Out of Time (13.1)

[The continuation of the Survivor Short Story “project” in the War On Boris the Bytrode series. This time, back in time, 1967, following the adventures of middle-aged mum, Letitia…Now, being a project of sorts, over the summer holidays, I have pieced together the story from beginning to end, and then revised it. A main thread has evolved. Something to do with murder and Letitia’s unfortunate involvement in it. Characters such as Frieda have been developed. Plus, characters, like Ella, have emerged from the shadows of past backstories that never before have been in print. In this episode (13.1) we have the meeting of these two characters…]

An Untimely Visitor

Part 1


Meanwhile in Tasmania, the grass was dry and the weather about to heat up for the start of school.

The first rays of dawn filtered through the lace curtains of Frieda’s bedroom. After glimpsing the start of a new day, she turned over and settled back into a deep sleep.


Frieda groaned. ‘Go back to bed Johnny.’

‘Mummy!’ Johnny pushed at her back, rocking her. ‘There’s a funny lady in our good room.’

‘What’s she doing there?’

‘I let her in, Mummy,’ Johnny sighed. ‘She says she’s my “Cross-mother”.’ Another sigh. ‘But she doesn’t look like a “Cross-mother”, she looks too young and pretty to be cross.’

‘Now you are making me cross, Johnathon, dear. Go back to bed. You must’ve been dreaming.’

Johnny tugged at Frieda’s hand. ‘No, Mummy, she’s a real cross-mother. You must see her. You must!’

Frieda rolled her eyes and gulped down a rising sense of seediness. ‘Oh, alright, if I must.’

Mother and son pad down the stairs and into the lounge room.

A petite figure dressed in a blue dirndl stood gazing at the panoramic view of the Derwent.

She turned and flicked a platinum plait away from her face.

Frieda gasped.

The stranger smiled, her deep blue eyes twinkling. ‘Beautiful view. I love it when the sun rises over the sea. Don’t you?’

‘Who are you?’

The woman stepped towards Frieda and took her hand. ‘Come, sit down. There’s something I need to explain.’

‘What?’ Frieda asked.

The German lady paused.

‘Well, don’t just stand there. Tell me.’

‘You need to sit. It’s important.’

Frieda exhaled and shook her head. ‘Fine, then, I will sit.’

She perched on the edge of the couch. The German lady sat beside her and caressed the frills on her baby blue dress.

‘I’m sitting,’ Frieda said.

‘So, you are.’

Johnny peered into the German lady’s blue, blue eyes. ‘Why are you cross, lady?’

‘I am not cross.’ The lady smiled. ‘My name is Ella and I am a friend of your mother’s.’

‘I find that hard to believe.’ Frieda leaned back and studied this strange woman called Ella. ‘You must’ve been a very young friend, my mother died during the war. So did my father. I am an orphan.’

‘To tell the truth, Frieda, your mother is very much alive. She is living in Melbourne now. You see, you were not an orphan; you were kidnapped.’

‘Really? All this time, since I was a child, I have believed I was an orphan, Lebensborn, they called me. Bred pure for the Reich. And now you tell me my mother is in Melbourne?’

‘Yes. Are you not happy about that?’

‘Ecstatic!’ Frieda scoffed. ‘And how long have you known about my mother and me?’

‘Um…’ Ella shrugged. ‘A little while.’

‘And why did it take you such a long while to come over to Tasmania to tell me?’

‘I have been elsewhere…on business. Out of…’ Ella touched Frieda’s arm. ‘But I am here now telling you. And she wants to see you. She wants you to come to Melbourne and for you to meet.’

‘And how exactly are we to travel to Melbourne?’

‘You have a sailboat, don’t you?’

‘Yes, but…I can’t…’

‘But I can.’

‘But my husband Wilhelm won’t…’

Ella’s eyes twinkled. ‘Don’t worry Frieda, I have been in close contact with your husband. In fact, I met him in Melbourne recently. One of the reasons he went there, to meet with your mother. And yes, he has agreed to lend us the boat.’

‘Not too close, I hope.’ Frieda frowned. ‘You and my husband.’

‘No! Not at all!’ Ella laughed. ‘We go way back, Wilhelm and me. Just old friends, to tell the truth.’

Johnny danced on the spot. ‘Are we going on a sailing trip, Mummy?’

Frieda nodded. ‘Yes, my darling boy. And you are going to meet my mummy, your grandma.’


As Frieda and Johnny packed clothes and essentials into a suitcase, Ella sipped a cup of tea that Frieda had prepared for her. Ella watched them and while the pair were busy packing, she chuckled. I remember Gunter, my youngest at Johnny’s age, she mused. So sweet, so innocent.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022

Feature Photo: Morning on Derwent, Hobart, Tasmania © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016


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Out of Time (11.5)

Barbeque Battles

Part 5

[The continuation of the Survivor Short Story “project” in the War On Boris the Bytrode series. This time, back in time, 1967, following the adventures of middle-aged mum, Letitia…In this episode (11.5) Meanwhile in Adelaide, all does not go according to plan at Maggie’s “Welcome Home” party…]

Party Time

The celebration day of Maggie’s return was one of those brilliant late summer days that Adelaide, in 1967 could be proud of. There was not a breath of wind, the skies were clear and deep blue, and parrots squabbled in the ancient gum tree that towered from the neighbour’s backyard. Maggie sat on a fold-out director’s chair under the pergola, where she savoured a glass of sparkling champagne.

While the Tails cooked sausages and lamb chops on the charcoal barbeque, Liam feasted his eyes on the latest “Wheels” magazine, dreaming of a car that would fly him out of this dreary world where he suspected he did not belong with parents he also suspected weren’t his.

Family friend, Boris Roach, bearing two bowls of salad stepped out onto the patio to lay his offerings on the old wooden table painted mission-brown. He sidled up to Liam. ‘Hello, there boy.’

