Monday, November 26, 2012

Ten minutes to Sydney.


“It was at the Anglican Church, a couple of streets from the bad side of town, when the kid on a bike rode past.
“Hey! Boy! Hey.”
He walked a couple of steps before turning around. The kid had stopped and he didn’t want any trouble.
“Yeah, what’s up mate?”
“Do you have a cigarette?”
“Nah, sorry mate.”
“Shit.”
“Sorry.”
“Hey, wait!”
“Yeah?”
“Can you buy me a packet?”
“…yeah, alright then. Hang on, the newsagent is shut.”
“You can buy ‘em at the Video Ezy; they have the cheapest smokes in town.”
The kid dismounted and they walked down the main street, past the closed shops, to the tiny arcade. 
“What do you do? Do you live here?”
“Yeah, I live here. At the end of the street. I live above the cafĂ©.”
The kid nodded.
“Do you have a missus?”
“… yeah. She’s over in Coffs; in hospital.”
“I’m sorry to hear that.”
“Yeah, I’m sorry too.”
“Get me Longreach lights. 25’s. Or if they don’t have that: Longreach full-strength.”
“OK.”
He walked along the arcade and to the video store at the back of the block. He came back with a packet and the kid's money.
“They only had menthol.”
“Ask them for full-strength.”
“I did. They only have menthol.”
“Uh, OK.”
“Here.”
“Nah, you keep the change. You bought ‘em; you keep the change. That’s the rule.”
The kid lit up a menthol.
“What are you doing now? Do you want to smoke cigarettes, have a yarn?”
“Nah, I actually have to get on a flight soon.”
“Where are you going?”
“Sydney. I have to catch a taxi pretty soon.”
“Right.”
“Yeah, I have to go in like fifteen, ten minutes."
“Uh.”
“See you.”
“Yeah.”
He continued down the main street. Near the Council building the kid rode up to him.
“Are you sure you don’t want me to come back with you? I can stay for ten minutes.”
“No, I really have to leave soon.”
The kid turned and rode off. There was no one else on the street. The sun was dropping quickly. It was going to be dark by the time he got to the airport.
He waited to cross over the bitumen as a semi-trailer turned into the street. The kid came around the corner, again on his BMX.
“Look. I can suck. I can fuck. I can do whatever you like.”
“No. No, that’s OK. I’m not interested.””

“Then I went upstairs, sat around for half an hour and took the plane to Sydney.”
“Jimmy!”
“What?”
“It was Jimmy Hendrix.”
She giggled.
“No, I don’t think so.”
“Yes, it was Jimmy. They keep telling me he’s dead. But I’m like, ‘If he’s dead, then why is he sleeping in the room next to mine!’”
“Right. But you do know that Jimi isn’t alive?”
“Not the real Jimmy. I mean Jimmy Hendrix!”

