'THE MEANING OF EXISTENCE (AND OTHER SHORT STORIES)' is available for purchase! Just follow the link for an on-line shopping experience that will surely blow your mind.  Upon request, Stuart will sign your copy, either with his name or that of somebody else selected by you.  The book was launched on 28 November 2011 at the Wheeler Centre and is now orbiting the third sun of Jupiter.   In doing so, it has become the first collection of short stories to reach a major cellestial body since Max Walker's 'How to Puzzle a Python' was smuggled on board the Soyuz TM-4 Mir Space Station by one of the cosmonauts.  Also, the first chapter of Stuart's upcoming novel 'GOODSIR' is available in a newly released anthology.  It can be downloaded for free from Amazon by using the following address: http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Novel-Anthology-2012-ebook/dp/B009YNMPPW  Frankly, it would be cheap at half the price.

The Great Escape Claus

It must have sounded so promising – a coveted job as part of a high-profile family. It would have been too good to resist. But even things that seem enormously exciting can quickly lose their glittery charm. What starts with a bright, warm burst of optimism quickly turns cold as the bitter wind of reality sweeps in. Imagine; your eyes scanning the classifieds when you fatefully stumble across the following words: Wanted – Mrs Claus. No previous experience necessary. It would be as though all your Christmases had come at once. How apt.

The Tortoise and the Hair

‘Good morning Mr. President.’

‘Who is this?’

‘It’s Malcolm Turnbull.’

‘Trumble?’

‘Turnbull.’

‘Hey, Tumble, I want answers. Like where the hell is my pizza? I ordered that thing thirty minutes ago and if I don’t see a stuffed crust super supreme in front of me in the next sixty seconds, you know what I’m gonna do? I’m gonna call the Pentagon, get a dozen five star generals and not only will you bring me pizza, I’ll make you pay for it. Mark my words.’

Deck the Hollis

It used to be so easy. Once, Christmas happened as if by magic. All I had to do was wake up and it was there, in all its shiny, glittering glory. Not anymore. Christmas now is not magic but a looming deadline for a whole range of tasks. From that moment in about mid-October when you hear the first strained snippet of a Christmas Carol seeping from the supermarket speakers, the weight of an awesome responsibility begins to settle on your shoulders. It’s both a test of endurance and race to the finish line. That’s because Christmas requires the kind of planning ordinarily reserved for a land-based invasion. And almost as many casualties.

The Surprise Power Ballad Bounty of 2016

It was hiding. For weeks I’d been driving around, blissfully unaware of its existence. How was I to know that, mere inches away, lurked a creature as rare as a gold-plated unicorn? Had fate not intervened, I would be unaware of its existence still. But whether it was dumb luck or divine intervention, it emerged uninvited from the speakers without warning. It’s a miracle that I didn’t send the car into the nearest ditch, such was the gargantuan nature of the surprise. For suddenly and without a moment’s notice I was confronted with the unmistakable sounds of a great, big dirty power ballad.

The Summer of the Chocolate Ripple Effect

Summertime and the living is easy. Unless, of course, you have a summer job in which case you should prepare to work harder than you ever knew was humanly possible. From one week to the next, I was plucked from the cloistered comfort zone of school and cast into the adult world of actual, real work. To say that it seemed confronting at the time would be an understatement of some magnitude. Suffice to say, I found the real world something of a shock.

Between the Rock and a Hard Place

This is an outrage. It defies common and uncommon sense alike and I demand a recount. More than that, I demand an answer. For this is the greatest affront to democracy since John Gorton voted against himself and lost the job as Prime Minister. I don’t know where to start. Tell the media. Alert the Supreme Court. Demonstrate in the streets because this travesty must not be allowed to stand. Because, when all is said and done, I simply refuse to accept the result. I cannot concede that Dwayne ‘the Rock’ Johnson is now the ‘Sexiest Man Alive’.

Commander Cohen, President Trump and General Pessimism

I did not see it coming. Looking back, there’s every chance that history will record this as the week that previously earth-bound pigs sprouted wings and started their own commercial airline. Doubtless, those who dislike science will refer to the events of the past few days in support of their position, citing the fact that hell has just frozen over and turned itself into a twenty four hour ice-skating rink as evidence that climate change is bunkum. Quite honestly, I thought the chances of Donald Trump being elected President were much the same as me being crowned Miss America. But in dismissing the Donald I overlooked the one ingredient essential to every reality television show – a surprise ending.

Middle Aged Rage Against the Machine

There’s a tipping point, I think. A moment beyond which there’s no going back. For me, it arrived just last week. Each year, my brother Cameron and I are the same age for exactly four days. Tradition dictates that for those ninety-six hours we must squabble like seagulls over the world’s last remaining chip. Such infantile behaviour is probably forgivable, even mildly endearing, during childhood. That this kind of malarkey should have survived into adulthood is something about which I am slightly ashamed. In my defence, I can only say this: he started it.

It’s All Nobel Now, Baby Blue

We live in interesting times. Marauding packs of malevolent scary clowns roam the streets for no particular reason. Players of Pokémon Go are in plague proportions and keep trying to convince me that my dog is, in fact, a highly sought after Pokémon. Temperatures and sea levels are rising, the apocalypse edges ever closer and ‘MacGyver’ has been remade for television without the key ingredient that made the original series such a success; namely Richard Dean Anderson’s mullet. Oh, and Bob Dylan has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Close Encounters of the Rock Star Kind

The moment I enter, I know I don’t belong. Having spent the morning shopping with my nephew we arrive in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, with plastic bags hanging like Christmas ornaments from our wrists. Unwittingly, we have stumbled upon the epicenter of the hipster universe; a place where facial piercings are deliberate as opposed to the legacy of some tragic industrial accident, where man buns roam free. I look hopelessly lost. But, for better or worse, this is the place we’ve agreed to meet friends for lunch.

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