As Kites Have A Want To Do

Dad & boy / son.  at the old fairground. the Casula Funfair. a rural paddock in a forest clearing. trees surrounding it. trees in all directions. trees and sky. it used to be an eclectic mix of BS funfair here: calliope music, strange clowns, slobbery corn dogs, one year “the Gravitron”, kid got broken on that, no more Gravitron. Best thing, kite making. Even when Gravitron gone, bumper cars gone, showbag stalls gone, food trucks gone, toilets gone, kite making remained, lasted longest. i remember. making something that flies, that’s free. kinda free. made out of balsa wood, big box kites, made out of wood + coloured paper + string. kites that we made, long ago, Dad & boy / son —

—A crow cry disturbed the man’s reverie, and his eyes tracked the bird. He turned with it as it circled the old fairground, trees were its backdrop, trees and sky, trees and sky, and then when it came around to the east, no trees, no sky, just skyscrapers. The western extremity of Bankstown. The man sighed.

You couldn’t blame Bankstown’s skyscrapers for the end of the Casula funfair. But the construction of the skyscrapers, the leveling of the trees, coincided with the last years of the Casula funfair, so? Some people claimed the skyscrapers had killed it. Because Casulans hadn’t liked the feeling of being watched, of being looked over, of being hemmed in, of the technology / concrete / the rich extravagance on display. How did corn dogs look from up there? Motherfuckers.

The man loosened his tie. He hadn’t washed his hands from burying his father in the old tradition where the son drags the dirt into the hole with his hands, with his entire body, where he shoves muddy clods between his legs like a dog, howling.  “Fuck it,” he said.

In the boot of his car, he had the Casula Times, a 50 inch length of quarter inch dowel, scissors, string, packing tape and a yardstick.

“Kite hating sons-of-bitches,” said the man as he sat cross-legged in the grass with his materials. He made a cross with the dowels and he stared up at the glass towers, the sun glinting off them so that the window panes were mirrors that split the paddock into man-made segments, parcels of commerce.

He made a basic kite from memory with his fat, non-father like, fingers. The man hoped the effing, overbearing, carnival killing skyscrapers wouldn’t stop the wind, because he needed a breeze to fly it.

He ran the kite across the paddock. It was embarrassing, sprinting in his shiny funeral suit, trailing the paper kite over the hillocks. And from this he gained some sense of the ridiculous and the infantile that fathers persevered through for little-ones too young to recognise it as anything other than wondrous. He stopped to catch his breath and in the nearest tower saw a child-shaped, figure standing at the glass, watching. He resisted an urge to wave. He thought, are we so different? And he ran the kite again.

And when the kite lifted up in the wind he screamed, not a yell, but a full-hearted cry that echoed across time and the paddock and in between the glassy towers, tears streaking from his eyes and creating clear trails of skin through the dirt. And the kite did fly as kites have a want to do.

It flew. It flew and it flew and yet he only let it fly for a minute before he let go of the string. “Go,” he said. “Go.”

The kite rose steadily, it flew eerily close to the child-figure at the window, banking to the left and skirting around the tower into the void beyond and the man saw the child-figure look after it, neck craned, face against the window, their little hands pressed on the glass as if trapped there.


Know Before Whom Thou Dost Stand

Light going low. Friday, at dusk. J in white pumps and a backless dress, her veil blowing in the wind. She steadied herself on my arm. I was steady, then.  One of J’s heels broke off and stuck up out of a crack in the footpath like a giant’s golf tee.

“Fuck, that’s Kmart for you,” she said.

“Shoulda wore sneakers.”

“Hon,” she said. “No girl gets married in sneakers.”

I squatted and J hiked her wedding dress up and I piggy-backed her through the Synagogue district, our shadow running ahead of us and flittering at the edges.

In the underpass there was a Frum skater in high-top Nikes and a shin-long skirt. “For real, you just got married?” she said.

“For real,” said J, from on my back.

“Mazels,” said the skater. “Did Rabbi G marry you?”

