<![CDATA[Alex Dunkin - Blog]]>Fri, 19 Jan 2018 04:31:22 +1030Weebly<![CDATA[Glam Adelaide review of Fair Day]]>Thu, 18 Jan 2018 03:23:53 GMThttp://alexdunkin.com/blog/glam-adelaide-review-of-fair-dayPicture
From hot sand and Chiko Rolls to family BBQs and neighbourly disputes, Australia Day is upon us and Alex Dunkin’s engaging black comedy is the ideal ode to all things Aussie.
Under the oppression of a soaring heatwave, locals and tourists converge on Founders Bay for the annual celebration of our nation. The local Mayor bounces from a Survival Day event to a citizenship ceremony while Jonno, Jacko and the gang get progressively drunker and more agro on the beach.
Between tinnies, Breezers, and chardonnay for mum, there’s back-to-school sales and the announcement of the Australian of the Year. An ocean rip follows an invasion of jellyfish, and tempers sizzle alongside the sausages while a local bushfire edges closer.

The full review is available at Glam Adelaide: http://www.glamadelaide.com.au/main/book-review-fair-day-by-alex-dunkin/


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<![CDATA[First Draft Series: Play Time]]>Thu, 28 Dec 2017 23:40:30 GMThttp://alexdunkin.com/blog/first-draft-series-play-timeBen leaned back on his dining chair with a satisfied grin on his face. The rest of the family chattered heartedly, an occasional pause filled the air with a dreamy distance that Ben’s mother always managed to induce at the weekly dinners. Ben’s beefy frame swelled over his chair and onto the empty one next to him where Simon barely sat in before shuffling around with dirty dishes and loaded the sink with the next bit of work for him. His slim frame swayed effortlessly around the crowded room, avoiding the photo tables with a swish in the opposite directions.
‘Simon, sit. I’ll get to those later,’ Ben’s mother feigned her protest.
‘It’s nothing Dorothy,’ Simon waved his hand at her. ‘I’m just doing my bit to help out.’
‘Can I get some more ice for my water,’ Ben asked. ‘Oh and some lemon.’ Simon smiled, nodded and slid from the room.
‘God Ben, demanding much?’ Bethany, Ben’s sister, teased. ‘Give him a break.’
‘It’s fine,’ Ben loosened his belt buckle, letting his pot belly release from over his jeans. ‘Simon’s used to it.’
Ben’s muscular hands rested on his stomach. His breathing shallowed smugly with the food sweats tickling the edges of his skin ready to slither out on the next exhale. Simon whizzed around the room, his feet barely touching the ground as he slipped around the room. A thick wedge of lemon plonked into Simon’s glass, the water slopped over the edge, seeping slowly through the tablecloth to the polished table top.
‘Simon, what do you call that?’ Ben scowled. Ben’s voice cut through the air to silence the room. ‘You’re such a mess. Why would you do something like that? Think before you make such a stupid decision.’
‘I’m sorry,’ Simon, patted furiously at the spilt water. His knuckles whitened in the panicked squishing at the liquid. ‘I didn’t mean to.’
‘Come on you’re a klutz. You need to do better.’ Ben glared at his partner.
Simon skittled from the room. His shoes whispered on the carpet in his dash into the kitchen. Dorothy shivered out the awkwardness around her.
‘Where is everyone heading for New Year’s this year?’ She asked in a croaking voice. The room quickly filled with chatter.
‘That was harsh,’ Bethany hissed across to Ben. ‘You shouldn’t talk down to him like that.’
‘It’s fine,’ Ben dismissed.
‘Can see who the girl in the relationship is,’ Richard, Ben’s dad, snickered from the head of the table. ‘Good to know I didn’t completely lose you when raising you.’
‘Dad!’ Bethany protested. ‘You can’t say things like that.’
‘Why not? These sensitive political correct warriors that can’t take a joke.’ He scoffed. He swigged deep on his port, his lips slapping greedily.
‘Well I see where you get it from,’ Bethany added to Ben. ‘Still I don’t think you should talk to your partner like that.’
‘I’m nothing like dad. I can assure you that,’ Ben stared sternly at his sister.
‘Except for that look and the early greying you’ve got going on,’ Bethany relaxed back in her chair.
‘I hope you enjoy mum’s moustache.’ The base sibling rivalry kicked in effortlessly. The third glass of white kept Bethany pink in the cheeks and easy to fall away from her main point. Ben smirked to himself, knowing what would come tonight when Simon and he were alone.
#
Simon stepped slowly into the bedroom, his brow furrowed at Ben. He paced the end of the bed in his jocks, his ribs a shadow of lines poking through his skin. His stomach muscles, defined through his scrawny stature, heaved heavily. Ben laid on the bed with his hands behind his head. He watched Simon’s lip curl and twitch in search of the right words to say. He scratched the thick layer of hair on his stomach and chest impatiently. He wanted Simon to finally start the motions so they can get through it.
‘You said some horrible things to me this evening,’ Simon finally muttered. ‘And right in front of your family.’
