Glancing at the little yellow cylinder of pills to my side, I expect something to jump out onto the page. I’ve got my keyboard in front of me, an open word document and I can hear rain hitting the rooftop. It’s cold, but not too cold. It’s a nice room temperature to sit in. I’ve got my coffee and my cigarettes.  Inside the translucent yellow container are a whole range of colours. Leo gave them to me in exchange for three grams of weed. So now I’ve got this bottle of painkillers, benzos, beta-blockers and sedatives. I threw in some blue pseudoephedrine just for some contrast. There was a point of MDMA in there but I snorted that one pretty quickly.

Lo and behold, I can’t write though. This feeling inside me seems to run along the logic that simply being around drugs will create product. This is some real Hunter S Thompson shit, man

When Thompson blew his brains out with a shotgun, so did the spirit of counterculture gonzo. The movie adaption of Fear and Loathing became a massive hit and inspired thousands of predominately young teenage boys (myself included) to experiment with psychedelic drugs. Through the late 90’s and into the mid 00’s, psychedelic drug use shot up in the west. While not the sole driver, I’m confident that this movie had a large role to play. 30 years later, the beat generation still echoes amongst those who live within “cult” and alternative genres. It’s still all about Thompson, Kerouac and Burroughs (then proceeding to the next most common alt genre(s), Sci-fi/Fantasy.)  At the time, nobody was documenting what these writers were documenting. Fair enough.

But given the unexpected influence that gonzo and beat had on writing in the west, there are underlying elements of permanence to their successes. Today still, people mythologize Hunter S Thompson even to a demi-god status. It ties hand in hand with aspiring writers, and drug use (two groups of things which historically have always interacted.) Everybody loves the idea of a brash, no-rules drug taking writer. Thompson is redeemed by his writing quality. The fact that he wrote well and was respected at the time [as a controversial figure] only reiterates his majestic status. I have met plenty of people who want to be Raoul Duke.  In my budding years of experimentation with both drugs and writing, I was doing the same things. Partying and expecting the results to come. The results don’t come though, you just end up at the same place you were at before you went to the party.

To those who eat the myth, Hunter S Thompson is the pinnacle justification for drug use, because his simultaneous career success and drug use is historically documented via the fact of his own writing. We have tangible recorded proof that this man existed. Thompson is no longer a man but an idea. He is used as an ideological tool to defend liberty.
But is he relevant anymore?

The 60’s have ended. For twenty years, people reflected back on the sixties. The time has passed. Counterculture now still exists, but the meaning has changed. There is none of the apparent spirit of the 1960’s which every writer wrote about today in 2014 Australia. Drugs have been picked up and dropped by collective groups of writers dozens of times since then.

 This lingering mythology of the beat generation is holding back writers now, I believe. Locking us into cyclical frameworks of creativity. Those writers who aspire to write in any “gritty” or “adventurous” way, documenting down and reflecting on personal experience. Hunter S Thompson traveled to Las Vegas to cover a motorbike race in the desert, but instead he took a litany of substances and wrote about that instead. That is what happens in Fear and Loathing. And I agree that within America at that time, it’s good that someone came along and wrote about what it was like in the seedy underbelly of America’s cities. What it was like to go on a 3 day drug binge and still somehow keep his job. People need their heroes. But that time has passed. Thompson was a reaction to a societal era, he is not a transcendental figurehead.

We need to stop putting so much focus on the drugs. The more one talks about them, the more one creates barriers between users and non-users, between legislation and non-legislation. The pharmaceutical industry is one of the dominant corporations across the OECD board. Public and even authoritative support for the War on Drugs is falling across the globe. In the face of this environment we need to change the counter-conversation”, which is becoming more and more repetitive and niche. Functional drug users are now an unspoken societal norm.

Thompson was a great writer who influenced me and hundreds and thousands of others, but the times have changed.  A new conversation needs to begin.



