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Sean Joyce
New Zealand

Moka's Utu - Penny Howard
Sean Joyce was born in Galway in the west of Ireland. He later lived in Spain
and London before moving to New Zealand in the seventies. After many years in the Corporate World, Sean is now an Independent Marriage Celebrant and occasionally tutors Public Speaking at Hagley Community College.

Someone Else

Wednesday is my best day. The best of my working week. I get up a little later
and in the blue bathroom I take my time. I shave with the yellow soap and then,
standing in the avocado coloured shower, I wash my hair.

I treat each follicle like gold to ensure there is no unnecessary loss.
Sometimes, on a good day, I cut my nails. I let my wrists rest on the window
sill and watch the clippings fall two floors to the green deck below. If Someone
asks, “Who left these clippings on the cream and brown carpet on the stairs?”, I
can ignore the question.

Some day I may cut my wrists. My nails gripping the window sill and later my
hands falling two floors to the green deck below. If Someone asks “Whose hands
are these here on the green patio, the ones beside the Proteas, the South
African Proteas?”, I can simply ignore the question and carry on with what I am

I'm boiling an egg. Yes I'm boiling an egg, the water is bubbling in the small
black egg-boiling saucepan. The Earl Grey is poured and any second now the toast
will, jump up, or pop up, from the shinny silver toaster.

I don't think I know that face, the one looking back at me from the silver
toaster.. It must be Someone Else so I look away. This is the toaster that
Someone Else purchased in 2005 with 440 Fly-Buy Points. No. No, I believe it was
450 Points plus, plus  $22.80, yes that's it, except, it could have been 2006.

There are four slots in the toaster so as two slots are redundant I pop my hands
in. Of course I don't fool anybody with this totally affected and exaggerated
precision. This dogged commentary on colours and numbers and I don't fool me,
no, not for one minute.

But that's all right. My real worry, my real worry underneath it all, is that I
may not be fooling Someone Else. Just then of course Someone Else asks, “What is
that awful smell coming from the kitchen?” I simply ignore the question and
carry on burning.