An excerpt from the upcoming sci-fi series SYNONYM about robots and home invasions and gay feelings and take away Malaysian.

Somewhere behind me, many suburbs back, my mum's new boyfriend, Alan, snores. He's a light sleeper and a night shift worker which is a hellish combination, but at least he has a job. Every time there's track work on the train line, that's Alan, holding people up, forcing them into crowded railbuses that zigzag their way through the suburbs to find each train station on their creative little routes.

And for every Alan there's a me, a Callum, a teenager who can't make any noise during the day, who brings the toaster into his bedroom because it's just easier that way. But when the Poptarts run out, there's nothing keeping me there. Life continues outside, well beyond the half-radius of a toaster's power cord. And so here I am, untethered, un-poptarted, with nothing in front of me but the beach, then the ocean, and New Zealand, possibly, if the angle is right. If it’s wrong, just a long low arc across the water, around the earth, and back to my mum's apartment, quietly, taking my shoes off. Peeing so the stream hits the side of the bowl and not the loud water. Alan's three-bladed disposable razor on the bathroom vanity, remnants of his ginger beard wedged between the first, second and third blades. At least he shaves.

Lucas was a kid who arrived in year ten and we found it helpful to hang out. He had this lunch box that separated the dry food from the wet food  but he only ever ate sandwiches so the whole device seemed overly complicated for his needs. Maybe his mum bought it on sale, or maybe they got it second hand from someone in his family. Most of his stuff was second hand.

School ended forever four weeks ago and in another four weeks it will be eight weeks and that's a form of progress, I suppose. Last I saw him we just finished our Biology exam and we stood around trying out things to talk about together. There wasn't a lot, so we both walked off in different directions. You know, maybe I'll never see him again. A single tear of sweat cries down between my shoulder blades and is absorbed by the elastic of my underwear.

Salt air makes you hungry. Wet and dry clamped together with a large elastic, but not a sandwich to be seen. I guess I should have asked more about the lunch box, more about you in general. It seems to be what people do. Seagulls don't. Pure opportunism, a sad remnant of the dinosaurs that escaped the end of the world. What does that tell you? Opportunism pays, but it also makes you pitiable. The gulls don't care either way. They're content, for now, with their fantasies of ripping my arms from my torso. Genetic memory that might survive long enough for evolution to turn the screw once more and reinstate them to the top of the food chain.

There's a bright yellow packet of two-minute noodles, oriental flavour, on my lap. I paid thirty cents at the convenience store. But, ironically, the noodles are incredibly inconvenient. The gulls look on from a distance, viciously disbelieving that I'm in charge. Or I should say, we.

The noodles in themselves suggest a plan to return to Allan's borrowed home where there are quiet bowls and a kettle I can muffle with a tea towel. But in fact, I have no such plan.

There are women everywhere. Groups of female friends laughing with wet hair and the anticipation of a warm car on their ocean chilled skin.

A girl my age wears a Christmas themed bikini; red Lycra and cartoon drawn white wool edging her breasts and sloping into her armpit. I'm wearing basketball shorts and a t-shirt I got for free from a product activation from some social media thing about videos and lip-synching and stickers for bonus points. Me swimming is out of the question. I can feel my skin slowly burning and I abdicate the bench to the seagulls.

Today the bench; tomorrow? The gull only sees possibilities.