Fiona is smart for her age, which hits me while we’re talking about my uncle’s dog. The two of them talk a secret language that only Fi knows.
“Ellie’s sad because she’s dying,” she tells me.
Where did she get that from? Her floating father might have taught her when she lived on the farm with him, along with her mother and brother. He probably did teach her something about saying goodbye to pets and animals. Before he went crazy, her father used to hunt pigs for extra cash. He’d take two pitbulls out bush on a Jeep and come back with ferals. I remember once there was a palava when he went onto private property and found a starved horse, malnourished and suffering. He took photos of the horse and then he shot it in the head. We got the pictures in an e-mail, which later became part of some civil dispute. It was around this time things started changing.
In the end, the family genes got him early.
The family, of course, blame the liquor.

Fi pats Ellie’s head as she sleeps, making her pointy ears twitch. My uncle got Ellie from a shelter some years ago. We can’t ever really be sure, but we’re almost certain she’s got some dingo in her.
“What do dogs think when they die?”
Fi likes to ask these types of questions, which I love answering. Usually. Nine times out of ten they’re pretty good questions. Her brother likes to stay safe regarding theology which I think is an indication that he’ll probably skip the family genes. 
The family, of course, say ‘he learns with his hands.’

“Jeeze louise Fi, I’m not too sure. What do you think?”
She looks at me like I’m an idiot.
“I asked you.”
“Well – I guess they wonder why they’re feeling so sleepy.”
Fiona looks up at me guardedly, going over what I said. You can see the cogs ticking. Then she nods a little, and goes back to talking to the dog.
The look in her eye is the same one her father gets. 
The same look that flickered in his eyes like a busted fluorescent when he talked about men hiding in his trees and a black helicopter that hovered silently above his house at night. This all started after the Police took his guns away. 
I wish that Fi didn’t know the jist of all this, but she does. I don’t see her that often. 

She hasn’t seen her Dad in a few years. Fi and her brother often ask when they’ll see Daddy. I can tell lies to her brother because that’s what he wants to hear. He wants explanations with closure. But Fi has the bullshit radar of a senior judge. 
The truth is that we don’t know when they will see their father because we don’t know where he is. As far as we can determine, nobody does. He’s technically a missing person, but we know he’s alive. Madness doesn’t just go away and die quietly under the house, where Ellie has been resting lately. Whenever I can’t give Fi an answer she looks at me like I’m an idiot, the way her father did at me when I used to ask him questions as a child. He made fun of me for turning away when he had to neck a pig after a bullet didn’t drop it. 

I never particularly cared for my uncle. 

That was on his farm, back when he still had his dogs and his guns and his wife and when there weren’t men hiding in his trees. And now I see that look here again on his daughter’s face years later. We all see the resemblance. I feel that she’ll be giving that look for the rest of her life. She’s got herself searching for a reason, now. I try to answer her questions as best I can. She likes running the really weird ones by me because she knows I’ll entertain them. We’re on the same page. She doesn’t feel that way because I’m a boy and she’s adamant that I have cooties, but I don’t mind. Maybe I do have cooties, she’s a smart kid. I get up to go inside and mess up her hair. She tells me not to touch her hair because it smells nice and boys hands are gross.

I tell her that her hands are dirtier than mine because she’s been patting the dog, but she just looks at me like I’m an idiot. 



Jack Nachelson rests his gaze upon the hulls of fat metal slugs, looking for his sense of self. Slowly, cumbersome ships trawl into the harbour with uniform synchronicity – a tugboat in front and another in tow. He sits in his front seat parked perpendicular to the water, headlights off. The late 80’s relic purrs quietly in idle. Inside, a thin white coil of smoke wafts upwards from between two fingers lingering on a steering wheel which creaks like old wooden ships when you turn it. The residual must of entombed marijuana smoke pollutes the interior atmosphere, mixing with the briny air outside seeping through the vents. Loose pages covered in frenetic handwriting litter the passenger floor and backseat.
This is his office.
Nachelson haunts the lighthouse most nights. This often gets him wondering if that’s what ghosts are. Not the spirits of the dead, but people who were forgotten. Whom slipped off unseen. Those trees that fall with no one around to hear them.
In a contrived way, the fact that he’s tangible makes him a real ghost. He struggles to define how deep this notion of authenticity goes but he thinks himself to be more real than the points of light garnished across the velvet blackboard of our night sky. When we look at stars, we are seeing light from the past. We are looking at what those stars truly used to look like. Ergo (Nachelson likes the word ‘ergo,’) we all live in the past at night.
And perhaps this is why Nachelson exceeds at stargazing. For he too lives in the past much too often. If only Nachelson could live in the present, he’d probably realise there are more important things than himself going on, and maybe it is within selflessness that he’d find something solid. Something to hold on to. If Nachelson pointed himself towards the present he’d most likely see that he’s never going to find himself on the starboard of the Pacific Courage from Japan at 11pm.
But Nachelson fails to acknowledge the present. He is too caught up constantly replaying everything he’s done, forcing himself into the underworld with Hades to experience the same torments over and over and over again. Inevitably, this leads to self-examination and the great universal cliché: “Am I crazy?”
To be fair: he might be. For instance he is plagued by a memory he didn’t live. An anonymous girl with piercing grey eyes lies on top of him, peering into him. She is beautiful. Vaguely blonde. They are together in a forest. He is taken back by the lush scents of chlorophyll and rainwater. A sky of green leaves is held up by great bark pillars. It is lightly sprinkling – perhaps after a heavy downfall – but the canopy overhead protects them both from the wet. She is beautiful. There is an inherent sensation of harmony wound up within the memory.

