Below is a pic of a doll I found on the street some months ago. Below that, is a short story I’ve been working on, over the weekend, from a series called, HERE COMES EVERYBODY. It’s very much a first draft, like the doll here perhaps, and it might, the story, end up in a show. Who knows. I hope you enjoy it…
Finally I’ve met that weird kid I’ve passed countless times down the street from mine. He’s always kicking a football with those blonde kids from that family, who constantly telegraph to their neighbours how progressive they are. The kind that have hand made bikes hanging from nails and a show off range of colourful activity foot wear lined up, along their front door.
They’ve even built their own fence out of native red gum in the shape of rolling hills and they like entertaining in their front garden. They’ve installed a dining table too with its own chandelier. So they can drink the wine and keep a close eye on the kids and grumble about why it’s not the 70s anymore.
But their kids, the blonde kids with their happenstance haircuts are real kids, normal kids, while the weird kid could be anywhere from twelve to twenty five. It took me a couple of walk bys to work out he must have that rare disease where you grow up, but your body doesn’t. There’s something going on with his neck, the skin’s too stretched under his jaw. The neck betrays everyone, no matter who you are. Or maybe it’s his skeleton; maybe that’s stopped growing. I’ve got to say, I’m ignorant on this one.
He’s also got that look on his face of the been there, done that and saying I’ve got the stature of a 12 year old why not keep pretending I am 12 by playing with kids who really are. He does do it with style though, every time I see him with the others. He kicks the ball at them; they kick it back. It’s football; it’s everyone’s game. So yeah, what’s your problem?
He probably could go down to the pub for a beer, if he really wanted to, but is sick of being looked at and asked for ID. Now, this weird little dude with brown hair of undermined years seems to wear the same faded ski jacket and baseball cap. It’s his brand, a look he’s perfected; the kind of kid who looks cooler than everyone else at a party and the DJ never stops asking him if he’s having a good time.
Today, I saw him working as a volunteer for the café that helps out street kids who need a step up. It’s called, ‘STREAT’ and the café owners have newspaper articles posted on their window, saying they care. This doesn’t, for some reason, make their prices any cheaper. Anyway, he’s not a street kid because he has a family; I’ve seen them. Well, I’ve seen his Dad with him at the train station. Maybe this café job is yet another idea to keep him occupied and feel ok. Maybe he drinks beer at home with his Dad. Maybe he regularly calls out from the kitchen with, “Dad, we’re out of beers!” or “have you tried these beautiful babies, they’re from Belgium?”
He wasn’t carrying the coffee right though; his elbow was stiff and he was focusing too hard on the cup. He’s going to spill it, they always do. So I told him, the first thing I learnt when I was a waiter, is to relax the elbow. Let it swivel wherever it goes and always look ahead. All that tension in the arm and into the cup, the tiniest of jolts and it’s all over.
He took this on in that resigned way of having to tolerate yet another adult, like him, telling him how to do things when really they should have more sense not to. The conversation didn’t go for long. He didn’t want it to, who is this guy anyway, and he capped his end by telling me, Id have to take full responsibility if the coffee burns him. I came back with if it doesn’t then I’ll send him an invoice for the short lesson.
He didn’t laugh; we we’re both being lame and he moved onto the next table.
Well, at least I can say hi to him on the street now. Hi. Hi, we should go for a beer sometime and talk about girls. No, that’s not going to happen. Why am I talking about beer, I don’t really like it anyway.
I must also be ready for the fact that this kid may never want to have anything to do with me, ever. Because he knows there will be no talk, no interesting chats and all he wants is for us to salute each other with our eyebrows and for me to move on.
But what happens when all those blonde kids grow up and their progressive parents upgrade to the country. Well, he must get new ones, mustn’t he? Brand new kids to kick the can, he’d have to. Move on buddy, move on, he’s saying with his twenty five year old eyebrows; I’ve got this sorted. Please mate. Please, just move on.
John-Paul Hussey © 2013