April 23, 2011 in Dag

Swimming with Sharks

I first met Vic on the day we went swimming with the sharks.

He was right next to me in the changing shed as we stripped off and put on our bathers.

“First time?” he asked.

I nodded. “Seen it heaps on TV but I’ve never been game to try it myself until today. What about you?”

“Yep, also a first timer. Name’s Vic.”

I introduced myself as well. “Nice to meet you, Vic,” I said

As we left the shed, my eyes were blinded by the glare of the sunlight. Slowly, the scene resolved itself in front of my eyes. A scene I had witnessed so many times before on television, but even with that familiarity, it was far more then I could have possibly imagined.

I was standing on the edge of a low cliff which swept around to my left and then back again in a roughly semi-circular arc. Not far below, the water of the bay shimmered like a brilliant azure mirror, the sunlight dancing over its rippling surface. On the top of the cliffs to the left, a crowd was gathered. They waited, expectant and impatient, some individuals occasionally yelling out for something to happen. And all about me stood the other competitors, stretching and pacing and staring nervously into the clear water.

Suddenly the tension was broken by a loud splash. The crowd immediately roared and the other competitors looked up, as if they had all been instantaneously awoken by a gunshot. The serenity of the water was broken by a frenzy of swinging arms and kicking legs as the swimmer who had just dived in made for the cliffs on the other side of the bay.

The reason for his frantic movements very quickly became obvious. Five large shadows appeared from out of the depths of the water. Long and cylindrical, but as they approached the surface, the telltale fins became all too apparent.

The man was now over halfway across. The distance towards the far cliff was getting rapidly smaller. But this was nothing compared to the speed of the fearsome shadows as they raced towards him.

I nudged Vic gently in the side. “He’s not going to make it.”

“Sure he is,” Vic replied.

The man was now a good twenty metres away from the cliff but the sharks were closing fast. Forty metres. Thirty metres. Ten metres. Now they were circling feverishly. The howling of the crowd rose to a crescendo as they rushed in, ready for the kill.

Just in time, the swimmer reached the low ladder that hung from the far cliff and hauled himself out, kicking at the nose of one of the sharks as it lunged out of the water towards him. The baying of the crowd was immediately replaced by a massive shout of approval. In response, the victorious swimmer leapt up and down, punching the air in triumph.

Vic nudged me gently in the side. “Told you he’d make it.”

“He’s a hero,” I said.

The crowd had calmed down and returned to their impatient muttering. But for now, nobody else was prepared to enter the water. So Vic and I sat by the edge of the cliff and after a while we got to chatting. Turned out, Vic was a writer.

“So what did you write?” I wanted to know.

“You know,” he said, “I think it’s less about what you actually wrote and more about what you were going to write.”

“Go on. So what were you going to write?”

“The ultimate book,” he said.

Just then, our conversation was broken by another splash and another great bellow from the crowd. At last, the next swimmer had taken the plunge.

We both looked over the bay as she boldly made her way across, surging forward with powerful, determined strokes. But once again, the alarming shadows glided up from the deep in remorseless pursuit.

I nudged Vic. “She’s not going to make it.”

“Sure she is.”

She had just about reached the ladder on the far cliff, but they were already on to her, striking mercilessly at her flailing body.

But just as all seemed lost, two figures balancing on the ladder managed to reach in and drag her out of the crimson-tainted water. The damage done was clear to see; one leg taken off from just below the knee. In a flash, she was carried onto a stretcher and hustled away for suitable medical attention. But even then, she managed to raise her fist and wave it in a weak gesture of victory, driving the crowd into ecstasies of appreciation.

Vic nudged me. “Told you she’d make it.”

“She’s a hero,” I said.

It took a bit longer for the crowd to quieten down this time. Once their noise had reduced sufficiently for normal conversation to be allowed, I resumed my discussion with Vic.

“So tell me. What exactly is this ultimate book?”

“The last book. The final book,” he explained.

“I have no idea what that means.”

“Have you been to a bookshop lately?”

“Yeah,” I nodded. “Once or twice.”

“And what impression did you get?”

“I don’t know. Lots of books I guess.”

