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The Great Australian Novel - Chapter 3: ‘Twas Brillig and the mome raths outgrabe

by Malcolm B Duncan

Chapter 3 – ‘Twas Brillig and the mome raths outgrabe

It was becoming increasingly difficult to get away from breakfast. Since SWMBO had gone on long service leave to visit her cousin in Florence and I had made the terrible mistake of inviting Him to stay and then been conned into Him inviting Her to stay and since She was clearly heterosexual, He wasn’t and the cat wasn’t in a position to be interested, I had been sleeping on the lounge.

Well, what do you do in a two bedroom unit with a Nobel laureate and a crazed actress and a diabetic cat?

By this stage the sun was out on a brilliant day and they had all moved to the balcony.

I, on the other hand, found myself spending a lot of time making toast. My agent tells me we prefer Woolworths Fresh Multigrain [downmarket I know but Woolies have just opened up the road and apparently there’s a quid in it]. I missed SWMBO of course but, there you go: better to miss her than travel overseas. The cousin is quite cute though, I thought, as I caught a faint reflection of myself in the balcony door and realized that I had broken out again in that smile I had first developed when I started smoking Sobranies [distributed here, my agent tells me, by a company chaired by Nick Greiner, the genius who gave us the Cross-city Tunnel – and by Christ we’re cross]. Blue has always been my favourite colour.

As the Sunbeam kettle finished boiling and the Kambrook toaster popped one more time, I heard Him yelling, “Have you read this?”

I could hear the Herald rattling in his hands.

“Oh, that turd,” She said. “What about him?”

Suddenly the cat became active.

“Fucking merchant wanker,” He said.

“Well, he is our local member,” She said.

The cat was becoming decidedly agitated.

I wondered idly whether any of it had to do with canaries and determined to check the electoral roll to see whether She had registered Herself at my address.

“Smug bastard wants to be in Cabinet. Thinks there’s a war on. I’ll tell him about war. Been in one,” I heard Him say.

“I met him once,” She said, “Just before my cat died.”

The cat threw up, narrowly missing her foot, rolled onto its back and did a good imitation of Michael Crawford in Phantom of the Opera.

I brought the toast out onto the balcony. “Butter?” I asked. We use King Island butter of course.

“What the fuck do you think this is?” He said. “Last Tango in Paris?”

She blushed. Well, it wouldn’t have been the first time on King Island would it?

I took the view that discretion was better than valour. “Twinings for three?” I asked.

Would this bloody breakfast never end? Then again, what ends are there? Howard’s End [available in all good bookshops, published by Penguin]? Will there be a Malcolm’s End and when might it be and for which one of us? Just doesn’t sound like cricket [copyright by Disney] to me.

Bloody cat rolled over and went back to sleep.

“Why does that fucking cat snore?” He asked.

I quietly went back to fill the kettle. Don’t have a water sponsor yet. Bloody agent’s on 15%.

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