Komi Sellathurai (University of Technology, Sydney, Australia)
Libby started scratching the top right corner of the price sticker on her turkey. She’d ordered an economical two slices of sweet honey mustard and smoked turkey each. The lady behind the Deli counter had wrapped both cuts together and slapped two stickers on top of it. $1.82 for the mustard and $2.50 for the smoked. That’s about $5 for four lunches plus bread and butter, which is $1.25 for one lunch. Peeling one of the stickers off would make it cheaper. She would have loved to get her fingers on $2.50 but it was smacked in the middle of the paper wrapping. The entire right side of $1.82 however had lost its adhesive grip on the fold of the paper. So she peeled.
Of course she walked around Woolworths pretending to shop for other items while glancing over the crime scene casually to ensure that the sticker came out clean. The last thing she needed was a scene at the cash register for a dollar and eighty-two cents.
She walked out of Woolworths a proud first-time budget shopper. Instead of walking towards the bus-stop, she headed into the pub. In all her 34 years, Libby had never been inside a pub on her own. She wouldn’t even wait alone in the pub for company to arrive. She’d fidget outside, phone in hand, sending out imaginary text messages to her draft folder.
The barman smiled and told her about the two for one cocktail special. That’s $8 for one dry martini. She didn’t know if she really liked the taste of gin but it was the strongest drink on the menu for $8.
Alone in a strange bed she remembered gulping down martini after martini, then tequila shots, with an English guy who had curly hair. She remembered sitting on his lap. She remembered that without making a sound, she’d moved her hips in a circular motion till she came.
Then he walked in with the turkey in his hand. “This fell out of your handbag.”
The voice from the radio in the taxi was brief and detached about the recession. Libby opened her mouth and practiced saying what she’d have to repeat to friends and family in the following weeks.
“I lost my job yesterday,” she told the taxi driver.
“I lost my family in a bomb blast in Pakistan last month,” he said, brief and detached.
With a background in English Literature, Komi Sellathurai has dabbled in copywriting and journalism but found that doodling was what she is best at. She is currently doing a Graduate Diploma in Writing at UTS.