Liam, eyes fixed on the latest Valiant, muttered, ‘Hi, there, Boris.’

The telephone trilled from within the house. Faintly he could hear Max’s voice. ‘Hello? Hello? Is anyone there?’

Instantly Liam froze. He sensed trouble.

‘Jemima? Oh, Jemima, I remember you from…’ Max said. Then the patter of Max’s sandshoes on the wooden floorboards. ‘Liam! Liam! Come quick! It’s J…’ The pattering slowed, as did the voice. ‘Oh, hi, there Mr. Roach.’

‘Ah, my lad, do I detect more visitors for our welcome home party?’

‘N-no, nobody…Prank call.’

Footsteps shuffled up the hallway and in a low voice that only Liam’s keen ears could hear, ‘Best not come…cockroach…’

Then click. Receiver once more resting in its cradle.

While his Aryan-born charges, Monica (4), and Wally (6) cavorted on the lawn under the sprinkler, Boris leant over the wooden table. Tucked in his collar, a large napkin. With two pincer-like claws he held the lamb chop and gnawed at it. ‘Delicious!’ Boris slurped the juices dribbling on his poor excuse of a chin. ‘A fine piece of meat. On par with some humans, I’ve…You know, Maggie, you can have these two chikadees if you like.’

Maggie blanched. ‘Nah, thanks, them two I’ve got’s enough.’

‘I’d hate to put them in Seaforth, or up there in the Orphanage.’

The phone’s bell shrilled again.

Maggie who was bustling past on her way to collect the tomato sauce, picked up the receiver. ‘Hello?’

‘Hello, I was wondering if I could speak to Maggie Taylor, or is it still Cowper?’

Maggie thinned her lips. ‘This is she. And who is this?’

Click! The receiver buzzed and crackled.

‘Hello? Hello?’ Maggie banged the receiver with her fist. ‘Hello?’ She stared at the receiver and then slammed it on the cradle.

Tails called from the kitchen. ‘Who was that, dear?’

‘Nobody,’ Maggie snapped.

‘Where’s the sauce? I can’t seem to find da sauce!’ Rustling and doors banging. ‘Mags where do you put tha sauce?’

Maggie sighed as she strode into the kitchen and opened the fridge door. ‘Here! Are you blind as well as deaf and dumb, dear?’

The afternoon lulled in pleasant sunshine. The boys entertained their mischievous minds and young guests, propelling plums with their sling shots onto the neighbour’s newly laid concrete driveway.

Max discussed upping the ante and ferreting out his dad’s slug gun to take pot shots at the pigeons perched on top of the stobie poles. But when old Mrs Plunket emerged from her home and growled at them, Max abandoned the idea.

Monica whined, ‘Oh, come on! Don’t let an old lady spoil your fun.’

Wally danced on the spot. ‘Slug gun. Slug gun. Shoot. Shoot. Shoot.’

‘Maybe not the slug gun; the plum gun will have to do,’ Liam said and stretched the slingshot with plum and took aim. Mrs Plunket grew as purple as a ripe plum and roared at them over the fence. She threatened to have a word to their parents and have the boys clean up the mess. Then she chased them inside. In Liam’s room, they played trampolines on his bed while unstuffing his feather pillow with a robust battle of the pillow versus Liam’s head.

He fought their blows and screamed, ‘I’m hating you more with each minute! You ferals!’

Meanwhile, Tails, Maggie and Boris, full of food and wine, reclined on deck chairs in the balmy afternoon and drifted all three of them into a post-lunch coma.

Boris, still with napkin tucked under his collar; a napkin decorated with smatterings of tomato sauce, smacked his lips and dreamt of roasted human flesh. His latest quarry, August. In technicolour and smells combined, he fantasised how he would marinate his nemesis and then smoke his matured meat on the barbeque.

‘Sweet revenge,’ Boris mumbled. He still hadn’t recovered from August spoiling his fun during the last World War. ‘How dare August take the girl, Frieda from him.’ He had plans for Frieda. Once. ‘Oh, well, there’s always her children,’ he consoled his hurt pride, and then chuckled, ‘And grandchildren.’

The doorbell rang. A mournful “ding-dong”.

‘Yes, coming,’ Maggie, half-filled champagne glass in hand, shuffled through the house, corridor, lounge room and to the front door. ‘I hope it’s not the neighbours complaining that you boys are shooting pigeons again.’

Maggie opened the front door. She paled. The champagne glass dropped from her hand and smattered on the green-painted concrete porch.

‘What’s going on?’ Liam, who had escaped the battleground of his room, asked. He ignored the smashed glass and watched dispassionately as his mother and a blonde figure scrambled to mop up the glass shards and bubbly.

He turned to his brother. ‘Who’s that?’

‘Our salvation,’ Max whispered. ‘Now will you believe there is a God?’

‘If she sorts out the “ferals” in my room, I’m a convert.’

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021

Feature Photo: Sky above the gum tree © L.M. Kling 2016


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The Lost World of the Wends–Free


World of the Wends

The rooster crowed. Amie yawned and stretched her hand slapping against Wilma’s pillow. ‘Oops! Sorry,’ Amie mumbled. Wilma did not stir; she slept like the proverbial babe.

Amie peered at the window.

The rooster crowed again.

Amie eased her way out from under the doona, and then tottered over to the window. The landscape was cloaked in shades of violet, the black blocks of village buildings barely discernible against the nightscape. Standing at the window so long she shivered, Amie studied the stars, trying to make sense of them. Stars sparkled through a cloud shaped like the hand of God. She thought it must be a cloud. Why do the stars all look so different? She examined the clusters but couldn’t make sense of any constellations. None seemed familiar. ‘Must be I’m tired or perhaps dreaming,’ she murmured.

The rooster crowed yet again.

‘Oh, go on, you! It’s the middle of the night,’ Amie said. She returned to her bed and crept under the quilt.

