‘Airley Beach – Queensland’


‘Oh god no!’  I thought as I opened my eyes and the blinding rays of sunlight caused me instant pain.  Even the waves lapping gently on the shore just beyond our back porch seemed to be conspiring to make me feel even worse, and my stomach was keeping time with the thump, thump of the Bendix washing machine in rise cycle somewhere beyond my aching head.  I called submissively for my wife, but there was no answer.  Then I remembered it was Saturday morning and she would be at work.  ‘Bitch,’ I thought.  (I loved her really.)  ‘She has left that bloody machine on deliberately.’ (Payback)  I would have switched it off, but I didn’t know how.  Women can be so vindictive.

 I dragged myself on weakened legs to the dunny, and sat, head in hands expelling the previous nights intake and feeling exceedingly sorry for myself.  ‘Boy am I in the shit when she gets home.’  ‘Just a couple of cold ones,’ I had told her, ‘I’ll be back in half an hour?’  I used the wash-hand-basin to pull myself back into a semi standing position.  As I peered in the mirror, what looked back at me was not a pretty sight.  My normally tanned handsome face was deathly pale, with dark bluish shadows under my bleary sorrowful eyes.  I stuck out my tongue as one does, and the shock of its pallor was only over shadowed by the realization that my upper molars were missing.  ‘Oh God not again.’  With that infernal bloody machine still thumping in the background I sat back on the throne and began to try and retrace my steps from the previous night.

Yes I had, had more than a couple of cold ones, a couple of jugs more like?  ‘But it wasn’t my fault I told myself, ‘It was those god dammed Kiwi’s, Brian and Murray.  Every time I tried to leave they forced another scooner on me.  My memory was still hazy, but slowly the events of the previous evening were materializing. Eventually with great resolve and determination I had broken free of my co-swillers and headed home.  To get home I had to pass the swimming pool at the rear of the pub.  Had I jumped in the pool to sober up, wouldn’t have been the first time?  I looked down at my jockey’s stretched tightly between my trembling ankles.  No they were bone dry.

Cockroach Cottage, that’s where I had ended up.  It was a shack of a dwelling inhabited by a clutch of hippies, and unfortunately situated half way between my home and the only pub in Airley.  As I attempted to pass the party was in full swing, and the next thing I knew, a stubby was thrust into my vacant hand and I was inside being audibly assaulted by two massive speakers and Joe Cocker’s  ‘She Came In Through The Bathroom Window.’

‘So far, so good,’ I thought, but now things were getting decidedly hazy again.  Cockroach Cottage, loud music, hippies, drugs.  Yes that was it, somebody had passed me a joint.  I could remember the lights flashing, the heavy beat of music, the room spinning, and oh yes the overwhelming desire to barf.  That’s it, that’s where my teeth were, somewhere in Cockroach Cottage.

I dressed after a fashion, in cut off’s and tee-shirt and made my way somewhat precariously across the only main road in Airley Beach.  As I entered the corrugated shack there were still unconscious bodies in varying states of undress strewn around the floor, and the air was pungent with stale beer and intoxicating smoke.  I tried to figure out exactly where I was when the urge to chunder had taken me.  Numerous blasphemous insults greeted me as I tried to move prostrate bodies in my quest.  But no the elusive nashers were nowhere to be seen.  Eventually I made it to the back yard, and there in the shadow of the water tank was a small mound of multi colored chunder.  After dispatching a couple of massive cane toads and plucking up sufficient courage I began to poke around in the offensive mound.  I almost added to it several times before I finally forsook my quest and accepted that my only set of upper teeth were, alas lost.  Not surprising really, they had been down the loo more times than I cared to remember.

Head hung low and hands in pockets I dejectedly made my way home.  ‘How am I going to explain this one?’  I thought as I stopped to allow a couple of vehicles pass before crossing the main road. The tar-macadam was burning my bare feet, and as I danced across the scalding surface, there in their natural upright position, perched on the central white line was my hitherto missing teeth.

I looked up to the heavens and thanked the lord for his compassion.  Now all I have to do is explain how I came to be in such a state in the first place.  I glanced over at my empty abode, and then towards the Airley Beach Motel.  ‘Soon be opening time,’ I mused.  Sheeps and lambs and all that, F— it I need a hare out of the dog? 


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