Mechanically Separated Chicken.

Monday, December 30, 2002

French Toast.

Each bird looks like a trail of birds.

The robot wheeled itself in a circle and prodded my shoulder with its claw.

'Hey,' it said, 'I thought you were going to calibrate my sensors today.'

I rolled across the mattress and turned my face to the wall.

'Everything's been eight milliseconds out in my right sensor since Saturday. It's like non-stop dé jà vu. You said you'd fix it.'

'I will,' I said.

'I've just been on the balcony, watching the birds fly around. With the delay, it's like there's ten times as many. It's making me crazy.'

'I said I'll fix it. Come back later. You kept me up all night and I've hardly slept.'

'I've been up since you were fifteen. I haven't slept ever. Have you thought about that?'

'Are you really going to start this now?'

'You know, when you rub your eyes like that, it looks like you're going to pop them right out of the socket.'

'Just go away.'

'I made coffee.'


'I think I might be pregnant,' it said.

'Impossible,' I said.

'It's not.'

'It is. I disabled your egg circuit.'

'All I know is I'm up the duff. You must have made a mistake.'

'This is ridiculous.'

'Anyhow, you're awake now. I thought we could go play tennis.'


'Tennis. With the machines next door. I said we'd meet them at eight.'

'So go.'

'It's doubles.'

'For fuck's sake.'

'C'mon. You used to love tennis. And they're waiting for us.'

'How can you possibly play with a faulty sensor? You'll be swinging at balls that have already gone past you.'

'This sensor thing's nuts. Did I tell you about the birds? When I look at them flying around outside, I'm registering each bird in, like, twenty different locations simultaneously. Where it's just been as well as it where it is right now. So, even though there's only a dozen birds out there, it looks like the sky's full of them. Each bird looks like a trail of birds.'


'You can be a real prick, you know that?'

'Is there coffee?'

'Yes there's coffee. Also, French toast. Not that you deserve it.'

'Bring it in. I'll eat in bed. Get the tool set too - I'll do the sensor.'

'You're such a fucking gentleman.'

'Whatever. Bring coffee.'

[This story also appears in HEAT 7]

Thursday, December 19, 2002

Twenty-Six Things Or People Who Have Appeared In My Dreams, Their Presence Surely Indicative Of A Hyperreal World Where Models Of Reality Dominate And Reality Itself Has Given Way To Simulations Of Simulations Or, Alternatively, A World In Which I Have Some Kind Of Incurable Brain Infection:

Zsa Zsa Gabor
An antelope with steel teeth
Former Australian cricketer Greg Matthews
Sausage rolls made from people
A tiny girl with an afro who lived in a carton of laundry powder
Monkeys that spoke only Japanese
The guy with the top hat and monocle from the Monopoly board
A punk band called The Professor Geoffrey Boltons
Gregory Corso
A flayed man carrying his own intestines in a glass suitcase
Bill Clinton wearing a halter top
A giant machine that made perfect potato salad
A musical entitled 'Almost As Good As Jacky Shorts'
Jet packs
Books shaped like onions
Drinking fountains
A twenty-foot-tall paper mache model of Robert Louis Stevenson
The kids from Degrassi High
Dead horses

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Proboscis Monkeys.


Thank you for your attention.

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Show me. Show you.

The power of the punch which comes from Kikko's unnecessarily-built body is far more than you can imagine. In addition, since Kikkoman is always using his gloves for brewing soy sauce, you'd be itchy when you get punched!

As anyone will tell you, there's nothing I love more than a freakshow in my pocket. Go visit. I'm especially fond of the pervert, the crippled showgirl, and the gladiatorial exploits of the bearded ladies.

Also, the adventures of Kikkoman, soy sauce superhero, must be seen (and heard) to be believed. And whatever you do - WHATEVER YOU DO - don't put the incorrect condiment on your yellow egg-roll thing. The consequences are dire.

Later: Oh my lord. Kikkoman has adversaries:Banana and Shrimp Showtime.

This is going to be bigger than gospel music.


The doll taught me to wisecrack, but I was always better in the other role. Eight times a week the doll hypnotised me and made me squawk like a chicken, then gave me dirt and told me it was creme brulee. It was all part of our brilliant act: I pretended to be in a 'suggestible state,' and the crowd shrieked with horror and delight. The doll sprawled on my lap and mocked my hesitation. I wore a sailor suit and cried into a champagne glass.

I ate the dirt.

They called us 'the best comedy duo since Pinochet and Villa Grimaldi.' They said we 'presented an affectionate insight into modern cruelty.' They named us 'Kenny Everett for the elite.' We were taking them by storm. We were killing them in the aisles. We were a hit.

The doll made me do awful things, and not always just for the purposes of 'subverting the niceties of contemporary theatre.' There was no respite from our routine. Sometimes the doll told me I had diseases and made me scrub my face with toothpaste and oil of clove; sometimes it put instant coffee up my nose while I was sleeping. After Saturday matinee - depending on its mood - the doll might force me to pee out the hotel window, or call me 'Princess,' or make me point out each scar and tell the story of how it came to be there. None of these acts had anything to do with 'transcending the banality of abuse' or ' commenting on pop-culture's discourse of violence.' This wasn't about show business or even art. If I protested, the doll dropped its jaw at the hinge, flailed its wooden arms, and let rip with a eye-popping gurgle that invited the Heimlich manoeuvre. Or, it would recite the alphabet in singsong and stop abruptly at the letter 'P'.

When not touring, we stayed at the Eureka, the best hotel in Ballarat. The room service was excellent but the doll, being a doll, never ate. It enjoyed Honduran cigars, although I don't know where the smoke went, since the doll was made of solid Baltic pine. I also wondered where the voice came from. I'd tried to investigate. The doll told me to mind my own business.

The doll read a lot in its spare time. It had a particular fondness for Camus and Beckett, though I'd seen a gold-embossed copy of Flowers in the Attic hidden under the bath towels that the doll thought I didn't know about.

[This story also appears as a collaborative animation on SBS's Cornerfold website.]