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'2 for 1' by David Farrell

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Available Sep 1 2020

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Well 2020 is upon us and I realised that I've had films piling up since we stopped doing the podcast. Some are obscure titles that I never got around to reviewing, but some are films I just never had time to watch. So I've set myself a challenge.

Watch 365 Films in 2020.

A couple of things. I'm not necessarily going to watch one a day, and 2020 is a leap year so I've also given myself an extra day in order to get to 365. I'm using the hashtag #365Films365Days (despite the leap year of it all!) and I'm tracking my progress with snap reviews on Instagram. That means as soon as I've finished the film I'm posting my thoughts and a rating out of ten. Here is a link to my Instagram if you're inclined to follow my progress throughout the year. Feel free to follow me. I'm going to have a real mix of films old and new (as you can see in the above screenshot). It should be fun. A 2020 retrospective and a very achievable resolution. I'm sure I'll lean on some of my old favourites throughout the year but I'll be endeavouring to chip away at the pile I've accumulated.

Feel free to recommend something in the comments. 

365 Films Challenge on Instagram

 

Portals: Part One

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Buy 'Portals: Part One' on Amazon

Hi all, 

Here is the opening chapter from my new E-book series 'Portals.' The first part in the trilogy is out now, with the second and third parts available in the new year. Enjoy!

Dave

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

Maree watched as the green line of light approached her face. From behind the glass she felt unable to move as it maintained its steady path. She flailed and pressed her palms against the invisible barrier. No sound had escaped Maree’s mouth. The rumbling electrical hum became louder as she shook from side to side and her hair flew in front of her face. Suddenly the beam was upon her, and it scanned painlessly from her left side to her right. As the light penetrated her eyes Maree froze and clenched them shut.

She sat up and gasped in the cool night air. Her dream of being trapped inside a photocopier had been so vivid that Maree instinctively looked around the room to double-check that she’d actually escaped it. Lying next to her was Maree’s husband Leon, who’d slept blissfully through her anxiety. She studied his stubbled face for a sign that he might be faking it, that he’d actually woken up, but he remained placid and unmoving. Maree sipped from a glass of water by her bedside table.  

4.27am

Was there any point going back to sleep? She wondered. Maree feared that if her mind found itself capable of dreaming that she would once again be tormented with a similar nightmare. But why was she dreaming about photocopiers? Visions of her workplace had never manifested themselves subconsciously before. Now that she was the sole breadwinner Maree decided that perhaps there was an unspoken pressure upon her. She was now fearful about losing her job. The idea of both her and Leon being unemployed would paint them as failures. They’d already lost their house, being forced to leave the property market almost as soon as they’d entered it. Now that they were living in her parent’s spare room one could argue that the damage had been done. Maree wished she felt less anxious about the future.

Leon had started snoring. His eyelids flickered slightly as he exhaled deeply. Maree wondered what he was dreaming about. He looked so peaceful. Maree’s mind was now racing, and she determined that sleep would be impossible. She crept out of the bed and into the en suite before turning on a light.

She examined her pale face in front of the mirror. There were bags forming underneath her green-brown eyes. Maree brushed out her messy brown hair and started to clean her teeth. Ever since she was a teenager she’d always had a strict oral hygiene regimen.  Maree brushed three times a day; once as soon as she woke up, again after a late breakfast as well as at the end of the night. It was an obsessive habit that Maree had formed after watching a video about tooth decay. She’d never forgotten the horrible imagery. One added benefit had been the complete elimination of morning breath. When they’d first started dating Leon had been amazed at how great her breath was first thing in the morning. These days their kisses were a lot less frequent.

Maree drove to work early that morning without disturbing her husband or her sleeping parents. She had no idea how late Leon had been up working on his novel the night before. She kept waiting to hear how it had progressed, or for an invitation to read some. Her husband slept in often, and the two were starting to live separate lives. Leon had stopped shaving and had taken to wearing sweatpants. He was becoming more and more antisocial. He didn’t like to leave their bedroom without Maree, making her feel like a go-between, couriering messages from her parents to Leon and back again. She knew why he didn’t want to face them. Leon still felt embarrassed. He had vowed to provide for her, a promise that he’d made to Maree on their wedding day, and now Leon was feeling worthless. She wasn’t sure how to proceed. Maree wanted her husband to find a job so they could move out again and salvage their relationship. Without employment she didn’t know how much longer they could stay in this living arrangement. Maree felt powerless and to distract herself she opted to blast the radio on her way to the office.