‘I know but you did make a mess in front of them,’ Ben rolled his eyes. ‘Maybe slice the lemons a little thinner and don’t be a klutz.’
Simon stopped in his tracks. He eyed down at Ben, his head was back, unfazed by the tone in Simon’s voice. He rubbed his forehead, pretending to ease the tension in his head. His cheeks wobbled ready to force a yawn out.
‘You’re doing it again,’ Simon spat out. ‘Why won’t you listen to me when I’m talking to you about these things?’
Simon slipped to his side of the bed and carefully lowered himself onto the soft fabric. He faced the wall, pretending Ben wasn’t there despite the heavy breathing that reminded him of the large presence taking up the bulk of the bed. The shadow on the wall eased Simon somewhat. He shut his eyes and exhaled loudly to return the conversation to his point.
‘You do that sort of thing every time we are with your family,’ Simon spoke as if he were alone in the room. ‘Each week, as if on schedule I’m trying to help out around the dinner table and you just sit there publicly judging me.’
‘Well what do you expect? They have high expectations of how I should act.’
‘You mean your dad does,’ Simon grumbled. ‘Just because you’re the eldest son and to carry his name.’
‘There is that I guess.’
‘That’s not my point,’ Simon huffed, holding himself tight for comfort. ‘I do my part for your family and all you do is criticise me. Constantly belittling me in public. And this time calling me names. What was it you said to me?’
‘Klutz,’ Ben shrugged.
‘What was that?’ Simon demanded.
‘I called you a klutz.’
‘That’s it. A klutz. You called me a klutz for spilling a bit of water. That seems a bit excessive doesn’t it?’ Simon looked over his shoulder at Ben. Ben gazed straight ahead, his cheeks curled ready to smile. A quiver coursed its way across his body. His matt of hair stood on its ends. Simon stood suddenly, arms crossed and back arched to tower over his partner who remained flat on the bed. ‘You called me a klutz. Are you going to respond to that?’
Ben remained silent, his eyes fixated on something non-existent in the room. Simon latched onto Ben’s wrist for attention. Ben’s arm fell limp and heavy.
‘Don’t you think you should say something to me? Are you going to apologise for calling me a klutz?’ Simon shook Ben’s wrist to no response. ‘I see. We’re going to do it that way again.’ He grabbed Ben’s other wrist and pushed them both back to the head board. He weaved the ropes around Ben’s skin and pulled it tight to the frame. Ben’s breath shallowed in anticipation. A small groan sighing out of his throat. A glint fired out of Simon’s eyes as he pulled out their drawer of toys. ‘We’ll see who’s a klutz,’ he smirked.
#
The midmorning sun cast across the café courtyard. Simon nudged Ben and waved across to Reg and Evan who have already secured a table at the overflowing café.
‘Morning boys,’ they greet each other with hugs and slumped uncomfortably on the crate furniture.
‘I hope you like this place,’ Reg said once seated.
‘Heather recommended it to us,’ Evan added. ‘We haven’t had a chance to check it out ourselves yet. It’s only been open for a short while but the reviews seem to be mostly positive.’
Ben snatched at the clipboard menu and began eying over the standard range of brunch items. His lips pursed, boredom at the novelty café washed across his face.
‘Water everyone?’ Simon offered. He grabbed the vase of water and started pouring into the mason jars set around the table.
‘Oh thank you,’ Reg and Evan said politely before launching into the details of their latest renovation.
Simon picked up Ben’s glass last. The hand wobbled in the sudden gush of water from the bottom of the vase. A splash flew over the edge and onto the paper table cover. Ben’s eyes glanced sideways at his partner. A grin filled his cheeks. Simon matched the smile before shutting his face down to await his cue. Ben sighed audibly and muttered into another round of their play.]]>
<![CDATA[First Draft Series: Wrapping Up]]>Fri, 22 Dec 2017 06:00:55 GMThttp://alexdunkin.com/blog/first-draft-series-wrapping-upThere’s so much. There always feels like so much taking over the house. Random items pile in the room around me, creating a nest of work that blocks my path to the door. I select the next in my chores. The small vase shimmers with fake gems on a green glaze.
‘Why wouldn’t anyone want something like this?’ I say while cringing.
I place the vase in the centre of tissue paper and begin the tedious process of wrapping. A layer of stickiness and dust develop on my fingers with each fold of paper. The sticky tape screeches painfully in my ears. I attempt to dull the noise with jingles in the background. The incessant beeping just adds to the frustration of being stuck alone in a room to wrap this mess. I carefully place the vase into a box with the rest of the wrapped items, cautious to not crack anything that I know is already in there.
Tears sneak behind my eyes, pressuring against the ball. I want them to finally break free. To finally have that release from all this. I’m so alone, I just need a break, a chance to feel comfortable in my own surrounds. Not crumbled up around others’ future belongings. The stress of the day fills me with dread, nothing but work awaits me during this period. When I’m not wrapping, there’s something that needs cleaning, organising, signing, it’s all too much. The tears I want to lash out of my body in throbbing waves hold still. They well and build but don’t break through.