“Precisely,” he said. “Lots and lots and lots of books. But did you ever ask yourself the question, ‘are all those books necessary?’”

“No,” I replied. “Can’t say that I ever have.”

“Ah, you see,” he said. “Not many people have thought of this. But that is the question I found myself asking. Why do we have so many books? Surely they’re not all necessary. Surely not every one of those books needs to be read. I reckon all you’d have to do is read, maybe fifteen of them, and you’ve pretty much covered everything that’s written in all of the other books.”

There was a splash, and then another splash, and then another. To the great delight of the crowd, three swimmers had jumped in simultaneously. All three struck out strongly for the far shore, attempting to outrace the sharks that now numbered at least twelve. One of them made it to the other side, where he flamboyantly accepted the plaudits of the crowd. However the other two did not. Barely three quarters of the way across, they were overtaken and rapidly ripped apart.

As all the sharks rushed in for their pound of flesh, another seven contestants leapt into the water. Five of them made it to the other side, three of them with bodies intact.

I nudged Vic. “I reckon that’s the way to go. Wait until the sharks are feeding and then make a dash for it.”

“Good plan,” he agreed.

It was soon clear that this latest burst of activity was over. No more contestants were ready to take on the inhabitants of that water, now stained a deep red. This was a relief as I was keen to continue my discussion with Vic.

“Sorry, I got a bit distracted,” I said. “What was that about fifteen books?”

“I was saying, I reckon you only need to read fifteen books and you can pretty much say that you’ve read every book that’s ever been written.”

“Only fifteen books you reckon?”

“Maybe twenty at max. Of course, you’d need to choose the right ones. You could read twenty books and they’d all be pretty much the same. No, you’d need to get a spread of all the different types of books in the shop.”

“Of course,” I agreed. “A good spread of all of the books. So what does this have to do with this ultimate book you were going to write?”

“Well that was my breakthrough. I began to think that if these twenty essential books have all been written already, then maybe, just maybe, there was still one that hadn’t.”

“What do you mean?”

“Look at it this way. With every book that’s ever been written, you’ve got some writer who’s trying to say something. Make a point. Create some sort of profound observation about the world that we live in. Only problem is, there are now so many books around that they’re all just repeating each other.”

“Repeating each other,” I said.

“Exactly. You’d think by now that everything that needs to be said has already been said. But I reckon there’s still one thing that hasn’t been said. One point that’s yet to be made. One final book that’s waiting to be written. And that’s when I figured that I was the bloke to write it.”

“The ultimate book,” I murmured. “That’s brilliant.”

“Too bloody right it is,” he said. “After my book is finished, nobody ever has to write another book again. Think of all the advantages. When you go into a bookshop, you won’t have to worry about whether some new book by a writer you’ve never heard of is going to be any good or not. Make life easier for booksellers too, ‘cos they won’t have to worry about stocking up on so many different books any more. And even better for publishers ‘cos they’ll never ever need to publish another book again. They can even consolidate their lists. Cut them right down so all we have is the twenty books that we really need.”

“Twenty-one,” I reminded him.

“Of course, twenty-one. How could I have forgotten? But do you know who the biggest winners will be?”

I was about to answer when we were interrupted by a rising slow handclap from the crowd, followed, in response, by a series of splashes. There were now at least twenty swimmers in the water. The formerly placid, blue bay was transformed into a cauldron of hysterical movement. And while occasionally a competitor proudly raised themselves up the ladder on the other side, the vast majority never made it halfway.

But exciting as it all seemed, I had somewhat lost interest in this spectacle. I was much more interested in hearing the rest of Vic’s story.

“No,” I finally replied, trying hard to make myself heard over the now incessant roar of the crowd.

“Writers,” said Vic, also yelling to make himself audible.

“What do you mean?”

“Think of all those writers out there, desperately typing away. Trying to think of how to be original. How to say something that’s never been said before.”


“Well now they don’t have to worry anymore. It can be known with certainly that everything that needs to be said has already been said. They can get on with doing something more valuable in their lives.”

“That’s genius!” I exclaimed.

“You reckon?”

“I reckon. Mate, you’d be doing the world a public service.”

