rewound world 9: the 635 avometer

Previously on the rewound world: four travelers, including yours truly, stopped for a break at a café in the post-apocalyptic Nullarbor Plain. The ancient waiter agreed to serve us credit cards, and in exchange, we allowed him to discuss the weather. The first episode is here.

The waiter shuffled and dealt
the credit cards face down.
I had two pairs, both noble metals,
and a poker face revealing nothing.

Although no trace of natural weather
was anywhere to be found, the waiter spoke
to his indulgence.

Have you seen the fish?
They’re flying low.

What are we to make of that?

After a moment’s silence, he went on.

I’ve coyly wondered whether water
might descend as well. All in a dream,
I’ve seen rivers running, aquatic creatures
fallen with the raindrops, seeking
their ancestral home.


We wagered with the cards themselves,
bluff and counter round the table,
until Deirdre showed her hand.

I’ve looked at cards from both sides now,
credit and debit, and still somehow,
the game’s an illusion, you always pay,
so I’ve decided not to play.

Ada was thoughtful.

A regional reality deficit, perhaps.
I’ll check with my 635 avometer.

The needle oscillated through green and red,
and finally took off to harpoon
an airborne pilchard.

We debated—those who dreamt of winning
favored playing on—until the waiter interceded.

In light of this new development,
and the unlikelihood of any tip or payment,
I declare our Nullarbor Agreement
null and void, and I’ll say whatever
takes my fancy.

His eyes narrowed.

In another dream with fewer fish,
I foresaw your pilgrimage,
your arrival in this place,
and I know all your secrets.

to continue


  • Both Sides Now, Joni Mitchell (1968).
  • Although it’s real enough itself, the 635 AVOmeter (TM Megger Group Ltd) only authenticates limited aspects of reality.
  • My views on what constitutes reality were challenged recently when I came across a product in a supermarket that made an unexpected claim:


urban development studies, made with VEE, the visual evolution engine.


19 thoughts on “rewound world 9: the 635 avometer

  1. Love the lines, especially the ending:
    In another dream with fewer fish,
    I foresaw your pilgrimage,
    your arrival in this place,
    and I know all your secrets.
    Delightfully dramatic, like the art work, Steve!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Sobhana. I know how the Rewound World is going to end, and I planned this episode to reveal some secrets, but by the time I’d finished, it didn’t happen. I hope to finish by the end of the year.

      Thanks, the artwork is basically a first go at something new.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Paul. The Rewound World has gone further than I originally intended, I now hope to finish around the end of the year (which is not many episodes at once a fortnight).

      Looking at the behaviour of Australian financial institutions, and our “solutions” to anthropogenic climate change, it seems that real life is indistinguishable from satire.


  2. Gambling with the credit cards themselves? I would think it would be hard to conceal your hand from the other players. I would probably have bowed out of the game as well.

    I understand what is meant by that label “real ingredients”, but it’s a slightly bizarre way of putting it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, it doesn’t really work with the credit cards. I actually had a look at a few to check.

      I agree, I think they mean “authentic” as opposed to “fake,” but even that seems to be a terrible, terrible advertising claim, implying that their product was fake before. Even worse than imaginary ingredients. 😸

      Liked by 1 person

      • Many years ago there was a company which claimed their frozen pizzas were made with real cheese, as opposed to other companies which used cheese made from “casein, an ingredient in some glues.” This counted on the viewer not knowing that casein is in milk. Word apparently got around fairly quickly, because that commercial did not last long.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Nothing wrong with feathered fish. I suspect I have a bit of a fixation on airborne fish; they’ve appeared all over the place in my writing. Somewhere or other I wrote about the fish’s point of view: do they think that they swim or fly? In the story, the answer was that they fly, because, for them, the ocean is the air.

      Fortunately, unless one is truly an open book, knowing “all your secrets” only happens in fiction. 😸

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You’ve raised the bar, Steve, by moving from still images to video ones. It is impossible for you, however, to raise it on your writing because it is always supremely perfect! Love the paraphrasing of Joni Mitchells’ Clouds!

    Liked by 1 person

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