I pick up the stack of DVDs and pile them onto a single sheet of paper. After checking the titles to make sure they’re the correct ones I wrap them into a tidy box, ready to go when the day arrives.
#
So much work grew from that one moment. The room was full of suits. Speeches and wine flowed as if it would be the last chance for us all to be together like that. Our families filled the room, everyone with their next conversations lined up before the last had finished. They all had to catch up with their duties before the evening took over and the trips home began.
‘It is great to see that so many of you could make it today,’ my dad started. He took the lead as he always wanted to at family events. If a turkey needed carving it would be done from his spot at the head of the table. ‘It’s on occasions like this that we are reminded of the importance of family.’
My mind drifted, I knew what dad would go on to say. I let my eyes wonder around the room. Water builds in their corners from the potent stench of the flowers that are overflowing from all the tables and chairs. A large decorated box sat on the end table waiting for me. Once it was all over, that’s what I would have to struggle out of here. Why must they make it so big? I think to myself. It needs to come with its own set of wheels.
Polite applause brought me back to reality. Tears are being wiped around the room through the strange mixture of heaves and laughter. A sigh filled me. I knew it was my time to take to the microphone and smile down at those gathered.
#
I place the final box at the top of the pile by the front door. The wrapping is done and now a tidy mess ready to ship out the house the moment the cars arrive. I shrink under the shadow of all the stuff I’ve coated in layers of plastic and tissue paper to save them from the trip.
‘Why do we always do this too ourselves?’ I mutter. ‘There’s always way too much. Twenty bucks says most of this is tossed by the end of next year.’
I close my eyes and turn back to the living room. More junk lines the walls in a glimmer of faux acknowledgement. The dangling bits of rubbish create a disjointed theme to match the mood of the season. The amount of mess making it all come together for the occasion swells me with dread at the cleaning that will follow once it became acceptable to throw all this out. My heart races, the knowledge of the work to come forces my body to wake when all I want is to relax and let loose.
#
The house is finally empty except for me and my belongings. It’s starting to feel like normal again. The manners required to get through the flood me with exhaustion. The desire to stumble onto the couch with my phone off and a movie on overwhelms my emotions. I have made it through. I never thought I would get through it in one piece but here I am alone.
The weeks of family treading in and out of the house kept my mind rushing with anxiety. My hands shook at each raise in the volume. Song echoed off my tiles and walls at every moment of the day. Booze and food added to the snoring and cheering. Each night the sound of my uncle grunting in his dreams shook the house. That’s all gone now. The house is decluttered. The cards tucked away until I can sneak them into the recycling.
I’m finally, truly alone. The flickering of the television is my only company. The sound of traffic in the background reminds of the simpler times when I didn’t have family invade the house and take over everything under the guise of best wishes and the guilt ridden need to show that they’re useful. It’s just me now. The space is my own. The once in a lifetime event is over. I never want to do that again.
That well of tears pushed at the back of my eyes. My power of hold it off failed without the distractions. I’m all alone now. A tear glistens in my vision, signalling my time to release.
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<![CDATA[First Draft Series: Scratching The Surface]]>Sat, 16 Dec 2017 04:59:41 GMThttp://alexdunkin.com/blog/first-draft-series-scratching-the-surfaceOur scavenging through the dirt was finally beginning to be fruitful. I wiped away a layer of rusty crumbs to find my treasure. Sighs of relief and greedy cheers erupted around the camp. The deserted land held that promise we moved here for when the first glint of dull gold hit my eyes. My hands shivered as I lifted the device free from its wedged spot in the ground. I instantly recognised the watch face, small and fragile but somehow still holding together.
The dumping fields had been a failed promise for most people. Right from the beginning we were told about the riches left when the land was abandoned. Old dumps overloaded with what was thrown out instead of reused lured me out there. Upon arrival there was just torn canvas tents and a howling wind over the brown land.
I swung the watch in front of my eyes on a small rope I weaved from scratch. Such a tiny reminder of our mistakes waved before my sight, mistakes we were trying to learn from, yet mistakes that held so much promise for our future.
‘What do you reckon you’ll get for it?’ Richard asked from over his card game. The overturned carton that served as their table wobbled under the weight of their tokens. ‘Looks like a pretty piece. Ain’t seen one of them out here before.’
‘Who knows?’ I said. I placed the watch back into my pocket and buttoned it securely shut. ‘Depends on what they find inside it.’
‘I could turn a nice profit for you if you like,’ Richard’s shifted straight to his weaselling.
‘Steady on there, mate,’ Chris jumped in. ‘Your brother-in-law doesn’t count as a dealer. Something like that needs to be taken to the right place, like my contact across the border.’
‘Traitor,’ Richard spat. ‘You would take something like that across to those murders and rapists?’
‘You know that’s not true.’
‘True enough to not trust them.’
I shook my head. The moment I pulled the watch from the dirt a hand reached to snatch it from me. I kept the treasure as close to my heart as possible to avoid any thieves taking in from me before I could turn it in to an official.
