Monday, July 18, 2011

All the emails so far

----- Original Message -----
From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Wednesday, April 28, 1999 8:20 PM
Subject: being bold

Hi Stacey,

I’m not sure if you’ll remember me - we met last week at Crisps’ 18st fancy dress birthday party.

I was dressed as depression. All in black.

No one thought it was particularly funny. I didn’t think it was particularly funny.

I was depressed.

At least I didn’t have to try too hard with my costume.

From memory (though to be honest, I’m pretty damn sure) you were dressed as a nihilist and didn’t have any costume at all.

At least that’s what you said when I met you over by the hills hoist washing line (is that a tautology? Do Hills make anything else apart from washing lines…? Message to self, remember to look this up)

We talked for half an hour about how difficult it is to meet people at these kinda of things. And how everyone seems on guard, nervous about being foolish. We then pondered if we were being ourselves at this moment in time.

The depressive and the Nihilist.

The moment ended as I came close to finishing my beer and stated that maybe this was an intellectual’s mating rite.

You rightly laughed at me, pointing out that I had just referred to myself as an intellectual.

You mentioned nothing of the mating rites comment, for as a nihilist any doctrine associated with organisation, associated or imposed, wasn’t worth commenting on.


Of course you were right and when I returned to the Hill’s Hoist with a new beer, you’d moved on.

And I completely understood.

You had been caught in one of those painful party chit-chats that desperately tried to connect but in the end only reinforced the whole imposed nature of communication.

Foolishly I looked for you for the rest of the night to apologise. But I only caught a glimpse of you as you kissed Darth Vadar goodbye. (Or was it Buddha; I couldn’t tell. Darth Vadar without that helmet on and Buddha look exactly the same when viewed from behind.)

I contemplated calling after you as you stepped into the taxi, but felt that would be all too predictable.

Instead I took the more predictable option and watched you through the rear window of the yellow cab as it sped from Highgate Hill and headed toward the city.

If anything I enjoyed how the streetlights heralded your journey and the night air, nearly visible, created a potential, though familiar cinematic moment.

Anyway I couldn’t help my sentimentality and continued to think of you over the next couple of days. I plucked up the courage to ask Crisps at Uni what your name was. He told me it was Stacey Marchenkova. Russian, huh? (Sorry a moment of clicheitis)

Now I feel like a stalker (note to self; don’t mention the ‘s’ word - only makes you seem more the same) but I was genuinely compelled to contact you and explain myself and offer a small apology for being a dick.

So after receiving your name, I plugged Crisps for your addy. Reluctantly he passed it on and here I am.

My name is Dominic, though I prefer the contracted version; Dom. I think it has a Latin root - home; domus (sp? I think) and after doing a little research, learnt it also means home in Russian.

Please don’t feel the need to reply.

But if in a moment between hot beverages you have that ever so special spare minute, I would love to buy you something small (“Poor, I am” – damn, another allusion to Star Wars) and apologise in person.

Hoping you’re well


----- Original Message -----
From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Saturday, May 1st, 1999 10:32 AM
Subject: RE being bold

hi dom, I was a little surprised to receive your e-mail… I was a little shocked… I do remember you… hard to forget.

It was a strange night, I agree. I did notice that it was a full moon… not that I normally go in for that kind of thing… but it was bright and yellow… like a big boiled egg as that Canadian speaky/singer woman says.

All the best


----- Original Message -----
From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Saturday, May 1st, 1999 11:22 PM
Subject: her name’s laurie anderson

Dear Stacey,

I think the singer you’re thinking of is Laurie Anderson and the lyric is (I’m such a pedant, but I love Laurie Anderson) the sun came up like a big bald head.

I understand why you thought it was big boiled egg, and perhaps this could be better lyric if the moment was right.

For interest, the song is called Sharkey’s Day from the album Mister Heartbreak. The line continues:

The Sun came up like a big bald head, poking over the grocery store.

The other lyric I like of hers is:

All of nature talks to me. If I could only figure out what it was trying to tell me.

I feel like this a lot. The world is constantly trying to give me information but I have no idea how to decipher it.

Like your last e-mail.

I guess the world (and you) is trying to tell me something, but as always I can’t work it out.

Are you saying you would contemplate meeting me for a hot beverage or are you blowing me off?

(Which if you are, is cool)



----- Original Message -----
From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Sunday, May 2nd, 1999 10:32 AM
Subject: RE laurie anderson

Wow… ain’t you bold…

I wasn’t even thinking of it…my nihilism presents itself as simply to think and believe in nothing and respond only to the present...but if you want to make a meeting time in the future… which is completely against everything I believe in… then go ahead… I can’t promise if I’ll be there as the moment usually offers something unpredictable and I follow… but… hey… let’s give it a shot… you never know.


----- Original Message -----
From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Sunday, May 2nd, 1999 11:02 AM
Subject: RE RE laurie anderson

Dear Stacey,

Okay, I’m willing to take the chance. Do you know the Club, Van Gogh’s Missing Earlobe in Woolloongabba?

Maybe we can have a quick drink next Friday. I believe that Friends of the Iguana are playing. They’re a local band. Two guitars, one cello.

Quite beautiful.

They have one song; The Navigation Song, which is my favourite. I know the lead guitarist (David) kinda, and I think I could swing a couple of comp’ tickets. And the first round is on me.

Say Friday; 9:00pm?

Fingers crossed


PS I don’t think the band believes in anything either. Well maybe romance. Is that a doctrine?

----- Original Message -----
From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Tuesday, May 4th, 1999 3:23 AM
Subject: RE RE RE laurie anderson

Okay, I’ll be there… as an idea, anyway. But please don’t hold it against me if I don’t… it’s not personal… it’s the moment…


PS I think Romanticism is a doctrine…it has ism at the end.

----- Original Message -----
From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Tuesday, May 4th, 1999 3:34 PM
Subject: Wow, you’re up early

Dear Stacey,

I just noticed the time you sent your e-mail. So you’re a night owl.

Interesting tangential thought: The collective for Owls is Parliament. A Parliament of Owls.

I really like that. I really like collectives. What’s a collective of collectives? Hmmmm… note to self find out…


I’m very happy you’ll be there.

Even if only as an idea.


PS A Committee of Ravens is another of my favourites.

----- Original Message -----
From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Wednesday, May 5th, 1999 2:42 AM
Subject: RE WOW You’re up early

How about a Mischief of Monkeys.

----- Original Message -----
From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Wednesday, May 5th, 1999 2:12 PM
Subject: RE RE Wow, you’re up early

A Murder of Crows…

----- Original Message -----
From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Wednesday, May 5th, 1999 11:23 PM
Subject: RE RE RE WOW You’re up early

Isn’t it a Murder of Ravens…?

----- Original Message -----
From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Thursday, May 6th, 1999 9:11 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE Wow, you’re up early

Not sure. It’s def’ a murder of some kind of bird.

Actually I think it can be a murder of ravens too. The other collective for ravens is an Unkindness of Ravens. Okay, how about

A shrewdness of Apes…?

----- Original Message -----
From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Thursday, May 6th, 1999 10:45 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE WOW You’re up early

Okay I looked this one up…

An Intrusion of Cockroaches.

----- Original Message -----
From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Thursday, May 6th, 1999 10:59 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE Wow, you’re up early

An Intrusion of Cockroaches, huh? Are you saying something about me here? Or am I being paranoid.

Something I should confess about myself. I do suffer from a little paranoia.

Indeed I can be kinda paranoid about the word paranoid.

Well not the word paranoid. The Word Paranoia!

It took me a while to learn how to spell it, see. Those three vowels on the end throw me. I had to make up a mnemonic to remind me of how to spell it.

The mnemonic was: Oh, I Am so Paranoid…

See I took the O from oh

the I from I and the

A from am

OIA - the last three letters of paranoia.

Now I feel quite secure with it. Generally.

Until those moments of paranoa (sic) creep in and I’m paranoid that I’ve misspelt it.

Hopefully see you tonight.

I’ll be the one without a collective.


PS I reckon the collective for collectives would be: A redundancy of collectives…

----- Original Message -----
From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Friday, May 7th, 1999 11:29 AM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE WOW You’re up early

Dom, I just want to prepare you…I might not be there tonight…having a moment of panic…I kinda feel sick and I’m not sure - but this morning, I think I saw a rash forming on my skin that looks like letters…I’m not joking…I looked in the mirror and I swear I could see the word ‘doubt’…and not only that I could see punctuation too…a semi colon…really…and it made me think of time and rhythm and perhaps I was truly betraying my values…that maybe this moment we had decided to share was an semi colon…a break in the random pattern where anything can happen…a moment to take it in…pause…reflect…and then start to fear, hate, judge and doubt…fuck I’m sure it said doubt…

So I bought some camomile lotion and it seemed to calm me a little…I even drank a little of it and feel better…J

But if it flares up again,

I’m going to smash all the clocks,

toast some bread,

make a tent out of my doona

and stay home in bed.

And truly it has nothing to do with you…you wouldn’t want to spend the night with a fuck-up like me anyway.



Ps or maybe the collectives for collectives could be… a church of collectives…?

----- Original Message -----
From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Friday, May 7th, 1999 14:31 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Wow, you’re up early

Stacey, I wish I could magically appear in your house without any planning or warning. Just so it would be the moment. (oops that sounds way creepy)

Anyway, I guess by wishing it – I blew it. So strike that. (message to self – don’t pretend to understand – it only feels patronising)

And please – don’t feel any pressure about turning up tonight.

What if I don’t turn up either? That’d make it easier, wouldn’t it?


PS did you write that poem? I love it.

I’m going to smash all the clocks,

toast some bread,

make a tent out of my doona

and stay home in bed.

----- Original Message -----
From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Friday, May 7th, 1999 16:05 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE WOW You’re up early

See you tonightJ

And stop making me like you.



PS Yes I did write it the poem. Didn’t realise it was a poem at first…cause I’m crap at poetry…then when I re-read the email…realised it rhymed…so made it a poem…then just this moment…realised I kinda just rewrote Auden’s ‘stop all the clocks’ maybe later…I might just rewrite ee comings with justification and upper case…far and wee…

PPS why do I always put off getting ready ‘til the last minute? Having a shower can be so boring. Okay signing off…showering etc…far and wee (but not in the shower).

----- Original Message -----
From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Saturday, May 8th, 1999 4:24 AM
Subject: I am so sorry

Okay I know you shouldn’t speak on the telephone, send telegrams (how old am I) or e-mails when you’re still drunk, but I feel utterly compelled to do so.

I feel utterly compelled to say I’m sorry.

I mean I thought the night started out well. I was so happy when you won 100 bucks on the poker machine. And the band was good. And when you said you liked their ‘Navigation Song’, I thought there was a real connection. It’s my favourite too…

“Together we set sail, separately

Afloat on the deepening, darkening sea

With Superb Navigation”

And David (the guitarist) is such a sweetie. And sorry for pushing him to try and dedicate a song to you on my behalf. Poor form.

And sorry I drank too much. Drinking makes me talk. And I feel I excelled myself.

One huge monologue.

I know went too hard about how I think my gender is full of knobshiners. Hey!? I did. I reckon I did.

But in truth – it is how I feel. I really do. I’m a self hating guy.

My gender are fools. They prance around hiding behind the fogscreen of mateship – half time orange sucking and ball tickling.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them (or whatever it is) - this is the time, I reckon all the fighting, cruelty, dumbassedness, non-showering, perving, lack of respect, jingoistic fuckknucklery isn’t actually remembered at all.

It’s actually forgotten.

Cause it’s easier that way. It’s easier to stick a yellow sheet over your scurfy scalp and say – hey I’m not going to remember the small things and say sorry for my male pack terrorism.

No - I’m going to remember war. I’m going to remember the glory.

I’m going to weep mud and blood and yell YOU DON”T UNDERSTAND - even though you weren’t there either.

Cause the brotherhood is all important, right, a Brotherhood of little Masons with their aprons hanging over the conservative uniform of daddy’s boys - polo shirts and pleated pants.

Not men. Not like those footballers who ate each other in the Andes to stay alive.

I love those guys.

Nah, I’m talking about the Friday night Rowers and the Saturday night romantics. These guys, who when you strip them down, say ‘mate’ when they mean ‘fuck her.’ or ‘fuck him’ you seat warming public school hypocrites.

Once I spent a weekend at a Surf club when I was 14. My folks were away and the only place I could stay was with a ‘mate’ who was hanging with his uncle.

Over the weekend – in this club - I saw mateship. I saw the gang push this one guy to drink beyond. I then saw the gang make the guy run through town naked, hose him into the urinals, stick his genitals in engine grease, stick a snooker cue up his rectum and finally cut himself with the fragments of the mirror they made him smash with his own head.

Why!? Because it was funny, it was a laugh; it was all in the name of mateyness.

Cricket teams, Football teams, Dungeon and Dragon teams (okay maybe they inhale a dodecahedron dice and swarm around wizards instead) do it too.

And even then - they blame it on initiation.

Initiation into what, I say!? The Catholic skinned penis brigade? The gang that worships the slag they will have as the sun goes down and boot out in the morning?

‘Cause in the morning, we remember them… right. Wrong. We forget them. We forget it. We were too drunk. And even if a glimmer of memory remained we will laugh at the common enemy and say:

“God, I love my mates. They understand me. They let me get away with murder.”


----- Original Message -----
From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Saturday, May 8th, 1999 4:49 AM
Subject: I am so sorry part 2

Lost track of time there – not sure what I wrote about but had a lie down and thought I might have indulged my free thinking. Anyway I wanted to say –

What was it…?

Oh yeah…

I think it was near the end of the night. The Band had taken a break and the room was a little sweaty. You'd had enough to drink.
You wanted a water.
And a Vodka and Tonic.

I came back with the drinks and you said;

"You always go to the bar for me." said Stacey.
"I know. I've been doing it for years." said Dom.

And then we pretended to be a really old couple.

I liked how you thought we should shake it up a little and sleep on different sides of the bed.

I think at one point I confessed to having an affair and you confessed to knowing.

I liked how we forgave each other and remembered our wedding. I liked your choice of music – Easybeats and the reading you gave of some Liverpudlian poet – Roger someone.

I hoped you didn’t mind that I insisted on wearing a home made chain-mail-suit at the altar even though it was summer and I was already suffering back problems.

The reception was good from memory. You admitted that your father was embarrassing (as always) trying to plant the flower girl in a rose-bed because he didn’t like the way she scattered petals. And if we were lucky, when the new season came, new and better flowers girls would grow there.

I thought that was funny.

I also appreciated that you didn’t mind that my speech was delivered in beat poet style (read; no punctuation).

And even though I waxed lyrical about you in mixed metaphors you still clicked your fingers in appreciation.

I know we skipped talking about the wedding night and rightly so – but it was lovely when you seemed genuine that my sense of the romantic was never cloying.


What was my point…

I can’t remember but I have an awful feeling that I’m--

I’m going to bed now…

To sleep on your side, right?

----- Original Message -----
From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Saturday, May 8th, 1999 5:11 AM
Subject: I am so sorry prat 3

Okay still awake – actually I tried to sleep and woke in a panic.

I remembered what I wanted to say sorry about.

I think I tried to kiss you as you got into the taxi at the end of the night.

I’m not sure if you remember but it was quite cold and we stood there on Stanley Street waiting for a taxi. We waited quite a while. Or a least it seemed quite a while. Or at least I remember you saying that I didn’t have to wait because it was taking quite a while.

This puzzled me. Why would you say that? Why would you tell me I didn’t have to wait?

I thought; ‘Is this because she doesn’t want to kiss me goodnight?’

Crazy thought, really. You had given no indication of wanting to kiss me at all. It was just a moment of


But the thought passed because you said it was chivalrous for me to wait and that not many guys do.

But then I felt guilty. Maybe I had hidden agenda. Maybe I did want to kiss you.

And while this thought was going around in my head, a taxi pulled up. But in the interim, I had managed to convince myself that I was going to be true to my subconscious and kiss you.

You opened the taxi door and I hovered.

I leaned into give you a goodbye hug, facing you. You offered your cheek.

I kissed your cheek.

Then I kissed your cheek again.

Then I tried to kiss you cheek again.

You didn’t turn your head once.

You got into your taxi and drove away and I was left on Stanley Street berating myself for such a dick-move.

Fortunately, I got a taxi soon after. But what was once a thought of

“Kiss her, you moron…”

Soon became

“Why did you try to kiss her, you moron!?”

As soon as I got home, I let my dog, Oftenbark out and got on the computer and started typing.

And this is where we started.

I’m still a bit drunk and have run out of steam.

All that is left is the simple phrase: I’m sorry.

----- Original Message -----
From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Saturday, May 8th, 1999 13:43 PM
Subject: Please ignore the last e-mail

Good morning.


Okay I’ve had a cup of tea and bacon sandwich. I’m hung-over but lucid. I turned on the computer and looked in my sent box. To my horror I saw I’d sent you three e-mails in the wee small hours of the morning.

I read them.

I felt sick.

Please ignore it.

I’m a dick.


PS have you looked closely at the title of the last drunken email? I mistakenly called it ‘I’m so sorry prat 3’ how apt.

PPS and I’m not the only one embarrassed this morning. I had a chat with my dog, Oftenbark. He agrees. I am a dick (‘cause that tilt of the head and that look says a thousand woofs). He suggests, that for penance, I should give him five walks a day and 100 choc’ drops. My dog is so opportunistic. But I love him.

----- Original Message -----
From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Saturday, May 8th, 1999 10:59 PM
Subject: RE Please ignore the last e-mail

I don’t think you’re a dick at all…I actually wrote you an e-mail too but I was too drunk… accidentally sent it to someone called Dominique…a girl I work with…she replied too…anyway in the spirit of fairness here is what I wrote (okay I censored a little bit) and how she replied…

----- Original Message -----
From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: Dominique Doyle
Sent: Saturday, May 9th, 1999 2:36 AM
Subject: with superb navigation

“Dom…wow what a night…man…really enjoyed it…I loved the irony of not being in the moment…I thought it was cool that we talked about a fantasy past…I think this is how i will deal with my doctrines in the future…make them up…bloody clever aren’t you…actually I really wanted to thank you for understanding my bullshit…so many don’t…they think I need a slap…they think I hide behind it all as an excuse for disconnection…and maybe they’re right…I don’t know…I’m disconnected…

I do truly believe it, though…it’s my faith, so to speak…but hang on…how can I have faith if I believe in nothing…? And if I believe in nothing…don’t I believe in something…

Anyway you didn’t slap me like some have suggested…you mucked around and found away of….i don’t know…having fun with it… and I thank you…and…

…I’m just talking about myself here…now I’ve annoyed myself…now I’m slapping myself…now I have a red cheek…

Back to last night…do you remember trying to sing along to the song but not knowing the words…you looked so serious…but sounded so wonderfully silly…

…actually that’s what I like about pop music…even though you don’t know the words you can still sing along coz the mood gives you a sense of what the song is about…or something like that…

I also thought you looked cute…


----- Original Message -----
From: Dominique Doyle
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Saturday, May 8th, 1999 11:21 AM
Subject: RE with superb navigation

I think you’re cute too, Stacey…


How embarrassing is that!?

So anyway if it helps the Russians have a saying…’a sober man’s mind is on a drunken man’s tongue…’so maybe…though we both drunkenly raved a little…there was a little truth in what we were saying…



PS the poet’s name is Roger McGough (sounding like you now – ye pop culture pedant...) I love McGough’s Summer with Monika….one of favourite bits is:


I wanted

my castle in the air

but it vanished

without a trace

I wanted

My pie in the sky

But you gave it me

In the face

PPS I’m so sorry for using the word ‘ye’ before – ‘twas a mistake.

PPS You have a dog called Oftenbark!?

PPPS I can be a self hating girl sometimes.

PPPPS I don’t remember you trying to kiss me either...but the sentiment is sweet…the night was sweet too…

----- Original Message -----
From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Sunday, May 9th, 1999 11:03 AM
Subject: RE RE Please ignore the last e-mail

Okay, what does that mean?

‘The sentiment was sweet’


PS And I’m dead curious - what did you edit out of your drunken email?

PPS And yes I have a dog called Oftenbark. It’s a silly dog pun-name-pattern I’m starting. My next dog will be called J.S Bark. Any suggestions?

PPPS I feel a little guilty about the 'pps'. Oftenbark with his hyper tuned sixth sense and astonishing literate skills read the email. He suggested that I was only thinking of new dog's names because I was scared of him dying. Maybe he's right.

----- Original Message -----
From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Sunday, May 9th, 1999 19:23 PM
Subject: RE RE RE Please ignore the last e-mail

Okay buster…do you want me to tell you that I wanted to be kissed? Do you want to me to tell you that I thought of you kissing me? Do you want me to tell you that it hadn’t occurred to me but then I read your e-mail and I did think about you kissing me?

The truth is the sentiment of a kiss is very appealing…and that’s it…just the idea…not the people involved…not you…not even me…just the idea…I know that sounds harsh…but it saves me from getting confused…I do get confused…and I learnt that if I just focused on the idea and blurred everything around it…the world became easier to understand…just break it down into behaviour, not personality…for if I break it down into personality then there is you and there is me and there is us and there are the people in my past and there is my family and there are those in the public eye and there are those people you like and those you don’t like and there are the people that you see most days but never talk to…

And then I get confused and abandon all that I believe in.

Have you read Nietzsche? Or even Sylvia Plath? If you read them, you’ll get what I mean.

Not that I mean to sound mean…just being honest to my own beliefs…you know…and I’m not cold…some say I am…but I’m not…I care so much I want to hurt myself sometimes…do you ever feel like that?


PS Okay here’s a snippet of what I edited out of my drunken email:

“…and when we played the ‘let’s pretend we’re old people and married’ game and you confessed you had an affair, it actually hurt…even though it wasn’t real and we were riffing…it still hurt…it was odd how it hurt…I guess I was in the moment and truly felt the betrayal…I remember saying that I knew…but I didn’t…it took me by surprise…I wanted to cry (and for a split second) hit you…and then I remembered it was all a game…so to save face…I said I knew and I didn’t care…fuck, I hate my pride…”

PPS And dog name suggestion #1: Tom Woof or Virginia Woof for that matter.

(and please don’t let your dog read this email…not only is it private but I’d hate him to think I was being insensitive)

----- Original Message -----
From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Sunday, May 9th, 1999 20:06 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE Please ignore the last e-mail

Okay, what does that mean? All of it.

(Except the post scripts. I get the post scripts)


PS dog name suggestion #2: Walkies Texas Ranger (starring Chum Norris)

----- Original Message -----
From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Sunday, May 9th 1999 21:35 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE Please ignore the last e-mail

Right lost it there for a second…I guess you pushed my buttons…but I’ve regained control as the work week looms…what do you do for work anyway…I think you told me on Friday but I’m sorry …I’ve forgotten…oh now I remember, you go to Uni, right? What are you studying…again I think you told me, but I’ve forgotten…when I look back at the e-mails you’ve sent it seems you’re doing something with English or Lit’?

PS dog name suggestion #3: Jack Russell Nicholson (that’s so lame – sorry)

----- Original Message -----
From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Sunday, May 9th, 1999 22:01 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE Please ignore the last e-mail


I’m doing a general Bachelor or Arts degree. I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing and Arts seemed like the perfect I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing kinda course.


PS And I know you were secretive on Friday about what you want to do with your life - but can I ask again? It’s killing me.

PPS dog name suggestion #4: Bone Jovi (now that’s lame)

PPPS You keep all your emails? What the hell!?

----- Original Message -----
From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Monday, May 10th, 1999 23:55 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Please ignore the last e-mail

Yes I keep my e-mails…you never know when you’re going to need to refer to them…

PS still not telling what I do for a job...

PPS dog name suggestion #5: Puppy Long Stocking

----- Original Message -----
From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Monday, May 10th, 1999 08:21 AM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Please ignore the last e-mail

Oh come on… please tell me!

And keeping your e-mails - doesn’t that go against everything you believe in? I mean you live in the moment but you archive your e-mails? Surely you’d delete them to stop any temptation of looking to the past?


PS are you being mysterious about work as it might blow your cover…? Are you a spy!??? My God you’re a spy! Are you spying on me? I’ve sent my spies out to report on you. But they’ve come back with nothing.

PPS dog name suggestion #6: Karl Barks

----- Original Message -----
From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Wednesday, May 12th, 1999 21:11 PM
Subject: Smart Arse

No need to send message...the title says it all.

PS dog name suggestion #7: Doggie Schnauzer MD

----- Original Message -----
From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Thursday, May 13th, 1999 07:43 AM
Subject: RE smart arse

Yes, I’m a smart arse. Sorry about that. Just teasing. If anything it was a playground tease as protection against revealing that I find you attractive.

Oops, I just said I find you attractive.

Please delete this e-mail. I’d hate to see it returned to me at the bottom of your reply.

PS dog name suggestion #8-11: Paw McCartney, Paw Newman, Paw Pot, Pup John Paw II… (Or Pup Boneyiface, Pup Feetlicks, Pup Droolius)

----- Original Message -----
From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Thursday, May 13th, 1999 20:32 PM
Subject: RE RE Smart Arse

Sorry didn’t delete your “ I find you attractive’ declaration...

It will remain up front and the read again and again...until you break the thread and start a new subject…


PPS dog name suggestion #12: Fetcher Christian (can we stop this soon)

----- Original Message -----
From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Thursday, May 13th, 1999 21:03 PM
Subject: RE RE RE smart arse


I didn’t break the thread!

Am I torturing myself (note to self; stop doing that – I’ve only got a cat-o-five tails left)

Or am I reminding you of my feelings?

Or am I reminding me of my feelings?

Or Am I hoping that if the declaration is still present you might – one day – actually say you find me attractive too???!!!

I am so bold


PS Wanna have another drink soon? Maybe you’ll tell me what you do for a living when drunk? Or at least your ambitions…

PPS: Dog Suggestion #13: Canine the Barbarian (you want to have the last word?)

----- Original Message -----
From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Friday, May 14th, 1999 21:11 PM
Subject: Another drink

Here I am…sitting at home again…Friday night…feeling sorry for myself…

Where are my friends…shouldn’t I be out with them…getting drunk...and talking about the television shows we watched as kids:

…do you remember Fraggle Rock? What about Bert and Ernie sharing a bath…? What about The Tomorrow People? I loved that show… what about the commercial with the talking cat warning you about something or other? Or that Christian ad where the glass-eyed boy sang a rhetorical ‘hello’…

You know what I mean…? Surely you do that with friends…

It all starts polite, then people try to impress with their smart-arse knowledge…

then it gets all popular culture…

then gangs split off based on shared smart-arse knowledge…

then a hierarchy builds based on who has the best recall…

then the geeks inherit the earth…

and the rest of us turn mean

Anyway…here I was with my head going a million miles an hour…feeling hollow and your email arrives…

I have someone who cares, I think…

Then I get annoyed…

This is the very reason I live and only live in the present because it makes me crazy to worry about what people think of me…for when I do that all my insecurities emerge and take over…

And I cry…I always cry…I hate crying…makes me look like a fucking puffer fish…I especially hate crying over stupid things like; ‘Why hasn’t anyone asked me out’

See, I like to cry over the small moments. The man eating alone in the restaurant or the smell of a storm coming…or that great pop lyric… or that great piece of urban art… or the child with a red balloon…

This is what I like to cry about, not WHY DON”T PEOPLE LIKE ME!!??

Then I read your email and your invitation in the post script to have another drink makes the world turn again…

It’s a moment…it’s the present (and though I dwell on it now) at the time it fixed everything and reminded me of my life philosophy.


I thank you for that, Dom, I really do. And in principle, let’s have another drink…perhaps we can bump into each other accidentally at my local (The Norman) tomorrow night. I’m usually (if the moment takes me) wolf down a steak around 7:00ish.


ps Okay so you want to know what my ambitions are…? Well to be honest I try not to have any because it contradicts my life philosophy…but I am human…and I have…in moments of weakness…thought it would be amazing to be a musician/songwriter… (I play the piano a little and the ukulele a lot)

pps and you also want to know what I do for work...I work in a bar in the Valley…drunk people are so funny…

ppps and yes I want the last word... so Dog Suggestion name #14: Sir Pantsalot (I wanted to say Kennel Everett – but thought that was too lame as the last word)

----- Original Message -----
From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Friday, May 14th, 1999 23:38 PM
Subject: RE RE another drink


You’d be a great musician. I’d buy your CDs.


