'Hotdog' is the second part of Cilla McQueen's 'Serial', which is being published on this blog in small sections every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The first chapter was titled 'Higgs' - the full text of 'Higgs' is available here.

Here is the full text of 'Hotdog'. Next, we begin 'Birdie'.

Marie Curie stirred sludge in a cauldron with an iron bar as tall as herself, reducing pitchblende to a grain of light.

Pierre Curie’s skull was eggshell on the cobblestones of Paris, thought Doris, flipping pikelets.

Waterblaster! shouted Roly. Three hundred, stainless steel tank, brand new.
He put the box in the wash-house, pulled his hoodie up and ran.

It was too expensive. She didn’t really need it.

At the dairy she was searching for eggs when Roly and his girlfriend came in and stood at the counter. The girl was laughing. Off the balcony!

I didn’t undo the twists, Roly said. Hotdog?

Green moss on the concrete, pine needles magnetised to the corners. Daisies. She put the radio on a stone and began gardening. It seemed the world was igniting in small puffs, bullet holes appearing in the Middle East.

A line of fire. She adjusted her glasses. Slowly tilting her head she gazed at the lobelia until at a certain angle through the lens the ultraviolet petals were thinly edged with red.

There was a spider dangling from her hat. She raised her hand to brush it off the brim but stopped, watching cross-eyed the minute creature climbing up. All elbows.

Waving the hat at the hydrangeas she went in to inspect the waterblaster.

It was only the size of a vacuum cleaner, smaller than the ones she had seen in Mitre 10. It had clean wheels but water dripped out of the hose. Looking for the guarantee she realised that there was no packaging and the box was battered.

The serial number on the machine didn’t match the number on the box.
No instructions, she thought, I don’t know how to work it.

There was a deep scratch on the black plastic knob at the front. The power cord was tied with plastic twists.

Marie Curie remained radioactive long after her death, thought Doris, but she found the element she was looking for.

Trying to reduce the focus she scattered shells and stones from the rockery. Something was stuck, the handle was leaking; one errant stream shot out of the side of the main jet.

She couldn’t work out how to turn it off.

The nozzle unleashed tremendous force in a gleaming nail of water that drilled into the Oamaru stone wall. Flowerpots skidded off a ledge and broke, scattering earth and polyanthus.

She slipped on the moss and the wildly swinging jet smashed the toilet window. She crawled to the outside tap and turned it.

Quiet. The wall drilled with holes as if machine-gunned. The drenched radio playing Tchaikovsky.

Images, from the top

c-axis rotation photographs of hyacinth from Snowy River C. Osborne Hutton, 'Contributions to the Mineralogy of New Zealand—Part V'.
Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand, Volume 88, 1960-61.

Three people weighing and packing eggs
Reference Number: 1/1-008480-G

Painting for the cover of an unpublished book featuring paintings of the Napier earthquake.
Reference Number: B-155-023

Detail of a kitchen interior, ca 1932
Reference Number: 1/1-015728-F

The Petone Fire Station, with hoses hanging up to dry, after the fire at Bailey, Austin & Arcus timber yards, 1910
Reference Number: APG-0411-1/2-G

Couple with Frigidaire electric appliances in Wellington Botanic Garden, 1972
Reference Number: PA12-3461-1

Unexploded Turkish shells at Gallipoli, 1915
Reference Number: PA1-o-308-21-4

A village priest on his way to attend badly wounded civilians, France, 19 April 1918
Reference Number: 1/2-013148-G

Rear view of a man in doublet and hose
Reference Number: E-312-q-091-4

Photograph of Anisotome latifolia, Campbell Island, ca 1959
Reference Number: PA12-1425-060

Hutt Railway Workshops at Woburn. Interior view with new heating apparatus, 1929
Reference Number: APG-0891-1/2-G

Insect life
Reference Number: B-131-06-001

Windmill owned by the milling business of Jas Hassell, Oamaru
Reference Number: 1/2-002002-F

Woman working in a munitions factory in Hamilton during World War 2, 1944
Reference Number: 1/4-000857-F

Lawnmower with attachment for trimming lawn edges
Reference Number: 1/1-009068-G

'The spider web' ride at fairground, Wellington
Reference Number: 114/121/06-G

Woman using a vacuum cleaner
Reference Number: 1/1-015757-F

Aix massage douche, Sanatorium, Rotorua, New Zealand
Reference Number: PA1-f-051-26-3

National Panasonic 8 transistor radio
Reference Number: EP/1971/4303/35-F

1 comment:

Mathgirl said...

While I did quite enjoy the first chapter, this second part is definitely my favorite. I felt like it sucked me in and wouldn't let me go. I felt myself being drawn, rushing toward the next lines but wanting to let my eyes linger longer on the delicious pictures. I love your words, Cilla. Thank you for sharing them.

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