His shovel handle burned his hard leathery skin as the metal blade came to a holt in the solid ground. I’d just finished saying my words. He looked at me and it became evident I’d confused his world to pause like the blade. The shovel was so deep in the ground it had stabilized as a shaft to a point he was able to release his hand and reach for a cigarette. As I went over what I said I thought I don’t see the big deal. The smoke butt hit his lips. I said to myself, is that how all farmers react when you say “I’m a writer?”


Cigarette smoke travelled deep in his lungs for long enough for me to ask myself, but what on earth could he be thinking?


He cut my thoughts in half when he broke the silence, “What do you write?” he said in the harshest of voices as a cloud of grey smoke exited his mouth and nose.


This is my moment of judgement.


 “Mixed genres,” I said. He didn’t budge an eyelid. “I like writing all sorts of stuff to be honest; a bit of fiction, creative nonfiction.” I paused as he gazed at the light of his smoke. “I even like a bit of travel literature,” I said.


He tightened his lips on his smoke, then reached for his shovel before he turned his attention back on me. “I love a good romance,” he said.     

Gaston Cavalleri is an Australian author, screenwriter and travel writer.