Friday, November 27, 2009


When I first moved into the rooming house the owner looked at me as we passed a grey headed man standing in the stairwell.

“Don’t worry about him". The owner said. "He talks to himself”.

Oh yeah, I thought. Another fruitloop; make no attempt at conversation and keep as far away from him as possible. Let’s make sure the battlelines are clearly drawn right from the beginning. That way, nobody gets confused.

That night, the man whose name I did not want to know but who had been christened The Swine, locked himself in the kitchen beneath my room and had a party with all his friends. Alone, with all his friends. I woke at 3.00 am to the sound of an endless monologue punctuated by several different voices, one male, one female, and the high pitched squeal of a child. Unable to resist, I climbed out of bed and listened. There were accusations and threats of recriminations. There was pleading for help and teasing. There was in that kitchen any one of several different types of people all wrapped up in The Swine who only found expression early in the morning encapsulated by a quart of blackberry wine. The man was clearly in some kind of crisis. But crisis’ are a dime a dozen in rooming houses. More important was a good night’s sleep. I wasn’t game to tell him to be quiet so inserted earplugs into my ears, resolved to speak to the caretaker in the morning, and went back to sleep.

Next morning, the caretaker assured me he would speak to The Swine and there would be no further disruption. That afternoon, I saw The Swine washing his sheets in the washhouse trough. We stared at one another, but not a word was spoken. I swear there were daggers in The Swine’s eyes and went to sleep that night fearful of a surreptitious attack so made sure a chair was wedged between the door and the floor securing the entrance to my room.

Like every person who has ever stayed in a rooming house I only intended to be there for a month. But soon discovered that most of the other tenants had there for a minimum of 5 years. The Kaiser, a German who flew a Messerschmitt during the war, had been there for 25 years. While the old Hungarian who lived upstairs could not remember when he first took up lodgings. Of course, I was the exact opposite of these people. They were down and outs; unable to function in the more important areas of life. Drunken bums and drug addicts, fruitloops and fruitcakes. Say hello in the corridor but only because you have to, then move on and find a better place to live at the first opportunity.

Two years later I was sitting in my room one day, unable to get started on a story I had wanted to write and unhappy with everything else that I had written, when I not only realised I was talking to myself, but that I had been talking to myself for quite sometime. Nothing serious, just the usual mumbling and grumbling. You know, the expressions of frustation that rise up in a person when they don’t have anyone to talk to; the odd obscene exchange between myself and that ‘Other side’ that always wants to argue. I reckon life would have been much easier if we had have been made with one person in mind instead of two. The duality of existence has always confused me.

Later that afternoon, while stepping outside to go to the toilet, I saw The Swine sitting under a tree drinking a can of beer. Without knowing why, the first sentence that came out of my mouth was:

“How are you ?”

The Swine took a slug from his can.

“I’m alright...”, he said. “How are you ?”

“Fine”, I said.

Then continued onto the toilet and returned vowing not to say another word.

But the swine had other ideas.

“I’m trying to give up the booze”

“Yes”, I said. “Been drinking far too much myself lately. Knocked over half a dozen longnecks on Saturday afternoon”.

“Not good for your health... Your mental health”, said The Swine, who then introduced himself as Tony.

“That’s funny”. I said. “My name’s Tony too...”.

Then quickly took no further part in the conversation and headed straight back to the safety of my little room.

I don’t normally remember my dreams, but I did that night. A dream like no other dream I had ever had before. I was flying around in the top storey of a transparent multicoloured building. When I pushed my head through a wall in an attempt to escape, I saw a doll dressed in sepia lace. I looked away, then looked back. The doll’s face had reverted to a skull stripped of flesh. I woke in the middle of the night feeling exhilarated. For the first time in six months I heard The Swine, locked in his kitchen, drunk as a skunk, and the little girl inside of him was screaming out that she had been abused. I did not know what to do and nor did I complain to the Caretaker, but next morning when I sat down to write their flowed out of me a story about a man who'd had a nervous breakdown and in doing so, murdered a child. I don’t know where that story came from but without question it seemed right to call it Nightshift.

Seven years later the owner tried to evict me for no other reason than I had been there too long and was becoming part of the furniture. I fought the case in V.C.A.T. and won easily. You see, it was a matter of principle. But having high principles can result in a short term lease on life. A life without an escape clause in a world where only two things are certain. Death and taxes... Or maybe, just death.

Just the other day I ran into The Swine on a tram in Chapel St. Prahran. He had given up the booze, or so he said. But I could smell it on him. I asked him where he was living. He said a rooming house in Kew.

“But there aren’t any rooming houses in Kew”.

“I know”, said The Swine.

The tram stopped. He got off at his stop and disappeared into the grey afternoon.

psychic prison: plan b theatre

It’s the end of winter in Melbourne and artistic director of Plan B Theatre Sharon Jacobson has murder on her mind. We are talking about ‘The outlaw’. We want to ascertain what it is about the outlaw that is attractive to the female imagination. (Plan B is a theatre enterprise initiated by Jacobson that utilises the talents of recently released male prisoners; men who have stepped outside the law and are now attempting to re-enter society). Jacobson is caught off-guard; the imagination is an elusive beast at the best of times, let alone when trying to articulate a reason as to why a woman might be attracted to a murderer. But Jacobson is also courageous and unflinching when confronted by probing questions. She speaks of a “Redemption script...”. One in which the female psyche is attracted to the possibility of eliciting “The beauty and the sweetness... " from a man who has committed the ultimate crime. It may sound patronising; the atrophied romanticism of a woman who believes she can change her man. Yet there bastes away in Jacobson a desire for change that is not paternalistic; but rather, a conflict being played out in her own psychic prison. And then she starts talking about murder...

The impetus for Plan B came from Jacobson’s experience of running theatre projects inside Victoria’s maximum security Barwon Prison. Hoddle St. murderer Julian Knight does time there; so do underworld figures Carl Williams and Victor Brincat. Not a place for the faint of heart and Jacobson confesses to an absolute “Fear...” at having been behind Barwon’s walls. But her fascination with a psychic underworld sets her apart from the banal actualities often associated with a person who commits a serious criminal offence. Jacobson understands the “Rage and fury... ” that is part of the average person’s emotional life. (People like you and I, or the nice man who runs the milk bar at the end of the street). She feels she knows what it might be like to be a poor person driven to murder - as is the case with nineteenth century German dramatist George Buchner’s infamous character, Woyzeck. Yet she is also careful to articulate a difference. In Jacobson’s view “Murder is an act of enormous passion, not an act of indifference... ”. But once a person is configured as a murderer he becomes a terminal outsider. Having committed what the law deems the ultimate crime the murderer forfeits his right to remain a member of society. Feodor Dostoevski might have agreed. His nineteenth century novel ‘Crime and Punishment’ is essentially about the dilemma Jacobson expresses. But Raskolnikov’s existential quagmire is also the dilemma of the average, law abiding human being. Ravaged by feelings of abstract guilt how do we free ourselves from our paralysing ‘Natures’ ?