But then there are variables.
So perhaps it is not a memory but a waking dream. Sometimes there is music playing, sometimes there is not. This is where the whole thing unravels against the strong currents of realism. He has never been with any girl in a forest with music. So then what is it?
Silently Nachelson hopes that it is not memory or a dream, but rather a premonition. However, expectance taints the broth. This same proverbial broth is the only one in which Nachelson’s ghostlike lifestyle can be maintained. Like a soufflé, the entire thing could be brought down by the smallest inkling of feeling that maybe his life is actually OK.
In fact, it wouldn’t even take this. Jack Nachelson can only exist in the assumption of a vacuum. Acknowledging that any position in society is a reaction to a time before it would bring his entire worldview toppling down. Maybe this is why you don’t take high volumes of drugs in your teens (although he’d turned out better than most of his peers.) And this isn’t even touching the fact that Nachelson is a product of our times. There are Nachelsons everywhere, at any given moment. Hundreds. It isn’t too much of a stretch to imagine thousands. But the Nachelson is not a social animal. Like foxes in the night, or the isolated mountain goats of the Siberian steppes, there is no room to accommodate the experiences of others. This makes Nachelson the Steppengoat.

All of his pedantic restlessness; pacing back and forth, a bored tiger in a small cage. No matter where he goes or what he does he feels like he needs to get out, to escape the ‘confines.’ But Nachelson’s great tragedy is that his confines are held within his mind. If only he was brave. And the richest thing of all is that Nachelson knows that. Given the chance, he will ruminate on the intricacies of his own self as if he knows shit all about anything, for hours.
The honest truth which Nachelson fails to grasp is that he doesn’t know shit. His living in the past-ness, his self-imposed crowns of thorns – it all reduces to sheer egoism. He is completely blind to the world around him. All he does is worry about what people think of him, how he came across in brief interactions, whether or not his handshake was acceptable. This banal sludge of internal review and speculation consumes him, it mines him – it mines his body of any substance, leaving a hollow Nachelson sitting in his front seat at night staring at cargo ships.
I mean for fuck’s sake, if he gets this worked up staring at boats I don’t want to know what a big deal is for him.



I’ve seen things that most my age haven’t.
At least not in this place,
where bins with yellow lids watch you roll past,
and on television broadcasts are pictured the flames
from the drunk dragons of Northbridge.

But I cannot preach or boast I feel, despite my hero’s eyes.
I am bad with girls.

But I’ve seen things like arms
riddled with holes in my backseat
she missed her vein and stole fifty dollars

And I went to the slums of the third world
where men with lacerated grimy flesh
sleep on dusty pavement stone.
But I am shy, I am alone.

I cannot boast, I get afraid.
Please- spare me the looks
but sometimes I hang out in meth labs for fun

I’ve eaten crickets, tarantulas, ants.
I dabble with bikies and I spray paint on walls
until cameras installed put my face in the paper
and I say see you later and hide from the city

But nothing comes of it.
Because no one looks at that polite young man
with his nose in a book.

