Friday, December 3, 2010

F3 - from Friday 3rd December 2010

Highway Robbery
by Matt Potter

by Sally Royalton Manning,
Swampville Sentinel Social Affairs Reporter

“We’re really against big government,” says Francine Bellweather McGrew–McGraw, sitting in her home office on leafy Elm Street, in one of Swampville’s quieter northern neighbourhoods. “So we felt kind of vindicated when we got their letter.”
Mrs McGrew–McGraw, a pretty forty-nine year old blonde who realized only last week she forgot to have children – “I looked out into the back yard and saw my biological clock rusting under the sycamore tree,” she explains – is facing a tough decision: leave the neighbourhood she and husband Bud (51) have called home for the past twenty years, or move to a strange district where the neighbours won’t share their history, may call them names, and will probably eat them.
“The government is building an east-west interstate highway right through my office here at home,” she says, sitting before a wall decorated with dozens of home creative writing certificates, and choking as she speaks.
But no amount of certificates for good grammar and grate speling can stop the wheels of progress now. A black line painted through the middle of the room marks where a gaping hole will soon appear.
“The interstate’s going to split this room in half, and they’ve given us a month to decide what we’ll do.”
Mrs McGrew–McGraw, who models airplanes in her spare time and is one of Swampville’s busiest amateur homemakers, is keen on keeping the southern half of their ranch home and selling the northern half after the enforced split.
“We were thinking of maybe selling it to a time-share resort concern, now that commuting from downtown will be cut down to thirty minutes once the interstate is built.”
But Mrs McGrew–McGraw says she and husband Bud are not certain about staying in the neighbourhood now, despite the worrying news of rising cannibal attacks against newcomers in nearby areas.
“We’d move out of Swampville, but all our friends and family are here,” she says. (Mrs McGrew–McGraw is the middle daughter of Lloyd C. Bellweather Jr., two-time Mayor of Swampville, and the late Belle “Ringading” Rambeau Bellweather, five-time homecoming queen.)
“But we also don’t like the idea of living across the highway from a string of sushi bars either,” Mrs McGrew–McGraw says, popping more popcorn into the microwave for local chipmunks. “We’re a little worried what the smell of chicken grease will do to property prices.”
But to raise awareness of their plight in the hope that others may see the warning signs earlier than she and her husband did, Mrs McGrew–McGraw, who has proudly never paid taxes except once when under the influence of an evil accountant, has announced that she and her Marketing Manager husband will hold a garage sale.
“Well, I say garage sale,” she says, sorting through boxes in readiness for the big day this Saturday, husband Bud too sick in the hospital with bronchitis, galloping pneumonia and a phlegmy tongue to help. “But Bud, poor guy, stuck on Ward C and feeling miserable with three tubes coming out of his ass, says yard sale. Though I’m organising it so it’s a garage sale, even though most of it will be in the yard.”
Mrs McGrew–McGraw promises earlybirds can pick up many bargains.
“I’m selling some great openings to stories,” says the shy activist and part-time author, who also plans to sell cookies, cupcakes and political placards to help fund their move into state politics and turn the tide on big government.
“I’ve never been that great with middles and endings, but I’m a real wiz with story openings.”
As a measure of the quality of Mrs McGrew–McGraw’s story writing talents, ten story openings are listed below. These along with other story openings, home-baked cookies, cupcakes, placards, buttons and other delights, will be available at the garage sale, which starts at 7.30am this Saturday, at 2800 Elm Street.

Francine McGrew–McGraw’s story openings.
All offers over $10.00 will be considered.

