Again, the Healing Tickle (the Way Black Glitters): A Mash-Up

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while. This is a short story I did for the Remix My Lit project. It’s a mash-up of ‘Renovator’s Heaven’ by Cate Kennedy, ‘Alchymical Romance’ by Lee Battersby, ‘The New Cage’ by Stefan Laszczuk, and ‘Beowulf in Brisbane’ by Philip Neilsen. Enjoy!

The man has Don Henley hair, reflected in the tram window. A skinny bit-piece, a diet mainly composed of fragments, the way you blink and miss things. Meals get around him this way. He gets off and leaves his stench. I’m left wondering whether to eye the hot piece or not. She seems to be avoiding my eye. Heaven’s below.

It’s my last lecture. Ever. By choice. My ambitions have fluttered to the ground, like scratched-off dandruff flakes. I can no longer believe in Heathcliffe as avenging entrepreneur in shiny boots. My boots are cracked like polar caps. They will always shun the shine. It isn’t their style.

I decide not to daydream past my stop like I have three times before, because I’m old. But every time I lock on a building, another face murmurs, in memory or shaped by fingertips and tongues. Another woman in front of me. And between all the people, the absences, and sharks at their backs, making them hunch or dive into their fantasy novel.

I stand up in time with ghosts and step out. The tram’s electric crackle lights up the cloudy sky. It’s the dead bus, which glides on black tracks, and sucks vehemently at contentedness. 

The headache of time for reflection.

The last lecture, and I’ll see her – rainbow assortment of animal bones. Wish again to take her to a shanty far from shanty town, scrape an orange plastic chair along the sand and sit her on it, no need to kick against those breezy walls. Nature would be wild and alien, and our feathery existence would be among the noblest.

I notice, as she pulls out her folder, the misshapen arms. They aren’t of the anxiety of influence. Oh Virginia, she says to her friend in the way Leonard does. She says that metafiction is a well worn path, but it is still magic. The lumpen silhouette of an author narrates us. I hear the construction behind me – a whirr and click of clockwork. Her pinkness is ghosting before my eyelids. Shit the dream. 

If only she could see the swinging mirror before her. But my teeth are black around the edges from cigarettes, and she is distracted by the pretty bells everywhere. It is my last chance. Her orgasm would be compressed honey. Mine would be the cock of an old man. Bloodshot eyes and dried-blood ear. Never knew what I was doing here in the first place. They ignore me, look away at my click of the throat.

But the ache for her ornate cornices, the ability of tongue-and-groove that comes with time. Dovetailing to her secrets, the way she wants the boys to. They are merely an assemblage of confused rods and pistons.

Big explosion. Lost bits. Stroll around the garden and the wind gusting across the roof. The adrenalin wasn’t useful. Perhaps I was too forceful. Another broad on the tram back has her hair without her peachiness, she’d leave a coppery aftertaste. The moon suddenly weighs nothing. Black tracks. I escape into the night, deserted and glittering. At least I tried, said a small knowing smile. Desire drips like liquid from my face. There is a bar around the corner, with no one I know. Midnight Cowboy on the TV in the corner, a bull’s head hung, contrasted by mirror ball.

Feeling guilty. Love? No. A bombsite of the sky. Bisexual people stacked and upended inside. My own sensibilities rotten. The music percussive but my limbs sagging. The TV stand with a web of wires perched upon it like a crown. Cataloguing the sip that keeps me going, on a bar stool, a pedestal. Countless assorted seconds I have left. Not bereft of essence but needing to pour liquid into gaps. The puncture would only last a day or two, then scab over like the others, the process tickling. A new supple will come along, maybe not so young this time, perhaps made of bronze.

Looking around the room – simulacrum. Fat old men in untucked shirts. Many would laugh at my going back to uni. They’d be renovating houses, fishing for trout, watching pert bicycle buttocks but not trying. Many would have wives, once white slenderbeams, now wrinkled but accepting. Old mate raises his schooner to me when he catches my daydream. I raise one back.

 Creative Commons License

Again, the Healing Tickle (the Way Black Glitters): A Mash-Up by Angela Meyer is licensed under a CC Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Australia licence. It is a derivative work of Cate Kennedy’s CC Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Australia licensed story,  Philip Neilsen’s CC Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Australia licensed story, Stefan Laszczuk’s CC Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Australia licensed story, and Lee Battersby’s CC Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Australia licensed story. For details on how you can reuse the original and this remix see

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