Jaidyn Jaxxon has kindly agreed to do some Wednesday Wintoning! Awesome!
Phwoar, he breathes, stretching one arm out beyond the confines of the ancient floral couch. I’m baked.
It has just gone ten o’clock; and already, the street outside is bustling with the hubbub of twenty-eights and dead leaves, and somewhere, beyond the barren block nextdoor, a plastic bag rasps its way along the gutter.
Kojonup. Who’d of bloody dreamt it.
It’s been a week, now, since he’s parked up, pen in hand, and gone to scan the boards outside that old ramshackle grocers – rotty crosses, four-wheel-drives, and this, his sojourn, his refuge. His studio.
It doesn’t look like much – or does it? the weatherboard, creamy as the morning sky, yawning in upon itself, like a portal to the Green Room winking out between the swells one one of them golden sun-kissed arvoes when we’d all scarper out from recess, zinc-sticks in hand, our little toes yearning for the soft embrace of blazing sand, and we’d splash and plunge and bomby down the whole shimmering cusp of the Indian Ocean, it felt like, even if we’d still get home for lunch.
Lunch, that’s a thought.
But the house – the house is a source of endless inspiration – it has to be – his $280 says so, and he’d felt sure that was the tourist rate, but hadn’t dared to quibble. Too far north, that’s the problem. Wouldn’t happen south of Margs.
But this is Courtenay country.
A motion outside – just the wind, pulsing fiercely around the beaten boards – but enough to break his focus, and now his gaze drifts away, past the low table with its mounds of cockroaches and crumpled cans to dwell around the ceiling, where a single frosted window lights the discarded exoskeletons of harvestmen, and flies.
Fuck. Got to remember.
His pocket; the phone, in one fluid motion, appears.
A-B-C. J-ennifer bY-RNe.
But fuck, he half-whispers, I’m famished; and his ample belly shudders like the subaquatic sands, caught in the rip of his nascent menopause.
I can’t get up; I can’t feel my legs.
But the hunger persists – and he’s struck by an image from God only knows when, of the low-tide peninsula, of his sticky shins lost in the foaming mud, and the straggle-feathered shags, clinging to their rotted posts like – like the fucking critics –
Carn Timmy! Carn mate!
Smug cunt. And all they’d caught was blowies.
I should be writing.
And yet the desk is so very far away – and the Mac, he knows, is out of battery. Far better, then, to sit, or slouch, right here.
His temples throb – a glass of water stands beside the sofa, choked with ash. Too much effort. But the hunger burns – and his hand, cast out almost independently, floundering among the chip-buckets and trash like a netted crab, snags something.
Ye-es. A packet. Still sealed.
It is the work of seconds, and now he’s mungin em back, scarfing, unstoppable. It’s that kind of grub. It’s… it’s –
Friday afternoon, and school’s been out for hours, and they’re down the promontory rocks, whooping and chiaking and chasing around, Tim and Becky, just the two, and the Doctor’s blowing in from Penguin Island, and whether it’s a case of divine intervention or simple daylight saving who can tell, but the sun’s still shining like it’s never going to stop.
Carn Tim, she grins, her broad teeth flashing like a brace of bream, betcha can’t.
Betcha can, he puffs, half-there, half-now, his molars stuffed with clinging caramel, aching with the sugar and the salt of it all, just like his virgin heart; betcha can!
But just as his fingers brush her crumpled flannelette, there among the fringes of the sighing spinifex, something happens; something wet, and moist, bursting underfoot; and he only need glance at Becky’s horrified grimace.
The smell, thank God, is absent – but the texture is identical, and in a flash it’s all coming up, the whole treacled mess, and even as he lurches over the black-tinted bucket, a mangled tribe of gelatine people streaming from his mouth, he sees it, clear as his own reflection.
This is it. This is my spark.