I’d buy your CDs and beg you for an autograph.

I’d buy your CDs to give to friends for birthdays and holidays.

I’d steal your CDs.

I’d buy your CDs, return them and buy them again.

I’d buy your CDs, leave it on the train so some stranger would pick it up and listen to it.

I’d buy your CDs - go to the Library - leave it there - hire it – not take it out and tell others to hire it instead so more people would listen to it.

I’d buy more copies of your CDs to keep my copy company.

I’d buy one special copy of your CD to keep in my CD player all the time.

I’d buy your CD and listen to it in coffee shops and aeroplanes so people will think I’m interesting.

I’d buy one of your CDs and keep it private. Just for me.

I’d buy your CDs, get the rights and make a light Opera from it that makes people wanna buy your CD after seeing said light opera.

I’d buy your CDs, rip out the liner notes and make a CD suit out of it.

I’d buy your CDs and make castles out of it.

I’d buy your CDs and proudly tell people that I knew the songwriter once; indeed we met at the Norman one night and wolfed down a steak in 1999.

See you tomorrow night.

Warmly and musically.


----- Original Message -----
From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Saturday, May 15th, 1999 3:19 AM
Subject: RE RE RE Another drink

Dom, I can’t stop smiling…You’re a nice man…I’m going to sleep now with a big smile on my face…and in the morning I’ll still be smiling…and maybe I’ll write some upbeat lyrics like

Wonderful morning

Night is mourning

Okay got a wee bit maudlin at the end…but I do prefer the night as my email send times can attest…

And, buster…you’ll never have to buy my cds as I will always give you one (cds that is – see now you’ve got me smiling I’ve come over all ‘ooohh matron….’)

Good night…

See you this evening…

----- Original Message -----
From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Sunday, May 16th, 1999 11:24 AM
Subject: RE RE RE RE another drink

Dear Stacey,

I loved last night. I really did. I’m so sorry that my friends barged in like that. I honestly didn’t know they where coming. But you seemed to like them anyway. Or at least pretended you liked them.

Marcus rang me this morning to say he had a nice night by the way. He also wanted me to pass on a hello.

So, hello, from Marcus.

He was all weird and cryptic too – but that’s Marcus. He can be a fucking pain, I tell you. I think he plays it ‘all secret codes’ and allusions to boost his currency.

Once he told me that he thinks he knows every word in the dictionary.


Anyway, back to last night:

Can I tell you what I really liked about last night?

I really liked how there were ten other people crowded around the table, but at some point they became just a collective and we were the only two individuals left.

Did you feel that?

I also love how we talked for hours - sitting quite close and telling secrets. Well maybe not secrets (note to self; stop inflating everything) I guess we just shared stories.

And it wasn’t that we were ignoring the other people. It was just we took our time, our space and owned it.

I know I sound a little like one of those people that I usually want to drown in their own opinion – but it felt special in a way.

Maybe I shouldn’t dwell on it. Maybe I should take a leaf out of your book and live in the moment.

But I can’t stop thinking of it. Here’s my favourite moment:

It was about one o’clock in the morning. I guess I was a little drunk, the steak was sitting well in the stomach and you had half a beer left. We had just stopped talking about how many sexual partners we’d had and I lied telling you twelve (once we know each other better, I’ll tell you the real number)

You’d only had three (not sure if that’s the truth either – not that I’m calling you a slut – okay I’ve gone a little mad, now - back to the moment…)

So it was one o’clock and I realised that I’d been sitting on those aluminium chairs for hours. And with all the beer I needed to excuse myself.

Actually I’d needed to excuse myself for ages; but I was so enjoying your company, I didn’t want to leave it.

The truth is I thought that once I leave – even for that brief moment – I knew that when I came back someone else could be sitting in my chair trying to have the same conversation with you. And you’d be polite. You wouldn’t tell them to leave. You’d listen to them. You’d maybe even like them and that’s okay. It would simply mean that our moment was over. And it had to end sometime, right?

So there I was in the bathroom, trying to be as quick as possible and my mind was racing.

I was flashing through each small moment that we had, trying to grasp onto it as one lump. Trying to relive the moments quickly for in doing so I might fill the gap.

But as I washed my hands, I got a glimpse of my face in the bathroom mirror and I stopped. I actually stopped and took a breath and I heard you. I heard your existentialism and felt calm. It was just me and my breathing and the moment and everything was calm. I didn’t have fear, I didn’t have jealousy, I didn’t have expectation and I didn’t have disappointment. Instead I had a playful and refreshing sense of nothing.

It was genuine, truly genuine.

With this new found sense, I stood and walked out of the bathroom and to my surprise I saw you sitting in the same spot. You hadn’t moved and there was no one sitting next to you. My place was still there, my chair. The collective had still remained without character and you and I were the only two people left on earth.

So I approached. You looked up when I was near and you smiled. You smiled at me. I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone really smile at me - ever. Not like your smile.

So I sat down - back in my chair and I felt it was different. My all night groove in it was slightly out of shape. And then you told me:

“People had tried to sit there but I told them it was taken.”

It was taken.

That was my favourite moment. Indeed I think it has definitely been my favourite moment of the year.

Thanks for giving me that.


PS sorry I left so abruptly. Started to get the head spins.

----- Original Message -----
From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Sunday, May 16th, 1999 20:52 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE Another drink

Dom, I don’t think we should write any more e-mails for a while.


----- Original Message -----
From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Sunday, May 16th, 1999 11:11 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE another drink

Oh Fuck, I’ve screwed it haven’t I? I’m so sorry. Can I ring you?

----- Original Message -----
From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: Dom borax < >
Sent: Monday, May 17th, 1999 23:52 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Another drink

you haven’t screwed’s me…it’s gotten all complicated…I’m sorry for being all cryptic now…I think it’s only fair we sit down and talk…clear the air…I really like you…but something odd has happened…something I didn’t expect…and you’re such a nice guy… truly…one of the nicest I’ve ever met…now I’m raving…see this is why I try and keep disconnected…it gets all confusing…

I mean I really understand those people that hide behind branded clothing and cool hunting as an excuse to not feel…all they care about is the conversation of the next big thing…cause the moment we take it all away what’s left? Just us, I guess…and then pain, fear, tears, loneliness all creep in

And I’m fucking bitch…I’m such a fucking bitch

So sorry

Let’s meet and talk…please

And then maybe not write for a bit…

----- Original Message -----
From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Tuesday, May 18th, 1999 8:32 AM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE another drink

Okay where do you want to meet?

Somewhere not too bitchy, right?

How about that spiritual bookshop in Edward Street?

I know it stinks of patchouli oil but maybe we could get irritated over the sleepily aggressive hippies instead of ourselves. I’d prefer that.

I still think you’re excellent by the way – whatever.

----- Original Message -----
From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Tuesday, May 18th, 1999 20:41 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Another drink

How about Thursday? Lunch? I’ll be the one hiding behind a pile of Catholic lit’.

----- Original Message -----
From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Tuesday, May 18th, 1999 21:10 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE another drink

See you then.

PS I’ll be the one wearing the torn pages of L Ron Hubbard’s book as an Admiral’s hat.

----- Original Message -----
From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Thursday, May 20th, 1999 17:01 PM
Subject: So sorry

Hi Stacey,

I just wanted to say I was so sorry for my behaviour at lunch. I really want to blame the palatable sense of hippy anger on my passive aggressiveness. But that’s a cop out. And I should take responsibility for myself, hey!?

Kinda like that Jules Pfeiffer cartoon. Have you seen it? Have you read him? Anyway Pfeiffer has this cartoon – say six panels. I’ll paraphrase – but you’ll get the point.

1: A Guy cleaning the dishes in a restaurant and the caption says – I’m just doing my job.

2: A Guy cleaning an office and the caption says – I’m just doing my job.

3: A Guy teaching Children in a classroom and the caption says – I’m just doing my Job.

5: A Policeman arresting a Protester and the caption says – I’m just doing my job.

6: A head of State after pressing the button that launches the bomb and the caption says – I’m just doing my job.

So this is me saying – hey I’m not just doing my job.

Indeed my job sucks. My actions suck and I’m going to do something about it. I’m going to say – sorry Stacey – I was a fool. It was me. I did it. I am to blame.

I mean, you have the right to do what with whomever.

And Marcus is a good guy. He’s passionate and strong. I feel so stupid for dissing him.

For truly - if the world ended I’d want him on my team because he’s not scared of killing a chicken and he can run really fast.

And he smells good. I really get that.

Shit, now I’m starting to sound mean again. Don’t mean to.

I was just a little jealous, that’s all. And I can’t help think that if I’d stayed at the Norman with you that little bit longer – hadn’t got so fucking drunk and gone home that maybe we could have seen sunrise together instead.

Now I sound like I’m guilt-tripping you. Fuck, sorry again.

My feelings are all over the place.

I know one feeling - I shouldn’t have called you cruel at lunch. I really shouldn’t have. You’re not cruel. You’re not. And I hope you and Marcus will be happy together. I really do.


----- Original Message -----
From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Friday, May 21st, 1999 11:00 AM
Subject: RE so sorry

It was hard to hear…i have to say…I kinda hated you for a bit…not for being called cruel…

I hated you for tipping that dreadful spiritual smoothie concoction over me (by accident, hmmmm) in that fuck awful Spiritual bookshop!!!!!!

How dare you!!!!

…it was so humiliating…

….and you didn’t even mention it in your apology…don’t you think that you should?

I mean what kinda of guy doesn’t say anything about such an act…makes me relive it again...or makes me think you don’t care about it…I mean, I have to say…it was hard to tell you about Marcus…you were the last one I told because I knew you’d be upset and I wanted your support…

Yes we had a nice night at the Norman…I really liked it too…I thought we connected and it was fun…but when you left…what was I to do..? Without a word, you left….i thought it was me…I thought, ‘oh he mustn’t like you in that way…’ or worse…’I think I came on too strong – and revealed too much about myself…’

And of course…whatever…your choice…you can do what you want…that’s cool… it was a nice night…two friends talking and that’s it…I am just his friend…

And then Marcus was there and we started talking too…we connected too…and he sat in your seat at the table once you’d gone…

…he stayed…

…and we drank and we talked and we flirted…

…and he said, come back to my place…

And I did…

…we went back to his place…we fucked…it was good…we played Big Star…the good third album and fucked to Holocaust…it was sad and kinda funny…and after we talked…we talked about Asterix and The Devils of Loudon in a weird francophile/belguim stream of consciousness way…even Tintin…I never got Tintin…I liked the white dog but found Tintin looked too much like my Aunt who never married…but hearing him talk about Tintin made me want to read it…and marry my aunt…and then we put on Jesus and Mary Chain and fucked again to April Skies and Darklands…

…and in the morning it still felt good…he made me cup of tea…leaves…in this kitsch purple home made mug…he taught me how to do a cryptic crossword…and we watched a movie on telly…Doc Savage…

…and when I went home, I still thought of him…it was painful not to ring…it was more painful to want to see him in the future and think of him from last night…he had made me move out of the present…I had memory and hope…and part of me hated him for that and part of me could see myself getting old…quilting and kissing and baking and toying with the idea of god…

I kinda felt human

And I know I shouldn’t tell you this…but I want to hurt you and make you understand that I never planned this…it happened…maybe it could have been you… and maybe I would have woken in the morning looking up at you dangling a hot cup of coffee over my head, tipping it and scolding me…

‘cause I know we flirted too…at the Norman…I know…but when you went home without saying goodbye…what was I meant to think? I thought you hated me…and after we shared so much…I didn’t understand…

…now I understand that you were drunk and just toddled off…but what was I meant to think?

..and now…fuck…I don’t know why I wanted your support…I think I wanted it, because I liked you…I really did…but maybe we are just friends…good friends… and nothing more…

My clothes still stinks of wheatgrass, carrot and noni juice by the way…

----- Original Message -----
From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Saturday, May 22nd, 1999 6:27 AM
Subject: RE RE So sorry

Stacey, what a harsh email.

I’m not quite sure how to respond. I feel kinda betrayed. I mean not betrayed in a Gangster or Tudor King battle-for- the-Crown kinda way.

I just feel hurt. I feel raw. I feel unprotected. I feel the world got a little darker.

I feel like a child.

I feel I want to be looked after.

And I know I should look after myself. I know that. I know that when it all comes down to it, we only have ourselves. I know I’m an adult.

But sometime don’t you want someone to hold your hand?

Someone to check your temperature.

Someone to ring you on your birthday.

Someone to buy you a book.

Someone to write a dated personal inscription in that book.

Someone to share a piece of toast with.

Someone to gently correct the song lyric when you sing it incorrectly. (I’m talking about Warren Zevon’s Werewolves of London which I thought was Werewolves Abundant for a good three months)

Someone who won’t ever wear a matching track suit with you.

Someone who will read the Saturday papers with you.

Someone who will steal your pillow.

Someone that will cut off the fat before making you a bacon sandwich.

Someone who will laugh at your jokes even when they’ve heard them before?

Someone who’ll not laugh at you even when you’re foolish again.

Someone to say the odd there-there

Someone to look with a kind eye of sympathy

Someone that will cut off the fat before making you a bacon sandwich. (I said that already, didn’t I?)

Someone who’ll tell you ‘actually it is a bad haircut.’

Someone who’ll tell you ‘actually that colour doesn’t suit you.’

Some who’ll tell you ‘actually leather doesn’t suit you.’

Someone who’ll tell you ‘though I support the idea of complete corduroy outfit, I think when it comes to the waistcoat you should reconsider.’

Someone who has enough regard to lie to you?

Someone who’s willing to leave out some of the details.


----- Original Message -----
From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Saturday, May 22nd, 1999 11:54 AM
Subject: RE RE RE so sorry

What about someone who listens to you…doesn’t get shit-faced-drunk and leave without saying goodbye…?

What about someone who doesn’t point at you…call you cruel and then tip their drink…?

What about someone who doesn’t write passive aggressive emails from up high?

What about that…?

----- Original Message -----
From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Sunday, May 23rd, 1999 11:31 AM
Subject: RE RE RE RE So sorry


When it all gets too much for me I book myself into the Hilton Hotel in town for a night. I’ve been doing this for the last year of so when the black dogs come calling.

I checked in last night.

I do this because I need to go to a place that is anonymous; a place where there is nothing of me to get in the way; a place where my smell is faint and the sheets are clean.

The first thing I do when I get to the hotel is run a bath. A really hot both. I take out my toiletry bag and remove soap, shampoo, shaving foam and razor.

Once the bath is filled, I don’t get in it. I let it ripple, close the bathroom door and climb into the king size bed.

Once in the bed, I ring room service. I order a club sandwich and a bottle of wine. Once it arrives I eat, drink and watch about half an inhouse movie. (Rushmore, if you’re interested)

All the while the bath is still filled and losing heat.

Once the movie is finished, I open my suitcase. Inside is a shine of cleaning products (not sure what the collective of cleaning products would be; shine will do for now)

I get my cleaning products out and then I clean the room. I know the room is clean, but I clean it again. I really clean it. I polish and buff. The windows become sparkling and each crevice and cornice is grooved with cotton buds removing any speck of filth.

Once the bedroom is cleaned I move into the bathroom. I clean there too. The toilet is scrubbed, the sink is scrubbed and the floor is mopped.

But I avoid the bath. It’s still filled with water; getting colder now. The steam is dissipating but there’s condensation on the white tiles.

I dip my hand in the water. I’m always surprised that it’s still warm. But I don’t get in it. I can’t get it. I want to so badly to get in it, but I don’t. I have one final task to do.

I leave the bathroom and return to the bedroom. I sit at the desk and take out some hotel stationary.

I grab a pen and start writing. It’s self addressed and the contents are a list of all the good things in my life.

The list always starts with Oftenbark and family and tends to make its way down to such things as my adequate way with words and my ability to make some strangers laugh.

(In regard to making strangers laugh - I’m talking about this homeless guy outside Central Station who laughed at my unconcious impression of the arrivals announcement over the PA ststem. However he also laughed at his own middle toe that twitched involuntarily seconds after. But I’m still gonna claim this one for Dom’s house of chuckles.)

Then I take the letter and return to the bathroom.

It’s time to get in the bath.

I climb in, it’s colder now and my skin bubbles with goosebumps.

I clean myself first; I need to be clean. Then I read the letter out loud.

And last night was no different, except for one key element:

You were on my happy list.

Oftenbark was there, my flat mate was there, my family were there and you were there. You were on my list of good things.

Thank you for that, even if it was just for one Saturday night, thank you. I’d so hate to lose you.


PS See I am depressed after all. It wasn’t just a costume.

----- Original Message -----
From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Sunday, May 23rd, 1999 12:01 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE So sorry


I feel right shamed by my last email. You must think I’m a lunatic; a real-howl-mooning-Dom-crazy-pants with a collection of aluminium cans and an imaginary friend who has their own imaginary friend that I refuse to admit exists.

See, I’ve never told anyone about my hotel processing before. Man, I feel like such a wanker.

Please don’t tell anyone. Please.

I know it’s a little nuts. I do. I guess I get a little nuts sometimes.

And my sojourn to the Hilton really helps me put things in perspective.

In a nutsoid way.

And it’s really private. So why the hell did I share it? I won’t ever be able to do it again without truly turning beetroot red.

I have ruined it for myself. You knob shiner, Dom.

See, a large part of me wished I’d never shared it.

Actually it’s more than a large part; every part of my being regrets sharing this.

It’s like admitting you suck your thumb when you’re an adult. (which I don’t – I also don’t wet the bed, hurt small animals, start fires or snuggle with a comforter either.

I did however like the Musical Cats when I was thirteen.

“…Of all things can it be really? Yes no – ho-hi oh my eye”

I even indulged in Lloyd-Webber merchandise and purchased the hooded jacket with yellow eyes watching because I thought it was cool and not creepy in any way. I also had a crush on RuPaul for some reason when I was younger. When I was a kid I wanted to be an archaeologist/hairdresser so I could finally find out why Cleopatra’s hair was so shiny. And when I was 15, I became obsessed with the movie Mermaids and had many a dream of Winona Ryder licking my leather jacket. I even posted her my Cats leather jacket with detailed instructions of where she should place her DNA)

Anyway – whatever – with all these admissions, I still think my last email trumps them all.

God I’m an idiot. I hope you can just delete the last email. Please delete it. Please.

Man, now I feel so indulgent too.

And whiny.

I’ve become one of those indulgent whiny men who end up running the country for far too long.

Can you forgive me for that too? (not running the country – for I’m certain if I had that job, my in-house parliamentary memos would be so indulgent that the Reserve Bank’s interest rates would quickly lose interest and the country would be weeping over a tub of vanilla ice-cream an insurance commercials come the end of the year)

Anyway hope my lame attempt at humour might have softened the blow of the wailing wetness of the proceeding.

Yours in dickheadedness


----- Original Message -----
From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Sunday, May 23rd, 1999 17:01 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE so sorry

Dom, stop it. Stop it now.

I think I should be the one saying sorry…

Actually I know I should be saying sorry…

Why do I do that? Why do I use words like ‘I think’ before making a vulnerable statement…I guess I’m protecting myself…kinda like folk that say ‘I’m sorry but I never meant to hurt you…’ I hate that...just state the ‘sorry’ and own it…whatever…

Anyway… after I got your last email, I thought (against my better natureJ) that I should look backwards at our correspondence…and… I am so sorry for my email about Marcus… I did give too much detail… I feel like such a bitch for sending it…

So I am sorry…no qualifications…owned…stamped…sent…framed for the whole world to see…

I don’t know if this is useful…but perhaps I can offer some reasoning behind my action…might help you understand…(though I know you’re way capable)…(and sorry if that sounds patronising)

See…I can get a little angry sometimes…I hate that part of myself…I really do…and you don’t need to have it thrust in your face…you didn’t need to know everything…

Okay now I’m feel like I’m stalling…no more stalling…back on topic…take a breath Stacey, in, out and…

I sent you the Marcus email because I wanted to hurt you…because…

I kinda fell for you a bit…

…okay not a bit…a lot…

…you are bloody good with words…I couldn’t wait to get another email from you…I kept checking each hour, hoping that there’d be something…I became a little obsessed and though I might have been a little cool…trust my when I read your emails…I was far from it…

Then that night when you left The Norman…all that insecure bullshit that internally lurks fought back…and I felt like shit…I felt like I’d been conned…I felt like I had completely missed it…

Simply, I felt stupid…

And I got angry…

And there was Marcus (don’t worry no details this time) he paid attention…he made me feel okay…

… And I’m so sorry it didn’t work out between us…I think it could’ve been great…grand, perhaps…I don’t know, maybe we would’ve torn each other apart…but one thing I know for certain…the sex would’ve been terrific…


PS Also I know we can be great mates…if you’re up for it…

----- Original Message -----
From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Sunday, May 23rd, 1999 21:11 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE So sorry

“Shame is what will save mankind”


----- Original Message -----
From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Sunday, May 23rd, 1999 11:54 AM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE so sorry

Grow up.

----- Original Message -----
From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Monday, May 24th, 1999 15:12 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE So sorry

No I meant me. I am shamed. Not you.

(Damn you email, and your inability to read subtext – why isn’t there a self flagellation emoticon)

What I meant with the quote when I wrote, ‘shame is what will save mankind’ is my shame will save mankind. Okay not Mankind. Not all of it. But if I start tipping my hat to shame - then maybe others will too.

Actually I’m kinda raving here. It’s not what I mean at all.

I mean - I am shamed. Period. That’s it. And that’s good.

You haven’t shamed me. I am shamed by my own actions. And it won’t affect the world at all. Why would it? I don’t influence the whole world.

I don’t influence anyone (message to self – you are not Jesus!)

And I continue to feel sorry and shamed and have turned my verbal flagellation to an hourly drenching of self-tipping fruit juice.

And it was an accident – I promise. But I am sorry about it anyway.

Please pass my best onto Marcus and I’ll do anything for your forgiveness (though nothing weird and Teutonic please.)


----- Original Message -----
From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Monday, May 24th, 1999 19:21 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE so sorry

Maybe we should try and forgive each other…we’ve both been dicky…

a nihilist and a depressant…I don’t think so…two dickheads (wrote duckheads there initially – kinda prefer it) …maybe that’s more accurate…

----- Original Message -----
From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Monday, May 24th, 1999 21:43 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE So sorry

Hey duckhead, I forgive you. That’s a given.

What about me?

----- Original Message -----
From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Tuesday, May 25th, 1999 18:29 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE so sorry

Okay, I started this e-mail a number of times…re-read it, deleted etc…

…in one version I forgive you…and all is right…no fight…easy…

…in another I am protective and heavily use ‘I’ statements…god, I hate ‘I’ statements…I really do… I really, really do…

…finally I started writing a list of things you could do to gain my forgiveness as you suggested…

I didn’t delete that one…so here goes…please chose one…not all…just one…

(and fearing the lack of intended wryness – please put on your wry goggles now)

1: Put two pencils up your nose and smash them hard onto a desk.

2: Drink a lot of cough medicine, inhale madly on Benzedrine, swallow some medislim tablets and then read James Elroy’s White Jazz in one sitting and truly get it.

3: Join a Doctor Who fan club with no irony.

4: Invent something that will change the world…

5: Try to convince at least three people that Pig Latin is actually an elitist form of communication between pigs…

6: Try and speak Pig Latin to a pig for at least an hour (need written proof from the pig for this one)

7: Kill Jenny Wrangler (a girl I went to primary school with who made my lunchtimes a misery by not letting me be part of her ‘charlie’s angels’ club)

8: Watch all the Merchant Ivory films in a row.

9: Become homeless for a day and then brag patronisingly to at least ten people that you truly understand the plight of the disenfranchised.

10: Step away from the computer and don’t use e-mail for a least a week.

----- Original Message -----
From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Thursday, May 27th, 1999 21:31 PM
Subject: Hey I guess you chose option 10

Hey Dom…it feels odd not getting an email from you…didn’t think it would…but it does…it’s like the last few days have been biding their time…anyway…thought I’d drop a short email letting you know…not quite sure actually…letting you know that I’m dialling up and waiting, I guess…I’ve only got myself to blame of course…unless you opted for number one on my list and you’re currently bleeding to death with two pencils up your snoz…

Anyway, though we are silent, I thought you might find a small anecdote about Jenny Wrangler (the girl I suggested you kill for not including me in her Charlie’s Angel’s club) interesting to help us – well me, really…through the week…

See, I met Jenny Wrangler in my fourth year of primary school…she came from America…she had a brother called Kenny and parents who wore matching tracksuits and didn’t understand the cruel notion of the rhyme names among children…

Initially Jenny and Kenny stuck to themselves…of course they would…the taunting song of ‘Jenny and Kenny’ followed them around the playground like a sick dog…

But after they came back from the Christmas break, Jenny had changed…she had dyed her hair…blonde…and…managed to convince her family that Kenny belonged in another school…because he was getting a little fat…

…now alone, Jenny set about her transformation…she started wearing clothes imported from America…her blonde hair gradually started showing pink swirls throughout…her voice got that little louder…more earrings emerged…black leather started growing from her body…well her jacket…teased fringes of pink blonde trusses got bigger creating a massive peaked cap over her ivory forehead…sunglasses appeared on her face…even in class…and she traded in pop culture… see Jenny had access to American television way before it aired here via mailed VHS tapes from her family back home…this power of information was a great tool in trade as she bartered in spoilers for friendship…21 Jump Street…was most desired…

Soon…Jenny had a gang…a powerful gang of pink swirled blondes who actually called themselves the Heathers until they saw the film…

Then the Charlie’s Angels club happened…I so wanted to be part of that gang…and for a brief moment was included…as Bosely…but this didn’t work for me…so in between practised shadowed poses of babes with guns gestures in the afternoon sun by the science block…I lobbied for a position in this far from benevolent tyranny of crime fighting and bitching…

It didn’t work…indeed after my rejection of the Bosely role…I was regularly cast as a villain and assaulted with spit ball pellets fired from air guns…actually not sure if they were air guns…but it was some gun-like device…

Now this daily attack finally took its toll…and I tried to form a Murder She Wrote group in response…a quieter group that was more brain that blonde…but no one really wanted to be part of it…and truthfully one Angela Landsbury is enough for this world…

So I retreated further and started hiding in the library at lunchtime…this worked for me as I was a kid who liked reading…and once you find CS Lewis…it’s hard to renter the world…

After a month or so...Jenny and her confectionary clones backed off and picked on a Russian exchange student (actually I think she was Greek…but the accent was enough for Jenny and her cohorts to believe there was something ’foreign’ and therefore ‘communist’ about her)

The year continued on…and with distance…I became invisible…completely…but in the final week of school, I reencountered Jenny Wrangler…it was a small nearly non-encounter…but something about it has always stuck with me…not sure why… see Jenny and I shared the same English class…and this one day in December, I found myself sitting next to her…now we’d always been in the same row…but there was a few students separating us…but this one day, a couple of students were ‘away’ (read; parents wanted an early holiday) and Jenny and I was as close to each other as we’d been for months…

Three empty chairs separated us as the teacher droned on at the front about The Hobbit….I wasn’t into the hobbit…indeed as a kid I had a sharp sense of feet-fear…so I confess to not listening purely as a tool for psychological survival…instead I was doodling…notes…musician notes on my exercise book…after about twenty minutes I started to hear a strange soft noise coming three chairs up…it was a kind of sniffle with a staccato violent intake of breath…I looked up from my composition and glanced across the row…

…there I saw Jenny Wrangler…her head was in her heads as the teacher indulgently and blindly read out passages from her self proclaimed favourite book…

I looked more closely at Jenny…small drops of eyeliner stained tears were trickling through her fingers and hitting her blank exercise book in small pools of Rorschach-like black puddles…

…now usually I would’ve dismissed this action as a cheap attempt at attention getting…but this time is was different…it was private…I could see that Jenny was trying not to cry…really trying…and as she fought this misery…I started to feel really sorry for her…so I gently moved from one seat to the next, taking my books with me…I was quiet and no one noticed…

Over the next ten minutes I managed to get closer to Jenny…her crying had started and stopped a number of times…finally I was sitting directly next to her…she didn’t notice…I put my hand out and touched her shoulder….she jumped…she stared at me…I offered a kindly smile…but Jenny didn’t smile back…she wiped her tears from her face and snarled at me…’Don’t you ever tell anyone about this, alright!?” She hissed…I nodded as Jenny turned her attention back to her self loathing and I crept back to my seat…

After summer…Jenny didn’t come back to the school…no one knew what really happened to her…her family disappeared…and she didn’t keep in contact with anyone…

But one thing always stuck in my head about this odd encounter in English Class in grade four…as I moved away from Jenny…I saw something written on her exercise book…it was blurred a little with her dark stained tears but there was one thing I could make out on her notebook…one little phrase…it said…

“I don’t understand…”

And from that point on…I understood…I understood that even Jenny got confused…and if she got confused…there was hope for all of us…

Anyway…hope you have a good week and hear from you on Tuesday, I guess…


----- Original Message -----
From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Tuesday, June 1st, 1999 6.05 AM
Subject: A new week.