The next day in the field I couldn’t get close to my site from yesterday. Swarms of men scoured the dirt, sending a cloud of filth spiralling up around them. Swearing and muttering bellowed out of the sweaty pile of men. Their clothes tore more into rags with each swipe at each other and the dirt. Tears and desperation flooded the pile of broken humans. I wrapped my face in an oily rag. The odour of tea oil I soaked onto the cloth eased putrid air as I ready to march away to a new site.
I found a location up the hill away from the brawl. I could still see the men scrap at each other under the copper dust that sought to bury them where I found the watch. I dumped my pack on the ground and began the dig. The weeks of lashing into the ground had taken its toll on my body. The newfound enthusiasm of a worthwhile find did little to dull the constant aching through my spine. The muscles cried in agony. Some fuel remained inside me and carried me through with each pat of the watch against my chest adding a tiny reminder that there was something out here after all.
For hours I dug in random spots, praying a clink of metal on metal would tear me out of this constant slug. A sun disappeared behind the far mountain. The intermittent shadows provided enough cool in the air for my skin to relax. The shadows covered the field so much I didn’t see him sneak up on me. The first I knew he was at my site was the thud of his fist against my head. Blood instantly release from the wound. Ringing bounced through my head, blurring my vision. I tumbled instinctively onto my front, clutching at the pocket with the watch in it. I could smell blood. My head felt like it was ready to split and spill my brain onto the dirt. A muffled voice swore and demanded from me. I couldn’t give in. He kicked and belted me. My body cracked under each smack into my side. I held on, knowing that if I lost the watch I would lose my chance of the better life back home.
The kicking ceased suddenly. Fingers dug into my body, feeling and gnawing at my flesh. I took the opportunity, forcing all the strength I could muster into my legs. I rolled and launched both boots at my attacker. A howl released from him as one boot collided with his jaw. My vision cleared. I spotted Richard patting uselessly at the teeth poking through his lips. His eyes watered. He span, one hand latching at nothing in the air as he attempted to pursue me.
I scrambled to my feet and ran, panting through the blood that dripped over my nose and mouth. Richard screamed after me, his mouth tearing more as he screeched. I ignored him and sprinted. My heart begged me to stop and surrender the watch. Richard was bigger and better connected but the fleeting knowledge that the watch would get me back to my family kept me sprinting. My legs burned through the climb up the hill. Slowly, my running turned to a wobbled attempt to walk. Richard’s distant screaming shrunk into the background of my skull howling for it to end. I surrendered to the pain and drop to my knees.
The coarse dirt dug through the thin material of my pants. The stones on the ground buried themselves into my skin, any movement threatened to scratch the flesh of my bones. I wheezed and panted in desperate attempts to steady my breath. My chest ached for release. I touch the wound on my head. It stung and pulsed instantly on the contact.
I glanced down the hill, squinting through the sweat and blood. I had never travelled that far from the main camp. The strange land rippled before me. It looked completely untouched by man, daunting but somehow begging to be discovered. The shadows moved again, easing into their final flicker before the cold snapped over the land.
My strength was gone when he caught me. Richard’s tackle knocked the remaining wind out from deep in my chest. I flailed down the hill, Richard snatching at my body. His rotten breath spluttered blood across the back of my neck. I gripped onto my pocket. The metal of the watch was hot to the touch. The sunlight and body heat had created a brand in my palm. I wrapped my fingers tight and let the fall take us.
I croaked in agony as we hit the final tumble. A sharpness pinched into my back as I fell into place away from Richard. He heaved himself up quickly and launched. He was on top of me. His hands sought straight for my throat and squeezed. Water seeped from my eyes. I pulled at his hands until I couldn’t hold my arms up any longer. They dropped to the ground uselessly. The air pressed from my body. I was failing in my duties.
The cool touch of metal teased the back of my hand. I followed the shape with my fingers, dirt falling from its sides with each tap of my hands. The last of my strength mustered in my arm. I gripped and swung. The metal cracked into Richard’s skull. The force belted him to the ground beside. He laid there silent after the thud to the dirt. The object fell from my hand. A black exhaustion took over.
When I came to the twinkling light of the moon cast itself across the desert. A chill crept its way across my spine. Richard was still silent beside me, his body cold from the reach of death. I rolled and thrust myself up until I was seated. I was alone. A gentle whisper of the wind was all that kept me company. I gently twisted around to view the surrounds. The metal sat next to me. The busted scrap still had the paint from the ship that it was dumped here as part of. A glimmering across the field before me caught my eyes. I blink through the pain. Tears gushed down my face at the sight around me.
The black screens of historic devices reflected the weak starlight. The shattered parts and broken plastics hid the truth I finally accepted. My chest heaved with pride. I swallowed deep to control the sobbing I knew was welling in my gut. The precious metals hidden in the plastic were more than the watch in my hand could ever achieve. I knew in that instant there was enough here to get most of us back to Earth.
