Finality, Closure 1

The roar of cars, trucks, the tweet and squawking of birds, it’s the start of a day.
I have a need to be here to the push and pull.

For the anger, the pain, this might see it done, it’s been a tempestuous journey. “There is no need to attend, simply fill out the documentation, return to this address, and Orders will be forwarded in due course” is what I read on the topmost paper in the stack. The stack had arrived, announced in a sign for registered package. I signed the form and sent it to an address in the western suburbs. To an address, a street address, no name of the addressee. Whilst I had to sign, print name and address, the return was to ‘no one.’ it felt weird. And then the reflections start. How had it come to this?

Some six months, maybe longer the sheriff had arrived. I could see over his head, from my backdoor vantage point three steps above him. ‘
‘Are you, David X?’ he enquired.
‘Who wants to know, mate?’
‘I can’t say,’ he replied, ‘Are you him?’
‘Dunno,’ I responded, asking again, ‘So who are you?’
‘Look, mate, I just need to know where David X is, are you him?’
‘So you need to know where this guy is but can’t say who you are, is that right huh?’ I asked, indignity rising.
‘Look,’ he said, ‘ I’ve been chasing this guy for a while now, at this address, so are you him or not?’ and his indignity was heading north too.
‘Might be, might not be’ I offered, ‘So what, and who the f$&@k are you anyway?’
‘Can’t say who I am,’ he replied, ‘It’s a privacy matter’.
‘What! A privacy matter, whose privacy are you invading at quarter to nine on a Friday night at a back door with all your banging and crashing?’
He had no intention of listening, but sensing a gap in the ‘maybe, maybe not’ he went on,
‘So let’s say you are this guy I am looking for, I’ve got these papers you might be interested in’ he said, reaching into a shoulder satchel at his left side.
The satchel was well worn, possibly leather. The papers he withdrew looked official. Larger than A4 sized, folded down lengthwise in what looked to be thirds, the outside typed with a crest above.
‘Hmm,’ I thought, ‘A process server.’
‘So are they court documents?’ I asked.
He went silent, let his left hand with the folded document fall to his side. My eyes followed.
He saw my eyes lock onto the papers and realised he had his quarry.
‘Look,’ he said, ‘I’ve been here several times over the last few weeks and you are never here. Sooner or later, you are going to get these, so why not now?’
I could sense his relief and my discomfort. For him just another bounty to be claimed, maybe even a success fee attached. For me, the sense that maybe this was the moment when life moved forward, in whatever way.

I took the papers, and he disappeared back around the side of the house and away. Closing the door, I looked at the sheaf, official-looking and court-approved.
Whatever could they be?



