the shirt of the day
Lennox keeps on giving.
‘There’s a brown snake under there!’
This was from a woman aged about 55 with deep black hair. Slim and wearing slacks, nice shades. She’s not excited. There’s a fellow alongside her taking a photo of the browny which was all coiled up under a log, one a lot of people step over from time to time. Shiny big scaly bastard all bunched up in under there; they can spin out of a place like that quicker than a rabbit can run – they eat rabbits.
I’m heading for the guy alongside, he’s snapping off a few reels of the snake, the sea, the horizon – and he’s wearing a Hawaiian shirt that looks like blood and orchids on the bottom half and a blue sky full of frangipani petals on the top half. Truly outstanding.
The woman gets a nod en passant, the snake gets a glance, and I ask her if the guy next to her is her husband.
So it’s ‘ Hey, Jack!’
Jack lowers the camera and turns around, he’s a sturdy nugget about 65+, tight-cut grey hair, trimmed grey beard, clear eyes with a glint. He has the well? whothefuckareyou look about him, she’s still checking out Mr Brown back there, and listening.
Now you make it up as you go, this is how you meet people.
‘Howarya Jack,’ says I, ‘we have a custom here at Lennox, and that is that everytime we see a shirt of the day up we go up and give the bloke who’s wearing it a handshake,’ and I stuck my hand out. And Jack grabbed it straight away, hard hands, raspy, big squeeze, both of us. Then I let go and backed off, I’m smiling at him and he’s burst into a good spell of laughter, so’s the lady.
Only three people in the carpark and the deadliest snake in the country only six feet away, one of them was smiling and other two were laughing.
I leave for the top, she shouts out at me, ‘I’m not his wife!’ then , ‘he’s my mines Boss.’ … and then more, ‘I’m his girlfriend for the weekend.’
Doing those metal steps all the way to the top without stopping, in bare feet, when the sun is at midday, beats walking down George Street for lunchtime.
Now there’s another two people by the log, a man and a woman, I can see him inching around it coming down, the bloke has a camera and she’s a little back, watching. The browny is big news today, everyone is passing it on. He takes a step closer to the log, I’m halfway down. He takes another step closer, snap snap .. he’s getting lots of pictures.
Now he walks around the back of the log, and just a little bit closer. Tall fellow with a small man’s paunch. I hove to a little way off and ask,’ Still in there?’
He says yes .. so now we get to meet each other. Twice this is happening on the one day and both times with a snake in the background. Now we have lived the surreal, beats painting it. Whacko!
‘That snake, ‘I say, pointing at it – and now I’m looking him in the eye, ‘is the deadliest snake in the world, and any bloke that stands that close to it is a mug.’
Nobody was laughing this time, and by the time I got into the car she was halfway to theirs. I looked at the paunch on the way out, he was still by the log taking pics, probably giving Mr Brown a nudge with his sandal, hoping to see more of him.
header pic william frederick foster