But all I crave is Cambodia’s coke – that stuff is from heaven
and 3AM meals with a genocide survivor and his AK-47

I could stand here endlessly,
making referential allusions
to my excessive consumption
of experimental drugs with names you’ve never heard

But that’s not me
Once it was my crux identity,
My misspent youth and kitchen chemistry,
but I hate what I used to be.
It is only a part of me.

There are intersecting values like
location and family and money,

Maybe that’s what it is to be adult.
Actualize that recognition.

But there’s something that’s irking me
for 21 years, its one of my fears
not to see it but to know that it’s there
lurking underneath the ancient ice of my denial

A generic abscess seeping the
insidious pus of mediocrity
into my personal sanctuary of creativity
an infection of cells, my diseased content breeds in the bin

And I hate that it might be true

But maybe just maybe this self-hating drug-taking
regurgitating pontification has something to do with

the lack of a Dad.

How fucking cliche is that?
Underlying truth: This shit makes me mad



I’ve been unemployed for two months now and as a result I feel that I have matured in unexpected ways. Now I understand two crux experiences of life so much better – guilt and boredom.

When I was young, ‘unemployment’ was one of those alien aspects of adulthood – the “outside” or “real” world. In those days there is a disconnect between the implied grave nature of unemployment rates warned about amidst prophetic broadcasts, and the actualized reality of unemployment which – during childhood at least – simply means ‘not working.’

But there is that moment – those moments – in which innocence dilutes into the cloudy tincture of morality we all procure with our individual accumulative actions. There is the moment where we learn ‘not working’ means more than that phrase alone. When do we actualize the importance of work? Paid skill, production, contribution? During my, your, our teens; unemployment does not have the same weight that it bears in your twenties.
Somewhere along that brief passage of time unemployment stops being benign and becomes volatile. Feelings of guilt simmer all the same in your teens but only somewhere deep and permissible. Rarely does it rise to the surface.
But then when you are older – mentally or physically, ideally both – these feelings go beyond a simmer, the boredom included, and they start to boil, hiss and spit at you like hot oil. That’s definitely what they did to me.

This hot oil I feel is responsible for instigating the process of change that I’m identifying as the development of my maturity. Although to be fair, for all I know I am developing a tumour. Whatever the case, for the first time I have actually been feeling ashamed by my lack of contribution. My perception of work has turned to that of  moral obligation opposed to some draconian societal contract. As time goes on, my guilt only gets worse. The hot oil more vehement.

And then there is the boredom.

The boredom comes seeping through in many ways. As frustration. As a semi-legitimate tendency towards sudden manic episodes of unprecedented energy. As rigorous introspection followed by intense periods of irritation at one’s own tendency to be so. The boredom gives impetus to seek out intoxication, distraction, vice – some occasionally adopt a routine with positive and productive outcomes, like the elusive and mythical ‘healthy person’, but us ordinary sinners, we fight with boredom and we do not negotiate with it or domesticate it. Us the sinners go forward with our schemes and goals. In unemployment, this extract of boredom connects with the hot oil of guilt to pave the way to a truly scrumptious omelette of disaffection.

But I have never liked omelette, so what then? How many unanswered e-mails, how many absent callbacks can you go through? Strong types of all natures will tell you to just keep going, to keep persevering, to ‘suck it up’ and remind yourself that it could be harder, and maybe they’ve got a point but they probably don’t, because if they did have a good point everybody would have fucking killed themselves by now, like they already have. They are living suicides, drowning in their own malcontent. But perhaps it takes one to know one, which is why I hate them all the more. When we eat these omelettes, is it true just like it is for them that we forever turn to stone?

You come to hate it so much.

No matter how many ways you find to occupy yourself, this proverbial pot of oil (I’ve moved past the omelette) always boils over and you’re left with burns on your hands, hopping up and down from foot to foot hoping that your little dance will help the pain to stop, those deep ebbing throbs of pain that come from burns. Incredibly similar are the waves of boredom that ebb, roll in, rise, crash, roll out briefly and then start to ebb back in. These little dances we perform to distract ourselves consume us, in one bite they take us underneath the surface, plunging us down below like alligators drowning antelopes.