Plan B’s first show ‘til Hell Freezes' used stories gleaned from prisoner experience shaped into a cohesive script then subjected to improvisation by Jacobson and her ex-prisoner performance troupe. A show that explored the tension between the opposing ideas of prison and release. A show well received, not just by its audience, but more importantly, by the ex-prisoners themselves. An “Incredibly committed group... ” according to Jacobson. One invigorated by the task of creating a piece of theatre. Plan B’s “Post-release strategy... ” and “Social action agenda... ” were fully realised in ‘til Hell Freezes. Ex-prisoners began thinking of themselves as theatre practitioners, and it is this shift in mentality that drives Jacobson’s ambitious project.

Historically, prison has been a potent and reoccurring image in the theatre. Buchner’s Woyzeck and British dramatist Edward Bond’s characters, although not incarcerated, are imprisoned by their feelings and/ or their social situations. Genet’s prisoners, rather than having hearts of stone, have red roses in their chests. Locally, ex-prisoner and dramatist Ray Mooney, now a teacher of creative writing, has explored an imprisoned masculinity in his Expressionist plays ‘The Dominator’ and ‘The Cat from Across the Road’. But perhaps it is now time to expand the psychic prison - male and female - beyond the limits of angst ridden mental torture normally associated with the imprisoned self. Is the imagination really a prison ? Or is it, as is proposed in Melbourne dramatist Richard Murphet’s play, a vast and labyrinthine department store consisting of dream states populated by duplicitous projections of the self ? Writer/ Director Jenny Kemp’s expansion of the imprisoned self into a surreal world of fantasy, myth, dream, nightmare and speculative scientific theory, all encapsulated by the image of a Black Sequin Dress, also provides a glimpse of what lies beyond prison walls. Walls that have been imposed upon us and walls which we impose upon ourselves. Whatever the scenario, each individual will respond to exploration of their interior world in a unique fashion. But before the walls can be dismantled there must occur a psychic death of the self. This is why Jacobson’s talk of murder, along with Plan B’s agenda for demolishing the barricade that separates ex-prisoners from mainstream society, can play an important function in shaping lives that may then make a contribution toward creating a just society.

And what of the transformative power of art ? If the theatre has become just another commodity within which practitioners pursue careers like merchant bankers and arts tourism has become the prerogative for many, is the theatre still capable of social change ? Perhaps its transformative power has always been a mirage ? Jacobson disagrees. The theatre is a "Vehicle for bringing people together... ”. An activity where a “Sense of community... ” is established and “Magical things... ” can happen. In Jacobson’s view this transformation is achieved through "Process and product..." . But in an age where obsession with product engages theatre practitioners in a Beckettian endgame, one where economic limitations often see projects emerge halfbaked to be assessed by unsatisfied audiences and so-called critics in the mainstream media, perhaps product, drawn as it is from economic jargon, is a less than favourable term for describing public performance. Even so, Jacobson’s emphasis on process is unusual, and contains several dimensions.

The process ex-prisoners engage in when creating a Plan B show, that of acquiring acting, story telling and production skills and then using these to create a performance, is one part of a broader process ex-prisoners engage with during their transition between prison, release, and the adventure that is the theatre; allowing ex-prisoners the opportunity to once again 'Play'. But what is it about the creation of a play that can rehabilitate a prisoner ? Jacobson scoffs at the term rehabilitate. “The burden of change is always on the prisoner... ”, she says. In her view the Corrections System itself requires some rehabilitation. “It costs approximately $ 70,000 a year to house a prisoner. Can that money be better spent..? You fucking bet it can...”. But the question remains: how does a person who has committed a serious crime like murder transform themselves ?

Jacobson may have murder on her mind but it is not a literal representation of murder that excites her. In Edward Bond’s play Red Black and Ignorant a character called The Monster has its throat slit after the monster declares it must kill off the one it loves, the egotistical self. If, as Jacobson says, the theatre is a “laboratory”, then it is also a space where the death of the self can be enacted in a bloodless fashion for the purpose of using the theatre not just as a therapeutic tool, but as a space that might extend Antonin Artaud’s Theatre of Cruelty. For Jacobson though, any extension beyond Plan B’s current agenda, that of a post release space where ex-prisoners can acquire vocational skills in the theatre, would have to be handled “Gently gently”. Her intention is for ex-prisoners to one day take charge of the project. Dispensing with the prisoner tag and adopting the new identity of theatremaker is also the death of one self and having it replaced by another. Jacobson is into “That old spiritual idea... A spark of light... trapped inside the body”, ensnaring us on a “material plain”. The human spirit imprisoned by the flesh, not searching for an escape but trying to rediscover its original intention. A journey we all undertake - man, woman and child. Creatures trapped behind walls, unable to forget our pasts, lost on a path toward an uncertain future as we try and find our way home.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

a mouse in the house

Late one night you are woken from vague dreams by the sound of a gentle scratching. Is it behind the mirror or somewhere deep within the chest of draws ? Upon your return to sleep you hope the scratching will disappear. But an hour later, when you wake and the scratching has become a gnaw, you realise a Napoleon has set up shop in your little room. You now have a companion like no other you have ever had before.

Rooming houses are a haven for mice. Just place yourself in their position. Food and warmth in every room: the cat, a natural enemy of the mouse, having been denied access by an intolerant landlord: countless nooks and crannies in ancient walls where furred animals sleep all day, then emerge at dusk to raid the larder, keeping you awake for the entire night. What more could a lost rodent ask for ? A rooming house is paradise for the homeless mouse.