Dear Stacey,

I did opt for number 10. And it’s now one week later.

Weird week too. As you can probably guess I likes me ole email. So it was painful indeed.

I attempted to watch all the Merchant Ivory films but by the time I got to Howard’s End my flatmate, Elsa found me being passive aggressive to some inanimate objects and subtly sleazy to others (can you guess which?).

So the computer stayed off and I embraced the world (in case I shagged it – give away!!!).

Wednesday was the worst.

Cold turkey. Ate a turkey.

And tried to stop thinking the computer was actually watching me.

Thursday was easier. I ventured out of the house – bought a toasted chicken sandwich and rearranged the second hand records in Rocking Horse from my least favourite to favourite.

That night, I came home and put a blanket over the computer because I swear it scowled at me.

Friday I thought I should exercise - so slept for the day and dreamt that I married the computer in a civil ceremony (Bill Gates gave me away).

Saturday I moved the computer into the cupboard because I swear it was cheating on me with Steve Jobs.

Sunday I chased faith in various churches to see if there is a God. (I think he was running late)

When I got home, the computer had moved. It was now in my bed, begging for some break up sex.

Monday I want to Uni and got into an argument with a philosophy major over Star Wars. Fuck, I hate myself.

I then came home and took it out on the computer – was really cruel to it -– “You think you know everything, but you don’t know how to feel!”

So I put the computer back in the cupboard and locked the door this time.

Tuesday I woke early in a fever, got the computer out of the cupboard and finally turned it on. It refused to speak to me, hovering around dos with that awful blinking silence of the flashing cursor. Eventually it did speak. It groaned and crashed.

I rebooted it with love, saying ‘there there’ in safe mode and it softened.

And then I e-mailed you.

How has your week been?


PS I like Doctor Who by the way. Tom Baker really. Have you ever seen Horror at Fang Rock? Cheap as shit but kinda creepy.

PPS So do you forive me?

PPS I really liked your Jenny Wrangler story.

----- Original Message -----
From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Wednesday, June 2nd, 1999 23:00 PM
Subject: RE a New week

Is horror at fang rock the one in a lighthouse…? If so I do actually like that one. The lighthouse keeper with a beard, huh…? Actually are any of them clean shaven – surely being a lighthouse keeper means you have to have a beard, right? God, I’m beginning to sound like you…

…If that was the one, I found it really frightening…he had a mad, evil look…and though I actually find ‘doctor who’ really embarrassing most of the time…that one scared me…I think my folks were splitting up when ABC played it and to offer more punishment I sat down to watch it…I kinda thought me father was the creature…or the lighthouse…daddy’s phallus…or something like that…

Anyway I haven’t thought about it in years…I actually remember thinking while watching it - well it’s not the end of the world, Stacey…at least you don’t live in a lighthouse or are crashing on rocks…or live in Victorian times…or are being possessed by some evil creature…or are fighting for your life against some inflated afternoon-made monster created by the BBC props department…

…all I am is a chick whose folks are going their separate ways…and good on them…for if they stayed together I’m sure she would possess him or he would try to kill her or both would crash into each other’s rocks at some point…

After they split, I didn’t watch doctor who anymore…see my mother thought TV was generally bad and though ABC was acceptable…she really meant ABC news was really acceptable…so TV just slipped away…

…but I found books then… my mother approved…and I guess it’s hard to beat bronte…and in a way horror at fang rock and bronte have some connections… rocks, rain…Yorkshire…and a girlish yearn to kiss at least one person in the story…

Oh fuck it…I’ve just reread what I wrote

…I’ve become one of those people I hate…

…talking about childhood and the TV we watched…as if others are interested in kiddie reminisces…and I’m not even drunk…I’m not even trying to find some common place based on try hard pop culture…

see now I’m looking back…shit and fuck…man…how did you do that to me?

Anyway happy to read that you’re back, buster…that’s good…

Happy to read we’re back…that’s better…


PS I guess a good name suggestion for your next dog could’ve been Tom Barker L

PPS If it helps, I forgave you over a week ago…I forgave you after I read your email about the Hilton…indeed It made me feel more like the monster…it made me feel like I needed forgivness…so there you have it…Stacey M is actually one of those foam bubble wrap creatures created by the BBC props department to scare the shit out of five year olds on a Saturday evening…hide behind the couch little ones coz here comes Stacey…arghhhhhhh…

----- Original Message -----
From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Thursday, June 3rd, 1999 10:42am
Subject: RE RE A new week.

I didn’t know your folks are separated…?

----- Original Message -----
From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Thursday, June 3rd, 1999 18:24 PM
Subject: RE RE RE a New week

Yeah well… I didn’t want to be one of those woo-be-me -girls…you know…

----- Original Message -----
From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Friday June 4th, 1999 9:31am
Subject: RE RE RE RE A new week.

Bit confused don’t you mean woe-be-me…

----- Original Message -----
From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Saturday, June 5th, 1999 22:03 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE a New week

Don’t push it buster…

----- Original Message -----
From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Sunday June 6th, 1999 10:12am
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE A new week.

Shit, did I just metaphorically pour another drink on you?

----- Original Message -----
From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Sunday, June 6th, 1999 17:27 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE a New week

No…made me laugh actually…I did feel like a woo-be-girl for a bit…

And I still don’t want to laugh at you…I know I’m hanging onto things and this a is a new feeling for me…but I am…

See…now I’m changing…and believe me - you don’t want me to change…

Coz, one of the benefits of only living in the present and believing in nothing is that you hold no grudges…

so normally I would’ve let it go… minutes after the event…and we could have started engaging in a new string of conversation…so with that in mind…here’s the old me…and:

----- Original Message -----
From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Sunday, June 6th, 1999 17:32 PM
Subject: New strong of conversation

…a new string of conversation…we can now start again…

----- Original Message -----
From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Sunday, June 6th, 1999 17:33 PM
Subject: New string of conversation

Sorry meant to say ‘string’… not ‘strong’….

----- Original Message -----
From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Sunday June 6th, 1999 20:28PM
Subject: RE New string of conversation

Stacey – how are you? My name is Dom. Not sure if you remember me. We’ve met a couple of times now. Anyway that’s the past and we all know what happens when you dabble in the past –

First you take your time machine.

Then you go back to the 1950s where you meet William Wyler on the set of the film Roman Holiday.

Then you convince him to stop doing so many takes and change the ending so Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn actually get together this time.

Then you travel back to your own time you discover that Hepburn and Pack are still together but their romance has died.

Damn you world.

But that’s not the worst of it.

Because of you meddled of the space and time continuum - there is now a sequel to Roman Holiday called Washington Workday.

Here, Hepburn abdicated – and married Peck. She moved to America – to Washington and lived in the suburbs. She becomes a good cook but gets lonely because he’s always working and going on interesting international assignments.

One day she starts taking pills and soon she’s addicted to some kinda of anti depressant – and before too long – while he’s away on a trip (ironically in Rome) she ends up dying from some simple but cruel head-hitting fall on the back stoop.

Bad time machine.

So you try again; perhaps as a form of punishment.

This time you use the time machine to look to the future. You set the dials fifty years ahead and arrive at the point of your own death.

You deeply want it to be grand and meaningful – heroic even. But it isn’t. You’re in a hospital bed. It’s not even raining. Two people are by your side. One of them is a nurse. And you just stop.

Bad, bad time machine.

With this knowledge in mind - you go back to where you began – trying to either spend the rest of your life not getting that disease or waiting for the moment of nothingness – always one step ahead.

So it’s a no-win situation.

So you destroy the time machine and berate yourself for using this astonishing piece of technology for rather mundane and pointless reasons.

And from this point on you realise that it’s also pointless looking back and probably pointless looking forward, hey?

So I agree. Let’s fuck the past. Let’s fuck the future and just focus on the now.

Though fearing of contradicting myself; how do you think you’ll die btw?


----- Original Message -----
From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Tuesday, June 8th, 1999 21:37 PM
Subject: RE RE New string of conversation

Actually I have thought about how I’m going to die…I hate to admit it, but I have…I used to I think I’m going to die in the next war…but that was flippant…then I wanted a heroic death…a true ride into oblivion…like diffusing a bomb…saving lots of people…and being obliterated…then I thought that maybe my moment of heroism should be smaller…maybe it happens when I see a child crossing the road…and I dash across the traffic, push them out of the way and get hit by the car instead…

I really thought that would be the way I’d go…

When I was sixteen (fuck it…I’m looking back again, but whatever) I used to stand on the side of the road for hours waiting for the child to cross into danger…I was so prepared…willing it to happen…and every time the pedestrian crossing finished its call of safety, I looked up and down the street looking for that kid-like Charon skipping my path to the river styx

(btw had to look up Charon and how to spell it…always thought it was Sharon who guided you across the river styx…felt a little disappointed that it wasn’t…because I really liked it was Sharon…felt cosy…think it was because I really liked this aunt who was not an aunt called Sharon when I was growing up…)

When I was eighteen…I revaluated my death moment…I was really getting into sleazy Italian thrillers…and I loved how the women died in them…I thought that would be cool…black handed killer in a mask chasing me down some really stylish corridor…I nearly escape…but find myself in the reddest room in the world…crash zoom and some glorious Morricone music and I’m stabbed in the heart…really stabbed…I fall to the ground and see his shoes….only his shoes…patent leather…and as my breath runs out, I see it fog on his shoes…getting harder to see until the smudge is only a small puff…then nothing…

But I started having nightmares…so this passed too…

Then I hit nineteen and I really thought I might die of an overdose or something…Chelsea Hotel and some folk fucking around…me doing it…keeping up with The Joneses, you know…and there was this guy there… a real drug slut…his name was coincidently Jones…and there was something so damn sexy about the bones in his chest and his lank fringe and his stove pipe pants…and the nicotine stains…and that morning small of bourbon…

But I ended up meeting a real life Jones (his name was Pete) and in real life all that smell and dirt wasn’t romantic at all…it was so boring…and he was the worst lay I ever had in my life…

So as I near my twenties…end of the month as it happens…here I am…and now I think I might die in my sleep…that’d be pretty good. And you? You asked the question, buster…how do you think you will you die?


----- Original Message -----
From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Wednesday June 9th, 1999 8:05AM
Subject: RE RE RE New string of conversation

I think I will die drowning while filming a water safety commercial…


Accidentally stabbing myself with a chained pen in a bank as I cash a birthday cheque…


Dying of old age at my computer while waiting for some massive cartoon attachment that’s not even funny…


Being beaten to death by an idiot while wearing I’m with this idiot T-shirt…


Misjudging the time and being hit by a bus that I thought I was running late for.


Tripping and smashing my head on the footlights as I run onto the stage of some profit share production of Waiting for Godot yelling at the tramps – stop this show it’s killing me!


Forgetting how to breathe for that minute too long.


Electrocuting myself as I try to make a boat out of toast in the bath.


Mistaking the sign that reads ‘koalas cross here at night’ as a caution to motorists not as warning about rage.


In Italy. I don’t care of what. Just wouldn’t mind dying in Italy.


PS And speaking of things ‘Italy’ (gotta love that segue) I adore those Italian Thrillers too. Crisps (the guy whose party we met at) is a real trash fan – I think it comes from being British and a childish curiosity about the Video Nasty boom. I think he listed and sourced them all.

He shared it with me and I got obsessed too.

And at the fear of sounding educational again (I so want to be Mr Chips. Indeed so did Crisps. That would make him Crisps Chips – message to self; do something about you’re a.d.d for Christ sake, Dom – and do something about talking to yourself in print too – Jesus!)

Anyway those Italian thrillers are called Giallos (meaning Yellow – like the faint stained yellow pages in airport pulp books).

I’m kinda obsessed with them. We should watch a couple together. Let me think of two cool ones and I’ll get you and Marcus over for Spag’ bog’ and Euro sleaze..

----- Original Message -----
From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Thursday, June 10th, 1999 23:41 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE New string of conversation

Sounds cool…when?

----- Original Message -----
From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Friday June 11th, 1999 9:37AM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE New string of conversation

Wll, I know it is short notice but what you doing over the weekend? Saturday night I’m free. My flatmate is going to some dance party – so she won’t return until 8:00am (all happy and thirsty with glow sticks in her back pocket and herpes on her lips)

You can dare my cooking if you want or we can get takeaway if easier. My shout.


PS sorry for mentioning herpes and food in a matter of sentences.

PPS sorry for putting them into the same sentence.

----- Original Message -----
From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Friday, June 11th, 1999 16:51 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE New string of conversation

Damn – sorry Dom busy Saturday night…we’re going to a dance party too…would you believe...maybe the same one as your flat mate…The Annual 1999 Glow Sticks and Herpes Ball, right?

What about next weekend?

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Saturday June 12th, 1999 11:01AM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE New string of conversation

Excellent – next Saturday it is. I’ll do my version of penne puttanesca.

Or as it’s literally translated - prostitute pasta.

Though I should warn you my version of penne puttanesca is a cheaper version – so I call it: St Kilda-penne.

Say 7:30 – my address is 4/15 Albert Street West End.

Looking forward to it.


----- Original Message -----
From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Saturday, June 12th, 1999 14:44 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE New string of conversation

Me too….we’ll bring the wine.

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Sunday June 13th, 1999 15:06PM
Subject: Coming down

Okay, I’m coming down hard. You too I bet.

But it was great to bump into you at the dance party (what did you call it) the 1999 annual glow sticks and herpes ball. Small world, hey.

And I’ve been thinking about the question you asked;

“Was I there because of you?”

I’ve been thinking about this for the past couple of hours and I’m actually not sure. This was my thought process:

It was a Saturday night.

I didn’t have anything to do.

Elsa (flat mate) asked if I wanted to come. I thought about it. I had never been to a dance party before. I’m a little Amish about hallucinogenics. I’m a little bit of a control freak - as you’ve probably guessed.

I’d also hate to giggle while raising a barn (and deep down I’m a little scared of men circumference beards)

But whatever. Fight your fear, right?

So I took the drugs.

I was still a little scared.

Then I felt good. I felt really good.

I loved my teeth.

I loved washing my hands.

I loved those dancing around me. Though didn’t think of them as individuals – more like a one big person.

I loved the music - Buscemi, Fila Brazillia and demitri from paris…

I loved the moon. I really loved the moon. Thought it looked ‘like a big boiled egg’ as you’d say…

Then I saw you and Marcus. I loved you too.

Of course I guessed you might be there. But I didn’t look for you. That wasn’t the point. I guessed I might bump into you. And if I did that was a bonus (oops - wrote boner there initially).

But, after all that and deeply reflecting about your question – was I there because of you?

Answer: I don’t think so.

That being said – what a beautiful dawn, hey? It was chilled and pink and marvellous. I had such excitement of the new day – a new world. And you looked so happy with Marcus. His shoulder really suits your head.

But I do feel a little shitty now – tried washing my hands again and it wasn’t the same. I might go back to bed.


PS Elsa thought you seemed like a really nice person btw.

----- Original Message -----
From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Wednesday, June 16th, 1999 14:44 PM
Subject: RE Coming down

Hey…haven’t been online for a few days…so sorry for the lack of response…been a shitty week…working long nights…the fun drunks where so playful…one tried to accidently kill himself by running in front of traffic…what a wonderful game that is…

I even tried to write a song about it; thought was okay until I realised I’d just rewritten Gordon Lightfoot’s “Simple Man”.

And as for last Saturday…? Yeah it was a good night…really cool night…I have to say I do like those nights…sorta sits with my personality of being in the moment…because I truly am when I’m on e…in the moment…you know…

And I thought Elsa seemed like a top chick too…I’m sure we mainly connected because of the night…but I did enjoy her company…did she end up getting together with that guy? He was really keen…though I have to say the goatee and short hair and square glasses feels so east coast try-hard…plus I don’t think looking ‘good’ is an excuse for not showering…

Looking forward to Saturday by the way…will Elsa be there? It’d be good to meet over a bottle of wine this time…


PS So sorry for asking you ‘if you were there because of me’ so indulgent… feel like a real solipsist for asking (guess who just learnt a new word)… I can get so caught up in myself…slap me next time…or if that seems weird (man on chick violence) just ask some random chick to slap me instead…

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Thursday June 14th, 1999 11:21AM
Subject: RE RE Coming down

Yeah spoke to Elsa this morning. She is going to be here on Saturday.

She’s looking forward to catching up too – in a vino-way.

And yeah she did get together with the goatee, square glass, short-haired guy (though I think he’s actually going bald). They came home together and emerged from her bedroom around 5:00 the next afternoon.

And you are so right. He didn’t shower.

Instead while she was in the bathroom, I had to make polite conversation with him in the kitchen.

I mean I’m always quite hospitable to the guys she brings home. I always offer a cup of tea. I always initiate polite conversation. And in one case, I can actually become their friend (that’s how I met Crisps – ending up talking for hours and playing Myst – Elsa got a little jealous – which I understand.)

But this guy – man… his name was Keith for a start. He was so caught up in himself. He’d lived in Sydney for a few years and felt so superior. He was constantly talking about the clubbing scene and how Sydney was so much better.

And his voice! He had this annoying accent that was sorta fey, nasal with English try-hard tones. I think he’d excuse his accent as trans-Atlantic. And I agree on this definition as it does sound like he’s drowning.

And how he sipped his tea – a morse code of slurping (…---…) and he had no interest in me either – not just me, but no interest in talking about anything but himself.

And as part of this ‘me-me-me’ conversation - he went into great detail about the night he shared with Elsa.

“Man, I’m a really giving lover…”

“Man, I think she liked it when I kissed her back. She said my lips were the best. And she liked my goatee as it touched her skin. It gave her goosebumps.”

“Man, I can control my orgasm. I’ve got this strong mental life. I think of rocks and streams and moss. I can go for hours.”

And this was only the printable stuff. It was relentless. I didn’t want to hear it.

I’ve known Elsa for a few years. We went to school together, made each other laugh and have found a content place of friendship. Sartorial, I guess. Sorry mean sorority –- sisterly -- I think sartorial means something to do with clothes making.

Anyway he went on and on. I was truly starting to think of ways I could kill myself to get out of the conversation when he said:

“You know it’s so hard having this face. People judge you because you’re so good looking. I wish I had a normal face. An ordinary face. I wish I had a face like yours…”

I lost it. I told him to get out. Get out of my house. He looked shocked. Not sure what to do. I said, ‘I’m serious – get out of my house before I hurt myself!’

Then the conversation went something like this:

HIM: Can I ring a taxi?

ME: No.

HIM: Can I finish my tea?

ME (Grabbing his tea and glugging it down myself): No.

HIM: Can I say goodbye to Elsa?

ME: When was the last time you were in a bathroom?

HIM: I can wait ‘til she gets out.

ME: You can wait outside.

HIM: But it’s cold.

ME: Use your strong mental life and think of summer.

HIM: But I only use my mental life when I’m having sex.

ME: Well then - go fuck yourself.

He didn’t know what to say to that. He blinked a couple of times, shuffled in his seat. I called to Elsa:

ME: Keith’s leaving, Elsa.

HIM: Tell her to ring me.

ME: Keith’s wants you to ring me.

HIM: Should I leave my number?

ME: No need. As you seem to be the only person in the world, you must be the only person in the phone book, right?

HIM: What’s that mean?

ME: It means Goodbye, Keith.

At this point I open the door and offered some sarcastic gesture.

I think I bowed.

Keith shuffled out. He was about to speak one final time. I said:

ME: Let’s not use words.

And I closed the door on him.

Once he was gone, Elsa came out of the bathroom. She was still dressed. I thought she’d be angry.

But she was relived. She was hiding in bathroom, waiting for him to go.

She apologised but she had put up with Keith for hours. He kept sleeping, snoring and scratching. The sex was dull and his penis was quite thin (her words – not mine)

I asked, ‘how thin?’

And she started doing a drawing. I started drawing too and for the rest of the evening we pissed ourselves laughing over a sketch pad full of embarrassing male members.

Anyway – why did I start this? Oh yeah – Elsa will be there on Saturday night for dinner.

Looking forward to it.


From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Friday, June 15th, 1999 21:21 PM
Subject: RE RE RE coming down

Cool looking forward to dinner and looking at some of those pictures you drew with Elsa…

…I think I dated someone like Keith a couple of years ago…only difference – he spent longer in the bathroom than I did…he liked mirrors too and on this fateful Sunday in 1997…he declared that reading was for suckers… so I dumped him…

I then went straight to Book Nook and bought my first anthology of Lorca poems…

Lorca was a far better boyfriend that night than he ever was…

See you Saturday.


PS My favourite Lorca:

If I am dying,

leave the balcony open.

The child is eating an orange.

(From my balcony, I see him.)

The reaper is reaping the barley.

(From my balcony, I hear him.)

If I am dying,

leave the balcony open.

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Sunday, June 17th, 1999 13:52 PM
Subject: Thanks for dinner

Hi Dom, thanks so much for last night…It was a lot of fun…your cooking was great…the company was great…and…


…there was the smell of garlic and love in the air…

Bravo, sir…

I think you and Elsa make a great couple...

You looked really good together…I guess you’ve known each other for a while…so there’s an ease…you looked like you’d been a couple for years…

I kinda envied it…Marcus was so stiff…he finds it hard to play that celebrity head game…I guess he thinks it’s trivial…why would someone be Oprah when they can be Trotsky…but you and Elsa were on fire…you got your celebrity so quickly each and every time…I’d hate to play you guys in Pictionary…

Hey I also saw you two holding hands under the table by the way…you don’t need to be shy in front of me…though I did think it was kinda cute…

…anyway can’t write too much now…Marcus wants to go to the movies…he says thanks too by the way…though he thinks you’re a bit of a ‘perv’ (his words) for liking that euro sleeze…(though I thought it was sweet that Elsa feel asleep in ‘Your vice is a locked door and only I have the key’…what a title…)

I’ll write more when he’s gone to bed…

S xx

PS I loved Oftenbark too…he is so cute…I can’t believe that he falls down dead when you say ‘bang’ …also love the broken legs trick…very funny…maybe the Nazi salute is a little off…perhaps you could substitute the gesture as a romantic wave to someone as they sail away on a cruise…

And may I suggest Bon Voyage as a verbal signal to the trick and not Heil Hitler…

Unless of course you’re waving goodbye to Hitler…and if so I wonder what cruise liner he’d use…the SS something or other no doubt…

…and I wonder what dinner time he’d select…I wonder if he’s a late eater…and I wonder if at some point (through force of habit) he’d invade the Captain’s table and burn alll the company’s pamphlets…

…okay need to stop typing now…

…and big thumbs up from me again RE The Elsa Adventure…proud of you, sir…

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Sunday June 17th, 1999 16:41PM
Subject: RE Thanks for dinner

Weird about me and Elsa, huh!?

I didn’t see that one coming.


PS No more Hitler. Oftenbark now waves a sad farewell to lost lovers. It's so much better.

Thanks for the suggestion.

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Sunday, June 17th, 1999 23:11 PM
Subject: Matrix and Election

Okay…extra writing as promised…

Marcus has gone to bed…he’s not sleeping…reading…he always needs to read before going to bed…I mean…MAN! I only stay two nights a week and he reads…?

I think he’s reading Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago…at the moment…such good bedtime reading…such sweet dreams…

…and he’s been reading it for a while… the book’s been on the table for ages, I reckon…it’s covered in dust…sometimes I check to see how many pages he reads…(he’s a dog earer)…and I swear over the last few days he’s been going backwards…Anyway he’s on this Russian kick (hence me, I guess) he brags that he can read Russian…but his stressing is all wrong and I can’t understand a word he’s saying…I wonder if he’s asleep yet…?

I’ll go look…

Okay, back…he’s asleep. Got myself a glass of wine and checked how many pages he’s read – three btw…

Back to you…and your new lady…

I must admit…I did see you and Elsa coming together….i think I saw it last week…she looked at you in a way that every girl knows…and when she went off with ‘keith’ (was that his name…?) I could tell she really wanted to go off with you…

It’s ‘cause you make her laugh…that’s why…

…a girl is a sucker for a guy that makes her laugh…and the fact you still had wit while tripping…wow, that’s impressive…

And she knew that…she knows that you can be really funny…and when she laughs at your jokes…she really laughs…her hair flips and her head tilts back…it’s pure joy…

Anyway, picked it…even told Marcus…he didn’t pick it of course…he thought you might be gay…he even had a moment of jealousy…’you never laugh at my jokes that way…’ he said…

So we had an argument…

Not sure why I’m telling you this…

…anyway you looked good together…you looked happy and again….the night was lovely…so a big thanks from Marcus and me…

Speak soon


PS can I have the recipe for the pasta? If it’s a secret, that’s cool…it’s just I really liked it and thought I could cook it home…

PPS We saw two movies, if you’re interested - Matrix and Election. One was good, one was bad. You pick

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Wednesday June 20th, 1999 18:03PM
Subject: RE Matrix and Election

Election gets my thumbs up. Ah Tracy Flick.


PS I don’t really have a recipe. But basically it’s a bit of everything. Anchovies, Olives, tomato paste, onion, garlic, capers, basil and chilli – all whored up.

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Wednesday, June 20th, 1999 22:52 PM
Subject: RE RE Matrix and Election

Hey you must be really busy…three days between emails and such a short one…are you busy? Working…? In love…?

I’ve had too much time on my hands. Getting less hours at the bar…thinking of quitting anyway…not sure how good it is for my world view…

Not sure what I’d do if I quit, though…

…of course I shouldn’t be pre planning or looking forward…as you well know my anxiety will creep in and dominate…but I have to admit that, lately I’ve been thinking more about what I want to do…time has become kinda odd…

I have such a fucked up relationship with time…I try ever so hard not to look at the clock or count seconds…for I know if I do, I might not stop…

Sometimes I even will time to go faster…

…indeed…here’s a confession…as much as I state I live in the moment…I often exist a few beats ahead of myself…I’m actually always thinking of my next action…

for example…I’m making a cup of tea …but my head is actually contemplating sitting down after making the tea…I’m ahead of myself…

…this makes me clumsy…I’m not actually in the moment…so I crash against it…

I suspect this has to do with chaos…and if I can control it a little then maybe I have purpose, intent and place…

I do this when crossing the road…do you do this…?

What I do is I watch the cars driving past…I see a gap in the traffic…I cross…but as I’m crossing I’m one step ahead again…I see myself on the other side of the road…but I’ve placed a rule on it…I’ve made a deal…the deal is to get across that side of the road and beyond that tree before that fast approaching sedan passes me…

(and here’s the kicker)

… if I don’t get to the tree in time…something awful will happen…I’ll lose my job…my house will be robbed…someone might even die…

Isn’t that mad? For a moment I truly believe I have the fate of another in my hands…of course rationally I know this is not the case…but as I stand on the kerb…I think I might be god…

Anyway…I’ve taken too much of your time…I hope you’re having a damn fine happy sexy time…

S xx

PS I thought Election was a little smug…it felt like it was film scared of women…matrix on the other hand…

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Thursday June 21st, 1999 10:31AM
Subject: RE RE RE Matrix and Election


Sorry my last message did sound curt (message to self; if you ever have a son - never call him curt…)

(message to self; stop writing message to self!)

It’s no excuse but I have been preoccupied.

It’s funny – in regard to time – I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. I think of it as night and day. That’s about it.

Anyway, sorry I have to dash. I’ll write more soon. I promise. What are you doing this weekend?


PS sounds like you have some form of OCD.

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Thursday June 21st, 1999 12:24PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE Matrix and Election

Hey Stacey,

I’ve been thinking more about time – how I relate to it – and I think I was too flippant in my previous email.

Here’s how I relate to time:

I wanted it to be faster when I was younger.

I want it to surprise me currently.

