I had made the beef jerky stew, the red cabbage was delicious, the beans were cooked nicely and I had just put the rice on when Marcia rang.
‘Can you pick me up from the main road, please?’
‘I thought you were in the truck?’ I said.
‘They can’t load the new generator tonight,’ she said, ‘so Roddie will stay in town with the truck. I came back by taxi’
Oh bugger me effing sideways. That means she is going to be bloody tired and in a really, really bad mood. Thank Christ I had dinner more or less prepared.
‘Alex!’ I shouted, ‘get yer kit on! We have to collect Marcia from the Curva!’
‘I’m watching Ben 10!’ he complained, ‘You said it was my turn!’
This was true. All day he had been faced with a choice: play by himself or watch the Ashes. I know
have retained the Ashes but it is
nice to see that someone has plugged the Aussies into a charger and they are
now giving England a run for their money. No sportsman feels comfortable with a
whitewash; it’s the close ones that earn bragging rights. England
‘Righto, son, I’ll see you in a bit!’
‘I’m coming, Daddy, I’m coming!’ he shouted leaping off the sofa.
Marcia hates to be kept waiting and I don’t like the idea of her standing on the corner of a main road in the dark with every trucker hauling his rig up thinking she is a prostitute up for a free ride.
‘Where’re your shoes, son?’
‘I’ve found one, I don’t know where the other one is!’
‘Bugger it, we’re only going to the main road and back, go barefoot!’
‘But I want my shoes, Daddy!’
There’s no arguing with him. He wants to go with me but only with his shoes and I am in a bleeding hurry. I scrabbled like a crab all over the floor.
‘Here! Here is your shoe! Let’s get going!’
‘My biscuits, Daddy!’ he wailed.
Bollocks. Talk about a rod for my own back. Every time Alex and I rode in the truck and now in the Jeep, he gets a packet of biscuits to munch on. It’s a thing we do. He would scoff a biscuit and then hand me one. We always made a big deal out of it. I was driving so he had to feed me since I couldn’t take my hands off the steering wheel. It is little things like that which help us bond.
I ran down the shop and grabbed a pack of choccie chip cookies.
‘Ready?’ I asked him as I settled behind the steering wheel and started the engine.
‘No, it's too hot,’ he replied fiddling with every knob on the dash.
I stabbed the aircon button and set off at a lick.
It is three clicks to the main road. There is some tarmac but it is only what’s left from colonial days. Basically it is just one pothole after another. I misjudged and hit a particularly big one launching the car violently into the air.
‘Do you want to live alone?’ Alex asked me.
‘Eh?’ I replied.
‘If you kill me, you'll have to live alone,' he explained.
How does this kid's mind work? He's not supposed to understand irony at his age!
I slowed down. Alex and I shared chocolate chip cookies, I let him fiddle with the stereo and the aircon. This was a real Man moment. We were cruising. Two blokes together.
In the meantime, the rice burnt and Marcia fumed.