Air Conditioning

Pretend Aircon Pirates

“Land ahoy!” The captain bounded to the front of the ship, peering over the edge with a steady hand on his tiny forehead. He motioned for his first mate to steer accordingly at the island in the distance.

“Aye, aye, captain!” His first mate, who also happened to be his dad, twisted the couch pillow ship’s wheel tightly. 

The captain stumbled slightly as he traversed the side of the ship, balancing precariously on the arms of the couch that formed the makeshift bird’s nest. 

“We are approaching land, guard up,” the captain barked back at his first mate. His first mate was preoccupied for a second with smiling at his wife in the doorway. Sweat dripped down his face in the summer heat, the aircon in the corner of the room whirring and producing a pathetically weak airflow. The captain saw the danger instantly.

“Trouble bayside! Cooling our dragon cannons now, I saw a sea monster!” 

The first mate turned serious, grabbing a nearby nerf cannon. He pretended to be encumbered under the weight of the ‘cannon’ ball as he reloaded it. 

“Not like that,” the captain said, taking the item off him and clumsily fitting a foam ball into it. “Like this.” Then, he handed it back to a gracious first mate.

There was giggling from the doorway, which the first mate once again became preoccupied by. 

“So honey, I’m guessing you haven’t found technicians for air conditioning near South Yarra yet?” His wife said from the doorway. Booking repairs for the air conditioning system had been his chore. Given the heat wave they were facing, and the lack of cold air in the house, his procrastination was evident. 

The first mate struggled to get up from the couch pillows he was trapped under. “There’s no aircon at sea,” he said sheepishly.

The captain bounded onto the side of the couch, pointing a foam sword in the direction of the doorway. “Do you see that?” He whispered to his dad, behind a small hand. “I think there’s a sea creature over there.”

A smile wound its way onto his dad’s face. With a determined look between them, they both began to load up their nerf toys. The ‘sea creature’ in question shook her head. She looked to consider her options for a moment.

Then, with a sudden start, she raised her arms high above her head. She stuck out her tongue and quickly ran after the captain, who giggled with glee. “I’m going to eat you first!” she cried out, amidst the sea of laughter.

The air conditioner could wait for now.


Table Tennis Turmoil

God had threatened to quit every day since the start of this century, but Michael didn’t like the tone of voice his boss had when she declared it now. He flew up to the corner of the room where she had picked up a ping pong paddle. Before he could speak, she had passed him one and moved to the other side of the table.

“You can’t quit,” he said, holding the paddle limply in his hand like a dirty napkin. God stretched, warming up for the match. She motioned to the table tennis table. “Australia was a bad example,” he said, trying to approach her a little more gently than when he had first ordered her to invent a new animal. His approach to that request had been the very reason she had decided to spontaneously quit. “Australians seem to love life despite the constant threat of being poisoned! Maybe we can check through your old drafts so you won’t even have to invent any new ones.”

God pursed her lips, hitting a ping pong ball towards him to start the game. He didn’t know much about the sport but his instincts took over enough to volley it back to her. “I don’t know, it might be time I retire.” Her eyes shone like a lightbulb had been switched on. “Wait, I’ve got an idea!”

Michael sighed in relief. Finally she saw logic. She was quite literally the creator of the Universe, she couldn’t exactly quit. He drew out his clipboard to be ready for the new animal she would come up with. He would take anything at this point.

“Okay, jot this down,” she looked up toward the stars, placing her paddle on the table. “First, make a note to make me a list of the best backyard trampolines for sale. Delivery included, of course, I’m not travelling all the way down there myself for that!”

He set his pen down on the paper as she trailed off. “Trampolines?”

“Yes, trampolines, catch up Michael,” she said, now moving away from the table, eyes trained on the sky above them. “I’m inventing a new sport to practise now that I’m retired. It’s called: star catching. I really think it’ll catch on.”

Michael felt his hope fade as quickly as the stars above him.


Timber Supplies One

Noah’s unease deepened, casting an eerie pall over the night as he navigated the dimly illuminated carpark, his steps leading him towards the luminous expanse of hardware stores. Lucas’s adage, “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction,” reverberated within his mind, a mantra that had guided their scheming for this very night. Lucas, a master of calculated precision, invariably harboured a reservoir of novel concepts, perpetually concealed within the recesses of his imagination. Yet, scepticism gripped Noah, who perpetually remained uncertain about the wisdom behind these ventures—especially tonight.