• By the time I’ve made myself an eight course Chinese banquet, I really can’t be bothered making someone else the same …
• Polyester is a great leveller …
He was a pie-eyed albino horse with a stutter and he answered to the name ‘Future Glue’ …
She was on the fast track to celibacy …
I knew her face but not her hair, at least not the right way up …
She wanted another liver reading …
My nose was a mess of pimples and that’s not a good way to enter any country, including Liechtenstein …
“It’s not often I’m nice,” I said. “So just accept it, you cunt.” …
The Swampville Sentinel believes this last story opening may offend some readers, so Mrs McGrew–McGraw is happy to offer it at a twenty percent discount, if you or your publisher, agent or editor don’t care for four letter words.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

> Language > Place - for Wednesday 15th December 2010

Dyeing for it
by Matt Potter

I do not know how many t-shirts I own, because I own so many. Some are in boxes in my mother’s garage in Adelaide, some are in boxes in a storage facility (also in Adelaide), and still others – some on high and some on low rotation – hang in a wardrobe in what is referred to as the spare room, the back room, Matt’s room and Map’s room, again in Adelaide. (My partner’s grandchildren – my step-grandchildren, two and three years old – call me Map.)
This room is in my partner’s home.
One reason I have so many t-shirts is that, having lived through seven summers in a row – southern summer, northern summer, southern, northern, southern, northern, and now southern again – I’ve had constant need of a few t-shirts.
Many of them are Bonds t-shirts, 100% cotton – Bonds is a household name in Australia – and actually made to wear as underclothes but bought by me, and some others, to be worn out, and were originally white. And all of them, the white ones, have been dyed other colours – orange, red, yellow, blue, purple, pink, green, even brown – in different shades and designs, most plain but some quite intricate.
They take the dye perfectly.
I’ve been dyeing for years. It’s a shortcut to creativity and it’s almost instant – truly, you just add water! – and on a day that’s dry and windy enough, the t-shirt is dyed, washed, and on the street in just a few hours. (Once, years ago, I almost blew up my parents’ new verandah following my dyeing muse, but that, leider, is another story.)
In Australia I favour Dylon dyes – an hour in hot, hot tap water, stirred a lot with added salt – and in Germany I favour Simplicol dyes, some of which I even ordered over the internet, auf Deutsch, which was risky. (What happens if I misunderstood the German and ordered a truckload of dye? I also first did this Deutsch internet-ordering while in Australia, so that they would arrive soon after I re-arrived in Berlin … again.)
These Simplicol dyes I’ve used in the frontloading washing machine, water as hot as possible, with lots of salt, and a bleach chaser. (The chaser is for the washing machine, not for the t-shirt or even for me.)
What I love most about these German dye-jobs is (1) there is a large range of colours to choose from, especially on the internet, and (2) I never look like anyone else in Germany when I wear them because they’re Bonds t-shirts, posted or shipped from Australia. So I can swan about Berlin feeling unique and gorgeous – few, few people in Germany wear anything more than dull, dull colours – and when back in Australia, I can swan around telling people I’m wearing t-shirts dyed using German dyes – deutsche Farben – on an Australian canvas (which is not just the t-shirt, but also me).
Some of these t-shirts are true trans-global warriors, having crossed between Australia and Germany and Australia and Germany a few times now.
I love them all, international trendsetters, beacons of colour – and I hope some style – especially on days when I, and perhaps others, need a colour boost.
I am often complimented on these t-shirts, in both countries, because some of them really are show-stoppers, blocks of rioting colour, tight and slutty.
And whichever country I’m in – Germany or Australia – they connect me to the one where I’m not.
And I love the idea that multiculturalism – or is it duoculturalism? – is alive and well and on my back.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

F3 - for Friday 12th November 2010

by Matt Potter

My eyes popped, I was so surprised at seeing him there.

