Almanac Fiction – Daz Cooper Chapter 6: Rivers of suggestion

[Previously I wrote a Chapter 6 of these adventures of Daz Cooper. But young Daz visited me recently – he wanted to change the direction of the story. And well… it’s his story. So this is the new Chapter 6. All other Chapters are linked below. Cheers.]


“Did you never call? I waited for your call
These rivers of suggestion are driving me away…”
-R.E.M. “So. Central rain”


-Mr Cooper?

They’re in Maths class. Daz is in Maths class. Well, his body is in Maths class but his mind seems elsewhere just now. Rain tumbles against the window. Just as Ms Peace asks him a question.

-Mr Darren Cooper?

All murmuring stops.

-Earth to Planet Darren Cooper, over.

Ms Peace grins as realisation catches up with Daz in the back row; faces turned toward him like sunflowers to the sun.

-Sorry Ms Peace. I floated away there.

-Ahh, we saw you, didn’t we class? We saw you floating, Darren. But it’s good to have you back.

She re-establishes her line of thought; re-establishes the role of the constant in anti-differentiation. Ms Peace has Daz Cooper feeling as one caught; but caught not in a trap, rather caught after falling, after stumbling. Helpfully caught.


-Hey, Coops.
-Hey, Coops.

It’s Rachel Spinks and it’s Tess. They’re outside the milk bar again; something of a morning ritual. Daz and Rachel have messaged each other about Tess. Many times. (“Do you have to meet up with her?” “She’s like a parasite I can’t shake.” “Howabout she finds a different way to school?” “That conversation can’t end well.”)
And as much as Daz knows the theory of patience; the idea of patience; seeing R Spinks before him, right here and now, launches those butterflies in his stomach afresh.

-Hey dudes.

-We’re not dudes, Coops.

It’s Rachel. Taking up her contrary position. How he loves her verbal jousting.

-Oh no?

-No, we are certainly not dudes, are we Tess? Are we dudes?

The tyre of a passing car splashes through a puddle. Water sprays onto the footpath.

-Hell no, babe. We’re no dudes. We are babes.

Tess plants her feet, thrusts her chest forward and strikes the pose of a superhero. Maybe Wonder Woman.

-Ah, hey babes.

Coops reaches for and finds Rachel’s hand; gives it a squeeze through her fingerless glove. She squeezes back.


-That’s shithouse, fellas. Shithouse!

Halftime in their Round 4 fixture. It’s a showery, cloudy Wednesday afternoon. But that wind is freezing; brings goosebumps.

The team files quietly into the dressing rooms. There is a clatter of plastic stops on concrete. And more roaring from Jacko.

-Fk me drunk. How bad are we going?!?!

Mr Collins walks briskly into the rooms, arching his eyebrow as he makes his way across the room.

-Heads up now, come on.

That’s better. Daz is happy with that. A simple “Heads up” spoken by the coach. Exactly. None of the shaming. None of the “that’s shithouse” talk. Heads up. That’s much better.

They’re collecting plastic cups of cordial, slices of orange.

-Jeez boys! Think about it! We’re throwing it away!

Now Nifty is on a rant.

-We’re better than this, fellas!

And Pete.

Daz stares straight ahead. He’s not buying into this testosterone chanting. He knows he’s let the side down at least twice in the first half. But he knows he has done his best. “And that’s all anyone can ask,” Daz mutters to himself.

-Fken harden up, boys. Let’s make them fkn earn it out there!

There’s Stone, advocating aggression.

-Now, now, let’s bring it in, come on.

Mr Collins walks briskly into the centre of the room, diffusing the situation before mob mentality breaks out, gesturing for everyone’s attention; everyone’s quiet attention.

-Find a seat, boys. Eyes this way, now. Pete? Thommo? This way.

They’re milling around, giving and receiving pats on bums, now jostling for a piece of wooden bench seat.

-Find a seat, let’s go.

Joffa leaps up and down on the spot. Cracker splashes water over his face.

-Come on. This won’t take long.

The murmuring dies down; fades to silence. Joffa even stops with the leaping.

-Look, we’re a reasonable side. But we’re behind at half time to a poor side. The good news is that we have a half of footy to turn this around. The bad news is that our minds are all over the place.

Background silence in the dressing rooms somehow deepens. The sound of rain starts up on the tin roof.