Eventually you can’t sit still. No matter how accustoming your environment, you start to hate it. Eventually, one day, the seed will be planted. Once that seed germinates, it grows with a shocking propensity. You cannot control the vines.
You start to hate your shitty cramped room, even if it is not that shitty nor that cramped. Your car becomes your only key to freedom but simultaneously an antagonist, it’s obsolescence rapidly approaches up behind you in the rear view mirror, and you realise that nothing can be stopped. These things are always there. They always exist, lingering, we can only keep them at bay. Constantly pushing them back in a perpetual sumo wrestle of the spirit, these dark feelings. All of us, people, we are in the shade of a disembodied and forever looming malcontent.

This is probably depression.

If you need an example of what I mean – you probably do, I would – look no further than dust. In the quest to find time-consuming tasks, you inevitably at some stage pick up a routine of tidying and cleaning unless you are a truly hopeless independent. Perhaps it is daily, perhaps it is not. It does not matter, because dust is your enemy either way. For some time, this routine may sate you. Some kind of foundation. But it can only be temporary. In the face of this omnipotent and carnivorous boredom, all is temporary.

Dust, you should realise, is the world’s oldest terrorist.
There is a specific moment the narrator can recall where he could no longer maintain a daily war with the dust.

Dust can break a person.
Anyone worth their domestic salt knows that the essence of decay resides in dust. Stick with me. The essence of decay, of inescapable death is represented as dust. Dust invades our homes, our lives, our minds. It makes it’s presence known. In this sense, dust is a natural extremist. Dust is collective small particles falling away, descending, shedding. A large portion is made of up our own dead skill cells. Dust is the dual representative or time and mortality. You can never win against dust, you can only keep it at bay, holding shut a wooden door with all your strength as on the other side it bashes with ever increasing strength.

You may hold it at bay your entire life, but it will come. If you slip – the moment you miss one week, one day – the dust only builds. It congregates. Falls and settles. Amasses. Colonises. This endless war against dust, you can only take so much of it. You can only sweep out underneath your bed, behind your drawers, along the skirting boards so much before you find yourself driving around aimlessly at nights, staying away from home and that which is sickly familiar for as long as possible. I drive around, living my own weird re-enactments of Taxi Driver. Because of dust. This whole thing, this oppressive boredom and depression, this limbo of frustration to which I am, you are exiled, it resonates all of the hallmarks of a bad trip.

This freedom, you want it to all be over the way you want a bad trip to be over but like any trip or any taste of freedom, the moment you are no longer experiencing it, you will want to be thrown again back into it.

So I am stuck between the guilt and shame of wanting to work but enjoying the freedom, while suffering from the intense boredom that ensures you hate your freedom for the very fact of it’s own circumstantial being. This dual downward spiral drills into you, only deeper as time goes on. What is one able to do but drift amongst the grabs at hope, the optimistic waits for callback, the possible avenues of nepotism? What else is there to do but fill nights with driving, days with writing, to waste the hours drinking and to waste the hours smoking, smoking cigarettes, smoking weed and sometimes smoking different things? Trying to distract yourself more and more like this, only further intensifying the problem. A Chinese-finger trap. A Catch-22.

And then you start seeing them. Only when it’s you at night. Have you always seen them, but never noticed?
It doesn’t matter.

There are foxes in this town. They live amongst collections of bushes, anywhere big enough to make a series of burrows. Nocturnal and masters of stealth, they are everywhere and nowhere. Nobody believes me. Common sense tells us that foxes don’t live in heavily urbanised areas.
I feel like a trope. The old drunkard, blind in one eye, sees the legendary monster fish in the lake one night. He would have no outright reason to lie, but who could trust him? Of course I would be the only one to see it. It all just fits together so well.

The foxes play with us like this. Do with the claim what you will, but they’re there.
This is true. Sometimes driving past you can see the glints of flashing eyes in the bushes, floating in the under-shadows of low hanging trees. They blink and go black, disappearing into thin air. Sometimes I think I’ll see a snout or a tail poking out from underneath a shrub, but who could ever be sure?

One night, out there driving around with nothing to do, I looked to the road and I swear to god right there along that patch of road that runs by the river past the yacht club and the barracks, a fox the size of a farm dog stood there on the bitumen. Staring right at my car, at my windshield. I tend to be sceptical about such things, but I have never been able to shake the notion that it was staring right at me.

