Today’s extract is from my short story Time and Time Again, which won the 2011 Melton Short Story Competition, was highly commended in the 2010 Henry Lawson Literary Awards and has been published in Platform magazine. It goes a little something like this…
IF I HAD MY TIME AGAIN, I wouldn’t be hanging from my neck.
If I had my time again, I wouldn’t have twisted a sheet into rope, tied one end into a noose, the other to the boardwalk handrail, and flung myself into the chasm below. I wouldn’t have planned it for months, or thought about it every waking hour for the last three years in this god-forsaken prison. I wouldn’t have rammed Big Lue’s head into the hand basin over and over when he tried to shank me in the spleen for the second time, the first right in front of two screws who insist they saw nothing. His life wouldn’t have trickled down the drain before the ambulance arrived and I wouldn’t have been sentenced to an extra twenty-five years.
If I had my time again and knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have resisted so violently when four cops dragged me out of the pub and tackled me to the ground, and one of them wouldn’t have fractured his skull on the pavement. I wouldn’t have argued with the bartender when she said I’d had enough to drink, or smashed a bottle over the security guard’s head when he tried to wrench my arm behind my back. I wouldn’t have drunk so much that when I fell off the stool a red haze painted ridicule on the faces staring down at me. I wouldn’t have gone to that bar, or any bar, and blown all but that night’s drinking money on that pokie machine trying to win back what it had scammed from me countless nights before.
If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have broken my boss’s nose or quit when he asked why I was two hours late and why I hadn’t picked up the paint as he’d asked, again. I wouldn’t have still been sanding architraves and rolling out walls when kids half my age were managing building sites of their own, confident their lives were going to turn out just fine. And, on the morning of my old man’s funeral only days before, I wouldn’t have gotten so drunk and stoned that when the priest announced God would welcome the bastard into heaven and forgive him for all his sins, and so should we, I couldn’t help but stand up and shout, ‘He should burn in hell!’ And, on the way out, I wouldn’t have spat on Dad’s lifeless face—all makeup and prosthetics, smiles and pleasantness—a visage of some kind of saint...
About the Author
Editor and contributor Emanuel Cachia won the 2011 Melton Short Story Competition, was Highly Commended in the 2010 competition and the 2010 Henry Lawson Literary Awards and was on the short listing panel for the 2012 Ada Cambridge Prize for Biographical Prose. He is a freelance editor, book producer, workshop facilitator and, when time allows, an avid gamer. He has a Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing, is studying a Bachelor of Communications and dedicates his writing to his wife and two children, who mean worlds to him.
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