Chapter 1

Written by: Griffin

THOMPSONS 24 HOUR TOWING arrived on the back of someone’s black top. He had a fresh young face beneath his beanie. He ordered an iced coffee and retreated to wait impassively with his back to a wall, for his pasty to be warmed.

Miss Pamela of the black fringe came to clear the plate and cutlery of a workman seated near the window. She was in no hurry, and stood in a relaxed manner while they had their little chat. Traffic went by.

At the next table, a man struggled with his Continental Slice. In a display case these things were very inviting, with a top of white icing decorated with a single chocolate squiggle, next a thick creamy filling, and lastly a thin base. The action of the man’s knife on the stiff topping had caused the creamy stuff under it to squelch out in all directions. Seemingly defeated on this front, he was now concentrating his energies in hacking through the thin but doughy base.

 “Midfielder. He’s about your size. Only thirty metres out. I said to him why the hell didn’t you pass it. He had five of them chasing him, a nine-year-old being chased by twelve-year-olds, the umpire was just on the verge of calling it, he got rid of it, and the kid who got it kicked the winning goal.”

Powell could sense, from a short way behind him, the interlocutor giving an expected nod. Then the voice continued.

“My father was a back pocket. He would bounce the ball three times then kick it out on the full. You couldn’t do that these days. He used to play with Preston.”

His companion said something unintelligible about the Adams from Coldstream. He did not have the ebullience of the other. 'Better,' Powell thought, 'than having both of them competing to dominate the conversation. That’s where human intercourse differs from football I suppose'.

“Dad, Dad, can I get a milkshake?”

Outside on the pavement another debilitated person rolled past, this time with a P-plate, being someone’s joke, no doubt, unless the government had brought in provisional licences for these things. It could be P for provisionally living. “No, that is not fair,” he said to himself. Sometimes when he saw some person with a cane progressing at a snail’s pace along a footpath, he would think, 'Why don’t they just admit that they can’t walk and allow themselves a wheelchair.'

 “… the Paterson side of the family. Just been doing some research. One of them plays for North Calinda. You know, my grandfather used to drag my mother out to every game. Poor bugger was in the artillery in France. Then in ’42 he went and signed up for World War Two. You’d think he would learn.”

Then the fellow was off in a jiffy to buy the milkshake and talk with the proprietor, who was at another counter with its racks of Pokemon packets, popup vinyl figures and Drop-Dead dolls.






Provisionally living...that phrase will stick in my mind forever.