The rooster continued to herald the dawn. Cockle-doodle-doo! Cockle-doodle-doo. Amie lay awake. Cockle-doodle-doo. Cockle-doodle-screech! Squawk! Squawk! Screech!

‘Don’t tell me—foxes.’ Amie turned over and tried to steal a few more hours’ sleep. But sleep eluded her.

The hens clucked. The rooster squawked. A gate squeaked and then clunked. Then the noise of chooks in the chook yard sounded like a party with a cacophony of squawking, clucking, cockle-doodling and footsteps scrunching.

Amie heard a thud. Shrieks and the sound of wings flapping followed.

Must save the poor rooster. Wearing only her nightdress that Frau Biar had lent her, she raced out of the bedroom. She stumbled in the darkened living area as she made her way to the door. The squawking spurred her on. She fumbled for the knob. No knob. She groped at a long metal thing—a latch. She worked the latch, tugging it, pulling at it, wiggling and waggling trying to open the door.

[Extract from The Lost World of the Wends]

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021

Feature photo: Chook on the run, Tasmania © L.M. Kling 2001


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The Hitch-hiker

Mission of the Unwilling

Out of Time (10.5)

Doors of Time

Part 5

[The continuation of the Survivor Short Story “project” in the War On Boris the Bytrode series. This time, back in time, 1967, following the adventures of middle-aged mum, Letitia… In this episode (10.5) Letitia becomes acquainted with the flat Gunter has allowed her to stay in…]

Further Back In Time

She was prised out of her travel-stupor as a light-coloured concrete driveway magically absorbed them into a cluster of flats. Under the thin cover of carport, Gunter terminated the engine and yanked the handbrake to almost vertical.

‘So, here we are! You can stay here as long as you like. Okay, a couple of weeks, anyway,’ Gunter said unwinding his lanky frame out of the car.

Letitia pushed open her door with some effort and watched as he placed a brick under the back tyre. The Austin creaked as if in protest. She noticed a bent pole opposite. Obviously, the pole had suffered such a fate at the mercy of this car.

Gunter jangling some keys, loped up the narrow path framed with a few withered sticks of trees. She shuddered at the gazanias attacking the rocks that marked the dried-out lawn. Reminded her of some of the housing trust houses near where she had lived in Mirror. Different era. But same kind of houses, and same level of neglect.

‘I’m looking after this flat while my friend is away on tour; he’s the clown in the circus. Actually, it was his mother’s house,’ Gunter explained as he fiddled with the with the key in the lock of the door. ‘It must be all in the wrist action.’ He muttered with frustration as he jiggled the key in the lock. ‘Das ist eine Dumkopf!’ He rattled the door and twisted the key willing it to work. ‘See, it is not my house. There is a knack to it – I mean getting the door unlocked.’

‘Let me try,’ Letitia said as she grabbed the keys from Gunter. The cream painted wooden door appeared like the one possessed by her Mirror house. ‘It seems to have a similar temperament to a house I once lived in.’

‘Mirror?’ Gunter sighed as Letitia took over.

Within seconds the lock clicked in compliance and after unlocking the door with ease, they were inside staring at hideous brown carpet with accompanying musty odour.

‘Well, I will leave you to it,’ Gunter said. ‘I must get back to the boarding house or old Mrs. C will lock me out. I am sure you will be fine finding everything. I mean it is just a home. You will be right. Tschüs.’ His voice was beginning to trail off down the dimly lit path. ‘I am just down the road if you have any questions,’ he called out from the hidden darkness of the carport. ‘I think my phone number is somewhere there. Must go. Bis später.’

With a thunderous roar of the engine that caused the metal roof to vibrate, Gunter’s Austin rolled out of the carport and vanished around a corner of apartment complex.

‘Thanks for the tips,’ Letitia muttered to the greasy brown carpet. She sank onto an iridescent green felt cushion that garnished the white vinyl clad armchair and gazed, her eyes glazed, on her surroundings. There were the cream painted walls, lolly-green kitchen cupboards, the brown carpet sucking in life and light, the white wood framed curtain-challenged window, and finally an ebony veneer radiogram cabinet that engulfed the front end of the tiny lounge room. If it wasn’t for the 1967 calendar that was placed neatly under the austere mini-Christmas tree gracing the cedar dining table, she would have been sure she had been thrust further back in time to the 1930’s. Instead, only the décor and furnishings had been preserved, frozen in time, not her.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021

Feature Photo: Dolls House © J. Gross circa 1965 (most probably arranged by me as I was the owner of the dolls house from the age of around 2. I’m thinking that the photo was taken in our front yard soon after I received it as a gift. I remember playing with the doll’s house in our front garden. I also remember “painting” the doll’s house when I was about 3. But that’s another story where my escapades got me into strife…)


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Out of Time (10.3)

Doors of Deception

Part 3

Black Hole Bag of Time

[The continuation of the Survivor Short Story “project” in the War On Boris the Bytrode series. This time, back in time, 1967, following the adventures of middle-aged mum, Letitia… In this episode (10.3) Letitia tries to get to the bottom of Gunter’s baggage …]

‘Hmm!’ Letitia persevered on the box track. That this was what Jemima used to transport them back in time. ‘That black box was precious to her. It’s very valuable. Did you ever happen to see it?’

Gunter shook his head. ‘Nein! She had this big black bag though. I used to call it the black hole. She was always losing things in it. Yet, she always had everything — everything she needed. It is amazing what she had in that bag.’ He gave a short snort of amusement. ‘I half expected her to pull out a kitchen sink. I mean she had everything!’ He looked directly at Letitia. ‘Hey, where is your bag? Don’t women always have a bag with them?’

‘Yeah, usually. I travel light.’ Letitia was rather pleased with herself for the clever play of words. ‘Anyway, mine got stolen after I got off the boat.’

‘Oh, that is a shame. Were you on a boat? You get around!’