Initially, you tolerate your new found friend. At night, he scratches and gnaws somewhere... But when you do see him scurry across the open space between the wardrobe and the door, he reminds you of a furred toy you played with as a child. Those tiny brown eyes, those pink ears and cute claws. The way in which he wiggles his nose in order to get a bead on you. He’s a nice mouse, and he is your friend and no-one else’s. Until, of course, he wants to share your loaf of bread and bag of rice. Until, of course, you wake one morning and find footprints in the frypan and mouse droppings scattered across last night’s dinner plate. But, you say to yourself, as long as he keeps his disturbance to a minimum, everything will be fine. And you remind yourself that he is your friend, that friends must be tolerant of one another's ‘inconsistencies’. That this is what friends are for...

Mice are incorrigible survivors. They will climb three tenuous metres of electrical cord and chew through a plastic bag containing two minute noodles. They will tear-up strips of carpet and create access points beneath gaps under doors. When a mouse arrives in your room rest assured it will invade and occupy the premises, making you feel like the uninvited guest. Do not make unnecessary noise during the daylight hours, you say to yourself, it might wake the mouse. Do not leave the bread out overnight, and make sure each and every dish is washed, dried, and safely stored away. Otherwise, your fast fading little friend will have his way with each utensil, with all and every type of food available. Until one day, three or four months after the mouse first appeared, you are lying in bed when it canters across the open space between the wardrobe and the door, rears up, and stares you straight in the eye. Defeated, you look away. And just accept that Mighty Mouse is in the rooming house and he is now in complete control.

Then, when autumn has waned and the forlorn glow of winter fills your room, the mouse disappears. Perhaps it was the poison the pest controller gave you. An evil black block emblazoned with a skull and crossbones that could disable a rhinoceros. It certainly wasn’t the dozen or so mouse traps that peppered the kitchen floor. (Mighty Mouse had worked these out; he would steal the bait then leap into the air, out of the line of fire). Whatever it was that got him, it no longer matters. For Mighty Mouse has gone to that great grey larder in the sky. Your room belongs to you again. The bread can remain on the kitchen table. The dishes don’t have to be washed and stored away night after night after night... You are free to come and go as you please, no longer intimidated by that four legged eating machine. That marauding little ball of fur who by his very unwelcomed presence embodied that famous statement: ‘This town ain’t big enough for the two of us’.


Come springtime, late at night or early in the morning, you are woken by the sound of much scratching and gnawing, of much ripping up of paper and what sounds like two battalions at war behind the chest of draws. Yes, that’s right. The mouse you thought was a he was in fact a she, and your new found family is happy to have caught you at home.

sweet & piggy: (a cautionary tale)

Writer's Note: Sweet and Piggy contains several vulgar and possibly offensive words and phrases. I have chosen to include this material, (rather than reduce it by using awkward euphemism), not out of a desire to shock or offend, nor in reference to a particular writing genre'. But because the words and phrases form part of a vocabulary used by certain people from a working or lower middle class background. While regretting any offence this may cause, I trust this note has contextualised the use of such vulgarity, thereby explaining its inclusion.

Sweet Thing usually spends some time in the mirror popping blackheads in his nose, but staring at his reflection this morning is just too much to ask. His face is littered in small sores. Scabs he cannot help but pick. In the pre-dawn light he sits on his mound of dirt overlooking the Yarra river with a paw up around his face. Absently picking at his face. Wondering where the next hit will come from as the buzz from the blast he"s just had hits his brain. Sweet has a pair of Piggy"s panties and one of her black stilettos" beside him. He was wearing them a minute ago until a stranger strolled up and asked for sex. Sweet had experienced something resembling embarrassment then said to the man:

"Fuck off, or I"ll stab you in the chest".

The memory of IT is like a quick left jab to the head. A friend had walked up to Sweet in a bar, and he was crying. The shock of seeing his friend"s bloodied face, combined with a heavy smoke of hash, sent Sweet"s face ash white. Piggy said later that Sweet"s face had turned ash-white. A bouncer had bottled Sweet"s friend. He felt the night club rumble in his throat. People danced and lights flashed. The club was in Sweet"s mind. Every piece of furniture. Every shameless leg hanging over a chair. The entire drunk and drugged out club converged inside his brain.

"Go on...", a voice said.

"Do it now".


Sweet Thing sits on his mound of dirt overlooking the Yarra river at 5.00 am, speed and coke pulsing through his veins. Wanting to get off the gear but also wanting to perform an autoerotic act. Nobody loves him, so how can he love himself ? Even the strange man who had quickly disappeared upon the threat of violence had only wanted to stuff his cock in Sweet"s mouth, offer him a handkerchief, then leave.

In a drug induced haze with the pleasure zone in his head on the point of seizure, Sweet wondered why people treated one another in such miserable ways. He hadn"t finished this thought before his pants were off and Piggy"s burgundy panties were up around his thighs. As the light improved Sweet suspected the strange freak he had pissed-off might return and try and rape him in the grass. But the threat of ultra-violence was usually enough to deter the most persistent queen. Then it was off with his shirt and on with Piggy"s matching bra. A rolled up sock for each breast. (He had selected the socks for the Mickey Mouse insignia sewn into the ankles). Realising he had lost one of Piggy"s stilettos" he decided to slip the other pump on anyway. And there he sat, with his red raw cock throbbing in his hand, pulling it back and forth without the slightest chance of achieving an erection.

Among the dirty pictures and feelings of despair, one thought remained. Sweet felt naked without Piggy"s lost stiletto. Each time the coke and speed pushed him onto the next big thrill, the thought of wearing one pump instead of two, threw Sweet. So he put his pornographic magazine to one side, opened the blue velvet bag he carried his tools in, and set up a hit right there in the grass. As the sun came over the hill he got up off his arse and trundled across an open plain toward a football field. No good trying to walk in one stiletto, so he slipped the pump from his foot and cradled it in his arms. Had to find the other pump, he thought, in order to have a proper wank. But after searching the grounds for half an hour the two sizes too small crotch of Piggy"s panties had cut into his scrotum. And anyway, the coke and speed from the previous hit was wearing off as Sweet became suspicious of a seagull staring at him for a second longer than it should have been. Even the local bird life was out to get him.

