A Fair Chop.

Ever since Australia started selling our beef and lamb overseas, the best cuts have gone to overseas buyers, while Aussies got the leftovers.Not only that, we pay top dollar for the meat we breed, raise and butcher.

Now that China has decided it will cut down on the amount of meat they want to buy from Australia, doesn’t it make good sense to let the locals have some cheap, good quality beef and lamb for a change.

It’s time to take care of our own. We’re worth it!

 

Daily Prompt- Note.

The sun had just peeped over the watery skyline  it’s rays like fiery spikes reaching out into space. Their reflection on the ocean set the waves ablaze, spreading as the sun rose higher on the horizon.

Jilly walked along the water’s edge, the receding tide leaving her footprints untouched in the damp sand. She breathed deeply of the salty air, feeling invigorated, ready for the day ahead.

It was mid-summer in Australia and the weather bureau had forecast another 40+ degree day leading to afternoon thunder storms. The now deserted beach would soon be crowded with bodies of all shapes and sizes, seeking to escape the heat.

Now that the sun had cleared the horizon Jilly made haste to return to her apartment, which was only minutes away from the beach. She headed to a set of steps leading to the promenade, when a piece if paper, caught by the breeze, wrapped itself around her ankles. As she reached to pull it away, she saw that it was a handwritten note.

At the top of the steps was a refuse bin. Jilly, being of a tidy mind, decided she would throw the note into the bin.  Noticing that it was written on very pretty paper, with violets, and in a  neat hand,  it suddenly  sparked her curiosity, and instead of throwing it away, she folded it up, and put it in her shirt pocket.

Back at her apartment and feeling hungry, Jilly set to making a pot of tea and toasting muffins. She sat with her meal at her dining table, where the window looked out over the promenade below, watching people arriving at the beach for an early morning swim

Feeling in her shirt pocket for the note, she pulled it out, unfolded it, and smoothed out the creases. “Darling”, it read,” I have those books you asked me to look for, I’ll be in Melbourne at the conference for another  week yet, you can ring me after 7pm on my mobile…(number followed) Important you contact me….love…M”

There was no date on the note, and no way of knowing how it had ended up on the beach below. Jilly tried to imagine who ‘M’ might be, male or female?, young or old? and had the note once been housed in an envelope, addressed and stamped. Her thoughts wandered through one scenario after another. Had fate chosen her to connect with this message? The idea was fanciful! Those words could be part of a distant past, and still, it played on her mind as she went about her daily business.

Jilly was a Personal Assistant to the Managing Director of a major import company, and she often worked from home, especially when her boss was overseas. As was the case at the time of my story, This gave Jilly the opportunity to work her own hours, as long as she kept everything like emails and such, up to date.

The day passed uneventfully with the airconditioner keeping the temperature in the apartment at a comfortable level. Outside, heat haze rose from the tared road surface and tops of parked cars, while on the sandy beach, a few heat hardened bodies roasted in the afternoon sun.

By late afternoon, Jilly had finished with the company’s correspondence. Taking an ice-cold bottle of drink from the fridge, she stepped out on to the balcony of the apartment, and sat on the cane patio lounge.The sun was behind her now and a warm breeze wafted across the ocean. Once again her mind drifted to the note. Did “Darling” ever ring ‘M’?

Later that evening, just as the news was finishing on the television, Jilly picked up her phone and dialed the number on the note. Her hands were shaking so much that she had to punch the numbers in a couple of times before she got it right. She was ready to pretend she had wrung the wrong number if she lost her nerve.

“Hello, Matt speaking,”

“Hhhhhello,” her mouth was dry and sounded kind of squeaky,” my name is Jillian Swan, you don’t know me, but I found something that might belong to you”

“Really? are you kidding?” his first thought was, ‘this is a joke from one of the guys at the office.’

“Nnnnnoo, In fact it found it’s way to me personally,”

“C’mon, who put you up to this?” He sounded annoyed

“Seriously, I found this piece of paper with your phone number on it, and…well, I guessed you wouldn’t want just anybody to have it.” it sounded sillier by the minute.