“You’re in the same year at school with Jeremy, aren’t you, Braydon?” Mrs Brown said, crouched on the floor.
“Yeah,” said Braydon, broad shoulders hunched, wanting to be anywhere but inside the spare room his mother used as her Designs by Janelle workroom. He put the scissors back against their painted outline on the wall.
Kneeling while my grandmother stood on a stool, Mrs Brown continued pinning the hem, talking through a mouth full of pins. “Would you turn a little to the right please, Vi?”
Gran shuffled to the right.
“Why don’t you tag along with Braydon, Jeremy?” Mrs Brown said. “You don’t want to hang around us with our women’s talk.”
Okay, I’m not the coolest at school. I’m kind of the class queer: all my friends are girls; I like opera; I can answer all the questions about male and female ejaculation – without stammering – in sex ed. classes.
And Braydon? In boardshorts, tall and tanned and naked from the waist up, not only weren’t we in the same league, we weren’t even in the same century.
“Shame you didn’t bring your bathers, Jeremy,” Mrs Brown said. “It’s the perfect day for a swim.”
Braydon looked out the window at the back yard, like his mother had asked him to eat shit or give birth to a watermelon.
“That’s okay, Mrs Brown,” I said. “I’m alright here.”
“Don’t be silly,” she said. “Bray was just about to go for a swim. You can swim in your jocks.” She smiled through the pins. “It’ll be the most Braydon will be doing all day, seeing he’s grounded and desperate to go to Nathan’s party on the weekend.”
She grinned, piercing the hem with a final pin.
Braydon said nothing.
I looked at Braydon, wondering which – and whose – cue to follow.
He indicated the door – you coming or what?
“Go on,” Gran nodded.
So I followed him out of the room. The door clicked behind me. We walked down the cool, darkened hallway. I watched his swagger, and his triangular shape – broad shoulders, tapered waist – and how he scuffed his bare feet, summered and tough, on the wooden floor.
He opened the back door. My eyes squinted with the light. He held the door open, but not enough, so just in time it banged in my face as I stepped outside.
“Thanks,” I said.
“You’re welcome.”
I followed him to the pool gate and he reached over the rail to unlock it. Then he turned. His eyes were bright blue.
“You wanna beer?” he said
“Sure,” I said. I hate beer. “What kind do you have?”
He opened the gate and this time I caught it in time. He walked over to an old fridge near a shed and pulling two cans out, handed me one as I sat down on the swinging settee.
His was beer.
And mine – so icy in my hand I dropped it – was cola. Holding it between my legs, my shorts insulation, I pulled the ring pull. The can sighed, and cola slurped out as Braydon sat on the other end of the settee and the settee bounced.
I sipped the cola. And he guzzled the beer, half the can, throwing his head back, Adam’s apple ricocheting up and down with each long gulp.
He burped – for both our benefits – and said, “Are you really gay?”
I looked at my cola can. “Why do you want to know?”
Braydon stood up and burped again. Then stretching his arms and yawning, his boardshorts worked loose over his hips and the white nylon drawstring of his speedos underneath poked out, gracing the hair stretching towards his navel.
Then he sucked his stomach in. The boardshorts slipped to the ground and he stepped out of them. His speedos – pale orange and perfect against his tanned skin – were curvy and tight at the back, looser and pouchy at the front.
I grew hard against the cola can.
He walked over to the shed. “Come on.”
I followed his speedos.
“Close the door.”
I did. And tried not to look at his face or his speedos. But the speedos glowed in the dark.
He loosened the drawstring and his penis sprang out. It had a hot funky, rubbing-inside-his-speedos smell – sweaty and close. I couldn’t take my eyes off the slug growing before me. He smiled, stroking it like it was a family pet.
I stood, watching, barely breathing.
He grabbed the back of my head and forced me to my knees. Leaning forward, mouth open, I rolled my tongue around the knob, like I’d seen on internet porn. He pushed deep into my mouth.
I pulled away.
“Quick, suck it,” he said, parting my lips again, forcing my mouth open. Three long thrusts and he groaned, legs shuddering, the sparse hair on his balls tickling my chin. And my mouth filled with a taste bitter and phlegmy and warm.
I gagged, but he gripped my head until the flow stopped. I had to swallow.
Pulling out, he wiped the leftovers on my cheek.
“Nice,” he said. Or maybe he said, “Nice?”
I didn’t know what to say. It was fun – but compared to what?
“Thanks,” he said. “Almost as good as a girl.”
And you’ve had how many? I wanted to ask.
“They taught me that at church,” I said instead, wiping my mouth.
“That’s fuckin’ sick,” he said, like I thought he would.
He pushed his penis back inside his speedos. And grabbing my hair, he added, “Tell anyone about this and I’ll fuckin’ kill you.”
I looked up at him, still on my knees.
“We can do it again. Mum never comes out here.” He let out a smile. “Want another drink?”
“Okay,” I said, standing up, remembering how things always go so much better with cola.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Flash Friday Fiction - for Friday 29th October 2010

