With not so many people on the street more people stand out. There are dramas daily on public display along with happy moments to provide contrast; a few are written here.
A clown with yellow curly hair, top hat to match, red suspenders holding up spotted pants dashed across the petrol station carpark. He skipped along in his big shoes down the street leaving in his wake a collection of sharply turned heads that had whipped around to take in the sight of him in disbelief. Did he have a mask on someone said but no one answered because everybody knows that clowns always wear a mask, it’s full face and topped off with a big red nose.
‘You’re a bloody liar’ she screeched in a raspy voice that rang out over the sound of passing cars. Then more yelling followed, the words were indistinguishable, but the voice was angry. A man mumbled back his defence.
‘Give me the beer’ she screeched again then her voice faded as she headed away down the street beers in hand and triumphant.
He struggled with his load, his arms were full with shopping bags, he wore a long coat that slid off his shoulders as he walked with thongs on his feet that slapped loosely on the ground with each step. To top it all off he was carrying a chair, a dining room chair that was padded and armless and had wooden legs. It all looked too much for him to carry far and it was, it all got too much. He stopped to readjust realising that he was out of breath as he shrugged his jacket back up onto his shoulders. He placed the chair on the footpath on the edge of the road facing the traffic, placed his bags beside it then sat with relief. For a moment he sat to take in the view then in a loud voice for all to hear proclaimed,
‘I am the chairman!’
Then he reached into his pocket, pulled out a packet of cigarettes and sat there smoking until he was ready to be on his way.
‘You dog! You Liar!’ the menacing words cut through the night; the threat was clear in the tone. There was only two of them, they struggled briefly leaning in on one another threatening violence with the action of their movements but not coming to blows
‘It was mine, where is it?’ There voices sounded the same, both had that junkie way of stringing their words together that was either a mumble or a snarl.
‘Are you going to stab me?’
‘I’m not going to prison for you’
Either or both could have said the words, the darkness hid them from the street with the drama of their struggle travelling from the edge of a dark driveway. People living in surrounding apartments opened balcony doors and bedroom windows alarmed at the violence of their words.
There wasn’t a cop in sight, they weren’t allowed out at night either because the clever sickness plaguing the city could tell what time it was and had a strict schedule for attack.
The junkies kept at one another and it seemed that it would not end well then from overhead an object flew down and struck one of them. Shocked they stopped not sure what had happened and went their separate ways. The few neighbours who had come out onto their balconies to observe from above went back to bed.
‘Whooooo!’ her voice rang out across the busy intersection carrying off in every direction. She stood at the front gate to a courtyard apartment dancing beneath the streetlights enjoying her youth. A man stood in the gateway; they both wore black tracksuits. She dodged and weaved playfully before him pushing him this way and that so that he lost his footing a little. The traffic grew louder and so did she, the traffic lights turned red, so she stepped up to the kerb dancing for their entertainment lifting her tracksuit top to reveal her sports top beneath. She turned back to the man in the gateway behind her taking off her tracksuit top then spun back to face the traffic flinging her top overhead in circles as she again took up her cry of joy.
At dusk everyday he made his way to the petrol station stopping a block away on his return. He stood facing the street in front of an empty building and sang. His voice was strong and true and filled with expression. He sang tunes from Australian past rock stars, mostly Barnsie and Johnnie Farhnam. He sang his youth and the past that was once free, and it was wonderful to hear him out on the street.