‘Oh, just a bit of Tassie actually. That’s where I disappeared to if you have been wondering. Top Secret IGSF Mission business. Then after completing the mission, I stayed with her name which I won’t mention and husband. They’re the ones who have sent me on this mission to Adelaide.’ Letitia leant forward and whispered, ‘I have to pretend to be Maggie, Tail’s wife, can you believe it?’

‘That won’t work.’

‘How so? I thought I could say I’m Maggie in disguise.’

‘Still won’t.’

Letitia reclined on her seat. ‘How do you know it won’t?’

‘I just know.’ Gunter puffed out his chest. ‘Besides, I saw Maggie this morning. Dressed like a Hippie. And Bo…’

Letitia grinned and bobbed her head. ‘I see. And you were saying?’

‘Nothing,’ Gunter flushed, ‘it is nothing. I am making it up. Like you make up time travel backwards.’

‘No, I don’t think so, love. Is this a trap, my brother?’

Gunter looked away. Mute. Caught in his own trap of pride.

‘Is Boris going to walk into this café and abduct me?’

Gunter wrung his hands.

‘Or is he hiding outside, waiting to catch me?’ Letitia slapped the table making Gunter jump. ‘Come on! I know he’s around. I can smell him. And I know you are working for him. You reek of him, brother!’

‘No, you are wrong,’ Gunter whimpered.

‘O-o-oh, I do hope I am,’ Letitia said while glancing at the darked bun-haired woman who glared at them in a “I’m-about-to-close-shop” fashion. ‘I hope, for your sake, Jemima’s safe. Or you and that bleeding Boris will pay!’

‘See what I mean? Nobody understands me.’ Gunter looked up. ‘I can’t just—can’t just…you would not understand. Nobody gets it.’

‘Get it? Understand? I get and understand only too well. Two bomb blasts well. Exile in another universe well. Over twenty-five years well. I’ve seen my friends suffer.’ Letitia served her half-brother a withering look. ‘Do you think what happened in the last war was a Sunday School picnic? What happened to my friend, Frieda? Hmmm?’

‘You have no idea!’ Gunter ground his teeth before continuing. ‘That woman—that girl who waltzed into our lives, our family, like it was hers, which it was not. Nothing happened to her. Not compared to my mother.’

Now, we’re getting somewhere, Letitia thought. ‘Your mother? What did Boris do to your mother? Tell me. I’m listening.’

Gunter waved the air between them. ‘It’s complicated.’

‘Try me.’

‘Let’s just say, she is who I owe my debt to.’ He laughed, a bitter kind of laugh. ‘And Frieda? She has no idea who she is married to.’

‘Now, you have my full attention. I always thought Wilhelm was a little strange.’ She reached over again and took hold of his hand. ‘I’m sorry for my outburst. Look, if you can keep me from, you know, the cockroach, I think I can help you. And I get the feeling that Jemima is already doing just that too.’

Gunter and Letitia thanked the vendor before stepping out onto the steaming pavement. Gunter hung back from a passing Friday night crowd. He seemed uncertain which way to go. He looked at Letitia for inspiration. ‘So, where’s your hotel? I’ll give you a lift.’

‘Hotel? My bag was stolen. I have no money. I have no hotel. I have no place to stay, actually.’

‘You are homeless, then.’


‘That’s convenient,’ Gunter remarked. He looked about him as if Letitia were a stray in search of a home. He then dug his hands in his pockets and scuffed the pavement with his shoe.

‘I’m sorry. Have I put you out?’ Letitia said.

Gunter began to stride towards the highway away from the beach. ‘This way, I have an idea.’ Half-turning, he said, ‘You sure you don’t know where your daughter lives?’

‘Nah. ‘fraid not,’ Letitia answered while breaking into a jog to keep up with Gunter’s accelerating pace.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021

Feature Photo: Old Baggage © L.M. Kling 2021


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Read the mischief and mayhem Boris the over-sized alien cockroach gets up to…

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And how it continues with Mission of the Unwilling

Out Of Time (10.1)

Doors of Time

Part 1

[The continuation of the Survivor Short Story “project” in the War On Boris the Bytrode series. This time, back in time, 1967, following the adventures of middle-aged mum, Letitia… In this episode (10.1) Letitia challenges her black sheep brother, Gunter …]

The Fog of Time

Reality is out there; oftentimes it is hidden behind the fog of muddied perceptions, overlooked details and the brainwashing of denial. At that precise time, Letitia was sure that Gunter was in denial about something; that something being his association with Boris. While Trevor insisted on doing a little dance and ditty about Gunter and Jemima, Gunter kept batting the demented soul with the back of his hand and telling him to stop in no uncertain terms. Obvious denial there.

Meanwhile, as they walked, Letitia kept glancing back, sure that behind Trevor, Boris lurked in the shadows. Sure she smelt wafts of cockroach. Definitely not garbage spilling out of public bins.

Gunter was perplexed about the possibility that Letitia could be anyone’s mother, let alone Jemima’s. As Trevor continued to provide the entertainment, Gunter argued, ‘But you can’t possibly be a mother.’ He gesticulated in mathematical frustration. ‘You look too young.’

‘I’m not. I’m nearing fifty, pet,’ Letitia replied, the verbal idiosyncrasies of a certain detective series she had enjoyed on Mirror surfaced. Then, guiding the conversation to eke more truth out of Gunter, she asked, ‘Why the sour face, dear? Why are you hiding here in Melbourne? Why don’t you keep in touch with your family?’

‘Do you know how screwed up they are?’

‘Hey, my dear, brother, I’m part of that family.’

‘But, there are parts you have no idea about, Letitia.’

‘Ooh, that sounds interesting,’ Trevor’s voice sang from behind them.

Letitia turned and glared at him. ‘What? Pray, Gunter?’

‘Wouldn’t you like to know?’ Trevor gyrated. ‘Come on baby, light my…’

Gunter snapped, ‘Stop it, Trev!’

