twenty-three (at the limbo cafe)

by nike, October 24, 2014

Today – oh joy of joys! – a guest post from the inestimable Jane Bryony Rawson.

Jane is the author of A Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade Lists (published by Transit Lounge), which has most recently been shortlisted for the Most Underrrated Book Award 2014.

Writing in The Australian, Ed Wright said, of Jane’s debut novel:

In some ways, A Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade Lists is reminiscent of early Paul Auster, most notably In the Country of Last Things. There’s something too of the sheer storytelling joy that you find in Neil Gaiman, the meaning subsidiary to the narrative adventure. While early Peter Carey is an exception, we don’t often see this kind of fiction in Australian literature. It’s the strand of the novel affiliated with Cervantes’ Don Quixote rather than the later work of the realists. Rawson has taken risks with plausibility and triumphed.

Triumphed! Yes, indeed she has, in this playful, adventurous, mysterious marvel of a book.

But today, she’s making a guest contribution to the 200 words/200 days project. Enjoy!


The Limbo CafeStill, it was an improvement on yesterday when, after I’d been queuing for four days and nine hours, some woman tried to push in in front of me, claiming she’d earned it because she’d ‘lived a righteous life’.

‘We’ve all lived righteous lives,’ I told her, but she simply wouldn’t be budged.

Imagine my delight when she got to the head of the line and had her application knocked back. ‘Human, madam?’ they said. ‘No, I don’t think so. You’ll be a Vietnamese Mossy Frog next time around.’ Unfortunately I couldn’t hear what she’d done to deserve it, but if her queue-pushing behaviour was anything to go by …

Now, of course, my record is spotless; well, I don’t have to tell you, you’ve seen my file. You haven’t? I could get you a copy if … Of course. Well, take my word for it: my record is spotless. So imagine my horror when the functionary told me it was going to be limbo for me. Limbo! Nothing befitting your status sir, they told me. No longer such a thing as a blissful life on earth. But if you’d like to wait in the coffee shop for the next thousand years or so we’re sure things will improve and we can find a spot to suit. Failing that, the situation for algae is looking up so if you’d like take a gamble on reincarnating as a tepid-ocean life-form …

Algae? I didn’t proselytise a fundamentalist religion so I could come back as algae. Imagine! If I were … sorry? … Oh no, no sugar, thank you. But if you have Stevia?


  • […] today I tried to help by writing a story for her: it’s called At the Limbo Cafe. It possesses none of the trademark Sulway gorgeousness, but is a bit funny and a little bleak. So […]

    • Replay Cancel Replay
    • October 24, 2014

    Oh, Jane. I do love your mind.

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    • October 24, 2014

    Imbi, I do love your avatar!

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    • November 6, 2014


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