by Glen Hunting
Your throat’s a little shredded and your chest’s a little tight. Symptoms not unheard of if you ought to do more laps of tracks or pools, or you’re carrying too much weight or too much booze or too much angst. Now they’re food for any number of tortuous feedback loops, the catnip of your punitive speculation. The end of the line is not your own demise, but being called out for being unwilling to act. Unwilling to cast aside your towering workload, too hard to accomplish at home, when you’ve fought to peg your professional tent against a rain that often rains hardest inside it. It threatens to blow away entirely for a doomsday sequestration that may help no-one, and how many times besides will you wonder the same? So your shelter becomes, by proxy, the exposure of others, or not (you’ll never be sure), and you dare not interrogate further. But your spurs to private remonstrance still double every three days like the cases confirmed. You imagine the breaths you might have stolen, as you rifle the shelves for every precious cargo you never imagined could ever be so. Your mind’s eye rivets itself on cordons, contact tracing, sperm suits and slamming doors, sanctions and condemnations and then, your next impossible deadline, and shrinks back into the mousehole crapshoot of Business Faking Bloody Normal. You know you abuse the impulse of flight, in all its guises, just like an addict— perhaps you’re always trying to decide if cowardice bids any worse than the things it evades. Haven’t you managed an answer by now? Or, if you haven’t, must you go on demanding it right this minute: this minute, or epoch to come that’s dire beyond yourself?
Glen Hunting is a writer from Perth, Western Australia, who now lives and works in Alice Springs, Northern Territory. He won the short story section of the 2019 Northern Territory Literary Awards, was twice shortlisted in the Margaret River Short Story Competition, had a short play co-produced as part of the Fremantle Festival, and has had poems published in Creatrix Journal online.