Letitia laughed, ‘Reminds me of the Mr Bean.’

‘Mr. Bean? Who’s he when he’s at home?’

‘On Mirror, in the future…Oh, never mind…’ Letitia sighed. ‘I shouldn’t even be in this time.’

Gunter stared at Letitia his eyes wide. ‘Time travel is impossible. Anyway, why do you keep going on about a train crash?’ He then patted Letitia on her back. ‘I think you need help, Lettie, my dear sister.’

‘You did. Time travel, that is. When you go light speed, through worm holes, whatever. Remember Einstein’s theory of relativity?’

‘That’s forward. Never backward. Think of the…the…problems if you went back? The…the…what is the word?’


‘Yes, that is the one. You must not have paradoxes. They are not allowed.’

‘But there’s the paradox. Anyway, it’s more likely a parallel world. I gather this world is a parallel world, but out of sync, or time. In my universe, I am in 2018.’

Letitia thought that of all the people in the universe, Gunter would understand. But it appeared as if he didn’t. She had two choices. She could either persist in convincing him that she was from the future and risk ending up in the funny farm surrounded by the men in white coats, or she could pretend that she had been joking. After all, Trevor was still tagging behind them, listening. What would he make of this information?

Gunter scratched his head. ‘It still doesn’t make sense.’

Letitia laughed, ‘Gunter, you’d believe anything! You haven’t changed, that’s for sure.’

‘I – I thought you were – were – serious – ly deluded.’ Gunter patted her head. ‘Little Lettie! Always joking.’

Again behind, Trevor roared with ripples of uncontrolled laughter. ‘I reckon Ferro believed you, though. Know what – hee – hee – haw- haw, I had a friend from Adelaide once who used to tell us at school that she had flown to the moon in a spaceship called “Trigger” Ha-ha-hee-hee-haw-haw! What a name for a car! Trigger! Reckoned it was Chrysler Charger or something. Ha-ha. What Chrylser could ever fly to the moon, let alone move on four wheels?’

‘Well, there you go,’ Letitia said, humouring Trevor. A cold chill raised the hairs on the back of her head. ‘Sides, anyone knows it is Adelaide that is stuck in a time warp.’

‘Chrysler Charger? What is that?’ Gunter asked. Then before Letitia could explain, he jerked his head back towards Acland Street, ‘C’mon, let’s get a coffee and catch up.’

‘Okay.’ Letitia followed Gunter as he marched towards the bright lights of St Kilda’s most favourite street. Meters away, Trevor’s dance had developed into a street performance and coins, mostly the old, now defunct pennies, gathered on a crumpled hanky and glistened in the light of the lamps by the bay.

As they passed the food caravan once again, Letitia noticed the smokers still there, statue-like, tracking them, plumes of cigarette fumes rising and mingling with the humid night air. She could not resist throwing in a comment, ‘What is it with those people? Not very Christian, if you want my opinion.’

‘They’re not,’ Gunter replied.

‘They’re not? Then what are they doing at a charity food van, serving food?’ Are they working for Boris? she wanted to also ask.

‘Community service. They don’t want to be here; they have to be.’

‘Oh, that makes sense then.’ Letitia was tempted to add a quip such as “better than a Mirror-mind wipe” or “splitting rocks on the mining planet” but decided that under the circumstances, that turn of conversation would not be a good idea.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021

Feature Photo: A door in Wil, Switzerland © L.M. Kling 2014


Want more?

More than before?

Read the mischief and mayhem Boris the over-sized alien cockroach gets up to…

Click on the link to my new novel, The Lost World of the Wends

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And how it continues with Mission of the Unwilling

Out of Time (9.4)


[The continuation of the Survivor Short Story “project” in the War On Boris the Bytrode series. This time, back in time, 1967, following the adventures of middle-aged mum, Letitia… In this episode (9.4) Letitia seeks to meet her half-brother face to face…]

Part 4

Insurance Woes of the Homeless

Later, as she stood silently at a distance digging into the much-needed food, Trevor buzzed around her like an unwelcome summer fly. A few of his mates joined his enthusiasm, curious, yet at the same time derisive. No matter how much she protested, it made no difference to Trevor who persisted in ignoring her rebuffs. A little round Greek guy who held the pavement moaned with his tales of woe of being gutted by a fire and the insurance which would not come to the party. Homeless. A dangerously thin wreck of a woman visibly trembled with jealousy while Trevor hovered around Letitia.

At a distance Letitia maintained visual on Gunter. His gait of precise movement, his smile, and the way he patted his pockets, convinced her that she had found what the rest of the IGSF had missed. Finally, without so much as an apology, she cut past the woeful whinger who was lamenting the crashing of his car, and with Trevor trailing behind her, eternally prattling, she made her way to the back of the van.

With the last dregs of roast dinner disposed of, some of those who served enjoyed a quiet smoke in the balmy darkness. The sun had set hours ago, and the darkness of night had set in, but St Kilda remained bustling with life and light. Late night swimmers splashed about in the inky black sea and the grainy sand of beach was dotted with youthful revellers. The smokers seemed to be quietly entertained by the steamy sweaty vibe that the city exuded.

‘Excuse me,’ Letitia interrupted the languid drags and intermittent peppering of ashes on the pavers. ‘Can you tell me where Ferro is?’

‘Who?’ someone in the dark asked. She sensed that they did not care. For all they knew, Letitia was just another nut in the night.

‘I mean, Mr. Fahrer.’

‘Who? What?’ a woman’s weak and rusty voice echoed. Bored banter ensued.


‘Do we know a Who?’

‘Fahrer? Don’t know no Fahrer?’

‘Nah, sorry, you must have…’

‘Gunter – Gunter Fahrer? Young chap about yay high. Dark hair. German accent…he was serving with…’ That comment got their attention. Suddenly there was a point of recognition that she wasn’t completely demented. ‘You see I’m…’ Letitia felt compelled to explain before she was dismissed.

