A night on the mall - a 10 minute writing exercise

Updated: Aug 22, 2021

‘You should be ashamed of yourself!’ the woman declared.

‘I should?’ Ben replied, opening his eyes and feeling the piercing orange light of the sun striking at him like a needle of hate. In front of that burning ball of pain, a shadow loomed.

His head pounded as he tried to recall where he was and how he’d gotten there.

‘Yes! Imagine a man your age in this state,’ she said.

Ben looked around. He was lying on the footpath. His arm was wrapped around someone. Where had he come from? Ben untangled his arm, accidentally sending him tumbling. Whoa ... he was light, he thought. Then the head detached from the body and the lifeless eyes of a mannequin stared up at him.

‘Put that back where you got it from,’ the woman ordered.

He looked up towards her again, straining his eyes wide to try to wake up and see something of her eclipsed form.

‘I’m sorry, but who are you?’ Ben asked. The words rushed out of him, as it took time for him to recall who he was in the moment. His hands fell onto the cold concrete as he began to feel the stares of the passersby. He realised he was lying in a pedestrian mall.

‘I’m your freaking boss,’ the woman said.

‘Who? You're really my boss?’

‘I swear ... ’ she threatened, exasperated. ‘If you hadn’t kept laying golden eggs, I would have killed the goose by now. Get up!’

Still feeling shaky, Ben got his feet using the glass of a nearby window display for balance.

Yes, he could see her now: blond curly hair and blue eyes that were usually quite nice to look at. Now they glared at him.

‘You reek of bourbon,’ she said.

‘Susan,’ Ben declared. ‘Yes, that’s your name!' he said, triumphant.

Susan closed her eyes and let out a long-suffering sigh.

‘Get the mannequin and let's go,’


‘You named the mannequin?’ Susan asked in disbelief.

Ben shrugged. 'It felt wrong not to name him after we'd spent the night together.'

Stewart Adams

Copyright: text Stewart Adams; photos Wix.

This SSOA writers' blog is made possible by grant assistance from the City of Sydney.


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