Roanna Gonsalves is the award-winning author of the acclaimed collection of short fiction The Permanent Resident (UWAP) published in India as Sunita De Souza Goes To Sydney (Speaking Tiger). Her writing has been compared to the work of Alice Munro and Jhumpa Lahiri. Her four-part radio series On the tip of a billion tongues, commissioned and broadcast by ABC RN’s Earshot program, is an acerbic portrayal of contemporary India through its multilingual writers. She works as a Lecturer in Creative Writing at UNSW Sydney.

Conclusion of Phase 4 Study meeting all primary efficacy endpoints demonstratring that Purple Vaccine BLT1984 is 95% effective against ‘Belief that the Universe is Made of Stories’(BUMOS)

The Coalition Of Experts & Governments (COEG) announced today that, after conducting the final efficacy analysis in their ongoing Phase 4 study, their vaccine candidate Purple Vaccine BLT1984 against ‘Belief that the Universe is Made of Stories’ (BUMOS) met all of the study’s primary efficacy endpoints. Analysis of the data indicates vaccine efficacy rate of 95% (p<0.0001) in participants with and without prior BUMOS infection, measured from 7 days after the consumption of Game Of Thrones Season 3.

It was noted that contrary to the conclusions of previous studies, BUMOS affects not only females, but males, those who reject the gender binary, and some species of sea slug too. The observed efficacy in adults over 25 years of age was over 94%. A safe dosage range was unable to be determined for three subsets of this demographic: imitators of John Clarke, fans of Muriel Rukeyser, and writers of satirical fiction. However, these subsets were later deemed to be ineligible for this study on account of them comprising entirely of Low Net Worth Individuals.

Data demonstrate that the vaccine was well-tolerated across all populations with over 43,000 participants enrolled. No serious safety concerns were observed other than the detection, in the offspring of participants, of a more virulent strain of BUMOS now known as BLT1984 (ToastED). In response, Phase 5 of the vaccine development process will enhance genetic sequencing by submitting participants to the compulsory memorisation of the Periodic Table backwards with all consonants de-activated. Methodological similarities with Hemingway’s Theory of Omission are purely coincidental. In the rest of the population, the only Grade 3 adverse event greater than 2% in frequency was fatigue at 2.1 % and the spontaneous composition of stories that reject the three-act structure at 4.57%

COEG is confident in its vast existing cold-chain infrastructure to distribute BLT1984 around the world. The (thrice-vaccinated) COEG Chairman is unreachable for comment due to being inextricably immersed in Midnight’s Children (25th Anniversary Edition). Consequently, it is expected that the COEG Treasurer will shortly announce the successful conclusion of negotiations for a five-book deal with Penguin Random House based on this dramatic period in human history and COEG’s crucial role in it.

Nature Abhors A Vacuum

Nature came home from Woolies, only to find that her partner Shay had been vacuuming. Earlier that afternoon, Shay had expressed a desire for Darjeeling with a splash of milk. Nature herself preferred her tea green and her lactose untouched but off she went to get the milk. Upon her return she heard the vacuum gnashing in the bedroom. In the living room she saw that the carpet had still not bounced back from the sucking impressions left by the machine and its relentless operator.

Nature was looking forward to scrapbooking that afternoon. She had laid out her supplies in a logical sequence on the floor: pinking shears, washi tape, Japanese lace paper. Now, they were nowhere to be seen. This was not the first time that Shay had desired milk, Nature lapped off to fetch it, only to return to tumult caused by constant vacuuming. It was not even the second time or the tenth. It was the seventeen-times-seventh time and then some more. Nature suddenly realised that Shay desired her absence, just as, oh God, she realised that she desired his more. The wind sang outside, an aria, or perhaps it was a dirge. Nature felt a rise that filled her chest cavity.

She went to the fuse box and switched off the electricity. Then she walked into the bedroom just as Shay began to look confused about this sudden loss of power. Nature noticed her pinking shears on the bed.  She picked them up and began to cut up the cord that tethered the vacuum cleaner to the wall. At first it was hard because she was only used to cutting delicate handmade paper with those shears. But soon, after the application of more pressure, she felt the first sweet severing of cord from cord. She began to cut and cut and cut until all around her lay jagged pieces of black, like tiny mouths that had lost their bite. She gathered them up and began to arrange them into a message on the floor. Shay, enraged, kicked the pieces around, messing up her alphabet. But he soon ran out of puff. Nature used her washi tape to secure the pieces of the useless power cord back in place. Then she walked out of the house but not before she saw Shay crumple as he read the message that filled the floor: I abhor your vacuum but I abhor you more.