The colour! The power! The vision!
by Matt Potter
Every Halloween they drag it out: my humble Carpathian mountain beginnings, my early years sweating on the laboratory floor in Transylvania, my emergence as a Hollywood icon in the 1930’s.
If you meet me at a party, in the fruit and vegetable section at the supermarket or on a blind date, don’t bring it up. All those horror clichés are just that: my life is a different story now.
What’s far more interesting is my fourth career in fashion. (My third was as a fixture on the washed-up memory lane dinner lecture circuit – also another story.)
Moving to Brisbane, Australia was a terrifying, risky move. But after visiting in the mid 1980’s and experiencing Brisbane’s warm, sunny climate and easy manner – a heady mix of southern California glamour and Transylvanian joie de vivre – I knew it was the place to put down permanent roots and pursue one of my two cherished dreams.
I moved into a backyard shed behind a clapboard house on Brunswick Street in inner-city New Farm, and waited for it to become fashionable around me. The shed was steel-framed, with sheet metal walls I carefully lined with a soft calico terracotta and burnt umber floral print, bought for a song at a fire sale.
Lining the shed was a bitch, fastening strips of wood to the steel frame, tacking the fabric to the wood, coating the head of each tack with coral nail varnish.
I filled the shed with secondhand office furniture, a cutting table and designing easel – all painted undercoat pink (I was an early exponent of that look) – and photos of friends from former lives: the Wolfman; Drac; the Mummy; my ungrateful Son; even my gold-digging, coat-tailer ex-wife.
And then it was finished. No air conditioning and unheated, not much bigger than a kennel and a shadow of my true dream, but it was real and it was mine and it had my undeniable stamp on it – my very first atelier.
Hanging my shingle on Brunswick Street – Frank Einsteinz von Monster, Designer a la Mode, down the driveway and turn left – was one of the proudest moments of my life.
Twenty years on and my name and image are fixtures on the Australian fashion scene. But it hasn’t always been easy. My naturally shrinking violet personality took a beating on the runways, in the boutiques, and especially in the Brisbane fashion press. Who is this man with the strange Carpathian mountain accent? journalists asked. What sort of fashion statement is khaki-coloured skin and bolts through the neck? Why does he hold all his shows in electric power stations?
Through it all I kept my head above water – easier when you are eight foot tall – quietly plugging away with two collections a year: the summer collection, shown in August, which is winter in Brisbane, and the not-so-summer collection in February, when ironically it’s hottest in Australia.
So what are my fashion influences? This amuses me as I sit at my larger-than-ever designing easel in my newest atelier on Merthyr Road, my original premises a distant charred memory (after a mysterious candlefire) just around the corner on Brunswick Street.
I have so many influences – I am constantly shocked by how many – from animals seen through the window of a local pet shop (the source of my 2005 summer collection, Living in the Lappin of Luxury), to the stock market crash of October 1997 (the source of my Naked and Homeless collection for not-so-summer 1998).
But individual designers? There is really only one.
Valentino Garavani.
Ah, Valentino! The colour! The power! The vision! His simple but dramatic designs outclass all rivals. His fashion empire spans continents and generations. His way with red is legendary.
So imagine my excitement when I heard a Valentino Retrospective was coming to the Queensland Art Gallery’s Gallery of Modern Art! Right here in Brisbane. And now I would be seeing his work extremely up close and exquisitely personal!
Fashion friends begged me to see the exhibition with them. “Frank, you know more about Valentino than any highly-trained gallery guide would know,” they said. “You must go with me / us / the group / the college / our entire town.”
But worshipping at the altar of Valentino was something I had to do alone.
But what to wear? Basic black has always worked well for me. I know my figure flaws – boxy shoulders, loping arms, thick neck, knock knees (which no one ever sees, but still, they haunt me) – so a simple single-breasted jacket, tailored trousers, crew neck tee and uncomplicated boots are slimmingly best.
And isn’t it better to present yourself simply, as the person you really are?
The air was moist as I drove into the city and parked beneath the Queensland Performing Arts Centre. Walking to the Art Gallery, my boots echoing amongst the endless concrete of the car park with each step, there were the usual stares and parents hurriedly telling their children not to point – the perils of celebrity – and soon I was inside.
The new Gallery of Modern Art is an impressive building, glass and gleaming metal, large exhibition spaces with movable walls and a breathtaking sense of the possible. Hallowed ground, I paid the admission fee – I would have paid triple, quadruple, quintuple! – and gave my ticket to the attendant outside the exhibition entrance.
The Valentino Retrospective? How shall I describe it? It was butter and cream and caviar and designer stubble, red and pink and black and white, taffeta and chiffon and silk voile and ruffles and layering and beading. It was a vision from the visionary of visionaries, a dream to last a lifetime and a nightmare to last forever.
