Tattoo Artist’s Opinion

After the commotion inside, Gideon and Lorenzo took to the balcony to debrief. Overlooking the growing city of New Melbourne, the view wasn’t much compared to those experienced back in the surface days. For a post-Collapse view, though, it wasn’t bad. It felt more like looking out over a town at night than an entire city, but that would probably change in the next few years, as more people found their way down to the underground.

“So, the Zircon clan has decided to come after me,” Gideon said. “Not surprising, given I’ve been open about my intentions with the new Mornington Peninsula bubble. What do you think, my faithful fan of local realism tattoo artists?”

“Makes sense,” Lorenzo replied, glad the burning sensation from his tattoos was starting to settle down. “Without you, the peninsula project falls apart, giving them more influence to make New Adelaide a reality.”

Gideon scoffed. “New Adelaide. What a sick joke. It’s completely ignorant of how the world works. It’s no wonder the elites are so opposed to the Zircon Clan’s operations – with them planning to make New Adelaide a socialist society, why would any tycoon want that to happen?”

In theory, Lorenzo agreed with the Zircon Clan’s ambitions. A socialist society, free of rich elites, would have appealed to him years ago, when he was at that tattoo shop near Brisbane. He’d had no chance of joining the elite society. An equal utopia where people didn’t have to pay to express themselves with tattoos sounded perfect to him.

But he knew Gideon’s plans, and he knew that the Zircon Clan’s goals would never work out in reality. No, the elite would draw people back to their capitalist society with ease.

If they wanted a perfect society, they would have to get rid of the elites altogether. There was no other way.

“This humble tattoo artist thinks we are on the right path,” Lorenzo said. “I trust your plans, just as you trust me with your life. We will not fall for the old ways again.”


Designing Accessible Bathrooms

Waiting for my dad is painful. I’m waiting for him to make decisions about his bathroom renovation and he’s refusing to do so, which is holding up the whole renovation process. See my dad got into an accident a month back and it has left him with no ability to move his legs. Being unable to walk for the rest of his life, he’s now bound to a wheelchair and will require care to be able to live a normal life. 

It’s hard because he’s completely sound of mind, which is why I’m letting him make all the decisions in regards to his bathroom renovation. I don’t want to take away the little freedom that he has, but if he doesn’t choose his preferred wheelchair accessible bathroom design by tomorrow night then I’m going to have to pick it for him. I’ve given him two weeks to make a decision and the best that he could come up with was that he wasn’t particularly fond of getting renovations done to his bathroom at all. Unfortunately, seeing as dad will be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life, he has no choice but to have these renovations completed. 

Maybe I’ve made it too difficult for him. Not in terms of it being too hard to choose a design because he can’t (because he can), but more in the sense that coming to terms with having to make these changes is too hard to fathom. Maybe instead, I should ask him if he has any bathroom tiles ideas. Melbourne designers have a whole plethora of tile options available, so there should be something that my dad likes. While he’s distracted choosing the new tiles for his bathroom, I can make the hard decisions with the help of the expert designers who know what they’re doing. I feel sad for my dad that this has happened to him, but I’ll be here to support him through it all.


Buying Many Cars

Call me crazy, but I decided to marry for wealth over love. Of course, I am probably going to come to love my husband in time, but now I am focused on the money. It’s nice not having to work for anything, ever. He is very generous with his money and I never want for anything.

For example, I have recently taken up cars as a hobby. I own a few myself now, thanks to him. I don’t know much about cars but I am eager to learn. I mean, just last week I found out the diesel tuning price and my mouth dropped open in shock. I had always thought it was more affordable than that. I guess it depends on where you take your car, and what kind of car make and model you have in the first place. I like diesel cars because they feel more car-like, as strange as that probably sounds. I’m also not a huge fan of luxury cars and designer cars, despite what you probably imagine. I prefer cars that speak to me.

