Projects / TWO BY TWO

VEHICLES – Flash Fiction

Our writer-in-residence Emily DeDakis is developing an imaginative text piece that draws from the time she spent in Sailortown and her curiosity for the neighbourhood.

To represent this ongoing process on our digital platforms, Emily has created pieces of ‘flash’ fiction that use a sentence from her main story as a departure point for a new short text to take us somewhere completely different. This process represents the fractured experience of Sailortown – a neighbourhood made up of the fragments of current residents’, workers’, dwellers’, visitors’ and wanderers’ stories.

Below is Emily’s third instalment of flash fiction:




The lying-down person cannot shrug. Heather’s dentist posed questions when Heather’s mouth was packed with mini-mirrors and squirty-tubes. Pure real estate for thoughts to rattle around in. Heather could tilt back her chin, shut her eyes and bathe in speculation while her molars were counted.

“There’s breaking up (me not you, bad sex with you, good sex with that guy, this not that, here not there) … And then there’s I’M GOING TO MARS. Goodbye you, hello Mars,” the masked dentist marvelled.

There is a very long countdown to these liftoffs.“Wisdom tooth partially erupted,” the dentist announced. “How does he get there? I mean what physically takes him there? It’s going to take what, half a year?”

Paul taking the day off and Marie Kondo-ing – his usual method of packing. How will you know what you need unless you see it? he’d say, like he’d thought it all through. He’d always thought it part of the way through.


Paul driving to the airport and parking lonely down the far end of the long-stay lot. Paul years before saying, It’s a one-way trip, babe. There’s only ever one way this is going.

“Now spit.”

First date, after she leaned down to kiss him through the driver’s seat window, before she walked to her door, he said, Do you know what I’ve wanted literally forever? Half a decade ago.

“How will you find out if he goes? If it ever takes off?

Heather left worse puzzles for other lovers. Sara who she ghosted. Ben who she twisted: Be more this. No, more that. No, less you.

“Touch the roof of your mouth with your tongue.” Paul was the least mysterious. She even knew where to find it. She got there first.


GONE TO MARS, the note on the dash read. The coach that turned into a pumpkin. The man who turned into a car.

“And spit.”