by Elizabeth Morton


Mag Sills was only a secondary character. You can kill those off the easiest, you know. You load the cartridges into the magazine, tamper with the breaks of the minivan, sneak oleander leaves into the coleslaw. It’s easier than firing your secretary. It’s easier than making one-minute noodles for two. It’s cleaner than gutting a mullet.

Mag Sills was likeable enough. Her voice was like helium. When you listened to her speak, it was like she was floating away from you – or you from her. Who can tell? – These days, everybody is flying apart.

Mag Sills zipped in and out of every chapter. The readers would wolf-whistle and cat-call when she made a scene. Mag Sills poured a glass of Fanta over the protagonist. Mag Sills flirted with the Water Meter man as he shucked the shell off the gauge and wrote down numbers. Mag Sills threw a fishbowl at the conservatory wall. Oh that Mag Sills!, the readers would exclaim. Somebody needs to root that woman.

Mag Sills had no internal reality, which was convenient, because that’s easier to kill. When she engaged in thinking, a thought-bubble would appear above her head. It would be white-cloud, the shape of nothing, with nothing inside. She refused to participate in ordinary obscenity. Mag Sills never took a shit. She never ate canned spaghetti or forced dog-roll down the WasteMaster.

Mag Sills was a time-waster. I wrote her in my head while I made love to my wife. I spoke her into an old dictaphone while I parked-up in my Toyota. Mag Sills, I would say, what’re we up to today? I had a zillion and ten death-wishes. I made her run the length of the hedgerow with secateurs, I had her doused in petrol, attending a fireworks display, I had her dissolving too many aspirins in her tonic.

On the day I almost killed Mag Sills, I found a lump under my arm. It was spongey, the size of a loquat. I sat in the MRI machine, while the doctors pencilled in the tumours on an anatomical chart.

Mag Sills laughed into my dictaphone, a helium laugh, floating away.

It sounded something like relief.



Elizabeth Morton is a New Zealand writer. She has been published in Poetry NZ, PRISM international, Cordite, JAAM, Shot Glass Journal, Takahe Magazine, Blackmail Press, Meniscus, Flash Frontier, SmokeLong Quarterly, the Sunday Star Times, Literary Orphans, and in Island Magazine among others. In her free time she collects obscure words in supermarket bags.