Friday, November 16, 2007

Creative Carnival - Cut and paste

Hauling her suitcase out of the car, Vi was still engaged in an animated phone call with The Enemy, as she was calling them. Abby liked to joke of them being the Spawn of the Devil, just because it appealed to her warped sense of humour, to call the pre-eminent religious political party the antithesis of what they believed themselves to be. So much, she thought for religion and politics be separated in this day and age.

On the second trip to the car, for the pile of newspapers they had been collecting along the way, Vi finally ended the phone call.
“So, what’s the verdict from the God Squad.”
“Really Abby,” chastised Vi. “You shouldn’t say that. Especially in ear shot of anyone who could use it against you.”
“It a carpark in the middle of the country. I think we’re pretty safe. So, is it on?”
“Yep. They agreed and they’ve booked the Town Hall.”

Abby did a little victory dance, with the newspapers in her arms, shuffling around in the gravel.
“Two weekends time, which will give us another two weeks afterwards to repair any of the damage done.”
“Well that’s so much for the vote of confidence,” quipped Abby. “I like my Christians best served up raw with a side serve of humble pie.”

Abby shrugged in her best nonchalant manner and rolled her eyes.
“I made bookings for dinner at the French Restaurant for tonight. A late booking of 8:00pm if that’s OK. I have some scrap booking to do before bed tonight. So I thought I’d do it now.”
“Sure, I think I might go for a walk. I don’t get to the mountains much.”
“Better go quick, it’ll be dark soon.”
“Unlike you Abby, I’m not scared of the dark.”

“And who told you that!”
“Who do you think.”
“Wil I guess … he’s always my knight in shining armour if we have to go downstairs in the dark. He can’t understand why I’d be scared of the dark.”
“I thought that it was something you grew out of.”
“Apparently not in my case.”
“I hear they halls of the Great House are always lit – they must have known that you’d be making it there someday.”

Abby smiled warmly.

Back in her room, with Mia Dyson playing on the small stereo that she had bought with her, she had a quick shower. As much as she yearned for a long hot, aromatic salt bath, her conscious wouldn’t allow it when there were level five water restrictions. With her hair wrapped in the white Sheridan towel, her favourite grey tracksuit pants and red singlet on, she sat cross legged on the bed. Plugging her mobile in to use it as a modem, she dialled into her savings account and transferred the money over to Harrington; her first payment for his silence. So far he had been true to his word. For a moment, she thought about how she always maintained that she got whatever it was she wanted – yet this time she had paid handsomely for it, both in money lost and time stolen. There was nothing from Hux. No email, no text or phone messages since the weekend.

The strong, single-minded, and selfish part of her was glad that he had obviously finally got the message and disappeared. She had told him at the outset of the campaign that their time together had to stop, though she wasn’t sure if it was a temporary pause or whether it was a proper end. She wasn’t sure though what a proper end meant for their relationship. There had been the naked hiccup the afternoon after her meeting with Harrington, but it had been a moment of weakness on her behalf. She’d been upset and thrown off centre – terrified that her carefully constructed plan would be felled with one foul paragraph from Harrington in any newspaper.

But that was behind them now and she was sticking to the resolution that she’d made in the beginning. Hux was a no go zone during this election campaign. The softer, sentimental, needy part of her missed him with a cavernous ache that threatened to engulf her, if not kept well checked and pigeon holed.

With the secret financial housekeeping done, she turned her attention to the newspapers, to keep herself from dwelling on Hux. For years now she’d been collecting newspaper cuttings from the birth activism that she had been involved in. She found the search, then cut and paste meditative in a way she couldn’t explain - even to Cal who tried hard to understand all of her idiosyncracies. Wil had chosen a new book for the Election. It had a checkered formula one race car on it. She’d suggested the one with fairies but he was insistent on racing car, and the Blu Glue, which was the latest thing he was enthralled with. He asked over and over again how it could be blue when it went on and disappeared when it dried. The wonders of modern science, she’d said and tried to get him to leave it at.

With Mia playing away she switched off to her world and began the slow and methodical process of finding, removing, collecting and then recreating the political landscape again in her book. But it was a landscape of her choosing. She worked from the back to the front of the newspaper, a habit formed from years of following Hux’s career. It had begun back in the days of cutting out the round up from the weekend’s games, when he scored enough goals to rate a mention. She’d followed it as best she could when she was overseas, but the need to cut and paste the growing momentum of his career had gone. Now the focus was on her. For the first time in her adult life she was doing what she wanted to do, and she had her scrap book to prove it.

On the blank pages of the scrap book she pasted the good, having separated it from the bad and the ugly. There were a few references to What Women Want, and her name was mentioned once but nothing more than that. Hux had told her to be careful for what she wished for, and the Harrington incident had told her that. When sending out her affirmations and wishes to the universe, they were framed far more carefully than they used to be.

There was a knock on the door as she pasted the final article in.
“Abby I found the Sunday Mail in the back – thought you might want it. I’ll see you in ten for dinner.”
She tossed the newspaper down on the bed and walked out.

Dressing quickly for dinner, she sat down to flick through the Sunday Mail. She loathed the publication and it had been banned from their home, along with all the commercial TV stations and FM radio. Anything that set the barometer to the lowest common denominator and passed off newstainment for serious journalism deserved boycotting in her books. Vi had told her to get over herself and her high moral ground, because it was publications such as the Sunday Mail that they would exploit to position themselves well in the mainstream population. It felt like selling out to her. Again, Vi had told her to get over herself.

Expecting there to be nothing of any interest, she flicked quickly from the back, stopping briefly at the horoscopes and continued through to the front page. Then it hit her. The headline and the photo … and it was a long time after, through lenses of tears that she forced herself to read the article.


~Cathy~ said...

First time reading your novel... I'm definitely intrigued! I'll have to find the time to go back and re-read what I've missed....

I like your writing style. :)

Michele sent me...have a nice weekend!

craziequeen said...

I liked that, Jodie :-)

Intrigued to know what the article is....

Michele sent me to see how your Nano is going :-)


d sinclair said...

jodi - you are amazing!

and look at your word count... my hair is blown upwards.. my eyebrows have jumped off my forehead, my lower jaw has fallen to the floor... darn it girl!