“For sure.”

“So why didn’t you do it?”

“Why didn’t I do what?”

“Write the ultimate book.”

At that moment, a commotion arose around us. Apparently a couple of contestants had gotten into a disagreement and one had pushed the other into the water. The crowd was furious, booing loudly at such unsporting behaviour.

I nudged Vic. “That’s just not on,” I said.

“No bloody way,” he agreed.

It seemed that the other competitors shared this view. The miscreant was quickly picked up and carried, kicking and screaming, to the edge of the cliff, where he was unceremoniously tossed directly into the thickest mass of sharks in the bay. The jeers of the crowd immediately turned to cheers at the sight of justice being done.

“So why didn’t you write the ultimate book?” I asked again.

“Well here is the problem,” he explained. “In order to figure out which book hadn’t been written, first of all I had to figure out all the books that already had. And you know what that meant?”

“I get it. You pretty much had to read every single book that had already been written.”

“Well not every book. Remember there’s really only twenty books I needed to read.”

“That doesn’t sound so hard.”

“It doesn’t sound hard. But the really difficult bit is figuring out exactly which twenty books to choose when there’s so many to begin with.”

“I see.”

“And the more I thought about it, the more I came to realise that there wasn’t much this book could actually be about anyway. It can’t be a detective story ‘cos lots of people have already written them. It can’t be science fiction either, or one of those fantasy ones with wizards and elves and that. It can’t be funny, ‘cos there are lots of funny books out there, but it can’t be serious either, ‘cos I reckon there are probably even more of them.”

“I can see the problem.”

“So that’s when it hit me. I couldn’t do it. There was no way I could write this ultimate book. It was just too hard. My career as a writer had ended before it had even begun. But do you know something?”


He turned to me, his eyes glittering. “As a writer I might have been a failure but at least I set my sights high. I tried to do something that nobody had ever done before. I never ended up doing it but geez I gave it my best shot. And I reckon there’s something heroic about that.”

“You were a heroic failure,” I agreed.

“You’ve said it in one. A heroic failure. And as far as I’m concerned, that’s the only failure I’d ever want to be.”

“Here’s to heroic failures,” I cried, and we smashed our fists together as if we were making a toast.

“Hey, shall we do it now?” he asked.

I looked up at the sun, just starting to sink towards the horizon, and down to the rusty-brown waters of the bay, now seething with arms, legs and torsos, not to mention the hordes of sharks, still swarming in from the open ocean.

“If we don’t do it now, I reckon we never will,” I replied.

We shook hands.

“Good luck,” he said.

“And to you as well. Thanks heaps for the story.”

“No worries. How about on three. One, two, three!”

We both jumped. As I sank into its depths, the coldness of the water almost overwhelmed me. But then I made it back to the surface and took a deep breath, just as Vic’s head popped up beside me.

“Hey, do you reckon someone will ever do it?” I asked.

“Do what?”

“Actually write this ultimate book.”

“Dunno. But whoever does will have to be one top writer.”

“They’d be a hero?” I suggested.

Vic laughed. “Too right. They’d be a bloody hero.”

Dark shapes were beginning to loom through the murky water. It was time to end this.

“Race you to the other side,” I called.

“You’re on.”

I turned to face the ladder hanging from that opposite cliff so far away. And then I swam like I’ve never swam in all of my life.

April 16, 2011 in Dag

The Snot Fairy

A truly wondrous organ is that thing you call your nose.

It runs and snorts and sniffles, and it dribbles, drips and blows.

But did you ever wonder just how do its contents build up.

And why the more you empty out, the more that it gets filled up.

Of course there is an answer to this question that I pose.

Just how it is that all that stuff gets up into your nose.

It’s placed there by a being, not much bigger than a dot.

A sweet and fragile spirit called the Fairy of the Snot.

This magic little fairy is a marvel to be seen.

She wears a dress of silver and her flowing hair is green.

She has a crown upon her head, and wings upon her back.

And slung over her shoulder is a little golden sack.

Across the sea the fairy flies, and when her journey’s done.

She sees the snot fields far below her, glistening in the sun.