I know when I go to a dealership what I am looking for. I can’t explain the kinds of cars I like, but when I see one, I’ll instantly know. It’s kind of a skill. I always get complimented on my choice in cars. Another great thing about being rich is that I no longer have to use the lower-quality mechanics. In fact, I only ever visit the most highly-rated mechanics Toowoomba has. I can pay upfront. I can even pay several times more than what they are asking for to fine tune my car, and although the mechanics I like to use are actually very affordable, I always leave them a big tip as a way to say thank you for doing a great job.

The cars that my husband and I own together are my favourite possessions, so it’s important that they are taken care of. I am looking forward to buying a lot more cars with him next time we go to the dealership!


Annual Heating Service

As I sit here under my blanket and work on my laptop, I reflect on how lucky I am to have food, shelter and heating. Although these things should be a universal right for all people, especially people living in Australia, this, unfortunately, is not the case. I am very disappointed in the way the powers at be have handled the housing crisis situation and wish that there was anything I could do to be able to help. Unfortunately I don’t have the means to buy someone a home or pay for their rent indefinitely, so other than donating food and second hand clothes at our local drives, there’s nothing I can do. 

I am very fortunate to be in a situation where I can afford a home and afford to have annual ducted heating repairs performed by a trained technician. Canberra is home to several heating repair technicians and they all do a great job. I am doing my bit to support local business and help improve the employment rate, which means I select a different ducted heating repairs company every year to come and service my heater. The more I can spend my money across a variety of businesses, the better it will be for Canberrans and people who are trying to make a living here. As I said, I am trying to do my bit. I recognise that I am extremely privileged and want to help in small ways wherever I can.

Although I can’t afford to buy someone a house or pay their rent (as I said in one of the paragraphs above), I do think that I have the means to pay for someone’s heating services. In the Canberra area, everyone needs annual heating services because it gets so incredibly cold here. Maybe if I pay for someone’s heating services this will help alleviate the stressors of the cost of living.


A Fishing Mishap

‘Hoo-boy!’ came a the crowing from the deck above me. ‘She’s a big one!’

         ‘What’ve you got, Davies?’ I called ahead of me as I threw myself up the short staircase.

         ‘A big one, sir!’ he yelled back.

         ‘Yeah, I heard that bit,’ I mumbled to myself as I stepped onto the deck proper. Davies, my first (and only) mate, stood next to the side of the ship, a bending fishing pole in hand, and a stupid grin on his face.

         ‘What type of fish is she?’ I asked him.

         ‘A whale, sir!’ he cackled, then threw all of his focus back into hanging on for dear life. I peered over the side of the ship, trying to see through the foaming waves to see what his line was connected to.

         ‘May I suggest, Captain,’ Davies grunted, face red with exertion, we invest in durable fishing rod holders for our next voyage?’

         ‘Why?’ I asked, stepping backwards and clapping him on the back. ‘I’m not the one that has to do the fishing!’

         He laughed with me for a moment, then frowned as he realised what I’d said.

         ‘But, sir—’

         ‘Sorry, Davies,’ I shook my head. ‘Not in the budget.’

         Not if I’m gonna get that new DVD player, at least.

         ‘Aye, sir,’ he said glumly. Another yank on the line quickly pulled him out of his stupor.

         ‘Captain!’ he cried. ‘She’s fighting back hard!’

         ‘Then fight back harder!’ I told him. ‘It’s just a stupid fish!’

         Almost on cue, a giant whale shark, the biggest I’ve ever seen, leapt from the ocean in front of us with a seismic splash of water – just long enough for us to see Davies’ hook lodged in its mouth.

         ‘Hey, Davies,’ I whispered once it disappeared from view.

         ‘Yeah?’ he asked, petrified.

         ‘You remember that time I didn’t get that quality marine fabrication work near Melbourne because it, uh, wasn’t in the budget?’

         ‘Yeah,’ he whispered back.

         ‘Pray,’ I told him. ‘Just… just start praying.’

         We both let out shrieks of terror as the boat started to rock underneath us.

         So much for the DVD player.