The Flying Dog 2

I was told I over and over I was loved by my kids, and maybe that explains everything.
I feel that I’m the person people walk by and ignore that’s how the kids treat me. She’s told me this over and over.
Frank comes and he can’t promise his ma anything. He just can’t promise . He prevaricates, he shambles, makes light, weasels for an angle then shows some interest in the dog having heard of something that’s happened, maybe an accident the cause of which is for now not revealed. Languidly Boo lies in the back of car under blue blankets brown eyes flickering and acknowledging or maybe not.
“Will you promise me” she implores
“Whats happened to him? He demands.
“Will you promise me not to say anything especially to Kylie and Keith” and for stress
“Promise not to say anything”
And still there’s no clear, “I promise”
“Has he been poisoned?” avoiding the promise question.
A fair enough question as Boo’s tail wags up flicking the blanket in contentment. There’s a bond between man and dog, and hard to say what will happen.
“So do you promise not to say nothing to anyone. It’s to be our secret, not even Kaye and Robert are to know otherwise it will be all around the town. There’s not much recognition even this time and he looks up from the dog asking
“So what happened?”
“Do you promise?” her tone lowering as she weakens, wanting to say but within the momentary shelter of “the promise.”
He’s tiring of this and without any meaningful conviction mumbles “I promise”
“Well………. he jumped over the walkway at the dam and landed sixty feet below on the concrete spillway. ”
There’s not a lot of awe at this, as if the information has been processed in a way which is non tradable in dope economic terms.
“Yes,” I add “would have been at least that, sixty feet.”
We stand edgily the story having now having now been told and edgy cos the injury to Boo is not yet apparent. Helena had been told that internal bleeding might be detected by pressing the dog’s gums, watching for the whiteness as the blood is pressed away and then observing the rapidity with which the pinkness returns. If rapid to instantaneous then no internal blood loss, a slow return might indicate internal loss. Boo’s gums have been pressed and pressed always coming back pink immediately.
” So is he hurt” and Frank turns to running his hands over the black fur in a massage, come inspection. Who can tell what Boo makes of this. He’ s exhausted, three kilometre walk back up and over the to the exit road.
“So why did you move him, his back might have been broken?”
Helena recounts in near to tearful manner the awkwardness of the exit. The struggle to retrieve him, and the dog’s intrepidness in forging his way out.
” So promise me that you won’t tell anyone about this cos we weren’t suppose to be where we were though it used to be in an open road and there are heaps of other ways to have got to where we were without seeing a sign? The fuckin Hydro blocked the roads, they’re public roads and those bastards have no right to do that.”
Frank seems to be recalculating.
“You mean he jumped sixty feet!” adding bullshit seemed unnecessary.
“Yes, there was no stopping him, it was so unexpected” so here’s a story for fellow dope smokers and it’s hero story, my flying dog.
The echoes of the promise made is nothing to be held to. He can feel the pride in the telling just can’t for now work out the angle to work this into a way to bludge a joint. “Here’s a story of the dog I love and he’s a hero” is how it would start. “Give me a joint and I’ll tell ya what happened it’s really gonna blow you away”
Barely more words are exchanged,he’s back to the things which have now been moved down the road to the landlords place and now standing as part rent for accommodation offset. Goods acquired for no money exchange, a real insiders deal, a triumph for the movers and shakers.
The conversation turns on this. The gloating over another’s loss and Frank’s focus on a deal which reinforces dependence.
“So should I drop in tomorrow with Kylie to meet one of your boyfriends?” he asks as if to make a point.
There’s strangled laughter at this point, a smile tries to break my lips but in truth I don’t know where to look.
“Well, maybe not tomorrow Frank,” she says trying to recapture the moment.
The reality being that Sunday won’t be spent in church till noon, the incense Frank will endure is of the bonging type.
There’s no suggestion or promise to say nothing to anyone.

And later we wonder why he came, was it truly about her health, though the conversation started and ended there. My fog of inability to understand any of this means my perception is clouded though to the more observant it’s about crowing. Crowing, that the things you wanted are now somewhere else, I have controlled that and you need to be told this. It’s a vanity but still and all with the rejection clearly on display a mother’s love prevails and warns of being taken advantage of in a totally non threatening way. The self absorption is clear, the inability to connect and the wry comment that Kylie would like to meet your boyfriends.
And so the promising or not about the dog’s flight o’er the walkway takes second place to the real issue. The closeness of the community which binds and tears apart relationships between the older, the younger and the youngest.
It’s a tale of life in a country hamlet suffused in a haze of alcohol and dope. It wreaks of stupid.

The Grotto

A place you haven’t seen.

It’s in my mind vividly, a place you haven’t seen.
A place that has meaning to me.
What is it about a place that moves me to write about it?
Scenic beauty, emotional attachment, what?

A lush green grotto in the land of the long white cloud is this place, a place where cool air and crumbling rock combine.
Reached after a long climb, the ascent into the grotto is by way of a long, torturous uneven stone stairway. The original path is still apparent, intersecting the new wooden path at interval and disappearing to the sides of the newer pathway. I have walked both.

I slipped and slid down the first time on the old path from wetted rock to rock, occasionally finding a footing between the smaller boulders. It was after rain that time, the freshness of the air permeated with the songs of birds finding their way back to their shaded grotto home. Some rocks covered in hairy moss, others nude and bald, the minerals of the earth providing sustenance and growing crevices into which the moss found footing.
Deeper into the grotto, the encroaching cavern roof shielded the sun from ever reaching deeper, save for a few precious minutes before a summer sundown. In winter the sun never came.

Reaching the grotto floor a deep cobalt blue pool lay tranquil before me. Pebbles were magnified through the clarity of the water lenses. A scene of intense reflection, mentally and physically. The reflection of the grotto entrance palm foliage cried out to be seen, reviewed and then reviewed again, was there a palm in the water, it’s silhouette challenging my eye to believe that the pool was deeper than the foot or two of it’s real depth?
A place to sit and reflect, alone. A place to make promises to oneself, consider love and lost love, a place to be fair to oneself.

With a group of others the second trip to the grotto had little meaning, or at least less. The pointing out of this or that feature, cheapened the experience. It was the same place, the memories of it faded a little.

Remembered now, the grotto lives again for me, it’s tranquility and peace in my heart.

