Archive for April, 2011

Stress Is A Killer

by Emma Salkild

“Stress is a killer of hair,” my hairdresser had said.

I bring my new shampoo into the bathroom. It’s supposed to put volume into thinning hair.  As I massage the shampoo into my head, chunks of hair come loose. My scalp is so sensitive that the water makes my head sting.

The hair must be blocking the drain because foamy water is coming up in my shower, covering my toes. As I bend down to unclog it, I pull up some hair and scream. Blood drips from the ends. I touch my scalp and when I bring my fingers up to my face I see red liquid dripping down my hands. I turn off the tap but the frothy water continues to grow around me. Bits of red swim through it like blood clots. I try and sidestep it but I slip on the foam and my body hits the bathroom tiles. Pain pulses through me and I try and stand but I’m winded. The water has a life of its own. It swirls around the bathroom, covering the entire floor. Blood clots are crawling up my legs.

“Help,” I scream, trying to get to my feet but no one is home. A jolt of pain pierces through my leg; it might be broken. The water is now five inches deep. My legs are completely covered in red and the blood clots are moving up towards my belly.

I try to scream again as they fill my throat.


Emma Salkild is a freelance writer and editor. Her fiction work will be published in print later this year with the Australian Literature Review. She is also the contributing editor for Alternative Media Group and writes reviews on theatre, film and music for Sydney City News and City Hub.

, ,



by Angela Meyer

In a cold Baltimore church basement, a vile film flickered over faces. Is it a she? they wondered at the pudgy one, hair pulled back to make room for the skyscraper make-up. A middle-class man muttered, but his wife, who had been curious (flier tucked under her windscreen wiper) fingered the pearls on her neck and wondered how it would feel to have them, one by one, slipped into her anus.

Divine had to kneel, to pick up the turd. He was inspiring to the ‘gays and the heavy-set’, his mum told a documentary-maker, years later. Divine preferred to be called an actor, or a shim, not a female impersonator. Divine’s director, with his skinny mo, called her a he. Divine smiled when she ate the shit.

A raucous racket at the closing shot: laughter plus wiggles of discomfort, even from the stoned-out post-Beats and Hippies. The Priest thought: how creative he is. He’d never seen anything like it.

The censors crossed themselves. The theatre put it on after an ‘educational’ sex film.

Not so many years later, in 1988, Divine crashes after dinner in a hotel, and drops away. An enlarged heart. Someplace else, trash plays on VHS in the background at a party. One boy is going down on another for the first time. A stoned girl thinks nothing is new, but everything is lovely. On the screen, Divine drops to her knees again.


Angela Meyer is a Melbourne-based writer, reviewer, scholar, drinker, Bowie-fan, lover-not-a-fighter and literary blogger for Crikey.

, ,



by Rachael Blackwood

Your ribs expand yet your breath catches twice before you scream. As you scream, you close your eyes and all you see is blood.

Someone died today and the blood drips through your hands. Your face is wet and your lap is wet and the overhead light buzzes ‘I-know’. Your eyes know but your brain overheats as the fluttering flickers your pupils.

You’re frozen on the spot but a hinge creaks and your hands, they stutter and they shake. It’s okay, she says, and pats your back and you’re five years old hiding under the stairs.

You’re on the way to nowhere and yet now you’re here.  You’re here and here is somewhere but Someone is not there. Not here. Nowhere. It’s a nightmare but it is not night.

Not right, but to your right she’s opening the door again and it squeaks again and you’re five again. Five perfect little hands, you think, and then realise that’s not right either.

Can I see, you squeak, and wish you hadn’t. Your brain is catching up with your eyes. She doesn’t answer just pushes the door wider and he shuffles in.  His eyes are catching up too so you squeeze yours tight and black him out.

And then you laugh abrupt and hollow, bah, as that’s kind of how you slew Someone.  So you squeeze your eyes tighter and wish him dead too.  Instead, he slips his fingers between yours and the blood fills the gaps like mortar.


Rachael Blackwood writes, reads, loves, and laughs. Her current internet home is here.

, ,

1 Comment