As the gear wore off the pleasure zone projected its grasp through the exterior of Sweet"s skull, pleading for one more blast before promising to give the gear away. Sweet returned to his mound of dirt overlooking the Yarra river and sat down on the wet grass. With the return of the cravings came the memory of standing at the bar in that nightclub, his face ash white. Piggy had said later that Sweet"s face had turned ash white. He had watched and listened as the hashish in his brain forced that nightclub into his ear and out his nose. Sweet had snorted that club out of his nose as he raced from the shadows, picked up a glass, and threw a roundhouse right. The glass broke in the forehead of another man, and Sweet could not escape the memory of this foul deed. (Except when injecting himself with half a gram of coke and speed). But the buzz received was as brief as the time taken to commit the act. Sweet realised he had glassed the wrong man, instead of the bouncer who had bottled his friend, and two fingers of Sweet"s right hand were cut to the bone and hanging from bits of skin.

O yes, Sweet wants it bad alright. He sits on his mound of dirt with bandaged fingers encircling his forever flaccid dick. His other hand claws at the hard bits on his face. He wants to be loved but there is nobody left in the world to love a person who cannot love himself. Love breeds love, Sweet thinks, for his mind is not completely perforated. Love breeds love and hate breeds hate. In a general way a person can divide the population of the world into two categories. Of course, Sweet thinks, there are numerous subtle differences, but when all is said and done and the gear is on its way to the pleasure zone in the brain, life is simple. There are those that love and those that hate and poor old Sweet"s mind has become mashed potata on a plate. Sweet hates everybody. Including the junkie he has become. More an act of survival than a narcissistic desire. And it is this self loathing that might just keep him alive. If he is lucky.

Sweet gathers up his clothes and gets changed then off he goes in search of diamond studded Copenhagen the Doctor of the Drains. Yet Copenhagen has been hard to find for the last few days and all his customers are howling in a corner of their rooms.

Sweet picks Piggy up and down to Abbotsford they drive. Outside Copenhagen"s palace with its peep hole in the door Piggy taps and waits then taps again and waits some more. The door opens and Piggy"s hair comes out in clumps as The Man invites them in. Then its down to business on the kitchen table. Copenhagen drops three one ounce bags infront of them and before you can say Jack Rabbit, Piggy has a fit in her arm. Copenhagen orders Piggy into the toilet. A pillar of the community, he doesn"t want any of that shit going on in his house.

"Fuckin' junkies", he says.

"Ya can"t trust 'em".

Sweet agrees.

"You' re right alright, they' re cunts those fuckin' junkies".

Copenhagen admires Sweet"s admission before slipping under his eyelids and reflecting upon the porno he will watch later that night.

Piggy is back inside the kitchen in a minute waving her hand before her mouth as the taste rushes through her throat, then hits a lobe. Sweet is dying for a blast but feeling a little shy in front of Copenhagen. They"ve just had a conversation about transfusing Sweet"s blood into milk cartons and replacing it with Copenhagen"s. At a price of course. Especially since Copenhagen had read about the process in a three dollar copy of Life magazine.

"Ya can"t trust those fuckin' Commie bastards", says Copenhagen, for no apparent reason.

Sweet agrees. Too readily this time.

"Yeah", he says, aching for a blast.

"Better red than dead".

And Piggy"s cheeks flare as she looses her bowels in the kitchen and a fart tears out her arse.

"Right", says Copenhagen.

"Three grand on the dot next week or you' re both fuckin' dead".

Sweet thinks Copenhagen is joking, but Piggy is counting out the days in the foreground of her mind. The risk sends her head into a spin as Copenhagen"s face disappears behind the front door of his palace. Sweet and Piggy get into their car and off they go. Sweet is desperate to get home and whack the needle in his vein.

And Sweet wants to hold Piggy, he really does. But he cannot bring himself to do so until he"s got the gear in his head. As they swerve through the streets of Collingwood in Piggy"s yellow Mazda Capella Sweet remembers wanting to hold his mother. He sees his mother many years before within the recess of his drug fucked brain. The blue dress his mother wore stood out like colour on a pavement wet with rain. It was the month of May and Sweet watched his mother getting dressed inside her bedroom. He saw her in his mind as she fastened a suspender to her stocking. Sweet ran into the room and threw his arms around her thighs. His mother"s blue doughnut shaped hat fell from her head. She jumped halfway onto the bed then fell back on her knees and scratched a hole in the stocking on her leg. Sweet"s mother hit the roof and slapped him hard. Harder than she had ever slapped her son before. Sweet ran from the room and hid the pain in a pillow. And this child promised he would never love again. He would hate he would despise he would not compromise and he would steal his mother"s blue doughnut shaped hat and hide it in the shed.

Piggy"s yellow Mazda Capella pulls up outside their rented house in Keele St. They do not lock the doors for nobody is going to steal the car when Piggy is dealing with Copenhagen, the czar of inner-suburbia. Then it"s into the living room and powder on the silver spoon. Sweet hits first, but he has problems hitting the old artery, Sweet does. So he asks Piggy to give him a blast and she does and he GOES and soon the two of them are in bed. The sheets are woken from the dead and they fuck as if their lives depend on it. Sweet wants it bad but Piggy wants it worse. They are so desperate for love all they can do is abuse one another. In their drug induced states they commit every sin their calcified brains allow for. Suffice it to say Piggy"s dressed in leather lingerie and crotchless panties lying horizontal on the bed. Three fingers embedded in her glory box. Submitting to Sweet Thing"s ridiculous commands as he kneels between her legs and stares into her guadalcanal. O yes, Sweet wants it bad as he yanks his flaccid prick from left to right. While his brain is involved in some strange theory concerning his mother"s lost love. The love he never received from his mother is lost inside Piggy"s belly. Sweet demands she find that love and drag it out.

And these are the ways of the drug dreams when the speed and coke backs up in your toke. You don"t know who you are. You could be riding in a car along a beach while a rat like Copenhagen holds a gun against your head. And fluff, your life is gone in a fluff. Copenhagen"s henchmen do not dump your body in a drain. They leave your corpse beside a road for everybody to see. But Sweet and Piggy aren"t dead yet. In out of the bedroom after four hours of gynaecology. Out into the livingroom and have another blast. Then back into the bedroom for another bout before the two of them fall asleep in a scree stinking pile of tumescent flesh and body gush. Then it"s sleep per chance per dream until the morning passes, the afternoon arrives and still our two heroes have not returned from dream a dream land. Once they do, the animals creep back and devour them.

