yin and yang
This fellow crossing the road. About 70 plus. Almost crossing the road, deciding to throw a lefty and walk down the middle for a bit, totally unmindful of the dust-covered Subaru tailing him. Me. In town for a few drinks a little business and a feed. Hoping he’d get out of the way before giving him a toot. Blokes this old need a little care, a sudden horn blast can have consequences and I don’t want to add to his laundry bill.
So I chewed up a rev or two .. enough to give him a nudge. He turned as I slipped past, window down, and I said to him, ‘You were born in the country, weren’t you, mate?’
He stopped. I stopped. Middle of the street.
‘How’d you know that?’
‘By the way you crossed the road.’
A couple of Italians run an eatery down by the wharf, pizzas done right. Everybody in the kitchen a smartarse. Only the Greeks do it better but they haven’t got this far up the coast yet.
This time I’m doing the walking, two hot-boxed Margheritas under my arm as I step it out along the river boardwalk. Heading to the hotel. The dark river boardwalk. Someone killed someone along here a little while ago so it’s eyes in the back of the head after sunset.
The only light on this dark passageway is on the corner where I have to turn to get to the hotel entrance. And I’m clipping along. Who likes cold pizza?
And just as I steam around the corner two local Koori lads coming the other way roll up right in my face. One of them as big as Greg Inglis*. The other a shorter fellow, both are carrying fishing rods.
Everybody stops. Dead.
The big bloke reels back, puts a big hand on his heart and says ‘FUCK!’
‘Mate,’ he says to me, after a breath. ‘You scared the shit out of me there.’
What can a man do?
So I stuck my hand out, said, ‘sorry about that mate. Me name’s Pete.’
He took it like a drowning sailor does a hand that would help him back onboard.
Then we all walked away from each other, laughing.
Ballina. My kind of town.
*Go the Rabbitohs.