“Well, it sounds like ‘just anybody’ already has it!” he snapped “tell me what it says.”

Jilly read the contents of the note to him, adding, “It actually wrapped itself around my ankles, it seemed like some kind of an omen or something. That’s why I didn’t put it in the refuse bin at the beach.”

“This all sounds like a prank that one of my so-called friends has put you up to!”

“I’m sorry Matt, or whoever you are, I hope it was ‘Darling’ who accidently lost your note, and that she rang you, just as you suggested. I will tear it up now, and you’ll never hear from me again.” by this stage Jilly was feeling embarrassed and tearful. All in all, it had been a stupid idea,  talking about omens and things being meant to happen, to a complete stranger.

“Don’t hang up Jillian, I apologise for not taking you seriously, sadly, I do remember that note, only too well. In fact, I would like it, if you would return it to me.”

Jilly regained her composure, ” Of course, if you give me an address, I will mail it to you.”

“Well no, if you would permit me to buy you a coffee, you name the place, and the time, and I will give you the final chapter of the sorry tale.”

She thought about that for a moment. “Well, how would I know you?”

“I’ll be the lonely guy sitting at a table, all by himself.” he laughed,

Jilly laughed with him,”OK, do you live anywhere near Bordertown?’

“Yes,” he replied, “In fact, I’ll be there tomorrow morning at the courthouse, you see I’m a barrister.”

“Oh” Jilly had a mental picture of a man in a white wig and a long black gown”

“We will break for lunch around midday, if you could meet me at the bottom of the courthouse steps, we could go from there. What do you think?”

“I guess that’s alright, I’ll wear a blue dress and a white sunhat so you can recognise me.”

“Till tomorrow then, Jillian.”

…………………………..

The next morning Jilly woke early and proceeded to attend to the business of the day. There were several phonecalls to make, emails to answer, and a message from her boss to say he would be back in Bordertown that day at 3pm.

At 11am Jilly turned off  her computer,and switched the phone to ‘message bank’. She showered, washed and dried her long brown hair, then put on her makeup.

The blue dress had been a ‘spur of the moment’ purchase, one she could neither afford or justify. With its flared skirt, tiny waist, and scooped neckline, it was definitely a ‘special occasion’ dress. Jilly had no special occasions to celebrate at the time it caught her eye.

“Well, here goes nothing,” she whispered as she slipped the blue dress over her head. When she looked in the bedroom mirror, she had to admit that it was a perfect fit.”You are being really ridiculous,” her reflection told her,”This is not a date you are going on!” But she couldn’t help feeling just a little bit excited.

………………………..

Jilly arrived at the court house right on midday. It was another 40oC day so there were not many people out in the sun. There was a park bench under a large leafy tree not far from the courthouse steps, so Jilly sat in the shade and waited, nervously.

The man who approached her, wore a white shirt open at the collar. Over one arm he carried a dark cloak, and his other arm carried a briefcase.

“Ah, judging by the blue dress, you must be Jillian” he held out his right hand to her.

“And you must be Matt, please call me Jilly, it’s much less formal” she shook his hand, and in doing so,stoodup.

“Have you found a suitable place where we can talk?

“There’s a coffee lounge in the arcade across the street, It’s air-conditioned so we can get out of this heat” Jilly started to lead the way.

“Good thinking”, Matt said, as he followed her over the crossing.

………………………………

Once inside the coffee lounge, with their orders taken care of, Matt and Jilly settled into a corner booth away from the entrance.

“This is nice”, he said approvingly, looking around ” Do you come here often?” it was such a cliche that they both laughed.

“No, never,” Jilly answered.

“How did you know it was here? he asked.

“Oh, I live close by and I’ve walked past it many times. I work from home most of the time so I don’t have any reason to go out for coffee.”

They made an attractive couple as they sat drinking their coffees and indulging in small talk. A pretty brunette in a blue dress, and an ‘almost’ handsome man with a winning smile, both about thirtyish.

Jilly reached into her purse and pulled out the note. After all it was the reason they had met. She passed it across the table to Matt, but he made no attempt to open it.

