Venting Machine


A large vending machine sits against a blank wall. Inside it sit the usual treats; chips, lollies, and chocolate.

A shadow falls across the vending machine as a MAN steps up to it. He studies it’s contents for a moment before pulling a coin out of his pocket and inserts it into the coin slot. On the keyboard he presses D4.

The mechanics of the machine whirl, the coil at D4 rotates, and the twix bar that sits in it gets pushed forward. It hits the edge of its shelf and slips forward only to be caught at the last moment on the edge of the coil.

The man stares at the hanging chocolate bar for a moment and then hits the side of the machine hard. The chocolate bar wobbles but doesn’t fall.

He hits the machine again with the same result.

He grabs the machine on both sides and shakes it from side to side and then backwards and forwards. Still the bar refuses to drop.

Breathing hard from the exertion the man thinks. He looks behind him and then disappears off screen for a moment. He rushes back into screen and rams himself into the machine. The chocolate bar barely moves.

He kneels down and sticks his arm up into the slot reaching for the chocolate bar, it’s not even close.

He stands up and looks around and spots something off to the side. Again he exits off screen and returns holding a long thin tree branch. He bends down and sticks the branch and his arm up through the slot.

He points the branch towards D4 and his hanging twix. It doesn’t reach. He pushes himself in more but the stick still doesn’t reach. Madly he wiggles the stick back and forth below the twix. It sways slightly but still isn’t going anywhere.

He pulls the stick out and snaps it over his knee and then glares at his twix.

He thinks again and the grabs the front of the machine and drags the whole thing forward. He walks behind the machine and starts to ram it from the back. He hears a thud and runs around the front of the machine to see him twix has dropped but is now caught on the row below it.

The man shakes his fists into the sky.

He waggles his finger at the machine and then pulls his wallet from his pocket.

He takes another coin and puts it into the machine, this time pressing C4, where his chocolate bar is now hanging from.

The coil rotates and the chocolate bar, a snickers, moves forward. He stares on with happy anticipation. The snickers drops a centimeter then gets caught on the hanging twix.

The man screams in wordless rage.

He starts to click all the buttons on the keypad.

He charges at the machine from either side, raming into it as hard as he can over and over again.

He grabs the machine in both hands and shakes it as violently and aggressively as he can.

Both chocolate bars continue to hang.

The man stares at them despondently. Then his shoulders drop as he lets out a big sigh. He finishes the sigh by closing his eyes and placing his head against the front glass of the machine with a small bump. A moment after he does so he hears a swish and then two thuds from the base of the machine.

He looks up, the chocolates are gone, they’ve fallen into the tray.

He reaches into the tray and pulls out both chocolates with glee.

He walks away from the machine, past an exit door with trees outside, and down a hospital hallway and enters a room.

In a bed a young boy sits. He looks over to the man. The man pulls both chocolates from his pocket and hold them up in front of the boy.

The boy raises both hands over his head as he cries out in joy.

The Day After


The sun shines brightly through the open windows to display a beautiful master bedroom. The walls are adorned with photos of children, all the furniture leans towards the expensive kind and the room in neat and tidy, except for one thing. The two slovenly people tangled up in the mess of sheets. DAVE and TAMARA are late 30’s and neither are looking particularly well.

Dave opens one eye and immediately winces in pain. He rolls over to look at Tamara who’s holding her face in her hands.

Tamara, if this is what death feels like I’m not a fan.

Oh my God your breath stinks. Oh my God my breath stinks.

My mouth tastes, and feels, like the fuzz you find on moldy fruit.

They must have put someone’s orthotics in the wine because I’m definitely getting flavours of feet.

I don’t think I can even remember how we got home last night. I think a horse was involved? Can you remember a horse?

The last thing I remember was that merlot sculling contest Abby and I got into.

Oh yeah, you won right?

Doesn’t feel like it right now.

What were we thinking? We are way to old to be binge drinking like this.

I didn’t even drink like this when I was in my twenties. I’m actually a little impressed by us.

You certainly know how to drink extensive quantities of wine my lady.

You weren’t to bad yourself. I saw the way you handled that wine bong.

Well a thank you. Ohhh, if only it didn’t hurt so much though. The back of my eyes feel bruised.

I think I need to eat something greasy. Like a pizza, and some chips and gravy, and then finish it off with an egg and bacon roll.

Dave sits up a little and looks around the room.

I would get you all of those things but I think if I stand up the floor will tilt around me.

You’re right, let’s just stay in bed all day.

We should probably get up.

No, stay with me in bed all day.

No, we’ve got to get up. The kids will be waiting for us.

Oh no, not the kids. If they come running in here right now, screaming and jumping with my head the way it is, I will throw up on one of them.

Why did we even have children.

I don’t know, I really don’t know.

From outside the closed door the sound of thumping feet is heard.

Oh no, here they come.

The door swings open and three children stand there. They look at the two in the bed and stop, shocked looks on their faces.

