A town covered in grey. Granite paved streets without a soul on them. We walked in the cold rain to find a drink and a feed.
Most kitchens weren’t open till 6pm and it had only just struck four. So we went for a crawl about town. Our old motel had the cheapest piss and a fireplace. Good music and a large smoking area. No food though. So we made a move to a place up the road. The one not recommended by the bar staff.
When you’re fairly cut and step into a bikie den, most times its a good idea to have your drink and move along. But we had our meals, a few more beers and shared a few lingering stares with rough heads in leather vests.
We went back to the Hotel Motel and I drank 4 buck schooners of Coopers until I was out of coins. A piss-head approached me at the urinal.
“You with the Girraween Times mate?”
He was getting close. I would be pissing on his leg soon.
“Seen you been taking photos around town with a fancy camera. What for?”
‘Just like taking photos, out here hiking mate. Camera ain’t fancy, just old’ I shrugged
And he left me to finish up at that, with a nod and a stumble backwards out the door.
Got up the next morning for a hike and it was very pretty. The skies cleared. The roos came out and the sun shone on massive mounds of granite sticking out of the bush.
It stunk out. A stiff northerly kicked up a dust devil as I stepped out of the car and walked to the drive thru bottle-o. Grit’s whipped into my eyes. They weep as I’m peeling the shirt off my back, I step into the cool room and quickly find the cheapest slab pale ale.
“Cheer up mate, cant be that bad” the bald mad with stubby digits says to the chuckle of a small crowd of local boozers queuing up at the counter.
Back in the lot. Looks like a wreckers backyard. Cars parked haphazardly wherever they’ll fit across the potholed mosaic of asphalt and broken glass. Its always been like this since I’ve known it.
But it wont be forever. No.
A passing glance reveals a wee tsunami of gentrification washing through the streets of old Palmy. Shiny white Cafes, Hip restaurants, boutique shops and trendy barbers. A dozen or so popping up in the last year. The pissheads with the blistered coupons wont be chuckling when they cant afford the rent anymore.
The slabs in the boot. I spark up and sink back into the cab.
Suns getting low.
Lighting up the faded pastels of the highway motels real nicely.
Lights go red.
Lights go green.
Lights go red.
Traffic backs up and we all crawl along in this beautiful stinking postcard afternoon together.
People used to make things with their hands when nobody would do it for them.
A few mates with a few bags of cement and some stolen wood from a building site. Make a frame. Fill it with rocks. Put chicken wire over it. Mix some cement up in a wheel barrow and pour it on. Drink beer until it dries. Skate it. Repeat.
It a rough, lumpy and usually pretty ugly. But thats the charm.
Now skateparks are everywhere. Clean, smooth, un-cracked bowls and street courses popping up all over the place.
So people don’t need to get their hands dirty anymore. Not if they don’t want to.
But, some still like making things for themselves.
I can’t believe they gave me the money.
Most of them wouldn’t, Not the big 4. Not way. When I was about to give up on buying the unit, when I was just about to pack in the job, move back into my car and head out North again, there was a nock at the door.
A tall pale man in a dark suit with raven black hair and eyes like coal. He smiled a cold sharp smile and introduced himself a B.E. Lubbuz, and said he wished to loan me the amount I needed for the unit and more on top of that. He had eight shadows stretching out from under his feet in different directions. I though that was a very cool trick to pull on an overcast day. I invited him in and made him some tea.
He talked for a bit about numbers and repayments and jargon but I lost interest quickly. I was hungover became distracted by a cloud shaped like a dinosaur floating pas the kitchen window. I noticed bright green flames would flicker in B.E’s eyes whenever he mentioned repaying the debt. Anyway, before long I decided to sign up and get this creepy guy out of my house. I was tired. Tired of everything. He had a fit of laughter when I signed next to the X and then disappeared in a puff of smoke. He left a cheque behind.
I went and got the keys the next day.