Lismore in the cold rain, in winter. Gently mocked by the Sudanese child in her colours and sandals – walking by.
The Spotlight store is the only one on main street with an escalator rising off the pavement, just by the two Salvation Army women at their card table. Cold where they sit too, day after day.
This place is a rooftop barn of materials things and women – women who make, who never buy made. Over to the side a vermillion haired girl corrals her three children. Three four and eight. Eight is the boy.
Then she bends back over a rack of fabric, feeling the bolts – looking hard at the machine knit. The two children sprint past me, the kid is chasing them but doing it quietly. So mum can’t hear without listening. They don’t even giggle as they flee from him.
They flit about the fixtures – he’s got a gun and he double-stances around the corners in an easy semi-crouch. Both hands up to his weapon. Adults are just slow moving beasts without any understanding of the game being played about them, so they are just cover.
Except for mum, who has the hearing of an owl.
I’m summoned to the counter to pay, we are done here and as we leave the kid slips into view; scoping down an aisle, so sly. Small children rustle in the racks behind us.
I have this special car key, it looks just like a derringer two-shot. It’s in my hand. The kid is mine.
” Freeze .. !! ”
The kid counts one .. two .. three, before he looks up at me, and I’ve thrown down on him. Then he knows.
My wife, startled, says ‘ what’s happening? ‘
‘ The kid, ‘ I say, ‘ he’s got a gun. ‘
That’s when he smiled.
Lismore. My Town.