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<![CDATA[First Draft Series: Dinner Is Served]]>Fri, 08 Dec 2017 07:11:37 GMThttp://alexdunkin.com/blog/first-draft-series-dinner-is-servedI was locked in with it again. In my exhausted haze I turned into the wrong room. It was just a black lump when the door shut behind me. I gasped at the shadows. Near it a broken body laid twitching on the rug, her limbs destroyed and failing her. The lump just sat there in the middle of the room. The door bolts scraped shut, the beast ready to toy with me again. Last time I barely escaped. My arms were sliced and clothing in tatters. If it weren’t for the family honour I would have quit this place years ago, well before encountering the dark creature. I had wondered if my father or grandfather had to go through this. Trapped, heart beating to the point of shattering their ribs while staring down the dark soul of this house.
My skin prickled at the sight of the lump shimmering, its surface rippling in the candlelight. It appeared more docile than last time, sluggish, as if it had already feasted on more servants’ fear than the single maid that was gasping from the floor. It wheezed like it had consumed enough human darkness to fuel the shadows of this place. I rattled the doorknobs. They were ice cold to the touch. My skin froze to the metal and ripped when I pulled away.
I conceded to the trap and fell back to my training. I eased my breathing, slowing it until I felt my muscles relax. Let it take some fear if needed, we had all been instructed upon arrival, but never reveal yourself too much or it will want it all. I exhaled calmly and glanced back down at the maid’s twitching legs, her skin blistered and oozed green, just like all the others who had opened their mind in a panic.
The black lump convulsed and grew. I clawed onto the wooden chair back, my nails digging into the varnish. It was ready for me and I needed to focus to let it become bored and leave me to head back to the abandoned cellar where it belonged. Shadows flickered across the walls, its eyes surveying the room. An invisible tentacle slithered behind my eyes, teasing about my sights. It slipped effortlessly between my current vision and my dreams. Its unworldly intrigue sniffed and prodded as if my mental rejections were merely a vague disapproval.
I swallowed hard and pushed my mind to think of my family. The thought of my parents cooking a festival stew seeped its way into the front of my mind. My dad’s tears over the onion sparked laughter around the room. His usual stern face lost to the power of a vegetable. The stream of tears teased at my mother’s soft face as she struggled to hold down the deep chuckles rising in her chest. The frothing brew in pot pumped the room full of meaty steam. Our mouths watered at the scent knowing the delicious meal will fill us until we are knocked out in a comfortable slumber.
A dark tentacle eased its way into my dreaming. Its curiosity poked at my family memories. I sensed its hunger, it grumbled deep and unquenchable compared to my festive desires. It licked around my mother’s face, smacking a tooth clear from her mouth and into the stew. She laughed, oblivious to the danger and continued with her preparations. My body shivered as my father’s merry tears turned thick and red. The boiling liquid sizzling deep in his cheeks. His facial skin loosened and slid free off the bones, leaving only puss to drip from his head.
My stomach lurched. Panic flushed thought me. I slammed my eyes shut to release the image from my head. The dark soul wasn’t done. Its hunger was unfulfilled. It refused my request to hold onto my crumbling dream. Its tentacles pulsated throughout the dream, devouring, consuming each hint of fear it could squeeze from me.
My body failed to hold me. My legs trembled beneath me as my training was futile in protecting me like last time. Previous experience meant nothing to the creature’s current greed. My festive dream filled with screams, chilling deep inside my being. My heart skipped and thudded. Acid flooded the home in my dream. My parents cooked on, chatting heartily with exposed jaws. Their organs pulsated out of their skin, bursting over the food. The warm smell of meat soured into the stench of rotting flesh. My parents cooked on, filling bowls with the putrid mess.
They turned to me, reading to serve. The colour of their eyes dripped from their skulls. Their last recognisable piece spluttered off them. I failed to the dear. My chest filled with ice and released a piercing scream. The dark soul slurped merrily from me. It had won. I screamed through the dreamscape as it shattered away in my vision until only a bright white filled my world.
The dark soul, done with me, discarded my twitching body next to the maid’s. It softened back into the middle of the room, returning to its unassuming black lump, ready to trick the next person who fails to leave the room before the door shut behind them.]]>
<![CDATA[First Draft Series: Not My Battle]]>Sat, 02 Dec 2017 04:37:26 GMThttp://alexdunkin.com/blog/first-draft-series-not-my-battleThe cigarette smoke filled my lungs with the familiar morning kick. The mid-morning sun already belted against the top of my head. The peak of summer had come in full force. Sweat dripped off my back as I slowly inhaled my next draw of smoke. In the distance I heard the soft thudding of drums. The small beating echo irritated me. My muscles tensed at the thought of taking longer to get to work today. The protests were scheduled to take over most of the city centre. The thought of the additional hour drive to avoid the traffic scrunched frustration across my brow. Whistles carried across the breeze and in through my balcony window. The scrabbling of noise made the megaphone voices mumble to an indistinguishable mess of voices. I tapped out the butt and returned inside my apartment to shower and get ready for the long day of entering data for my research department.