Being early had its advantages as Maree slid into the parking spot closest to the door. The office building was located in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, which had become a very trendy area. Maree loved the idea of living within walking distance to Carlton Gardens. On the nicer Melbourne days she liked to walk to the fountain and back, eating a homemade sandwich as she basked in the sunlight, and people-watched the locals. On rainy days eight hours in an office sometimes felt like ten.

She recognised her supervisor Lachlan’s car parked opposite her own. Maree wondered what unholy hour he’d arrived.

***

There was always something to photocopy at Channel Four, which may have been the inspiration for her recent nightmares. In her twenties Maree had worked in places where saving the environment meant something, and printing and copying was done sparingly. Here the photocopier was suffering from overuse. Maree was a part of a sales team that sold commercial television airtime to clients. She found it dull, as did most of the employees at Channel Four. Lachlan insisted on keeping physical files on everything, fearing either an audit or a cyber attack. It meant that Maree was out of her chair regularly. This workload had led her to bond with Marcus. With his blonde hair and easy smile, he was undoubtedly her work crush. His desk was conveniently located next to the printer, resulting in many flirtatious interactions and shared moments throughout her day. It felt like Maree was in one long conversation that they just paused from time to time, always picking it up again seamlessly. They had a rhythm that she found difficult to ignore.

‘Are you wearing two matching anklets?’ asked Marcus, indicating toward her feet, ‘or are those gold chains part of the top of your shoes?’

‘I’m wearing two anklets, but they don’t match,’ replied Maree.

‘Oh… that’s cool.’

‘You’re very observant, aren’t you?’ she said, wondering why he’d been staring at her feet with such interest.

‘Only when there’s someone around worth observing,’ Marcus responded, as he flashed Maree a trademark smile.

She’d discovered last year that they’d both previously kept the same breed of dog: a border collie. One thing in common had led to another and now she timed her walks to the kitchen to coincide with his. She liked being left alone with him. Maree watched as Marcus filled up a light blue drink bottle that was almost the same colour as his eyes.

‘Are you ready for my question of the day?’ asked Marcus, screwing on the lid of his bottle and giving his ear lobe a quick scratch. This had become the latest in a string of reasons for them to interact.

‘I don’t know, is it a good one? Would you say it’s the best question yet?’ asked Maree with a smile.

‘That’s like asking a father to choose his favourite child! I couldn’t possibly say if it’s the best,’ he stated, moving out of the way of the tap.

‘You don’t have any children.’

‘That I know of! But someday I’d love to have a family.’

Maree smiled and started to fill her own drink bottle. Only the lid appeared metal, while the body of the container featured a faux bamboo sticker.

‘You’d better get started soon. You’re not getting any younger,’ she said. Flirting with Marcus was so easy.

‘Noted,’ he said. ‘Now, which superpower would you rather have…’

‘Really? Superpowers?’ she asked, interrupting his line of questioning.

‘Hear me out! Would you rather be able to fly or turn invisible?’

Maree paused for a moment while she considered the options.

‘Oh gosh. Would I be able to carry another person when I’m flying around?’

‘No. You don’t have super strength! Just the ability to fly,’ replied Marcus.

‘So… if I go and fly away on a holiday I can’t bring anyone with me?’

‘You can… but they’d have to meet you there I guess.’

‘If I were invisible I’d probably see a lot of things I didn’t want to see,’ reasoned Maree.

‘There is always that risk.’

‘I don’t know. It’s like one is a way of escaping where you’re gone physically, you’ve flown away, and the other is like everyone thinks you’re gone but they just can’t see you,’ she said. ‘You’re still there but they don’t know it.’

‘I suppose so.’

‘Sometimes I feel like I’m invisible already,’ confessed Maree.

Marcus leaned in closer and Maree felt herself filling with nerves. Their drink bottles accidently clinked together. She stood her ground, allowing a rush of adrenaline to move through her.

‘I’d like to think I see you Maree,’ he said.

It was simple, but it was more complimentary than her husband Leon had been in weeks.

‘Thanks Marcus.’

***

The office was intentionally bland. The beaten-down employees were discouraged from bringing in personal items, which meant the only pops of personality were on their computer screens. This was why Maree loved Candice. Today she’d brightened the dull office environment with a rainbow-coloured shirt and leg warmers that she wore on her wrists. None of the other twenty employees had made an effort, and Maree noted that all of the men were wearing shirts she’d seen before. Candice couldn’t disappear in a crowd if she’d wanted to. Maree’s best friend was tall and blonde. In her spare time she dabbled in the world of modelling. Their mutual distain for their current careers had tightened the friendship, and Maree looked forward to being around Candice on days like today. The windows were inconveniently high, making them impossible to look out of while seated. The clicking of keyboards and the low rumble of air conditioning created the feeling of a tomb. Many of the sales team had been there for over a decade, waiting for something better or for the promise of a juicy redundancy. The management team knew this and so there existed a constant stalemate, each party hoping the other would give up first. Candice approached Maree’s desk and opened up a fashion magazine to reveal a familiar face.

