Photo by Paul Brookes Photo by Paul Brookes Trigger Warning PEOPLE OF A SENSITIVE NATURE ARE ADVISED THAT THE FOLLOWING EXTRACTS EXPLORE FAMILY DYSFUNCTION AND ABUSE ISSUES Zero Gravity Gayle J. Greenlea Excerpt for 14 November, 2021 <chapter> Two continued “Funny you should mention pervs,” Hilary said. That’s just what I want to talk to you about.” Veronica looked nervously down the hall. “O-kaaay”, she said. But we have to make this quick. If Eva catches you again, she’ll throw us both out.” Eva owned the brothel and was not keen about Hilary using the girls as informants for her investigative reporting. “Time talking is time you could be on your back,” she repeatedly admonished the girls when they congregated in one of the extra bedrooms between johns to gossip and do each other’s nails. Last time Hilary was at the brothel, the high-strung owner had chased her down the stairs waving a marble rolling pin which she kept, not for baking, but for discouraging unruly customers. “No worries. This won’t take long. Word on the street is there’s a predator harassing working girls. Have you had any clients recently who were violent or had odd predilections? I mean beyond the usual for this place. Anyone who’s hurt the girls? Veronica tried to wrap her leopard spots around her body in unconscious camouflage. A shadow of fear sharpened her gaze. “I can’t talk to you about that. Eva says it’s bad for business.” She hesitated, as if she wanted to say more, but pressed her lips tight. -Gayle J. Greelea YOU’RE THE DEAD TO ME Second week – Growing – Day Seven Dead leaf says to earth You get used to the warm shine. Hold out for the gust -Paul Brookes Bios And Links -Gayle J. Greenlea is an American-Australian poet and counselor for survivors of sexual and gender-related violence. Her poem, Wonderland”, received the Australian Poetry Prod Award in 2011. She shortlisted and longlisted for the Fish Poetry Prize in 2013, and debuted her first novel, Zero Gravity, at the KGB Literary Bar in Manhattan in 2016. Her work has been published in St. Julian Press, Rebelle Society, A Time to Speak, Headline Poetry and Press, The Wombwell Rainbow, Fevers of the Mind, Kalonopia and The Australian Health Review.