Small man this fellow, small-faced and with an oddly pigmented skin

Fit, but underfed. Wiry fella.

Competent, but not pretty to watch in the water.

The other day at South Avalon, that day when the southwester was shining up those loopy lefts that poked their glassy ends all the way into the pool, that day when the local lads were burying everybody else in their spray, regardless of rights,

– when the mob was tight – and feisty, as usual.

This small man emerged from the shorey and jogged up he beach towards me, he’s in a bit of a hurry.

I’m just watching the surf from the apron of the surf-club.

Dead-set respectable is me, no threat. Peace on earth.

We don’t know each other and I’m happy with that.

So he stops at the life-buoy stand that is set in front of the club and he leans his board up against it.

Now he’s in no hurry, very relaxed.

He flicks a glance at me and after a little while starts to root around in the sand with his right foot. Bloke is still wet, not looking at what he’s doing, being cool.

Takes a minute or two here doing this quiet little thing. He’s watching the waves and his foot is digging away.

Then he moves over to the other side of the stand and roots around just so with his other foot, flicks the odd glance my way a couple of times.

Takes a minute or two here doing this other quiet little thing. I’m looking for the bloke in the white coat by now.

Then he stops his shenanigans, stops dead.

Stays put a while, then limps off towards the club like he’s just been shot through the foot.


Then when he gets to the concrete slab up there I see him bend down and pick up a set of keys that he has gripped with his toes,

Then he opens the club’s First-Aid door,

and he slips into the building.