‘Ugh. Looks like Monica went to Paris again. I hate her,’ said Candice.

‘Wow. She looks great,’ replied Maree. Monica and Candice had competed in the same modelling circles as amateurs, before the former went pro.

‘I’ve got to lose some weight so they take me seriously in time for fashion week.’

‘You look fine.’

‘Just fine?’ asked Candice.

‘Better than fine. You look hot,’ Maree responded reassuringly. She would’ve loved to look half as glamorous as Candice did on that Monday.

‘Not as hot as Monica.’ Candice was aggravated. Maree knew it must have been difficult to watch from the sidelines as someone else lived the life you wanted. 

‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.’

Candice shrugged and scooped up the magazine. She parked herself on the edge of Maree’s desk and continued to flip through the pages. Maree became aware of Marcus on the other side of the room. The two had always faced each other, and on this occasion Marcus was watching her, his blue eyes admiring Maree. She could tell he was staring but she didn’t mind. Maree smiled at him, and he smiled back. Candice nudged her, waking her from the daydream.

‘Someone catching your eye there, beholder?’ she said playfully.

‘Stop it!’

Maree hadn’t needed to tell Candice about her secret crush. She’d worked it out all by herself. Maree knew nothing could happen, but it didn’t stop her from wondering what it would be like to be with Marcus. She and Leon had gotten married in Las Vegas on a whim during their first year together. Now life was sucking all of the romance away from their fairy tale love story. Dinners and intimate nights together had evolved into mismatched schedules, snoring and washing old underwear. The fantasy of starting again with someone new like Marcus was intriguing, but Maree worried that if she actually took that leap that it would just end up the same way. Everyone had underwear, and underwear got old. Maree didn’t want to live in a boring domestic world like the one she now shared with Leon. She felt guilty for even considering ending things with her husband, as they now lived with her parents. Where would he go if she kicked him to the kerb now? His mother lived on the other side of the world and Leon’s father had died years ago. Maree had become something of a surrogate parent to him, supporting his new writing dream and picking up after him like a maid. The transition had only hurt their marriage.

‘Somebody likes you…’ whispered Candice. Maree tried not to look in Marcus’ direction, even though she could feel him watching her. It was exciting to feel wanted.

‘I have work to do!’ she said in a singsong voice. It didn’t stop Candice from continuing to make her feel uncomfortable.

‘Maree and Marcus sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G…’ Candice was speaking too loudly, drawing the attention of several nearby employees. Maree tried to ignore her. Candice seemed to become bored with the teasing and went back to her magazine. While Maree was looking at her computer screen an email from Marcus popped up.

You look nice today.

Maree smiled. She didn’t think she looked particularly nice, having rushed out the door without giving her appearance too much thought. She replied to the email and noticed out of the corner of her eye that Marcus was smiling at her.

It’s hair-washing night tonight!

She discreetly watched him receive and read her words. There was something so likeable about the way he carried himself. Maree watched the corner of his mouth curl as he typed her a reply.

You’d never know!

Candice made an audible groan that made Maree quickly minimise her email.

‘You want a coffee? I need to go for a walk,’ stated Candice, as she stood up.

‘Only if you’re getting one,’ answered Maree.

‘Nah, I’m bitter enough.’

Lachlan, the office manager, came out of his office holding a laptop in his hands. His perfectly styled hair was held together with gel, and his suit looked impossibly crisp. Maree knew that this man had no life outside of this place. It wasn’t just that he had arrived earlier than her; he just never seemed to have anything else to talk about besides sales targets. Lachlan scanned the room and then yelled out, addressing the group.

‘Is anyone else having performance issues?’ he called.

Candice bit her lip, which almost set off Maree.

‘Anyone?’

The room was silent.

‘So, I’m the only one experiencing performance issues today?’ Lachlan asked again.

‘Sounds like it,’ replied Candice.

Lachlan was oblivious to the double entendre of his words. He closed the laptop and paced through the workplace, ignoring Candice and Maree, his eyes landing on Tim.

‘Tim!’ exclaimed Lachlan with an authoritative boom.

