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24 hours in iluka

3 am.

‘Wake up!’


‘Somebody is calling.’




Iluka Thai Fishcakes.

Matt is the man in the co-op shop who makes the co-op shop Thai fishcakes, and the reason it’s ok to call an Iluka handmade fishcake a Thai fishcake is because it is a Royal fishcake. ‘Six for dinner Matt,


Plus some filleted sandshark for the fish pie, dozens of prawns for dozens of hands. A river cottage with a verandah and across the black lagoon water, in the night, with every raincloud in creation being sucked into the sky by Cyclone Marci up north a man is out there calling, ‘ please, help me,’ again and again.

Carl’s Life Work.

Carl is a stringy built man with a long beard and a long hair tied into a tight rope on the back of his skull. The Bowling Club has free Wi-Fi and his book has been fifteen years in the building. He’s building some today. I’m doing mine a couple of tables away by the window overlooking the greens, he’s doing his under the dartboard. I’m all done but for the last pass, Carl needs another lifetime to get half-way.

His book of Quantum Philosophy, Science and Terminology will silence the world’s chatter, ‘and everybody will understand what I have written.’ He related Adam’s rib to the curve of a ship’s bow, and the true, trinary Quantum nature of hitherto believed as binary electrons, where it was either on, off, or resident in darkness.

The Purgatory of Light, maybe he’ll call it that.

‘To the end of our books,’ he said.

The Cooee.

The cooee is a Dharuk word.

It means ‘come here.’

There’s a low breakwall out there, lonesome from the shore and not a winking light from a weakening torch for its length. Just the blackness, the river lights, sheets of rain and those fucking mosquitoes everywhere and my old mate over there cooeeing every five minutes.

We yipped, yapped and cooee’d at each other for the three hours it took the Yamba rescue boat to arrive. The Police on the shore could do nothing but flash their torches  – I was the only one talking to him.


‘Help me, please, help me.’






He got in ok, and it’s still raining like  bastard.

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