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the jay walker

Ballina is a peaceful town, one without too many distractions if you can ignore the midnight dope drop-offs behind the substation across the road … Most of the locals are of a mature age, folks on their last legs enjoying the sub-tropical weather, the tranquility of the Richmond River and the many deserted beaches that necklace the coast up here.

There’s only one pedestrian crossing on busy River Street and the locals treat it with great respect, making sure the little green man gives them the ok before they slowly venture out onto the road. Like me they distrust their eyes, their reflexes and the approaching driver’s intent. Being nearly eighty does that to a man.New pedestrian traffic light system knows when you want to cross the street


A multi-tattooed, singlet wearing youth with cropped hair has decided the little green man is inconsequential to his immediate intents and with not a look to his right or left has stepped from the curb and walked arrogantly across the two lanes of moving traffic.

A man has to do something. The youth is an idiot. An example must be made. Children might be watching.

So, a modest ‘bip bip bip’ on the car’s horn as the youth strolls past not a foot away.

Who turns mid-stride and looks at the driver with threatening eyes before raising his finger.

Man giving the middle finger. Selective focus - Stock Image - Everypixel

Just so.

The driver burst into laughter, loud laughter, so loud it engaged the attention of the half-dozen people waiting for the light to change so they might cross. Now they too were laughing and the twenty or so people sitting at the outside tables of a nearby cafe looked up from their coffee and cakes and joined in. Shops emptied, real estate agents put down their phones and left their offices. The traffic stopped completely as all the drivers left their cars, eager to join the show.

Police were called. The local TV station sent a reporter to investigate the reason for a whole town to erupt in such spontaneous mirth.

And that, so help me, is almost how it happened.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. I believe you implicitly Pete. But then I’m simple minded. 🥴

    May 2, 2023
  2. Your literature suggests otherwise..

    May 2, 2023

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