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mona vale surfclub, and eric the caretaker

bert king oam

this is eric’s mate, bert.

Eric has to be about ninety. He’s thin and fair-haired and saddled with a painful stoop and he looks after the Mona Vale surf club building and surrounds and he lives in a small room on the first floor with his canary. Alice.

Six months ago he had his cheek opened up to remove an ancient and deep cancer. He worries about the scar.

Eric suffers palpitations and fools badly and in equal measure.

He likes a beer.

– and he is eloquent when the committee rents out the hall and leaves him with the early morning cleanup.

‘ Have a f.cken look at this will yez! Those f.cken c.nts must live up to their ears in shit to be able to make a f.cken mess like this. F.cken dunno why the f.cken committee keeps f.cken doin’ this, all they f.cken do is fucken break every f.cken thing every f.cken time. C.nts!

Some kid will cut his f.cken foot one day and I’ll cop all the f.cken shit around the place for not cleanin’ it up. Serve the f.cken club right to get sued by someone.’

‘ Only young blokes Ekker, havin’ a good time.’

Eric is collecting the broken glasses and bottles that litter the surf club pathways and surrounds.

‘ ‘em, let ‘em have a good time somewhere f.cken else and leave me in f.cken peace. The f.ckers were hammering on me f.cken door last night wantin’ more f.cken beer, f.cken coppers came around for a look about f.cken one in the morning. F.cken useless c.nts.

Look at this shit!’

‘C’mon mate, you was young once.’

He hoses down the concrete, squirting away the food scraps and puddles of vomit.

‘ F.cken was I! Too f.cken busy to get up to this bullshit. No f.cken money anyway. Not like these c.nts. All the f.cken cash in the world for f.cks sake, what a f.cken joke. My day you’d have a few f.cken beers but you would behave yourself, these c.nts are out of f.cken control. F.cken drugs everywhere. I’ll be f.cked if I know what’s goin on.’

He looks at the Coke dispensing machine, tipped on its side by the departing partygoers. Eric likes a Coke in the morning.

‘ What do you put this down to? Why would they want to f.cken push this over, f.cken screaming at me outside me door last night. I’m f.cked if I’ll open me door to the c.nts.

F.cken must cost ‘em twice as much as they’re gettin’ to clean the f.cken place up, how many f.cken times has this happened?  They don’t know who the they’re rentin’ to, all you got to do is hand over about a hundred f.cken bucks for a deposit and you can do what you f.cken like. This f.cken lot were mates of George’s kid, f.cken lovely ain’t it? (George is the club President)

You can’t tell those c.nts (The Committee) any f.cken thing. F.cken know everything they do. Be a change seeing them down here with a f.cken broom one day. Not f.cken likely.’

He looks at us.

‘ Why aren’t you c.nts out in the f.cken surf? What the are you f.cken waitin’ for? Standin’ around like a mob of f.cken sheilas in a shop, what’s the matter with yez this time? Too cold?’

He stops to sit down on a chair we have pulled out for him and he smiles up at us, so weary, and still wearing his slippers. Somebody grabs his broom and finishes sweeping up the concrete apron outside the boatshed. Somebody else pushed the coke machine upright and a can falls out.

He laughs.

9 Comments Post a comment
  1. Steve Shearer #

    Ekker; Legend.

    For those who have ears to hear; that is the sweetest music.

    December 6, 2010
  2. Steve Shearer #

    ‘ Why aren’t you c.nts out in the f.cken surf? What the are you f.cken waitin’ for? Standin’ around like a mob of f.cken sheilas in a shop, what’s the matter with yez this time? Too cold?’

    I’m still chortling at this.

    December 6, 2010
  3. that was about verbatim steve – he was a symphony some days – dead a few years now but ekka lives on for them what knew him

    December 6, 2010
  4. Can you candid blokes ‘splain to a drifter like me why you lily-farts insist on using the antiquated “f.cken” over “fucking?”

    I mean, we’re all grown up’s… no?

    Scared o’ the queen’s queef o’ wrath are ya?

    It’s goddamm ponderous if y’ask me. Which y’haven’t. Just thought I’d share my half cent.

    December 7, 2010
    • That’s how it was written and posted up onto the notice board of the club the day they shipped eric out of his room and into a nursing home – any other way and they would have ripped it up and thrown it away – clubbies are strange folk and it needed to be seen by the few of us who respected him – he didn’t last long the old boy.

      – there is always a reason brew – not everything is done for this place –

      December 7, 2010
  5. mona vale dave #

    eric was always a good mate of mine buti take offence at the clubbies comment above – he was one of us

    March 9, 2012
  6. mona vale dave #

    and he never swore in front of a lady!!

    March 9, 2012

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