Time to Share

After I had explained the situation to my wife and shot a few awkward, ‘everything is fine’ smiles at my neighbours, I made my way back to the centre of our estate. It was where all the shops were, and also the centre of my re-election campaign, since all the council offices were there, too. I had to be careful not to let any of my colleagues know where I was. I had told them I was feeling too sick to work today, so I can’t imagine what they would say if they saw me visiting our local energy solution providers.

When I walked into the store, the familiar bell sound chimed out, and multiple heads swung toward me. “Back again already?” The owner asked. I nodded, trying to conceal my nerves. How could I explain this to them without sounding crazy? They probably thought I was back here as some sort of trauma response to what had happened yesterday. I got them all to sit in a circle on the floor and brought a lamp over from a desk. They waited expectantly. The owner had a puzzled look on his face. “Um,” I began, my usual politician’s charm abandoned. “I have something for you guys that is going to beat the NSW Energy Savings Scheme.”

I raised my fist and waited for the pale yellow swirl in the centre of my palm to grow bright, hot red. Then, I placed it gently against the bulb of the desk lamp. Although it wasn’t plugged into any power socket, the light turned on. It glowed, brighter and brighter, until even I had to close my eyes to prevent the light from searing my retinas. When I thought I had sufficiently made my point, I removed my hand from the lamp and told the employees that it was safe to open their eyes again. Nobody said anything. They all just stared at me with stunned expressions on their faces.


The Second Explanation

The following text is a continuation of a transcript taken from BrilliantBlog49’s most recent video upload:

The thing is that I still want to talk to you guys, even though I’m overworked. I’ve been creating content for the past five years and so many brilliant things have come from it. I’ve been given opportunities that I never would have imagined I would ever get, like flying to England and meeting the Queen, or being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. But the truth is, that all pales in comparison to getting to read your lovely comments every day.

Rest assured that although I have hired one of the best video production companies Melbourne has to offer, I am still the one who is reading and replying to all the comments on my channel. The connection we have as content creators and viewers is one of the strongest connections on this entire platform, and I’m not just saying that. Everybody is jealous of our fandom, because it’s filled with some of the most amazing and passionate people on the whole internet.

I knew that even though I didn’t want to create my own videos anymore, I also didn’t want to say goodbye to you all. Oh, did you see that animation just now? That was actually created by the additional 2D animation company I hired. As you can see, they’re all really talented. This is the kind of stuff that’s possible when you outsource work. The quality of my videos improves exponentially because all that post production and filming stuff is taken care of, while I get to focus on what’s most important to me: talking to you all and sharing my thoughts and opinions. Nobody needs to be worried, because I’m not leaving the internet. Things are going to be a little bit different, but they’re only minor changes. I’ll still be here and I’ll still be posting videos.


About the Grout

‘I can’t believe this,’ I grumbled as I paced the length of the bathroom, phone pressed firmly to my ear. ‘I can’t believe this is happening again!’

         ‘Oh, relax,’ my wife rolled her eyes. ‘It’s not The Great War.’

         ‘It’s my The Great War,’ I scowled at her, hold music incessantly blaring in my ear. ‘They should have fixed this properly, from the start!’

         ‘It’s just a repair job,’ she sighed, settling into the empty bath like she was going to have a nap. ‘Let me know when they pick up.’

         ‘I mean, how hard is it?’ I went on, only half-realising I was ignoring her. ‘How hard is it to find someone to repair my shower grout? In the Melbourne area, for a change.’

         ‘Oh, relax,’ she scoffed. ‘That last guy was only from the outer suburbs.’

         ‘Well, maybe there shouldn’t have been a last guy,’ I frowned. ‘Maybe just the first guy should have sorted it out!’

         ‘Maybe,’ she rolled her eyes again. ‘Steve, look – you’ve got to relax.’

         ‘I am relaxed,’ I fumed.

         ‘No, I mean actually relax,’ she smiled at me. ‘Look around! This bathroom has been perfect for us.’

         I did as she said, taking a deep breath and letting my eyes wander around the room.

         ‘I guess,’ I muttered.

         ‘No need to guess! Do you remember how hard it was finding a company that designs bathrooms for disabled people?’

         ‘All the more reason why it should be fixed.’ 