I wish I hadn’t gone the second time.

The flying dog

A late start but the noon promises special sights, the air clear. Rising from Wilmont to Moina the road spirals, twists then flattens into the junction to the dam. Wilmont dam. Turning quickly to the right the road descends slowly, white gravel and mud churn beneath the wheels. At the hydro road barrier the road hairpins left and down to the water’s edge, way way below the level usual for now, except perhaps if flooding rains are expected in the catchment, but as far as the forecasters are concerned this is not the case this week.
Heaped on the previous high water mark the detritus of past storms lie abandoned, branches, trunks, roots. No sign but a few concrete rubble piles which once were piers. Hopeful signs announce the trout released here are for recreational fishing, but would anyone come for business?
It’s a long walk along the shoreline, firm underfoot the rocks set into the hardened mud. To see the wall, we back up the hill to where the road was barrier blocked. We comment about the alienation of public land, where the Hydro blocks formerly public available roads.

The dam wall is massive, stretching across the Wilmot river downstream from the confluence with the Leigh. The pondage tunnels water through Bell mountain to a power station on the other side. Walking atop the wall the left side water impoundment is at least 80 feet below. A foam line parallels the concrete sloped face of the rock fill barrier. To the right it’s a sharper fall to the strangled restart of the Wilmont. An aqua pool beyond the newly white cemented pathway tickles the imagination with the reason for it’s colour. Boo bounds ahead sniffing here and there on the look out for whatever dogs look for on a dam wall. We walk apart to the spillway end, the level 20 feet below the spill intake, a vast area of concrete to take vast quantities of flooding water when nature provides more than man made structures can hold. The spillway floor is 60 feet below the dam wall, and to the left a promontory which separates the wall from the spillway. With a ladder of three rungs the pathway leads up to the crown of a small hill, separating the dam on the left from the spillway on the right, the spillway edge crowned by a turret. A few photos of this and that and we arrive at the turret on the end of the dam wall overlooking the spillway. About to take a shot of the distant road and emerging island in the middle distance, I turn to see Boo spring as he does, clearing the parapet wall.
“Oh shit”, we look at each other and the feeling of oh shit is all we can mouth.
“Oh shit,Oh shit.”
Can we dare to look? The wall is at least four foot six if not five feet high but the spillway floor is 60 feet below on the other side.
There is terror in our eyes or god knows what. We race over and at the same time slowly grab at the wall to peer over. “What is there to see, what will there be to see”.
It’s the dilemma that only looking will tell when looking is the last thing to do. Can’t this be video’d to us as we all saw on 9/11. Who really saw that, though billions think they did.

Far below Boo rises to his feet, groggily. Stunned, he seems dazed and views the distance between us forlornly. We call, “Stay!” but what else can he do, there’s not in fact much else he can do.
Stay means “Are you really alive and hurt “. He staggers around and slowly it’s dawning that he’s just flown vertically sixty feet and is still standing and, well still standing. Desperately we look about for ways down to him. It’s going to be a bit difficult, well maybe more than a little, no clear way down from where we are and no clear way to haul him out if we can get to him.

I clamber down the back of the dam wall after a run up to the car to see if there is anything I can find to assist. After climbing up the spillway, I cuddle him while waiting to see if there’s another way to pull him out. We sit there, I look up at where he’s flown from it’s sixty feet above and there appears to be not a mark on him. Walking westward along the shoreline we find a way up the slope, soft and moist, the soil fragrant as compost.
From above us Helena calls ” are you there”. We know she’s up there and we scramble to each other, Boo taking the intermediary role. Chastened, he’s not scolded, as if he know he’s done something extraordinary, unexpected and never to be done again. We trudged along, stopping to think we might carry him. Impossible, even wearing Helena’s jacket as a potential stretcher, he’s just too heavy. By the time we’re home, tiredness takes us over, we drink tea, Boo the flying dog, sleeps.

