Been a while, eh?
We have the occasional exchange on Messenger. Though, you did come and visit last year before the big fellow died. You were caught up with catching up. So many people to see. You’ve been away a long while now.
The plan to do some songs together fell over pretty early in the piece. Maybe next time, Lip. When will that be?
It takes a certain kind of person to be able to live in a desert. The sun and the dust, the lack of plants and clouds and busy streets. A dog is a good idea. Air conditioning a must if you live in a donga. No need for doonas.
Lip liked the solitude. He could write poems and songs and draw naked women. He could crack a beer at 9.30, or earlier. It was seven days a week, but easy as piss. One drive around the boundary fence in the morning and once again in the afternoon. Push, pull or swipe off any electrocuted animals with the special non-conductive pole, and write up any needed repairs.
The battering ram thumped from seven thirty to four thirty. Lip timed it. Tempo: twenty six booms per minute. A back beat to life. Not so welcome in the morning after a big night at the titty bar. But otherwise, the perfect metronome.
BOOM … BOOM … BOOM
Last Saturday I got going on the story, the task sent to me by Lip. Write a story based on the photo of him with a dog. He thinks he looks like Mel Gibson, I think he looks like David Essex. What I notice most in the photo is the shirt. A red checked short sleeve number. The sleeves are virtually non existent. They are like small eaves for the upper arm. This was a style for a while. A style that Lip liked very much. He had several t-shirts with poor excuses for sleeves.
The story is still a journal entry. One day it will have its own file and be one step closer towards being published on my blog, or chucked into some random collection of short stories that I’ll try to flog to a real publisher.
So this is how it is now. Occasional dabbles, waiting for the next big push.
Lip inserted his own beats in between booms.
BOOM chuckawucka BOOM chuckawucka …, was a common morning rhythm. Simple, slow, went well with coffee. When the caffeine did hit, he would add in an extra wucka. BOOM chuckawuckawucka BOOM … things picking up now.
Get in the ute and do a lap of the boundary. Where’s that China Crisis cassette?
One morning, after a big night at the titty bar, Lip dressed up in the clothes left behind by the girl who rooted like a demon. How she got back into town with no clothes and no car is one of those mysteries never to be solved. She just up and left at seven thirty three, holding her head and cursing the battering ram. She left a cotton blouse, denim skirt and a pair of brown leather boots.
BOOM diddly squiddly widdly BOOM … kick up some dust with the cowgirl boots. Twirl around, get that skirt lifting, reveal man bits to the world of desert. No one watching, camp it up Lip.
Was she wearing undies? Can’t find them anywhere in the donga. She definitely wasn’t wearing any when she took off, howling like a banshee. Can’t recall how I picked her up. Do remember her tongue in my ear as I drove her back here.
Lip looked at himself in girl’s clobber. It’s a lark, bloody hilarious, the boys back east would love it.
He waltzed, BOOM tick tick BOOM tick tick BOOM …
That same morning Lip found a big hole in the fence. So big, he could drive his ute through it. That was probably how the hole was made. Some rum soaked yahoos from town probably smashed through to find some gems. Apparently, so the titty bar gossip went, the battering ram sent sapphires and rubies flying a 100 metres or more. No wonder the fence was electrified.
Lip was not allowed inside the perimeter. His donga was on the outside. “Just clear off the wildlife and report any damage. Nothing else, OK?” were the instructions on day one.
The temptation was too great. Dressed as a cowgirl and the raging hangover only made the idea so much more plausible. Lip drove inside the compound.
I’ll stay out of sight. Park just this side of the rise. Have a sneaky look around. A gem or two would be a nice reward for my loyal service to the company.
Down in the dust on his belly, Lip crawled up the rise to survey the scene. The battering ram was massive. There were some buildings around it and some parked cars, they looked tiny in comparison.
BOOM ruby ruby ruby BOOM …
There was no one in sight. The workers would be busy, or not busy, and hanging in the air-conditioning. Drinking coffee. Talking shit.
Lip stood up bold as brass and walked down towards the operation. He saw the conveyor belt delivering rock to the ram.
BOOM crunch BOOM crunch BOOM … dust and rock fragments exploded outwards. Parabolic arcs sprayed the surrounding desert floor. An oversized bulldozer pushed the debris into piles.
The driver won’t be looking out for men in drag looking for a bit of bling.
Lip pushed on.
The gossip was correct. At about 100 metres out, flashes of blue and red light twinkled on the ground. Lip picked up some rocks with the glint. He had nothing to carry them in. The cotton blouse had no pockets. The denim skirt likewise. The boots were made for walking and scooting.
The giant bulldozer turned and headed straight for Lip.
Grab what you can boy. And get the fuck out of here.
Lip drove out of the hole in the fence and planned to burn the clothes.
They’ll be looking for a girl. I’ll bury the rocks under the dog kennel. There’s no way Patch will let anyone scratch around there.
The companies security division arrived the next day. They turned the donga upside down and inside out. They didn’t find any gems. But one officer, with a smile on his dial that deserved a serious punching, said, “What have we here?” and held aloft on the end of a Biro a pair of women’s panties. All black lace and snail trail.
Is that when you headed overseas, Lip?
I know it’s cold over there, and you’ve told me how you miss home. You like the heat.
There’s a great op-shop around the corner from my place. Come over and we can choose some clothes to wear when we get the band back on the road. You might even find a shirt with those silly cut back sleeves.