February 5, 2016 / / STORIES

There was a single rain shower at the very beginning of the season. The frogs emerged from their winter hibernation in a vociferous choir that lasted well into the night.

Spring saw clouds forming every afternoon. Clouds evaporated in the evening heat – extreme, complaint-inducing, tree-shrivelling heat. The frog ponds dried up, executing the brood of tadpoles. The frogs disappeared, silencing the night.

But yesterday there was a tiny frog in one of my remaining pot plants.

This tiny frog, recently metamorphosed, perfect in form, has survived the dust bowl that used to be her watery home.

And so, we adapt.

December 3, 2015 / / STORIES

The tar road gives way to dirt.
A kestrel sits on a broken telephone wire, puffed up, nursing a rat bite.
The telephone wire is broken. No one will be phoning today.
I stare out the window of the hired car.

A jackal trots down the road. We pull up to the security office, sign our names on the register. Reason for entry? Work, we say. Work.

Switch on the computers, measuring equipment. Dress up in protective suits, masks. We walk into the veld.

We find a pond. We take samples. We know what the results are going to be.

January 29, 2013 / / STORIES

He watches his bride as her calf-length skirt billows in the wind, catching against her legs. Her knees flash visible for a moment. They had reached the summit of a low hill and were enjoying the view of the veld. She turns around.
“We should head back,” she says. “Look.” She points towards dark clouds gathering.

Fat raindrops assault them before they reach the lodge. Her clothes cling to her chest, her hips. Her hair, slick against her face. Her eyes bright.

Lightening strikes.

February 2, 2012 / / BLOG

Die seepbelle dryf in die lug, stadig, af, af, en sterf op haar wange. Sy lag elke keer. Die hospitaalbedjie ratel saam met elke uitbarsting en die pleister wat die drup aan haar gebrande arm vashou dreig om los te trek.

Wynand, met sy groot hande, lomp vir enigeiets behalwe skrynwerk, doop die stokkie in die seepbakkie en blaas vir haar nog borrels. Sy lag weer.

“Hoor hierso, ons wil graag ‘n foto van al die volunteers neem en dan kan ons maar gaan.” Hy kyk op na die stem en frons vir die organiseerder.

“Die bus is hier. Tyd om huis toe te gaan.”

Hy knik, kyk af na die meisie in die bedjie. Haar gesiggie skitter, met mondhoeke wat wil-wil in ‘n glimlag trek, haar lyfie uitgeteer en bewegingsloos op die vuil linne. Hy sit die seepbakkie op die bedkassie neer. Wynand loop uit die saal uit.

Hy kyk nie terug nie. Hy sien nie of haar oë hom volg nie: vraend, seer en teleurgesteld. Dis net seepbelle. Hulle hou nooit lank nie.

February 2, 2012 / / STORIES

“Hi! Sorry I missed that last thing you said.”
“I wanted to know when…”


She clicks the red ‘disconnect’ button. The program asks her to rate the service.

For two long minutes she stares at her options, stuck between ‘poor connection’ and ‘impossible to conduct a conversation.’

But she clicks ‘next,’ plugs the headphones back in and fires up YouTube.

December 8, 2011 / / STORIES

“Sweetheart, won’t you help me with this?”

“What are the implications if I don’t?” he mumbled. He threw down his pen and stretched from where he had been hunched. He walked to the kitchen for a glass of water and looked out to where his wife was hanging up the laundry. He knocked on the window. She turned around and winked at him.

He opened the door. The cat sneaked up on him from behind. He wobbled as the cat ran underneath his feet.

“No!” he cried out. The cat launched himself into the air – landing smack in the middle of the wet laundry.

His wife picked the cat up and laughed, holding him up in the air.

“Silly kitten.”

Her smile faded. She put the cat down.

“Come here, Honey,” she whispered.

“What is it?” he asked.

She held her arm out and pulled him close.

“Look,” she said, pointing to the Cheshire moon. Next to it on each side was a bright star. Brighter than he had seen since they moved to the city.

He put his arms around her. The laundry remained basket untouched as they watched the stars.

March 24, 2011 / / STORIES

“Judy! Judy, where are you?” The little girl pulled her limbs in closer. She didn’t want her mother to find her.
“Judy!” her mother called one last time. She gave up. The front door slammed shut. Judy listened as the car pulled out of the driveway. She looked up from under the ironing board. There was a stack of wrinkled clothes, taller than the little girl, and the maid looked furious as she tackled yet another shirt. Judy crawled away, first one arm, then one leg, but the maid didn’t notice her. Judy sprinted out. Freedom at last!

February 24, 2011 / / STORIES

Vanessa was livid. After a day facing angry project managers, she wanted to relax in her garden. Red gerbera buds were just shy of opening behind tall grass. She did not mind the grass. A neighbour did. He had cut it during the day and the gerberas were gone.

It was all she could do to prevent herself from storming door to door until she found the culprit. She vowed never to cut the grass again. If it bothers him that much, he can bloody well do it.

Two weeks later a tiny red bloom emerges from the cut grass.

January 20, 2011 / / STORIES

Comic Creator's Alliance

The only redeeming thing about working late is the view. From the rooftop laboratory the sprawling suburbs look like the scene of a fairy tale. As the sky darkens, the household lights switch on. Air pollution blocks out the stars but the congested highway with millions of twinkling headlights make up for it: a river even brighter than the milky way ever could be.

Staring out of the window will not solve any problems, not about bugs in software nor about people that will not communicate.

The children are probably asleep by now. I have not seen them in days.

January 13, 2011 / / STORIES

The housecat was home all alone – again. After his morning nap he took a stroll to his food bowl to see whether it had filled up by itself, but alas, it had not. He sat next to the window and groomed his long hair. A movement caught his eye. He froze, then with slow, careful, noiseless movements he stalked closer. He paused again. He saw a shadow: a brown field mouse. Careful, closer – but the mouse took off and ran into a gutter before the cat could pounce. Not to worry. It was time for his mid-morning nap, after all.

January 6, 2011 / / STORIES
October 28, 2010 / / STORIES
August 26, 2010 / / STORIES

She stares out of the window. The view from the lab makes the debugging exercise…

August 19, 2010 / / STORIES
August 12, 2010 / / STORIES
July 29, 2010 / / STORIES
July 22, 2010 / / STORIES

“Who are you?” There was an old woman in his apartment. He assumed it was…

June 3, 2010 / / STORIES
May 27, 2010 / / STORIES

Patrick could not believe his own eyes: the swimming girl was stark naked. Her intrusion…

May 20, 2010 / / STORIES
May 13, 2010 / / STORIES
May 9, 2010 / / STORIES

(She who Dances) Butterflies gather by the babbling brook. Budding flowers wait with patience, awakened…

April 29, 2010 / / STORIES

(She of the City)

I count the words: too many. I trim the passage.
I count the words: too few. I elaborate on a point.
The end result is a perfect description of a facet in a perfect number of words: one hundred.

It is a good number, not so many that the task becomes tedious, not so few that the description becomes abstract.
The number, one hundred brings to mind not only perfection, but a sense of equality. Each aspect is awarded a description and no description is longer than the next. Because although some actions may be unethical, we are all equal.

April 15, 2010 / / STORIES
April 8, 2010 / / STORIES