Joshua Lobb is the author of The Flight of Birds (Sydney University Press) and one of the authors of the collection of collaborative essays, 100 Atmospheres: Studies in Scale and Wonder (Open Humanities Press).  His stories have appeared in Animal Studies Journal, Best Australian Stories, Bridport Prize Anthology, Griffith Review, Plumwood Mountain, Southerly and Text. He teaches creative writing at the University of Wollongong


I’m not Tintin. Orbiting the moon in my chunky orange space suit, a deep-sea diver in the ocean of space, spinning into an infinity of adventures, fearlessly flying into deepest darkest wherever: wild west America, Stalinist Russia, the tangled jungles of the Amazon. And now the moon. I remember the picture from the book: a full page of the craterous expanse, the black empty sky. A speck of a figure.This is it! he cries. I’ve walked a few steps! For the first time in history, there is an explorer on the moon! The gravity is lighter there. Your head spins. The captain would rather stay in the cigar-cocoon of the rocker, but grudgingly clambers down to the gray sand. Tintin and the captain head off in their lunar tank across the lumpy surface. They follow a groove on the surface; it splits into a narrow valley, worn down by an infinity of moondust. The captain spots a crack in the valley wall, an opening to a new adventure, a cave. Tintin and Snowy venture out in their orange deep-sea space suits. Snowy strides ahead and falls deeper into a crevasse. Tintin follows. As he drops into the unknown he cries Into the hands of fate!

I’m not Tintin. Not even Captain Haddock, refusing the adventure, but grudgingly going anyway. The gravity is heavier here. Headier. Under the rumples of the duvet, hiding from deepest darkest everything. Nothing ventured. Trying to work up the courage to open the door and face the dusty air, to step into a yellow-lit supermarket, to climb into the cigar-cocoon of a bus again. The lumps of crowds, the ocean of bodies. My narrow strip of life round the block, an adventure of one foot in front of the other. Avoiding confrontations with breathing human faces. The tightness of fear. Tangled up in the orange and purple darkness of my own spinning brain. Avoiding all hands at all costs.