max, he’s seen it all
Max runs the counter at the IGA shop in Lawson Street Byron Bay.
He’s about 40. Max collects the cash, swipes the merchandise tag, bags the purchases, makes change and sometimes he looks up at the no-name nobody who is on the other side of the counter.
Babes from allover, they speak German, Yiddish, English, Yank, Spanish, Portuguese. Blokes from all over, they too speak German, English, Yank, Spanish, Portuguese.
Same as. Babble. Only money talks
Max sees them come and watches them go. This is Byron Bay. Everyone is watching everyone but nobody catches anybody’s eye. This is Byron Bay. Nobody is a local.
Max checks my litre of Norco milk. I had a mate who used to work in that Johnson street shed in 1962 for bugger-all an hour. Then he checks my beef sausages. Nobody remembers the stink that wafted down from the meatworks when the north-easter blew into town from Belongil. Then he checks my pack of smokes. Nobody remembers Loose-Leaf and how he dropped nuggets of red dirt and bushy seed up and down Bangalow Road when he went socialising in Lismore.
Lismore babes, how they sparkled at the Pier Pub on Saturday night before the fights started.
Max has eyes that are bagged up enough for international travel, and when I ask him how Byron is treating him these days he looks up, smiles, and says – I don’t have a rash.
I got goosebumps on that.