Chapter 4: Tainted Lust

Author: Jennifer Keaton
Date: 16th July 1997

"Patrick! What's up?" Erica asked.

"What's up?" asked Patrick incredulously. "I've been worried sick about you! When we parted, you were on your way to pick up the package, I don't hear from you for days and when I try you at work, they said you'd been fired and you hadn't bothered to pick up your stuff."

Erica stopped. "I can't remember anything between leaving to get the package and buying these sausages!" she said slowly.

Patrick's stared at her. "I knew it! You've been kidnapped by aliens, they've probed you and wiped your memories."

Erica groaned; why was Patrick such a fucking nerd?. "There's a more logical explanation, I'm sure," she snapped. "Now, give me a lift to work, Roswell-Boy."

As they walked to Patrick's beat-up aquamarine Datsun 120Y parked outside the Rabid Dog Caf on King St, Erica wondered what had happened the past three days. They got into Patrick's car, and Erica stared at the butcher's paper that held the sausages . . . then it all came back.

On the way to work to pick up the mysterious package, she'd run into Rex Carter, the winsome host of Channel 9's News at 4am for Insomniacs. The show rated poorly, even for that timeslot, since insomniacs didn't need to be reminded of all the trouble in the world. Erica had met him one night at BellyWackers, a popular Sydney nightclub. With his wavy blonde hair, tanned complexion and boyish grin, she desperately wanted to shag him.

Rex had suggested they go to the Lizard Lounge for two for one drinks and finger food, and Erica had agreed. She'd had several long island iced teas, then Rex suggested they go back to his Woollahra apartment.

Waves of nausea washed over Erica as her brain trotted out its entire repertoire of unpleasant memories from that night. They'd re-enacted Madonna's A Certain Sacrafice film and Rex had fried an egg on her stomach. When he'd gotten a packet of sausages out of the fridge, she'd made her excuses and left.

That explains the sausages, she thought, shaking her head. Still, she could never tell Patrick, it would devastate him. Anyway they had arrived in the city.

As the car turned into a side street, she noticed her belongings had been unceremoniously thrown into a dumpster.

Fishing out the package, she was overwhelmed by the stench. Whatever it was, it was past its expiry date. Tearing at the wrapping, Erica realised it was a goat's leg. Attached was a note:

We didn't think we'd have to go(at) to such extremes to kick your butt into trying Royal Jollies.

"A fucking publicity stunt," she spat in disgust. Still, with that out of the way, she could focus on Flikka.

The Swedish paraphernalia suggested it wasn't really Flikka, she reasoned, but why would someone want her to think he was dead? Then she remembered that he had been working on a film about the Finland mafia, the Slavd. He obviously wanted the world to think he was dead. "Poor Flikka," she said to herself. "Never could quite grasp that I wasn't a news journalist."

But if he was alive, he was in trouble. She had to contact him, but how? Then she remembered the quote outside the butchers, while she'd been hatching that insane plot and following a psychotic urge to buy sausages: "This is an ex-parrot."

"Of course!" she said. Flikka was a Monty Python obsessive. Surely if she logged onto the Python news group and asked for the lyrics to the Python classic "Finland", Flikka would respond.

"Patrick," she asked in her sweetest voice, "Can I borrow your notebook?".