toby and fit him like a glove. Which came first; Toby the person or Toby the protagonist? Was art imitating life? I was no longer sure. Then life began to blight the page and I turned away from the star.

My friends knew first, as usually seems the case. I fought what was obvious. Clichéd, and so blind. It took the closing down of our group, now left alone with Toby, to illuminate the danger I was in.

Writing had been both solace and enchantment; it now became a weapon. Cutting words and phrases; bloody intention and madness. Words to defend, to deflect; to destroy.

Each evening I return home to see what new damage has been inflicted on the once glorious love. Fresh wounds; old scars; a man subdued and diminishing.

In the dingy cubicle, I clench my pen, bend to the page and scratch out my revenge.


If you didn’t know already you’re about to hear that I’ve made it to an audition for Hot Seat. In Melbourne, this coming Tuesday 11th April.

In case you don’t watch TV quiz shows – Hot Seat has evolved from ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire’ and is still hosted by Eddie McGuire.

So clearly, this audition is on my mind and I had a crazy dream last night.

The main crux of this dream is that I sat down (at a long meeting table) with the other wanna-be contestants and we were presented with our written test. AND I COULDN’T DO IT!

There were random and wild reasons why I couldn’t do it …. and here goes the story 🙂

An assistant to the show gathered us up and lead us to this meeting room, and then put a sheet of questions (the exam) in front of each of us, and left the room.

I look down at the first page – and can’t see anything on it! It was blank – a grey page, not white – and empty. I look around at the others and they’re all heads down and working away. I make a disgruntled noise, like ‘I don’t get it!” 🙂

Funnily enough in this dream, even though it is an exam situation, they all engage with me. And they’re going ‘what’s wrong?’.

“There’s nothing on any of my pages!” I say, and I then look over at the pages of the people closest to me, and their pages are also blank – but these guys are answering questions. The assistant comes in and asks what’s going on. And I show her my page!

“There are questions on there, Trish” she says.

“No there aren’t,” I’m becoming quite cranky and flustered by now. “Um, maybe you could turn the lights on,” I say.

“The lights? It’s bright enough in here,” says the assistant, huffily.

“Well, I have terrible eyesight, so maybe that’s it,” I answer and one of the contestants gets up and finds the lights. Voila! I can see. Thank God!

And then, WTF. The questions don’t make ANY SENSE. First of all this should be a multiple choice exam, like the show format. What I see are columns of letters and blanks and on a further page, numbers and blanks, and further along still there are random questions – but no multiple choice.

I stare (blindly) at the letters and blanks – it’s like on Pointless, where they offer a category, say ‘Famous Musician Eric’s’ and then give letters and blanks and you have to work out the names of their bands, or songs or their surnames – yeah? But these are letters and blanks – with no context.

I tell you, I’m pulling my hair out now – and there’s a lot of hair to pull out! I’m freaking out and EFFing and carrying on – and I grab up my exam and dash out of that meeting room. As an aside, by now we aren’t the only ones at the table. There are people gathered at the other end – famous people like Mark ‘The Beast’ and Anne Hegerty ‘The Governess’ from The Chase, and they’re all talking loudly and laughing and causing a HUGE distraction.

I rush out and find another room close by, with a large table, and I plonk down on it with my exam. Directly in front of where I’m sitting, there are curtains or sheets or something dumped there, like they’ve come in from the clothesline. And within seconds, OMG, I’ve got my paperwork tangled up in them. For fuck sake! I’m standing there shaking out these EFFing sheets and the assistant comes up “What are you doing, Trish?”.

“I’ve got my EFFing exam lost in these EFFing sheets,” I’m yelling, tears pouring down
my face and I’m almost bald by now. And then, a most amazingly transcendent thing happens …

David Duchovny appears at my side! Ahhh, he is the host of my Millionaire Hot Seat dream and he now asks ‘What is wrong here?” And after that first lustful, breath of air, I revert back to the screaming harridan and begin to get stuck into Mr Duchovny about the absurdity of this audition exam.