And I suspect I’ll want it to slow down in years to come.

Man, I think that sounds twee.

I might try again. Here’s how I relate to time:

It shits me. Honestly. Time shits me.

See, I’ve done so many stupid things in my life I need to blame something. So from this moment on: I blame you! Time!

Because I would like that time again, Time. You tease me with the concept – but it’s a lie.

You lie, Time!!

You’re fickle too. Why do you keep switching it up on us? You take an hour away and give it back according to what? Daylight saving? Fuck off.

And you blatantly self promote. You’re everywhere. You’re on my bedside table, you’re on my wrist, you’re on the microwave and you’re on top of the Suncorp building. You’re even the top of these emails always putting your two cents in. So what are you selling? Huh? What is the deal with such constant advertising? What’s your product?


Good product, Time, good product.

And what’s with the image shifts? Do you have body image issues, Time?

One moment you’re an hour glass, the next moment you’re digital watch. Make up your mind. Be yourself and stop hiding behind your brands.

Finally Time, what’s with your humour? What’s with this thing you call dramatic irony? Where is the gag you call bad timing!?

I mean why you’d do such a thing is beyond me. Why would you laugh over such bad timing as; ‘He likes her. She likes someone else. He then likes someone else and she ends up liking him.’

Not funny, time. Really not that funny.


PS And OCD is just Time offering a no-win duel. This is what they’d say when you challenged it:

TIME – Do you want to fight me? You can fight me if you want. Pistols at Dawn. But apologies in advance - I might be late.

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Thursday, June 21st, 1999 23:58 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE Matrix and Election


Marcus is in bed…reading…I’m staying over…alone…and it’s only midnight….

He just turned the light is off…his book is on the bedside table…I’m having wine and time is slow…

I really liked your rave on time btw…really funny…though I think you forgot one attack on time…

Time is a scaremonger…it wakes you with a frightening loud smash to the head every morning…yelling ‘help help me!’ You try to help, but it teases you with a snooze button…a calming option from the fear…but time isn’t done with you yet…it alarms you ten minutes later…loving that this pattern of worry can be repeated time and time again…

(based on this – time sounds right wing, don’t you think?)

Anyway – that’s my attempt at blaming time…

Keep it if you like it and add it to your routine …I’m sure all the other girls you email will find it very amusing…

Sorry that sounds catty…didn’t mean it to be catty…I quit work tonight…so feeling a little vulnerable…

And I have to ask…in your spiel about time you talked about Bad timing…

‘He likes her. She likes someone else. He then likes someone else and she ends up liking him.’

What did you mean by that…?


PS I can’t believe I asked that question.

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Friday June 22nd, 1999 7:21AM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE Matrix and Election

Hey Stacey,

And I can’t believe I wrote

‘He likes her. She likes someone else. He then likes someone else and she ends up liking him…’

It doesn’t really mean anything; just alluding to those classic familiar romantic narratives – Age of Innocence, Sense and Sensibility, Some Kind of Wonderful etc.


PS Have you seen those films? I am such a sucker for those kinds of films. I find myself so involved in the love triangle; I so want the people to get together.

But pride, war, illness, evil parents, pledged marriage, sacrifice, romantic blindness, accident, fear, addiction or genital insecurity gets in the way and once that gets in the way some other guy steps in.

In film-talk they call him that character the "Bellamy" named after the actor Ralph Bellamy.

See I learnt this in a film class. Ralph Bellamy was in such films as His Girl Friday and Awful Truth (both great films).

He's the guy that the girl is with at the begining of the story. He's the boring but nice guy.

He's the wrong guy.

I guess Bill Pullman is the Bellamy in Sleepless in Seattle. We want Hanks and Ryan to get together but Pullman is in the way.

Simply, the Bellamy is always in the way.

Man, I love romantic comedies.

PPS We should go see a romantic comedy together one day, what do you think?

PPPS: Just had a thought, I'm not the Bellamy in my own life, am I? :)

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Saturday, June 23rd, 1999 22:56 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Matrix and Election

Hey Dom…that makes sense...alluding to the Bellamy-rom-com...makes a lot of sense...though I have to admit for a second I thought you were talking about two people we know…I feel a little egocentric for thinking that…but I am prone to that mania…I mean…as a kid…I actually thought the song Come on Eileen was about my mother (her name is Eileen)…so this is what you’re dealing with, buster…

And hell-yeah...I’d love to see a romantic comedy with you...sounds like fun...though I have to warn you...I cry in movies...very easily...and sometimes inappropriately...I once cried in Ace Ventura Pet Detective> because there's something just so sad about Jim Carry... when we better bring some tissues or a really absorbent sleeve...100 percent cotton, please...Anyway...

Whatcha do over the weekend?

Whatcha doing next weekend?


PS Hired Some Kind of Wonderful after you mentioned it. I really liked it. Thought Eric Stolz has quite confronting red hair.

PPS You will never be the Bellemy, trust’re far too interesting...

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Tuesday 26th, 1999 11:32AM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Matrix and Election


God, last weekend was so far away. Friday we went out with some of Elsa’s friends from the dance company she works for. Dance types can certainly drink. It was fun though. Not much conversation but come 3:00am they took over the dance floor. Elsa was the lead. Everyone wanted to dance with her. I wanted to dance with her. But I was quite far back in the queue. So I danced with anyone.

Can you believe it? Amazing what vodka, jealousy and lust can make you do.

Saturday was a quite day. It was nice not having to entertain an odd man in our Kitchen. I think Elsa feels a little lost without a stranger wandering nude.

So I changed my name, put on a homeless hat and stripped down to make her feel comfortable.

My God, I’ve become the strange man in my own Kitchen!

Anyway for the rest of the day Elsa and I had a quietee. She’s not much of a talker – more a sleeper. Funny how I thought that was endearing a few weeks ago.

I cooked a big breakfast – at 3:00pm

And at dinner time and we watched a couple of movies. Elsa really likes dance movies so we watched The Red Shoes and The Turning Point. I liked the Red Shoes (fell asleep during The Turning Point)

Sunday we had dinner at her folks. I’ve known them for a while and Sunday roast is a ritual. We didn’t tell them that we were seeing each other though – still played the ‘just friends’ game.

It was kinda awkward because the evening’s focus of conversation turned to Elsa’s romantic life with suggestions from all of her family about who she could possibly date.

Her mother thinks she should date a doctor; an Irish doctor; an Irish catholic doctor.

Her father thinks she should become a nun.

And her brother, Kieran, suggested -- me.

Kieran: Elsa should marry Dom as they already are kinda married.

There was a strained moment of silence. I looked at Elsa. She looked at me. But before we could respond; both of her parents burst out laughing.

This was extremely awkward as this gesture made it apparent how her parents thought of me as a suitor.

After the laughter the brief conversation went something like this:

Elsa’s Mother: Actually Dom, if you changed your degree to medicine – you could be in with a chance.

Elsa’s Father: Dom, finish your potatoes.

Elsa’s Mother: And there’s some Irish blood in you, isn’t there?

Elsa’s Father: Dom would you like some more wine?

Elsa’s Mother: And I’m sure I’ve seen you at mass.

Elsa’s Father: Dom, would you like me to give you a lift home, tonight?

Elsa and I said nothing.

I have to confess that after we cleared the dishes we did duck into her old room and made out. But Elsa has a lot of dolls. Freaky dolls from all over the world. They are all lined up on one side of the room, facing the bed.

And as we kissed, I felt they were watching me; especially the one from East Germany – who was taking notes and reporting us to her father.

So that was the weekend.


From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Tuesday 26th, 1999 13:25PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Matrix and Election

Also I forgot to mention that I ran into Keith yesterday. Do you remember him? He was the guy that Elsa took home just before we hooked up. It was strange to see him.

Without Keith I’d still be single.

Without Keith I’d be sad and lonely listening to the band Bread and cooking bread

“If a loaf of bread takes a thousand kneeds

Then why do I need you…”

Anyway, there I was, coming out of class yesterday and heading toward the refectory.

As I neared, I saw Keith. He was standing just off from the entrance, near the balcony overlooking the pool and oval.

I started to move toward him.

But he caught a glimpse of my approach.

He ducked behind the refectory door and hid among a few empty tomato stained chip packets and browned apple cores.

Indeed if there was shadow I’m certain Keith would have crouched in it.

I, naturally, hesitated at this point.

Why was Keith hiding from me?

Was it because he finally understood that there was more to the Universe than him? I mean, this would’ve blown his brain and he ceraintly would’ve needed to hide, ponder, eat some chips and catch his breath.


Perhaps he was hiding from me because he was wearing just the bottom half of a large furry animal-like costume-charcter-suit.

Yes, the more I think of it, I suspect he was hiding because of this.

I mean who wouldn’t? No one wants to be seen wearing half a suit. Where’s the magic in that? Where’s the illusion? Where’s the anonymity? Where's the pride?

Anyway, there was our Keith. He had the bottom half of this Koala costume on. Truly exposed.

Actually I have to be honest here - I’m assuming it was a Koala. It might’ve been a cat or rabbit. All I could see was paws and grey fur.

And, now I remember, I presumed it was a Koala because there was this environmental plastic bucket with a sticker of a Koala on it.

So my assumption was warrented.

The bucket was filled with small change resting by the limp, dead top half of the costume.

Indeed the sweaty grey fur actually dangled part way into the bucket like a greedy banker searching for any form of bonus.

Whatever reason, the image was too great not to interrogate. So I continued to wander over.

Me: Keith?

Him: No.

Me: You’re Keith.

Him: No, I’m a Koala.

Me: Keith the Koala?

Him: No, just a Koala.

Me: Okay, okay, I understand you have an identity to protect.

Him: Yes.

Me: But you’re only protecting your lower half.

Him: The Important half.

Me: The Important half?

Him: (Sotto) The penis.

Me: I get you.

Him: And so do they--

--said Keith as he pointed toward some female Legal undergraduates as they quickly marched into the refectory.

Me: But deep down you’re Keith, right?

Keith looked around to make sure no one was listening. He whispered:

Him: Sure. Okay. I’m Keith. But don’t tell anyone.

Me: Who am I going to tell?

Him: The Wilderness society.

Me: Why are they dangerous?

Him: They’re the wilderness society.

Me: Aren’t they a conservation group?

Him: Yes.

Me: All about the protection of natural habitat.

Him: Yes.

Me: Passive and peaceful.

Him: Yes.

Me: So what’s the problem?

Him: No problem. I’m just Koala #31. Okay?

Me: Not Keith?

Him: No. Not Keith.

Me: Okay.

At this point there was a lull in the conversation. Keith looked around; making sure no one was watching and started to put his Koala head back on.

It was saggy foam number where the eyes drooped dipsomaniac-like and the rubber black nose had been picked at by some obsessive charity worker.

Keith then took a breath and picked up his plastic donation bucket. He shook it, rattling the coins inside and started moving into the refectory.

Me: You don’t remember me, do you?

Him: I’m working, now.

Me: I kicked you out of my home.

Him: Can’t you see I’m busy.

Me: I was a little rude.

Keith then stopped. He stared through the bloodhound matted eye holes; rage building.

Him: One minute.

He said shaking the bucket. He repeated:

Him: One minute. One dollar. I’m not free, you know.

Me: I have to pay you?

Him: I’m not a cheap whore.

Me: Really.

Him: I have my pride.

He said as the back of his costume slipped a little and I got a brief glimpse of his underwear.

Me: Will you hold me after?

Him: No. Why would I do that?

I shrugged in response and took out a dollar from the pocket. I dropped it into his bucket. I hesitiated:

Me: Oh, how will we know when the minute is up?

Him: Just because I’m a Koala doesn’t mean I don’t have a watch. Jesus Christ! Noble-fucking savage syndrome, I tell you.

He said as he lifted his watch too closely to his gouged out eye holes.

Him: So what do you want to talk about?

Me: Elsa.

Him: Who’s Elsa?

Me: The Girl you took home.

Him: I take a lot of girls home.

Me: From the dance party?

Him: Still a blank.

Me: It was only a couple of weeks ago.

Him: Do you know how many I’ve slept with since then?

Me: Koalas or Humans?

Him: What?

Me: Nothing. Look, Keith—

Him: Koala #31—

Me: Koala #31, I just wanted to say thank you.

Him: You’re welcome.

Me: You don’t know what I’m thanking you for, do you?

Him: Being me?

Me: No.

Him: Saving the planet?

Me: No.

Him: Giving you something to aspire to?

Me: No (beat) What do you mean? Aspire?

Him: To be me.

Me: No. I wanted to thank you for Elsa.

Him: Who’s Elsa?

Me: The girl you slept with. See if you hadn’t been there, I would’ve never found her.

Suddenly he turned. I could sense his benevolence snapping.

Him: What do you mean found her?

Me: We’re together now.

Him: You scumbag.

Me: What?

Him: You binbag.

Me: Excuse me.

Him: How dare you you sleep with my girlfriend.

Me: What are you talking about?

Him: I love Elsa.

Me: You didn’t know who she was a minute ago.

Keith then lifted his watch to his face; remembering our transaction.

Him: Times up.

He then hitched up his Koala costume and sauntered into the refectory; calling passionately for donations. Most ingorned him and soon he’d made his way through and moved onto the Medical building.

So that was my Monday and my second encounter with Keith.

I really hope I see him again. He’s too much fun.

Oh and forgot to answer - next weekend – we have no plans. Do you want to catch up?

Couple’s double date, maybe?


From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Wednesday, June 27th, 1999 20:12 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Matrix and Election

Yeah – let’s catch up…actually it’s my birthday on the weekend…Friday…I wasn’t going to do anything…just hang with Marcus…but maybe we could go out for a bite to eat? I’ve got this friend….whose folks own a hotel…Il Mondo…anyway…the restaurant there is really lovely …good Italian…they do a mean calamari…so tender…marinated in passionfruit, I think…or some citrus…actually I think I’m making that up…but it is good…

So if you’re free maybe we could have a bite there…bring Crisps and some of the gang…what do you think…?

I know it’s short notice…that’s because I’m a little neurotic about birthdays…reinforcement of time, I guess…but this year I’m feeling sorry for myself…no longer a teenager…I feel maybe I need to do something…

What do you think…if you’re keen…I’ll send out an invite…


PS Do you think I should invite Keith…?

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax, Marcus, Elsa, Dominique, Crisps, Fryman, Wilma Petranoff, Lou, Sus’, David M, David A, Pete, Cath, Kiki, Gill, Lou H, Nick
Sent: Wednesday, June 27th, 1999 23:45 PM
Subject: Friday night dinner

Hi all…on Friday I am no longer a teenager…I am a woman…an ironic woman…who feels a little sad about it all…so please share this ironic moment with me at Il Mondo…Kangaroo Point…at 8:00…I promise I’ll only be sad during entrée…then I’ll get drunk and flash my tits…



PS This year I will be accepting presents…but as long as it’s second hand…something regifted please…

From: Dominique Doyle
To: Dom Borax Stacey Marchenkova, Marcus, Elsa, Dominique, Crisps, Fryman, Wilma Petranoff, Lou, Sus’, David M, David A, Pete, Cath, Kiki, Gill, Lou H, Nick
Sent: Thursday, June 28th, 1999 8:31 AM
Subject: RE Friday night dinner

Hey Stacey (and all) I will be there. I’ve found you the perfect gift. Quick question – do you like Jigsaw Puzzles?


PS Do you mind if I bring someone? I’ve started this ‘too soon to talk about’ thing with this chick named Deb’. She’s cool. Lez’ but not too lez’.

From Gill Shepherd
To: Dom Borax Stacey Marchenkova, Marcus, Elsa, Dominique, Crisps, Fryman, Wilma Petranoff, Lou, Sus’, David M, David A, Pete, Cath, Kiki, Dominique, Lou H, Nick
Sent: Thursday, June 28th, 1999 9:26 AM
Subject: RE Friday night dinner

Hi Stacey, I’m so sorry but Kiki and I are out of town this weekend. We’re going up north for his parents wedding anniversary. I’m not sure why. It’s not a special year and they don’t really like me.

I’ve found you gift by the way. Kiki won it at last year’s exhibition. I’ve had it sitting in the kitchen for a few months. It scares me. But I know you’ll like it. It’s porcelain and kitsch. And I know you’ve had your eye on it.

Happy Birthday


From: Crisps
To: Dom Borax Stacey Marchenkova, Marcus, Elsa, Dominique, Fryman, Wilma Petranoff, Lou, Sus’, David M, David A, Pete, Cath, Kiki, Gill, Lou H, Nick
Sent: Thursday, June 28th, 1999 11:53AM
Subject: RE Friday night dinner

Fuck yeah – I love Il Mondo. I’m going to dress up as one of those Venice boat-guys. I might even bring my own punt.

From: David Angus
To: Dom Borax Stacey Marchenkova, Marcus, Elsa, Dominique, Wilma Petranoff, Fryman, Lou, Sus’, David M Pete, Cath, Kiki, Gill, Lou H, Nick
Sent: Friday, June 29th, 1999 13:01 PM
Subject: RE Friday night dinner

Yep me and Lou will be there. We might be a little late as got a work thing to go to before. So start without us.

David and Lou

From: Cath Leaman-Walsh
To: Dom Borax Stacey Marchenkova, Marcus, Elsa, Dominique, Wilma Petranoff, Fryman, Lou, Sus’, David M Pete, Cath, Kiki, Gill, Lou H, Nick
Sent: Friday, June 29th, 1999 13:01 PM
Subject: RE Friday night dinner

Hello Stacey, Pete’s out of town at the moment doing a gig in Wagga. But I’m home alone. So I’ll be flying solo and flashing my tits with you.



From: RKP
To: Dom Borax Stacey Marchenkova, Marcus, Elsa, Dominique, Fryman, Lou, Sus’, David M, David A, Pete, Cath, Kiki, Gill, Lou H, Nick
Sent: Thursday, June 28th, 1999 22:01 AM
Subject: RE Friday night dinner

Fryman and I will be there. Is it byo? And can you make sure we don’t sit next to Sus’ and David? They’re starting to smell like each other and it freaks me out. J

From: Sus Kristofski
To: Dom Borax Stacey Marchenkova, Marcus, Elsa, Dominique, Wilma Petranoff, Fryman, Lou, David A, Pete, Cath, Kiki, Gill, Lou H, Nick
Sent: Friday, June 29th, 1999 9:13 AM
Subject: RE Friday night dinner

Hey Stacey, happy birthday. I hope this isn’t too late but Dave and I are keen as all get out. I’ll ring you later today to confirm.

Sus and Dave

PS Hey, Petranoff – you’re the one that’s starting to stink like your bloke. And he smells like Centrelink! In your face! J

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax, Marcus, Elsa, Dominique, Crisps, Fryman, Wilma Petranoff, Lou, Sus’, David M, David A, Pete, Cath, Kiki, Gill, Lou H, Nick
Sent: Friday, June 29th, 1999 11:42 AM
Subject: RE RE Friday night dinner

Hi All, a quick answer to all your questions:

Dominique: Absolutely bring Deb…look forward to meeting her…is she the double-bluff tart who really is a tart that you’ve had your eye on? Hey – also love jigsaw puzzles – especially ones of clowns.

Gill: Bugger to hear you and the K-man are out of town…keep your head up…and if his folks get too tiring…take it as a life-lesson not to be like them when we’re old and bitter.

Let’s catch up when you’re back so you can share some more of his horrible mother’s stories. (Sorry, K’ I know you’re reading this – but you know it’s true)

And is the gift that weird mongrel china dog with the sponky eyes and missing ear? I hope it is.

Crisps: You’re an idiot and I love you.

Dave and Lou: Get here when you can. I know you’re busy and I’m really looking forward to seeing you. It’s been ages.

Cath: Who needs Pete anyway…he’d be way too interested in us flashing our tits…indeed they all will…so how about we make it a date…ladies lav’…11:30 you me and the mirror…

Wilma: Yes it’s byo...and you are so sitting next to Sus and Dave…just to see if you’re going to smell like each other by the end of the night.

Sus: Read above.

Lou and Nick: Haven’t heard from you…will keep a couple of seats free in case you get this in time…but no worries in case…speak to you next week…

Dom: Aren’t you going to reply either? It’s my birthday, buster… come on…anyway see you tonight.

Love to all


From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Friday 29th, 1999 13:36 PM
Subject: RE RE RE Friday Night Dinner

Stacey, sorry I didn’t realise I had to respond. I’m so sorry. I thought I had already.

So group response coming in a few minutes. Forgive me. I’m an idiot.


PS And if I see Keith, I’ll ask him on your behalf.

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova, Marcus, Elsa, Dominique, Wilma Petranoff, Fryman, Lou, Sus’, David M, David A, Pete, Cath, Kiki, Gill, Lou H, Nick
Sent: Friday, June 29th, 1999 13: 42PM
Subject: RE RE RE Friday night dinner

Hey Stacey and everyone, Elsa and I will be there.

I’m really looking forward to meeting some of you. (Except you, Crisps. I never look forward to seeing you. I see too much of you already J)

Please be nice to us. We are the new people. We are kind. We like food. We’ve been bred in captivity. We don’t bite. You can take flash photos of us if you like. If you’re wearing protective gear, you can pat us. We come with our own wine and sheets of newspaper for private business.

We are allergic to peanuts, omnivores, easy to care for, can be amusing; don’t smell too much, endangered and quite fond of Stacey.

Though a word of warning; we will probably be quiet for the first course.

This is not a sign of aggression. It is a sign of shyness.

As an ice breaker; could I suggest you ask Elsa (who is a dancer) how flexible she is? She might show you. You’ll be impressed.

By the main course, things will have changed, I promise. With the incentive of food and an eager audience of strangers we will both be performing like Sea-Park professionals.

Watch as we dance on our tails, fly through hoops and swim in formation to gain your attention. We will also gladly eat out of your hand for affection at this stage.

Though as the main course and second bottle of wine finishes, I should warn you that I’ll probably be making too much noise.

You might think it’s a mating call. But it’s just nervous chatter. I promise. I apologise in advance.

By desert all will be fine.

I’m sure Elsa will be happy to pose for photos and I hope I haven’t flashed my tits as an attempt to mirror the alphas in the group.

By the end of the night, I am certain we will be free of our cage and dancing with the public.

At this point I am certain it will be safe to hold us. You might even want to take us home.

Really looking forward to it.


From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Friday 29th, 1999 14:48 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE Friday Night Dinner


Elsa just read the email. She’s not happy. She stressed to me that she will not be showing off her flexible prowess at dinner.

I wish I hadn’t written that.

Now Elsa believes everyone will think she’s a bragard at best and a slattern at worst.

Sorry Elsa.

As punishment Elsa said that we’re not going out for at least half an hour.

So I’m single until 3:15. Wanna dump Marcus for fifteen minutes so we can have an honourable affair? J



From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: Dom Borax
Sent: Friday, June 29th, 1999 16:11 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE Friday Night Dinner


PS See you at dinner.

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax, Marcus, Elsa, Dominique, Crisps, Fryman, Wilma Petranoff, Lou, Sus’, David M, David A, Pete, Cath, Kiki, Gill, Lou H, Nick
Sent: Saturday, June 30th, 1999 14:04 PM
Subject: What a night

Hi All…thanks so much for last night…it was a hoot…Marcus feels a little guilty for getting a little aggressive at the waiter…and thank you Dom for stepping in and making sure that he didn’t spit in our food…

Indeed Marcus wanted to say to all of you that he was off his game last night…works been tough and he admits he brought this baggage to the night…so he’s sorry he left early but knows that he’ll see you all soon…


Stacey (now 20 and already planning what retirement home she’ll book into – should I trust one that has the word ‘Pasture’ in the name?)

PS Cath, I think my tits are nicer than yours.

PPS Dom, okay I believe you that your ‘days of the week’ underpants gift is second hand and fresh…I will endeavour to keep them…wear them even…indeed I might wear Monday’s undies on Sunday just to keep Sunday’s clean at all times...

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: Dom Borax
Sent: Saturday, June 30th, 1999 14:26 PM
Subject: Just for you

Dom…okay you’ve read the diplomatic global email sent to everyone now here’s the truth…

For your eyes only…

…it was a fucking nightmare…Marcus pulled this guilt trip on me as soon as I got home…

...he said, I should have left with him...

...he said he felt embarrassed that I stayed on

...he said he hated knowing I was having fun…

...he said that I probably had more fun without him being there…

I think he just has an issue with birthdays…

he hates his own…he says he feels individual attention is selfish…

it’s his so-called faux socialism coming out…

personally, I think he gets embarrassed that everyone is looking at him…giving gifts when the world is so fucked up…it’s a priorities thing…he places his priorities on aid over personal celebration…

he says he feels hypocritical eating fine food, laughing at regifted presents and drinking mid range wine when there’s such inequity of wealth in the world…

And then he gets all self defeated…he admits that it’s hard to have fun when you have a world perspective…he tries to turn it off but he can’t…it’s who he is…and at time he hates himself for it…he hates that he can never have fun…

And in these moments I get it...with both barrels…

I get the Karl Marx barrel…
And I get the Susan B Anthony barrel…

Anyway, back to last night…I came home at about three AM…

I thought he’d be asleep…but he wasn’t…he was watching...what’s it called...the late night music clip show... this is driving me crazy...I’m going to have to look it up... (man, having senior moments already)


It’s called could I forget... anyway they were playing a whole bunch of Prince clips on Rage…and I think he was torn between feeling angry, assaulted and sexy…

…he then turned on me…

he accused me of not caring about his beliefs…
I…as you know…was a little in my I fought back…

I said he didn’t care about my beliefs…he was dominating the was all about him…I had a strong belief system too…and all that we talked about was his opinion…

I said it was ironic that for a man who believed in the shared wealth…there was no sharing within his own personal interactions…that he wasn’t a socialist at all…he was a middle class soft intellectual trying to find meaning in other people’s misery…and this is unforgivable…this is using a true doctrine as a deficit of true character…


He looked at me…muted Raspberry Beret on the television…and asked if I subscribed to him…

I lost it…it was my birthday and for one moment…just in that moment…couldn’t he subscribe to me…? Other’s did…they all did…

I threw the regifted presents at him:

LOOK! I said…
I got this ugly porcelain dog…
I got this jigsaw puzzle of the twelve apostles…
I got this out-of-date bottle of Mustard Pickle from someone’s road trip…
I got this moth eaten toy gorilla that dances to the Macarena when you press its chest…
I got this little book of pithy one liners that isn’t funny…
I got this ‘Sea monkey’s on Mars’ globe from the National Geographic shop
...and I got this ‘days of the week’ set of underpants…

but what did I get from you? I got nothing…you didn’t get me anything…

He sat back in his chair at this point and grumbled that he told me he wasn’t getting me anything on my birthday…birthday’s are awkward and imposed…he told me I knew he was going to get me something the following day…I knew that, he stressed…

…he then stood and walked into his bedroom…

I thought for a second…here he goes…into bed…avoid it all…avoid me…read his book and trick himself into not feeling by feeling about the world instead…

But he didn’t…he came back out with this wrapped box…he told me it was late now…tomorrow even…and he was going to give me my present…as promised…

Okay…I didn’t see that one coming…I have to admit…I wasn’t out of my rage yet…he had muted rage on the television and he was trying to mute the rage in me…

I took a breath and opened the box…inside was a book called Pencil Letter by a Russian poet named Irina Ratushinskaya…she wrote them while in prison in 1982 for anti soviet agitation and propaganda…

Marcus had been given the book by an ex girlfriend and now he was giving it to me…

She was dead… he said
The Poet? I asked
The Girlfriend he said
Dead-dead!? I asked, stressing the second word
No, just dead in my heart, he said.

He then said…it was me, now…only me… he then opened the book and read me his favourite poem…

“The day died like a dog and won’t come back,
So let’s arrange a funeral feast
There will be many more days just as black
I know. The further east
You go, the worse it gets
(That’s the usual fate of pioneers)

Then we went to the bedroom and fucked…but I had revenge…I wasn’t in the moment with him…I was absent…I was breaking my rules again and thinking of someone else…someone from another time…and he never knew because he presumed I was faithful…but he was wrong…he was so wrong…

Happy birthday to me…


From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Sunday July 1st, 1999 11:29 PM
Subject: RE Just for you

Stacey, that is so full on. I admit after Friday night, I went home and watched Rage too. I quite like Prince. But I couldn’t get into it. I was thinking of you and hoping everything was okay.