Then it"s into the toilet for Sweet where he usually spends some time in the mirror popping blackheads in his nose. But his mother is hard to find this morning and his father does not want to know... The only solution is: have another blast with Piggy, return to studies of crazy gynaecology, then sleep wake hit fuck and do it all over again until eighteen months has passed and Sweet is falling through a ceiling inside a dream. His father waits, ready to catch him as he falls, but drops his arms and Sweet crashes to the ground. The soft ground containing Copenhagen"s death box and its O so many entrances with one death chute at the rear. If only Sweet could find his mother. If only Piggy could find her father. But neither can, so they continue searching for love in one another. Pressing their fingers into the disfigurement. Sucking strands of love from each other"s brain.

Right in the middle of crazy gynaecology there"s a knock at the door. Sweet opens up to find Copenhagen with a 38 in his hand. He wants his three grand, but Sweet and Piggy have whacked the gear up.

"One death chute at the rear...", says Copenhagen, the barrel of his 38 sticking in Piggy"s mouth.

"One week for the money or one death chute at the rear".

As Copenhagen leaves he turns and says to his bull headed mate:

"Hey, I' ve given them something to look forward too".

Sweet and Piggy get Copenhagen"s money, but they have to rip off Skavinski Skava, who is well known for his machinegun. A week later they're back at Copenhagen"s palace. More gear on credit, and on it goes... While still later Sweet sits on his mound of dirt overlooking the Yarra river, a paw up around his face. Absently picking at his face... Wondering if his mother loves him...

"It"s a strange thing..."

Sweet says to himself as he goes in search of diamond studded Copenhagen the Doctor of the Drains. But better squeeze the blackheads in his nose first. Better perform the old gynaecological act with Piggy...

"Better do something..."

Sweet mutters, as the bad hit in his brain sends him spinning in search of love. But no love is forthcoming. Sweet should kill off the love he has for Piggy. Love gone bad is a death fuck inside his brain and he will not die with his boots on.


Once again here I am sitting at my desk attempting to write a story that does not have a clear beginning.

I have been writing for sometime and still have not achieved publication. Nobody loves me, I know it... I am an honest writer. I write about my fears, my secret desires and the strange experiences that have befallen me during the writing life. I ‘tell all’ so to speak. But the more I tell the more I am rejected by my fans. (Make no mistake; you reject my work, you reject me...) So I am now engaged in the formation of a plan. I will become impervious to rejection. My porous personality, the microscopic holes in my skin, will no longer tolerate, can no longer cope, with forever remaining unpublished. Consequently, I have discovered a way of becoming immortal; a method for remaining in print forever.

My publisher, a tall man with the physical properties of an eel, was responsible for my discovering this method. I had written a book. It had taken me fifteen years to write this book. It was a book about a man wandering in a house of mirrors. Each variation within each mirror offered the man in my book a different version of who the man might, or might not have been. I thought this was a fine proposition for a book. But when I had finished the five hundred and fifty nine page manuscript and submitted it to my publisher by registered mail, my publisher disagreed. He loved the idea that one man could view himself in multiple forms, but taking five hundred and fifty nine pages to explain this idea did not constitute a book. I wrote my publisher a letter explaining to him where I thought he had missed the point. But, as is often the case with publishers, I never heard from him again.

By once again being rejected by my publisher, (the thirty fourth of the the thirty three rejections my book had previously received), it occurred to me while sitting at my desk that I had also been rejected in other areas of my life. I had tried to be a normal student but after getting into trouble one time too many my principal expelled me. I had tried to find a normal job but each normal job I found resulted in my employer sacking me. I had tried to have a normal relationship but the girl with whom I had so much wanted to have a normal relationship, well, she ‘Dear Johned’ me. (A girl named Heidi who I often see in my mind’s eye when standing before a dressing table mirror). With this idea in mind I began writing a story about a writer who had written a book that was rejected by his publisher, and who, after standing before a dressing table mirror while thinking of a girl named Heidi, realised he was not just an unpublished writer, but also, an unpublished human being.


Heidi dreamed of the day her mother’s skeletal system was obliterated by osteoporosis; thereby disposing of her mother in an excruciating manner while remaining discreet enough an occurrence within the nursing home ‘Esemerelda’ for its staff to continue caring for Heidi’s mother without the need to smother her with a pillow. This gave Heidi access to her mother’s fortnightly pension and a collection of one hundred dollar bills she discovered taped to the underside of her mother’s wardrobe. One disadvantage of being a cashed up woman in a city with an illuminated skyline is that each wish becomes an inducement to pleasure that cannot be resisted. Heidi, in her first fit of pique’ post having her mother inserted behind the sterile walls of ‘Esemerelda’, attended a lingerie boutique in South Yarra. Upon her appearance framed within a doorway the proprietress fitted Heidi out in black corset, lace panties, silk stockings, translucent robe, and to complete this elegant dance with death, a black choker connected around Heidi’s pale neck by a silver ring.

Not wishing to offend the proprietress’ box faced daughter, while hoping to deflate the lips of the proprietress herself, Heidi offered first to pay by credit card then chose to pay by cash. Six one hundred dollar bills smelling only of the polymer the currency had been printed upon; causing the proprietress to blush and place one stilletoed foot across another while counting out fifty five cents in change. Heidi then hailed the Hoddle St. bus with the intention of returning to her home in Hotham St, where waiting in her boudoir was the blonde haired Adonis and closet white supremacist Otto Richter. (A highflying executive within the Trading and Catering branch of the recently privatised V/Line railway system who had a delicate penchant for nipple clamps and an object which his father Vern had decreed to Otto in his last will and testament - a leather cock ring).

At peak hour, Hoddle St. Collingwood becomes an indiscriminate charge of steel, concrete, bitumen and the entire Eastern Suburbs intent upon weaving their way home to Nunawading, Healesville and Coldstream. Presuming that carbon monoxide fumes contain a carcinogen and which once residue has lodged in the lung tissue of a jaded man standing upon the corner of Hoddle and Johnston St., that same man might dislodge from his bronchial tube a wad of green phlegm then propel this substance onto the ground beside his feet immediately prior to the Hoddle St. bus halting at its stop for the purpose of allowing a pale woman with black hair, firm breasts, and an unstated seductive allure to disembark, causing the most hardened carrier of any carcinogenic particle to wilt because of his filthy indiscretion and wish he had never opened his mouth to the hazy Melbourne sun.

I am that man.

I have been watching Heidi for several months. Yes, she appeared aware of my presence the day I caught her alighting from the Hoddle St. bus. If ever a man was about to receive a karate kick to his delicate parts it was that day... But later, when the last phase of the moon had disappeared all that remained of any consequence was myself, Heidi’s camisole dripdrying on her clothesline and the night.