Nobody has ever believed this, of course. And who can blame them? That a fox the size of a small Labrador lives down on the outskirts of town by the river is a hard notion to accept. And why accept it? It defies common sense.
But that fox is there. More than one of them, I can promise you that. And while this moment came as no reconciliation to my struggle, amidst all this darkened thought and disappointment, this guilt and boredom, for one moment – just briefly – it was as if that fox appeared for me.
What this means, if it means anything at all, I don’t know.

I don’t really know why foxes came into this.
I need a job.



Babushka doll bullshit.

Inside the crate lies a smaller crate. Metal this time, imprinted with another series of labels. He cannot process this disappointment with acceptance and disheartedly tosses his crowbar to the floor, uttering more than a few self-pitying statements about his luck and the state of things and the state of crates and the postal service.
In that moment he feels as if maybe he should just be trialled at whim to try and organise global postage operations himself, and that would show them, ‘them’ who waste their time sending seemingly interesting crates around the world with smaller crates inside them, like this is some irritating form of torture conceived in the sick and deluded mind of an anthropologist working deep within the bowels of the British Museum, or perhaps the Royal Post, or whichever other institutions seem likely of blame.

About 10 minutes later he has a good sit down after letting himself get carried away, internally spiting the various systems in place, penetrative in their systematic essence, systemization he settles on coining, and he continues on getting carried away in a thought loop almost identical to this while he declares new words. And he does it for quite some time.

One might say that he does this out of an underlying diagnosis waiting to happen, perhaps an attention deficiency or an obsessive nature indicative of a larger problem. Of course, another might say that it’s just because he’s fucked.

Besides, there’s still another crate to open. Somewhere in his head he hears one of those old truisms ring throughout his conciousness, spoken in unison by the collective characters of his memory: ‘good things come in small packages.’
He re-approaches the crate and removes the small steel box, which constitutes most of the weight. A second label reads:


followed by a small square sticker scripted with identifying details. He pries at it’s lid with his fingers this time, finding it disconnects from the container with minimal effort. A small wave of cool air comes out of the box, as if it had been lingering in refrigeration. When he looks down, he almost falls over.

Inside the box a small grimacing shrunken head stares back at him with an open agonized mouth and dark, hollow eyes.

Weeks pass.

It had been the biggest letdown of the year. Maybe some insight is needed. That whole morning it happened, that big build up, he’d been envisioning strange preservations. He had been imagining and outright hoping that the crate was filled from one end to the other with ancient content. He had envisioned an entire skeleton, an entire man preserved, perhaps vacuum wrapped in his own
tan leathered skin. The crate was about the size of a dwarf and he could remember reading somewhere that ancient people used to be very small. Supposedly Jesus himself was only about 4 feet tall (and totally high on mushrooms all the time, look it up.) So his hopes were not entirely unsubstantiated.

After taking some photos of the shrunken head and doing the rounds of telling trusted peers, he quickly grew bored of it and shoved the steel box under his bed. He couldn’t sell it, for it had been on the news and he’d surely get reported. He went through a thick period of paranoia that lasted three days, checking the two containers and even the inside of the shrunken head over and over again for any kind of microchips or electronic equipment that might be traceable. His inspections turned up nothing, and his handling of the artefact (complete with all kinds of finger probing) probably devalued the priceless relic beyond comprehensible belief. He was racked with nerves, constantly looking out the window whenever he heard a car driving past, assuming it would be the police. Every time he heard a car door open or close outside he gulped. He answered no calls for two days.

But, nobody came.

As the dust began to settle atop the steel container, slowly shrouding it’s memory in time, his nerves dissolved and as far as he was concerned the whole thing blew over. He went back to job hunting and flirting and driving around the place and sitting around getting high and staying up nights or sleeping for days and everything just kind of went on totally as normal, and despite his usual demeanour of pessimism he even found that the disappointment of the whole affair had sobered him for a few weeks away from the mental realms of the philosophical and romantic and he instead found a temporary sense of contentment with his life as a student in the free world just taking it all as it comes, trying to be a good guy along the way. And all of this was fine with the head of the man underneath his bed too, or at least he assumed and dictated that the head was fine with all of this, because he did not consult with it. Even while the head of the ancient was under his bed, he still woke up with a boner every morning, he still had a cigarette with his coffee and suffered from mood swings. So it goes.

