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“Hello, I’m Trevor Shearston. I live in Katoomba in the Blue Mountains. They’re not really mountains, it’s a huge plateau dissected by deep valleys. If you leave your front door and walk in a straight line in any direction you will eventually come to a cliff.
I’m writing a series of stories and a novella with the motif of cliffs. Some are actual, some are emotional and moral.
This is from a story called His Old Room.
Two hard taps on his right foot woke him. The blunt end of a heavy black torch was waiting to tap again. He blinked and turned his head. A transit cop was standing in the gap between the seats. The man’s face was a blur, his head haloed by the ceiling fluorescents, but Dylan could see the size of him, the shoulders of the blue shirt filled tight. Behind him in the aisle stood a second cop who looked as if he too did weights. The man between the seats straightened and flipped the torch and slotted it into a cradle on his belt.
‘Evening, sir. Sorry to disturb you, but would you remove your feet from the seat, please.’
‘Uh? Oh – yeah.’
He squirmed upright and planted his boots on the floor.
‘And could we see your ticket, if you wouldn’t mind.’
He’d bought one against exactly this. He slid his hand beneath his rump for his wallet, drew the slip of cardboard from among the notes and held it for the man to read.
‘Thank you, sir. Have a good night.’
‘Same to you.’
‘And we’d appreciate, sir,’ the cop in the aisle said, ‘if your boots didn’t go back on soon as we leave the carriage?’
He went cold with fright. Don’t leave, then, eh, his buried self had been about to say. The cop had noticed.
‘Everything all right?’
‘With me? Sure, yeah.’
He watched them go. The second man glanced into seats the first had just inspected as if an evader might somehow materialise between one glance and the next. When they reached the stairs to the lower deck the second man raised his wrist awkwardly high to look at his watch and he knew the look would include him. If he met his gaze the bastard would be back in five minutes. He feigned a yawn and closed his eyes.”
ABOUT TREVOR SHEARSTON:
Born in Sydney, Trevor Shearston has lived in Papua New Guinea, Adelaide, and on the South Coast of NSW, and now lives in Katoomba.
He has been living from writing since 1979.
He is married to the photographer Bette Mifsud and has a son, Corin.
“I first went to Varuna on a Fellowship in 1994. Peter was on leave, the other two fellows cancelled. The sole resident, I became very proprietorial about the house.
After moving to Katoomba I was on selection panels for Fellowships and the HarperCollins Awards. I ran a short fiction course where Sheila, our beloved chef, proved a star. I’m still hoping for her autobiography.
I have been volunteer labour with Mick and Rod in the gardens, on converting the tennis court to parking, and on the driveway.
I’ve been absent from Varuna for a number of years, but now that Varuna is seriously involved with the community again I’ve returned.” Trevor Shearston
Something in the Blood (1979)
Sticks That Kill (1983)
White Lies (1986)
A Straight Young Back (2000)
Dead Birds (2007)
Snowdrop – filmed as Envy (1999)
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