I mean, you’re so bloody strong and you’ll survive but if it ever gets too hard you can always come over for a nice cup of tea.

Wanna have a cup of tea?

I don’t know if this helps, but men are stupid.

Now, I should frame this with a gentle reminder that I am a self hating man.

But men are still stupid.

I mean to give you a present from an ex girlfriend?

What was he thinking!!?

Is he nuts?

It seems he wants to punish you for getting attention, I reckon.

Don’t let him peck at you, Stace’. (And allusion to Maya Angelou – don’t let them peck you to death with their small comments and actions etc)

And embrace this new day. Let him snore and have some toast.

And it’s raining today. You love the rain, don’t you? I love the rain.

I love the rain because it allows me to stay inside without having to exhaust all with excuses.

I love the rain because when it hits my windows it makes the glass look like its sweating.

I love the rain because it washes away my guilt about watching morning televsion and afternoon movies.

I love the rain because it brings a grey sheen of gauze over the world making people look like Lowrey stickmen.

I love the rain because I think my hair looks better when it’s wet.

I love the rain because you do too.

So with the snoring, toast and rain how can it this day not be better?

But in case none of the above rambling works; I ask again: Wanna have a cup of tea?

Okay - hey - how’s this to entice you further:

Elsa has bought these lovely Danishes (named Hans and Lars) from the Bakery. They have none of that Hamlet madness and simply just want to be eaten.

I should warn you though, they are a little sad and I don’t quite get their humour but to compensate, they have nice apple and custard fillings. That’s a plus.

Okay what I just written was stupid. But as you can tell I’m trying very hard to make you smile. Failing, I’m sure.

Anyway, I’ll give you a ring and see if you’re home.


PS Oftenbark read your email and wisely said; “What a dick.”

PPS I’d never say that of course.

PPPS I hope you don’t mind my dog reading your email. I know you said it was for my eyes only, but Oftenbark takes any opportunity to jump online and read my emails. He tells me he only does it to keep me honest. Personally I think he’s preparing a file to use against me when the Rapture comes.

PPPPS And I know I shouldn’t ask this question but who were you thinking about when you were with Marcus last night. I know it’s personal – but Oftenbark made me ask.

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: Dom Borax
Sent: Monday, July 2nd, 1999 21:01 PM
Subject: RE RE Just for you

Dear Oftenbark…here’s who I was thinking of in the small hours of Saturday morning when Marcus was trying to be passionate…

It was around four in the morning…lovely and quiet…usually my time actually…but for this moment I was sharing it with him…we were in bed…and he was going through the usual warm up routine…I know it’s only been a short romance so far…but I’m already familiar with the gently nudging of the neck as a starting line for a what is fast becoming a shagging marathon in high altitude…

As the miles passed…I found myself drifting…I thought of this guy I met when I was in high school…we only kissed…but it was so unbelievably hot…

We met as a blind date would you believe…set up by my cousin for his sixteenth birthday party…it was a Saturday… quite warm…the guests where all wearing small amounts of clothing…her pool had the proper phd, the garden was clad in outdoor Chinese lanterns…

…and the punch was spiked…

I arrived a little late…had an argument with my Mother about curfew…she’d then refused to drive me…so I caught public transport…time wasting…got to the shin dig an hour over…

Upon arriving…I bailed up my cousin… I gave her the family cuckoo gift…a funky hat she’d had her eye on…

She was happy and already merry from the punch…she kissed me…her breath was hot, sweet and rendered with Bacardi…she then, without any shame dragged me to my blind date…his name was Paul…

My cousin slurred an introduction…

Stacey – Paul

Paul – Stacey

‘Remember this moment, guys as I’m so going to talk about this at your wedding…’

My cousin then gave a well timed comic hiccup and staggered away.

And we were alone...silence...dread…what do we say…? We don’t know each other…we’re both single, sure… but…do we smell right to each other…?

Fortunately he was cute…classic looking…indeed a little retro…sun bleached hair…nice shaped eyes, red splashed cheeks with just the right amount of freckles…his teeth were not too perfect…not too cubist… just the right side of artistically off…

And I think he didn’t mind my look either…I did look kinda cute in a mid nineties way…cute clip in my hair…shorter then…and stained dark…fake glasses to make me look smart...what an idiot...

Anyway…after a few pleasant information sharing sentences…we both decided to brush of the resume and talk truly…we moved under the steps leading up to my Cousin’s high set house…we both had a glass of the spiked punch and were perched on two hewn besser blocks…after a breath, Paul confessed that this was his first blind date and that he was relieved I wasn’t blind at all…

Now I know this is a little lame…but I was younger…less defined…and prone to polite laughter…so I did just that…

…but then he truly surprised me…he admitted that his last statement was foolish…indeed he called it an ‘uncle’ statement…meaning those groaning piths that any chuckle-addicted Uncle utters at large family get togethers…

…and this time I really laughed…and before I knew it the night was fast nearing an end…we’d spoken for hours…not sure what about…it was cooler and most guests were getting picked up…and it was clear the night was over…

He lived quite close by and was walking home…I was staying…

And soon we’d say goodnight…

In those last few minutes it was awkward…are we going to kiss? I really wanted him to kiss me…I really wanted a passionate moment…I was a little punchy…but I was also flushed…and impatient…

…so I kissed him…

And we kissed for ages…until it hurt…until our people had sent out scouts to see if we were safe…and even though they called our names…we kept kissing and kissing and kissing…

Changing positions but never breaking contact…no one leading…just kissing…

It was so wonderful…

After our time…we slowly separated…we looked at each other…eyes now open and adjusting to whatever light was left under the stairway to my Cousin’s front door…

We didn’t say anything …we just looked…and he walked away…home…

I never saw him again…didn’t want too…the moment was so special, the last thing I wanted was to truly discover him and have it tarnished…it was a great moment…just that…a great moment…

It was at this point in my life, I started formulating my existential viewpoint… why have expectation…why have judgment…why have prejudice to cloud the perfect moment…

And I deeply tried to never think of it again until Marcus was on top of me …

I so needed something to keep me from crying…and when I though of Paul…that’s when I thought of the night we shared…the long kiss… the short goodbye…and it was so damn sexy…

I slept well that night…

Does that answer your question, OftenbarK?



From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Tuesday July 3rd, 1999 10:24 AM
Subject: RE RE RE Just for you

Dear Stacey,

That was really amazing. Can I let Dom read it?



From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Tuesday July 3rd, 1999 10:36 AM
Subject: RE RE RE RE Just for you

Sorry Stace’, you wouldn’t believe this but I just found Oftenbark on the computer. I didn’t know he could type.

Anyway I had a quick look at the message he sent and thought it was better to not read your email. It seemed private.

And in the future I have set up an email address for him if you want to correspond.

Hope today is a better day.


From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: Dom Borax
Sent: Tuesday, July 3rd, 1999 19:27 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE Just for you

Hey Dom, you can read the email if you want.

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Tuesday July 3rd, 1999 22:01 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE Just for you

Hi Stacey, I reckon it is best to keep it between you and my dog.


From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: Oftenbark Borax
Sent: Tuesday July 3rd, 1999 22:01 PM
Subject: Stacey here…

Dear Oftenbark…I’m not sure how often you check your emails…but wanted to send a quick one saying hello…so hello and welcome to the email world…don’t worry I won’t pester you too much…but I hope you’re well and that Dom is treating you with kindness…how is he by the way…things going well with Elsa…do you like her…?



From: Oftenbark Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Friday July 6th, 1999 7:20 AM
Subject: RE Stacey here…

Dear Stacey, Oftenbark the Dog here. Sorry it’s been a few days. I don’t check my email that often. Actually this whole email thing is new to me.

Not that I’m blind to email correspondence. I’ve always been a little curious about Dom’s messages; but truth be told, I feel safer to engage with strangers from a distance.

Part of this is due to shyness.

The other part is about self preservation.

See once the men in white coats get a sniff of a literate and tech savvy canine; it’d be only a matter of hours before it’s electrodes on desexed testicles, and a dreadlocked red, blue and green wired science hat that reduces my complex and poetic thought patterns into simple and qualitative wavy lines. Ingrates.

See, I am not a freak, Stacey. And will not put myself out there to public scrutiny.

I will not do interviews.

I will not be experimented on.

I will not be reduced.

I will not be a chapter in a book no one ever reads.

So with this in mind, please keep our correspondence a secret. Besides who will believe you if you confess to having a written relationship with a dog!?

Now to answer your question about Elsa – ‘do I like her?’

This is a hard question to answer as Dom likes her. I think he likes her a lot. I surmise this because I hear them kissing and talking all the time; not much laughter though – I think that’s odd as Dom is quite funny.

Anyway and besides that, for this reason, I like her too. She’s sweet.



There’s always a ‘but’ right. Well—

But there’s a part of that doesn’t like her at all.

There I’ve said it.

Wrote it.

Said it. You know what I mean,

See, part of me thinks that Dom deserves so much better than Elsa.

And it’s not dog envy. It’s true. I mean Elsa goes out all the time. She stays out late, gets drunk, doesn’t let Dom know where she is.

I mean, I know she’s always done this. She is a self proclaimed party-girl. But I sometimes see Dom fret, worry about her, groom me.

See Dom likes to brush me when he worries. It’s his tell and this would suit me fine normally.

But when it’s 3:00 in the morning all I can offer is:

“Come on! I’m sleepy!”

Brush, brush, brush—

“Dom, this is pointless!”

Brush, brush, brush—

“Who’s going to see me at this hour?”

And when Elsa does finally arrive home; it’s usually via a lift from some strange guy with a smoky car and a shit mix tape.

Those nights, she also crashes quickly, so any attempt to discuss it is quashed with a speed-of-light nod on the couch, on my rug mind you too.

So sensibly and without any other choice, Dom brings it up the next day.

But again Elsa shuts him down – accusing him of being controlling - which he is – I mean dog collar, sit, beg, paw, stand, etc - but this isn’t controlling. Elsa is wrong, here.

She is deflecting. Cleverly, for it makes Dom feel like it’s his behaviour that needs addressing. Not her stay-out-all-night get-blind-drunk flirt-with-everyone smell-like Aramis-and-tap-beer and attempt to get the world-record-for Friday-night-front-seat-stranger-shagging

And to be honest, I’m a little surprised she’s even getting any attention. See one of the things that really irks me aboiut Elsa is (and I hate to say this) but Elsa is a little plain.

Not in the looks department; as all people seem plain to me. No Elsa seems plain in her (what us dogs call) energy.

I know that sounds intangible to you. But from a dog point of view, energy is one of our most instinctive and prioritised senses.

We just get the essence of people quickly.

Okay maybe I’m being a little cruel. Elsa can be fun. She does play catch and she does scratch my neck.

But sometimes, usually when the day is coming to an end, and she is heading out, I sit in my basket and stare at her; trying to work her out.

I smell her. She smells like paper. I listen to her and she sounds like a slightly out-of-tune hum. And on the odd occasion I lick her, she tastes like unsalted butter.

You on the other hand have a special energy. And not that it’s possible, but in a perfect world, one where dogs can be Kings, I would nudge you in Dom’s direction.

Not that you were asking of course. But in case you’re having a bad day, I thought I’d mention it.

And please don’t tell Dom. I’m certain he’d give me away to the ‘farm in the country’ if he knew.



From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: Oftenbark Borax
Sent: Saturday July 7th July, 1999 18:29 PM
Subject: RE RE Stacey here…

Hi Oftenbark…thanks for your email and your lovely words…I was having a rather shitty day…cash poor…been living off Marcus for a few days…hate that…so I went looking for work…had no luck…

But today…I got a part time gig…yeahhhhh…

…it’s telecanvassing…nooooo…

I know that’s so dull…but it is for the Guide Dogs for the Blind…so I thought you’d approve…I wanted to tell them when I applied that I was having a correspondence with a dog…but took your words of advice and elected to keep silent…I mildly flirted instead… (though I’m sure a letter of support or a reference from you would’ve seeled the deal earlier)

Interesting to hear your thoughts on Elsa…but pretty hard core…as she seems rather nice, I thought…but perhaps nice in my language translates to plain in yours…not sure…

I also think it’s important to say that though I think Dom is great…but it’s not going to happen between us…not now...he’s got someone…I’ve got someone…timing is out…shame, I know...

I’d just hate for you to get your hopes up…

But on a more positive note when will I see you again…?

You should convince Dom to bring you over for a visit…do you have a favourite treat? I’ll get it in!!!



From: Oftenbark Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Saturday July 7th, 1999 21:42 PM
Subject: RE RE RE Stacey here.

Hi Stacey, Oftenbark here. I just heard we’re coming by tomorrow morning. Excellent. I’m really looking forward to it.

And he has no idea that we set this up to see each other, does he? Jeez he’s a putz. Let’s never tell him.

And yes, I do have a favourite treat. I’m quite fond of Choc Drops.



PS and I just finished a reference for you in case you need it in the future. Stand by for attachment:

Oftenbark Borax

4/15 Albert Street

West End, Brisbane AUS

Saturday July 17th 1999


To Whom It May Concern:

My Name is Oftenbark Borax. I have known Stacey Marchenkova for only a few months. I know that's not a long time and usually references are written by people that have a longer relationship with the referenced.

But I'm a dog. And in Dog Years, time is different. In Dog years I have known Stacey Marchenkova for a considerably longer duration. So please take this into consideration when reviewing this truly excellent human being for their applied position.

I first met Stacey when she came to dinner one night a few months back.

The guy a live had cooked a mediocre meal. Something Italian, he said. But I know it was more German. It was too controlling. It had anchovies.

And anchovies must be German, right? I mean if any food was going to invade a recipe it would be anchovies don’t you think?

Besides I heard once from a guy at the pub, that Alaric 1st smuggled this recipe in his golden robes when he invaded Rome for the third time.

Anyway, I digress.

Stacey never once complained about this obvious Gothic infused and bludgeoned dish. She ate it all and even offered a small compliment after.

I knew, however, that she was only being polite.

See we shared a moment late in the evening when I lay at her feet and she stroked my stomach with her foot.

It was in this connection that my sixth sense kicked in (by the way I hate that sixth sense can be called Dog sense from foolish ignoramuses that think sixth sense is the exclusive domain of canine – or even worse it’s the pecking bird brigade of uninformed elitists that Maya Angelou so wonderfully suggests could peck you to death with their unintentional insults because they simply don’t understand – hey and by the way did you hear Maya Angelou speak at Clinton’s inauguration? Amazing. But I digress again.)

Back to Stacey –

So Stacey is rubbing my belly and I learn that the meal wasn’t all the successful with Stacey’s digestive system. I and only I could hear the rumbling. But she never made mention of it. She smiled and kept his controlling fascistic ego happy. She even asked for the recipe. What a legend.

So it was with this connection that my regard for Stacey began. See this action displayed empathy and a kindness. No need to be cruel.

And if I was ever in the position of seeking an employee, this would be one of the first qualities I’d look for – see I don’t need to have some assistant telling me I’m lazy, fat and obsessed with walking. I know this already. I’m a self aware dog.

What I need is an assistant that will make my life easier and not be scared to lie every now and then to protect my feelings.

Isn’t that what we all want? Do you hear me God? Isn’t that what we all want? A little lie every now and then wouldn’t go astray. For instance I’d be much happier not knowing about Revelation or the Old Testament for that matter.

Just give me the happy bits with a little more Benji and Lassie narrative-like strands thrown in to keep me a least moderately engaged.

For instance – wouldn’t the Last Supper be far more engaging if it had a dog in it. Don’t you want to go back and think about the story again, huh?

Anyway back to Stacey: from this moment on Stacey and I started emailing each other. Simple at first but again (to iterate) in dog years it has now been going on for six months or so and each email reveals deeper levels of truth.

What I discovered in this discourse is that Stacey is a truly deep thinker. She cares beyond most and indulges others with such patience.

She is funny, hard working and a true team player.

Okay I’m assuming the team player bit. But I know that is an important comment in these references. If it helps, like my God, I will lie for a beat and say that Stacey is such a team player – so much so, that all breeds want her for their team.

I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending her for any job as I am certain she would be a valuable addition to any team.

Please contact me on the above address if you have any further questions.


Oftenbark Borax

PS: And if you don’t hire her never expect any dog to love you unconditionally again. See we all talk. We all talk. Don’t ever forget that.

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: To: Oftenbark Borax
Sent: Saturday July 7th July, 1999 23:41 PM
Subject: Re Reference for Stacey Marchenkova

Dear Oftenbark thank you so much for the reference…I will certainly use it when I go for my next job…your words are certain to seal the deal…and I think it’s only fair to offer you a reference in please find attached...



PS: See you tomorrow, my furry funny friend…

Stacey Marchenkova

15/371 Brunswick Street

New Farm, Brisbane AUS

Saturday July 17th 1999


To Whom it May Concern:

My name is Stacey Marchenkova and I’ve known Oftenbark Borax for quite a long time. We’ve been writing and discussing weighty issues for the last few months. During this time, I have found Oftenbark to be a reliable source of valuable advice.

Now I know this could read hollow so let me share some specific moments for illumination.

To start with, Oftenbarl is computer literate. Now call me foolish but I’m not aware of many dogs that can use Microsoft Word and Outlook Express. Not only that he has conquered attachments and has a good grasp of the short cut keys. Unfortunately I can not attest for his skills with other software but I am certain that he could master any programme that’s placed in front of him.

But I don’t want to pigeon hole Oftenbark Borax as a simple desk jockey. He can do so much more than that.

Oftenbark is also a wit. He can be really funny, understanding that in itself a dog that chooses to communicate in the virtual world can be a mildly humourous concept. But just existing in the virtual world is not enough for Oftenbark. His text is also funny too; revealing a dog that not only understands comic concepts but also the need and skill to fill the concept with comic elements.

So for these skills alone, I would recommend Oftenbark for any writing or even stand up performance gig.

But again, Oftenbark is capable of so much more.

Oftenbark also has a strong sense of literature and history. I am delighted to have been introduced to the writings of Maya Angelou through Oftenbark. I wasn’t aware of her poetry and after his suggestion; I have now taken her words to heart.

Alaric 1st is another piece of historical teaching bestowed on me by this learned canine. This introduction has led me to reengage with my ancient history passion particularly the Fall of the Roman Empire. See I adore a sad ending.

(and to note having both these references play against each other is not only testament of Oftenbarks exapansive knowledge but also he understandings that clashing these two unlikely figures together is the academic essence of comedy – IE

“There’s an Englishman, Irishman, Maya Angelou and Alaric 1st sitting in a bar...”

The gag writes itself, doens’t it?)

So with these qualities, Oftenbark could easily take on the role of teacher in any capacity. He has taught me so much and I am proud to call him sir. Plus he’d look so damn cute in black teacher’s robes.

Finally Oftenbark is empathetic. This is a quality that I regard as a true definer in humanity. And to have it in a dog is humbling to say the least. I myself am constantly battling my own sense of self importance and Oftenbark has shown me that the Universe isn’t just an idea in my head; other people exist, other people get sad, other people are affected by the tides.

So for these qualities: Technical competency, humour, exapansive knowledge, ability to communicate and empathy to aspire to, I whole heartedly recommend Oftenbark Borax for any challenge that is placed in front of him.

Simply if you have the fortune of hiring this dog, take it. He will change your business and life for the better.


Stacey Marchenkova.

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Sunday July 8th 1999, 14:54 PM
Subject: Pancake thank you

Good Afternoon Stacey, thank you so much for the Pancakes. It was lovely.

Elsa is still sleeping when I got home. I did get a grumble that she hoped I had a nice time, though.

As it happened it was nice just hanging with you. We haven’t done it in ages. There always seems to be other people around. Not that I’m complaining. It’s just you’re so damn popular, girl.

Funny to see Marcus’s flat again - towels, bath mat, large framed and ironically expensive Posters that drip with Soviet aesthetics. I mean, jeez, who knew that Lenin was so expensive.

Anwyay – odd to see the flat again and man, it was a weird week I spent with Marcus last year.

And as promised this is what happened that set me on Marcus’ couch. Reliving it earlier would have certainly ruined the pancakes.

So; it started with a girl. I mean it always starts with a girl, right?

See, I’d just split up with this girl. Her name was Therese. We’d been seeing each other since high school and had just started living together.

She was smart, sweet with a very strange best friend.

His name was Russell. He was a complete attention seeker. He was this wannabe actor with a passive father who raised Greyhounds and a domineering mother who looked like Elizabeth Taylor.

Fortunately Russell was amusing. But he was very possessive over Therese. They’d known each other since primary school and they often declared arrogantly that they were best friends to strangers. Russell sent Therese her first ever Valentine’s card and Therese had seen Russell naked “accidentally” on at least two occasions.

Strangely I knew and trusted their physical intimacy. He would often ask her to sit on his lap, braid her hair and pinch and grab her. He liked to gently bite her eyebrow and she often held his hand when we all watched a scary movie.

And I have to stress, it wasn’t romantic. Really, it wasn’t romantic.

But it did get in the way.

Six months ago, he came out and it all made sense. He felt because of his choice, he had the right to be overtly physical with her. He felt he had the right to own her as sex was never going to get in the way.

And he worked it. Boy did he work it.

He made her laugh more than I did.

He was allowed to show more public affection than I did.

They shared secrets.

One night around November of last year, Therese and Russell went to Sydney for a trip to see another one of their tight-knit friends. They’d been planning this trip for ages. They saved up, caught the train and stayed with their mutual friend in her share house in Darlinghurst; 6 bedrooms - near the Taxi Club, from memory.

I was not invited to join them.

Russell had stressed that this was a Therese and Russell trip. He didn’t think I’d fit in with their Sydney friends and besides we were all getting that little bit older and this might be the last chance they had to share some quality time together.

After they went I spoke to her on the phone. She said she missed me and really wished I was there. She was certain her friend wouldn’t mind either. There was a couch in the living room big enough for two.

As she was talking I could here Russell in the background, holding court and making people laugh. He even interrupted our call pretending to be an operator demanding that the line was free in case of emergencies and witty banter.

The following day I bought a train ticket and went to Sydney to see Therese.

This really annoyed Russell.

The first night I got to Sydney, Russell had organised a dinner for Therese and some other friends.

I was not invited.

Therese thought it was poor form. But Russell said he had already bought the ingredients and there wasn’t enough food for me too.

So I spent my first night in Sydney, alone, waiting for their dinner to be over. I roamed around Circular Key, trying to make friends with the Buskers and counting the boats on the harbour.

Finally I went back to the Darlinghurst home around midnight.

The dinner had wrapped up and Russell was dressed as an old woman. The Old Woman was Therese’s long lost Aunt Maxine (one of Russell’s many characters. He liked to pretend to be other people.)

As Maxine, Russell wore this second hand lavender dress. He had this grey wig and custom made false teeth (from his Brother Dentist) that made him slur. His false breasts, made from stitched-in gym socks, rested on his hips. His heavy fabric pearl coloured tights had multiple ladders.

But all this design was nothing to the spirit of Aunt Maxine.

Aunt Maxine was filthy. And this night in Darlinghust was no exception.

Aunt Amaxine was on a roll, discussing the importance of genital hygiene and recalling bogus story’s of Therese’s lack of maintenance.

I tried to join the laughter but as soon as Russell saw me he turned his improvisation in my direction.

Russell (as Aunt Maxine): And here’s a nice clean boy. He washes himself all the time. He’s so clean; I can’t smell him at all. It’s like he doesn’t exist. As if he’s not here. And I don’t trust it. He’s like an intruder.

Everyone laughed. I even laughed trying to fit in.

But deep down I felt I was on the outside.

As the night went on, people dropped off, went to bed, went home. And soon it was only Russell, Therese and I. He had taken the wig off and his false teeth were floating in a small glass of Scotch.

Russell (as Russell): Well I’m going to brush my teeth. Are you coming Therese?

There was an awkward moment. I wasn’t sure what was happening.

Russell: Dom, there’s your couch.

And there it was. Russell and Therese had been sharing a bed and I was again not invited.

Later, on the couch and alone, I couldn’t sleep. I felt betrayed. Therese was my girlfriend. We should be spending the night together.

Soon I became obsessed. I wasn’t going to take it anymore. I crept upstairs to their room and carefully opened the door.

I could see them, lying in the bed together. They were spooning and Russell was snoring. I whispered to Therese that I needed to speak to her. She didn’t wake up. I whispered again, a little louder. She stirred. Russell stirred too. He told me to fuck off. He was tired.

I skulked out of the room. But in the corridor, anger started to build. This wasn’t right.

I re-entered the bedroom. But before I could get a word out, Russell let me have it.

Russell: How dare you. I am trying to sleep. You know I can’t get back to sleep once I’ve woken up. What is wrong with you? Not only are you not welcome in this room, but you’re not welcome in this house.

I looked over at Therese who was now sitting up.

Dom: What you do you think, Therese?

Therese blinked.

Therese: I’ll sleep on the couch with you tomorrow, okay?

I nodded as this great sense of loss welled inside me. I knew I was never going to win. And as much as it hurt, I couldn’t be with her.

I turned and walked out of the room, offering a passing and final comment:

Dom: Okay.

I went back downstairs and packed. I wrote a small two word note ‘gone home’ so they wouldn’t be worried and went into the kitchen. I stole some fruit from the fridge and quietly left the Darlinghurst house and walked to Central Station.

The next train to Brisbane was a few hours away; so I found a little nook near a 24 hour coffee shop and managed to get a couple of hours sleep.

A week later they returned.

Russell was bullyish as ever; demanded an apology for my dramatic and selfish behaviour. Not only did I impress myself on his friends; I also left without thanking them. Who did I think I was?

Russell: Also, Therese thinks it’s best if you don’t see each other anymore.

Dom: Is this your decision or hers?

Russell: Hers of course. Who do you think I am?

I turned and walked away. But as I turned the corner, I realised I wasn’t thinking of Therese at all. I was only thinking of him.

I was in a relationship with Russell all along!

How did I fall for this?

I felt for Therese then. She had to break away from this guy too. I needed to see her and offer one final plea for our escape; perhaps the mountains; perhaps an island.

She didn’t listen. She just directed me to her room. My belongings where stacked neatly in the corner.

Therese: You can’t live here anymore.

Dom: You know that you need to get out of here too. Maybe not with me, but you still need to get out.

Therese: But I like it here.

I left without saying another word.

I contacted Marcus. We’d recently connected at University over a mutual disregard for our film genre classes. I knew his parents owned the inner city apartment he was living in. And I knew it had a spare room because I’d stayed there a few months back when we watched the film I am Cuba together and got hopelessly drunk on Rum.

He let me stay until I got my feet back in the ground.

That was nice of him. We watched so many films that week. Mostly political in nature, though we did have one night where we watched some Ben Hecht written films and delighted at his subversive and comic disrespect for the American upper classes of the forties.

A week later, I bumped into Elsa and moved into her place.

So all said and done; it’s funny how our pancake breakfast made me think of this again.

And how much it seems in the past.

And how much I was hurt.

And how much I look forward to the future.

Oftenbark misses you already by the way.


PS Oftenbark thanks you for his reference. I’m not quite sure what he’s talking about J

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: Dom Borax
Sent: Monday July 9th July 1999, 17:46 PM
Subject: RE Pancake thank you

I hate that Russell guy…let’s kill him…

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Tuesday July 10th, 1999 10:06 AM
Subject: Ways to kill Russell

Yes. Let’s kill him. Any suggestions?

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: Dom Borax
Sent: Wednesday July 11th July 1999, 18:26 PM
Subject: RE Ways to Kill Russell

We could spike a small glass with of whiskey with bleach…encourage him to do his Aunt Maxine shtick…and when he’s finished…offer the lethal glass for him to put his false teeth into…so the next time he acts like a knob he poisons himself with his own performance…

You got a better idea?

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Wednesday July 11th, 1999 20:20PM
Subject: RE RE Ways to Kill Russell

Or how about we advertise an audition for a new low budget privately financed film about the perils of hypnotic regression and just invite Russell.

When he turns up, you pretend to be the director and we’ll get someone like Marcus to pretend to be the Psychological adviser.

Russell, ever eager to please will do whatever you want.

So we’ll pretend to put him under and take him back to his childhood, encouraging a recall of his hardest memory.

We will then get him to recount it in GREAT DETAIL, filming the whole thing.

There will be tears. He will be truthful.

Once finished we make many copies of and send them out to everyone that he knows with a comedy soundtrack.

Russell will be humiliated and will lose control.