“It doesn’t even make any sense!” I cry out, waving the papers (now recovered) about. “What the fuck are all these As and Bs about – random letters with no context. What have they got to do with your show format? It’s a lot of bulldust and I’m over it. Leaving now!”

David speaks to me calmly in his lovely Duchovny voice (Ahhhh) and I’m momentarily distracted by that …. but then I turn around and leave. I find myself outside with a long bridge to cross and I begin running across it. I’m running, running and David is chasing me with long, loping, sexy action movie type running – and I stop suddenly. Shit! I drove the other contestants here. We car pooled. (I know it doesn’t make sense. It’s a dream! I don’t know any of the other contestants!) 😀

I can’t run out on them; that’s not fair. So I turn around and start to walk back, head down, fists clenched and breathing hard. And David starts talking to me as we walk back. He begins by telling me I’m lazy, I’m giving up, what a loser! Ha! My inner demons haunting me in my dreams.

Then somehow it comes up between us that perhaps if someone read out the questions, because clearly my problem is that I have bad eyesight :). If the questions are read out, then I’ll be able to complete the test! You beauty! For a few seconds … and then it hits me, I still have to deal with all those EFFing letters and blanks, which don’t make any sense at all.

The dream ended. Sorry folks. Clearly, I have entered panic mode! I thought I was only worried about my appearance and how I could sound interesting when speaking into a camera for a minute (part of the audition, if I make it past the test). But no, no, no – arrgh.

Well, bring on Tuesday is about all I can say. Fingers crossed – I could use $1M, or $250,000, $100,000 – I’d settle for $10,000. 🙂

Ciao, Trish

[Postnote: I made it through Audition, camera test and to the shortlist – but then I never heard back again! Was my personality too boring 🙂 That wouldn’t be a surprise. I’m not articulate in person. They said “don’t call us, we’ll call you”. And so I continue to wait. But won’t hold my breath too long!

Australia Day 2017: A Dreaming

So, Australia Day 2017 presents with an expected peak maximum temperature of 35 °C. Typical. What’s new? Perhaps, an increased awareness of the heartache and anger of our Indigenous population and a willingness to engage in the conversation. Perhaps.

I don’t often participate in Australia Day celebrations – not due to any sensitivity I hold for our Indigenous Australians, hurt and damaged over the tragic history they’ve experienced since the arrival of the British Empire; no. It is more to do with my own laziness and it is always hot and I don’t enjoy the heat. Also, my idea of a ‘lucky’ day off is to ‘be’ and not ‘do’, ‘retreat from’ and not ’embrace’ people and to ‘disappear’ between the pages of a good book.

On this day, however, I choose to at least attend the Citizenship Ceremony; a dry event (I know from personal experience) but a chance to welcome, in solidarity, our newest ‘Australians’.

Our town celebrations are being held in a local park only a short walk from my home and despite the promised horrible peak temperature, I decide to walk instead of drive. I leave home dressed in a light long-sleeved ‘cheesecloth’ shirt, hat and sunnies and carrying a shady umbrella. ALL bare patches of skin have been lathered in both Factor 30 sunscreen and Mozzie Repellant. I smell chemically divine.

I arrive at a bustling park, with too many cars and too many people. The local brass band plays, competing with the sound of hundreds of chatting people, many screaming and laughing children and the background noise of food truck motors – as there are a number of vendors selling such things as egg and bacon burgers, lamb and gravy rolls, cold drinks and barista-style coffee.

In those first few moments, I stand apart glancing around and I notice a group of Indigenous Australians gathered in the part-shade/part-sun of a small stand of trees.