I dashed out of the shower to chase my ringing phone. My boss’s name shone on the screen. I audible sighed the moment I spotted the name. I answered knowing already that work was cancelled. The increasing bellowing in the distance confirmed that the protesting had swollen. I glanced out the window. Colourful flare smoke filled the air around the city centre. The alternating beats shivered my apartment windows. The delayed reverberations signalled the protest spreading and converting into multiple events. I scowled as I hung up the phone. I was still dripping onto the floorboards. The additional mess to clean did little to soothe my mood. A full day of pay had been lost just from some people who were unhappy with the government.
For a few hours I paced around the apartment in search of something to entertain me for the day. My usual overload of work had been left in the office waiting for me to return. The small DVD collection titles bored me the moment I glanced upon them. I had watch each too many times for it to consume my day. I clicked on the remote, stirring the television to life. Plonking on the couch with my phone became my option to dull myself from the boredom. Sitting around seemed reasonable with the aim of waiting for hunger to kick in so I can be distracted with a menial meal. The music throbbed and rose outside. A celebration had climbed out of the protests to consume every sensation around me.
A ricocheting of howls screeched in the through the balcony door. I squinted at the noise, confused by the strange change from regular beat. The music had died off instantly. The colour had stopped rising into the air. I slide out a cigarette, lit it and stepped out onto the balcony. The sun had disappeared behind the edge of my building, casting a soothing shadow over my apartment. A slither of smoked snaked its way between the CBD buildings. Its thin black trail spread out into the sky as the celebrations fizzled. The howling bellowed again. The cries angrily hissed at an enemy I couldn’t see. I shrugged, flicked the last of my ash into the tray and stepped back inside to consume myself with the monotonous television viewing.
The plate of pasta rested precariously on my lap. I dug into it with the fork in one hand while scrolling through my new feeds on my phone. I chewed slowly on the cold dish, locked onto the images of protesters choking and bleeding as the riot police marched through the city streets. The smoke on the city sky line thickened into a black haze smothering the buildings in an ugly mess. The screaming had had switched to roars that raged over the sirens. Celebratory flares were switched for tear gas. The television streamed updates of violence against the government by rebels who are currently storming the streets. I shake my head at the nonsense in the city. The double of work sitting ready for me tomorrow infuriated me. These people taking over the street have blocked me from my job and the responsibilities I have for the wider community. I grumbled at the growing noise from the distance, the distraction will no doubt destroy my night’s sleep.
An explosion shook the entire city. The glasses in my apartment rattled in the cupboards. I waited for the tremors to stop before I head to the balcony to see what has happened. A fiery glow flickered out from one end of the city centre. The stench of rubber wafted across the horizon to smother the city in fumes. I glanced over my shoulder back into the apartment. Everything is still attached to the walls. My plate of half eaten pasta remained on the coffee table where I left it hours before. The television is trapped in rolling coverage of the coup they claimed was rising throughout the country. I dropped to the floor at the bang of another explosion blasting through the city. I felt the shock waves thrust through my chest. The human noises were lost completely to the sounds of machines and fires.
Hours had passed since the first of the explosion. Each new belting of sound caused only slight flinches now. My tired eyes stared over the city centre. Buildings were missing glass and bricks, their shells crumbled off as the fighting escalated. A long stick of ash hanged off the neglected cigarette in my fingers. A piercing shriek menaced in the distance. I knew what the noise was. The end was coming in. The ominous hissing was forecast in the news. The government was stepping in. A shadow in the sky caught my attention. I pressed out the cigarette butt and took in a last breath of stale air.
The rockets dropped on the city. I watched the first of the buildings quake and fail in their duty. A numbness controlled my body as I took the sign and stepped back into the building. I gathered a couple meaningful items and tucked it into the bag of long life food and bottled water. The trek down into the stairwell to join my neighbours blurred across my vision. I matched their disheartened faces. We all knew then. Our country was lost to tyranny. We sat in silence, waiting our chance to find safety. Until then, the vibrations kept us awake. The smell of smoke filled our lungs. All we could do was wait.]]>
<![CDATA[Feast Festival Review: The Dykeside]]>Thu, 30 Nov 2017 23:34:56 GMThttp://alexdunkin.com/blog/feast-festival-review-the-dykesidePicture
The Dykeside features at the 2017 Feast Festival following sell out shows across the country, including in Melbourne and Canberra.

The comedy show stars three comedians, Lori Bell from Adelaide, and Bobby Macumber and Selina Jenkins from Melbourne, and works together a two hours show of individual stories, song, and casual banter. Each of the comedians present a different style and pace to their own jokes that offers a variety of comedy elements to suit a much wider audience than possible as a standalone comedian.

The full review can be read at Glam Adelaide: http://www.glamadelaide.com.au/main/feast-review-the-dykeside/


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<![CDATA[First Draft Series: Feeling Cheated]]>Fri, 24 Nov 2017 05:11:32 GMThttp://alexdunkin.com/blog/first-draft-series-feeling-cheated‘I’m sorry to tell you like this but I thought you needed to know. I’ve been sleeping with your husband for the past few years. I’m sorry. M.’
