Flick Meltdown

((Don’t try this at home, well not without the safety equipment.))

A moving rainbow of fluorescent frisbees: lime green,flame orange,neon purple,citrus yellow and electric pink flew towards Felicity.The scent of dew-damp grass was in her nostrils,her hands rested on the green spikiness.Early traffic was rumbling,but the smell of damp vegetation was stronger than petrol fumes. She shifted her unemployed body,and turned her head into the makeshift pillow of her fleece jacket,and opened her left eye.A neon purple disc blotted out the sun and bounced on her forehead. The pain shot up her forehead into her skull,and her whole nose stung.She sat up cursing,her words as emphatic as the colours of the toys.

Fifty metres away a line of people in shorts and singlets were letting loose frisbees. Some geek was running round with a tape, and the throwers were working in pairs. Every second person in the line was retrieving the frisbee for his or her partner.Felicity sat up. Surely they will see me now.She rubbed her clenched fingers over her aching flesh. The throwers swapped places and another flotilla of frisbee so was released.As she stretched her five foot frame, and took a deep breath of fresh morning air, a citrus yellow toy slammed into the back of her head. She howled. Toys turned into weapons. She stamped her foot, and yelled”Shit!” Turning toward the frolicking frisbee throwers, who pointed in surprise at the animated red-haired person coming straight at them. They parted their ranks to let her through. “Bloody idiots!” . Felicity flung her jacket on,and swung her leg over her bicycle.As she tightened the strap on her helmet the tender places on her head throbbed. I’ll have a major bruise before I can get ice on it. She pumped her legs and the tyres hissed as she propelled herself into the bike lane for the short ride home.

In the evening her brother Ross frowned as she whined about what had happened at the park.He had heard the story five times since 5pm. Each time Felicity’is frustration rose,from ebbing irritation to the high tide mark of rage. “Flick,you’re over reacting.It’s a public park,and they didn’t see you.” He gestured with a half full wine glass from his reclining position on the ancient overstuffed couch. He lifted the glass to his mouth to hide his smile. “Bad luck you got hit twice.” They settled in to watch an episode of The Doctor Blake Mysteries. Afterwards Felicity couldn’t help mentioning the frisbees again. “You’re obsessing. Where’s your sense of humour? Let it go.” Ross nodded goodnight and disappeared into his bedroom. Felicity sat staring into the now darkened room. Fluorescent spheres danced before her eyes.

It was the flame orange frisbee that inspired her. It reminded her of the blowtorch. The blowtorch reminded her of blowtorch art: a form of creativity she had experienced at a local craft show. A group of people with, it seemed to Felicity, dangerously long hair for such an inflammable activity,got together in an enormous shed owned by a black-tressed woman named Martine. With their flames they melted heavydutynplastic of various colours. It was mainly bright blue,and Felicity couldn’t help speculating that it may have come from a local building site.Martine assured anyone could buy the rolls of plastic in blue, black, orange or yellow. They shaped the melting blobs of plastic into pictures on large boards praised for their fire retardant quality. The plastic took on shapes reminiscent of pregnant women, tall men, double-storied houses,rippled ponds, and curly-tailed dogs. Though ulitarian and despised the plastic took on a twisted charm as an expression of creativity.She remembered an abstract piece that had dominated Martine’s alfresco dining,providing a complimentary backdrop to the colourful steel-framed chairs. The remembered playground vibe brought the frisbee to Felicity’s mind.

A vision of a blowtorch melting a frisbee filled her head and she planned another early morning visit to the park. On the first morning she grabbed two frisbees,and secreted them under her jacket. She hurried to her favourite cafe for her  takeaway morning coffee. The frisbees dug into her hips beneath her leggings,and rubbed at her rib cage but she carried them discreetly all the way home. Over the course of a month she collected 24 frisbees, and bought a roll of black plastic from a local nursery.

The next Saturday she arrived at Martine’s plastic art for a day of creation designed for “beginners to advanced students”. After general instructions on blowtorch safety,the students suited up like so many black knights, and the class started. Felicity had to adjust her mask to make room for her mass of wavy hair.Martine circulated amongst the students. When she arrived at Felicity’s work space she was intrigued by the stack of bright frisbees. Felicity explained her project: on the board she would make a large black head in the foreground with a cloud of frisbees spinning toward it.Martine nodded.”It would be a good idea to melt the black plastic first, and form your head shape.” The first melting was not satisfactory and felicity had to remove a lot of plastic with a large Stanley knife.

By the time she had the head outline ,complete with hair,it was time for a barbecue of sausages and vegie burgers. Later ,Martine showed her how to use the blowtorch on low flame to melt the very edges of a frisbee ,then with speed and care position the frisbee on the board before the plastic set.Martine set the first one, the purple one,at the top centre of the prepared frame.”I want one frisbee to overlap the head so it looks like the frisbee is hitting it”,Felicity explained.Martine showed her how to melt one edge of the frisbee and re-melt some of the head so the two would adhere.Felicity chose a flame coloured frisbee for the offender.It reminded her of pain and warning.

Felicity continued on her own until the melting,re-shaped frisbee formed a v-shaped cloud down the middle of the frame. By 4.30 pm , the work was finished, and she sighed. Her neck felt loose and the tension drained from her body. She was done. One of the other students walked across the shed, and stood gazing at Felicity’s work. “look” the gazer remarked to a fellow blowtorcher, “it’s a bunch of balloons floating away.”                                                                                                                                                     “Not very original,” whispered another. Felicity was relieved to note her gas was turned off so she had time to think before she reacted to the irritation.

Seven days later on the first morning of a long weekend,she and Ross went to Martine’s shed to retrieve her art. Ross stared a while but said nothing. On Sunday morning Ross  was standing in front of Felicity’s installation when she opened her door. On Monday morning he was looking, with his head on one side and hands behind his back. He turned to her.”After the frisbee incident–”                                           “The frisbee incident”, Felicity giggled.                                                                                                  “Yes, after that”, Ross rubbed his hand through his hair,”I thought I would kill you if you didn’t stop going on about it.” Felicity raised her eyebrows. He pointed to the wall.”Now I’m dreaming about stupid frisbees. Your obsession could be infectious.” He smiled,”Are you ready for a trip to the park?”

-The End-



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