Oooing and ahhing, I breathed in the scent of workmanship and detail and yes, oh yes, the mighty green-eyed goddess of envy rose in my throat like bile, for how could I – or anyone – possibly compete?
I wanted to sink against a gallery wall and just gaze, for most of all, more than anything, my brain and my body and all my senses were limp, with exhaustion.
So what were the dresses like individually? Don’t ask me, see it for yourself! Or go online and buy the catalogue.
But for me, buying the catalogue could never be enough. I don’t know what possessed me – a force of nature coursing through me like lightning, a current so strong all thoughts of propriety were mercilessly quashed – but I had to have a piece of Valentino. Not had to. MUST.
I looked around the exhibition hall. I was alone amongst the mannequins. But then I saw movement against the doorway: a large, shiny black-booted bruiser security guard, crew-cutted and beamy and ruthlessly moustached, the kind of lesbian who gives both hope and despair to the perpetrators of women’s haute couture.
Was she looking my way?
I sauntered around the floor. Gusts of cool air blew through the gallery, ruffling the fabric, but the security guard – her name badge said ‘Barb’ – stood stock still, her crewcut ramrod straight. She looked at me out of the corner of her eye as I passed.
“Lovely day,” I said.
She grunted.
People say there’s a lot of pressure on women to look good all the time, but clearly some are resisting.
I smiled, and executing a perfect 180 degree catwalk turn, disappeared amongst the mannequins again.
Crouching behind a 1960’s mid-orange evening gown with bell sleeves and African-style detailing at the neck, I snuck a look to make sure Barb couldn’t see, then surveyed the choice before me. Which would work best with my basic black ensemble? And which would work best with the décor in my atelier? My plan was to dip the garment in wax, firstly to preserve it so it could be framed and mounted on the wall, and secondly to make it impossible for my emasculating also-ran shrewish ex-wife to steal it and wear it herself.
I saw what would work. I tiptoed – not so easy in boots – to a late 1960’s, floor-length white chiffon evening gown with huge, huge, huge black dots. Sure it was probably size 10, or 8, or something, but of all the dresses, it looked big enough. With lightning speed, I slipped it over the head of the mannequin. It ruffled so softly in my hands I had to catch it before it fell to the floor. Thank goodness it wasn’t crackly taffeta or lead-lined linen – in the chapel-like interior, any noise would have resonated against all four walls.
The chiffon fell over my flattened crown without a murmur, the folds of the bodice and skirt cascading across my shoulders and over my arms. And then panic! The cowl neckline caught on my neck bolts! My instinct was to wrench it down, but the prospect of ripping that divine fabric? Popping my head above the now-naked mannequin, I saw Barb’s broad back turned my way, and breathed out.
I struggled out of the dress. Unbuttoning my jacket as I hunkered down, I turned the chiffon arms inside the dress and then folded it in three. Placing the dress across my chest so it looked like a shirt, I smoothed it out and then buttoned my jacket over it, tucking the edges under my lapels. There was no mirror but I did my best to make it appear perfectly normal for a tall man to be wearing a bulky shirt of white chiffon with a large black spot lurching up from the crotch, under his simple black jacket.
And I walked past Barb and out through the entrance to the exhibition.
It was that easy.
Around the corner but still in the building, I gathered my thoughts, felt beads of sweat break out on my forehead, and breathed out again. And was suddenly gripped by a desperate need to urinate.
I found the toilet, rushed inside, closed the door behind me and sat down. One of my quirks is that I always sit down, no matter what I’m doing. Being so tall, my knees touched my chin.
I was reaching around for the toilet paper, white chiffon still inside my jacket pressed between my legs and chest, when a ham-fisted knock thundered on the door.
“Open up! I know you’ve got a frock in there!”
Two shiny black boots appeared under the door.
I had to think quickly. It was either her, or me and the dress.
And while some people might think it was conforming or reverting to type, please consider the circumstances.
I stood up, pulled my trousers up, tucked the dress inside my jacket, turned around, gripped the toilet bowl with my arms, and like I’d seen in the climax of my favourite Ginger Rogers’ movie Forever Female, ripped the toilet from the floor, charged out of the cubicle and with a massive groan hurled it through a window. It smashed on the ground two storeys below, a ceramic splintering heard as far as Bees Knees City Realty three blocks away on Cordelia Street.
Barb screamed and ran out of the room. She might have been a scary diesel dyke, but I had an entire history of horror at my disposal and in a pickle, I wasn’t afraid to use it. And it was amazing how freeing it felt – almost a weight off my shoulders  – getting back to my roots after more than seventy years.
Miraculously I made it back to my atelier with the dress, but it’s hot, wanted in all six states, two territories and overseas as well. So I’m laying low until the Valentino Retrospective leaves town. My designing career is probably over.
But with every slammed door a new one opens. For my fifth career I’m going to become a porn star. Because inside every eight-foot man with khaki-coloured skin, a flat head and bolts through his neck, is an Inches coverboy screaming to get out.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