The note was left on my windshield. I looked around and there was no one near me when I got to my car. I had left it the back of the supermarket in my usual spot so they could have been staking me out. Disbelief took me first. I shook my head at the note, shoved it in my bag and ignored it until I got home and started cooking. The niggling in the back of my mind was slow at first, it tickled at my curiosity. Gently picking away until a full stretch of space sliced open for it to charge through my thoughts. It had taken over. How could he? My mind ran on its own accord. After all these years. After all I’ve given up so I could be at home with the kids. My career on hold so he could pursue his. I was the bread winner. My job was fantastic but of course I said I’d give it up to be a mum. After all that he cheats on me!
I broke away from the thoughts to tend to the water boiling over the edge of the pot. The burn on my skin as I mopped up the mess didn’t register as it scorned my skin. I forced my focus down onto any small task I could find in the kitchen, anything that could distract me for long enough that my breath could return to normal. He cheated, my thoughts intruded again. Frustration bounced through me, turning in my gut and tensing randomly at my muscles. I switched the stove off in defeat, I knew I can’t continue my daily tasks after all that’s happened. Nothing would be the same after knowing what he had been doing.
My hands shook as I read the letter again. My heart beat in my throat and my stomach swirled to the point of vomiting onto the carpet. Every time I thought I had my body under control the shakes made me crumble back onto the couch. He was due home any minute now. I stared at the door, waiting for that click, pressing myself to hold strong for the confrontation. I wouldn’t let him get away with this betrayal.
The door clicked and I flew into action. He didn’t know what was being fired at him. His face dropped, mouth sitting wide open in a feeble attempt to interject and explain what he had done. I waved the note in front of his face before reading it in a screeching voice.
‘Who’s M? How could you do this to our family? What’s wrong with you? Why am I not enough?’
I screamed. I bellowed. I bawled. Everything I had in my system rocketed out of me. He tried to defend himself. He denied what the note says. He said he didn’t know who M was and perhaps they have the wrong person. He shouted back that he was actually working late and can prove it. His body was shaking in anger. His initial shock had faded completely into fuming self-defence. I didn’t care. He had cheated. He had to go so I could rebuild this family. I can be what our children need without him.
‘Get out! Just get out! Pack your bags and get the hell out of my house!’
He threw his hands up, surrendering to the fact that he would not be sleeping at home that night. My shoulders slumped once the door slammed shut with him on the other side. A relief washed over me, bringing with it a dreamy exhaustion. I knew there was work still to come but for one night I felt strong. The cheater is gone, I kept repeating to myself. Sudden hunger grumbled me back to normality. I continued my night, ready for a solid sleep and start to a new life.
The first week without him was strange. The house felt quieter, my body seemed hollow as if something had been scooped out to leave just air whispering about inside me. I went about my days as normally as possible. I dropped the kids off at school, telling them with a calm face despite wanting to leap out of my own skin, that their dad is going away for a while and that I loved them. My fingers ached from scrubbing every surface around the house. Each time a thought of him creeped to the front of my mind I found something else to clean. A permanent stench of bleach filled my nostrils. I was dizzy, but at least distracted from reality.
Pulling into the supermarket carpark was automatic. Nothing tweaked in me about what happened the week before. I grabbed the shopping bags and locked the car before I saw them. A woman and a teen stared at me, mumbling to themselves. The woman pointed at me. I froze on the spot. My heart skipped several beats. My hand wrapped so hard onto my keys that the metal threatened to pierce my skin. The teen took a quick glance at me and nodded, keeping his eyes on the ground. Oh god, it’s his kid. That’s M and his kid. It’s real. It can’t be this real. How could he keep all this from me?
The woman shoved the teen. His shoulders were drooped down and eyes at the bitumen. The woman stalked behind him, just within hearing distance at all times. I shot my eyes around to take in all of this kid. He was completely strange to me. I searched for my husband’s features but there was nothing there, nothing I could see to confirm that I had been cheated on in a whole new way.
‘Excuse me ma’am. Um. I’m. Um. I’m sorry for leaving that note on your window. It was just a prank. I’m sorry if it hurt you in anyway.’
‘I’m sorry about what my son has done. The school received a few angry calls from other people who had the same note left on the window. Something about a cheating husband. Trust me. He won’t be doing that sort of thing again.’
My mouth fell open. It was a prank. My heart sank. My husband’s face flashed in front of my mind. The picture of him angry at me, his face red and eyes watering at the fact that I wouldn’t believe him. The sound of the front door slamming echoed in my mind. I needed to get him back. Will he take me back after all this?]]>
<![CDATA[Feast Festival Review: Burlesque By Force]]>Fri, 17 Nov 2017 21:00:00 GMThttp://alexdunkin.com/blog/feast-festival-review-burlesque-by-forcePicture
Burlesque By Force received its world premiere at the Nexus Art Space as part of the 2017 Feast Festival.