And so it went, and so it seemed it would continue to go pleasantly forever, until about 2 months later the curator of the British Museum arrived on his doorstep shaking and sweaty with pupils the size of 20 cent pieces, bleeding from one nostril and severely underweight, waving around a Jurassic femur.




The curator of the British Museum has been in the interrogation room for upwards of six hours now. Tensions are wearing thin – both his, and the detective’s. The latter resumes questioning after gathering some new information from preliminary substance analysis.
“So tell me. What on God’s earth is…TMA-6?”
“Detective. Listen to me. I am being honest – I do not know. I don’t know about any of this. All I know is that I was supposed to be receiving an important shipment – the remains of the warlord. I’m telling you, I did not order that stuff!”
The detective says nothing.
“Please listen to me. There has been some kind of mistak-“
“Mistake nothing. I’ve been doing this for years, and I can spot a liar.”
The curator slams his handcuffed fists down on the table in frustration and cries out.
“I’m not fucking lying!”
The detective doesn’t flinch.
“Here’s how I see it. You’re holed up in that museum everyday, curating this that and the other. Am I correct?”
“W – Well yes. But I’ve never used any website called ‘silk road’ and I’ve never seen that stuff before in my -“
“The TMA-6.”

The detective takes a deep breath in.

“Try to fool me all you please. I think that you traded the remains of an ancient warlord for a few grams of fun-time for you and your curator friends.”
“That is insane.”
“If you keep giving me lip I’ll give you another 2 years.”
The curator of the British Museum utters a few noises of protest, before resigning to a defeated and bewildered stare directed at the table.
“So. If you want to see the light of day from the right side of a cell wall again, you’ll tell me – who is your contact in Australia?

Sixty five dollars. Outrageous.

That is how much it costs for someone in this day and age to buy a crowbar. What kind of place is this, where crowbars cost sixty five dollars and internationally renowned artefacts are accidentally shipped to a nondescript brick and cream paint house in sprawling Australian suburbia?

And where the hell were those drugs he ordered?

After the unexpected expenditures, there he stands in the living room, wielding his crowbar with one hand as if on the post for some post-apocalyptic film, staring down the wooden crate. The big sticker on the side stares back at him, mocking him.


He smirks to himself, feeling the cold weight of the metal.
There is only one thing left to do.

“Please, I’ve been in this room for hours.”
The detectives say nothing to the curator.
“And we’re going to be here until we find out what’s going on.”
The curator sighs, beginning to sound more and more upset.
“We just got word back from the boys up top. TMA-6 is an illegal designer drug, synthesized from mescali-“
“Please, stop. I don’t know what any of that means.”
“Don’t play dumb. Says here it’s an amphetamine. I’m surprised someone of your status would be involved in something like this.”
“I have no interest to take amphetamines detective.”
“What makes you so exempt?”

The curator takes a deep breath in.

“I am sixty two, and I already cannot sleep.”
The detective says nothing.
“And why do you find yourself unable to sleep?” He asks, eyeing the curator suspiciously.
“Because I have a brain tumour.”
There is a heavy pause in the room. He goes on.
“I have enough medication to deal with before I start getting involved with obscure white powders.”

The detective lets a deep breath out.
“Do you honestly expect me to believe that there was some kind of international postage mishap which sent ancient human remains to a residential address in Australia, and somehow, you simultaneously received a delivery of twelve grams of t-tri-trimethox…”
The detective clears his throat.
“Twelve grams of TMA-6, which was destined for that same address?”
The curator does not answer for a moment, and a pained look lingers on his face.
“I don’t expect you to believe it, I am telling you what happened. Because that is what happened.
There is another pause.
The detective sighs and leans across the table, bringing himself closer to the curator.
“But that doesn’t even make any sense.”

After having a bong, he resumes working the crowbar’s fangs underneath the edge of the lid on the crate. After some struggle, he finally breaks the seal free, unleashing the mystery. He takes in a breath. His heart skips a beat. Slowly, he peers inside the crate.

“Oh, Goddamnit.”