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Prompt: Begin your piece with the words “The last thing I expected was…”
Word Limit: 150 words
Entry 1 ‘Now That Is A Surprise’
The last thing I expected was this.
No warning that this might happen, none at all, things like this just don’t happen to me.
I’m a dormouse, my husband Peter understands and keeps the cats away and I wave to the neighbours, they are all friendly, but my boss at work doesn’t even know I exist, let alone who I am or what I do.
But this was the last thing I expected, the look on Peter’s face was one of those precious moments I will cherish for the rest of my life, it almost glowed. Mind you, he hasn’t thought through the implications yet, but he will, and then he will undoubtedly worry for the both of us.
But for the moment we are together, in the dark and quiet, cherishing every second together. Our moment was interrupted for the foreseeable future.
Triplets were the last thing I expected.
Entry 2 ‘No Extra Charge’
The last thing I expected was to be kidnapped.
As my friends boarded buses at the airport, a man checking our itineraries singled me out. “This way, Mumma”.
He bundled me into a smaller bus and my only thought was my passport, left with our guide. Losing your passport in a foreign country – every traveller’s worst nightmare! Then I realised that I was the only one on this bus.
Don’t panic, I told myself. I managed a weak “I’m on the wrong bus”.
“No, Mumma. Right bus.”
As we hurtled through the dark African night, my imagination rioted and not panicking was no longer an option.
Hours of bumping along atrocious roads punctuated by “Look Mumma, elephant!” delivered us to a resort, where the manager explained that I had been taken to the wrong place. No kidding!
He actually suggested that my African adventure had been enhanced. No extra charge.
Entry 3 ‘The Last Thing I Expected Was To Be At His Mercy’
The last thing I expected was to be at his mercy. His eyes mesmerized me, like magnets we were drawn together. Slowly, barely touching, warm breath over flesh. Slowly, shyly, I opened myself a fraction to him. He leaned in gently, considerate at first. Not wanting to alarm or frighten me, this, my first time.
I returned his ardor as he slipped in further, wrestling, the slipping and sliding becoming more insistent, until I could stand no more.
Pushing him from me, I stared deeply as his eyes bore into my soul, drawing me back.
We clung together, our thrusting becoming more sensual, enjoying this, our first kiss, one of many.
Entry 4 ‘Stranger Than Fiction’
The last thing I expected was to be living out of my van. I had a dozen staff working under me at the start of the year and the business was growing. Then the government shut everything down. I don’t live under a dictators regime, I live in Australia. The lucky country.
We had just survived the bushfires from hell then everything got a lot darker with the virus. As it spread faster than the fires the government quarantined everyone in their homes. The police started using drone patrols. Tracking everyone through their phones and putting ankle bracelets on anyone caught breaking the new laws.
As I sit gazing out my van window at the barren landscape with 1984 half read in my lap I wonder if there will be anything left to celebrate by New Years Eve.
Entry 5 ‘The Shirt Trick’
The last thing I expected was the ocean of shirts hanging in my dead father’s wardrobe; they were catalogued in the same style and colour: white, lilac, cobalt blue and black. But the revelation that each colour came in a different size from medium to massive caused me to shake my head. That old bugger!
I used to sit across from my hypertensive father, watching his plump fingers push food into his mouth. ‘I’m worried, dad,’ I’d say. ‘You seem to be putting on a lot of weight. It’s dangerous!’
‘Rubbish! Look!’ And he’d pluck his collar away from his stout neck. ‘See how loose this is? I could hardly do the top button up a few weeks ago!’
He’d been right of course; he hadn’t been able to do the button up on the smaller size, so he’d bought a bigger one: same colour, same style.
Entry 6 ‘Leave’
The last thing I expected was to leave as soon as I arrived in my dream destination, but the world changed overnight. I arrived in Ronda, excited and tired, after a day of driving in the Andalusian countryside where white villages peppered the mountains. I expected to arrive in a bustling town
and it was packed full of parked cars taking up every inch of the curb but there was no people in sight. I parked the car in a lot and Google mapped the hotel then wandered the narrow, medieval lanes grinning.
“Good evening.” The hotel receptionist greeted, with a look of surprise.
“Ola.” I replied, “It’s very quiet outside.”
“Yes. Yes. When do you leave?’ she asked looking concerned.
“I just arrived.” I laughed.
“Leave Spain?” she asked again.
She shook her head with concern. “You need to leave now.”
I was 1200kms from Barcelona.
Entry 7 ‘Cause and Infect’
The last thing I expected was to cause a pandemic.
I’m a writer. I write on VLine. Over coffee at the shopping centre in Bacchus Marsh. Anywhere really. Poems, short stories, long stories.
Last November, in that shopping centre, I wrote a poem about consumerism, how our economy relies on unnecessary spending. Desires not needs. “Unicorns prancing in the aisles, saying you need these brand new styles.” Then I thought, what if unnecessary stores were removed from
here? What would be left? Supermarket, chemist, clothing, shoes, hairdresser, a cafe and the post office. Perhaps a third of the stores left. It would never happen.
Now that centre is ghostly. Essentials only. Did I manifest this? What if people find out? Thousands of lives lost. Or, is this cabin fever? My guilt escalated as I isolated.
Finally, my daughter consoled me over Zoom. “It’s okay Mum, the unicorns will be back.”
Entry 8 ‘Love Me Tender‘
The last thing I expected was slugs. Carefully preparing the soil, tenderly planting the seedlings and lovingly watering them only to be devastated by the emaciated leaves that greeted me the next morning. I immediately blamed the greedy blackbirds who had been gorging themselves on the ripe cherry tomatoes and then bathing unashamedly in the birdbath with glee. I gathered the skeletal leaves of my seedlings placing the evidence in sealed plastic bags which I promptly presented to the cheerful young man at the plant nursery.
“Had many blackbirds in your yard?” he asked.
“Yes”, I replied jubilantly.
“Slugs”, he uttered. “Blackbirds scour the gardens for slugs”.
I departed with my box of poison destined to be dinner for the unsuspecting slugs and guilt for blaming the blackbirds who I will allow to forage in the cherry tomatoes and then to bathe ceremoniously in the cleaned birdbath.
Entry 9 ‘Covid 19 and I‘
With the current social distancing restrictions, and the semi ‘lockdown’ at home, the last thing I expected was to be happy with my personal situation. I thought I would be climbing the wall, bored, anxious, possibly argumentative. But I am surprised at the ease with which I exist within this Covid-bubble!
I have an extensive vegetable garden. My quinces need stewing, the cumquats to transform into marmalade. The strawberry guavas and feijoa will be ripening in the next few weeks.
I have unpacked, recharged and loaded my e-reader. There is the daily newspaper quiz, crossword and sudoku, and I have found the SBS Movie channel.
As a pensioner, I’m told that I am at risk, but think I am fortunate. My thoughts are with those who have lost family and friends, the hundreds of thousands, their livelihoods, have tenancy fragility and the future burden of a $230,000,000,000 mortgage to service!
Entry 10 ‘Untitled’
The last thing I expected was – we would
Allow the rich to cream the poor and stand by.
For each of us to obey, little narratives
Some of condemnation; others praise
Delivered boldly … even with a lack of grace
Towards the old, infirm, poor and disadvantaged
Let’s walk away from the democracies,
it took so long to create
Jettison our minds wholesale
And watch the mess that remains.
Where are we bound? But for more unequal ground
So some need to beg and others – laugh at what they have found
Telling themselves they deserve more every time around,
Because above the line, there is nothing amiss
So… why do we frown? The ones that lead have to follow
Whatever is set to drown the voices of the poor, the weak
And recompense those already fat with what they have found.