> Language > Place - for Monday 15th November 2010

Jacqueline Bisset and Me
by Matt Potter
Years ago I read an article on the English actress Jacqueline Bisset – you know, English-born, speaks fluent French, works in America and France and oh, lots of places, was once voted the most beautiful woman working in cinema – and I have never forgotten how in the article she spoke about being a different person when she speaks French.
You can see it on the screen.
Acting in English, she is often formal and stiff and even remote. No one could ever accuse her of being an old ham. And to be honest, I have never found her that appealing when she acts in English: she can act, she’s just not very warm.
But watch her acting in French – in Francois Truffaut’s Day for Night (1973), or more correctly La nuit américaine, even when it’s dubbed into English, or more amazingly Claude Chabrol’s La Cérémonie (1995) – and she’s a completely different person, warm and fluid and open and even, given that she is supposed to be acting, happy. I was blown away watching Bisset in La Cérémonie. This is the woman she should always have been! Where had she been hiding?
Perhaps Bisset was helped by having Isabelle Huppert, surely one of the world’s most-celebrated non-emoters, playing one of the leads in La Cérémonie. But that’s another story.
(I once asked a Polish friend, whom I thought was actually American when we first met in Berlin, if she was a different person in English. And she said simply, “Yes.”)
When I am back living / staying / killing time / enjoying southern summer in Australia, and not living in Berlin, I miss speaking German (oder Deutsch). I compensate for this by talking about speaking German and German words and living in Germany (particularly Berlin) and the German influence on English, through the Angles and the Saxons, and perhaps the Jutes too, though the Jutes always seem to be forgotten. I do this endlessly, and I do this mostly when I am teaching English. So many English words derive from Old German, so the practice is endless. And connecting for me. And perhaps a shade dull for my students … though still I persist.
Actually speaking German in Germany – Schuldigung, aber mein Deutsch ist bisschen – can be a trial. It makes me nervous and sometimes irritable, but boy it’s wonderful – fast unglaublich – when Germans respond in German and we converse – actually have a conversation – without any English. It makes me feel almost international.
Speak quickly, using words or phrases you know are correct and have practiced often, and with a good accent, and native-speakers may even think you are a native speaker too. Well, vielleicht.
I know when speaking, I am generally quieter, meeker, softer, more careful auf Deutsch. Though I think my fluency accounts for this. If I had better German, then I would be more myself when speaking it.
Mostly though, when speaking German, I love getting my tongue around the words, attempting to sound as authentic as possible. It’s a performance, I know this, and I must confess that I find embarrassing those non-native German speakers (usually native English speakers) who seem to make no attempt at speaking Deutsch with an even faintly convincing accent. Listen to how you sound! I want to say. I don’t, of course, for fear that I, in fact, sound just as bad.
But it’s wonderfully affirming to be told you have a good accent in another language, and I have been lucky to have been praised, on a few occasions, for my good German accent, and this by native German speakers. I have taken these as rare compliments!
One friend, an English-into-German translator and subtitler, once said I did not have an accent at all when I spoke German. This seemed incredible to me. I even said to her, “But I must have an accent – surely an Australian accent – when I speak Deutsch.” She said again I didn’t. Where lies the truth?
German is a great language for sounding angry, though. The guttural mouth-twisting it often requires can be empowering and can make anyone easily sound not to be trifled with. I admit to using this well, even with my bad German.
Ich habe DAS!” I said to a Rewe supermarket check-out Frau, thrusting in front of her a fistful of coins when, following six attempts to pay for my shopping with change, she was still unhappy with the combination I was giving her. Challenge many Germans (particularly Berliners) with even greater rudeness, in their own language, and they go to water … oder Wasser.
So perhaps speaking German and expressing anger in it, connects with the inner grump – or outer grump – in me. Annoy me long enough and I snarl equally well in either language.
But this doesn’t work for everyone.
While recently back living / staying / killing time / enjoying northern summer in Berlin, a friend – Michael, also an English language teacher – complained about the unwillingness of his students to pay him any attention when he was teaching them. He said he had even become very annoyed and admonished the class in German.
Michael talked about this during a private German language class we had every Saturday with Torsten, a German language tutor. Torsten asked Michael what he had said in admonishment. I cannot recall exactly what Michael’s words were, but despite their correctness, they sounded quite unconvincing. And Torsten – so German! – told Michael this.
To me, while Michael showed clear annoyance when he spoke, he did lack moral authority.
Torsten then asked him to say the same thing again, but in English. Michael obliged, and again he was unconvincing.
Laughing, Torsten said he would have laughed along with the other students, whatever language.
I then said the same admonishment Michael had made, only in English, but deep and purposeful and resonating. And then in German too.
And Torsten said, “Ah, you I would take notice of.”
“Oh, that’s just acting,” I assured Michael. And to them both I said, “I’m just an old ham.”
“You’re a what?” Torsten asked.
And thus began my explanation of the meaning of ‘old ham’.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Flash Friday Fiction - for Friday 22nd October 2010

