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The cabbie was a big man, unshaven with a razor scraped skull. Name tag Aziz. He mumbled as he drove. Something in a foreign tongue. I asked for Burwood so he went the Livingstone Street Burwood Road way. WW2 homes all around going this route, single storied dwellings, their windows heavily barricaded behind decorative wrought-iron.

WW3, in a suburb near you.

Two cars blocked the road ahead, one with its nose buried into a brick wall and the other slewed about facing back the way it came. People standing about. Glass on the road. No cops and no ambulances. No tow trucks. Just happened.

Aziz cruised on by, picked up his mobile and punched out a number. Slowed down and watched in his rear-view as he waited for a pick-up.

‘Got one for you, bro, half way along Livingston heading west. A double. Ok?


He put the phone back. Glanced at me in the rear-view. I always sit in the back. Blame instinct on that.

‘Who was that?’ I ask.

‘The guy who owes me fifty bucks.’

‘For what?’

‘The call. A hundred if he gets the deuce.’

Asiz picked up his mobile again and punched in a number, put the phone to his ear and his hand over his mouth. Waited for someone to pick up.

‘Wazzup, bro? ‘ he said through his hand, ‘you got a call for Livingston yet?’

.. pause.

‘That’s a yes, right?’

Hangs up the phone.

Five minutes later I’m sliding two twenties out for the ride and I ask Asiz what was the deal with the second call. Then I remember that some debts are harder to collect than others unless you have some kind of confirmation.

‘Same number, was it?’

Asiz takes the money and cranks up a little Post Malone on his radio, he digs Rockstar.


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