Then down she swoops, and in her hand she holds a scythe so tiny.

To harvest up the crop she finds, so ripe and fresh and shiny.

From bush to bush she flitters, like a busy bumble bee.

Until that sack upon her back is full as it can be.

Then up into the air she soars, and back over the sea.

She flies and flies until she has returned to our country.

And now it’s time at last for her real mission to begin.

She looks around and finds a nose, and then she flies right in.

She scoops a handful from her sack and rolls it in a ball.

And then she gently flings it so it sticks upon the wall.

From nose to nose the fairy flies, delivering her load.

To noses inside houses and to noses on the road.

She flutters through the city and she floats upon the breeze.

Sometimes we feel her tickling, and that is why we sneeze.

And when the day is over and it’s time for her to stop.

Her sack is finally empty and she’s so tired she could drop.

At last the busy Snot Fairy is able to relax.

And spend some time with her great friend, the Fairy of Earwax.

A note to any illustrators watching – I’d love to see this turned into a picture book.

Interested in sampling some more Dag-Lit? Doodling is now available for just 99c until the end of April from both Amazon and Smashwords.

April 14, 2011 in Dag

Why Dag-Lit?

In order to answer this question, I need to first explain a little more about exactly what the term “dag” means.

Dag is Australian slang. It refers to somebody who is a bit odd or unusual; someone whose appearance or behaviour don’t fit in with what is considered to be conventional or “cool”. Originally it was not a particularly pleasant way to describe someone – it actually derives from the wool industry and means the little pieces of crap that get stuck to the wool on a sheep’s backside.

But as with many other terms commonly used down under, what began as an insult soon evolved into something more complicated. People who didn’t think it was such a bad thing to be a bit odd or unconventional began to see it as a badge of pride rather than something to be ashamed of. These days when the word is used, it’s often in an affectionate way to describe someone who both doesn’t feel the need to conform and is also quite a bit of fun to be around as a result. And every second celebrity, actor, model, etc always seems to make a big deal of claiming that away from the camera they’re really a total dag.

So, in summary, a dag is a person who doesn’t easily fit into the boxes society creates to categorise people.

But how does this relate to writing and books?

Nobody (at least not in the publishing industry) has ever been able to figure out where my stories fit. Are they for kids or are they for adults? Are they science-fiction or fantasy or something different again? I once had a story ping-pong so many times between the different departments of a major publisher that it got completely lost and when I eventually rang them up, nobody had the faintest idea where it was. Another time, a publisher told me that my book dealt with adult ideas but couldn’t be for adults because it had a lot of funny names.

So that’s when I began to realise that my stories are dags. They’re unconventional and odd, and they don’t fit into the various boxes that the publishing industry has decreed books must fit into. And also, like a true dag, I reckon they’re lots of fun. Therefore, what better name could I come up with for a new genre to describe my stories than dag-Lit?

So go ahead and try a bit of dag-Lit. If you’re eight or if you’re eighty, as long as you’re the kind of person who likes to look at the world in your own particular way, and who doesn’t like to be pushed down into a little box, then I reckon it’s for you.

Interested? Like to know more? Doodling is now available for just 99c until the end of April from both Amazon and Smashwords.

April 10, 2011 in Dag

Doodling Chapter 4

Not So Peachy

Neville stared at the girl who had pulled him out of the way of the world. He could still feel the blast of air rushing past his face and hear the whooshing roar, gradually diminishing now as the world hurried away. Finally he found his voice again.

“Th…thank you,” he managed to stammer.

“It’s okay,” she replied in her serious voice. “I saw you lying down in front of the world and I thought I’d better do something.”

“You saved my life,” exclaimed Neville. “What can I do to repay you?”

“Don’t worry about it,” said the girl quickly. “I did what I had to do.”

“Well I still feel like I owe you something. My name’s Neville by the way.”

“Nice to meet you, Neville. I’m Helen. Why don’t you come this way?”

Neville followed Helen to a small asteroid not far from the edge of the field. He lay down on the soft ground and closed his eyes, waiting for his heart to stop racing and his nerves to stop bouncing and jangling like an extremely agitated marionette.

