Oxygen Dreams

Pumped in extra thick, 40/60 mix, euphorics for a sullen crew. Out past Jupiter the hallucinations kick in, open sky visions, phantom smell of rain, insectoid hums, gravitational tugs on calcium-filled bones, nostalgic visions scraped thin off childhood media memories.

You’d think we’d be used to the dark now, used to the float. But in my dreams I still scream as I fall.

Wake up.

Fall some more.



1. Written on October 19th, 2022

The Boat

We took the boat out on the river.

It wasn’t our boat. It wasn’t even our river. We had no idea idea what we were doing. It was amazing we’d ever got it started, let alone kept it going.

“Imagine owning your own boat,” I said, laughing at the absurdity of it all.

“Where would you even put it?” Sam said. “You know, when you’d got where you were going.”

“Maybe they have boat parks,” I suggested. “Pay and display multi-boaties.”

“Maybe no one owns boats,” Sam suggested. “Maybe they’re all stolen!”

She spilled half a bottle of red wine down her life jacket and giggled. She didn’t care. It was stolen too. The wine and the jacket and everything else. Especially the jaunty little captain’s hat.

“Maybe they aren’t even boats!” I said deliriously. “Maybe they all just for show. ‘Oooooh look, I’ve got a boat! Aren’t I rich! Aren’t I clever!'”

“Pretend boats,” Sam said slowly, as if she was quoting something. “Are ships.”

It didn’t make any sense, but we laughed anyway. I spun the wheel or whatever it was called and made us drive around in circles, great arcs of spray splattering around us like rainbows. I fired a flare up into the sky. Part of me didn’t really believe flares existed, but here we were. They were just like in a film, but without the whooshing sound, and not as bright, because it was the middle of the day. No one fires flares off in the day in films. What’d be the point?

“We should steal a plane tomorrow,” Sam suggested, as she vomited into a bright yellow rubber boot that happened, purely by luck, to be between her feet. “Or a tank!”

But by then we were lost, a long way out to sea, sinking, unable to swim. No one ever saw us again. No one ever even knew it was us who stole the boat.



1. Written in the summer of 2020 sometime.

Tales From The Town #101: Hide And Seek

1. Morning

“Where is everyone?” Agnes asked, as she pegged out the washing.

“Hiding,” said Claire, as she swung back and forth on the swing.

2. Noon

“Where is everyone?” Agnes asked out of the kitchen window.

“Hiding,” said Claire, as she swung higher and higher on the swing.


“I suppose.”

3. Just Before Dinner

“Where is everyone?” Agnes asked out of the kitchen window.

“Hiding,” said Claire, as she swung as high as it was possible to swing on the swing without swinging right the way over the swing.


“I suppose.”

“How come no one’s found you yet?” Agnes said.

“No one’s looking for me, Mum,” Claire said. “I’m looking for them!



1. Written on October 24th, 2022

The Safe

Inside the safe is:

List of everyone I ever loved
Several previously unrevealed fears
Book of passwords
Keys to several long lost doors
And a map to an undisclosed location

Go ahead. Try all you like. If you can open it, they’re yours.



1. Written on March 17th, 2023


We left the simulator running unsupervised over the weekend. When we got back on Monday it had predicted everything that had happened, from when we left the simulator running unsupervised to when we returned on Monday and discovered it had predicted everything that had happened.

Our supervisor, who had left us unsupervised over the weekend only to come back on Monday afternoon to discover that we’d left the simulator running unsupervised over the weekend only to come back on Monday morning and discover that the simulator had simulated it all, heavily reprimanded us for our failures and declared the results of our experiment void, and so we had to start it all over again.

This time the simulator made sure not to make the same mistake again, and this time all its predictions were as wrong as its starting parameters would allow it to be.

We were all somewhat relieved. No one wanted this to be a success.



1. Written on October 20th, 2022