Meeting Adjourned
by Matt Potter
Once a month I fuck the boss. It’s not part of my job description. We have a meeting in her office, after thirty minutes she opens the door to what appears to be a storeroom but is actually a well-appointed fuck chamber, and we adjourn.
She likes being fucked on her back mostly: she enjoys watching me do all the grunt work. I grind and groan, looking into her chemically-peeled face as she grips my arse, the fingers of her wrinkling hands edging towards my tightened hole – the storeroom is soundproofed, the door to her office triple-locked, though no one would dare enter without her permission anyway – and not much is said beyond “Deeper” and “Harder” and “Faster”, all by her.
I don’t believe she has a similar relationship with any of my work colleagues. And if she does, I don’t care much either.
And if work colleagues heard of my ‘relationship’ with her, no one would believe it. I think she sees her conquest of me as a triumph of her supreme sexuality, her female carnality, or if nothing else, her economic power.
Thirty minutes before we meet, I take half a Viagra. I also jerk off three times earlier in the day, so by the time of our meeting, I’m trigger-hard and my balls are empty but ready to churn. I don’t come inside her. She can’t check: she’s too old to get pregnant and we don’t use condoms, so there’s no inspection of the reservoir afterwards. But I give a good show. My legs and arse tense, I stop mid-thrust – like cresting a hill – then I push deep down inside her and moan. Maybe my face turns slightly red.
I make sure I fake my orgasm after I’ve made her come twice. She then wraps herself in a thick Egyptian cotton robe, opens a bread hamper, plugs in a Tefal toaster and makes two slices of toast with margarine and Vegemite. She never offers me any. I watch her eat off a white-grey Royal Copenhagen plate, bitch-red fingernails stabbing the wholemeal crumbs as she licks them clean. Enthusiasm almost lights her face.
She puts her plate on the low table beside the bed, sips her Powerjuice from a crystal tumbler – she only offers me iced tea: I always refuse as I loathe the taste, which I am sure she knows – and resumes talking.
“We’re marketing ourselves into non-existence,” Callie said one day, running her fingers through her messy, re-blonded crewcut. She spoke exactly as she would at our weekly Marketing Team meetings, to all the overpaid, over-airbrushed, hyper-hyped-up hipsters she’d assembled to make her and the products we sell look good.
“Callie Crawford Cosmetics is such an exclusive brand now, no one thinks they can afford to buy my products.”
“I think you’re right, Callie,” I said, my tongue metaphorically twisting inside her arse. “We’ve marketed ourselves into a corner.”
I know other staff call me Tom the tongue-twister. They know – or think they know – how far my tongue is up her arse. (This is one thing I have never done. Callie, despite our sessions in the over-sized cupboard, is a conventional lay.)
“I’ve let you all convince me your over-exclusive branding would give us an even bigger market share and now you’ve left us no room to move.”
I sank against the plush pillow and looked at her profile: a largish nose, heavily mascara-ed lashes, lipstick that even in the storeroom light I could see was only half-chewed off.
