The table of mothers.

The horns of despair

One of only two blokes showing any sign of life in Woy Woy last Saturday lunchtime was young Simon, pure bloody halfwit he is with his wandering ways and disturbing habit of accosting shop windows and loudly accusing the reflection therein of being a bloody dimwit,

– and Timothy O’Shea

Timothy O’Shea, completely bewildered by the exact and orderly science of losing money to the TAB on any animal that that is willing to run round around in circles.

Wakeful nights are many for Mad Tim, as he plots his unending calculus of weights and distances, horses names and jockeys’ colours.

Tim’s dad puts it all down to the marijuana.

Simon’s mum reminds me of the days when her young bloke would beg a ride to Ettalong every Saturday, weather regardless, gambling on yet another long ride on that fabulous unshifting bank.

So we all sit together in the dusty room that services the half dozen families who have travelled here today, we sit in some kind of rough circle around the wooden table.

Mostly women, mostly mothers, and all almost immune to the green stink of hydro grown bake which has beggared their sons’ minds.

Laura, with the frightening semi-circular indentation on her temple. The place where her son drove down a screwdriver into the Sleeping Devil whose reddened eyes never blinked and who had always lived in there.

In that head.

Always talking. His ruthless instruction.

Michael headed the meeting.

Alcoholic father and whore of a mother. Or the other way around. Both long gone now, years in the ground, somewhere.

Tell your boys this dream, he said. This is Michael.

Eight surfers around a table and on the table sits a bowel of sticky green marijuana spikes and here’s my grandson taking the scissors and cutting it back from clumps to bits and rolling it up into a pipe sized nuggets.

Adding a little tobacco.

And with the pipe load done he lights it himself and takes a long slow draw, he crackles the stone hard and sucks it down, then passes the hot stem to Kelly Slater, next up

and who declines

then Slater passes the pipe to Occy

who declines.

Then Occy passes the pipe to Tom Carroll, who laughs the smoking thing away

and hands it on to Pat Curran and his son Tom, both now so lonely awake in those endless lines of South American seas. They also pass.

– and then the pipe comes to me.

Who wavers, and wishes hard for less bargained days.