May 23, 2018 at 7:12 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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Going deep …

I sit opposite the jury, giving my evidence.

I don’t know whether to look at my peers or not.

If I do, will I appear defiant?

If I don’t, will I appear aloof?

I have trouble communing with one good friend, let alone 12 strangers.

They’re just out of focus, so my glasses go on and off. (Too often?)

The lawyer (our side) guides me through my testimony with questions I can grasp and answer.

Eventually, we conclude the first episode of my sexual assault.

As my second narrative begins, I sense something in the jury box.

Nervously, I look up from the microphone, tissues, coaster and water glass.

There’s faint movement and murmuring from most of the jurors.

The 12th (back right) is clearly asleep in her leather chair.

The jurors look at her, each other, the legal teams and the judge.

The court staff do likewise.

No-one looks at me.

I look at the judge, waiting for him to twig.

He’s looking at his notes, so it takes longer than you might think.

I pass the time wondering if my childhood abuse story is really that boring.

At last, realisation dawns.

The judge confers with the tipstaff and the jury’s foreperson.

Other jurors helpfully add that the sleeping woman has flown from overseas and is jet lagged.

The judge addresses her as ‘Madam’ at three ascending volumes.

Madam groggily comes to and, on being briefed, offers that she is jet lagged.

The judge orders an early lunch; but I’m far from hungry.

Outside the courtroom, my team assures me it’s not my fault.

I can hardly ‘sex up’ my testimony.

On our return, the judge explains that, since Madam hasn’t heard the same evidence as her colleagues, she must leave the jury.

This seems to suit her well, and I picture her tumbling into pillows and doonas.

The judge then explains that we can proceed with 11 jurors – if the accused agrees.

The defence lawyer consults her thrice-convicted paedophile.

I can hear him breathing and creaking behind the screen that was offered to me before the case and which I accepted.

The former scoutmaster swiftly rejects the 11-juror option.

Thus committing us to a second trial, months hence.

In the darkness of that not-very-good night, I conclude that my attacker hopes I’ll die before our next round.

Silently, I commend his tactic.

As I feel

I may.

Still awake?

I could use a coffee …



For sale: haunted bed!

November 23, 2017 at 4:53 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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One owner.


Used to considerable effect in cult 70s child-abuse series.

May trigger sweats, night terrors and near-fatal apnoea.

Forced sale; moving to new life.

Will swap for Datsun 1000 ute or late-model Kreepy Krauly.

Make an offer!

(Pick-up only.)



To keep me in coffee, you may wish to

Whatever the sum, I’ll toast your health.

Brown widow

January 20, 2017 at 9:12 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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What we do in life …

It is dusk.

I chat on the warm footpath with the widow next door.

She don spik Englis so good.

I no spik Greek at all.

So she’s ahead on points.

We usually get there in the end.

She ask how am I.

I say I’m OK, but dizzy (gestures) from the hospital pills.

She ask why I am in the hospital.

I pause, realising this topic will be even tougher than our council’s three-bin waste cycle.

I point to my head and say it is sick.

I point to the church hall down our street.

I talk about a man who did bad things to me (and lots of other kids) a long time ago.

I glance at her face, to see if my words are small enough.

Unexpectedly, we lock eyes.

Through these wet, brown, Mediterranean portals, I see.

Her grief, her loneliness, her inability to keep up with everything.

And her children’s thirst to flog her home of 40 years.

I wait for her reply.

She nods slowly,


points to a riot of Agapanthus and says,

‘I think this is too much for the bin.

I don kno if the man – he will take.’

For some seconds, I plan an entirely different response.

Then, I assure her all will be well.

And that if the man – he no take,

I will call the council.



He take.

Pic by Roger Culos.

If you found this interesting or entertaining you may like to:

Even a buck or three will keep me in the hunt. With many thanks, Paul.

My day at the Royal Commission – Part 2

March 2, 2016 at 11:37 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Into the light.

