The Other Co-op

book coop 1

You are drinking a flat white. You are always drinking a flat white. You squeeze your keep cup tightly. It is almost empty. You wander the halls of Union House, searching for another flat white. You don’t remember the last time you weren’t drinking a flat white.

Someone from the Socialist Alternative hands you a flyer. You have never been sure as to whether the Socialist Alternative is a socialist club that is alternative to the current administration or an alternative to socialism. You are too afraid to ask, or maybe too afraid to know.

Someone else hands you a flyer. So many hands reach out to you, with so many different coloured flyers,  invading your space and your mind.

The line to the Tuesday BBQ winds and bends around North Court. It winds and bends around Union House. It winds and bends around the circumference of the University. Flesh sizzles on the BBQ. You drop your head and stare at the pavement. You scream.

The ABBA tribute band performs ‘Dancing Queen’ and the cheers from the crowd drown out your shrieks. You run.

You find yourself on level one of Union House. You are alone. You walk down the hall and turn to the left. You have found what you were looking for; a place to get a flat white. They call themselves the Food Co-Op. You join them over the overpriced hipster cafes to save a dollar on your flat white. And possibly because you feel bad. Should you feel bad? Only after they fill your cup do you realise it is made with soy.

Now you do not feel bad.

You cross the hall. A neon pink OPEN sign beckons you into a small room, or maybe it is a storage closet. You do not know what you are looking for now, but you know you are looking for something.

There is An Unseemly Man in the Book Co-Op. He has been there for years, sitting on a shelf. Is An Unseemly Man a book or a man? You aren’t sure, because it has been so long since you’ve seen anything that is not a textbook. He, or it, continues to sit there judging you; taunting you.

Your lecturer told you that course readers would be available in the Co-Op, but you do not see any readers around you. The volunteer on duty informs you that this is not that Co-Op. This Co-Op and that Co-Op do not co-operate. No one has ever been able to find both this Co-op and that Co-op within one day.

You look for your textbook. Your lecturer told you to get the fourth edition. You see the third edition and then the fifth. You look on StudentVIP. There is no fourth edition. There has never been a fourth edition.

You buy the fifth edition for $15. Your friend buys the third edition for $150. You chastise her for not visiting this Co-Op. She tells you it does not exist.

The volunteer recommends some fiction. You do not read fiction. You are fiction.

book coop 3

 


About the author:

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Daisy is a student in the Masters of Creative Writing, Publishing and Editing program and a volunteer at the Book Co-op. She enjoys studying, working out, and screaming into the void.

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