Click on the arrow above to listen to Peter’s reading.
“Hi, my name’s Peter Papathanasiou, and this is an excerpt from my short story, called Louie.
Louie was a taxi driver I’d met a few years ago over beers at the local footy club. Having lost a semi-final one season to a team of chicken farmers from Cooma, Louie recounted a fare he’d had the previous winter that took him all the way down to the Snowy Mountains town.
Geez, do I remember that night well. It was a goddamn abortion of a shift. It was around midnight and I got lost taking a detour on my way back to the capital. So I’m flickin’ round the radio dial lookin’ for some decent tunes when from out of nowhere this big blasted goat jumps in front of the cab. I screech on the brakes but it’s too late; I hear this almighty THUD! and feel the poor bastard bump off the bonnet.
So I sat there with the motor idling, hoping something outside would move. But nothing did. Aw hell, I grumbled. I got out and walked round the front to survey the collective damage. Now the cab’s in pretty good nick, but the goat’s all mangled up and twisted. Seemed the only humane thing to do was put the foul mess out of its misery. So I grabbed a tyre iron from the boot and went to work. I’m swinging and I’m swinging, clubbin’ away, trying to find a nice fleshy spot on the skull, make the end come quick. But I can’t bloody do it, and what’s worse is the goat’s crying and wailing. It was awful! I just wanted it to shut the hell up. Bahh! Baaahhhhh!!! And there’s me, slowly getting covered in blood shooting up from the road.
Before I knew it, fifteen minutes had gone by, I’m out of breath, and a copper’s roared up and blinded me with his high-beams. The goat’s cries had woken a nearby farmhouse, not to mention the sound of me cursing like a trooper and clumsily clanking metal on bitumen for a quarter hour.
The cop’s a sympathetic bloke, reckoned he’d played footy himself in his younger years. Unbuttoning his holster, he ended the drama with Mr Bullet. BANG!!! The echo seemed to ring forever, warm brains sprayed out all over the road.
‘”Just outta curiosity,” the cop said, “why’d you go the tyre iron instead of just backing over the little bastard again with the cab?”
A massive light bulb suddenly went off above my head.
Back in town an hour later, covered in blood and reeking of carcass, I got first possie in the rank pretty quickly, and a few sideways glances from my passengers the rest of my shift. But plenty of tips.”
ABOUT PETER PAPATHANASIOU:
Peter Papathanasiou’s short stories have either won or been short-listed for literary awards across Australia including the Todhunter Literary Award (WA), Banjo Paterson Writing Awards (NSW), Rolf Boldrewood Literary Awards (NSW), Mornington Peninsula Prize (VIC), and Marjorie Graber-McInnis Award (ACT). With the assistance of grants from the Capital Arts Patrons Organisation Inc. and the ACT Community Arts Office, Peter has just completed his first novel, which he workshopped with Varuna’s creative team during a Professional Development Residency in October 2010. While he sources a publisher for his first novel, Peter has started researching and writing his second novel.
Varuna Professional Development Residency – October 2010
Long-listed for HarperCollins Varuna Awards for Manuscript Development – September 2009
Sadomasochism for Writers. ACTWrite, Volume 16 Issue 12 (December 2010)
Rejection: They’re just not that into you. ACTWrite, Volume 16 Issue 1 (February 2010)
O Micros. ACTWrite, Volume 14 Issue 1 (February 2008)
Twitter = @peteplastic
Varuna has been funded by the Australia Council to produce a Varuna Writer-a-Day “app”. When we have recorded 365 writers the app will be made available via the iTunes store. In the meantime, if you subscribe to this free blog, you can receive a daily reading delivered to your email inbox which can also be directed to your mobile phone.