“It’s a few years since I saw that piece of paper,” he said quietly, “You say you found it on the beach. I have no clue as to why it even still exists.”

“You don’t need to tell me anything about it, Matthew, I can see it’s still a painful subject.” Jilly reached over the table and held Matt’s hand.

“I’m surprised at my own reaction, I’ve put those memories behind me, or so I thought . But maybe reliving it with someone new, I mean, someone who wasn’t there at the time, it might not feel so raw.”

” I have a willing ear if you really think it could help” Jilly wasn’t so sure that she was qualified to give advice to a stranger, but somehow it seemed she had been chosen for the job. Didn’t that note practically knock her over?.

“Her name was Angela. We met at a charity ball and in the beginning we were  almost inseparable, She wanted to be a film producer, that meant she was away a lot on location learning the ropes. I was doing corporate law at the time and not making a lot of money, so marriage was on the back burner.”

“The week I sent her that note, she had been working with a film crew in the Simpson Desert and I was attending a conference in Melbourne. I knew she would get back to Sydney before me. so I sent her the note. Angie’s favorite flowers were violets, hence the flowery note paper.”

“I had been making a few plans unbeknownst to Angela, and I had been offered better money to change companies. It was my intention to get her feelings about it when she called that evening, but I didn’t get the chance.”

“The plane that was to fly Angie and the rest of the film crew back to Sydney lost power in a storm coming over the Blue Mountains. It crashed, killing all on board. When I finally arrived home, the note was in our mail box.

Tears welled up in Jilly’s eyes, “I’m so sorry for you loss,”she said,

“The first year after the crash was the hardest, every thought that came  into my head included Angie, I was stuck in the past.”

The coffee lounge was filling up with the lunch time crowd, their noisy chatter made it difficult for Jilly to hear Matt’s words.

“How long has it been since then?”

“Three years,” he answered, “But it’s not so hard to talk about it now. It was good of you to listen.”

“I think we need to vacate these seats so that other people can move in,” Jilly stood up and moved away from the table.”Let’s go for a walk along the beach.”

Outside, a cool southerly breeze had driven the heat away. They walked slowly along the promenade, and when they came to the top of the steps, Jilly turned to Matt and pointed down toward the sand,

“That’s where I was accosted by your note and it wrapped around my ankle.”

“It’s a very pretty ankle,” he said, colouring slightly, ” It certainly seems to have an element of fate about it, “he took Jilly’s hand and pressed it to his lips.”I hope this won’t be the last time I see you.”

“I was hoping that too,” she said, holding his gaze for a moment.”I have to meet with my boss this afternoon at 3pm, but if you could call me later this evening, say 8 o’clock or so, we could plan something from there.”

“I love the way you think!”

And you, reader, can take it from there!!!!!!

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Daily Prompt, Music.

Music is my diary. When a familiar song is played it transports me to the place I was at, when that song was popular. For example, any song by Roy Orbison takes me to Hawthorn in Victoria.  I answered a wanted ad in the Age newspaper for a housekeeper to clean and cook for four young business men.

They were all really nice people. Each had good solid jobs, and in their spare time, three of them had a music combo they played whenever they had a party. They often practiced after dinner at night, and one of the guys, his name was Gary, had a voice like Roy Orbison. In fact he had a similar look to Roy which he was happy to enhance.

We had many happy times while I worked for them. They were more like friends to me Roy’s music is just one of many songs in my diary.

The Talent Scout.(5 prompts in one)

He was devilishly handsome. and he used it to his own advantage.

Leaning against the wall, close to the entrance of the club, the revolving light above the dance floor illuminated his jet black hair. Colours, red, blue, green, yellow, flashed tantilisingly across his face, and he appeared to be smiling

Several women were milling around on the fringe of the dancing couples, watching  him as he moved towards the bar. and ordered a drink.

“That’s new, he’s not one of the usual talents in town,” a tall, leggy blonde ran her tongue across her lips, making the others titter amongst themselves.

