18+ White walls, sweet antiseptic, tubes and wires, electronic beeps and the laboured, wheezing breath of my shrunken father.
We need to talk. Soon. Not about the future or present; now we've only got the past.
But my phone distracts me. I wish we had more time and words.
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© 2017 Robert Fairhead
I wrote this microfiction for a competition run by Meanjin Quarterly to celebrate the introduction of 280-character Twitter in 2017. The rules were simple, tweet a 280-character story and include the hashtag
#meanjin280. The top 10 stories were to be published on the Meanjin Blog. I didn't win the competition. But I repurposed the piece for another microfiction competition run by the Australian Writers' Centre in 2019, as We Need to Talk in 29 Words. And [proud puffing of cheeks] this was published on their blog.
A middle-aged dad and dog owner, Robert is a writer and editor at Tall And True and blogs on his eponymous website, RobertFairhead.com. He also writes and narrates episodes for the Tall And True Short Reads podcast, featuring his short stories, blog posts and other writing from Tall And True.
Robert's book reviews and other writing have appeared in print and online media. In 2020, he published his début collection of short stories, Both Sides of the Story, and in 2021 Twelve Furious Months, twelve short stories written for the Australian Writers' Centre's Furious Fiction writing competition.
Outside of writing, Robert's favourite pastimes include reading, watching Aussie Rules football with his son and walking his dog.
He has also enjoyed a one-night stand as a stand-up comic.