New talents revealed — a Jacky Winter story (7)

Trouble Ahead | photo courtesy of the author

Those first two weeks of January 1991 were among the happiest of my life.

I spent time with Jacky almost every day. I would go down to the river mid-morning to seek him out, or he would come up to the cabin to say g’day to the folks.

Maybe he’d…

Otways tree ferns | photo courtesy of the author

A contents page for my shortest stories

Return to Irishtown — a Jacky Winter story (6)

Tuckered Out | photo courtesy of the author

Jacky’s intuition often surprised me.

He had shown up at the cabin on my birthday, charmed my suspicious mother and stepfather. In doing so he had extricated me from an impossible situation. One I had dug myself into through silence. Clever, wise little man!

Jacky Winter was swiftly judged A…

A contents page for all the Jacky Winter stories

Goldfields River | photo courtesy of the author

The Jacky Winter stories chart the friendship between an adolescent girl, Keira, and an elderly Aboriginal man, Jacky Winter. They are stories about growing up in the Australian bush, about developing a relationship with Country, about acceptance of family and self. Stories of love.

They form an overarching narrative, but…

Escape plans are briefly entertained — a Jacky Winter story (5)

Aussie Bush Dawn | photo courtesy of the author

I sulked around the cabin all Friday morning. It was ideal weather for sulking: grey, chill, utterly uninteresting.

There was no obvious solution. I couldn’t get to see Jacky without openly defying Mum and Dicko. …

Return to the city

Laneway café interior | photo courtesy of the author

Emerging from the station underpass, he took in the hiss of tyres on wet asphalt, the roar of truck engines and the hollow rumble of trams. Muffled pedestrians bent into the damp wind. Litter blotted the pavement, accumulated in the gutter.

‘Why do they never look where they’re bloody going?’…

Finding Noah — a Jacky Winter story (4)

Underworld | courtesy of the author

The shadows grew longer, and still no sign of Noah. Driving to Irishtown to call the police and raise a search party was discussed. In those days before mobile phones, this meant one adult leaving the search for at least an hour — one critical hour of daylight. A dilemma.

Cabin life in the Goldfields – a Jacky Winter story (3)

Fan-tailed cuckoo | courtesy of the author

My family thought it was a weird choice.

‘Wouldn’t you rather stay in Ballarat and have a party for your 13th birthday, sweetie?’ asked Mum. ‘With all your friends? It will be damp and cold up at the cabin in July.’

I stuck to my wish: my first teenage birthday…

Confessions of an odd fish

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

I write because I’m the odd fish, the strange fellow.

I’m the one at the party who wants to go into things too deeply.

The one whom a chance phrase whisked off on a tangent, so that I forgot to listen to the rest of what you were saying. …

Non-paternal ponderings of a non-father

Photo by Steven Van Loy on Unsplash

I never planned not to have children. I guess I just assumed that one day I would settle down with a partner and make babies. It’s what most people do. Some on purpose; others, not so much. We’ll return to that later.

We play the cards we are dealt, however.

Steve Williams

Short stories, serial fiction, memoirs of a possibly quasi-true nature. Aussie tales of banjos, bees, boats, beaches and the bush.

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