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02 April 2024  •  Creative Writing

BEST IN FACULTY: Is it A Faux Pas To Order Foie Gras On The Plane?

By Ella Gruber (she/her)
BEST IN FACULTY: Is it A Faux Pas To Order Foie Gras On The Plane?

Ruby Raisin

When you asked me to watch your bag for a few moments, I agreed because good people watch the bags of strangers. But the odd part of your request is that you said bag and not baby. 

I didn’t assume the baby was yours because I’m not judgemental, nor did I assume it was fatherless for the same reasons. I called the baby Ruby when referring to it in conversation because the bag said so. It’s a quiet baby. You’re so lucky, I thought, because that’s what people think about quiet babies. 

I inspected Ruby further; I wanted to know more. Every now and again, it’d look back at me, but I never broke eye contact. I like to win. I brought Ruby out of its bag and onto my knee; the view is better from that angle. But it started to bubble at the mouth and scream. So back in the bag Ruby went, furled into a blanket. The baby wasn’t mine, and I didn’t want the attention of onlookers thinking I couldn’t parent if I couldn’t stop the screaming. Because I think I could. A dentist told me that once. It was a record-long root canal. 

Then I left with the bag and its contents. I am not a thief, the bag just suited my outfit far better than the stranger who had owned it before me. 

Hamish isn’t fun

Hamish is a fishmonger. Every day, Hamish catches the bus from the suburbs to the bay, and then from the bay to the suburbs. On some mornings, when Hamish leaves his nets at home by the front door while kissing his wife goodbye, it’s from the suburbs to the bay and back, and then from the suburbs to the bay again. The bus driver is familiar with Hamish, and they have a regular greeting; the nod. From time to time, words are even exchanged. 

But when Hamish forgot his bus pass and frisked his pockets while excusing that his wife must’ve taken it that morning, the bus driver urged that “something fishy was going on.” Hamish didn’t laugh or even smile. And he didn’t return that evening for the trip from the bay back to the suburbs for supper. Hamish now catches the train in retaliation. Hamish calls it a protest. 

The Trap

Some people have lost their shit. 

When we passed each other in the frozen foods section of the supermarket, my shopping trolley did scrape up against your shopping trolley, I'll admit it. I hadn’t realized you had leapt over to shove me up against the supermarket fridge until I was shoved up against the supermarket fridge. A retaliation to the scrape, I supposed. 

And only with my face pressed up against the fridge door glass did I realize that the price of peas had risen in the past week. Some people have lost their shit. 

Choose Magnificence 

Sullenface gets a haircut at our salon every six months or so. She goes here because her mum goes here and her mum's mum too (but the tradition ends there, the shop isn’t that old). A good haircut is hard to come by. That's not our slogan, but it is mine. 

Sullenface went for a fringe this time. Tough. Real tough. It’s a tricky cut, and the rubble of cry on her face made it known that she wasn’t a fan of the new do. She's good. Real good. Our policy is that if you hate it, you don’t pay. Not many people abuse it, but Sullenface is cheap. Cheap enough to take a lollipop from the jar when leaving the appointment, free haircut and all. 


I was disloyal to my Cosmo (the gas station attendant). He caught me and my contraband chips walking past his gas station some evening last week. I threw a wave. He didn’t return it. I took this hard and I don’t take things hard. Ever. But I had grown fond of our ritualized relationship. I buy, and he sells, and we gab a little. Usually, it was the minutiae of the day or the niceties of casual conversation, like remarking on the gas prices that week and Cosmo telling me to take care of myself. Perhaps he had thought I’d let myself go. Now I find that I’m scared to face my Cosmo at his gas station. I don’t do confrontations. And I was disloyal. 

I have let myself go. 

Not our rabbits. Dumped?

Alice was an accident. When people ask about it, we reassure them that it was a happy one. Like when you trip and fall into a gutter, but while you’re down there you find the missing handle of your new armoire (which was a steal) which must have fallen off when you carried it over that very same gutter on your way home the week prior. Or like when the waiter gives your vegan step-aunt cow’s milk in her cappuccino, but when you go to the counter to replace it, the hostess announces that you are the hundredth customer that ordered from the cafe that day, and gives you a sack full of jelly beans (vegan ones) as a reward. Or, it's sort of like when you finally submit to the fact that it's time for you to repent, but the very moment you go to confess, your guardian angel comes down to gift you eternal life for your good deeds. 

Any way you spin it, we welcomed Alice warmly. We parented her well. She died at a younger age than usual due to her early onset dementia, which caused her to forget to take a breath before putting her head under the water during bath time. The death hit us hard. 

We never knew we wanted rabbits till we tripped over one on our doorstep. This house welcomes happy accidents. Alice won't be the last of them.

Mum likes pink

The mum with the two girls (and sometimes the young young boy in the stroller) came into the shop today. This time, the mum was followed by the two girls only. 

One of the girls had a witch hat on and walked around casting spells on all the racks of clothes to change their colour. The clothes change colour. Every time. Without a doubt. The other girl was silent throughout, maybe mute. The mum promised them both ice cream afterwards, “if they were both quiet”, but this was really just directed at the witch. They (the 'they' in question is again just at the witch) were quieter after that. The mum knows her kids well and knows how to bribe them. Obviously. 

The mum rifled through the rack of tunics. We had yellow ones and pink ones (everyone says we should stock green, but we don't). “Mum likes yellow”, the witch told me. She was adamant. The other girl said the opposite; “Mum likes pink.” Not a mute. They went back and forth, and back and forth at this. I asked the mum her opinion, but she was blank-faced, like she didn't understand the question. The witch told me that she had already told me that it was yellow that Mum liked. 

I retreated from the clothing rack and went to the cash register with one yellow and one pink tunic to check out. I wrapped them both up in a bag but charged her only for one. Tunics are an all-week garment, so she'd get good use out of them, I convinced myself. 

I’m going down to watch the planes fly over the highway 

She had written this on a note that she had stuck on the fridge door. It's a sort of ritual that happens whenever she picks up the booze again. I’ve noticed. Someone once told me that I should be upset about it, but I’m never all that bothered. I like the time to myself. 

My bed’s unmade, and she can’t yell at me for it, because she isn’t here to yell at me for it. I will jump on it. It will get messier. I’ll rummage through the duvet and the blankets and sheets. It will get messier. I’ll chuck the pillows on and off, and on and off. And it will get messier. Then I’ll get bored and ready the bed for sleeping. 

Later in the night, she’ll roll into my bed, and push herself right up beside me, at an hour I’ve noticed that other people would call unreasonable. She got bored of her planes too. 


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