Into the light.

Read Part 1.

A female usher, as immaculately groomed as the young man with whom I’d been laboriously chatting, politely asked if I was ready.

I felt pretty jolly far from ready, but it seemed a waste of a trip not to go ahead.

She guided me down a corridor and I got the sense that the whole hotel floor had been booked out for this exercise.

I saw no guests, but imagined tense victims and grim revelations behind the various doors.

We at last came to ‘my’ door.

The usher bade me to enter, which I nervously did.

The entrance opened into a room dominated by a round table.

Rising from this table was one of the commissioners.

I was very surprised by this, as there are only five commissioners (plus the Chair).

I had expected my evidence to be taken by some underling – not one of the ‘head honchos’.

My Commissioner stood and offered her hand in welcome. As she did, her silhouette was perfectly framed by the morning sun streaming through the window.

It looked like a remastered version of Patrick Swayze heading to heaven at the end of the movie Ghost.

If felt like I was meeting a broker of power, a shepherd of truth and a wielder of the sword of justice.

I said as much, and the Commissioner seemed to find it amusing.

I said I figured she’d be glad of a giggle, given the hundreds of hideous stories she must have already heard.

She confirmed that the road had indeed been long, but that every person who came forward had a right to be heard.

I asked if the Commission’s funding would permit it to run for as long as it took. As this was up to the government, however, she wasn’t sure.

Next to the Commissioner was a young man with an array of small yet expensive-looking audio equipment.

When asked if I’d be prepared to have my testimony recorded, I readily agreed.

To be continued.

Pic by the Commission.

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Your smallest kindness will keep me going strong. With many thanks, Paul.

My day at the Royal Commission – Part 1

February 22, 2016 at 9:17 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments
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Weighing my words.

Weighing my words.

I chose to give evidence at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse.

A nice lady advised me to attend a certain inner-city hotel on a Monday morning.

Nervous, and not overly trusting of public transport, I arrived 45 minutes early.

I walked around the empty Queen Victoria Market – which is always good for a bit of old architectural detail.

Time dragged, so I picked it up and carried it into the hotel foyer.

The desk staff seemed to know what to expect, as they quickly ascertained I wasn’t a new or returning guest.

On divining my purpose, they directed me to a dimly lit waiting area, populated by small tables and high-backed couches and chairs.

In scanning this space for threats, I was impressed by its suitability for damaged denizens.

For distributed around the room, with seemingly mathematical precision, were islands of human wariness.

Eyes down, yet peripherally alert. Folded into themselves and away from all others. Tensed with the burden of their stories – perhaps about to be told for the first time.

I found my spot in the series and assumed a kindred attitude. A large window showed ‘normal’ people heading to work and going about their lives. I watched and waited long enough to slide into a light reverie.

This was abruptly shattered when a male voice barked ‘MR HASSING?’ from directly behind my chair.

I sprang up startled and was sufficiently discombobulated to garner an immediate apology from the young man whose task it was to usher me upstairs.

I apologised for my reaction and wondered with concern how his angle of ingress had escaped my inventory. Then again, the best spot had been taken before I arrived.

In the lift, the man promised to modulate his approach to future witnesses. I assured him they’d be mighty grateful if he did.

He led me to a suite that had been converted to a waiting room. On a table was a panoply of sweet and savoury treats – none of which elicited the faintest desire.

Also present, a full range of beverages – excluding the alcohol for which I was fast feeling the need.

Expecting to be left alone in this place until summoned, I was disconcerted when the man sat across from me. I realised this was designed to comfort me before my session, but it had quite the opposite effect.

When I found that his previous job had been in advertising, I felt even less assured. But he was a very nice chap, and the time eventually ground through its course.

Then came a discreet knock at the door …

Read Part 2.

Pic by the Commission.

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Even a buck or three will keep me in the hunt. With many thanks, Paul.

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