‘His mum?’


‘Oh, that explains it!’ one of the smokers chuckled.

‘Yeah, can see the resemblance.’

Letitia wanted to explain that she was not his mum. That such a revelation would spook him and send him running. But, as if her voice, and potential explanations didn’t exist, the group of smokers rabbited on.

The woman with the hoarse voice and ragged face to match, jerked her jaded dyed blonde hair towards the van. ‘He’s in there, love.’

Breathing out, Letitia ventured to the van, behind her she could hear their derisive remarks.

‘Hmm! His mum?’

‘Hmnm! Definitely took after his dad!’

‘You can tell she’s his mum, though.’

‘How come she’s so dark? Is she Indian?’

‘Indian? French maybe. From one of their colonies, I reckon.’ One mocked. ‘Didn’t you detect the French accent?’

‘What’s a French swear word? I reckon I heard her say some swear word in French?’

‘Mmm, a Kraut for a father and a Frank for a mum, what a combination. Poor chap.’

‘Or you know, they have a funny accent in Adelaide. Not Australian at all.’ Another droned nasally in the night. ‘Could be from Adelaide.’

More laughter.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021

Feature Photo: Seaside sunset © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2017


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More than before?

Read the mischief and mayhem Boris the over-sized alien cockroach gets up to…

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Or discover how it all began in The Hitch-Hiker

And how it continues with Mission of the Unwilling

Out of Time (9.3)

Plenty of Time

Part 3

Ferro of the Food Cart

[The continuation of the Survivor Short Story “project” in the War On Boris the Bytrode series. This time, back in time, 1967, following the adventures of middle-aged mum, Letitia… In this episode (9.3) Letitia encounters the black sheep of the family…]

The sun had sunk below the horizon and cockroaches of the human variety had emerged from under their rocks. She hoped that didn’t include Boris but imagined that every second person was a creepy man or a drug thirsty prostitute. Afraid, she kept her head down while she walked. On the Esplanade where the pavement widened, she became aware of a food van that had set itself up for business.

For want of nothing better to occupy her time and with the want of food, she drifted over to the vicinity of the crowd and hung shiftlessly around the fringes. The tantalizing aroma of roast chicken and vegetables were more than her empty stomach could tolerate. Her gut grumbled. She watched with envy as a collective of odd individuals with their nervous twitches and unkempt hair, homeless bearing beanies, and the occasional drunk whose pores oozing the pure scent of methanol, hoed into plates full of food with their plastic forks.

‘Go on! Get yourself some grub. It’s free!’ An unshaven man with dark brown disturbingly melancholic eyes had singled her out. ‘Go on! It’s delicious! Chicken tonight!’ He insisted with gravy dribbling down his week-old stubble.

‘No, no thank you.’ Letitia edged away from him. She was better than them. ‘I don’t need free food.’ Sounded just a tad hypocritical coming from the lady who had performed a virtual bin-dive just a few days prior.

He thrust a fork full of poultry meat towards her. ‘Go on! Have a bite! It’s delicious. You look like you need some filling up.’ His rotting teeth glistened in the fluorescent beams of streetlight.

She veered away from the fork with chicken attack and visibly shuddered. Knew where that fork had been and was not about to risk disease and death to taste a morsal of chicken. She held her hand up and repeated, ‘No, thank you. I’m fine, really.’

‘Don’t be embarrassed. There’s plenty to go ‘round. Go on! Have some. Go get it while it’s hot,’ the man said, his sad eyes fixed on her.

‘No,’ she began, then remembered the mutants. How could she have become so isolated, so afraid of the poor, the different? ‘Oh, alright. I will have some food then. I’ll get some myself, alright?’

The melancholic man grinned like a Cheshire cat, pleased at her conversion. ‘You’ll make Ferro happy, ‘cos when food’s left over he eats it and he’ll get fat and have to go on a diet. Ha-ha.’ He then babbled on in a monotone voice while trailing after her.

Letitia joined the dinner line, the dark-haired man stuck like a limpet behind her, still mumbling monotonously in a one-sided conversation with the back of her head. ‘You been to the Circus? Great show! There’s a big fat clown in there. Ha-ha. We call him Wally. Where you from? You not from round here, are you? I’m having seconds. Yum, chicken! I like chicken. You like chicken? You’re nice. You’re not like the other girls. Do you have a boyfriend? Do you want to be my girlfriend?’

He did not seem to hear the answer, “No, I mean, yes, I’m spoken for.” Lie. “And, no thank you”, to the last two questions. She had obviously made a friend for life and he was too busy rambling in deluded hope to hear anything she had to say. Especially the part where she repeated, “Aren’t I old enough to be your mother?”

As the man serving handed a disposable plate to her, foam plate, she heard a deep voice boom, ‘Trevor, I hope you are not bothering the lady.’

Letitia knew that voice. She scrutinized the four servers, but no one there seemed even remotely recognizable. A young man bronzed by surfing in the sun, aged somewhere in his mid to late teens, spoke again as he delivered a sliver of white meat to her waiting plate. ‘You will have to excuse Trevor here, he chats up all the girls.’

‘You mean I’m not special?’ Letitia jested.

‘Not unless you’re interested,’ the lad laughed. His joke and accent belied that a particular brand of Bavarian dry humour. His teeth were large, white and well-preserved.

‘You’re not from Bavaria, are you?’ Letitia ventured. She had nothing to lose from venturing. And he definitely looked like someone she should know. But, she dared not jump in boots and all and make a fool of herself.

‘Why, yes. How perceptive of you.’ The young man looked down at her over his large nose.

 ‘Hey, who’s holding up the traffic?’ The natives were getting restless. ‘Hey, what’s going on up there? We’re getting hungry,’ a voice at the end of the queue complained.

‘You keep your hands off of her.’ Trevor behind Letitia warned. He nudged her and remarked, ‘You gotta watch Ferro, he’s a lady’s man, he is.’