‘Yes boss,’ he replied, straightening his glasses as he sat upright in his chair.

‘Tim! Tell me what you’ve been working on today?’

‘Today?’

‘Yes Tim. Have you succeeded in making any profitable sales at all today?’ asked Lachlan.

‘I have been on the phone all morning…’ Tim replied, his voice trailing away.

‘With who? Because I’ve been reviewing your work and it isn’t good.’

‘It’s not?’

This style of management was Lachlan’s bread and butter. He would isolate a weaker member of the team and publicly ridicule their efforts. Lachlan had always been more stick than carrot.

‘I have been struggling to even refer to it as work Tim.’

Lachlan continued to use his name, which seemed to be part of the routine. Tim stammered some words, but Lachlan proceeded to berate him.

‘To be honest I’m at a loss with you. Your numbers have been abysmal,’ stated Lachlan.

Maree couldn’t stand to watch anymore. She didn’t like Lachlan’s obvious abuse of power and the way he seemed to revel in it. She skimmed some papers on her desk and selected one that she’d printed that morning. Maree carried it over and placed it on Tim’s desk.

‘Sorry to interrupt,’ she began, ‘but I think you left this on the printer Tim. Looks like you snagged a pretty big sale there. Congrats!’

Maree raised an eyebrow encouragingly, out of sight of their boss. Tim caught on quickly and seemed appreciative that she was saving him from this embarrassment.

‘Oh… yeah… thanks Maree.’

‘Let me see that,’ grumbled Lachlan as he took the paper from Tim’s hands. The room was quiet again as their manager looked at the paper, absorbing the information on it. Tim waited nervously. A look of calm fell over Lachlan and he handed the paper back.

‘It seems I might have misjudged you Tim. Carry on,’ said Lachlan, and he returned to his office.

Maree gave Tim a pat on the back and wandered back to her desk. It was worth it to sacrifice her sale for Tim, who always tried so hard. Marcus had an approving grin on his face. Maree pretended not to notice him watching her from across the room as she sat back down.

***

As she pulled into the driveway of her parents house Maree tried to be positive. She grabbed her bag and headed into the ageing three-bedroom home. The outside of the house had started to become unkempt, as her stepfather Bill had lost interest in gardening in favour of cooking. There had been some early conversations from her mother Val about Leon helping with the yard that had never eventuated. In the living room was an all too familiar sight. Val and Bill sat in large matching chairs. Both were retired and very comfortably reclined. Their marriage seemed so easy to Maree. They didn’t need anything from one another, happily seated side by side. This was a relationship that worked. Val brought her half-moon reading glasses up to her eyes to look at the back of a puzzle box. Maree assumed that her mother must have finished the previous puzzle that she’d been working on. In retirement there seemed to be lots of time for frivolity.

‘Hi sweetheart. How was work?’ asked Val, without looking up from the box.

‘Good thanks Mum. How are you two doing?’

‘Another day in paradise Maree,’ replied Bill with a toothy smile. ‘You should try it some time.’

‘The only way I’ll be retiring at age thirty is if I win the lotto.’

‘Well you’ve got to be in it to win it!’ exclaimed Bill, who’d been known to gamble from time to time.

Bill was stocky and had lost most of his hair, although Val still looked at him as though he were twenty-five. Maree’s biological father George had run off with his secretary when she was only a child. She’d never been able to get all the details from her mother, who’d consistently reported that he had been too immature for fatherhood. After he’d left Val found her way into the arms of Bill. The two had been married since Maree was ten years old. Bill was so jovial and nice to her that she’d started thinking of him as a father from early on.

‘Has Leon been down?’ she asked.

‘Haven’t seen him,’ Bill replied as he raised both eyebrows.

‘We’ve heard him though. Bumping around up there,’ added Val.

‘Alright, thanks.’ Maree started to head towards the stairs when Val stopped her.

‘Would you remind your husband that I’d like my spare room back?’

‘I’ll get him onto it,’ said Maree.

When they’d moved in with her parents, they’d brought a heap of furniture with them. After their wedding Maree and Leon had intended to set up their forever home and began furnishing it accordingly. When things took a financial turn for the worse they couldn’t bear to part with the items. Leon had placed most of them into Val and Bill’s spare room temporarily. Val had always brought up this nuisance due to the fact that Leon had never asked, rather just stored everything there assuming it would be fine. Her mother had never confronted Leon about it, rather just casually mentioned it to Maree from time to time. It was becoming a source of stress. Maree had sold most of their nicer pieces now, and the items that remained were due to be sent to the tip, at Leon’s earliest convenience.

