For sometime I worked with recently arrived migrants, providing support across a wide range of daily living problems. Margarita had been in to see me earlier in the day. Her second request was to do something about her car which had been damaged in an accident. The details were tumbled up, sketchy and Margarita’s request of me unclear. Clement the telephone swahili interpreter helped me decipher the story and here it is!
When ‘someone’ drove her car to the Plaza with her permission on Sunday he [cos a someone would be a male…wouldn’t it??] backed the car into a wall at the motel. She said the car was still drivable, and this precipitated her true request. She needed the car driven from the motel to her new house. I had spent day’s setting up the new accommodation, the centrelink pays, the utilities etc… but that’s another story.
Margarita said she had tried to get on to numerous community friends, none of whom could or would assist to drive the vehicle to a new location. She could not drive, but had bought the car so that others might chauffeur her to her appointments.
As a last resort she said she had ultimately got on to Golam, who was otherwise known as ‘someone’ [at this point the reader may gasp and sotto voce repeat ‘Oh my God’!!!!!]
He had come around to drive the car away, tried, then advised Margarita the car was in fact undrivable. So I thought, why not go to the motel, get some jumper leads and at least get the car out of the motel so they could relet the room.
At the motel I found her vehicle, parked in front of the unit she had been staying in for several weeks, with its rear end looking like it had been hit by a big big truck at about 60 kph. It was as they say ‘severely damaged’.
I went to the motel manager. She was extremely pissed off, big time. She contained her rage and any danger she might have threatened me with by keeping the door to her office locked and spitting her words at me through the mesh. Thank god for that, cos the wire screen filtered most of it. Spittle hung there across several of the mesh holes, gravity taking hold. I watched fascinated.
She said that last night, very late, her slumbers were broken by a tremendous crash, which when she investigated she found to have been caused by someone driving into the parking spot in front of Margarita’s unit and then reversing and then going forward at speed, braking, then reversing back at speed though not braking, progress being impeded by a substantial block retaining wall. She said that someone repeated this to and fro motion until the car could no longer take it.
Ms Spittle made hand gestures at 10 and 2 o’clock making the 10 rock up and down between 8 and 12 and the 2 simultaneously and synchronously rocking between 2 and 4. She commented that “Someone didn’t know how to turn.” African people she continued confidently, “Only know how to drive in a straight line.” She then raised her eyes, like headlights between her arms, flailing her arms around, like a kid driving a dodgem at a fairground.
By now after several previously unsuccessful attempts, the mudguards of the car were now imbedded in the tyres, the boot reduced to half its length and no taillights shone through the shards of broken brake indicator and backing light covers. Someone tumbled from the car. Someone? OMG yes the very same someone. Pissed as a fart, drunk as a judge, stoned, under the weather, sloshed, wasted, he was drunk, very. Ms Spittle called the police but said she didn’t have someone’s licence or address but had the car rego and she’d use that to charge the owner for the towing fee to move the vehicle. She said ‘someone’ was a frequent caller over the past few weeks.
I left Ms Spittle and scurried away to my car, told Margurita her car was a write off, and that without any insurance she should consider seeking restitution for the damages from Golam. [fat chance]
Well now it was time for the power at the unit! We drove there, I wondered what was going to happen to her car, but clearly that was for another day.
There was no power in tall unit. All the switches were properly set in the unit’s switch board.
With the help of the man in unit 4, whose tee shirt bore the message not to screw with pitbulls, we unscrewed the hasp on the locked main power board and flicked switches up and down till they all looked the same in all the units.
I checked with Country Energy to advise a supply interruption and they called back to say would be an hour or so as there were no other calls in the area.
So I texted my coordinator,

sms reads: Still stuck here. No country no energy. Getting dark sea clouds rolling in. Street lights on

I called Country Energy again at 1920 and at 1928. Aaron told me there were more urgent faults at Corindi Beach and we would have a further wait.

sms reads: Good to hear the crew is up Corindi beach, he told me to “just hang on in there mate, we will get to you some time”

By now it was dark, and we were hungry, so I went up to Maccas and got us a good feed of 4 Mcdouble’s and 2 Double cheeseburgers.

sms reads: I bought the mcafrican lady a suite of fried patties between sesame seed buns plus gherkin. We liked them full and fat

An hour later at 2017 I called Country Energy to be told that “didn’t I know they had prioritised work on and that heaps of people were without power and that they’d get around to us sometime tonight.”
More waiting!
Well I thought what’s she going to eat in the morning. It’s a bit glum without light so I went up to the Plaza shopping centre and got some candles, Monte Carlos and scotch fingers at Woolies before it closed.
On return we lit the candles, one for the kitchen and one for the bathroom, which gave a nice atmosphere, very restful. We could now see our way into the dunny!
Margurita got some kip on a blanket on the floor in the unit while I waited in the street.

sms reads: Poor lady she has gone to sleep on the floor on a rug in the flickering warming glow of the pillar candle (scentless) while i keep watch for the energy men.

sms reads: She is fast asleep. Mild here by the sea. The light from yon windows beams shafts slightly illuminating the gloom

Then at 2108 a vehicle turns up with its search light on scanning the letterboxes for the numbers. I think its the energy men but it’s a taxi and a passenger gets out. He stands on the kerb and scans around. I see his face lit by the screen of his mobile as he makes a call. Margurita’s phone rings from inside! He prattles a little then walks past me without acknowledgment and down the right side driveway.

sms reads: Now a taxi arrives. He gets out and makes a call. Her phone rings making me superfluous. D’oh!

Together they settle in. Feel kinda like a pimp scanning the street hopefully.

When a panel van, and then an enormous truck pull up, I guess these are energy men. They tong everything, tong this, tong that before deciding its a fault between the main board and the internal board so there ain’t nothing they can do, mate.
I leave a note for Margurita to take round the corner to the agent first thing in the morning. The note urgently requests an electrician to attend.

sms reads: My guess is the candles were a good choice tho rose or lilac scented might have celebrated more carnally her first night in new a home

sms reads: Heading home. Margurita and paramour to sup on the monte carlo and scotch fingers she and i were to enjoy

A light shower commences, misting the window screen of my car as I switch on the ignition to start the wipers.

By 2155 I am homeward bound.



  1. The Meandering Matriarch says:

    Like it! Well done.

    1. davidatqcm says:

      Thank you. Need to get some of my “older ” work completed

  2. Graeme Hollings says:

    Hi David

    Hope is all well

    1. davidatqcm says:

      Graeme thank you for your comment. I am enjoying my new role writing policy with the dept of health in Tassie. How are u getting on now?

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