I embarked upon a stroll down Gold St., turned a corner into Keele St. then entered a laneway behind Heidi’s home and stared through a nail hole into her backyard. Entranced by the sight of Heidi’s camisole hanging upon her clothesline I also became aware of a dim light - a candlelight - that glowed from behind a colonial framed window. The sensation that always preceded my excursions into the snowdropping night invaded my body but I suppressed a desire to leap into the backyard and embrace Heidi’s camisole. Instead, I slipped my right hand through a hole in the rear gate - one designed for easy access by any miscreant of dubious intent. A stem had been inserted into the hole that usually kept the bolt in place but it was not until I felt a cluster of petals that I realised what it was that sealed the rear gate of Heidi’s home. A white rose; the petals of which illuminated the palm of my hand; its electricity scintillating throughout my body allowing me one thought: Heidi’s white camisole soft against my flushed cheek.

When I pushed the rear gate forward its corrugated edge grated upon brick paving and perspiration swamped my armpits and forehead. I held my breath, convinced the sound of breathing would reveal my presence to Heidi, but the moment passed and I was once again free to move as I pleased. Impulsively, I placed the stem of the white rose between my teeth hoping a thorn would puncture the tip of my tongue and release into my mouth the blood that gave me life. After easing the rear gate open I stepped into the backyard and ducked behind a tree fern. Heidi and whoever else was in that house would never discover my presence for a tree fern provides the cover essential for a successful snowdropping operation. And there, on the clothesline, wafting in a midwinter breeze, Heidi’s camisole, myself a short distance away, white rose in mouth, and the early morning air terrifying on my bare thighs beneath my herringbone coat.

I hesitated between wanting to preserve the exhilarating fear I had just experienced and the anticipated transcendentalism of holding Heidi’s camisole in my hot hand. My choice of a herringbone coat as the appropriate costume for my adventure into the aether revealed more about my intentions than I had previously been aware. The herringbone pattern had turned my body inside out. But I was not a sardine and nor was time of the essence; it was suspended within a dream. Somewhere in my past the soul I had created was now being dismantled... No longer in the mood for rumination I tumbled out from behind that tree fern and somersaulted across brick paving to land on my feet alongside the steel shaft of Heidi’s clothesline positioned in the centre of her backyard.

Momentarily, I admired Heidi’s camisole; toyed with it between thumb and forefinger, then unpegged it from the clothesline and stuffed it into the breastpocket of my coat. Why, I wondered, was I forced to be so cruel toward Heidi’s undergarment ? Why could I not be allowed the pleasure of treating it with the solemn respect it deserved ? What was wrong with a world that left a snowdropper no alternative but to tarnish the purity of Heidi’s camisole by forcing him to roll it into a bundle and shove it into a breast pocket alongside his long suffering heart ? If I were a prominent public servant, or a civic leader, or even Prime Minister, snowdropping would be enshrined in an act of parliament... But enough exaggeration; once I had ensnared Heidi’s camisole I once again became aware of that dim candlelight emanating from behind that old colonial window. The white rose was still in my mouth; knowingly or otherwise a thorn had pierced the underside of my tongue and blood now collected in a pool behind my bottom teeth.

I then performed an act which surprised even myself. I sidled up alongside the clothesline and grabbed its cylindrical crank. As I rotated the mechanism and its shaft began to rise toward the midnight sky I placed my cheek against the shaft and allowed the blood from my mouth to be absorbed into the cold steel of the clothesline. By dribbling my life into metal I delivered my pathetic self up for sacrifice to an object I knew would not reject me, but instead, would embrace me within its all consuming universe until I disintegrated into the night air and my atomic structure fused with the particles of that clothesline photosynthesising in the night.

But enough was enough.

No longer would I engage in petty scientific speculation suitable only for primary school students. Needless to say, my atoms were my atoms... I brushed a branch of the tree fern to one side and was about to disappear but beside the rear gate through which I intended to exit there stood Otto Richter. He did not speak and nor did I; instead, he motioned toward an Alsatian crouched beside his left knee. Otto’s intentions were clear. If I chose to make a break for Keele St. he would command his Alsatian to attack. So I removed Heidi’s camisole from the breast pocket of my herringbone coat and placed the garment in Otto’s outstretched hand. When his blue eyes blazed I realised there were other men in this peculiar world who also found snowdropping to be an exhilarating experience.

Otto had me by the corleones. A Divisional Van would soon arrive and out would step Senior Constable Ron Iddles. (He had previously pinched me for Break and Enter upon a Brotherhood of St. Lawrence clothes bin). Once again, I would be forced to stand before the Collingwood Magistrates Court and explain to a packed public gallery that I was not really a bad person; just kinky. I considered leaping into the backyard of the house next door but Otto had released the lead of his trembling Alsatian and the dog was now smelling my feet. The tan crest of fur on its back bristled while Otto returned Heidi’s camisole to its position pegged upon the clothesline. Then Heidi herself appeared from behind a door that receded into her home toward that mysterious candlelit glow. Whether she realised I was the same individual who had been following her for the last month was unclear but she recognised my precious herringbone coat. After tracing her index finger over the coat sleeve, Heidi, her once black hair now streaked with peroxide, whispered:

“Take it off”.

I was not about to do any such thing; like a solemn friend over many years my herringbone coat had accompanied me upon numerous trips into the aether.

Heidi responded:


Otto returned from within the laundry carrying a cane basket. He struggled with the weight of the basket before placing it upon a single bluestone inserted within an area of manicured lawn beneath the clothesline. I expected Otto to rip my famed herringbone coat from my body or command his obedient Alsatian to condensate upon my groin. Instead, he politely asked me to unbutton the coat. Unable to resist his cool Germanic tone I slipped it from my shoulders and presented the coat to Heidi.

My nipples have always been inverted but along with another upstanding length of my anatomy, they found their voice on that night. I almost laughed; what would Senior Constable Ron Iddles think of this scene ? Instead of being the offender I might be considered the victim once Iddles compared my actions to those of Otto and Heidi, while Otto’s Alsatian would almost certainly be charged with canine indecency and receive a long stretch in the pound. I then realised that Senior Constable Ron Iddles and his infamous Collingwood Divisional Van would not be attending this crime.