Tamara and Dave look back faces blank, then both panic.

Oh shit, Dave, we don’t have kids!

Where are we?

Holy crap, this is not our house.

The pair scramble out of the covers and grab their stuff off the floor and push past the still in shock kids with a hung over smile.

We really are too old for this.

Where are their parents?

Job Interview


A woman sits at a desk, late 30’s, well kept, with the body language of someone clearly in charge. Across from her sits a slightly overweight middle aged man. He looks uncomfortable in a shirt and tie, with the tie tied askew. On the floor to the side a little girl sits.

Well we’ll start with the obvious, why do you want to join the team?

The woman’s smartphone rings loudly into the room.

Sorry, hold that thought.

She looks down a the phone to see a man’s face with the contact name ‘Hubby’ written above it. The woman declines the call.

Sorry, just my husband. You were saying.

The man is looking at the little girl with an amused look on his face. He brings his attention back to the woman.

Well I’ve been working in warehouses for twenty years and-

The woman’s phone interrupts him, once more ringing loudly. The woman quickly picks it up.

My apologies. I’ll put it on silent. Continue.

The man shares a smile with the little girl who looks to be holding back a giggle. Out of view from the woman the girl holds a phone. The woman notices the mans attention.

Oh that’s my daughter, don’t mind her.

No problem. So I was saying-

The phone interrupts again, this time vibrating loudly on the desk.

Just ignore it, it’ll stop in a moment.

The phone stops and the woman smiles at the man to continue. He opens his mouth to speak when the phone starts to vibrate again. In a rage the woman picks up the phone and answers it.

What? What do you want?

The man and the little girl both burst out laughing. The woman looks at the man, then to her daughter and sees she is holding the phone.

I’m sorry, your daughter is very funny.

Oh yes, she’s horribly funny isn’t she?

Okay, what was the question again?

Oh, no more questions. You clearly think thus is a joke. Thanks so much for your time, you will not be hearing from us.



An old sedan drives smoothly down a highway. The road is clear of all other traffic as is the sky above it where the moon glows brightly. The driver, MEREDITH, chubby, 30 something, is alone. Amongst the dust and clutter in the car the radio plays some generic pop song at low volume. Meredith looks tired and glum as she churns away the kilometers. She rubs her eye and then the back of her neck.

Ahead in the headlights to the side of the road is a sign that reads ‘Newton – Next 3 exits’.

Meredith looks at it intently, thinks, and shakes her head slightly from side to side.

The car zooms on.

Another appears up ahead ‘Newton – 1st exit’.

Meredith sits up and puts both hands on the steering wheel at ten and two. The radio continues to play.

The exit comes up on Meredith’s right but she doesn’t slow down. She gives a one second glance up the exit as she passes but quickly snaps her head forward again.

The radio’s volume increases on its own. The pop song ends and there’s a moment of static before the cheery male voice of an ad begins.

This Saturday and Sunday it’s the Newton fair! With animals, contests, and the return of Newtons famous 5 acre maze, it’s something you don’t want to miss out on. So if your driving past Newton right now be sure to take that exit.

As the ad ends there’s another moment of static before it goes back to the radio presenter who comes in mid sentence. The volume decreases.

Meredith stares at the radio in shock. She turns back to the road swallowing hard.

Nope. No. Not happening.

Ahead once more is a sign ‘Newton – 2nd exit’.

Meredith looks at it as it passes. She turns off the radio.

The exit once more goes by on her left but this time Meredith’s wide eyes stare resolutely ahead, never glancing at it.

A moment later Meredith spots some movement out of the corner of her eye. A little stick is coming out from the dash, wiggling violently. It continues wiggling for a moment then bends pulling behind it a body and seven other legs. The spider moves up the dash closer to the steering wheel and Meredith, then stops, looking at her.

She stares down at it in fear. Then back to the road. Back to the spider. One of the spiders front arms comes up, and moves back and forth, pointing at something.

Ahead in the road is the third sign ‘Newton – Final exit’.

Meredith stares at it then turns to the spider.

No. No, I’m not doing it. I’m not going back there. I don’t care what happens okay. So just stop.

The spider just stares back at her.

The radio turns back on, volume blaring. Meredith gasps.

I repeat the Newton five acre maze is one you don’t want to miss. Meredith, take this exit.

Meredith grips harder on the steering wheel and yells at the radio.

NO. I’m not going to Newton. I won’t.

Her foot plants on the acceleration and the car roars past the final exit.

Once past Meredith relaxes and slows down the car. She takes a deep breath and lets it out. The spider on the dash turns around, looking at something. From the spot it emerged comes another pars of wiggling legs, then another, then another. The dash slowly starts to fill as tens then hundreds of little spiders creep along it.

Meredith, turn the car around.

Dammit. No.

Did you really think this was ever a choice?

Meredith looks across the dash and the hundred of little eyes watching her. She slumps back in her chair, a look of misery on her face. The car slows and turns around, heading back the way it hard come.