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The Undertaker's Apprentice

Geraldine Oliver

Dartel was going to be an AB*, a living legend, until the accident that killed his best mate Peejay. Peejay's death changed everything. Dartel found himself working for the undertaker who took charge of Peejay's funeral. This wasn't the future he'd dreamed of! Instead he was trapped in the wrong life, with his used-to-be-famous, now drunk mother, Mita, his wannabe Mobster brother Buddy and his sister, Ena, who disapproved of his ‘dirty' pakeha job. How could he break through the ugly present to his real future?

Mala looked out the airplane window at Auckland, wishing she was home in Fiji, but most of all longing for her mother to still be alive, so that none of these terrible changes, new family, new country, new job working in uncle's shop, would be necessary. What would the future hold for her?

Kindred spirits on different paths, would they ever be happy again?

*All Black

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I grew up in Tairawhiti/Gisborne, where Captain James Cook first came ashore in New Zealand and where, a hundred and forty years ago, with a fine disregard for history, the Marine Department dynamited Te Toka-a-Taiau, the rock he stepped onto. Naturally I couldn't wait to leave and spent a lifetime missing the sunshine and the sound of the Pacific rolling in from Chile. I have an enduring love of small towns and a hatred of travel because leaving Gisborne involves hours of travelling on steep winding roads in every direction.
Thanks to ill health, I finished reading the children's section of the public library by the age of nine and badgered my mother to borrow adult books on my behalf thereafter. University was pretty straight-forward (I'd already read all the books), but I really learned to write by working in advertising where clients not only pay by the word, they measure its marketing power. Once, people wrote to the NZ Herald from all over the country pointing out I'd misspelled ‘kaleidoscopic'. I was flattered so many read an ad selling a subdivision on Lake Taupo they had no intention of buying.
These days I write for fun whenever I'm not needed in the shearing shed or mustering heifers.