Heidi removed a black veil that concealed her face and her azimuth eyes struck my green orbs like an asteroid entering another planet’s atmosphere. I saw what up until that point I had missed. Heidi had peeled away an octangular section of the outer layer of her black corset, revealing an image highlighted by the late night moon as it appeared from behind a cumulonimbus cloud. Shimmering within the moonlight was an image of a man wearing a herringbone coat, situated at various locations throughout the suburb of Collingwood, and this same man was always accompanied by my shadow.


While sitting at my desk and recording this strange experience I believe that a thorough analysis of the images Heidi presented to me may have resulted in my becoming a published human being. But on that night in the backyard of Heidi’s home my attention was diverted from the previously mentioned images toward the sound of digging in the area frequented by Otto’s Alsatian.

I turned my attention away from the screen situated between Heidi’s 34 D cups and saw the front paws of that faithful Alsatian working in the dark. Its tail was an example of unrestrained glee at having been given the opportunity to express its deepest desire in the shape of a hole in the ground. The musty scent of freshly turned soil led me to believe that Otto’s Alsatian, far from being a threat to my testicular geometry, was digging this hole for me.

Then something snapped in Heidi’s high flying flame, Otto Richter, and he pranced around the yard as if he had lost his marbles. Heidi quickly resealed the section of black lace containing the images between her cleavage then calmed Otto with a reassuring pat upon his blonde head. When the time came for Otto to dispose of a lifetime’s half forgotten memories the cleansing process would be painful. But the result would see Otto revealed as less a man who might have been and more a man who, in the right circumstance, could also become an image within the picturebook located between Heidi’s breasts. Otto appeared to accept Heidi’s proposition; albeit tentatively. He shuffled away toward the cane basket he had placed beneath the clothesline while muttering something about his “turn”.

With my herringbone coat draped over her shoulder Heidi ushered Otto’s Alsatian away from the trench. The dog sat patiently to one side, eyes alive with the smell of the wilderness. Heidi kneeled beside the trench, placed my herringbone coat into the hole, then proceeded to shift soil over the coat while intoning in Latin. I had no way of interpreting this language but it reminded me of a requiem a priest had uttered at the burial of a friend’s five year old child.

I then caught sight of the task Heidi had set for Otto. It involved pegging to the clothesline a parade of freshly washed cotton nappies that I presumed belonged to a new born baby. But Otto’s allotted task did not end there. Once he had pegged the last of the nappies to the clothesline he then began rotating its crank. I expected the nappies to rise into the sky and catch the warm air present in the atmosphere but was unprepared for the grand unfurling of the clothesline’s contents above the humble suburb of Collingwood. The white nappies were telescoped into the night sky until the clothesline resembled a fully rigged sailing ship - a scene from The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner I mused - or an enormous white rose that had suddenly blossomed in the cobalt blue sky.


Since that night spent in Heidi’s backyard I have fallen in love with an invisible woman. Each time I glimpse the love of my life she trails off this page and dissipates before my eyes. I try and recapture her face; the smooth contours of her shapely breasts. But the more I recover of that which has disappeared the further my new found love drifts away from me. I am no longer tormented by the knowledge that I am an unpublished human being. This has nothing to do with my writing recently having appeared in a slick anthology. More important is my quest for the invisible. Since the night Heidi buried my herringbone coat her presence has remained inscribed upon my spine. Her size and shape may transform, but I will spend the rest of my days in pursuit of her image while knowing that a complete representation of Heidi’s many selves remains a tantalising impossibility.

To presume so could be a terrible mistake but I suspect this piece of fiction may one day be published. Publishers of anthologies have strict guidelines concerning word counts; of which I have exceeded by inclination to uncover the farthest trajectory of my limited experience. Forgive me when I write of my disappointment at not uncovering that which inhabited the receding candlelight within the disappearing recess of Heidi’s Hotham St. home. I resolved not to explore it beyond its vanishing point for to do so would have placed this piece of fiction in an editor’s unpublished tray. Not, as I have previously explained, that this knowledge causes me much concern, for it has only now occurred to me that the word ‘Unpublished’ would make an appropriate title for this story.

Sarah Palin: Last Brain Cell Lonely and Dying

Good Old Sarah Palin. Vaugely resembling a pinup girl 10 years past her prime, Sarah has just put out a new book -- Going Rouge. Unfortunately, all of wish that she would end up going somewhere, anywhere -- just not where we can hear you.

By the good gracious of goodness almighty, we at Future Twits have peeked into the future and captured several of Sarah's future Twitters. Enjoy.

Future Twitter for December 25, 2009

10:11 @TundraPrincess: Well, gee-golly-darn, isn't it good to be back on twitter like a mossy frog on a tree stump, don't-ya-know. I sure have a lot of time on my hands, now that I'm not the governor of the GREATEST STATE IN THE WORLD. Alaska was the cradle of civilization, and all of the important acheivements of the last 40 years all have their roots there. I read that in a magazine one time . . . or heard it or something. It's like the antenna ears on a television, don't-ya-know, with a piece of concise therapy running over the straight hills. (pssst: It's a very deep philisophical thought, the one I just gave).

10:18 @TundraPrincess: Oh darn! Bristol is at it again. She just drug home some new guy she's dating. She claims that the met online, but I'm pretty sure that's the same guy who hangs out in front of the liquor store all day.

10:34 @TundraPrincess: I just got through making the first martini of the day. One down, eight to go. I would drink less, but it helps to numb the pain of my husband's stares and the moments where he asks me what in the hell I'm talking about. If I knew, then I would probably tell him.

11:37 @TundraPrincess: Martini number four is gone. I wished that I looked hotter in my flight attendant outfit. I wished that I was smarter and could make it through an interview without stumbling over my words the whole time. I wish that those guys at Fox News would call me. When I was doing their shows, they all pretended to be my friends and that we could hang out and go bowling. The only one who ever remembered was Glenn Beck, and he was just making a booty call. The nerve, gee-golly-darn-it-all. Worse yet, when I accepted, he then wanted me to fly to New York to see him! Even after I accepted that, he claimed that he was gay and hung up the phone. It's the best date I've been on in 12 years.

@TundraPrincess: 2:37 My husband is home from work. He is back to his familiar spot in the corner doing his favorite activity: throwing a tennis ball off the wall and catching it, again and again, for six hours every night. He looks so happy, sitting there, staring, not moving anything except his right hand to throw the ball. Such concentration! The only time that he looks up is to show his affection. Every so often, he will look up, look at me, look at the gun hanging on the wall, look at me, make the pow sound, shake his head, and go back to throwing the tennis ball. What a hottie!