This is where we step in again and run him over with a car.

And I will never stop hating him.

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: Dom Borax
Sent: Thursday July 12th July 1999, 13: 26 PM
Subject: RE RE RE Ways to Kill Russell

You could just cut his penis off…

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Thursday July 12th, 1999 17:29PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE Ways to Kill Russell

Put bottle of gin into an enema and insert accordingly.

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: Dom Borax
Sent: Thursday July 12th July 1999, 23:47 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE Ways to Kill Russell

Make him drink petrol…

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Friday July 13th, 1999 6:11AM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Ways to Kill Russell

Something to do with Spiders. I don’t like spiders.

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: Dom Borax
Sent: Friday July 13th July 1999, 10:21 AM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Ways to Kill Russell

Dare him to do a Parachute jump and when he’s not looking take out the silk and put an anvil in his pack instead (I think I’ve seen too many Loony tunes cartoons…)

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Friday July 13th, 1999 11:59 AM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Ways to Kill Russell

Cut off his eyelids, put him on his back so he’s staring at the sun and tie him down in the desert during the longest summer’s day of the year.

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: Dom Borax
Sent: Friday July 13th July 1999, 14:41 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Ways to Kill Russell

Mugged by clouds ‘cause that would be funny…

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: Dom Borax
Sent: Friday July 13th July 1999, 14:43PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Ways to Kill Russell

Sorry meant to say ‘clowns’… not clouds…

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Friday July 13th, 1999 16:36 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Ways to Kill Russell

Make him eat his own cooking.

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: Dom Borax
Sent: Friday July 13th July 1999, 17:41PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Ways to Kill Russell

Cut off all his fingers and all his toes…stitch his fingers to his feet and his toes to his hands and then hang him off the story bridge and take bets on how long he lasts…

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Friday July 13th, 1999 18:01 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Ways to Kill Russell

Ignore him, avoid him and forget him. He’d never get over it.

Or I could be successful. That would shit him. I could get a gig in Los Angeles as a writer and pen thinly disguised stories about him.

I like that. Yes, I like that a lot.


PS Hey did you know that it’s Friday the 13th. What you guys up too? Want to come over and watch some cheesy 80s slasher films?

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: Dom Borax
Sent: Friday July 13th July 1999, 19:01 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Ways to Kill Russell

Love to come over and share the thrill…but I’m working early tomorrow at Guide Dogs selling Tea Towels and woollen underlays…wanna get some cash...gotta stop sponging off Marcus…need to grow up...

And I know you’re thinking; Stacey - tomorrow is tomorrow…let’s be in the present and enjoy the now…

…but I know that if I play in the present…I’ll not sleep ‘til six…not wake up on time…and be stuck eternally with this poverty monkey that loves to mock me…

So it’s best…I go to bed soon…and toss and turn and not sleep for a few hours and eventually get so sick of myself that I will literally fall asleep as an act of self hatred…

Wanna have coffee during the week as paltry counter offer? My shout…


From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Friday July 13th, 1999 21:21 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Ways to Kill Russell

If you’re shouting, I’m getting me the biggest coffee ever.

And a sandwich.

And some cake.

And some orange juice.

And some more cake.

And a little chocolate something.

And a fancy coffee that actually ruins the taste of real coffee.

And some new trousers.

And some chocolate trousers.

And some socks.

And a new Television.

And a car.

And some more cake.

And a return ticket to Rome.

And a house.

And a chocolate house. (NOTE: It doesn’t have to be too fancy.)

And a wife that adores me.

And children that respect me.

And a winning lottery ticket.

And a doctor on call to stop any illness.

And a Mausoleum for when the doctor fails.

Speak during the week.


PS And if you get my that Mausoleum, I want it to have a 24 four hour coffee-stand just in case I come back from the dead (‘Cause I’m really going to need a coffee then.)

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: Dom Borax
Sent: Friday July 13th July 1999, 22:21 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Ways to Kill Russell

Yep, yep, yep… done and dusted…checklist ticked…you can count on me to give you everything…least I can do for a dying man, right?


PS though I might baulk at children that respect you...unless you’re made out of chocolate...

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Saturday July 14th, 1999 11:03 AM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Ways to Kill Russell


Let me tell you about my life.

After we stopped emailing last night, I hoped for some kind of Friday 13th kill-thrill movie marathon to cap off a seeming perfect day. Not that I wanted to be gouged optically, hacked and minced internally or threatened by a vocally vocoded Lurch who desperately ‘wanted to put their evil inside me…’

No, I simply wanted to be frightened by watching it happen to others on my wonderful cathode ray tube telly. For that’s what the Friday 13th’s about, an indestructible killer in a mask, yeah?

So - there I was – home alone. Elsa was out with some friends at some costume party (come as ‘your favourite psycho’ party) not to return until the wee hours. (Note: I had elected to stay home because the idea of wearing that Winne the Pooh costume again was too much for me to bear)

Besides some solo time was just what this misanthrope ordered.

And it seemed perfect. I toasted a toastie, made a strong cup of Yorkshire Gold tea, turned off the lights, lifted Oftenbark onto the couch and prepared myself for some classic slasher horror to keep me company and guide me into the 14th.

It seemed like a perfect waste of time.

And I was so ready; ramped up, fore-played and titillated by our moody cruel banter of bloodlust-Badlands-Moors-Bonnie-and-Clyde-Leopold-and-Loeb murdering of our dear bloody Russell:

I was set aquiver.

But then - the TV exploded.

Okay not exploded – maybe more whimpered as TS would say leaving me just with the grainy super 16 memory of masked killers and bad acting.

Damn you Cathode Gods.

So I went to bed, wanting to dream the bad that good man fear.

But that didn’t even happen. All I got was one of those work panic dreams where I forget how to use the bar code.

I hate that dream.

So I woke on the 14th feeling betrayed and craving comic book violence. Elsa wasn’t home yet so there was no one to moan to or at least be tortured by with indecent tickling.

I guess she had a good night. You know those dancers - once they get the kick, they’re kicking until dawn.

Even Oftenbark was weary of the idea, preferring to lazily chomp on a squeak toy that looked kinda like my Uncle Dan’s face after he was badly sunburnt last New Years day.

So what was I to do? Well, I showered, ate toast, invented a new facial expression and decided to make a weapon out of alfoil and coat hangers.

And that’s when he returned, my Boogie Man, my Jack the Ripper, my nightmare, my slasher, my killer in a mask.


Him: Hey!

Me: Keith!?

Him: Do I know you?

I couldn’t believe it. It was Keith. He was obviously still dressed in his Ed Gein costume from the previous night’s party.

Me: What you doing here?

Him: Need to piss.

I shook my head trying to block out this all encompassing image as Keith waddled drunkenly toward the back of the flat.

Elsa walked in shortly after.

Me: What’s Keith doing here?

Elsa: He gave me a lift home.

Me: He’s drunk.

Elsa: I don’t think so.

We then heard vomiting.

I turned and looked at Elsa as she shrugged and collapsed on the couch. She tried to turn on the TV to lull her away from the boozy night.

Me: It’s broken.

Elsa: Oh.

More vomiting was heard from the toilet.

Me: So Keith was at the party?

Elsa: I know.

Me: Why?

Elsa: We have mutual friends.

This seemed implausible as Keith finally emerged from the toilet.

Him: I wouldn’t go in there for a bit.

He said as he plonked himself on the couch between us.

Me: So, Keith. I see you went to the party as Ed Gein. I really love the hick bib and brace and leatherface mask.

Keith looked at me, bewildered.

Him: Who’s Ed Gein?

I couldn’t be bothered responding - here I was again with this immortal extra sent to taunt and torture me forever.

Him: Hey do you mind if I sleep here today?

Keith finally said after what seemed like the longest ten seconds of my life. I looked at Elsa – who was moments away from sleeping.

Me: What?

Him: I’m wiped.

Me: So?

Him: Do you have one of those allergenic pillows?

Me: No.

Him: I might snore then.

Me: You can’t stay here.

Him: Why?

Me: Because you frighten me.

Him: Really?

Me: You’re always going to be in my life, aren’t you?

Him: I don’t know.

Me: You’ll always be after me?

Him: Only if you steal my wallet.

Me: I can’t kill you can I?

Him: No.

Me: I’ll never be able to kill you?

Him: No!!

Me: Even if I stab you with this fake alfoil sword, you’ll come back from the dead time and time again.

Him: I might just go, okay.

Me: But you’ll be back.

Keith started to back off out of the lounge room, nervously.

I watched him go, never taking his eyes off me until he reached the door. And there I was again, alone and comfortable with Elsa sleeping next to me. And though the TV was shot and it was a day later than I hoped, I realised I had finally got what I wished for. I had gotten my horror film. I had gotten my boogy-man.

His name was Keith.

Him: Hey, mind if I borrow twenty bucks. I’m nearly out of petrol.

Said Keith as he made one final appearance in my life for that day.

Me: My God, I’m in the sequel already.

Him: So no to the twenty bucks?

Me: Burn in hell.

Keith shrugged and left. His smell still lingered from the bathroom, his torture was complete and I was eternally going to be his last girl.

Please help me.

Dom xx

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: Dom Borax
Sent: Sunday July 15th July 1999, 2:51 AM
Subject: Had an adventure

Wow Dom, I have to tell what happened to me today at work…there I was in the this large office in the Guide Dogs for the Blind building in Wharf Street…each cubicle was filled with canvassers guilt tripping strangers into buying junk… “You can see. They can’t. Buy a scented candle…”

Anyway…it was about 3:00 in the afternoon…I had my torn page of the telephone directory in front of me…I had a ‘W’ page and was systematically working my way through, scratching off each name with each rejection…

It had not been a good day…I had only sold a set of barbeque tools…and three calendars of posed Guide Dogs re-enacting scenes from famous films…you know…like…

--two guide dogs standing on the bow of the Titanic, looking toward their future…

--A Guide Dog, gumping it up in special man’s clothes, sitting on a park bench with a box of chocolates in front of him…

--A Guide dog poking his head through the axe splintered bathroom door like Jack Nicholson in The Shining…

Okay I made that last one up…but…

For some reason this day had been really hard…it was driving me crazy and I had become truly defeated and insecure because of the barrage of rejections…

I mean, I know it isn’t personal…canvassing is annoying and most people hate to be bothered with unsolicited calls…I do after all…I know what it’s like…

…but sometimes…on those grey days…it gets to you…

I mean…when over one hundred people…for a brief second…hate you …what’s a girl to think?

So it was with this lump of loss that I cautiously rang BC Williams in Paddington…

As he picked up, I knew he was going to cut me off in seconds and onward I’d go into this severing hell of continuing low self esteem…

So – with no energy and a pitchless tambre…I started with the sanctioned and mandatory introduction constructed by some Guide Dog Bureaucrat…

I knew it by heart now…

“Hello, Mr Williams? My name is Stacey and I’m from the Guide Dogs for the Blind. How are you this afternoon?”

Now at this point I usually hear the click of the phone hanging up or a multitude of replies based around a common and vulgar goodbye theme…

But this time, I got a different answer…

“I’m good Stacey. How are you?”

I couldn’t believe it…someone was being nice…so I quickly put down the hovering pencil that was close to scratching his name out of the telephone directory and replied…

“I’m good…thanks so much for asking…no one ever asks…usually they hang up…”

“Well that’s not right.” He says…

“No it’s not, Mr Williams…” I reply.

“Call me Bill.” He says. “So how can I help you this afternoon, Stacey?”

“Well, Bill…I’m trying to raise money for the Guide Dogs. It’s for training. Would you be interested in making a blind person’s life a little easier?”

“Of course I would,” says Bill, “What would you like me to buy?”

“Well you can make a small offering and buy a set of beautiful, specially designed tea towels. You get three for thirty dollars and they’re really tasteful…I have some in my own kitchen.”

“But will thirty dollars really make a difference?”

“Every bit helps, Bill.”

“What’s your most expensive item?” He asks.

“Well we have this cotton underlay from Jason that keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer.”

“That sounds good. How much is that?”

“Three hundred and fifty dollars.”


“I know it’s a lot of money.”

“I’ll buy two.”


“Okay make it three.”

I couldn’t believe my luck…I quickly got out of pad and starting taking his details before he changed his mind…I got his full name, credit card number…everything…and in one short call I had made well over my daily quota…

After I finished gathering the information, I prepared to say my final thanks when Bill said…

“So has that made your day a better one?”

I replied that it had and launched into my final thanks.

“That’s good. I am so glad to have done something decent on my last day. Thank you, Stacey.”

And he hung up…no goodbye…he just hung up…and I was left with the declaration that this was his last day…what did he mean…? Last day for what…? Last day of the holidays…? Last day of smoking…? Last day of life?

My God, was BC Williams of Paddington trying to kill himself?

Was this his call for help?

Am I meant to help him? Is this what this day’s about?

I quickly rustled through his details and got his address…I handed in my sales dockets to the manager and checked out…

I didn’t have much money…just enough for a taxi…I jumped into the taxi and anxiously pleaded to the driver to make it quick…

Soon after I arrived at BC Williams house in Paddington…it was a nice house…a renovated Queenslander decked out in federation colours with a well kept wrap around veranda…the Garden was decent too…a green thumb with a lovely sense if symmetry had obviously beavered away here …

I slowly moved through the garden and approached the front door...but as I reached it…I thought; am I crazy for doing this…? It is a little obsessive…what if it was nothing…? What if it was innocent and now this sad sack from Guide Dogs was about to invade a stranger’s life…I should leave…I should leave now before it gets truly mad…

I started to back off…

…but as I did I thought… if he is trying to kill himself…I might be able to help him and if I weigh it up…I’m willing to be viewed as a stalker on the off chance that this man was preparing to truly slip away…

So I knocked on the door…I waited…I could hear the soft slap of loafers as they padded down the wooden hallway…they neared the front door…I took a breath…the door opened…

“Bill?” I asked.

Bill stood in the doorway of the home. He was a man in his early forties…

…he was little portly.

…his clothes where neat and perfect.

…his hair was shining in the dust infused afternoon sun that echoed through the hallway from the rear living room window…

…his face was kind and recently shaved with two small patches of stumble below the chin.

…his nose was strong…roman strong…

… and his eyes were cloudy…the colour had gone completely…

He was blind.

“Yes.” He said.

“I’m Stacey.” Bills eyes shut a little trying to place the name, “From the Guide Dogs.” He said ”Yes, Stacey, of course! How lovely to meet you. Are you here to sell me dog this time?”

Bill’s eyes opened. The gossamer sheen lingered.

“No.” I said a little nervously trying not to look at his milky eyes.

“Are you here with my underlays? That was quick.”

I started to feel awkward. He didn’t seem suicidal. He seemed normal, happy even. What was I doing here!?

“I’m not here with the underlays.”

“Do you want more money? If it’ll make your day easier, I’m happy to buy a couple of tea towels too.”

“No, I don’t want more money. I just wanted to ask; are you okay?”

“Well I’m fine. Thank you for asking. But you didn’t have to come all this way to ask. You have my number.”

At this point I heard a woman’s voice calling from the back of the house.

“Bill, make sure you have your passport.”

A woman, also in her early forties emerged into the hallway…slimmer than Bill…she was also perfectly groomed with just the right amount of design in her fashion…

“Darling…this is Stacey from the Guide Dogs for the Blind…she popped by to ask if I was okay. Stacey this is my wife, Katherine.”

I started to feel awkward as Bill’s wife approached me.

“That’s kind of you. I didn’t realise Guide Dogs had such great customer service.” She said.

Bill put his arm around Katherine and smiled genuinely at me.

“Well to answer your question, Stacey. I am fine. I’m a little sad. You probably picked that up on the phone didn’t you?”

“I did.” I replied. “Why are you sad?”

“It’s my last day in Brisbane.” Bill said.

“He’s going to Berlin.” Katherine clarified.

“Work. And a new life.”

“He loves Brisbane.”

“Love and hate it.”

“And you’re sad because you won’t be together for a few months, right.” Said Katherine as her eyes peered over her glasses, wryly challenging.

“Of course, darling.” said Bill playfully.

Katherine hit him on the shoulder with the affection of a wife and true friend.

Bill laughed.

“So why aren’t you going with him?” I asked Katherine, starting to feel a rush of embarrassment.

“We just sold the house and I’m waiting for settlement. Then I have to finish up with my job. Get the kids out of school. Fix up the Storage. Wait patiently for those woollen underlays to be posted.” Katherine said, again looking over her glasses at Bill as he stared ahead.

“Ah, but those woollen underlays will come in handy for the Berlin winter. They really keep you warm in winter don’t they, Stacey?” asked Bill.

“Yes they do. They do.”

We talked for another five minutes…all very polite…eventually I quietly excused myself with a lie…

“Well I should get back to work.”

Bill and Katherine nodded. They thanked me for my concern and waved me goodbye as I walked out of their property and back onto the bustling gentrified streets of inner city Paddington.

And as I passed the large Antique Centre…I started to cry…a sense of sadness welled over me unlike I’ve ever felt…was this my lot? Was this it? Did I truly have to manufacture drama out of other’s people’s happiness just to make myself feel alive…?

So I rang the guide dogs…quit my job…I can only take so much rejection…

Called Marcus…met him…dumped him…

I mean it’s only been two months and it’s already hard work…

I then rang my father…told him that he’s one of the worst fathers ever…

Then I rang my mother and told her I loved her…

Finally I came home…counted my money…worked out I needed just a little bit more for a one way ticket to Asia and started writing to you…

And now I feel happy…I really feel happy…


PS I wouldn’t mind living in Berlin too…one day. Would you like to live anywhere else?

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Sunday July 15th, 1999 11:31 AM
Subject: RE Had an adventure

Stacey, oh man, you have had an adventure. My story about Keith seems so lame in comparison.

Are you okay? Do you want to meet up? Do you need some friendly faces? Do you want to come over for dinner?

Oftenbark is worried.


PS Yes I would love to live in New York or Iceland. There’s just something really interesting about Iceland.

Maybe even LA.

Actually to tell the truth I’d really like to live in LA – live the dream, write like Faulkner in a writer’s villa in a deco studio. Then retire, a rich man to a house by a lake, knowing that my stories made a few people happy.

That would be nice, don’t you think?

You could even come if you want.

PPS I’m going to give you a ring to see if you’re okay.

PPPS Ignore pointless post script above.

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: Dom Borax
Sent: Monday July 16th July 1999, 23:29 PM
Subject: RE RE Had an adventure

Hi Dom, sorry I missed your messages yesterday…I had to deal with the fallout...

Marcus came over in the afternoon…he was in tears…I tried to get him to leave but he was a right old mess…he wanted to know what he did wrong and why I was being so blunt…I showed him the email I sent you…the story of Bill theblind kind woollen underlay customer… (as I’m calling it now)…so he could get a better sense of where my head was at…

He read it…he took his time…

when he finished I hoped that he’d see that my issue was beyond him…but instead he became jealous…

…he demanded to know why I was telling you the story before him…it seemed so personal…

I told him that I trusted you and that I know you’d understand…

This was the worst thing I could have told him…for I had ostensibly just told him that I didn’t trust him and he didn’t understand me…

Logically he was offended… (I actually feel bad for that one)

…he wanted to know how long I’d trusted you…how long you had understood my actions…

I told him that we kinda understood each other from the beginning…since we started emailing…

”Emailing… how long have you been emailing? How many emails?”

At this point I faltered…

“I want to read these emails!” He demanded.

“I’m not going to show you these emails.” I replied.

And as I was saying it…I realised how important these emails are to me...I would never share them with anyone else…they’re deeply personal…they’re the real me…

See… in real life…my emails are quite happy, generous, stupid even…I never tell people how I truly feel…I never share my insecurities…I’d never share my doubts…

“I want to read these emails. Now!” He demanded.

He started railing that I was being intellectually unfaithful and embarked on one of Marcus’ constructed and cruel monologues...

…but as he talked, I wasn’t listening…I was thinking of you…and how you’d seen me deeper than anyone…and though we’ve slipped occasionally…I considered checking into the Hilton hotel, running a bath and writing a list of my favourite things – placing you on top…


From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Tuesday July 17th, 1999 9:21 AM
Subject: RE RE RE Had an adventure

Hey Stacey, that was one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me. You are one of my favourite things too. And if things are still a little rough, the offer for a quiet dinner with loud company still stands.

I’d hate to think you’re lonely and feeling unloved.



From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: Dom Borax
Sent: Wednesday July 18th July 1999, 20:55 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE Had an adventure

Thank you, Dom…but I I’m not feeling unloved…I’m having great break up sex with Marcus…been going on a few days…



From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Thursday July 18th, 1999 9:01 AM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE Had an adventure

So are you guys back together?

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: Dom Borax
Sent: Thursday July 18th July 1999, 22:31 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE Had an adventure

I don’t think so…I don’t think I want it…but things are different…he’s been staying here and not reading before going to sleep…sex is better and he shuts up when I tell him to shut up…

I am a little confused.

How’s things with Elsa?

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Friday July 19th, 1999 8:51 AM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Had an adventure

Things are fine with Elsa. But we both hope that you’re looking after yourself. Of course we support you in whatever decision you make.


From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: Dom Borax
Sent: Friday July 19th July 1999, 21:05 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Had an adventure

Hang on a second… your email sounds final…I’m not making any decision here…I’m not thinking of returning to Marcus or leaving…indeed this seems quite pure…we’re just in this moment together…yes it’s intimate…but I have found that sex is the closest I get to being in the moment…and if I shut out the fantasy and just focus on the physical it’s perfect…

I know Marcus isn’t quite in the moment…but I don’t care…he’s only a few beats behind or ahead…and we’re not fighting and I’m in control…

So to have you mention that I need to make a choice about being with him or leaving him indefinitely is really insulting…

And patronising…

I mean, come on, Dom…where do you get off? You’ll support whatever decision I make?

You sound like this councillor my mother made me see when I was fifteen…she wouldn’t take a position either…instead playing both sides in a crude attempt to make it seem that she truly understood…

…but she didn’t…she didn’t understand either position…but fuck me if she was going to reveal that…no…she had to stay that one professional step ahead of me because it made her feel better…

I still see her sometimes in the Library…and she pretends to not know me…

I’m going now before I get really angry…

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Saturday July 20th, 1999 10:21 AM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Had an adventure

Stacey, okay not sure what’s going on here but I feel I need to state; nay to stress that at no time did I understand your position (or understand why I used the word nay).

But seriously, I never pretended to understand nor did I secretly believe I did understand and was playing it down thus being patronising.

See that would be shitty and I am not a shitty person. No fucking way.

I suggest what you should do is believe that I truly didn’t understand – just like that great Elliot Smith song.

“You once talked to me about love
And you painted pictures of a Never-Never Land
And I could've gone to that place
But I didn't understand. I didn’t understand”

Because it’s true; I didn’t understand either. Really. Really. Really.

(And boy do I love that song)

Finally my offering of hope in previous emails was because I trusted you did understand.

I trusted you’d make the right decision for yourself.

I trusted you.

Anyway I apologise if I offended you. It was ne’er my intention (as is never using the word ne’er again)


From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: Dom Borax
Sent: Monday July 22nd July 1999, 20:21 PM
Subject: Elliot Smith

I love Elliot Smith.


PS and apologising in case you offended me is not an apology even it wasn’t your intention…it’s a safety response…no rue…and a slight, I reckon…putting it back on me…it’s like when people say ‘I’m sorry, but…’ the but usually implies that you should have never been offended in the first place or that…it actually might be your fault all along…

“I’m sorry…but you’re a liar…’

If you know what I mean…

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Tuesday July 21st 1999 8:41 AM
Subject: RE Elliot Smith

Now I really don’t understand. I don’t think I was being safe. My apology was genuine. I don’t think I play it safe at all. Look at how I’ve been with you.

I was the one, waving the flag high above me head, remember.

I was the one that emailed you first - back in April, remember.

In was the one that poured his drink over your head, remember.

You must have seen it.

I know you’re not blind.

Or is there something else going on here?

Fucking Hell, Stacey!!

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: Dom Borax
Sent: Monday July 22nd July 1999, 22:21 PM
Subject: Perhaps…

Fuck, Jesus Dom…I don’t know is there something else going on here? If there is I’ll support you in whatever it is…and if this email offends you, I’m sorry…but…

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Tuesday July 23rd 1999 1:08 AM
Subject: RE Perhaps…

I’m going to bed now as I’m too sleepy to come up with a cogent argument.

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: Dom Borax
Sent: Tuesday July 23rd 1999, 1:12 AM
Subject: RE RE Perhaps…

…you’re a coward…don’t go to bed…

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Tuesday July 23rd 1999 1:15 AM
Subject: RE RE RE Perhaps…

Okay couldn’t sleep – and fuck you! I’m not a coward. Jesus I’m not Marcus.

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: Dom Borax
Sent: Tuesday July 23rd 1999, 1:23 AM
Subject: RE RE RE RE Perhaps…

And there we have it…we have heard the truth…at last…

“I’m not a coward. I am not Marcus.”

See you do have a side. You think Marcus is a coward. Why didn’t you say that?

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Tuesday July 23rd 1999 1:43 AM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE Perhaps…

Okay you want the truth – don’t place your anger about Marcus on me--

I mean I’m up for carrying your burden but when I do, acknowledge it when it happens, alright?

And don’t the fuck take it out on me.

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: Dom Borax
Sent: Tuesday July 23rd 1999, 1:50 AM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE Perhaps…

Okay okay okay…maybe I am taking it out on you…but I am pissed off…and that’s shitty…sorry…I’m an idiot…but I’m angry…I don’t know where to place it…

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Tuesday July 23rd 1999 1:54 AM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Perhaps…

So why such anger…?

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: Dom Borax
Sent: Tuesday July 23rd 1999, 2:02 AM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Perhaps…

Because I didn’t believe you…I thought there was something else going on…there always is when that safe non committal ‘adult’ double speak comes into play…

…most of the time it means the person ultimately doesn’t care…or isn’t listening…but I knew you did…so there had to be something else…

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Tuesday July 23rd 1999 2:05 AM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Perhaps…

But I don’t know what that is.

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: Dom Borax
Sent: Tuesday July 23rd 1999, 2:12 AM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Perhaps…

Stop being so safe, Dom….there is something...

there is something you’re not telling me…

…I think it has to do with Marcus…or I think it has to do with me and Marcus…

I know you have an opinion…about whether I should stay with him or not…but you’re not telling me…

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Tuesday July 23rd 1999 2:21 AM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Perhaps…

Yes, I have a strong opinion about Marcus.

Yes, I think you should leave him.

Yes, I think you should be with me instead.

Is that what you want to hear?

Happy now?


PS Betcha didn’t see that one coming did you?

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: Dom Borax
Sent: Tuesday July 23rd 1999, 2:34 AM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Perhaps…


From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Tuesday July 23rd 1999 2:35 AM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Perhaps…

Yeah. Oh.

So here it is. Here’s the truth. This is what I’ve been bottling up for months.

And please stop reading now. I am about to open up my chest and let it all out.

It’ll be easier to write if I know you’re not reading.

So please stop reading now!
















Okay, I’ve tricked myself into believing you’ve stopped reading and I’m just writing to myself.

So here it is.

I do like you.

I like you very much.

We connected – bantering about collectives and silly dog names.

And the first night we went out was lovely.

I couldn’t stop thinking about you. I had that hollow cup feeling, you know?

I was fourteen again. I’d write your name all over the place even with my finger in the air, in dirt with a stick. One evening I bought some sparklers and wrote your name in the night time sky.

I even made you a mix tape too. How shameless.

Here was the track list:

1: Am I wrong – Love Spit love

2: Thirteen – Big Star

3: You’ve lost that Lovin’ feeling – The Human League

4: This is the day – The The.

5: Melt with You – Modern English

6: Let’s Ride – Roger Nichols and his Small Circle of Friends

7: The Night I heard Caruso Sing – Everything but the Girl

8: Unguarded Moment – The Church

9: Gossip – My Friend the Chocolate Cake

10: Ghosts – Japan

11: Margot’s Waltz – Lloyd Cole

12: Don’t Think Twice it’s alright – Bob Dylan

13: If I could talk - Lemonheads

14: That’s Entertainment – The Jam

15: Ouija Board – Morrissey

16: Ship Song – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

17: Glory Box - Portishead

18: Hard Times – Baby Huey

But I never gave it to you. I think I was embarrassed. I mean it’s such a clichéd thing to do.

