The Big Issue : Edition 439
THE BIG ISSUE 16 -- 29 AUG 2013 15 "But I haven't done anything," the Travis whined. "I'm starving, might have noodles." “What about the fowers? And opening my mail? That’s a federal offence, opening someone else’s mail.” "You're the one that went on holiday." “I asked you to collect it, not open it.” “I didn’t open it,” said the Travis with indignation. “I haven’t had a shower yet. Aren’t you going to call the police?” “Can’t you just go?” “I don’t have anywhere else to go,” he said, fddling with the frame of his glasses. “I’m calling the police.” "Go ahead, I've done nothing wrong." “What about the fowers and the mail?” "I told you, it wasn't me." “Then who was it?” "I don't know. Maybe the neighbour, it looks like the kind of thing she'd do. While you were gone she tried to seduce me." My neighbour is 78 years old and the idea was preposterous. "Just go, okay. Just go," I said. "I'll return your rent." “Plus interest,” the fnancial wizard added. "No, no interest, just go." “Okay,” said the Travis, making no attempt to leave. “If the police come, I won’t be here. They’ll think you’re loopy, loopy, loopy loo.” "I know where you work, Travis,” I shouted. “The police will fnd you.” "Don't work there anymore." "They'll track you down." “What are you gonna do?” he asked, wobbling his head smugly. “Give them a description?” He laughed at that, a high-pitched little girl’s giggle. “I’ve got a friend who can’t eat gluten." "Give me the key," I shouted. “Can’t, I’ve lost it,” he replied, sounding like a petulant 10-year-old child. I told him that I knew he was lying. “All my furniture’s in there. You can’t keep my bed, where will I sleep?” I gave up trying to reason with the Travis. Frustrated and furious, I called Mrs Simms. “Hi, this is Melissa, I came to see you a while back? About Travises?” “Yes, Melissa?” "It's about the Travises..." “I thought it might be. You don’t think I’m crazy anymore, do you?” “No. I’ve got one living in my granny fat. He cut the heads off my fowers.” "That's a new one! But they do like being in the garden." “He opened my mail.” "Yes, they'll do that." “He says if I call the police, he won’t be here.” “He won’t. But he’ll keep coming back. Has he giggled yet?” she asked, her voice cracking a little. “Yes, why?” I started to sweat. "It's all over for you, I'm afraid, Melissa." Mrs Simms explained that the giggle was a sign of sexual maturity in a Travis. She said he'd self-fertilise within minutes. By nightfall my granny fat and garden would be full of Travises and I’d be a prisoner in my own home. By now I knew to trust Mrs Simms, but I still thought the police could help. She disagreed. Her cousin had tried to get a restraining order against his Travis neighbour on the basis of “constantly chatting”, “re-potting my hydrangeas into a too small pot and generally interfering with my garden” and “stepping out from behind a hedge on a regular basis with the intention of scaring me". The cousin had become a gibbering idiot and was now too scared to leave the house. "You can't let them win," she said, earnestly. "The future of the human race is at stake." I called the police. They sent two offcers to check the garden and granny fat. One of them was a Travis. I asked to speak to the female offcer alone. She complied. Her partner gave me a flthy look and returned to the car. After hearing my story, she checked the garden and granny fat. The Travises had scarpered and, of course, there was no furniture in the granny fat, and no evidence of occupancy. I showed her the lease. She looked at me strangely and asked if there was someone she could call for me. A family member? A friend? Perhaps I needed to see someone, she could recommend a counsellor? I gave her a description of my Travis and warned her about her partner. There will be no follow-up. THe TrAvISeS HAve infested the garden and the granny fat. I hear them chattering endlessly in non sequiturs. I know they'll come for me soon. One threw a cooked sausage through the window tonight. They need more space. There has been some scrabbling at the doors and windows. Soon they will break in and regale me with stories of their friends and bikes they have known. It's all over for me. The Travises have won and they're giggling. Keep an eye on your garden. Jude Bridge's SHORT STORIES HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED IN THE BIG ISSUE 2012 FICTION EDITION , STONED CROWS AND OTHER AUSTRALIAN ICONS, SAND BERLIN LITERARY JOURNAL AND DOT DOT DASH PERTH ARTS JOURNAL . SHE IS RETURNING TO STAND UP COMEDY WITH HER HOBBIT INSPIRED DUO, THE ADDITIVES.