‘If you two want dinner it’s in the oven,’ stated Val.

‘Thanks Mum I’ll let you know.’

At the top of the staircase Maree poked her head into the spare room. Piled up against two of the walls was the life she’d been building with Leon. The stuff was definitely clogging up an otherwise usable space. Maree caught sight of herself in the rounded mirror of a dressing table that faced the door. She looked so tired.

Leon had parked himself in a beanbag, which made his posture seem worse than it was. Her husband was now thirty-four years old, yet he was so engrossed in the video game before him that he seemed much more immature. Maree paused in the doorway for a moment, but he didn’t look up. Leon’s dark hair was unkempt, and his new beard made him look like a vagrant. Without a job he was unfocussed, stabbing at the buttons of his controller violently.

‘Hi honey,’ she said, noticing more flecks of grey in his beard. Since he’d started growing it out the grey had become more prominent.

‘Hey Maree.’

She didn’t like the way Leon said her name. It sounded wrong coming out of his mouth. In the past he’d always called her by a nickname, like babe or sugar. This seemed too formal. Her childhood room felt too small to accommodate them both. They’d piled up a series of boxes against the wall, which made it appear even smaller. Maree didn’t want to unpack, as they’d never planned on staying.

‘How’s it going?’ she asked.

‘Good. How was your day?’

‘Busy.’

Leon made a noise as he reacted to the video game, but failed to ask her why it was busy, or take any further interest. Maree gave her husband a kiss on the side of the head, but Leon was too interested in the screen in front of him to acknowledge her attempt at affection.

‘Did you get much writing done today?’ asked Maree.

‘Uh, yeah. The creative juices have been flowing,’ he replied, before mashing the buttons again.

‘Great. So, is it getting close to… finished?’

‘Well, I dunno, you know?’

Maree wasn’t sure she did know.

‘Okay… Mum’s made dinner, do you want to come down and eat?’

‘Ah, not really. I’m not hungry,’ Leon replied.

Maree clocked a pizza box to the left of the beanbag. There were three slices remaining.

‘Sure. So at work Candice told me her friend Monica is going to Paris,’ said Maree, trying to engage her husband.

‘Which one is Monica?’

‘She’s a model, you don’t know her, but she’s becoming really famous,’ replied Maree. ‘She was in this fashion magazine and…’

‘Candice is the blonde, right?’

‘Yeah.’

Even though he was answering her questions Leon’s eyes remained glued to the screen, distracted by the outlaw character he was controlling. Maree had never really played video games and didn’t understand the appeal of them.

‘She looks like a model,’ stated Leon matter-of-factly.

‘Yeah she wants to be but these agents are really picky and-’

‘Who cares about fame anyway?’ said Leon, interrupting her. ‘The whole fashion industry is bullshit.’

For a moment Maree wondered why her husband wanted to play with that plastic controller and not with her. She felt cast aside and manoeuvred herself around Leon in order to grab a slice of pizza. While she was enjoying her first small mouthful of the cold food Leon quickly grabbed the second last slice and placed it in his mouth to hold while he continued to play his game.

To keep reading get the E-Book Here!

Hello Pod Me If you Can fans!
David Farrell here. Well, if you were following our podcast you've probably noticed that our feed dried up some time ago. While Lloyd and I are still friends that regularly chat about movies we made the decision a while ago to stop recording episodes. This came from a mutual desire to flex some other muscles and work on different projects. Thank you all for over 63,000 downloads! Doing the podcast has been great fun!

 
Since 2018 I've completed 7 novels and released 5 of them (The Last Resort, The Glove, Twelve, Dropping the Belt & Twelve More).

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I've been thinking about this website and have decided to keep using it as a way of updating people about my writing projects & future endeavours.

I have two novels that are on their way early next year - so stay tuned.
I'll be posting occasional updates here, so if writing is something you're interested in: Great! Come along on the journey with me.
Thanks
Dave Farrell

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Hi everybody,

I've written another collection of short stories called 'Twelve More' and i've made it available as an Audiobook too! Attached is a short story called 'Eavesdropping' that i hope you'll enjoy. Here is a link to the book on Amazon: Here

Although the Audiobook seems to be much cheaper on Itunes if you're interested in that!

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It's been over a year since the last PMIYC Podcast came out. Have you missed us?

David Farrell offers up a sample from his latest book 'Twelve' for your listening pleasure. 

It's a collection of 12 short stories that will be available next year. Enjoy!

If you're interested in the book become a fan on Facebook where you can stay tuned for updates.

Have a wonderful Christmas!

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