“I’m going over,” the curvy little brunette picked up her purse, and strutted towards the bar, before any of the others could protest.

She pulled out a bar stool, just two away from mister ‘new in town’, and ordered a red wine.

Taking a sip, she raised her glass to the stranger,’Cheers’, and gave him her prettiest smile.

He appeared to be taken by surprise, but quickly regained composure, clinked his glass to hers,’cheers’ he responded.

‘What brings you to Bordertown?’

I’m here on business’

‘Oh, really, what kind of business?’

‘Recruitment.’

‘Will you be here long?’

‘As long as it takes’/

‘Well,’ she raises her glass to him ‘here’s to ‘as long as it takes,

She slid off her stool, preparing to rejoin her friends, when he reached out his hand to her ‘Damien, my name is Damien, and you are?’

‘Margaret,’ she replied, shaking his outstretched hand.

‘Let’s dance, Margaret,’ and they joined the other pairs on the dance floor.

The coloured lights flashed around the room below, red, blue, green, yellow, and he appeared to be smiling.

His scent was heady, masculine, but heady. Margaret lost all sense of time as she became intoxicated by the sensory overload. Damien, where had she heard that name? She battled the fog in her head but to no avail.

‘I think I’ll sit this one out, ‘ she whispered in Damien’s ear.

‘Sure, he said ‘Let me buy you a cup of coffee ‘as he steered her gently towards a table in the corner of the room.

‘Thanks, I’ll be OK.

‘Margaret was feeling slightly embarrassed, she wasn’t drunk, she had only taken a few sips of the wine. And, she was more than a little angry with herself. Here she was with this gorgeous guy, his jet black hair and mesmerising green eyes, and she is behaving like a prima donna. Thankfully her friends had moved on, so they wouldn’t be aware of her pathetic ‘wobble’.

Damien returned with the coffee and placed himself in the chair opposite Margaret. “‘What you need is some fresh air, drink your coffee and we’ll take a walk outside.’

‘Oh Oh…’ Margaret thought to herself, ‘ This is where he puts me in a taxi and sends me home, alone!’

They exchanged a little small talk as they drank. Nothing too telling or personal, which made it all the more surprising, when he leaned across the table and  kissed her.”You’re hired Margaret” he whispered.  Then before she could regain her senses, he struck.

The Bite  sank deep into the curve of her throat.

She slumped back against the soft cushions of the chair.

“Yes, Margaret, you will be OK” Damien wiped the blood from is mouth on a paper serviette and slipped it into his jacket pocket.”But, you’ll be very thirsty when you wake up.

The light above the dance floor kept spinning. red…blue…green…yellow….as he left by the emergency door. He appeared to be smiling.

 

 

I hope I haven’t broken any rules. There are 5 prompts in the ‘Talent Scout’

light, pairs, below, bite, and curve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scout’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

]

 

Prompt Day 5 Dish.

Outside Aunty Mae’s Antique Shop, there were a few people waiting for the 10.20am bus to Bordertown.

Amy stood at the back of the queue gazing at the display in the shop window.

Pretty things of yesterday, useful things, tools and treasures, dusted off and placed to attract a buyer into the store. Once there, Aunty Mae, a petite little lady, looking very much like the antiques around her, would welcome you with a big smile.

With a little time to spare, Amy stepped inside the shop to inspect some of the vintage jewellery.  Although colourful, it  was mostly painted paste and flour, as was the fashion of that time.

One piece, a beautiful emerald ring, caught Amy’s eye. It lay in a dish surrounded by sea shells, and it reminded Amy of mermaids and pirate’s treasures in a mystical under-water world. Such a pretty daydream, but Amy knew she could never afford to own anything so fine, so real.

The sound of the 10.20 bus, as it braked into the kerb, jolted her back to reality. She quickly left the shop to join the morning ride to Bordertown.

Conspiracy Theories.

Like most other people in the world, I’ve been following the news, fake, or otherwise. about covid19. It would be helpful if we knew the truth, tho I doubt we ever will. However, if it was to rid the world of an aging population, there are a couple of questions I would like to put to the ‘powers that be.’