Rhinofillexomonia-the delicate art of nose picking

” Its rhinotillexomania,” she said, and then related her journey through middle age paranoia. Her doctor thought to give advice as she settled down for a first consultation.”
“Well, what’s wrong,” the very young male doctor said,”tell me what are your symptoms.”
“Well, I don’t have any severe symptoms right now but I have been doing some research on google,”the new patient replied,
” I think its called rhinotillexomania, you know addictive nose picking. I looked it up and I think thats…………”
But that’s all she got out before her young doctor interjected with,
“You haven’t been on google have you. You haven’ t. Really!” And the client lady suddenly felt smaller in her chair, just like she was meant to feel.
What had she said that offended her wannabe GP so much? Was it that she, as a middle-aged woman, had done some research? Or maybe she had used google and her male doctor was a Binger or worse a Linux user?
The potential ageing patient was gob smacked, who wouldn’t be, she felt she’d broken the sanctity of the consulting room, that sanctity which grants the client the chance to pay and the doctor the god given right to pontificate.
In an attempt to get on the front foot she regrouped.
“So what drew you into medicine?” she asked, hoping that the vocational aspect of helping folk was a primary motivation.
“Well I did well at high school, went into merchant banking then decided there was more money in doctoring.”
The patient looked at her wondering. It was the first time she had heard the word doctor, a noun, transformed into the verb “to doctor.”
“Don’t you mean medicine,” was her query, “Aren’t you devoted to the art, the science of medicine and its evidence based practice.”
“Get real,” came the response ” course not. I know, I know the best, I learnt from the best consultants and was able to dispense medicine as good as the next bloke. My results prove that. A lot of those who didn’t make it through in my class at doctor school, got exemptions in the pharmacy course. They did a four year degree but aren’t called doctor like me.
And the patient quickly thought of all those Indian and Chinesey looking folk she’d seen. Slaving away on all ways open shifts in chemist shop bulk outlets they would never own.
“Yes, I know what you mean, but why did you chose doctoring?”
“Doctoring,” the potential patient thought, the word was growing on her. It was like a scab growing over a wound which had initially hurt her, but as the wound healed she didn’t feel a need to pick at the scaly scab.
“Well as I said it’s the sustainability of the income. Once a doctor always a doctor. When’s the last doctor you heard of who isn’t doctoring now. It’s the only profession where you can still have a cloistered job for life. You learn your trade, there’ll always be sick people, or those who think they’re sick so it’s a job for life. Sort of like a funeral director really!”
The patient hadn’t really thought a lot about the sentinel events which occur in hospitals. She knew that in some major teaching hospitals the LTIFR wasn’t measured for injuries to staff, so what hope for the patients. The lost time injury frequency injury rate had been measured in industry for at least forty years and safety had been measurably improved in that time. So sentinel events monitored by doctors for doctors were gonna take a long time to be exposed to a wondering public. Besides that, if you can bury your mistakes why worry!
The patient folded her new red mini iPad and got up.
“Where are you off to,” the doctor asked ” the bathroom is down the hall to the right,”
“It’s ok,” she said,” I know where it is, but I’m off. Consumers have choices too”
And with that she closed the door and left.

Women and Cars

I waited and waited today. Worry setting in, and then it burst. The office had taken on a demure buzz of nothing but work. T-1 day of the migration of the email service had resulted in a flood of forty two emails wondering about what would be saved and what wouldn’t be.

Thumb drives and all manner of life preservers were being thrown about, courtesy of the magic of bulk emails. Every person and their dog could worry about this now. Folk from upstate could let All and Sundry know that they had five years of personal stuff stored and wondered how this might be affected.

More emails, more confusion, a delightful panic. Then out of the blue I hear from the techarea to a lady colleague

“If women were a car, there’d be a total recall. They break down every month and become totally unreliable”.

The lady responded that in fact she was

“All for incubating cos in pregnancy you cant see your feet, can’t tie up your shoes and so on and so forth”

Somehow the T-1 email migration seemed insignificant, my worry about this day’s didireallyhearthat blog resided. I could go safely back to minute writing land.


Night time Malitia History.

I lay in no pain except what was coursing through the brain I had somehow damaged. No existential trauma but the effects were very clear to others. The slurred speech, the right sided weakness, especially the upper quadrant,

It took a while to determine more accurately if bleeding or clot based, and when clot based was determined aspirin dissolution was indicated. No one had said
“Gee you’re lucky, you could have died.”
My facilities right side were limper, try as I might it took huge useless effort to get fingers and points to work accurately.
Mourning what might have been lost seemed self indulgent, I’d no interest in giving them up.
“If they’re gone they’re gone, get on with what you got.”
Looking around many have less. Who cares? Are they dead?
Keeping to my self though offered time to think about the past, the long past, the immediate past, and the past which sits there unresolved.

What are somethings about? How do chance happenings change things?