Spotting Lucas and his companions clustered near the neon beacon heralding the entrance to the preeminent hardware supplies store Cheltenham boasted, Noah discreetly manoeuvred, skirting the perimeter and keeping a safe distance from the light that emanated from the open storefronts. Hidden amidst the intricacies of scaffolding and roof tiles lay concealed cameras, a facet of surveillance well-known to few. However, Noah’s role demanded unwavering vigilance, an attribute he embraced with diligence. He meticulously noted the formidable toolbox slung over Lucas’s shoulder, the nonchalant manner in which Harvey toyed with a handful of nails, and the glimmer of steel that adorned their boot tips. An eclectic assemblage of individuals, united by their stakes in an ongoing land dispute, congregated before him. Noiselessly, he melded into their ranks, his gaze shifting across adjacent establishments in search of any telltale signs of activity.


Lucas’s voice resonated, issuing forth with conviction. “It needs to be taller than that. We’re well past the Stone Age. Ladders can’t be the answer.”


He gestured towards the opposite side of the road, wherein rested one of the many establishments servicing the Cheltenham region with the best timber fencing supplies Cheltenham had. Despite the hour’s lateness, the store buzzed with activity as tradesmen, undoubtedly comprising night shift workers, swarmed its vicinity.


Harvey voiced his curiosity. “Think they’ll have what we’re after?”


Lucas’s affirmation came, marked by the incisive interplay of red neon light dancing across his chiselled features. “Cameron insists the fence must be as substantial as two individuals, necessitating more timber than that establishment can provide.” A dismissive gesture directed them towards the store they had left behind. “Prepare yourselves, gentlemen.”

Shoulder Surgery

Shoulder Repair Four

Today, my friend and I found ourselves passing the time at the library while awaiting our bus. With no pressing tasks at hand, I wandered amongst the bookshelves, randomly selecting volumes to peruse. While many of the tomes I encountered were antiquated and somewhat dull, my attention was captured by a book that seemed straight out of a doctor’s office. Its pages were adorned with an array of medical images, offering a glimpse into the world of injuries and procedures. Curiosity piqued, I turned to a random page and began immersing myself in a discourse about various afflictions and interventions concerning the arms.


Among the wealth of information, one procedure left a lasting impression on me: the distal biceps tendon repair. This surgical intervention is necessitated when the tendon near the elbow suffers a rupture due to an exceptionally forceful contraction of the biceps muscle. The procedure, though sounding quite intense, is typically required for men over the age of 35, particularly those engaged in activities like bodybuilding or physically demanding manual labour. An intriguing aspect I discovered is the time sensitivity associated with this type of tendon tear. Timely medical attention within approximately three weeks is imperative to ensure the feasibility of surgery; delaying treatment can render the procedure significantly more challenging or even unviable. This revelation underscores the importance of promptly addressing arm pain rather than relying on measures like ice packs and rest in hopes of it subsiding.


As I delved further into the book, my understanding expanded to encompass an elbow arthroscopy, a diagnostic procedure used by a shoulder injury specialist based in the Melbourne area to assess joint-related issues. This method entails the insertion of a small camera into the joint, with the resulting images displayed on a monitor. These visuals guide the surgeon’s manipulation of specialised instruments within the joint. The concept of such a procedure does indeed carry a weight of intensity, yet its necessity cannot be denied. The presence of a skilled and amicable surgeon undoubtedly contributes to making the experience more manageable.


In Melbourne, a plethora of highly trained and compassionate medical professionals stand ready to assist patients in their journey towards optimal joint health, exemplifying the commitment of the healthcare community to provide effective and compassionate care.


Melbourne Podiatrist One

After the fall, my life as a spy came crashing down, leaving me a shattered and humbled man. Losing my position as a high-flying mission commander added insult to injury. The failure of the mission weighed heavily on my conscience, and there was no one else to blame but myself. My team had followed orders diligently, and I couldn’t escape the responsibility that lay on my shoulders.


To compound matters, the fall had left me with a debilitating injury. My foot was shattered beyond repair, and even the best podiatrist clinics Cheltenham had to offer couldn’t fully mend it. For a while, it seemed that I might need a prosthetic, which would have meant not only losing my career but also part of my physical self. However, being part of the spy network still granted me access to top-notch medical talent, and with their help, I began my arduous journey to recovery.