I tried to write you a poem too; something a little funny, quirky and childish. But it was mainly crass – so sorry for even attempting.

But then Marcus happened (and that’s cool) and you liked him (again – cool) and I fucked up (not cool) and knocked that stupid drink over (really not cool).

I know I did it because I was emotionally all over the place. And you owed me nothing. I was an idiot - plain and simple.

But I still thought of you. I tried not to.

I dreamt of you. I saw your face on strangers in the street.

You were everywhere; on the radio, in the newspaper, on the television. Your face was plastered twenty feet high on billboards. Your image was posted on the side of buses selling a great romantic movie that was coming soon.

I tried to make it stop. I really did. I’d close my eyes. I tried to sleep. But you were still there.

I was crushed.

And do you remember that rave (‘Herpes and something or other ball’ a few months back). You asked me if I turned up because of you.

I lied.

I believe I went on some verbal rant about how amazing the night was and how it was coincidence I was there.

But the truth is I did go out that night because you were there.

I even tried to tell you how I felt.

I recall the moment; a smooth mix of Biftec was playing. You were dancing with Marcus and I said,

‘Leave him. Run away with me.’

But the music was so loud you nodded and didn’t hear me.

And when the morning came and I saw you with Marcus, I suddenly realised that I was a cuckoo; foolish and sinful.

And it wasn’t just guilt.

It was the romantic Gods that told me.

You did look good together.

You smelt good together.

Your children would be healthy.

That’s what the Gods told me.

I admit I cried a little that night.

And in the morning, Elsa came home with that Keith guy. Remember him? Very handsome and very dull. They went straight into her room.

And I was alone (I have a small bear for these moments – had it since I was one week old)

So I decided to stop. I hit my chest hard and decided to stop.

The following morning, I woke groggy – coming down. I met Keith in the Kitchen (good name for a band) and love, sex and the whole pot suddenly seemed a little unfair.

So when Keith was gone I drew pictures of knobs with Elsa.

The next morning we woke in the same bed.

And though I still occasionally thought of you as I kissed her, I knew this was maybe a cure.

I focused on Elsa and tried to forget about you. And I enjoyed it. I really did.

For a week or so.

But you emailed again and it was ever so tempting to go back. I tried not to. I tried not to email you so obsessively.

If you recall, I wrote curt, short replies.

And I spent my time with Elsa.

But soon I was back; falling for you again. And all those feelings of teenage pain returned too.

But it was getting familiar. I liked it.

And when we went to your birthday dinner party and I met some of your new friends, I felt comfortable. I felt that I could sit with you, as yours, and fit right in.

But I was with Elsa and she’s so sweet.

And there you were too, at the head of the table preparing to flash your breasts in the female toilets.

Things were now very complicated.

I remember holding Elsa’s hand under the table and gently stroking her knee as some kind of guilt compensation.

I couldn’t even look Marcus in the face. I felt he knew and when he left so abruptly, part of me felt it was because of me. He was upset at me. Deep down I knew this was madness, but I couldn’t help think that he was returning home and preparing some kind of home made bomb with my address on it.

And all the while my hand remained on Elsa’s knee.

The following day when you emailed and discussed your awful night, I felt so buoyed that you considered me safe to discuss such woe.

And then Oftenbark started writing. That was liberating. I could say some of the things I couldn’t directly.

And I felt you could too.

It was an affair of sorts.

I even put it out there. I don’t know if you recall but Oftenbark suggested that we’d make a great couple.

You correctly saw through this ruse and shut it down.

And I understand.

But for a few hours, I hated you a little.

I wanted you to confess, that you had feelings for me too.

But you didn’t. And that’s cool.

So I stopped writing as Oftenbark and tried to return to Elsa.

But you kept coming. You invited me over for breakfast. You even invited Elsa. I said she was asleep. She wasn’t. I wanted to be alone with you.

I spent so long in the bathroom before coming. I deliberated about what clothes to wear. I thought about bringing you the mix CD.

I giddily arrived. I was so happy to see you.

But as soon as I stood in Marcus’s apartment, I truly realised that you were with him.

Not me. I was so close to acting foolishly.

And this feeling of jealousy and disempowerment brought back that moment with my ex and Russell.

And I hated myself then. I felt sorry for myself and I hated myself.

I even told you the story about Russell, so you’d feel sorry for me too, I think.

And I think you did. We plotted ways to kill him. I loved that game.

And for a moment I convinced myself that this was the best outcome. We’d be secretly intimate in our writing and publicly polite everywhere else.

You’d be with Marcus.

I’d be with Elsa.

And we’d shag with emails.

We’d have something with each other that we never would share with them.

We had secrets. We had fears. We had cruelty. We had fun.

I was going to survive.

Thank God, I was going to survive.

And then you broke up with Marcus.

(not quite sure how to write a musical dramatic chord progression to punctuate the moment – maybe something like Dum-dada-da-DAAAAA!)

So my plan didn’t work.

You see, for me to survive I needed you to have Marcus. I needed you to have the real relationship so we could have the secret one.

So you’re right, I was being safe in my responses to you. I was being a councellor. But if I didn’t, this is what I’d write:

“Dear Stacey, don’t be with Marcus. Be with me. He’s an idiot. I am too. But I know it. He doesn’t.

And for the record you shouldn’t have break up sex with him. He’s a fuckwit and you’re being foolish and perhaps a little cruel.

Besides he’s still controlling it and if you think differently – you’re deluded.

Finally – and here's the big one, if you actually want to go back with Marcus well that’s fine and good. But if you do, please stop writing to me.

I don’t think I can take it anymore.


PS So there it is. Complete honesty.

God I hope you haven’t read this.

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Tuesday, July 23rd, 1999 4:01AM

Dom…so sorry I didn’t take you advice and read the whole email…I’m quite overwhelmed….and need to speak to you in person, really soon…but, man… I also don’t want to leave you hanging…you put it out there…and I need to as well…

So…in simple terms…you’ve made me feel like a teenager again and I’ve made you a fictional mix tape too. Coz when you fancy someone you always give a mix tape, don’t you?

Anyway - here’s the listings:

1: Gloria – Patti Smith

2: Candy Says – Velvet Underground

3: Sick and Tired – The Cardigans

4: I didn’t Understand – Elliot Smith

5: Oh well, okay – Elliot Smith

6: Waterloo Sunset – The Kinks

7: Song of the Siren – This Mortal Coil

8: Golden Slumbers – Claudine Longet

9: Day is Done – Nick Drake

10: Witchita Lineman – Glenn Campbell and Michelle Shocked

11: Pearly Dew Drops – Cocteau Twins

12: Wie ein Stern – Frank Schobel

13: Sometimes Always – Hope Sandoval and Jesus and Mary Chain

14: Hong Kong Garden - Siouxsie and the Banshees

15: Cattle and Cane – Go Betweens

16: Sharkey’s Day – Laurie Anderson

17: Date with a Vampire Girl tonight – Screaming Tribesmen

18: On the Radio – Donna Summer

So there you have it. I hope you get the meaning.

Ringing you this evening.



PS Also please reply to this hotmail address. I think it would better.

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Wednesday, July 24th, 1999 11:31 AM
Subject: Last night’s call

It was so so so good talking last night…it was a long call…but good to get it out in the open…how are you feeling today...? I feel quite excited…a little nervous too…and a little evil…but good evil… I can’t wait to see you…

God…we are so going to hell…

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Wednesday July 24th, 1999 13:21 PM
Subject: RE Last night’s call

As long as we go to hell together - I don’t care.

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Wednesday, July 24th, 1999 15:52 PM
Subject: RE RE Last night’s call

I miss you…I need to speak to you again…can I ring…? I just would like to hear your voice…

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Wednesday July 24th, 1999 18:35 PM
Subject: RE RE RE Last night’s call

I’m home now, if you want to ring. I want to hear you voice too – especially if you put on some kind of exotic accent and call me a real man.

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Wednesday, July 24th, 1999 23:12 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE Last night’s call

Dom, should we really be doing this?


PS You are a real man, amigo.

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Thursday July 25th, 1999 8:17 AM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE Last night’s call

Stacey, as a real man, I bang my fists on the table for emphasis and yell at the flies

“I know we should be doing this!”


PS and as a softer man, I tighten my lips in thought, cast my eyes downward toward an open copy of something written by Marylyn Robinson and say in a near whisper

“Why don’t we turn up and just see what happens.’

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Thursday, July 25th, 1999 11:18 AM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE Last night’s call

Dom…I know what’s going to happen…we’re going to fuck each other’s brains out…aren’t we?

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Thursday July 25th, 1999 13:11 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Last night’s call

J I’ve booked the room. See you at 7:00, Friday.


From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Friday, July 26th, 1999 18:12 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Last night’s call

I got here early…went across the road to this internet café…I feel I need to write to you before seeing you…it feels familiar and though I have nothing really to say…there’s something right about it…

Perhaps we should take computers into the room and sit on the bed and write to each other…I’m kinda being serious…email foreplay…me breathing warm air on my blind carbon copy tab as you fiddle with your attachments…

Of course neither of us is going to lug desktops into a hotel…but perhaps we should just speak in blocked sentences or…I don’t know…I’m a little nervous…I’m raving…I told you I have nothing to say…so…

How are you?

How was I?


PS God, I can’t believe I’m sending this email.

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Friday July 26th, 1999 18:22 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Last night’s call

I think I’m sitting in the same internet café as you. I’m sure I just saw you.

I’m just going to peer over the monitors:

Yes, that’s you.

I can’t believe it.

Are you emailing me as I email you? How funny.

I’m checking my email.

(A few minutes later)

Okay you are emailing me.

If it helps I feel the same way. I feel nervous and little guilty.

Elsa thinks I’m out with the lads.

I am such a liar.

I wonder if you’ve told Marcus anything.

Indeed do you need to tell Marcus anything?



I shouldn’t be talking about them.

I am so excited about seeing you. I just watched you cross the road and move into the hotel. You looked around the foyer.

You’re back outside now; having a cigarette.

You’re trying to look busy and you are so beautiful.

Maybe you’re in the moment.

I hope so.

I can’t stand it any longer.

See you in a second.

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Saturday, June 27th, 1999 13:42 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Last night’s call

You are such a good kisser.

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Saturday July 27th, 1999 17:31 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Last night’s call

You are such a good kisser and I love your neck.

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Sunday, July 28th, 1999 2:31 AM
Subject: Again?

You want to do it again? My neck is waiting.

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Sunday July 28th, 1999 10:21 AM
Subject: RE Again?

Oh yes. Let me work out a time.

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Sunday July 28th, 1999 11:11 AM
Subject: RE RE Again?

I’m getting impatient.

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Sunday July 28th, 1999 13:21 PM
Subject: RE RE RE Again?

I need to make it look innocent.

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Sunday July 28th, 1999 16:01 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE Again?

It’s far from innocent.

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Sunday July 28th, 1999 19:33 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE Again?

Are you being filthy? Or are you being moral?

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Sunday July 28th, 1999 22:22 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE Again?


From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Monday July 29th, 1999 9:16 AM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Again?

Now I really need to see you too. I can’t stop thinking about it.

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Monday July 29th, 1999 11:41 AM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Again?

Want to come to my place…? You’ve never been here have you? I can be a little messy…sorry…in advance…

And I should warn you…it’s small…really small…but it has a bed…and the beauty of living alone is we won’t be disturbed…

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Monday July 29th, 1999 14:01 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Again?

I could duck by after work?

And I can’t wait to see your place by the way. Is it as romantic and troubled as I hope it is?

What’s your address?

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Monday July 29th, 1999 14:07 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Again?

15/371 Brunswick Street.

I’ll be here at 5:30…I might even be domestic for you…spruce up the romance and clean up the trouble…

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Monday July 29th, 1999 15:27 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Again?

Please don’t clean up the trouble. I’d hate to get a false impression of your home.

And I don’t think I can wait to 5:30. Make it 4:30. I’ll get out of work - feign a headache.

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Monday July 29th, 1999 15:55 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Again?l

Cool. As long as your headache is gone by the time you get here.

PS Trouble is still intact by the way, polished but intact.

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Monday July 29th, 1999 15:59 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE Again?l

Headache will be gone by the time I get there. I promise. See you in half and hour.

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Monday July 29th, 1999 16:11 PM

Too long…

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Monday July 29th, 1999 23:01 PM
Subject: Close shave

Okay that was close. Did you know Marcus was coming over?

I did feel a little awkward having dinner with both you. And I didn’t know he was such a good cook. I mean what that man can do with a chicken!

Is he still there? I felt he wanted to stay the night.

The overnight bag was a give away.


PS I love your apartment by the way. It’s so minimal - small but perfect. Everything is needed. Everything is placed. Hadn’t heard of Hundertwasser before, but his paintings are really something.

And I love how you consciously display pointless items – Monkey with Fez salt and pepper shakers next to that great tight ball of collected chewing gum alfoil paper. It gives it value. I love that.

And I love your books. So many books. I love books.

PPS And I thought it was really hot how your foot rested on mine under the dinner table as we ate ice cream by the way.

PPS Thanks for the lift home. I’ve developed a bruise on my thigh from your hand brake. I touch it and it’s painful. Good pain though, really good pain.

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Tuesday July 30th, 1999 2:06 AM

Dom, Marcus is still here…I just quickly snuck out of my bedroom…said I was going to get a glass of water…passed the computer…read your email and wanted to say I thought it was hot too when we…

…hang on…he’s getting up…write more later…

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Tuesday July 30th, 1999 7:57 AM

Okay…Marcus has gone to Uni…that was close…I hit the send button on the last email and it didn’t send straight away…hotmail froze and I could hear him getting closer and closer…

I couldn’t close it down…that little hour glass kept spinning…

He was now calling my name…I didn’t answer for a couple of seconds…then the hour glass disappeared and I quickly sent the email…

I then answered him and minimized the hotmail…

He wanted to know what I was doing…

I told the two truths and I told two lies…

Said I was emailing you – truth

Responding to your thank you email for dinner – lie.

I said you specifically thanked Marcus – lie

And said he was a good cook – truth.

Anyway he bought it…we went back to bed…snuggled…and I thought of you…sorry…

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Tuesday July 30th, 1999 11:26 AM
Subject: RE Close shave

That’s quite unnerving and a little exciting. Kinda like going back to a restaurant after getting a bad does of food poisoning because you really love their duck.

But you seem okay now; yeah?

Elsa was a little suspicious when I got home too. She was put out that she wasn’t invited to dinner. I stressed that it was impromptu. She stressed I could have called her.

I fudged it by saying it could’ve been awkward considering the status of your – whatever it is with Marcus - because another couple might have only reminded them of the good times.

Oftenbark rolled his eyes at that one.

So did Elsa.

She thought I simply didn’t want her around; she felt she didn’t fit in and she admitted that it’s hard to keep up with the banter sometimes.

She then had a bit of a melt down. She feels she’s not intellectually up to the group and they laugh behind their backs at her.

Now I know this it not true. But man, I felt guilty. Cause in a way you and I are laughing behind Elsa’s back.

I came so close to telling her about us. But Oftenbark barked at a car back firing in the street and the moment was lost and I returned to my role as Captain Sympathy to deal with a fast approaching War Ship called the HMS Self Dread; canons loaded, taking aim but missing. Just.

(Okay - went off on a lame metaphor there – sorry – back to literal. Message to self: If I’m going to be poetic be certain I have the text)

Back to Elsa:

Feeling guilty, I took action against Elsa’s worry. I suggested we have a party. Our place; on the weekend – and we can invite everyone - her friends, my friends; everyone.

I can’t believe I suggested it.

So do you and Marcus want to come over to our place on the weekend?

(Of course I’d really like to see you sooner)


PS And I have to ask, and I hate myself for asking it, but did you – you know – you know – with Marcus?

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Tuesday July 30th, 1999 17:21 PM
Subject: RE RE Close Shave?

Do you really want me to tell you I fucked Marcus that night? You’re a strange one, Dom Borax.


PS No I didn’t fuck Marcus. But did you fuck Elsa that night?

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Tuesday July 30th, 1999 17:27 PM
Subject: RE RE RE Close Shave?

PPS And Yes we’ll come to your party…but only if our feet can find a quite place to snog at some point.

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Tuesday July 30th, 1999 17:28 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE Close Shave?

PPPS And what you doing tomorrow? I can pick you up from the Uni bookshop, during your work lunch and we can shag in the car park…

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Tuesday July 30th, 1999 20:AM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE Close shave

Deal. I’ll be the lady of the night standing on the corner in ripped tights. I don’t come cheap.


PS And you’re not a cop are you? You have to tell the truth when asked or it’s entrapment. (I think that’s the word)

PPS Yes, Elsa and I did shag that night. Sorry.

From: Dom Borax
Sent: Tuesday July 30th, 1999 20:01 PM
Subject: Party Invitation. Dom and Elsa’s – Sat’ 7:30

Hello All, sorry about the global.

Elsa and I are having an impromptu party on Saturday night. It's more of a celebration for Elsa than me as she is a way better person than I am.

Please feel free to debate:

Anyay – the address: 4/15 Albert Street West End – 7:30.

It's a fancy dress party.

The theme: Come as yourself.

And in case you’re not sure who that is we’ll have some cocktails waiting for you on arrival to help.

Apart from that please bring your own bottle, bag of jellied fruits and a secret that you’re willing to share to a small group of people for social buoyancy reasons.

Of couuse the latter is optional but if you embrace the suggestion you will certainly elevate the discussion beyond shared entertainment and take it to a place of a communual gossip.

Coz aint that what it’s all about, folks?

A little chatter stops us fearing death, right!!??

See you then.



PS Not sure if I should have mentioned the word ‘death’ in an invite for a piss-up excuse for a party.

Please don’t let it get you down.

And in a weak attempt to rectify that odd detour in tone I offer this triviality from my own life for you to ponder, be amused, dismissed and distracted:

Sometimes I pretend to be blind to get attention.

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: Dom Borax
Sent: Tuesday July 30th, 1999 22:04 PM
Subject: RSVP

Hi dom…I’ll be there…I’ve also checked with Marcus…he’ll be there too… really looking forward to it…


PS If it helps you'll always be blind in my heart :)

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Tuesday July 30th, 1999 23:14 PM
Subject: bad

Okay so you got the proper email reply for the party, right…

Well here’s my private one:

We are so bad, Mr Borax

Really, really bad…

I can’t believe it…

I am shocked at my behaviour…

See, I never thought I’d be one of those people…those bad, shocking people…

And here’s the thing…

I’m liking it…

I am so liking it…loving it even

And I’m so scared that I’m liking it…you know…

And I feel oddly thrilled you slept with elsa too…that’s weird, right…I thought I’d get jealous…but now…right now…I feel…hot…

Maybe I’m a pervert or a slut…god…that’s it…I’m a big fat old slut…

I am one of those girls… a bit of musk, a short skirt and a flushed cheek…

Fuck, I want to shag you in public…

…miss you so much tonight…

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Tuesday July 30th, 1999 23:43 PM
Subject: RE bad

I miss you too, my big fat old slut.

What are you doing tomorrow? I’m working.

Boring day.

I‘ll be thinking of you as try to sell fellow students copies of Bronte or Cervantes.

That will help me survive.

Indeed I will take a paper plate from the University refectory and put it on my head; upside down.

I will spray paint my Nick Cave T-Shirt silver and sponge-stain it to look like armour.

I will then foster a sword from one of the wooden pickets that hold up the picture of Eron Broadhurst for Union President that have sprout from the earth with great fervour over the last week.

Then, by placing two ergonomic chairs from the back of the bookstore together and placing a some tourist tattle rug that my Day Manager insists on calling a piece of authentic Peruvian art over the top, I will crudely manufacture my nag, my Rocinante to carry me on my chivalrous adventures.

Once kitted out I will then attack those windmill leviathans on the Basketball courts and truly offer help to those that never want it.

I will be your Don Quixote, dear Dulcinea del Toboso. I will ride my nag into your romantic, horny palace. I will prove my worth by changing the world.

Or so I’ll ponder as a bash keys on the cash register, selling myriad copies of Dickens for Dummies while keeping my bone idle eye on the clock.



PS I’m not actually mad, by the way. It’s just - with you coming into my life - everything else has been made unbearable as comparison.

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Wednesday July 31st, 1999 22:21 PM
Subject: I’m actually feeling a little guilty

Sorry Dom, only just got your email...servers been down…been driving me crazy…I thought you might have emailed and I kept checking every five minutes…

Anyway back online now…

Well today was meant to be uneventful…was going to try and compose some music…that didn’t work…beginning to think that maybe the music thing isn’t for me…it didn’t help that my mother rang to tell me my father had been in contact about the blunt assessment I made of him a couple of weeks back…she thinks I should be more sensitive…but come on, he’s a terrible father…and really I should have nothing to do with him…

…it also really worries me that she always defends him…I mean he cheated on her…

Anyway this stuffed my whole creative spirit and any attempt to write lyrics always had the touch of Plath about it…here’s an example:

“Why do I scare you, Daddy?

I’m small and harmless

Why do you scream when you see my, Daddy?

People say I look just like you…”

So indulgent, it drives me crazy…

So I went for a walk…before I knew it, I was near the city…I thought about walking to the University to see you…didn’t even need you to see me…just wanted to see you…through the window would be fine…but as I got close to the edge of the city, near Roma Street…I saw Elsa…I think it was Elsa…she was in this car…in the passenger seat…talking to the driver…stopped at the traffic lights…we made eye contact in that brief moment and I saw something in her face…something like she knew…or I knew…or something secret…I know that seems vague…but that’s the best I can come up with…it was if we understood each other somehow in this brief moment…

…but as I said…it might not have been her…

Anyway this event made me think of you more…and suddenly some lyrics popped into my head…

“In the ocean there’s this buoy

I cling to him in timeless sight

He has a little red light on top of his head

That helps me find him in the blackest night”

Got a melody for it too…I think it’s a little chick-folk…but perhaps with some grunty guitar behind it it could be an ironic pop song…

Fuck…what do I know? It’s probably shit…

Are you at the Uni bookstore tomorrow? I can pretend to be a customer if you like and you can show me something by Henry James while we chat about our infidelity…

I think I’m feeling a little guilty or something…

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Thursday August 1st, 1999 10:01 AM
Subject: RE I’m actually feeling a little guilty

Stacey, Yes I’m at the bookstore today. Just leaving now. So come on by. Anytime. But don’t just look in the window. It’s warmer inside.

And if you do, maybe we could sneak off so I can get a matching bruise on my other thigh. The lack of symmetry is killing me.


From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Thursday August 1st, 1999 13:34PM
Subject: RE RE I’m actually feel a little guilty

And now I don’t feel guilty at all...what’s wrong with me…it was so good to see you today…

god sex is good for guilt…

it’s funny isn’t it…we’re being dishonest in every way…but honest to each other…it’s like we’ve crossed the line and once it’s crossed we can do whatever we want…

So with this in mind - do you want to go out and kill a homeless person?

Hey I was also thinking…I reckon I went to your bookstore a year ago. I’m certain of it. Were you working there a year ago? I think you served me (as you do now – wink-wink)

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Thursday August 1st, 1999 18:21 PM
Subject: RE RE RE I’m actually feel a little guilty

Yeah, I was working in the bookstore a year ago. I started working there just after I moved out of home. My father teed it up. He knew the owner from on-campus business and I guess he used his status as an Arts Academic to get me a gig.

(Because Arts Academics truly rule the world, don’t you know – that’s why we still have musicals)

Sorry not quite sure why I’m telling you this – but yes I was working there a year ago. But I don’t think I served you. I am certain I would have remembered and I am certain we would have started this dance then.

Imagine that!? If we’d have begun one year ago where would we be now? Where will we be in a year?

Man, I rambling – had too much coffee today. Also I’m typing without glasses and making too many errors. I’m getting so sick of pressing that back space key.

I’m stopping now because I don’t make any sense.



From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Friday August 2nd, 1999 2:01 AM
Subject: RE RE RE RE I’m actually feel a little guilty

Dom did I just read ‘love dom’ at the end of your last email…? I know I shouldn’t point it out…but I can’t help myself…it makes me wonder if I’ll write ‘love stacey’ at the end of this email…I guess you’ll just have to wait and see…

Yes, I am certain that I came into your bookstore a year ago…and I reckon you served me…I have the vaguest memory…actually when we first met at Crisps’ party back in April, I did have a strong feeling that we’d met before…you did seem familiar…you did seem strangely comfortable too…I know I was probably a little cool…but part of me was just trying to work out why I strangely felt there was already a connection between us…

… maybe I’m just trying to justify that I was simply attracted to you…a guy with glasses gets me everytime…

Anyway…for the moment, I’m going to believe we met in the bookstore…I’m going to imagine that you served me…I’m going to imagine that I wanted to read something meaningful and you guided me toward Franz Kafka…I’m going to imagine that you picked up his collected works (volume one) and told me that this could change my life…

I’m going to imagine taking the book off you and our fingers touching briefly over the spine…

I going to imagine, paying for it and walking out the shop, glancing one final time over my shoulder at you…

I’m going to imagine seeing you at the counter…perched on a stool…reading something surprising…something like CS Lewis…

I’m going to imagine that you looked up just as I was leaving…

I’m going to imagine you smiled and I knew that we would meet again…

I’m going to imagine that when I returned home I read Metamorphosis in one sitting and cried for hours…

I’m going to imagine that I put the book back in my book shelf and seeing a cockroach scuttle across the floor…and for the first time in my life I considered giving such an gross creature a name…

I’m going to imagine I then spoke to the cockroach as it hunted for crumbs…”Be safe, Gregor,” I imagine I said, “Avoid the fruit, avoid the family, avoid the world and know that you are safe here with me.”

Anyway there it is…my imagination on the page…I wonder what it says about me…

And what are you doing tonight? Can you sneak by in the wee small hours? I know that’s so much to ask…

Love (there we have it)


From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Friday August 2nd, 1999 13:04 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE I actually feel a little guilty

Stacey, you made me dance. Yep, I danced without music around the study. I picked Oftenbark up by his paws and led him around the desk until he gave me a look of sheer embarrassment.

But I don't care.

I can still dance by myself.

I can tap.

See, you made me Fred Astaire as I tapped to the corner of the room, up the walls and onto the ceiling.

I tapped around the light fittings and the cobwebs.

Skip ball change and shuffle onto buffalo, finally returning to desk, the chair and the computer – exhausted, delighted and thirsty but not done. Just needing a moment of pause, an interval, if you will, to catch my breath and take it all in.

Which is always dangerous, for in that afterglow the devil of reflection takes a seat beside you and gloats; not in the glory of your hoofing but in fog of reality.

Devil: You can’t dance! She can dance. She does it for a job. But you cannot dance. You are inflexible, clumsy and uncoordinated.

Me: I don’t need to dance professionally.

Devil: But you do need to pick a partner.

Me: Just one?

Devil: Just one.

Me: Can’t I dance in a group? Some dances are made for groups.

Devil: Really?

Me: Really.

Devil: Name this dance.

Me: Let me think.

Devil: See you are wrong.

Me: I’m thinking.

Devil: Stalling more like. See, I am right. I am always right. In your face, Dom. Right in your face--

Me: The Conga line.

I then pick up a chewed-top-pen from my accidental collection I thrust the tip into his red tail.

He screams and he’s gone.

I am alone again wishing to see you more than ever.

But I can’t sneak out tonight, darling.

I have to go to Elsa’s parent’s house. It’s their wedding anniversary and the family are meeting in their country home for a catered dinner and booze up.

And we have to stay the night.

God I don’t want to. I know I’ll be thinking of you the whole time. I’ll be thinking I want to come home.



PS Yes they have a country home, can you believe it. It’s amazing; a large wooden palace with wrap around verandas inland and up the North Coast. They’ve even given it a name. I can’t remember it but it’s Gaelic for home, I think.

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Friday August 2nd, 1999 15:32 PM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE I actually feel a little guilty

Cool, I understand…I hate it…but I understand…I’ll see you tomorrow night though….your place…party…it’ll be intersesting



PS And I really hope there’s a least one moment we can sneak away and steal a kiss…just one moment…

PPS Gaelic for home is abhaile I looked it up.

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Saturday August 3rd, 1999 1:25 AM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE I actually feel a little guilty

Stacey, I’ve managed to sneak away from the party and steal into Elsa’s father’s office. They’re all singing and Elsa is dancing with her second cousin who has wonky eyes that keep trying to look at each other.