Soft ground? None of the other asteroids he had visited had soft ground. He opened his eyes and sat up again, and was instantly amazed by his new surroundings.

He was lying on a grassy lawn. All around him were pots full of colourful flowers and at the far end was a small tree. Helen was watering the flowers with a little yellow watering can, but when she noticed that Neville was sitting up again she walked towards the tree and picked a piece of fruit from it.

“Would you like a peach?” she asked.

Neville nodded eagerly. He accepted the peach and took a big bite. It was delicious. Sweet and juicy, with just that little touch of tartness that a good peach should have.

“Is this your asteroid?” he asked Helen. She nodded.

“It’s lovely. Did you plant all of this yourself?”

She nodded again, her face still looking very serious.

“Wow,” exclaimed Neville. “This is definitely the nicest asteroid I have ever seen.”

“Thank you,” said Helen quietly. “Have you been out here for long?”

“Not really,” replied Neville. “I’ve been to a few other asteroids but the people I’ve met have all been completely mad. In fact you’re the first sensible person I’ve met in this asteroid field.”

Helen almost smiled at that. She picked up her watering can and began watering the flowers again. Neville finished the peach and looked around, searching for a rubbish bin to put the pip into. But there didn’t seem to be one anywhere.

“Excuse me Helen, what should I do with this pip?”

“Oh just throw it away.”

“Throw it away?” Neville was shocked. “But I don’t want to litter your lovely asteroid.”

“It’s a peach pip,” said Helen. “If you throw it away, it will grow into a peach tree. And that means even more peaches for us to eat.”

Neville was impressed by Helen’s logic. He threw the peach pip so that it landed next to the peach tree. Then he lay back again, watching the other asteroids fly past. “Now this is the sort of asteroid a guy could really get used to,” he said. “You don’t mind if I stay a while do you?”

“Stay as long as you want.”

Neville was beginning to like Helen too. He watched her as she moved about the flowers, carefully measuring out a little stream of water for each. She had gone to such an effort to create a little paradise in the middle of a wasteland. And yet there was something about her that didn’t quite fit. Something about the way she didn’t seem able to just relax and enjoy her surroundings. She always looked so serious. Even when she smiled, it seemed like she had a great weight on her shoulders.

Suddenly Neville was concerned about her. After all, she had helped him out. Maybe he could find some way to return the favour and make her feel better. “Is there something wrong?” he called out to her.

“I’m worried,” she replied.

“About what?”

“About the world.”

“What about the world?”

Helen stopped her watering and sat next to Neville. “It’s moving too fast.”

“But we don’t have to worry about that,” said Neville. “We’re not on the world anymore. It can move as fast as it wants and we can just sit back and watch it.”

“Pick up that peach pip again,” instructed Helen, pointing to where Neville had thrown it.

Oh no, thought Neville. After everything had seemed so good, suddenly it looked like Helen was just as mad as everybody else.

Helen must have been reading Neville’s mind. “I’m not mad,” she insisted. “Just go and pick up the pip.”

Neville did as he was told. He crawled over and picked up the pip. Then he crawled back to Helen.

“Give it to me.”

Neville handed it over. Helen had already picked a few stalks of grass and tied them together to form a sort of string. She looped one end of this string around the pip and knotted it tight. Then she handed the other end to Neville.

“Now stand up and swing it around your head.”

Neville looked at the strange contraption. Then he looked back at Helen. She had insisted that she was not mad but Neville was beginning to have his doubts.

“Just do it,” said Helen in a stern voice.

Neville stood up and began to swing the pip around his head. He felt a little silly, as if he were a pretend cowboy swinging a lasso at a rodeo, but he kept on going anyway.

“Now faster,” ordered Helen.

Neville swung the pip around faster. It began to make a soft whooshing sound as it spun around his head.


The pip was really racing around Neville’s head now. The whooshing was beginning to get louder and he could feel the strain on his arm as the pip pulled at it.

“Even faster!”

Neville was getting dizzy as the pip hurtled around.

“As fast as you can!” cried Helen.

Neville had almost had enough of this. The pip was going so fast he couldn’t even see it, and his arm was really aching now. But just as he was about to stop, his suspicions about Helen utterly confirmed, something happened.

