Short Story: Three Live Mice

Title: Three Live Mice

Length:  6015 words

Summary: Abe gets a shock when his new boyfriend Steve asks him to pick up some mice from the local feed store.

Setting: Stands alone; happens before the ‘For Your Own Safety’ stories.

Note: I used to work at a pet store (before the advent of frozen mice) and the vast majority of our mouse sales were not as pets. (A surprising number of fish weren’t sold as pets, either.)  In Australia, chucking cane toads (an introduced pest species taking over the country) in the freezer is far more humane than the other popular methods of killing them (cane toad cricket, cane toad road kill or cane toad splat). No, we can’t not kill the cane toads. Also, like Steve I am not tall or big – yes, there is a reason I write awesome short protagonists – and I have shimmied through a caravan window. I got paid $2 NZ to do it, too. Hindsight says I was drastically underpaid given the cost of a locksmith, even at the time.

Content warnings: Steve is a too-practical, desensitised, Australian country boy (well, raised as one) indifferent to the cruelty he wrecks on innocent mice, cane toads or other similar living creatures. This is the person who torched a zombie kangaroo on the main drag. Also, Abe is a bit of a douche. This will be important later.

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Short Story: For Your Own Safety, Lock the Door

Title: For Your Own Safety, Lock the Door

Length: 5383 words

Summary: A long-lost cousin on his doorstep should have been a good distraction from Steve’s misadventures with a zombie tiger snake, except that Abe’s pretty sure he doesn’t have a cousin called Bob Clifton. Great-Aunty Lizzie would never let a relative escape her claws. Right?

Setting: Sequel (in theme) to For Your Own Safety, Call First; prequel to Whatever Great-Aunty Lizzie Says.

Note: This one has a touch of character arc. A little bit of set-up for Whatever/continuation of Death is Only a Theoretical Concept. Features references to Port Carmila locals and the many female Browning family relatives who have a curiously egocentric naming scheme. Because I’m all about writing non-binary characters, this is where we start to see more of Steve’s expansive attitude to gender.

Content warnings: Abe is anxious. Abe’s cousin Valentine calls Steve a slut in the best possible way. Steve may or may not have the best regard for his personal safety. Valentine isn’t a whole lot better.

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