“No,” said J, and you could hear her smile. J had taken me to see Rabbi G. But no Rabbi was going to marry me, a non-Jewish guy, with my cock au naturel. I wasn’t gonna convert. I had no religion and no belief. The words above the Bimah drove home the problem, “Know Before Whom Thou Dost Stand”.

The skater smiled. “Welcome to the tribe,” she said to me.

But I was from no tribe. Always and always, and always.

We followed all the Shabbating Frumers streaming along the footpaths, formally-dressed women trailing untucked husbands into the Sabbath. “Mazel tov”, they said when they saw us in our wedding clothes.

Me and J rested by a Fig tree near the harbour, we talked, we wanted to fuck but we were holding off, waiting to see the sunset, and she said that secrets no longer existed between us.

I shrugged. “You sure?”

“No-no,” she said. “You are my tribe.” And in the deepening light it was pretty hard to argue. There was a photo from right then, somewhere, under the fig tree, a passerby took it; ole photograph of ye groom and Het Joodse bruidje, her beauty in the sepia light looking as if it was from an earlier time. When we eventually split she still looked like that, but it was sad, and frail and tortured.

J went into a shop and came back with a candle. She lit it, and cupped the flame as it flickered.

“It’ll go out,” I said.

“Then we light it again,” she said. “And if it goes out we light it. And if it goes out, we light it again. Because that’s what we do. Capiche.”

“Capiche,” I said.

The wind came up and turned the sail boats on the harbour into a vast painting of boats on a canvas of slowly churning chop. She rested her head on my shoulder and held the candle as the flame ate into the wax.

A congregation of Hasidic’s gathered at a nearby traffic light; bearded men in bowler hats, women in head-scarves, kids on scooters. A man looked back, rabbinical and dark. “Mazel tov,” he said. His wife looked back, nodded. I was feeling the quiet and the noise and everything so much, but the Hasidics were stuck there.

“They aren’t hitting the button,” I said.

“They can’t. They can do no work on the Sabbath.”

“Yeah, but pressing a fuckin’ button. That’s work?”

She turned into me, my chin resting on her hair, her hands cupped about the flame.

“So they just wait there?” I said.

“Until someone presses the button,” she said.


“A good christian, or a bad jew.”

I stood up.

“I didn’t mean you,” she said.

“I know,” I said, “but…” but I was already going over, weaving through the people trapped in their tradition. I stood there at the light with them for a minute wondering if they were as certain of what is to come as they were of what has passed. Maybe. It seemed to me they definitely knew something I didn’t. I hit the button, and as they moved off, Mazel-toving in the dark, and I must admit I got the feeling that what I’d done was in-sync with who I was; the tribe-less, the separate.

I went back to J and she looked up, only her, though in truth there are many you stand before when you stand before a tribe.

“I’m cold,” she said.

I helped her up, and we crossed the road. Her holding the candle, its flame twisting and dancing below her chin, lighting up a face that I cannot forget.


Bad Behaviour

We’re only a little late, but our physician said to get to BabyMaker as it opens because stocks run out quickly.

‘I should have driven,’ says Mary undoing her seatbelt with something like, well, it’s your basic irritation and annoyance peppered with something like nervousness and anxiety, but also, of course, there’s quite a bit of your old-school, full-bodied, control-freakishness too.

Mary sends me hunting for a shopping trolley while she surges through aisle one, grabbing the essentials: breathing, a circulatory system, eye-colour, gender, a heart, etcetera. We’re nearly $5,000 in the hole after that.

In aisle two there’s a Rockstar patch for $2,500,000 (in a locked glass cabinet). There’s a shelf of Long-Life’s talc which warrants life to age 75. But Healthy-Life’s talc guarantees uninterrupted health until 65, declining thereafter. So, which one?

Mary has an ingredient list called “Happy Child, Well Rounded Adult.” I’m not saying it creates a boring baby, but there are reviews on the internet that say it creates a person so middling they might as well not be here. But, then again, it’s safe, and having a safe kid is good, so we’re going to have a polite, a-little-above-average, baby.

‘Should we get an extra aorta,’ I say.


‘I read that Happy Child Well Rounded… fuckin Adult, are known to get cholesterol and BMI problems.’