Lying in bed there was no apparent need to worry as she was. I slumbered. We were awoken by the security lights coming on.
“What was that?” we asked each other incessantly when awake.
” Probably a cat or something. Do you want me to look?” I answered reassuringly.
“Yes but be careful he might do anything .”
I started to wonder who he was as I disentangled from her legs and crossed the room.
At the peak of the curtains the light from 500w bulbs inched over the rings. Though very dark in the room my eyes were adjusting in the gloom. Round the end of the curtains I peered out.
” Nothing there hon,” was all I could see at this acute angle.
“Yes but he’s cunning. He knows not to get in the way of the light beam coming on. It will have scared him into the shadows.” she trembled, “Go look out the door to be sure.”
So to be sure that’s where we went, out though the half opened bedroom door and left through the lounge entrance to the locked front door. I fumbled with the keys, she behind.
The screen door was locked tight. I peered out. The faux cobbles peered back. In the harshness of the security lights I saw naught. Then I noticed that the pedestal of a fountain appeared knocked over.
” Was that always like that?” I asked.
” Well yes and no,” she whispered over my right shoulder. “It was ok till he knocked it over when he came before I had the lights installed.”
“How do you know it was him though?”
” David, it was him alright, he did all the plants with the weed killer.”
And true enough all the plants were dying off in the proudly planted landscaped array. She’d shown me this on my first or second visit but maybe it had not sunk in deep enough or at all, the reason for the browning.
“And the fountain too hey?”
“Yes that too. He made it look like a hoon job and me a worried old woman.”
Without a doubt he had. He’d meet her on the net but when his ruse was discovered, she’d disengaged, or so she thought. Perhaps he’d done it before. The drink driving, the unsocial working hours gave legitimate reasons to be out and about at all hours.
He had made her his possession in his mind, not her’s.
She was slowly isolating herself with her increasing security consciousness, short term then long term friends were falling away. A complex web of family relationships ( which I never really understood ) were unravelling, or so I thought.
“Yes, when I called the cops they took ages to come and said they understood but I had no evidence.”
I had heard this before, many times, and tried to ensure every occasion was cop reported. It caused issues, the lack of funding thus staff, the distance and the inevitability of not getting the same rostered on person.
“Well there’s no one there,” I said to the wind and the screen door.
“He’s been been here, I know it, I can sense it.”
I yawned, “Well he might have been but I can’t see any evidence from here.”
” Well he has ” she insisted before I snored off.

Perhaps she slumbered and off. I’d dropped into the sleep of the dead and she well awake before breakfast. I tied a dressing gown around me before tackling the dawn lit forecourt. It must have been raining I thought as I looked at the sheen on my car roof and on the drive, but was astounded to find a bird appeared to have left a calling card on my roof and bonnet.
“Look at this will ya. A bird has shat all over my car, any rags?”
” Oh I’m so sorry, hang on and I’ll see what I can find.”
I went closer, the bird shit seemed to bubble and the grey paint was evidently lifting
“Fuck” I thought, ” must’ve been there a little time.”
And the size of it made me wonder whether in fact elephants had taken flight or maybe a flock of pterodactyls.

She came out the front door as I was looking at the offside.
” They look like they were going south west to the north east” I exclaimed trying to make
sense of what I was seeing. The bubbling was apparent and instinctively I went to wipe it off at the same time saying,
“Where’s the hose, might be quicker to spray this off.”
I was surprised at the speed of her reaction.
“No, no, no don’t do that, no it’ll only spread and make it much worse, the guy who re did my car said that’s the worst thing you can do.”
By now I was over at the offside, and there it was, the doors front and rear panels spattered with the same grey slimy goo.
“Shit!” I thought , ” that’s all over the door and down to the mud flaps.” Got me thinking of whether the elephant flight could have shat so low. Clearly this was human.
“He’s stood on the footpath and covered your car and the driveway. Look over there, and there and there too,” she said pointing to where in the sunlight it was obvious that the drive was glistening.
And it was so evident that the trajectory was man made and the pattern of some one throwing paint stripper, maliciously.
“It wouldn’t have taken all that long I figure, better call the police,” I offered.
“Oh I’m so sorry I didn’t want to involve you, I didn’t,” she bleated, ” there’s no point telling the cops. Last time I went they might have well laughed. They never came.”
“Well get on the phone and report this now, I can wait till they get here.”
So we called the cops who came and eventually the forensic police, van and all the CSI stuff. They didn’t want the sample she had kept from her car stripping, preferring to treat each case separately.
“Well it’s not good mate, a complete paint job I reckon.”
All I could think of was my departure soon to Japan, the insurance, and quotes hassle.
At least it will save parking at the airport all those days.
When I returned from Japan the car was fixed.