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“Hi, my name’s Nicole Smith (occasionally known as Nicky Marr) and I’m reading from Sideshow.
The Duke’s late but I don’t mind.
‘What time did the others get up?’ he asks, looking refreshed from his sleep in.
‘I’m so glad we’re taking the train,’ he says.
We make it to the platform just in time to watch the train pull away from the station. We buy tickets for the next one. Fifty-six rupees only. The exchange rate makes that to be about ten cents. The others paid thousands of rupees for their cars. We delight at our cleverness, take a two-hour lunch and at last, the train pulls up to the station.
We find First Class. Air conditioned, sparsely populated and the catering is good. Unfortunately the conductors realize our mistake all too quickly. Apparently we have bought Unreserved Second Class Seats. Our task, to find the Unreserved Second Class Seats. We set off.
We find Luggage Class easily enough. Suitcases and boxes and people sitting between the carriages. We hope to each other that these aren’t the Unreserved Second Class seats. The next carriage has seats, but so many people are crammed into the moving room that they are hanging out the doors. Must be Overcrowded Class. We move on, shimmying between the people.
We find ourselves in Walking Up and Down the Train Class, eventually descend into Hold Onto the Open Doorway Class and finally land in Crouching Under the Basin Class. Thankfully we never sink to the horror of Latrine Class.
A man and his wife feel sorry, make some room and offer a seat to me. I look over to the Duke. He’s happy flirting with a dangerous looking young man in Open Doorway Class. He won’t mind if I take it.
Outside an ancient civilization is being framed by the moving window. Rice paddies, brickworks and people walking in long, colourful scarves from nowhere to nowhere.”
ABOUT NICOLE SMITH (OCCASIONALLY KNOWN AS NICKY MARR):
Nicky was first published in the Courier Mail when she was twelve for a science fiction short story called Just Another Day In Space. Since then she has realised that there are no days in space.
Nicky has been published in Visible Ink and enjoyed two Hothouse Theatre’s A Month in the Country residencies to write new work which included a development for Local Hero, which had a season at La Mama, was nominated for a Green Room Award and is listed on the Australian Script Centre website. Nicky was recently shortlisted for Writing Australia’s Unpublished Manuscript Award for her novel Sideshow.
“I was on a Fellowship at Varuna in 2010.” Nicky Marr
Local Hero, Australianplays.org website
Visible Ink 2006
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