Firstly, what do they propose to do with all the people who will be out of a job if all the age facilities close down. Almost a quarter of a million are employed by the industry and who could guess have many are indirectly connected to it.

Secondly, who will care for the children of all the working mothers who rely on grandparents to fulfill this roll, since private childminding is too expensive.

Then there are the hundreds, even thousands, of retirees, who become volunteers for charity organisation. Without these, many of those charities could not exist.

How poor would we be, if we lost the combined expertise, experience, and memories  of our senior citizens?

 

 

In Memorium….

Once upon a very long time ago, I was in crazy, mad love, with a beautiful man. His name was Peter.

Do you believe in the saying that “love conquers all”. no, it doesn’t

Peter and I first met when we were fifteen years old. He was 6 months younger than me and I thought of him as ‘just a kid’, where I felt I was a grown-up. Girls my age were dating boys of seventeen and eighteen, some even older.

We met in a local milkbar where I was working during school holidays. I was clearing tables when he came in the door, and he was blocking my path to get behind the counter. He could see my hands were full of dishes so he gave me a cheeky grin and said ‘give me a kiss and I’ll let you through’.

I pretended to be angry with him, so he let me through without the kiss, but I did think he was cute. After that we became friends and he asked if I would go to the movies with him the following week. There was a Jimmy Dean movie on in the city and he was the big heart-throb in those days. so of course I agreed. (the movie was ‘Rebel Without a Cause’)

Peter was a thorough gentleman, even at fifteen. He was raised by a single mother, and she had certainly taught him respect. However, I’m sorry to say, I didn’t take him seriously, but then I was just a kid too. I had an on/off boyfriend from the age of 13 and he had just joined the Navy, so when he came home on leave, I dedicated myself to him. Time passes.

 

 

 

 

 

The next time we met we were both about thirty years old. I came from a failed marriage, he was still in an unhappy relationship. You could be forgiven for thinking that this was the right time to start afresh, and it should have been, but I was severely damaged.

After almost 13 years of marriage and five children, my husband left me for another woman. He used my emotional state of deep depression, to take my children, and my home. This was in the 1960’s, when men were favored by the courts and despite the fact that he was the direct cause of that depression, he still was able to hold it against me. This, however, is a whole other story.

It happened that I was visiting a girlfriend this particular weekend and she asked me to drive her into the nearest town, where she needed to speak to a man about buying a car. I was happy to help her, and so, when we reached the carsales yard, I sat and waited for her in my car while she conducted her business.

I could see my girlfriend chatting with a tall, well dressed man, and before long they started walking towards my car. My girlfriend, Diane, leaned through the driver’s side window,”This gentleman thinks he knows you” she said, then stood to one side giving me a clear view of him.

At first, I thought he must be mistaken, but there was nothing mistaken in his expression as he stepped towards me. “Liz, I can’t believe it, how long has it been since we last saw each other?” I could feel the colour rising in my cheeks and my heart was pounding. There he was. Peter. No longer the boy I knew, but a grown man, mature and self-assured, and handsome.

 

OPEN

Dave came through the kitchen door, dragging grass clippings across the tiled floor ‘You know the kids start their school holidays tomorrow?’

‘Of course I do. they’ve been asking me every day if they are going to grandmas’, Megan turned from washing dishes and saw the mess Dave was making. ‘How many times do I have to tell you to take your shoes off before you come in the back door?’

‘Sorry Meg, I’ll sweep it up in a minute, I need a drink, it’s hot outside’, she reaches into the fridge. brings out a bottle of water and hands it to him.

‘So what’s the plan?.’ Dave takes a swig from the water bottle.

‘I’m open to suggestion,’ Meg takes a seat on a nearby kitchen chair.

‘I’ve saved a few dollars over the last month or two and I thought we might take them to Disneyland first, before we go to mums.’ he finished his drink and placed the bottle in the nearby bin.

‘Great idea, they’ll be over the moon when you tell them.’ she couldn’t hide her own excitement at the prospect.

‘OK, well, I’ll just clean up this floor, and get back to work.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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