The grass string snapped. Freed from its restraints, the pip immediately flew away over the lawn. It crashed into one of the flower pots, smashing it into a hundred pieces.

“Oh no!” cried Neville. He raced over to the broken pot but there was nothing he could do. It was completely destroyed.

“I’m so sorry about your flower pot,” he said.

“The pot isn’t important,” said Helen. “But can you see now why I’m so worried?”

For a moment Neville still didn’t know what she meant. Then suddenly it hit him. The pip was the world and the grass string was the sun’s gravitational pull. And if the world kept on getting faster and faster, it would eventually break away from that gravitational pull and fly off into space. And if anything lay in its way? Neville looked down at the shattered flower pot, instantly realising what it represented. The first thing the world would crash into once it had escaped from its orbit.

He looked back at Helen, totally panic-stricken. She returned his gaze and nodded, resignation in her eyes. At last Neville managed to speak.

“This asteroid field is doomed!”

Want to know more? What further adventures does Neville experience? Can he possibly save the asteroid field?

Doodling available for the special price of 99c till the end of April. Just go to http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/4110

April 2, 2011 in Dag

Doodling Chapter 3

Taking Aim

Neville hurried away from the asteroid of the Toaster People. He looked around, scanning the other asteroids for signs of life. If one of the asteroids had been populated by humans, then surely there must be others. Not everybody that had let go of the world would want to settle in a place where a toaster was the ruling deity. All Neville had to do was find another inhabited asteroid. One occupied by people who were a little more sensible. Then, at last, he could find a home.

As Neville gazed across the great sea of celestial bodies, he couldn’t help noticing for the first time how spectacularly awesome the scene before him was. It was like a vast hanging mobile where each individual piece had been specially crafted by a different sculptor. Each asteroid had its own unique shape and glowed with its own unique hue.

But there was one asteroid in particular that caught his attention. Smaller than most of the others, it moved unpredictably across the sky. First it would flit one way. Then suddenly it would stop and veer off in a completely different direction. It was like a small dog that had lost its master and didn’t know where to start looking.

Neville was intrigued by this strange asteroid and decided to take a closer look. Approaching it was difficult. Every time he started to get close the asteroid suddenly darted off at right angles, forcing Neville to quickly brake and change direction, a difficult task in zero gravity.

Finally Neville made it to the asteroid. He reached out to grip it before it could change its trajectory again, then hauled himself aboard. He sat down for a minute, to get his bearings, and then tried to stand up.

Standing up was not a simple task. Neville felt like a surfer riding a particularly treacherous wave as he staggered and swayed to keep his balance atop the winding, twisting asteroid. He fell down and struggled back to his feet three times before he finally started to get the hang of it. Then he set off to explore this strange new place.

After walking for about a minute, Neville noticed something even odder. A bright orange beach umbrella. He approached the umbrella and saw a girl lying underneath it, on a large rock shaped somewhat like a banana lounge. She was wearing a swimming costume and a pair of dark sunglasses. Presently she spoke.

“Did you bring the sunscreen?” she asked in a fairly expressionless voice.

“No,” replied Neville.

For a second there was an awkward silence. Then she spoke again. “I guess I’d better get back into the pool then.”

“But there’s no pool here,” said Neville, somewhat perplexed by the nature of this conversation.

“There isn’t?” The girl moved her head from side to side, quickly realising the truth of Neville’s observation. “Well that’s okay. I can’t swim anyway.”

“Then why are you wearing a swimming costume?” asked Neville.

“How tall are you?” replied the girl.

“I don’t know,” said Neville, as it had been a while since he’d last measured himself.

“My uncle is tall,” said the girl.

“Oh really?” said Neville.

“His name is Ron and he has a moustache.”

“Oh.” Neville struggled for something else to say. Fortunately the girl’s thoughts had already moved on.

“Maybe I’ll go down to the newsagent. Buy myself a book.”

“But there’s no newsagent here,” protested Neville. “We’re in the middle of outer space.”

Once again the girl made that movement of her head “There isn’t? Well that’s okay. I can’t read anyway.”