@Moderator: We're sorry to cut this interview short, but the last Sarah Palin brain cell has died, leaving her eqaul in intelligence to Dennis Miller. In other news, Bristol is dating a player for the New York Mets -- actually, it has been updated to the entire team.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

roulette: collision course

It's the music that sets the tone for Verve studio's production of Raimondo Cortese's play(s) Roulette. Quiet and reflective, tinged with hurt and melancholy, the Theatreworks stage is demarcated by four easily recognisable types of furniture. Behind table and chairs, park bench, airline seats and plush hotel lounge suite, there is stretched a taut piece of scrim. Behind this, and lit by a lonely half-light, characters linger and malinger as each traverses a windswept space in preparation for a confrontation with their nemesis. Cortese's dialogue is remarkable for what it doesn't say. That is, as each character bobs and weaves during their subsequent verbal stoush it becomes apparent to an attentive audience that the more shit these people talk, the more they will reveal themselves; thereby prompting an unravelling of their lives. Combined with some brave and concentrated performances from the Verve studio graduates, Roulette is an unsettling night in the theatre.

Cortese does not appear to have written his twelve plays with the intention of having each interwoven into one performance. And even though director Darren Natale has chosen to work with only five of the twelve, at times, a generality of tone creeps into this production. Inconsolable is a chat session in a cafe between a man and woman who have never before met, but who are obviously attracted to one another. Both are reproachable figures. Tom sips coffee while pretending to read Joyce's Ulysses. Kat is a worry-wart cum bull in a china shop who challenges Tom's addiction to nicotine, and his deluded sense of self. Meanwhile, on a park bench a short distance to the right, Break-In is a study in a self-destructive, sadomasochistic relationship. Cam and Julie, humping one another, yet not far from being homeless, discuss the pros and cons of the new girl in Cam's life. Desperate for a simple human relationship, one unattainable in an arbitrary world, Julie denigrates Cam to the point where his pretensions disintegrate. Promising love and friendship, Cam is exposed as only being there for the sex. Characteristically though, it is only when he reveals this primal intention that Julie admires him most.

As this interwoven performance progresses through the plays Hotel, Borneo, and Night, the generality of tone mentioned earlier permeates each exchange. This is partly a consequence of some of the performers not nailing the existential angst that always lurks within Cortese's creations. And even though each set of characters is distinctive in type and social status, the writer, as always, creeps into the action. In Hotel, a hard-nut, matronly cleaner from the old school, one whose current beau is explained away as "...a root between two roots...", lays down the law to her younger, up and coming protege'. Driven fractionally mad by the utter tedium of her existence, Tara eventually throttles Jane on the presumption that she threatens the security of Tara's employment. In Borneo, the sophisticated psychotherapist Angelica eventually finds communion with the carefree air-head Sal. Or so the audience is led to believe. (In fact, Sal is a smack courier intent on ridding herself of any chance she will be caught importing dope). What emerges during the ensuing conversation between the two women is the predatory characteristic of human relationships, even when such is a consequence of an apparently innocuous generational gap.

As a vehicle for a graduate production director Natale makes a wise choice in selecting Roulette to showcase Verve studio's acting talent. Production requirements are minimal, allowing for the graduate actors to express their craft in relation to Cortese's demanding linguistics. And even though each performer is more than adequate in their own role, there are several noteworthy performance. Gabrielle Brennan and Hannah Smith work very well together, and might consider amplifying their performance relationship beyond drama school. But it is during a moment of drunken decline in Night, a play about flippant sexual teasing and the drastic consequences this can have for the repressed homosexual, that Hayley Birch delivers a sustained period of compelling authenticity as the tragic, involuted lesbian Rachel, deathly uncomfortable with being on the prowl. Too much booze, not enough love, sexual frustration and social prejudice cohere into a transformational moment during which Birch, as her character Rachel, appears to be somewhere else other than on stage. It is the pathetic monster lurking behind the Pamela Anderson inspired 'Valley girl'. It is a moment Birch should document and remember, particularly in relation to how she felt and what she imagined during the conjuring of her creation. Even so, Cortese's writing for the most part is an indirect phantasmagoria of the human capacity for patheticism. Given this, Birch may very well have found her inspiration residing amongst the chance encounters between characters unbalanced during this entertaining production of Roulette.


Writer: Raimondo Cortese

Director: Darren Natale

Tech: Canada White

Performers: Louise Mercer,

Robert Fragnito, Kelly Hynes,

Nigel Jordan, Gabrielle Brennan,

Hannah Smith, Jane Pitt,

Victoria Morgan, Elisha Saporito &

Hayley Birch

Theatreworks, Nov 18 - 21, Melb.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Shaniya Davis Oprah

Shaniya Davis
Oprah Winfrey Show, Friday, 5 years and father Lockhart Shaniya Bradley Davis revealed how he was shocked to see their little dead. According to Fayetteville police, gave Mario Andretta McNeill Shaniya he took his apartment and raped her in Sanford hotel.

The horrible death of an innocent girl of 5 years Shaniya Davis was the hottest gossip about a week. When we published the news that shocked the whole community and triggered a wave of anger and rage and fear among parents of young children.

During an address to the host on the "Oprah Winfrey Show" Friday, 20 November 2009 Bradley Lockhart indicated he was surprised to see the lifeless body of his little girl. Send In response to a question from Winfrey, if he so wishes, a few words to Nicole Antoinette Davis, mother, Bradley said he gave him the opportunity to take care of Shaniya, because his life met a little.

The tragic story of poor Shaniya took several laps, until the true character of 29 years, Mario Andretta McNeill came into the picture. Earlier, the police charged Nicole Antoinette Davis, abuse of minors in prostitution and human trafficking, but later the charges, McNeill booked for the abduction, rape and murder of the girl.

A video surveillance image of Mario Andretta McNeill has refused any ambiguity about his role in the matter. Although the person's face is not visible in the picture, but the young girl who is no doubt the conclusion of the Shaniya. The situation Sanford hotel where he was last seen.

The Fayetteville Police issued a statement that Mario Andretta McNeill confessed that he was the apple of the house of his mother chose. He also gave it the girl for a hotel in Sanford and that not only raped the girl, but also killed. Although it is unclear whether, when the murder took place, however, was McNeil with kidnapping, raping and strangling to pay a child.

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