‘You behave yourself, Trevor. Hey, isn’t that your second serve?’ Ferro replied with authority.

‘Yes, Mr. Fahrer,’ Trevor replied, eyes downcast with respect.

Letitia’s heart stopped. She gasped. And turning her head left and right, hunted for evidence of Boris behind the caravan.

All the while, the banter between Trevor and who she now knew was Gunter, continued.

‘I think you better wait until everyone has had firsts don’t you think,’ Trevor’s superior advised.

‘Yes, Mr. Fahrer. Sorry Mr. Fahrer.’ Trevor mumbled monotonously and exited the line.

Before she had a chance to say something meaningful to her half-brother, the crowd in the line had surged forward and propelled her to the carrots and peas server and onto the mashed potatoes.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021

Feature Photo: Memories of Bavaria and the Snow Balls in Rothenburg ob der Tauber © L.M. Kling 2014


Want more?

More than before?

Read the mischief and mayhem Boris the over-sized alien cockroach gets up to…

Click on the link to my latest novel, The Lost World of the Wends

Or discover how it all began in The Hitch-Hiker

And how it continues with Mission of the Unwilling

Out of Time (8.2)

Berry Bogan

Part 2

[The continuation of the Survivor Short Story “project” in the War On Boris the Bytrode series. This time, back in time, 1967, following the adventures of middle-aged mum, Letitia…In this episode (8.2) Wilhelm gives Mrs Berry Bogan something to chew on…]

Without waring the Blue Berry Bogan rose. She pointed at Letitia and words exploded from her lipstick laden mouth. ‘Illegal aliens! They are taking over our jobs, our country. They are the ones having millions of children! They will take over our country if we are not careful.’

 Wilhelm stood up, turned, and faced her. ‘Yes, but you must understand that they are escaping from terrible persecution. They are often desperate. They need somewhere to go.’

‘But our country is being filled to the brim with aliens! I mean, look at Sydney. It’s like, like spot the white person,’ Berry Bogan argued.

Her children shrank into their cream buns as if the light of morning had made them embarrassed at their mother’s outburst.

Mrs. Bogan stabbed the Age with her false bright purple fingernail. ‘It’s these foreigners, mark my words, man. They are causing the crime to rise.’ Her girl with cream smattered over her rose painted lips was cussing audibly at her plate. The freckled son began hyperactively bobbing up and down as if he was an organ-grinder’s monkey.

Letitia giggled.

‘What are you laughing about, Mum?’ Wilhelm interrupted Letitia’s entertainment. ‘I hope it’s because you are finding Mrs. Berry’s bigoted views as amusing as I do.’

Mrs. Bogan Berry, stared at Wilhelm and then at Letitia. She paled. ‘Who are you people? She pointed at Letitia. Is she? Is she your mother?’

Wilhelm shrugged. ‘What is it, if she is, to you?’ He laughed. ‘Or, if in fact, I am hers? What is it to you?’

At that twist of a comment, the two little vipers stopped their cavorting and fixed their narrow eyes on Letitia.

‘No way!’ the boy exclaimed.

‘Told j’ya she’s too old,’ the girl said and turned to wolf down her bun.

‘Actually, aliens…’ Letitia began, then paused, ‘Aliens,’ she continued, ‘are just human beings – poor, persecuted human beings. They did not ask to be different. They just are. But after-all, in the end, the bottom line is…’ The Bogan family had now simultaneously paled to a seedy shade of green.

Letitia gathered her thoughts and resumed, ‘aliens are just human. Actually, they are nicer, more decent, more moral, more polite than the average Australian – is anything to go by.’ She smiled serenely beyond Wilhelm at the pale mum, daughter and son as they shuffled from the bistro leaving a pile of uneaten buns, coco pops, bacon and eggs, and instant coffee.

‘What a waste!’ Wilhelm glanced at the mountain of discarded food left in the Bogan’s wake.

‘Yep. I bet’chya aliens wouldn’t leave so much food to waste.’

Wilhelm twisted himself around and reached out a groping hand towards the deserted table. ‘Did they leave the paper? I forgot to pick one…’

‘Nup. They took that.’ Letitia was secretly hoping that they had read about her, that somewhere in that paper existed an article on the plane crash in Antarctica. She would be vindicated then. Leave them safe with the false knowledge that she was someone else. Although, she did not fancy being a science teacher, especially that girl’s science teacher.

As if reading her thoughts, Wilhelm remarked, ‘You know there will be no news about the crash, don’t you?’

‘How do you know?’ But before Wilhelm had time to answer, Letitia sighed, ‘Of course, Boris.’ Then as if the utterance of his name triggered enlightenment, she smacked her forehead, ‘Of course! Doris! Doris was their science teacher. Oh, she’d be one mean teacher!’

‘Shucks! I was hoping to read the news and do the crossword.’ Wilhelm lamented, totally unaware of Letitia’s a-ha moment.

Letitia smiled. ‘Hey, is that Melbourne?’

‘Na! It’s Geelong,’ Wilhelm pan-faced replied. ‘Don’t you know that it takes forever to reach Melbourne?’ He then rose abruptly from the table. ‘Darn! I’ll just have to go and get one for myself. I hope they haven’t run out. I hate it how they never have enough papers.’ With that he stomped off in the direction of the buffet.

Port Phillip Bay was murky green and choppy. The early morning sun glanced off the salt dusted window that spanned the bistro restaurant.

Sooner than expected, the Spirit of Tasmania was docking at the pier of Port Melbourne and Wilhelm and Letitia were packed and alighting. Letitia thanked Wilhelm for all he had done and all the help he had given her. When they had parted ways, Letitia sat on the beach by the shore. The sand had bags of shade as if it had just woken up from a long summer night of revelry. The waters of the bay were chopped and churned up, a muddy green blue, as if hung-over from the hard night before. She gathered her scattered plans for the day and resolved to seek out a telephone directory to look up Doris. Perhaps Doris lived in Melbourne. After all the Bogan family must come from Melbourne, surely, she reasoned. And if not, one more day’s delay in reaching Adelaide surely could do no harm.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021

Feature Photo: Melbourne city 1986 © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger)


Want more?