Good times.

Anyway, in case someone approaches and I quickly have to sign off and send this email, I’ll say a quick goodbe here.

So see you tomorrow at the party and if not a kiss I will certaintly slowly brush past you a couple of times during the night.

Love Dom

PS and the place is called abhaile – two thumbs up for you, Ms researcher.

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Saturday August 3rd, 1999 1:45 AM
Subject: RE RE RE RE RE RE I actually feel a little guilty

Okay so there’s my goodbye in case there’s email interruptus.

God I don’t want to be here. I mean they’re nice people and all. But there’s always a moment around 11:00 pm when everyone’s a bit pissed and the argument happens.

It usually starts over something political. Elsa’s parents are conservative and their children aren’t. I’ve always thought this was weird. They come from a working class background – and were certainly leftward in their youth.

But when they came to Australia, they abandoned their beliefs and voted conservatively. I’m not sure why. Is it because Australia offers new hope and with new hope comes a new form of government? Is it because they feel betrayed by the homeworld system and see a happier life with lazy thinking and less worry? Is it simply about money?

I don’t know. This always confuses me. I simply don’t understand the moment you abandon social justice for better tax breaks. Seems all fucked up to me.

(As you can tell I rarely enter the Family political debate and feel the brief need to expel it with the above two paragraphs)

Anyway, it was 10:30 and Elsa’s father was already drunk. I could sense him gearing up for the debate. And sure enough, bang on 11:00 it started.

But tonight’s debate wasn’t about politics. It was about Elsa. It was about me.

See, Elsa’s folks had discovered that we were seeing each other and they didn’t like it. They didn’t approve of my nationality or my faith, not even my politics.

They admitted they liked me and enjoyed my company. They thought I was smartish (her mother’s words, not mine) but I had a sense of entitlement.

Elsa flipped out. She yelled that it was her life and she could be with whomever she wanted.

Her father fought back – yes he agreed in theory but he would much prefer it to be a good Irish lad.

The brother’s jumped in at this point. They defended me and Elsa. They thought we were the perfect couple; so desperately well suited.

Her mother jumped back in. She again offered a back handed compliment to me, saying that I did feel like part of the family but as a friend, not blood.

Elsa wailed at this one – threatening to never see her family again.

And me, I stood in the middle as this barrage of bombs exploded around me.

I have to admit, I felt a little impervious to the violence; I felt strangely invincible for as much as the shrapnel flew through the air, nothing hit me. I didn’t bleed, I didn’t fall over; I just stood there watching the war like a ghost.

Of course in Elsa’s true family tradition, come midnight, the argument was over and everyone was embracing. Her parents had accepted me into their flock and were deeply apologetic, confessing that they needed to yell it out so they could find happiness. I thanked them for their honesty and thought of you. And then he said:

Elsa’s Father: So when are you going to ask her to marry you, Dom?

I didn’t know what to say and I have to admit, I mumbled a truly weak reply.

Me: Soon.

Stacey, I can’t believe I said it. I could’ve been honest. I should’ve been honest; but all I said was ‘soon.’

Anyway, I’ve said my goodbye already. So I’ll just sign off. Miss you, love.

See you tomorrow at the party.

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Sunday August 4th, 1999 13:21 PM
Subject: That was weird

Dom, are you okay? God I hope you’re okay…do you want me to ring? I think I should ring…but you might need time…if I haven’t heard in an hour…I’m ringing…

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Sunday August 4th, 1999 14:21 PM
Subject: bothering you

Okay it’s an hour exactly…I picked up the phone and thought of ringing and stopped myself…so I’m emailing…I’ll try and wait another hour…

PS I hope you’ve stopped bleeding…

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Sunday August 4th, 1999 15:01 PM
Subject: Stalking now

Okay I couldn’t wait an hour… and I’m still not ringing…please email me back and let me know you’re okay…I just feel awful ringing if Elsa’s still there…man...I feel awful if Crisps (dickhead) is there too

...I can’t handle this…I so want to be there for you…I feel useless...

...Marcus is ringing but I’m not picking up…I know he just wants to gossip about it…arsehole…I mean he’s not an arsehole…he doesn’t know all the details…but still and all…what if I came over…? Okay I can’t come over…that’s crazy…email me…please…

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Sunday August 4th, 1999 20:31PM
Subject: I’m going mad

It’s a few hours now and I still haven’t heard…I did try to give you a call…but it just rang out…where are you? Maybe you’ve moved out instead…god if you’ve moved out…how will I contact you…maybe you’re under a bus…or hit by a train…or beaten up by wayward men…or Elsa and Crisps have cut you into little pieces pickled you, stuck you in larder…never to eat you…looking at regifting you…

oh God…maybe you’ve done a runner…maybe you’re in Prison…maybe you’ve killed Crisps …maybe you’re not real…and I’ve been emailing myself over the last few months…

I’ve gone mad!!!

Okay Stacey, breath, breath…this isn’t about you…it’s about Dom…okay, refocusing now…looking back toward you… and I’m going to read and wait for you…I hope you’re okay…

Maybe you’re at the Hitlon…

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Sunday August 4th, 1999 21:11 PM
Subject: Not at the Hitlon

Okay so you’re not at the Hitlon…felt like an idiot ringing there…but you never know…I’d hate you to spend a night alone in a King Sized bed…god, I’m a whore…what’s wrong with me…I’m sure that’s the last thing you’re thinking of…anyway…I feel so hopeless…I’ll wait a little longer…

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Monday August 5th, 1999 00:14 AM
Subject: A new day?

Okay I’ve just finished Dracula…not sure why I chose to finish that book tonight…as now I’m a little worried and think that the Count has taken you…maybe I should have finished Confedercy of Dunces instead…been trying to finish it for six months…but Bram Stoker won out in the end…

It’s funny how I do that…I never read one book at a time…I’m always reading five or six books at a time…it’s not that I don’t like them…I just want some kind of variety or something…it’s like channel surfing with lit’…and there’s always one that emerges anyway…and Dracula was that tonight…have you read it? It’s really good…I was so caught up in the other retellings of the story that I had no idea the book was so good…no one’s really made a decent film out of it…and if folk aren’t reading the book because they think they know the story already…think again, folk…you’re wrong…pick it up today and read it immediately….

Now I’m raving…can’t sleep at the best of times…and with you…out there…after Elsa said that stuff at the party…so publicly…with your friend…I keep hearing her words when she announced it – I can’t get it out of my head;

“At least he doesn’t make me feel like an idiot”

And then you told her… and she hit you… and it all feels like an afternoon American soap opera…

At least Marcus doesn’t know…

…should I tell him…?

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Monday August 5th, 1999 03:11 AM
Subject: it’s so quiet

Don’t you love the wee small hours? It’s so quiet like you could be the last person left on earth…I’d love to be the last person left on earth…or at least the last gaggle of folk…I think that’s why I like the lighthouse doctor who episode so much…it’s like they’re the last people left on earth…actually not really…but as a kid…I fantasised about living on a lighthouse…just me… some supplies… a dog... and a healthy dose of mist…

I think I’m a little tired…

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Monday August 5th, 1999 06:59 AM
Subject: dawn

The sun is rising…haven’t slept…gone a little mad and eaten all the salty snacks in the house…I tried to sleep but couldn’t…I wanted to be here in case you called…I hope you’re okay…I’m okay…I’m wearing felt-soft terry towling clothes…toasty warm with dinosaur slippers…sorry they where a gift from my mother…but they do growl when I walk and as much as it shouldn’t - I’m still amused by them…

I also drove around for a few hours last night…I love driving at night…no one around…just me…I have no direction, I turn when I want to turn and stop when I want to stop…I drove past your house…but the lights were off…I think I saw Crisps car…anyway I ended up by the river…I always end up by the river…north where they still have that old wooden crossing-barge-like-thing…not sure what they call them…anyway ended up there…cranked up the stereo and listened to the News….god I love singing along to the news…

“Everybody now… hundreds dead in a Chinese Mud slide… He-di-hee...hi-di-ha...”

Okay that’s just poor taste…the garbage trucks are now in the street….men with fat voices yelling over the loud mechanics…clash of tin and metal and the stink of rotten food and lavender bin liners…okay now I am truly raving…I might put my head down…

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Monday August 5th, 1999 7:21AM
Subject: Maybe you’re at work…

Maybe you’ll be at work (kinda just wrote that twice – once in the subject and now in message line itself…fuck, Stacey…why are you rationalising and telling him everything…whatever…just thought you might be at work…you start at 9:00, hey? Okay, I’m going to try you at work…

I wonder if Oftenbark knows where you are…

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: oftenbark < >
Sent: Monday August 5th, 1999 07:37 AM
Subject: Where’s Dom?

Oftenbark, do you know where Dom is? Give him a lick for me if you see him...

(Sorry that sounds wrong)

I’m going to sleep now…good boy…good girl…good us…

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Monday August 5th, 1999 7:59AM
Subject: Maybe you’re at work…

Okay, I think I’ve worked it out…you must be plotting revenge…I’d be plotting revenge…after what she said…what they did…I mean, I know we’re not that much better…but we didn’t rub their faces in it…but…

God is that better…? Are we better? Are we the same? I think we’re the same…maybe sneakier…maybe we’re worse…it’s all so complicated…

I don’t know…

Actually I do know…

I know telling everyone at the party that she was seeing your best friend is wrong… I know she was drunk…but still and all…why would you stand there and tell you that was she cheating…and then to hit you…man those dancers can choreograph a great beating…I don’t know if you saw Crisps face (stupid name by and by) but he was ashen, wan and washen…

I mean what a way to clean out a party…

...and just to be clear…this wasn’t your fault…you didn’t make her do it…you didn’t turn her to him…you didn’t make her hit you…I know we are the same…but she didn’t know…I wonder if she knows now? I wonder if you’ve told her…I wouldn’t blame you…I wouldn’t--

I think I heard you at the front door?

Is that you…I think I hear oftenbark…

Sending this anyway…

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Monday August 5th, 1999 11:31 AM
Subject: You look beautiful when you sleep

Stacey, I didn’t want to wake you. You looked so beautiful when you sleep. You look beautiful when you’re awake too. But something about the peaceful glow and the soft breathing is truly magnificent.

It was so nice to sleep next to you – even if it was for only an hour.

You’re warm and soft. I never want to let you go. I think from this day on I will always feel lost in the sheets without you as my guide.

Anyway, I’ve left some fresh tea in the pot and there’s fruit salad in the fridge.

And I know I shouldn’t have but I fixed the washer on the tap in your bathroom too. That dripping must have driven you crazy. I also changed a couple of light bulbs and fixed your kitchen drawer. Handy, aren’t I?

Hey and sorry for waking you earlier; eight o’clock in the morning is no time for visitors. But I thought you’d be worried and wanted to let you know as soon as possible.

And don’t worry; I’ll ring you tomorrow when it’s all sorted out.

And I might not be able to email for a few days with computer in boxes and all. So please don’t get too stressed.

Also, thanks for looking after Oftenbark for a few days. I know he feels comfortable with you and Elsa never liked him really.

Anyway, I’ll see and speak to you later, sleeping doormouse.


Dom the homeless.

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Monday August 5th, 1999 20:21PM
Subject: couldn’t help myself… answered anyway

I know that you won’t read this for a few days…but force of habit …it was so good to talk tonight…you seem to be taking it really well…I was a little worried… god, I miss you…

Anyway…forgot to mention in the call that Oftenbark and I had a good walk this evening… he’s good on the lead…though protective…anyway we were walking down Brunswick Street…passed that massive dodgy video store you love…too much porn’ right?

Well just past it was this new club that’s opened up near that Roxy stretch opposite the brothels... It’s called something like Zaggers or Ziggers or Zippers…began with an z…so there I was with your dog and this guy from the club was passing out free drink coupons…he insisted I take one…free drinks for the next half hour, he hollered…I motioned I had a dog…surely a dog isn’t allowed inside…he shook his head…and gave me a free drink coupon for Oftenbark too…

Hell, I thought…let’s do this…me and Ofentbark into a club…couple of free drinks…maybe a wee dance and home…

So we climbed the stairs…the walls where purple, the fittings new, the brass handrails shiney… the carpet still unsullied by late night purging…and the pulsing music getting louder and louder as we ascended this techno heaven…

I was a little concerned that Ofentbark might not like the bashing bass…but his tail wagged more with each riser…

We entered the club…It had an old skool feel to it…banks (banks might be an exaggeration – more like a trio) of lights swirled in time with the rhythm in the dark and empty space…

Yes it was empty…only me and Ofentbark…this guy behind the bar and this thin speed-freak DJ...Oftenbark and I sauntered over to the bar…I yelled…two free drinks! The bar-guy blinked; holding up one finger…I shook my head…held up two and passed the coupons over…he scrutinized them…and though I couldn’t hear, I’m sure Oftenbark picked up a sigh of annoyance…

“What do you want?” He eventually asked.

“Vodka for me. Water for the dog.” I replied.

He shrugged once more and handed over the drinks…

Shortly after Ofentbark and I found a high rise table with elevated stools near the dance floor…I patted one of the stools and Oftenbark managed to perch himself brilliantly…I pushed the glass of water forward him…he cocked his head…I sipped on my vodka…he got the idea and lapped at the chilled liquid that was sweating in front of his nose…

We sat there for about five minutes…some old music was playing…maybe Dead or Alive…something awful…Oftenbark quite liked it I think as he was tapping his back paws in time with the music…

…what the hell have you been musically conditioning him on…?

Anyway…it was driving my crazy…I slammed down the vodka in one go…told Oftenbark to stay and moved to the DJ…

…I don’t think he was aware there was actually folk in the club… for when I tapped his kingdom; he jumped like a prince and nearly scratched his records…

“Please play something else!” I asked.

He looked at me…his gesture saying ‘what’ while his eyes said ‘save me…’

“Underworld…do you have underworld…?”

He understood…immediately changed the music…breaking the cardinal rule of clubbing by introducing silence for a beat into this sad, sad place…

No one seemed to care…the bar-guy’s tense shoulders noticeably relaxed…

And then it came on:

“Drive boy, dog boy

Dirty Numb angel boy...”

Oftenbark perked up. I perked up. “I love this song!”

We picked our handbags up and placed them in the middle of the dance floor and proceeded to bliss out, dancing around them to the extended mix of this classic piece…

…it was magic, Dom…real magic…

The song came to the end…we’d worked up a sweat…I bought Oftenbark a water and we descended down the steps to the purgatory of Fortitiude Valley.

What a night…nearly perfect save for your absence…

Anyway I hope this story might cheer you up when you plug in your computer in your new home…welcome there too…


me and your dog.

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Monday August 17th, 1999 20:31 PM
Subject: My new home

Okay here I am back in my parent’s house. It feels weird to be back. I’ve been out of home a couple of years and I’m fighting this feeling of failure as I sit at my old desk, looking at old views and smelling the residue of old dinners.

My mum was sweet about the whole thing however. She bought some comfort food – Custard Cream biscuits and bacon for some sandwiches tomorrow morning. There were clean sheets on my old bed and a Goblin Teasmaid set up so I can wake with a hot cuppa. Now there’s luxury.

My dad was sweet too. He suggested we watch some old films like we used to do when I was younger. So ‘Von Ryan’s Express’ is teed up in the machine and ready to go when I finish this email. If we’re really lucky we might even get a chance to watch‘Where Eagles Dare’ too.

To their credit, my parents have been discreet. They haven’t talked about Elsa or Crisps at all. I appreciate that.

They did ask about Oftenbark and I told them he was staying with a friend.

They hoped that maybe he could stay with them. They love Oftenbark, see.

And I imagine it’d be easier for you too.

So would it be okay if we picked him up tomorrow?

I understand he gets under your skin but you’ve done so much already and I’d hate your Real Estate to find out about him and jeopordise your home.

Now you might have noticed I called you ‘friend’ a few paragraphs up. As in ‘he was staying with a friend’—

Let me explain—

I contemplated telling them about us. But I don’t think they’d understand and though I feel a little cheap about accepting their sympathy it is nice to have the odd parental ‘there-there’.

And to be honest I know they’d judge us. They are quite old parents – now sixty. They had me late in their lives. I am their only kid. And they’re quite conservative – you know - standard bearers of the synthetic fabrics, pinapple, ham and benzadrine suburban set.

But I also know they are kind and protective and if we reveal ourselves at the right time they will embrace you. I promise.

So please don’t take it personally that I’m keeping our connection clandestine still.

You’ll get rewards in the end. Mum will introduce you to the convenience of tuppaware: So handy for little blue pills. And Dad will seduce you into some kind of rotary club while never taking off his hat. Except indoors.

So with this in mind, will it be okay if we pretend to ‘just be friends’ when we pick Oftenbark up?

I know I will find it difficult because the first thing I will want to do is kiss you. It’s been a week since I last saw you and all I want is to touch your cheek or the soft lightly freckled section between your shoulder blades. I so miss that part of you.

Anyway call me or email me back if it’s cool to pop ‘round tomorrow.

And when this is all sorted out here, I’ll fudge an allnighter excuse and defect to your apartment with a stolen toothbrush.

Miss you


PS Forgot to answer your question you asked on the phone. Yes I did end up seeing Elsa yesterday. It was awkward. She was apologetic about everything. Even us. Though she did say she still hit me if the moment happened again.

What she said she would change was how she revealed her affair with Crisps and understands that our shared friends will more than likely side with me.

I did ask her how long it’d been going on with him. She told me it had been on and off for over a year. But since your birthday they’d been seeing more of each other.

That stung, strangely. She asked about us and for some odd reason I said the same; since your birthday party.

Not sure why.

I guess I’ll never see them again. I guess that’s what getting older is all about; a training ground for losing people. They all fall away in the end, I suspect.

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Monday August 17th, 1999 22:11 PM
Subject: RE My new home

Hi Dom…that’s fine please do pop around tomorrow…maybe later in the day would be decent…after 1:00?

And yes…happy to pretend to be ‘just friends’ as long as by ‘just friends’ you mean I can grab your arse the moment I see you…

See you tomorrow, dear…

PS: I’ll never fall away...I’m a lifer, baby...

From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Tuesday August 18th, 1999 17:25 PM
Subject: RE RE My new home

Hi Stacey, just got home from a couple of quiet drinks with Dad at the Johnsonian club.

It’s a strange establishment named after Samuel Johnson, the guy that compiled the dictionary.

Anyway this place is small – on the third storey of an unassuming building near the top end of town – near Guide Dogs for the Blind would you believe.

I’ll have to take you there.

You’ll love it, I think.

It has a small smell of pomposity, but the food is good and it has a bar. It also has pictures of Samuel Johnson all the over the walls with some framed pages of early copies of his book.

It’s also the haven for grammar Nazis and wordophiles (I’m sure there’s a real word for wordohiles but I’m going to be stubborn and anarchiac as an act of defiance against the grey dusted members of said club.)

Actually I’m painting a Public school-like boys club with pre warmed toilet seats and ready made school tie auto- asphyxiation cubicles.

It’s not like that at all. Well not quite.

It’s actually a Smokey tragic rumpus room with a second hand full size snooker table with worn green felt in the middle.

This table is the main attraction for my father. Well this and his delight in mingling well above his genetic class.

One of the things I do love about the club is I can cause a modicum of chaos with scuffed and holed Dunlop Vollies as I linger near the bar.

See, I do adore standing next to an affected pup who’s neatly shined, pleated and pressed; a lawyer in waiting already plotting an early stroke to get away from his wife who’s cream-like turned past her expiry date (or so he thinks).

While waiting, I consciously look down at his shoes, then mine. “Tassels instead of laces” I will ask provocatively before giving a small smile to ‘Leonard’ the man behind the bar; the man I generally speak to especially during Toastmasters.

Anyway, here I was at the club playing snooker with Dad. He’s mean with the cue, always has been.

I did not inherit his natural ability with all things pub-sport. He has and will always beat me. And to be honest I like it that way. It makes the world seem normal, familiar and right.

So there we were, father and son. He’s fifty points ahead, aiming for the pink. I’m waiting contemplating some sort of distractive tactic (soft squeal, gentle stumble, tell him I’m gay). He takes his shot. Holes it, and then looks at me.

Dad: So Stacey seems really nice.

He says. I’m delighted he’s brought your name up.

Dad: She really likes you.

He continues.

Dad: And you like her?

He asks.

I nod as I raise his points on the metal board six more places.

Dad: I think your mum will really like her.

He says as he wanders back to the snooker table and aims at a red ball hovering near the back left hand pocket.

I smile as I watch him take his shot. He holes it of course. He always does. He never misses.

See you Thursday



PS Also met a guy at the club who’s just come back from Los Angeles; working as a PA. He’s the son of one of Dad’s friends. Said I should go – check it out. Not sure. LA kinda scares me.

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Wednesday August 19th, 1999 23:51 PM
Subject: Your Dad is a legend

Hey Dom...i like your dad more than I like mine...isn’t that tragic...

Miss you...


From: Dom Borax
To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Thursday August 20th, 1999 9:21 AM
Subject: RE Your Dad is a legend

Yes that’s a little tragic. But in fairness, Da’ is a hard act to follow. He’s a Londoner; a true cockney – grew up during the war – he was there during the blitz too.

See he was shipped out like the other kids when the bombs started to fall. He went to the country with a small suitcase and a packet of toy soldiers.

But he didn’t last too long in the country. For come supper he was forced to put his soldiers away and eat his vegetables.

Now my father hated vegetables. He had avoided them all his life. But the country folk he was billeted with where stubborn too. And when he refused to eat his greens they forced it down his throat. And when that didn’t work they forced them into his ears.

Needless to say when he informed his mother of this madness she took him back to London quick smart electing the sporadic Luftwaffe bombing patterns over Yorkshire logic.

Back in London, my father settled in quickly. He started work as a Messenger Boy; traversing the rubble and broken frames of the houses.

Inded he tells a great story about delivering a box of Cigars to Winston Churchill.

Okay maybe not a great story as that’s about it.

But I like that he met him and got a good tip too by all accounts.

Another story he tells, takes place after a big delivery of chocolates and theatre tickets to the Piccadilly Escorts. He just finished his shift and met his girlfriend at the Lyons Corner Teahouse.

During a Knickerbocker glory they started discussing their future. Was marriage on the cards? Was my father going to be a delivery boy all his life? Are there such things are delivery men? What was my father going to do for National Service? Where were they both going to go a have a private late night cuddle?

After this debate, the two decided that perhaps a smog drenched, lamplight snog was in order, a quick and youthful fumble quietly hidden among the bombed out buildings.

So they snuck off, hand in hand to to the various pits of destruction.

Soon they discovered the perfect place. It was a bombed out block of houses in the East End. The brickwork was shattered like broken teeth and the brickdust of the past lingered around ghoulish talons of the begging homes that cast shadows onto the knobbled streets.

Pavements where shattered and deep holes of excavated bombs pock marked what was once the smooth and pre pubescent skin of a more peaceful childhood.

Indeed when I see it now, I am so deeply influended by photography, that the scape is vividly painted in black and white, still warped with contrast and layered in loss.

And in this image my father is hand in hand with his girl looking for a place to claim as a trysting room to kiss the war goodbye.

Soon they found it among the ghosts of homes; a lounge room with fire stained carpet and charred black chairs. They entered into the space cautiously and respectfully aware that not that long ago familes shared meagre suppers and talked football.

But as they were about to settle into a moment of woo they saw a man in the distance. He was moving cautiously and cat-like around. Perhaps cat-like is too strong as this man held a large picket-like sign; waving it for all to see. And cats can’t read and write, right?

Anyway, soon the man with the sign neared, so my father decided they needed a more private place; perhaps a place with at least a standing wall.

So they left the ashen room and moved further into the battlefield.

Soon they found another house with a back wall still standing. Again they tiptoed over what was once a kitchen with tin plates warped from the heat and collapsed lone metal kitchen sink, its taps functionless, pointless and nude without a water supply to partner with.

Here, my father took his girl in his arms. Her breath was still sweet from the Lyon’s treat. But as their lips touched they saw the man with the placard sign again.

He was nearer this time and still waving his wooden Standard with victorious fervour.

So they decided to find one more place; something perhaps a little more secret to taste and comfort each other.

Carefully they left the kitchen and strayed deeper into the crag.

And soon they found a crater deep enough to hold two babes.

It was a recent crater; igntited by an unexploded bomb and the fair and pungent flesh of Old England mud was still moist and weeping.

My father was the first to climb in. He said it was like entering the womb of the dead. The sound was muffled, ten feet down and the smell was damp like a wet dog.

He called up to his girl; that it was safe – not the Ritz but it’ll do.

After negotiatioing, he managed to carry her down. She was not hapy about this dirty pit but my father comforted her with his Messanger Boy arms; slim and scattered in hair.

Soon their lips touched. They hadn’t kissed that much and the warm affection was still Tesla coiled and truly electric.

But just as they were about to go for an intimate personal record, the Man with the sign suddenly plunged down from on high with Icarus burnt wings and his placard like a Blimp Sky Rudder flailing the air currents and failing.

Fortunately he missed both my father and his girl by inches and slumped onto the erasured brickwork. His sign flapped solidly on his chest, writing side up.

My father’s girl screamed. It echoed around us; deafening in its whirl and suffocating.

But soon she stopped and all that was left was the moaning of this messanger from Marathon – his feet bloody in his cheap shoes, his hair caked in red cement dust and his body creeping with the lividity of soaked London dirt.

My father cautiously went to him. He asked in a broken ease, if the Man was alright. The Man moaned once more, pointing at the sign as if they could be his last words. My father’s attention was drawn to it and took in the words neatly painted on black.

“Beware of the hole.”

It read.

My father then looked at the Girl who was now crouched by the side of the slumped puppet Mercury.

“Look.” He said.

He pointed at the sign that was now moving up and down with the Man’s breath. The girl took in the sign.

“Beware of the hole.”

She blinked a couple of times. “That’s really cruel.” She said.

My father nodded; aware that the laugh in him would surely be met with rightful contempt. “Let’s get him out.” He suggested.

And soon all three were safe and taken care of. Shortly after my father told me he split up with the girl not through choice but life just simply got in the way. He went overseas and she got pregnant to a guy two doors up.

But as my father tells that story, I can sense there is glee. No one died, he got to kiss the girl and irony gave him a lens of strength to always see misfortune as just another joke.

And this is why he is a great man. This is why I love him. And this is perhaps why you feel the same.

I miss you too


PS Ofenbark is looking out the window, hoping you might come by soon. Will you? You must.

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Thursday August 20th, 1999 2:24 AM
Subject: RE RE Your Dad is a legend

I will come your mum, huh?

And maybe we could dig a hole in your garden too...just to escape... I’ll bring the bucket if you bring the spade...

...and we can dig and dig until we’re free...I know it seems like hard work...but sometimes it’s good to get away… don’t you think?



From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: dom borax < >
Sent: Friday August 21st, 1999 2:24 AM
Subject: I can’t sleep’s’re asleep and and I need to talk to you...but I don’t want to wake this seems easier...or kinder...or maybe more sympathetic...not sure... anyway...tonight was lovely...your mum is just as charming as your are so lucky to have lovely parents...and they both cook...that’s so wonderful...seeing them together by the stove...both in aprons...his and hers...very funny...and they stir and chop and fold and’s adorable...and enviable..

Yes, I am so jealous...

And they’re so supportive...that must be amazing..,

I mean that...I truly mean that...I mean you know how it rolls with my folks...

Anyway, I don’t want to be one of those crying girls...just wanting to give context of why I need to talk to you...what I’ve been thinking about...

See your parents are supportive...they set the standard, you know...and I need to be supportive too...

Therefore I agree with have to go to Los Angeles...

See this is your time...this is your chance...the world deserves you...they’ll love you...I know...I know they’ll hold parades for you and embrace you (but not too tightly, as I’ll be watching)

It’s so exciting,’ve wanted this...LA...Fox...writing it up...I know it’s small PA pickings but it’ll’re too good...guys like you never slip through...guys like you always use their skills for good...guys like you can and do make a difference...

I will miss you of course...but it is an amazing opportunity...and I can visit or you’ll be back for Christmas and we can always write...we’re good at that...

Anyway...that’s it...getting sleepy now...and a little teary...I’m going to snuggle up to you...and enjoy this time...this pefect time...

Wake me when you read this... we’ll probably need to talk it through...

I love you so much


PS and Proud as punch.