Illustration

Corporate Image

BY ASH REHN

No one at work would like it, that was for sure.

They would say it was scruffy, unkempt. Not suitable for the corporate image.

Fuck them.

They couldn’t do a thing.

Workplace diversity.

Four weeks in the Blue Mountains, living like a hermit. No shaving. No carbs. Days of kettlebells, sit ups, push ups, burpees. Running bush tracks.

She emerged a new man.

Midge was impressed. ‘Goatee?’

‘No, on the T. Full beard. I’m leaving it be.’

‘It’ll get thicker. Don’t worry.’

‘Do I look worried?’


A few things had to change at home.

Together they went through the wardrobe and bagged up any gear that was too femme or didn’t fit.

‘Salvos?’ queried Midge.

‘Screw them. Not with their attitude. Cat Protection Society.’

‘There’s gonna be some well dressed cats in Enmore.’


A dealer on Parramatta Road offered a good price for the Barina.

‘She’s in great nick, buddy. Some little sweetheart’s getting a nice surprise from daddy.’

Midge, on the other hand, was shocked when she saw the replacement.

‘Holy shit! It’s a tank!’

‘“No guts, no glory.”’

‘Did you decide about your name?’

‘Keeping it.’

‘It’s gonna be a bugger.’

‘Bugger them.’


There were no other customers in the council shop. The guy at the counter, friendly mutton chops, asked if he could help.

‘Parking permit. I’ve got rego papers, electricity bill, and lease. Need anything else?’

‘Hilux? Dude, that’s a beast!’

‘Sure is.’

Mutton Chops eyebrows wrinkled. ’So who is Ashleigh?’

‘I beg your pardon?’

‘It says here A. S. H. L…oh… sorry mate, sometimes people fill them in for their partners.’

‘You think it’s a girl’s name?’

‘I just…’

‘It’s old English. “The one from the Ash clearing.”’

‘Sorry dude, my bad. Stick this on the passenger side windscreen of The Beast when you get home.’

Mutton Chops was staring now.

‘What?’

‘Hey man, just wanted to say I love the freestyle you’re rocking.’ He stroked his jaw. ‘They won’t let us go the Ned Kelly look here’.

‘Uh, thanks. Mate.’


There was only one space left in the street, right in front of their

terrace. Midge had rolled out the bins and was on guard between them.

‘Big enough to drive a tank into. Welcome home!’


***


Ash is an Educational Support Advisor within UNSW Student Life and a part of the UNSW Ally Network. IG & Twitter: @ashrehn www.ashrehn.com