‘We discussed this, Darren. We’ve been through this whole scenario. It’s so typical of you to get doubtful. What. Do. You. Want?’ Mary shakes her head as she takes down a can of high-dose Repression, to help individuals “fit in”, recommended by several government agencies.

What do I want? I don’t know. I don’t want a kid like me. Maybe I want to be surprised. Maybe I want the kid to have a bit of flair.

‘I notice the recipe calls for a large tin of Sensible Driver.’ I say, to lighten the mood.

‘There’s a difference between being sensible and being an asshole, Darren.’

‘An asshole?’

‘Someone who changes their mind constantly.’

‘That’s an asshole?’

‘Someone who didn’t get enough Backbone,’ she says looking up.

Her eyes are almonds carrying flecks of darkness and flecks of light. She’d die for you, if she loved you, that’s ingrained in her. She’d kill too. She’d be on your side even if you were in the wrong.

‘I’m sorry,’ she says. ‘I don’t know why I’d even fucking say that.’

‘It’s alright,’ I say.

The Anxiety brands fill an aisle. If you don’t put Anxiety in your cart, the physicians add it when mixing. Otherwise you get a society where kids climb trees and run out on roads after bouncing balls. But the physicians add generic Anxiety which starts up randomly. Whereas Mary thinks we should get Low-Tox Low-Tar Anxiety, because it’s nurture based, so if nothing bad happens to our kid it never kicks in. It’s $779.

‘We could get a mystery box?’ I say.


‘BabyMaker has mystery boxes, at a discount. Random ingredients in a box, and you just get the kid you get.’

‘I’m not having a random kid Darren. What, with a horn on their face and a moustache on their back? No, thank you.’

‘Nah it’s… they’re not as curated. Like, organic.’

‘Let’s stick to the program, okay’ says Mary. She takes down two cans of Good Looking But Doesn’t Know It, a packet of Anti-Vape, and a bag of No Sweet Tooth. She doesn’t want our kid eating sugar. No sugar. No coffee. No booze. Just wholemeal bread. This all comes from a good place in her heart, but, you know, might good be sometimes overgood?

I paid a guy at my gym $600 for a gram of Bad Behaviour. He said it was good shit but it could just be ground up aspirin, maybe, but it stings on the tongue, so? You sprinkle it in the circulatory system packaging. They say the right dose creates a sense of self-worth and self-belief. It shortens life, sure, but makes it more interesting. That’s a solid trade-off, right? Giving your kid some killer instinct. Because it’s kill or be killed, right? And all they’ve got at BabyMaker is some low-concentrate Be Righteous bullshit.

‘Where’s Face Name?’ says Mary looking at an empty shelf. ‘They better not have sold out.’ She beelines towards an employee so she can ensure that the name of our kid matches their face. So that we look at their face and go ‘yeah, their name suits them.’ Elvis is the example. It’s on the list, so.

Yep, we’re making a kid who looks like a Doug or a Martha and has bowel movements you can set a clock by. Some average, can’t-make-decisions, kid. But fuck I don’t I want a kid like me. Someone who believes in climate change but does fuck all about it. Who hates poverty but never gives spare change to homeless people. Who looks at others and wants their life, and hates themself on a regular basis.

Mary has cornered the employee. Mary will get what she wants. I love Mary. If you could bottle Mary, her attitude, that backbone, I’d buy that, I’d give the shirt off my back for that, to not take shit and to know how to love.

I tap some of the Bad Behaviour powder into the circulatory system. But is the kid’s extra aorta going to make the Bad Behaviour pump around and be stronger than it’s supposed to be? Like, how much of this shit is a sensible amount? Half-a-bag? That won’t do as much as a whole bag? It’ll do something. Maybe. Maybe that uncertainty is good? Maybe living with uncertainty is what makes life worth living? I mean, I fucking doubt it. I’m giving the kid half-a-bag. I mean, right? I don’t even know if we should be having a baby in this day and fucking age.


About the Author

Glenn Orgias's fiction has appeared in X-R-A-Y, SmokeLong, and elsewhere. He lives in Sydney. Follow him on X @glennorgias or go to 


Photo by Umut YILMAN on Unsplash