Physical therapy became my lifeline. I started with small steps, relearning how to move my foot and reconnecting the muscles in my leg. The process was slow and painful, but I persevered. Using crutches, I navigated the hospital hallways, determined to regain my mobility. At times, the duration of my treatment made me wonder about the side effects of wearing circulation socks, as I had worn them for so long. Yet, the doctors and podiatrists assured me of their necessity, and I pushed aside any lingering doubts.


Despite the challenges, progress came, bit by bit. With each step, I felt closer to reclaiming my life, both physically and professionally. The road to recovery was gruelling, but I knew that my resilience and determination were still assets that could serve me well in the world of espionage.


While my life as a spy remained uncertain, I refused to give up. As my foot slowly healed, so did my spirit. I knew that I might never regain my former position, but the desire to contribute and make amends for my past mistakes drove me forward.


With the support of my colleagues and the mentorship of seasoned spies, I started assisting in intelligence analysis and mission planning. My analytical skills were still sharp, and my experience as a mission commander gave me a unique perspective. Though not as glamorous as my former role, I found purpose in this new position.


As I walked through the halls of the spy network headquarters, no longer with crutches but with newfound determination, I knew that my journey was far from over. Life had taken an unexpected turn, but I was ready to embrace the challenges that lay ahead and prove that even in the face of adversity, a spy’s spirit could endure.

Shoulder Surgery

Fractured my scapula

Gardening has always been my solace, a way for me to connect with the earth and find peace amidst the chaos of life. Even as I grow older, I try to stay as active as possible, and I cherish the moments I spend tending to my plants. One day, while I was lost in the beauty of my garden, I took a wrong step and slipped on a puddle of water. The next thing I knew, I was lying on the ground, my body wracked with pain.

I knew immediately that something was wrong with my shoulder. I couldn’t move it without wincing, and I knew I needed to see a doctor. After being rushed to the hospital, I found out that I had a scapula fracture.

I met with the highest rated shoulder surgeon Melbourne had available. The doctor recommended a shoulder replacement surgery, also known as arthroplasty, and I agreed to it without hesitation. The doctor recommended a shoulder replacement surgery, also known as arthroplasty, and I agreed to it without hesitation.

The surgery went well, and I spent the next few weeks recovering in the hospital. It was a difficult time for me, but the hospital staff was kind and attentive, making sure that I had everything I needed to heal properly.

After a few weeks of rest, I started physical therapy to help me regain my strength and mobility. It was tough going, but I was determined to get back to my normal routine as soon as possible.

Months passed, and with each passing day, I could feel my shoulder getting stronger. I’m glad I didn’t need a shoulder replacement (arthroplasty). The pain lessened, and I was able to move my arm with ease. I was ecstatic to finally be able to start gardening again.

My shoulder is almost back to normal, thanks to the arthroplasty and the physical therapy that followed. I’m grateful to the doctors and the hospital staff who helped me get back on my feet and back to my normal life. The scapula fracture may have been a setback, but it didn’t keep me down for long.

Air Conditioning

Lazy husband






My husband really frustrates me at times. Ladies, I’ll let you in on a huge secret; if you ever get an inkling that your boyfriend or husband-to-be has some lazy tendencies, run. Run like the wind! I saw quite a few signs that my boyfriend was going to be a lazy husband one day, but I ignored the signs as I assumed he would improve once life became more serious. Boy was I wrong there!

We’ve been needing to book an air conditioning repair specialist in Cheltenham for the last week. I don’t think he’s even made a single attempt to get in touch with one. Our house feels like the inside of an oven. Do you know what he does to cool down? He sits with his feet soaking in an ice bucket. Whenever I ask him if he’s made the call, he simply shrugs and tells me he doesn’t feel hot. Ordinarily, I’d happily make the booking myself but I’m holding out now out of principle. I work in a very meeting-heavy job during the day, so it’s quite difficult for me to find the time to call someone and make a booking. My husband, however, doesn’t work. He’s at home all day. I’m sure he can find five minutes in his day to call an air conditioning contractor. Ormond has heaps of them. He doesn’t even need to find the contractor. I’ve given him a list of multiple air conditioning contractors in the area. Instead, he’s too busy just worrying about if he’s feeling hot or cold.