“Reposition the brand,” I said.
Her head turned on the pillow. Her lips curled: smile or sneer, I couldn’t tell. “You must be fucking joking.”
I looked at the ceiling.
“I’ve spent thirty years building this brand to where it is now.”
“So, it’ll be a challenge,” I said, turning on my side away from her. I patted the pillow beside my head.
She punched my bare shoulder with the side of her fist. “Don’t fucking turn away from me! Tell me what you mean.”
“I told you,” I said, sleep in my voice. “Reposition the brand.”
“There’s nowhere to go but down.” I imagined her looking at my shoulder, eyes working overtime trying to fathom what I meant.
“Yeah,” I said. “Reposition the brand at the bottom of the market and work your way up again.” I looked at her over my shoulder. “If anyone can do it, you can.”
Her hand rested on the spot where moments earlier she’d thumped me.
“It’d be dumbing the brand down.”
“You’d make industry history and get more than your Albert Einstein fifteen minutes of fame,” I said, hitting her at her greatest chink, her need to leave a legacy.
She sank back on her pillow and with her hand still on my shoulder, drummed her fingers like a metronome.
I pressed my head further into the pillow. I made my breathing deeper, each breath longer, eyes half-closed, but ears alert.
“It’s a bullshit idea,” Callie said, taking her hand away.
Through my eyelashes, I focussed on the weave of the cotton pillowslip, and paused before responding. “Start with the perfumes.”
“And what would we call them? The names we have now are so high-end.”
I thought of Callie’s emotional depth.
Shallow,” I said.
I thought of the folds of her vagina.
Umbrella,” I added.
And I thought of the way I too often feel about her.
Omen and Death,” I finished. “What slapper wouldn’t want to wear a perfume called Death? Packaging would be cheaper and you’d sell it by the truckload. In fact, you could probably sell it off the back of a truck.”
I stopped and listened to her breathing, shallow gasps every few seconds, as if denying herself air made her stronger. If I was a bastard, I’d say breathing and thinking at the same time were too taxing for her. But I’m not that much of a bastard.
“No one but you would have the balls to do it,” I said.
Callie laughed. “It’s a fucking amazing idea.”
“Yeah, it is.”
She whistled through her teeth. “Same scent, make a lot more of it, save on cost, just shift it differently.”
“Yes, it’s a brilliant idea.”
Callie laughed again, and suddenly threw back the sheet. “Just remember who’s paying you,” she said. “And just so you realise, I know you never come inside me. It might be an old twat but it still has some feeling.”
I reached down to the foot of the bed and slowly pulled the sheet back over me. Callie picked up her plate.
“You want some toast and Vegemite?” she said. “I think you need to tell me some more about this incredible idea.”
That night, Callie went home to husband number four and I went home to my partner. The effect of the half a Viagra had not worn off, and I was soon lost in fucking Mario as, gripping my arse, fingers edging towards my receptive hole, he yelled out Deeper! Harder! Faster! in a more genuine way, despite the lack of sound-proofing.