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travelling

A dust covered car rolling through town with six boards on the roof, shorts flapping from the board straps, all the car windows down, a long-haired brown face grinning through each one, boys, a local girl on her way across the road smiling back, the smell of a sugar cane in the air, soot on the windscreen, scowls from the local men looking through hotel windows, a petrol gauge showing near empty, no-one with any money, nobody swapping seats, everyone hungry, speedo not working, the wind offshore and warm, rumours of waves nearby, long, long waves, a fish co-op by the river, trays of fresh caught local prawns, chance of a day’s work to make ends meet, homes with watermelon patches, all for the taking, mangoes littering the ground under trees growing by the side of the road, a traffic cop asleep in his car, hinterland towns with aboriginal names, gravel roads that lead into the hills, yellow painted weatherboard churches built in shady groves, abandoned quarries filled with clear rainwater, an old man waving from his seat by the side of the road, homes with shaded verandahs on every side, hamburgers with beetroot, wild dogs slinking away into the underbrush, crows eating roadkill, flying off two seconds before being run over, a brown snake wriggling its length off the road, four horses looking over an electrified fence as you rattle past, red soil and dark forests, no newspapers, no music on the car radio, no car radio, no spare tyre, brakes that squeal, the smell of burning engine oil, muffler sounding like an oversized trumpet, family hundreds of miles away, girlfriends nearly forgotten, rabbit skins draped over a farm gate, six in the car when four would be too many, unwashed bodies, bad jokes, weed aplenty but no money to buy any, shared flatulence, no ding repair mix, wax as soft as butter, clothes piled every which where, wetsuits rotted, boot lid rattling, diff whining, chips in the windscreen, rego due, sump leaking, cyclone forecasted, Noosa beckoning, Byron long past, Kirra just around the corner. Pulses quickening.

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