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Essex Street



The bottle was a quarter full and bubbles were receding from the glass lip. From where he sat at the counter, he stared straight ahead at the fridge.
"A corona."
"Ok," said the barman. He fetched a bottle from the fridge and placed it next to the first.
A Rudimental song played on the flat screen above the spirits shelf. He acknowledged the new beat with a nod. The barman sat down on his stool and went back to his iPhone.
"Bourbon."
"Yeeah?"
"Whisky bourbon. Coke."
The barman faced the spirits shelf and read the labels.
"Jack Daniels?"
The man shrugged and raised his palms. His baseball cap was pulled low on his brow. The barman placed a glass next to the bottles and wrote down the cost. He drank a long pull from the glass.
From the VIP mezzanine floor, the player descended the stairs and smirked.
"I'm ready for that game now, Simon."
Simon stared at the player and put down his iPhone.
"Nah, you play him." He addressed the man, "You're in trouble now. You won't beat this guy."
The player extended his hand and smirked.
"I'm Sean. What's your name, mate?"
The man staggered off his stool.
"Danube."
"What?"
"Da-nube."
They shook hands.
"OK. First, I'll have a beer, Simon."
The man held onto the counter.
"I'll pay for it."
Simon and Sean exchanged a glance.
"I'll get it."
"Are you OK with him doing that?"
"Yeah. Thanks mate!"
Simon rolled a Coopers across the aluminium bar, popped the bottle and handed it to Sean.
"They're screw tops."
"It hurts my hand."
Sean picked up a two-piece cue that was lying on a table adjacent. The balls were already racked. He motioned to the man.
"Do you want to break?"
The man shook his head and drank.
Sean broke but no ball went down. The man stepped forward. With his back turned to Sean he extended a hand. Sean didn't move. He extended his hand a second time.
"Are we sharing -"
"There's sticks over there."
The man grabbed the first cue on the rack and walked back. He potted a red over the middle pocket and missed. Sean missed a yellow.
"Your shot."
The man turned to face the table.
"Am I yellow?"
"You're red!"
He potted a ball in the corner and doubled in another red.
Simon watched intently.
"I can't believe he can still play."
"Oh, I can play."
The man played a long shot and the ball bounced off two cushions.
A Nicki Minaj song started. He gingerly placed the cue against a stool and shuffled to the song.
"Two shots."
"What?"
"I missed! Two shots."
The man took a pull and picked up the cue after searching for it.
Sean stood next to Simon. The man leant over the table.
"Do you think he's tipsy?" asked Simon.
"Oh, he's tipsy," Danube answered.
He missed on the first shot, and nearly potted a double on the second.
Sean potted five balls whilst Danube sat down and tried to find the underside rails of the chair with his feet. Sean turned and faced the TV. Danube looked at him.
"I'll give you ten bucks if you win."
"I don't gamble."
Sean didn't return the glance. The man stared at him for a long moment before he looked for his cue.
He fired the white ball into the pack that clustered around the black.
"Two shots!" He twitched.
"Why?"
He shrugged and danced next to the table adjacent.
"Ok then."
Sean missed and potted the last yellows. He pushed the black around the baize.
Danube drained his glass. Sean took a pull from the Coopers. Danube missed an easy red and swore.
"My shot."
"I have one more." Danube motioned at Sean.
"OK then." Sean stepped back.
He pushed the white behind a red. He stood behind the eight ball.
"If you can hit your black I'll -"
Sean played off a cushion and the black jawed in the corner.
Danube shrugged and pushed the white behind another red. He had left a shot at the black.
"Shit!"
Sean won the game. He broke down his cue and packed it in its case.
"I gotta go. Thanks for the game!"
"I won't remember this, but what's your name?"
"Sean!"
They shook hands. Danube held on too long before he let go. Sean skolled his beer.
Hey! I owe you ten dollars.
Danube fumbled for his wallet.
I said no. I dont want your money.
Oh.
Sean motioned at Simon.
"See you soon."
"Yeah. See you, maate."
Sean grimaced and walked out the front door.
Danube climbed onto the stool and wobbled in the seat.
"Whisky bourbon."
Simon reached for the Jack Daniels. He placed the glass with the empty glass and bottles.
"Are you going to pay for this?"
"Oh, I'll pay for it, alright."

AAYL MAINTAIN EYE CONTACT


This is from 2003. An effort to keep things ticking over on the blog. In the throes - death throes?, I wish - of editing the manuscript to HS & HRS SEXXX GAMES, and as such I'm not writing any new content. I thought this was an interesting entry from the Angry Angry Young Lady diary; it's kind of witty and sardonic. No idea who I am talking about; I can't remember.  

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Sunday 17th of August
This week I will make a list and check it twice. I've got to start making presents for the kids. At this rate it'll never get done. It's late at night and I can't stop listening to sad songs. I'm meant to be jolly. Well, no, they're actually self-deprecating sad songs, but I believe the point has been made nonetheless. Now rub your hand against my bicep. Do it slowly, I can't take too much excitement. A little jab at stimulation is all I need. Stop! Enough! Continue talking! I retain the inalienable right to not exercise my divine right to react. Now laugh at the bad joke I might have made. Maintain eye contact. Keep the cross hairs locked. Break the shortest distance and direct your jabbering talk box into my ear. Pupils, and iris, and shoals of white, and deep skies of blue again. Wear that same black nightgown the next time we inexplicably meet. Smile, part your red lips and show me the rows of white teeth. No need to apologise for me not drinking. I'm not saying sorry for dead scars and red mounds of puffed-up skin rubbing up against the loaded space in between us. Hell, I'm not saying anything. I nearly forgot that. It feels like there is an invisible wire attached to my head, a wire which runs up into a hole in the ceiling. Somebody is holding the end of this wire and pulling it savagely every couple of seconds. Sorry, what was that? I'm battling to concentrate, what with the horrific jolts to my brain. Spear your right index finger into palm of my left hand. Now touch my bicep again. And again. And agai- stop!