Problems With a Girl & a Unicorn & other stories

by Nick Earls

Four short stories, including Problems with a Girl & a Unicorn; The Truth of Jacarandas; Dog One, Dog Two; and Plaza.

Problems With a Girl & a Unicorn
The girl seems so sensible. Responsible, even. Stanley doesn’t mind sharing a flat with her.
The unicorn isn’t so accommodating.

The Truth of Jacarandas
“This should be one of the better days. This is the day when you find out you’ve passed your PY exams and you’re now a chartered accountant. People are quite excited for you.”
You’re quite excited for you, too, as you ride the lift up to your new office, and you’d remain excited, too, except then you met the man beyond the window. The man who paints the sky, who can make the world rain red wine, the man who reveals the truth of jacarandas.
It’s a truth unlike any you might have expected, and maybe you curse it. Because you could have been happy. You could have been a chartered accountant. But now you know the truth of jacarandas and of men who paint the skys beyond the pane, and even if you wanted to return to your work station and your desk and your mouse pad, there would still be the pick to explain.
And how could you ever explain the pick?

Dog One, Dog Two
“You are unsure of all of this, but maybe that’s just you.”
You started with marmosets before you moved on to dogs, but maybe all the laboratory testing and medical experimentation is getting the better of you. Between your boss and his flatulence and the wide-gazing eyes of the mammals under your supervision–you couldn’t really call it your care, after all, or should you–is there any way to maintain your sanity?
Probably not.

“There was a Woolies on the site originally. Or perhaps a newsagent and a hairdresser and an empty bank building, with a Woolies across the road. This is of vague historical interest only, for when they built the plaza they planned for expansion and soon enough it jumped the road, a fat foot of a department store on a spindly travelator of a leg. And each time the plaza became bigger, it became twice as big again.”
Now there’s only the travelator, and the Plaza, the dome of which expands so quickly that no one on the travelator can remember their destination, anymore. Their watches die although it always seems like the same day, there, in the dome.