The show is a tale of sexual assault, abuse, and the lingering impact that can be left on a victim. It is a predominately spoken word production that opens with Brodie John bowing at the end of a show to the side of the stage and then entering a dressing room set up for the main show of Burlesque By Force.
There is alternation between a poetic pre-recorded audio voice and John directly projecting to the audience. It charges straight into the description of assault and the attempted recovery experienced. It comes across as a deeply personal production that teases the intimate details and the struggle to cope, rather than a usual burlesque production of teasing with the body.

The full review can be read at Glam Adelaide: http://www.glamadelaide.com.au/main/feast-review-burlesque-by-force/


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<![CDATA[First Draft Series: What's Next?]]>Thu, 16 Nov 2017 20:27:35 GMThttp://alexdunkin.com/blog/first-draft-series-whats-nextReverend John clears his throat to bring the small council to attention. The three other men mumble themselves into an impatient silence. Reverend Simon’s deep wrinkled face sits into his usual scowl as if ready to pounce into a century old lashing of the Old Testament.
‘Thank you for meeting today on such short notice,’ Reverend John begins. The bishop leans in diplomatically wanting to absorb every opinion of the men who will soon be voting on his potential promotion. ‘You are all aware of why we have gathered today.’
‘Bloody ridiculous,’ Reverend Simon hisses. The abrasion in his voice makes the young Reverend Peter flinch upright and straighten his frock. His old teacher still commanded fear through him. ‘How could they interfere with our religious freedoms like that.’
‘I can tell this is going to be a very difficult time for us,’ Reverend John continues, ‘so I thought it best we some to a decision on our next steps straight away before.’ Reverend John scrapes his chair as he positions to jot notes. His sudden acting role as chair conflicts with his automatic responses as long serving secretary. He rubs on his beard assuming someone will jump in and tell him what he needs to know.
‘I think you all know what I think we should do,’ Reverend Simon fills the void. ‘Back in my day this sort of thing would never have come to a head. We would have smacked it out of them before it had to rise in a swirl like it has.’
‘I don’t think punishment is an appropriate response these days,’ Reverend Peter’s voice crackles as he speaks. ‘We could lobby a bit further with the local MP. He was very receptive of us in the last meetings.’
‘Stupid boy! That hasn’t worked.’ Reverend Peter shrinks away from the crushing rejection in his mentor’s voice. ‘That will not get us anywhere. He only likes talking to us because if he refuses he will lose the thousands we launder into his campaign funds. We need to go straight through the schools and use the parents. Start with a leaflet and then pump the issue through the newsletters until our flock are attacking the MPs for us.’
Reverend John’s pen scratches noisily on his paper while Reverend Simon murmurs through his routine. The command in his voice carries weight behind the rather simple words. The plan seems to spill over his page and shove doubt to the front of his mind at the thought of calling this meeting in the first place.
‘You are all making excellent points,’ the bishop states calmly. ‘These are all really good points. I’m sure if we work together we will soon have people seeing the reason behind our arguments. Our concern, I believe, are indeed concerns of the nation.’
‘Quit it already Richard. You’ve got our votes.’ Reverend Simon snaps. ‘The sooner the better. Can shove you out for a more disciplined leader. Just like when I first entered the school. Those were the days. Boys were boys and men were God fearing. We had the highest turnouts in the district. The funds were rolling in to build a new glorious church and then the politicians screwed it all up.’
‘I absolutely understand your position,’ the bishop calmly answers. He rests comfortably on his chair, making measured nods to show his appreciation.
Reverend Peter shuffles himself into a semi-confident pose. His face scrunches together to exude as much determination as he can muster.
‘Is this all really necessary?’ he asks. ‘I mean it’s not that bigger deal and this all seems like a big step to take for something that wouldn’t really affect us in the future. I mean, it’s only a bake sale.’
Reverend Simon falls back into a growling laughter. His echoing cackle bounce of the stone walls menacingly.
‘Just a bake sale?’ He grumbles. ‘Just a bake sale? I thought I taught you better than that.’
Reverend John shuffles himself upright, he rests in patient contemplating.
‘We need to maintain control of the bake sales,’ the bishop calmly informs the room. Reverend Simon nods knowingly, his lips pursed. ‘If the school keeps all the money then we won’t be able to flush our foreign cash and get it into a slush accounts undetected.’
‘What?’ Reverend Peter gapes. ‘That’s real?’
‘So?’ Reverend John remembers his chairing roles and steers the group to a decision. ‘We are going to write to the parents and tell the school that they can’t keep the bake sale money in their own account? We being the original governing body are the appropriate ones to manage those affairs in the traditional manner?’ Reverend Simon and the bishop nod instantly, pressing their hands on the table ready to leave and get on with their day. Reverend Peter holds back, his eyes flicking about as he processes the new information. His face drops once the recognition kicks into his system. He shrugs and nods in conformity. ‘Good. I’ll get this processed. Meeting adjourned.’]]>