I will be posting a few excerpts form my joint collection of flash fiction and poetry me and Mr Catfish McDaris compiled a few years ago, the hard cover book is still available to buy here and is on good reads here.
~Ben John Smith.
Racking My Brain
I just got back from working away. Working away means drinking away. I work as well. Working away is usually harder labor because you want to finish earlier. Finish working and start drinking. We usually take away whoever is free. Locals from the pub, people from the football club looking for a few days pay. Anyone is welcome. Doesn’t take a fucking brain surgeon to paint a pipe. This week’s crew is rougher than normal. One of the guys is the uncle of a worker who is on our books. We have a bit of a history so it makes idle conversation easier. He was the caretaker in a caravan park we frequent on the banks of the Murry River in NSW. He used to be the caretaker but now he has bone cancer. He says having prostate cancer has a few perks. Says there is nothing better than a blow job when your dick is half hard and he can’t get his fully stiff. His stories are priceless. I couldn’t make them up if I tried. Said he was seeing a Sheila who robbed banks and she had a county court case, that’s why he was up here working with us. He’s got tattoos on his hands and around his belly. After work he takes off his shirt and sits at the front of the hotel drinking cider with the rest of us. He has white flabby man boobs and he picks the two of them up like hairy walnuts and pretends to lick them. I don’t speak. I just listen. A man in a blue shirt 3 doors down drinks coffee and eats a biscuit.
Night time, we hit the RSL and get drunk. That’s when the good stories come out. When the dirt gets dished. He tells me which vans on the lots did what. Which were alcoholics and which were pedophiles. I remember he used to beat his wife but he doesn’t mention that and either do I. We used to check the best bets from his caravan because he was the only one with an Internet connection. He had birds on his balcony. Cockatoos. When I was real little I would sit and talk with his birds. He doesn’t remember me now though, just my old man. We stand up at six when the bugle cracks and the ANZAC prayer is recited. The old folks keep pumping coins into the pokies, but they don’t say anything. Dave’s phone rings and it’s a black fella trying to sell him hot work tools from Melbourne, He asks around the table but no one is interested. I think about the times at the caravan and I remember a woman named Carol. She would ask me to take off my top whenever I came around to her van so I could read with her two girls. I would have been about 8 or 9. We read books quietly. She said I was very strong and once she made everyone watch as I swung across the river with her eldest daughter on my back, holding on around my neck. She said “You must be very strong to hold her weight like that”. I felt like a soldier and I was proud. The Murry River was a deep brown muddy color. It probably still is.
I remember falling in love with a girl named Mandy. She wasa model. Well she did a foot advertisement for a shop in Sheparton. Now I think about it that explains a lot. She lived far away, so it never worked out. I had my first kiss up there too. It was wack. A girl I had a crush on most my life made me practice beforehand by kissing a half-cut orange with a wet and soggy napkin over it. Another time a group of Asian girls moved into a van on the banks. They would come to the boat sheds at night and we would sit around on the stools and talk dirty and fuck around with the fire and shit. Once the eldest put her foot under the table and moved my cock and balls around with her toes. She had braces and was kinda ugly but it was something I remember. You just gotta start thinking and eventually you remember. She kept saying her foot was getting sleepy but I told her to keep on going, goddamn it. Her dad got wind of all this madness and they left. Everyone was pretty much spewing.
I get home from the RSL and write all these things. On the way home the old fella with the cancer said he once opened a Bible in a hotel and a knock shop card fell out. Said he won 3 grand on the pokies and ordered 4 hookers from the card he found from the Bible. The Gideons and the giddy’ups. Said he wanked beforehand because he idn’t want to waste all that cash on a five-minute pump. When I get to my room I hold the Bible up like a nappy and shake her around. I feel stupid. Ridiculous. I put on the television and watch the start of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” (seriously as chance would have it) and fall asleep after wanking myself over your contact name in my phone. It’s been a big day of work, drink and racking my brain to remember things I would rather forget. I promise when I die I’m going to punch God in the mouth and then kiss him for hours and hours trying to make up for it.
I wonder what that Asian chick is doing now.