-This is only going to work if we work together. Only if we apply ourselves. Only if we consistently act and only if we consistently make decisions to support ourselves and decisions to support each other, will this work.
If we head back out that door with anger in our veins – we will lose.
If we head back out that door looking to prove a point – we will lose.
Because neither of those things will help us to win.
We need to focus on ourselves, first.
Get our minds back on the job.
Coops? You’ve let a couple in today. But I can see that you’re switched on. You are at your best. Sure, mistakes happen. That’s fine. I don’t mind mistakes when someone is giving their all. Coops – your effort is A1.
The rest of your blokes: to be at your best doesn’t just happen – we have to make it happen.
We have to choose to make it happen.
I want you all to get a drink and then I want you to sit down and visualise yourself making your best effort. Imagine it. Do that. Do that, stretch. And we’ll chat more soon.

The circle erupts.
-Carn boys!
-Let’s go fellas!
-We can do it!
-One half to go!
-Good stuff!

A hard rain falls.


-Look, Darren, Martha, Jo; we’ve got something we’d like to say.

They’re on the couch, all the kids. Mum and Dad sitting opposite. Mum continues.

-We’re sorry that we have been arguing so much lately. Really, we are sorry.

Little Jo looks up at her sister. They exchange looks. Jo then seeks and finds attention from Darren.

-The arguments must be hard for you to hear. So look; we want to tell you that we’re sorry. And that we’re finding a way to stop it. We love each other very much and we’re finding a way to stop.

Martha’s dark eyes blink slowly. From her turned head she glances at her mother’s hands; fingers restlessly intermingled; fiddling. Martha notices the bruise inside her mother’s elbow. Inside her forearm, really.

Their father speaks.

-That’s right. That’s very important. It’s important for you all to know. Your mum and I are working on things. People have disagreements in this world. And they work on them. Your mum and I are no different. But please remember – that you three have nothing to worry about. Nothing to worry about. Alright?

Nobody speaks.

-Darren? Martha? Jo? Do you have any worries?

All eyes on the threadbare carpet, each of the siblings shakes their head slowly, softly.

-No, Dad.
-No, Dad.



It’s been a stomping second half.

-Well played, lads.
-Never in doubt.
-Good application, gentlemen.
-What are you applying, Cracker?
-Yeah, Crack. Get a room.
-Take the afternoon off, boys.
-Too good. Too good.
-I want to be like Coops all the time.
-Me too.
-Coops – can you show me?
-Show me.
-I asked first.


Ding, ding, ding.

And with that, Maths class is over.
Books are slammed shut, chairs scrape on carpet.

-Mr Cooper can I have a quick word with you, please?


Ms Peace calls above the hullaballoo. And is greeted by a crescendo of whooping teenage boys. Daz glances left, glances right, smirks. He seeks eye contact with Ms Peace; nods.

Sitting back while his classmates pack up their books, pens, Daz’s roving eye spots Jools in the next row. Oh boy. There she is. Right there.
Incredible to think, but there remains something about her. Something that won’t let him go. What is it? It’s like magic. It is her attitude? Her laugh? Maybe that’s it. Maybe it’s her way of turning every situation into a laugh. Mmm. Daz gazes not at her – but kind of through her really, into the middle distance.

Abruptly Daz realises that someone is behind him. Whispering now in his ear.

-Mr Cooper – when you’re done here I’d like a quick word with you, too.

It’s Rachel Spinks.



This is the sixth chapter of a wee series featuring yer man Daz Cooper.
Chapter 1: Summer dreams
Chapter 2: Back to school
Chapter 3: Swimming sports
Chapter 4: Cricket training, dreaming
Chapter 5: Hip and shoulder



About David Wilson

David Wilson is a writer, editor, flood forecaster and former school teacher. He writes under the name “E.regnans” at The Footy Almanac and has stories in several books. One of his stories was judged as a finalist in the Tasmanian Writers’ Prize 2021. He shares the care of two daughters and a dog, Pip. He finds playing the guitar a little tricky, but seems to have found a kindred instrument with the ukulele. Favourite tree: Eucalyptus regnans.


  1. Luke Reynolds says

    Great to have Daz back.
    Did go back and re-read the previous chapters.
    Nothing wrong with a retcon ER, especially with the way you’ve set up Chapter 7 beautifully.
    Worried for Daz’s Mum.
    Sensing an angry Rachel Spinks might be a force to be reckoned with.

    So. Central Rain is such a great song.
    Top 3 R.E.M for mine.
    Had not seen this clip. M.Stipe had a decent head of hair back in the day!

  2. E.regnans says

    Thanks very much Luke.

    I’ve learnt a new word. Retcon.

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