I’d hate to think if we had children. He’d be so lazy. Our children would most likely be left to sit in their rooms and boil, while their dad enjoys his footbath. My friend gave me some great advice the other day; she told me that it’s not too late to become single again. She’s not wrong. A lot of marriages fail, and it’s not like I’m trying to keep it together for kids. I don’t think this guy is even suitable to be a father of kids. 


Air Conditioning

Air Conditioned Revolution

‘Can you believe this cold?’ I asked Jeanine, my desk mate. She looked up from her keyboard and frowned at me, pointing to her headphones. I blinked at her patiently.

Eventually, she slipped the headphones over her ear and rolled her eyes at me.


‘Can you believe this cold?’ I repeated.

‘Seriously, Chris?’ she asked with a sigh. ‘I’m trying to get some work done.’

‘I know,’ I said, interrupting her as she went to block me out again. ‘It’s just… has management been told about this?’

‘About what?’ she said, frown deepening.

‘The climate control in this office!’

‘I’m sure they don’t care.’

‘Shouldn’t they?’ I raised my eyebrows. ‘Shouldn’t they be rushing out here saying “sorry folks, we’ve gotten in contact with the best air conditioning servicer local to Canberra, they’ll be here any second!”?’

Jeanine blinked slowly at me. ‘Right. Look, if this is another one of your “down with the management class” speeches you’re building up to, I have so much work to do—’

‘People of the Canberra office!’ I cried out, rising out of my chair and clambering on top of my desk. I stood proudly, hands pressed against my hips as approximately a third of my colleagues looked up at me. ‘Aren’t you tired of this?’

‘Yeah,’ came one voice from the back of the room. ‘But you still won’t stop for some reason!’

A smattering of giggles spread through the office. I ignored them.

‘We deserve better, comrades!’ I continued, raising a fist in solidarity. ‘We deserve to be comfortable as we make these people their money. We deserve a local heater servicing company! Near Canberra! Not far away, in some distant suburb, taking food out of the mouths of our local businesses and forcing them to suckle ever harder at capitalism’s drying teat!’

‘Okay,’ Jeanine sighed underneath me. ‘That’s a bit much.’

‘Join me, brothers!’ I hollered. ‘Join me in a strike! Join me in a—’

I gasped as Jeanine hit me in the back of the knees with a keyboard, and I fell off the desk.

‘Seriously,’ she said. ‘I really have to get this work done.’

Community Nursing

Overworked Support Worker

‘What the hell was that?’ I growled, storming out of the building after my sister.

‘I’m sorry, okay?!’ she turned back to glare at me, but otherwise kept pacing in front of the parking lot. ‘You know I’m not good in places like that.’

‘Being uncomfortable in a hospital is one thing, Louise,  but having a breakdown and yelling at Dad’s disability support worker is another thing entirely!’

‘I’ll go and apologise to him in a minute, I just need…’ her breathing quickened, running faster and faster, and she doubled over trying to breathe more slowly. ‘I just need a second,’ she gasped, tears streaming down her face.

‘Louise?’ I called out, my concern chipping away at my anger. I rushed over to grab her shoulders, helping sit her down on the curb. ‘Louise, what is it?’

‘I just…’ she took a deep, shuddering breath, clutching herself tightly. ‘I just can’t take this anymore. Seeing her like that, every day, not being able to do anything.’

‘You are doing something,’ I said softly. ‘By being here every day, by helping her get through it.’

‘I know, I know,’ Louise said. ‘I know. But I’m so tired. In my bones, I’m tired. I don’t know how much more I have to give.’

I nodded, and sat with her in the silence for a bit. A car drove up, the driver excited that they were going to find a spot so close to the hospital, but quickly drove away scowling once they saw us sitting in the way.

‘Take the weekend off,’ I said quietly. ‘Take the long weekend off. Spend some time with your kids and Mike. I can man the fort here.’

‘I can’t ask you to do that Joe—’

‘You’re not asking,’ I said firmly. ‘And it’s not like I’ll be alone. I’ve got the best NDIS service available in Adelaide to support me.’

She snorted, and a touch of colour shifted back onto her face.

‘Are you sure?’ she whispered.

‘Absolutely positive,’ I smiled, wrapping her up into a hug. ‘Just promise me one thing?’


‘Try to have a shower or two.’

She punched me on the arm.


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.”