Life in the Northern Beaches by Larry

munch(1) We are sitting in the midday boil of the Mona Vale & Pittwater Road traffic lights and we are watching some iron legged spastic kid coming out of Nat’s old shop and heading across the five traffic lanes.

Alone.

And despite the limp and gimp that will forever be his life’s associate, and peril, he drifts unconcerned across all of us parked here hotly on the redlight, as he shuffles his friendless way off to some other empty place.

– and how the heat must bear down on him.

(2) Phillip’s older brother drives him to the carpark overlooking Warriewood only rarely since the onset, and rarely in the calm dusk, as the sight of a lifeless horizon in fading light has always lead the boy to lacerating himself in an absorbed frenzy of scratching and tearing.

He rips at himself and mutters, ‘ Sometimes, ‘ and he wonders that there should be something there, something there; there should be something there!

(2) Nathan, with his two big dogs and hydroponics, has lived on and off with his mother in her sealed two-bedroom cottage in Avalon for three months since his release from the Brisbane Watch House, and the letter pushed under the door last Friday is a summons for her to appear at the Manly Magistrate’s Court for non-payment of rates.

The local council is aggrieved, and they covet her home.

Nathan’s mum has been unable to get out of bed for a week now, with an untreated dog bite gone gangrenous; and the blunt faced beasts roam hungry through the small rooms day and night.

They bump again and again at the flimsy door of her bedroom. Dark day and night.

Nathan comes by from time to time; always at night, measuring the wattage and filtration, doing some harvesting and checking the black plastic bagging on the spare bedroom window, where his mother starves.

(3) Little Spiro wonders whether the hose that he has fitted over the car exhaust and threaded up through the driverside car window will deliver enough gas to kill him, with the window all but slid shut.
He has kindly parked his car on the skirt of the drive of his shared house in Avalon Parade, knowing that the neighbours like to drive to the RSL for dinner on a Saturday night.

He wonders whether he should breathe deeply soon. The gas hisses so slightly.

He wonders how long this final business will take.

(4) She was sixty-five, and tired, and not too disturbed by the quiet of the house as she let herself in after work.

He must be sleeping.

Sleeping in an armchair with his head hidden in a soiled balloon of plastic, his blackened head, and the plastic tied tight around his neck with an old service tie and a half bottle of whisky upended there on the floor and that was the airless end of his disease and his misery and his loss of youth.

And their only son Nathan due home from the beach anytime.

Nathan.

Larry.

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