An introduction to Scoresby

shuteImage: Chris Fussell – The Shute at North Bondi

A good job is a fine thing, Scoresby reminded himself as the train left Central and headed to the inner western edge of this great metropolis of Sydney and an early appointment with Mr. Ronnie Freedman of Superior Quality Used Cars who had advertised the position of Bookkeeper at the glamour rate of half a note and hour in the Saturday Morning Classifieds that very day.

Never mind the glittering faces of an eight-foot swell that had been breaking like a wedge in the middle of Bondi earlier; attended to by only a meagre few and horribly visible through the smeared windows of the top deck of a city bound 362 bus at 5.30am.


The Car Yard.
Ronnie!. ‘Howareya?’

‘ Bloke got the beanie job the other day,’ says Ronnie F.
No other explanation forthcoming. So there goes the big money and air-conditioning provided: but wait, there’s more.

‘ I can give you a start detailing the used units with young David and Roughnut at five bob an hour for about five hours a day, plenty of work and you look like a big enough young bloke so come over and I’ll introduce youse to the blokes in the shed, mind though you keep your back to the wall from time to time if you know what I mean … , orrite? ‘

Percy (Roughnut) – big handed and gruff – goes for the quick bonecrusher handshake, David slips his soft hand in and out of mine like a warm fillet of wet fish.

Young David’s photograph, I learnt later in life, was glued onto the entrances of almost every brothel up in Darlinghurst road in 1956 as a come-on-in for the discerning Friday night celebrant who thought that the money in his pocket was sufficient enough to feed the need in his trousers.

Here is David and Sheree,
– and David and Clarisse,
– and David and Bruce.
David and half the British Navy.

Day 15 and Scoresby and Dave are sitting side by side in the lunchroom exchanging oddly sympathetic reminiscences when the bag that holds our man’s lunch, and is at his feet, gives an impatient squeak and heads towards the door.

David thrusts his fingers into his mouth to stifle a panicked sob while Scoresby, never one for the overt reaction, awaits further developments.

The problem we are facing here is that blokes like Dave like to grab something in times of stress and confusion; and so here’s Scoresby’s lunch bag leaving the room under its own power, and Dave is grabbing at places that most blokes like to leave for the ladies.

Meanwhile Scoresby weighed his options, all one of them.

The only way to end this mess is to get up and away from me new best mate, grab that axle leaning by the door, take me poor bloody bag and drop it into that 44 gal drum over there that everyone chucks their rubbish into and beat the SHIT out of the rat that’s in there eating me lunch.
That done of course means there’s no bloody lunch today, no bag to take the working clobber home in and of course the full packet of smokes are now complete ratshit just putting it mildly.

Percy came by later and asked if I would run a rag over the Boss’s gold Bentley.

The car had been stuck away behind a wall of boxes in a large shed at the back of the yard for reasons not widely known at the time and I must have done a fair job on it because when I finally decided to leave the yard for the coast after nine weeks Percy said I was a good young kid.
Thanks Roughnut.

I can remember shaking hands with David on the way out; he had a look on him that I still can’t figure out, well maybe I can, but fuck, we got on ok.

It’s all in the understanding of the human condition you see, and the keeping of certain things at a good arms length.

A couple of years later, after I got back from Manus Island, I read in the Brisbane Courier Mail that Dave had been found dead in an alley after being tossed off a rooftop in Darlinghurst.

He wouldn’t have liked that.

– Peter Bowes