They are a mix of the old and young, well dressed and scruffy, quiet and rowdy; some sit, but most stand – holding up posters and waving the Aboriginal flag of black, yellow and red. Colours representing the ‘Aboriginal people of Australia, the Sun and the red earth, the red ochre used in ceremonies and Aboriginal peoples’ spiritual relation to the land’. (taken from Wikipedia)

They talk among themselves, occasionally someone shouts out – it is difficult to make out what they are saying – but their signs and posters say it all.

“Invasion Day 2017” “Forgotten people” “We were here first” “Justice Day” and “Change the Date” to name a few.

Nobody in this group of people is smiling.

For 10 minutes I stand hidden behind my shady tree, attention switching from this group of unhappy Australians – not a standard Australian flag among them – to the noisy and laughing crowd.

Sporting crazy hats, t-shirts and thongs; waving little hand-held Australian flags, holding their cold drinks in stubby holders with “We Australia” “Proud to be an Aussie” and “100% Aussie”. With their t-shirts covered in slogans such as “My ancestors were First Fleet” or “Proud to come from Convicts” and invariably their clobber and accessories either in the well-recognised Aussie Green and  Gold colours or (more likely) emblazoned with the insignia of British Imperialism. The Australian flag with stars representing our Southern Cross, and the British’s ‘Union Jack’.

These people are having a great day!

This white conservative, middle-aged and ‘naturalised’ Australian woman (born in Ireland) strolls to the nearest drink vendor, joins the queue and then asks “How much for a bottle of water?”

“$2,” answers the vendor.

“I’ll take 20 bottles, thanks!”

“Sorry, how many?” asks the startled teenager.

“20 bottles of water, please,” I repeat.

“Okay, that’s $40. Thank you,” she says as I hand her two $20 notes. She then starts handing down to me, the cold bottles.

I haven’t thought this through clearly, I think. I don’t have a bag and I’m suddenly juggling 20 icy cold bottles and my umbrella. People nearby help to load me up and I smile gratefully.

A mass of black and buzzing flies have taken just this moment to harass me – targeting my face and head. Or were they already there, but now that my hands aren’t free to perform the laconic ( or is that ‘iconic’) ‘Aussie Salute’ and swat them away, they seem to have proliferated?

Sort of stagger-walking, I head toward that group of Aboriginals – one eye on the ground looking to avoid trip hazards and the other nervously eyeing off the people standing at the front of the group. I realise now, that they have begun to ‘eye off’ this crazy white woman, who seems to be zigzagging her way toward them.

I stop and say “Hello. Water?” and try to make eye contact with anybody, over the stack of bottled water.

Only those at the very front have heard me and they look at each other, shrugging their shoulders. Nobody makes eye contact with me. I’m wondering if that’s a cultural thing, when suddenly four or five kids streak forward and grab some bottles, running off with large ‘white’ grins on their faces and laughing loudly.

“Cheeky buggers,” I murmur.

“What the fuck do you want?” yells an aggressive-looking man, perhaps about 30 years old. He moves closer to my personal space, his whole body radiating anger.

A couple of the nicely dressed young women of about his age, glare at him in rebuke. One puts a hand on his arm.

“Easy, Jimmy,” she whispers. Then she steps forward, nods and smiles at me and takes a couple of bottles and starts passing them back into her group.

As the load in my arms quickly reduces, I see that the group appears to be relaxing. There are more smiles and occasionally someone will raise their water bottle towards me, before taking a sip.

“Thank you,” says the same girl who stepped in to calm Jimmy.

“You’re very welcome,” I say, smiling around at the group. “I’m new in this town. I’m from WA and we have Yamatji and Noongar around where I’m from. I’m sorry, I’m not educated in Indigenous culture; but, I do know that Ernie Dingo is Yamatji, from the Murchison mob,” I exclaim.

I’m sure I hear someone in the group mumbling something about that ‘white fella, Dingo.” So, I guess there’s discrimination and racism within the tribes too.

“I worked with a group of Aboriginals when I was a girl, at a convention. They were Nana …. Naana …,” I stumbled over the name, my memory letting me down.

