She sat in front of one of the sales clerk computers at the Vodafone shop. The chairs were bolted to the floor and he stood at her side.
“I need phone credit.”
“I can’t make calls on my phone.”
“I’m not surprised.”
“Can I get some credit?”
She spun on the stool and fiddled with the computer mouse. A clerk served some real customers in the corner. Sean scanned the walls covered in mobile phones and mobile phone accessories.
“Let’s get some credit!”
“I don’t need credit. I’m on a plan.”
“But I need credit!”
“Buy some then.”
“I don’t have any money?”
“You use my phone all the time. I’m not buying you credit. It’s the principle of the matter.”
The sales computer required a password. She tapped on the keyboard and pressed enter. The machine unlocked. She opened an Internet Explorer browser. The connection was taking an age to load. She clicked refresh several times and stared out onto the street at the passing traffic.
“So, are we here for any other reason?”
“Do you know what the password was?”
Rachel needed to use the toilet and they went to the MacDonald’s near the Old Soup Kitchen. The George Street store had a set-up akin to a military barracks. The room was divided into two columns of six long rows of tables and benches. The arrangement of the seating enforced a sort of communal engagement amongst the patrons. He sat on the end of a table and waited for his lover.
He wasn’t too sure how long the Soup Kitchen had been shut. He knew it hadn’t been open when he was in Sydney earlier in the year. He could still remember when he was there nearly five years before and the electric mix of jazz groups he had seen over a succession of nights.
Sean looked around the room at the people eating their takeaway. There was the expected contingent of gangs of youths, and young Mums and Dads treating their kids. He also noticed several people using computers. He didn’t know how patrons could justify using the free Wi-Fi connection as a compromise for placing their laptops on the disgusting tabletops rarely cleaned. The thought of eating a Big Mac over his MacBook filled him with mild horror.
“Hey, all done?”
“Are you having anything? Let’s go.”
“Nah, I don’t eat that shit.” He wasn’t hungry regardless.
He had half-expected to see her chatting up one of the younger male patrons.