         ‘Oh, one of the tiles fell off,’ she shrugged. ‘That happens to every bathroom.’      

         ‘What if she’d been in the bath?’ I countered. ‘And we didn’t know a tile had fallen on her?’

         ‘It didn’t fall out over the bath!’

         ‘But it could—’

         ‘Well, that’s insane,’ she laughed. ‘You sound insane.’

         ‘Someone has to care!’

         ‘Woah, woah, woah,’ she climbed out of the bath, all traces of laughter gone from her eyes. ‘We both care. But you,’ – she stuck a finger in my face –, ‘don’t get to throw a hissy fit and call it caring!’


Neighbourly Plumbing Emergency

‘Well,’ I shouted over the roar of the escaping water, ‘at least we’re going to have an interesting day.’

         ‘Shut up, Ronald,’ my coworker glared at me from behind the leaking pipe. ‘This is your fault!’

         ‘I’m sorry?’ I frowned. ‘Run that one past me again?’

         ‘I told you we needed to get the hot water system looked at!’

         ‘Jenny, you’re right,’ I said, feigning horror. ‘And I am the only person here who has their own mobile phone!’

         ‘It’s your job!’

         ‘What is?’

         ‘Fixing things, calling plumbers,’ Jenny gestured vaguely. ‘Stopping our house from flooding.’

         ‘Is that so?’ I scoffed. ‘Just out of curiosity, how far am I supposed to offer look for someone who offers plumbing services? Across Melbourne, or just our suburb?’

         ‘Don’t be smart with me!’

         ‘Don’t be condescending with me!’



         ‘Uh…did somebody need a plumber?’ came a timid voice from the doorway.

         We both whirled our gaze on him in an instant, our mild-mannered neighbour with a friendly face and a box full of tools.

         ‘What?’ my coworker frowned. ‘I mean, yes, please. Hi. Who are you again?’

         ‘My name is Kyle, I work next door,’ he said, clearly still nervous. ‘I saw the water outside, and I thought I’d just…’

         ‘Thank you, Kyle,’ I said through a strained smile. ‘We appreciate it.’

         He nodded at me, the mood somewhat thawing, and waded into the room.

         ‘It’s a big one,’ he whistled.

         ‘Do you work for a company that does hot water repairs in the Melbourne area, Kyle?’ my wife asked him, innocently enough.

         ‘Uh,’ Kyle said, nervous again. ‘I guess? It’s just me and my dad, so—’

         ‘Next door!’ my coworker erupted, shoving a finger in my face. ‘You literally couldn’t find a qualified plumber if you lived next door to one!’

         ‘You also live here!’ I shot back. ‘Heaven forbid you ever talk to the neighbours!’



Proud Boat Owner

I would call myself a pretty experienced sailor. I grew up on the water, since my family owned several boats and fishing has been part of my family for decades. Each summer we would go out onto the water and enjoy a few beers while watching the sun go down. It was total bliss.

Now that I’m old enough to have bought my own boat, I’ve started noticing just how important it is to keep it in good shape. I spent a lot of money buying the boat, a bit like an investment. It only makes sense that I ensure my investment is in the best possible condition at all times. One of the ways I did this was by hiring an expert to complete a boat catch installation. These are nifty little contraptions that have really become quite popular over the past few years due to their ability to streamline the launching and docking processes of boats. All it takes is the click of a button, and my boat is launched faster and easier than I could ever hope to do myself. It saves so much time and hassle, and it was ultimately a very affordable way to upgrade my boat.

It was much cheaper than hiring one of the best marine fabrication companies Melbourne has to offer and getting them to undertake a full refit of the boat. While that would have been a brilliant option, it was costly and time-consuming, and I really don’t enjoy being away from my boat for too long – especially when I can’t see where it is. I know they’re experts, but this boat really is like my baby, and I want to ensure whoever is with it is taking good care of it. The boat is almost a decade old now and it’s still working perfectly. I attribute that to my careful eye and passion for taking care of my boat. Maybe soon I’ll even do a repaint of the boat!