“Ngaanyatjarra?” the girl asked, frowning and elbowing her friend, who was listening closely.

“That’s it, yeah,” I laughed. “Not a tribe, I think, but representing some of the tribes in Western Australia. I think.” Smiling at them, I then ask “What’s the name of your tribe, in this area?

“Wiradjuri,” a few of them call out together. I laugh again. Clearly, I have more of an audience now.

We stand together, looking around us and sipping cool water in a companionable silence.

Then I say, “It must be hard for you today, to be here and watching these people enjoy themselves; celebrating a history that denies you place and (for you) begins a time of genocide of your people. A lot of hurt.”

“Yes,” said the girl. Many nod their heads at this. “And we stand excluded even more today, because we also want to remind them of that displacement and damage and at this particular time, they don’t want to remember.”

I drain the last of my water and ask the girl, “What’s your name?”

“Bethany,” she answers.

“I’m Trish, Bethany. Nice to meet you,” and I hold my hands out to her. “Tell me,” I ask as we shake hands, enthusiastically. “In Wiradjuri, how do you say ‘friend’?”

Bethany looks surprised, but answers “Mudyi.”

“Mudyi,” I repeat.

“And, ‘welcome’?” I ask.

“Gawaaymbanha,” she responds, grinning.

“And I wonder, how do the Wiradjuri people say “peace”.”

Bethany’s expression sobers suddenly, as she replies “Gwandalan.”

I nod and say “Gwandalan, Bethany,” as I walk away from her people and towards the space set up for the Citizenship Ceremony.

*** *** ***

Note: This is a work of fiction. If I was a braver person, this could be a conversation I would have, but for now it only happens in my ‘scenario-planning’ imagination.

I use words from the Wiradjuri language hesitantly. I ‘google’ researched (again) and these were the closest descriptions for the words friend, welcome and peace that I could find. Hopefully, no offence caused. And if anyone does know the correct words, I’m happy to be told.

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Murder & Mayhem – Australian Writers’ Centre

The Australian Writers’ Centre is having a Murder & Mayhem month and are running a Crime and Thriller short story competition.

It is a small competition – prize is a bundle of books – but it is all practice! 🙂

The guidelines are:

  • Word count of 149 or fewer
  • Include the words birthday, softly and umbrella
  • Feature your character having committed a crime

But it doesn’t have to be a dark or scary theme – or seriously nasty crime – could be jaywalking!

So following are the two stories I’ve entered! Enjoy 😀


It was Chloe’s birthday and a sunny winter’s day had darkened as the world was blacked out by a wall of rain.

Grabbing her favourite dome umbrella – the clear one with blue nightingales and a metal handle – Chloe stepped softly around the bleeding body splayed awkwardly, at the bottom of the stairs.

Bending slightly toward the body, she reached out tentatively as though to awaken him, but pulled back. What should she do?  He couldn’t be dead. She could check for his pulse. Call for help.

Chewing her lip and twisting a strand of hair, Chloe stood poised to leave. She was a good person, but the surrounding floor was very wet and that could mean she was already in serious trouble – no sense planting DNA evidence.

Chloe was responsible for the “wet floor” signs; and with the excitement of the day had forgotten to put them out!


“What do we know?” asked the lead Detective.

The Senior Constable consulted his notes.

“Deceased male is Owen Scale, well-known in the building although he hasn’t been seen around for a while. His girlfriend Katrina Byrne lives here in 21 and he had a key.

She’s distraught and currently sitting with her neighbour and a constable, next door.

She hasn’t seen Clive for a month or so; didn’t know where he’d been and he apparently surprised her by walking too softly into the kitchen. She reacted with a butcher’s knife to the chest!”

“As you do,” replied the detective. “Guess she doesn’t like surprises in general, then” he stated, grinning.

They turned to the body lying in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor of Apartment 21 – and the parcel wrapped in birthday paper and impaled with a bright pink umbrella!

Hope you enjoyed them – Trish 😀