More than before?

Read the mischief and mayhem Boris the over-sized alien cockroach gets up to…

Click on the link to my new novel, The Lost World of the Wends

Or discover how it all began in The Hitch-Hiker

And how it continues with Mission of the Unwilling

Out of Time (8.1)

Berry Bogan

Part 1

[The continuation of the Survivor Short Story “project” in the War On Boris the Bytrode series. This time, back in time, 1967, following the adventures of middle-aged mum, Letitia…In this episode (8.1) Letitia and Wilhelm face their demons, and one Berry Bogan mother, on the Princess of Tasmania bound for Melbourne.]

Letitia faced breakfast behind sunglasses, her head covered with a silken scarf. ‘Protection against my identity has come at an inflated cost of $10 for the eyewear and a further $5 for the head gear; money well spent as far as I’m concerned,’ she said.

‘It was meant, however, for the taxi fare to Tullamarine Airport, and now I fear you won’t have enough to cover the flight to Adelaide,’ Wilhelm rambled as they entered the dining room. The lemon-yellow rays of the rising sun filtered through the salt-encrusted windows. ‘Now, what’s left of the loan may only cover the overnight bus fare to Adelaide.’

‘That’s a bit fiscally pessimistic, don’t you think, Will?’

‘You’ll see.’

Wilhelm pale, with dark rings under his eyes, began quibbling over the breakfast offering of ham and cheese sandwiches and orange juice. He then turned his criticisms onto the hairy family over the other side of the dining room.

‘Keep away from them,’ Wilhelm pointed at the homage to the Beetles party, ‘bad news, they are. Bad news.’

Letitia, shade-clad and sea-seedy, glanced in their direction and turned away.

‘You can’t make a judgement about them based on hair, Wilhelm. They might be perfectly good parents.’

Wilhelm wiped crumbs from his section of the table. ‘We have a bad feeling about them.’


Wilhelm leaned close to Letitia and whispered, ‘The IGSF. If you get my drift.’

Letitia prepared to take a second look, but Wilhelm held up his hand. ‘Don’t. It’s all under control. I’ll keep you safe. From them.’

‘Thanks, Will, but I wish you had been around when I had the Bogans from Boganville torment me last yesterday.’ Letitia adjusted her scarf. ‘By the way, where did you get to?’

Wilhelm patted their air between them. ‘Never you mind. Nothing to get alarmed about. Stay calm.’

‘Now, you are worrying me.’ Letitia sighed. ‘Just my luck, Boris will be on the boat and sink it.’

‘Stay calm. We won’t let that happen.’ Wilhelm stroked the table and then tapped it. ‘Bogan? What exactly is a “Bogan”? Isn’t it a type of moth?’

As he spoke, the said mother and her offspring walked into the dining room.

‘Speak of the devil. And her charges. They’ve just walked in,’ Letitia answered barely moving her mouth. ‘That, my friend, is what I mean by “bogan”.’

Wilhelm leaned back in his seat and observed. ‘Interesting! They’re joining the Hippie’s. Interesting.’ He locked eyes with Letitia. ‘Keep away from them too. They’re trouble.’

‘Shh! They might hear you,’ Letitia said.

Wilhelm casually sipped his juice and shook his head. ‘What parent lets her daughter walk around half-naked? I’ll never know! Tsk! Tsk!’

Letitia batted the space between them. ‘Wait till you have a daughter, Mr. Thumm.’

Wilhelm’s eyes widened. ‘Daughter? Am I to have a daughter?’

Letitia covered her mouth. ‘Maybe, who knows? In another universe, dimension, you do.’

Following that comment, Letitia could not resist taking a peek. She glanced quickly around just as the purple mo-haired clad mother armed with the day’s Melbourne Age, her minx of a daughter baring more thigh than skirt, and the short sniggering son, paraded past their table. Letitia turned away hoping that her scarf and sunglasses were enough to fool them into thinking that she was no one in particular.

The “Bogan” family ostentatiously chose the table directly behind Wilhelm. Mum who had all the round features of a blue-berry, and who wore ugg-boots to match her furry lavender cardigan, spread the paper over the narrow table while her off-spring raced off to fill their trays with cakes for breakfast. As she lifted the monumental sized newspaper to turn the page, Letitia noticed the headline, “Ryan to Hang.”

‘Nothing about any plane crash in Antarctica, then,’ Letitia muttered with a shudder.

‘Did you say something?’ Wilhelm said softly.

‘No, not really.’ Letitia kept her head down and eyes fixed on the one piece of vegemite toast and small glass of orange juice. ‘I see hanging is still a thing in this day and age.’

‘Yes, it is, although, there are calls to have it abolished.’

‘Just thinking about it, has made my seasickness return.’

‘Just as well we didn’t go on my yacht,’ Wilhelm said. ‘The sea was particularly rugged overnight.’

At that precise point in time, the ferry passed through the Heads of Port Phillip Bay. The boat rocked in every direction possible.  The Bogan mother directly behind Wilhelm caught Letitia’s gaze. Her chubby cheeks flushed. Her eyes narrowed.

Letitia bent her head and prayed that she would not be mother-Bogan’s victim for breakfast this morning. She had no desire to be bawled out by a blue berry. Especially after Wilhelm’s warning to keep away.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021

Feature Photo: Spirit of Tasmania, Port of Melbourne © L.M. Kling 1995


Want more?

More than before?

Read the mischief and mayhem Boris the over-sized alien cockroach gets up to…

Click on the link to my new novel, The Lost World of the Wends

Or discover how it all began in The Hitch-Hiker

And how it continues with Mission of the Unwilling