The dog whined and tried to scramble onto her for a breather. She sighed and struck out for shore.
In the wreckyard behind his roadhouse a bear-like man in a pair of greasy overalls had a last toke on his wizened reefer and shifted his weight off the hood of the Valiant which some dick had recently driven off the end of the jetty. It was his morning ritual, the dawn patrol. A piss on the miserable oleander and a little suck on the gigglyweed to soften the facts of life.
The light was murky yet. You could feel a blow coming on, another endless screaming bloody southerly. He snuffed out his tiny roach-end on the Valiant's sandy paintjob and shoved the remains through the kelp-laced grille near the radiator.
From the beach track, between the dunes and the lobster depot, came a trailer clank and a quiet change of gears. There was plenty enough light to see the truck and the boat behind it spilling bilgewater as it pulled out onto the blacktop.
Fuck me sideways, he said aloud. You bloody idiot.
The V8 eased up along the tiny main drag, fading off in the distance.
Beaver slouched off toward the forecourt to unlock the pumps. A man could do with a friggin blindfold in this town. And get his jaw wired shut while he was at it.
Inside at the register he tossed the padlocks down and pawed through his CDs. Tuesday. Cream, maybe. Or The Who Live at Leeds. No. Fiddler on the Roof, it was.
He opened the register, closed it, and gazed up the empty street. You silly bugger.
Copyright © 2001 by Tim Winton.
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