“But if you can’t read, why would you want to buy a book?”

“What colour skirt do you think would go better with this swimsuit, red or green?” asked the girl.

“Red,” said Neville without even thinking.

The girl screwed up her face. “I don’t like red.”

“Well then green.”

The girl screwed her face up even more. “I don’t like green either.”

“Then why did you ask me?” exclaimed Neville who was now totally confused.

“Why did the leopard change its sheets?” asked the girl without even missing a beat.

“You mean why did the leopard change its spots,” corrected Neville.

“I don’t know. To get to the other side?”

Neville had finally had enough. “This is a particularly aimless conversation,” he said firmly.

The girl shrugged her shoulders. “This is a particularly aimless asteroid.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“Throw a stone at me.”

“Do you deliberately try to not answer any of my questions?” demanded Neville.

“No I mean it,” said the girl. “Throw a stone at me.”

“But I might hurt you.”

“Just do it.”

Neville bent over and looked for a stone to throw. He chose a small pebble because he didn’t want to cause any injuries. Then he took careful aim and threw it softly at the girl. But the girl didn’t even flinch as the stone flew harmlessly away to the side.

“See,” she said.

“But I aimed that stone straight at you,” cried Neville.

“Do you understand now?” said the girl. “Nothing on this asteroid has any aim. Nothing that you say. Nothing that you do. This is the most aimless asteroid in the whole asteroid field.”

Neville looked around. The girl definitely had a point. The way the asteroid twisted and turned through the asteroid field, it seemed to have no idea where it was going to go next. It made Neville dizzy to watch. He looked back at the girl.

“Nothing on this asteroid has any aim?”

“Including me. I have no aim.”

“But surely you must have some sort of aim,” protested Neville.


“I don’t know.” Neville thought for a moment, trying to figure out how to back his argument up. “It must get terribly boring after a while.”

“Maybe it does,” replied the girl. “I don’t know. It doesn’t really seem to be that important. Not on this asteroid anyway.”

“Then I think it’s time we both got off this asteroid,” said Neville who didn’t like the idea of not having any aim. “Will you come with me?”

“Oh all right, if you insist. Just let me go and get the car keys.”

“But there’s no car here.”

The girl moved her head from side to side. “There isn’t? Well that’s okay. I can’t drive anyway.”

Neville sighed and turned away. She wasn’t going to join him. She was just going to lie around, living her little aimless life on her little aimless asteroid.

He jumped off the asteroid and watched as it zigzagged crazily away. In his heart, he knew that what the girl had said was wrong. It was important to have an aim. What was the point of living if you didn’t?

Neville decided there and then that he had better find an aim for himself. But thinking about your life direction while you’re standing in the middle of an asteroid field isn’t such an easy thing to do. The best way to work out what his aim would be was to get out into the open, so he could concentrate better.

Neville found a nice quiet spot, turned himself around so that he didn’t have to look at the asteroids any more and started to think. What would be a good aim? How could he create a fulfilling life for himself here in the middle of nothingness?

Suddenly Neville’s concentration was broken by a roar. A great whooshing roar, coming from right behind him. He turned to look and then froze in fear. The world was rushing into view again. It surged forward at a crazy speed, spinning wildly and throwing people off in all directions. And it was coming straight for him.

For a couple of seconds Neville was too terrified to move. Then he collected his wits and began to run as fast as he could. But it was no use. There was no way he could get out of the way in time. The world loomed behind him, larger and larger. He could not possibly outrun it.

Neville closed his eyes and curled himself up, preparing for the shock of impact.

Suddenly he felt a strong hand tagging at his shoulder. In a flash he was pulled out of the way, just as the world hurtled past. It came so close that Neville could see all of Africa, only millimetres from his nose. He breathed a great sigh of relief then turned to face his saviour.

It was a girl, about his age and about his height. She had medium length, slightly curly, reddish brown hair, and a serious face which softened slightly as she met his eyes.

“Phew,” she said. “That was a close one.”

Confused? Wondering what’s going on? Check out Neville’s previous adventures in Doodling chapter 1 and Doodling chapter 2.

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