“Is he going to be woofed and poofed like my Pixie?”“Woof… woof, woofed and p-poofed?”At Bill’s quizzical frown, the child pointed to the dog-grooming salon. “Mum says Pixie costs a fortune to keep smelling and looking nice.” A dollop of chocolate liquid fell from the cone onto Tipper’s nose. A pale tongue licked it off. “Oh Mister, I’m sorry. He’ll get sick. Good thing the animal doctor lives next to the poofing shop.”“Clever thinking young lady, don’t… don’t worry he’ll be-be-be… okay.” Bill smothered a chuckle. He didn’t feel like laughing although her innocent logic was irresistible. Should’ve waited in the car, he thought.From "Top Dog" by Barbara Fraser“How many of you have cheated on your partners?” Gene had less-confronting ways of beginning an after-dinner speech. But he figured this largely-Australian audience would respond positively. It was right to the point, and a contrast to the dry presentations they would have been hearing for the past three days. Gene expected a range of reactions: wry smiles, nervous exchanges amongst the organisers, even a shyly-raised hand. Academics could be so socially inept. Once he had seen two heads at different tables snap to exchange glances. Illicit lovers outed, at least from his vantage point on stage.From "Natural Selection" by Graeme SimsionThirty-three highly entertaining short stories explore the nature of Australia and the Australian character in this anthology of award-winning stories. Written by established and new writers, each story has been chosen for its unique contribution to Australian literature.