SUNDAY DECEMBER 11

 

“Good morning ladies,” beamed Terry Flynn as he bent down to collect the paper from the front yard of his house. Cars and trucks roared past him along Kingsford Smith Drive, one of the busiest roads on Brisbane’s north side. He didn’t exactly expect the two attractive 30-something-year-old females walking their dogs to strip off their active wear and ravage him on the spot, but a friendly response would have been appreciated. Instead though, they took one disgusted look at Terry, turned up their noses and picked up the pace somewhat as they continued up the road. Thinking they may not have heard him properly, Terry raised his voice and repeated his morning greeting, again receiving nothing in return.

 

That left poor old Terry bewildered, standing there in his boxer shorts and singlet. He wasn’t such a bad bloke generally speaking, that was, until you crossed him. He could turn from nice guy to maniac in about half a second flat. The fuse was certainly short and you just never knew when it would detonate. Where most normal human beings would move on and ignore such a trivial matter, Terry virtually based his entire existence on seeking retribution from those who had committed the most insignificant acts against him.

Standing there stunned for another second or so, he tried to process what had just happened and then to determine his next course of action. Despite swearing like a trooper in male company, he had some old-fashioned kind of respect for women that meant he tried very hard to avoid using profanities in their presence. Arrogant fucking wenches! A couple of snobs from up on Hamilton Hill, I bet! he thought to himself. Fuming now, he spun on one foot and like a man possessed and foaming at the mouth he stormed off in the direction of one of the few remaining phone boxes in the area to make an anonymous phone call.

“Police, Fire or Ambulance?” came the operator’s voice.

“Police!” fired back an agitated Terry. “I’d like to report a crime!”

“One moment, Police connecting,” the operator replied. “What’s your emergency?” asked another voice after a short pause.

“There are a couple of girls causing absolute traffic bedlam along Kingsford Smith Drive at Hamilton.”

“Kingsford Smith Drive, Hamilton okay, can you be more specific with the address please Sir?”

“Yeah, they were outbound along Kingsford Smith Drive, last seen just past Cooksley Street.”

“Cooksley Street, okay and do you have a description of the vehicle please Sir?”

“Vehicle? Nah, no vehicle. The buggers are on foot, but they are causing one hell of a commotion.”

“What exactly are they doing Sir?”

“Listen, you need to get some cops out here quick. They’re throwing things at cars, flashing their breasts; one of them actually pulled her pants down and exposed her bare arse for the entire world to see! They’re destroying people’s garden beds as they pass them, pulling out letter boxes—God knows what they’ll do next!”

“Okay Sir, can you provide us a description of the two offenders please?”

“Yeah, yeah, dressed up in bloody bike pants and gym gear, they’ve got a couple of little dogs with them too. They must be on drugs I s’pose; you’d never expect that sort of behaviour from a couple of wellpresented ladies like that!”

“Okay Sir, I’m sending a patrol car to investigate immediately. It looks like you’re calling from a payphone. Do you have any contact details we can get back to you on?”

“Nah, no, look I’ve got to go. I want to get off the street before they come back for me!” Terry responded before hanging up.

With that, his demeanour immediately altered. He was calm again and smiling, satisfied he had now made right the situation two innocent women had apparently made so wrong. He made the short journey back home, and, whistling happily by then, he strolled inside with the paper tucked up under his arm and politely asked the old woman standing in the kitchen, “Would you like a cooked breakfast Mum? I’ve got the paper.”

 

“Oh Terry please,” came the reply in a disturbed tone.

 

“What is it Mum? Do you just want a nice fruit salad and some toast or cereal, what about yoghurt?”

 

“No Terry, it’s not that, it’s you, your fly I mean,” his mother replied, nodding and pointing to Terry’s crotch and looking away at the same time. “You didn’t go outside like that to collect the paper I hope.”

 

Terry slowly scanned down to discover that his oversize dick was hanging from his boxer shorts like a fat lazy lizard. Despite all of Terry’s shortcomings, the good Lord had been reasonably generous in the filling of the “underpants department” and blessed him with one considerable and often difficult to manage dick.

 

“Whoa ... oh sorry Mum,” replied Terry as he hurriedly put himself away.

“You didn’t go outside like that did you Terry?” again quizzed his dear old mother.

 

That explains why they didn’t want to say hello, I thought I could feel a bit of breeze down there, he thought to himself.

 

“No, sorry Mum, no of course not, I’m sorry it’s only just happened now. These are only new. I forgot to get you to sew an extra button on for reinforcement. I’m really sorry Mum.”

 

“That’s all right love, I can do that for you later and I would absolutely love bacon and eggs for breakfast, thank you Terry.” “Coming right up Mum.”

 

The pair were soon sitting down to a full English breakfast complete with bacon, eggs, mushrooms, baked beans and toast, along with tomato sauce which Terry put on everything. Meanwhile, a few kilometres away on Brisbane’s prestigious Racecourse Road, a place where trendy restaurants and coffee shops were in abundance, two innocent women going for a Sunday walk were being interrogated by the Queensland Police Service for exposing their breasts to passing motorists. This was despite the fact that the man who had reported them was the real perpetrator as it was his big dick which had been on display for the entire world to see. How ironic, thought Terry. “Could you pass the salt and pepper please Mum? Thank you.”

 

Terry Flynn was a 44-year-old knockabout sort of a bloke. He stood a touch over six feet, with a wiry physique and for a bloke who didn’t do a great deal of exercise he had the appearance of a man in reasonable physical condition. With tight sandy curls on his head and just a few silver ones creeping in, along with his sharp facial features he physically presented satisfactorily to the opposite sex. Unfortunately, his immaturity, short fuse and unique wardrobe often let him down.

 

Terry was just one of those blokes who never really seemed to get it together. Despite a good upbringing he couldn’t settle down and never really had any direction. If he had an employment resume it would be as thick as a textbook, he’d tried every job known to man, from labourer to salesman to cleaner to truck driver. No career had ever appealed to him sufficiently to pursue for more than six months on average. He’d always just seemed to scrape by and although he could handle a hard day’s work he didn’t mind making an easy dollar if he saw an opportunity. Due to the vast array of jobs, along with his involvement, albeit mostly briefly, in every sport and hobby known to man, Terry knew a lot of different people from a large cross-section of the community in the south-east Queensland region.

 

He lived by a strict, some would say, immature set of values based around the “eye for an eye” system. If someone wronged him, or at least he thought they had, then they owed him or he owed them, depending how you looked at it. That’s how it was, plain and simple. When it came to those who owed him, he had a memory like an elephant. He never forgot a bad debt or bad deed. Although he liked to even the score immediately if he could, it wasn’t always possible. So, if he’ d copped a smack in the mouth, it might take him 10 years, but one day, when the time was right he’d deliver one back.

 

Although he had been a single man for over 20 years he had once been engaged to a stunning and motivated woman by the name of Sarah. Together, the high school sweethearts had produced a daughter, Rebecca, who was now in her late twenties. Sarah had gone on to become a very successful accountant despite almost single-handedly raising Rebecca after Terry and her split up. Rebecca, who had grown up equally as stunning as her mother had forged a successful career as a lawyer. Terry’s mother Marion and daughter Rebecca were the two most important people in his life.

 

Marion had been widowed after her devoted husband Jack had passed away in recent years and Terry had been back living at home with her ever since. Jack and Marion had originally moved into the little house when they first emigrated from Ireland a couple of years before Terry was born. There had been some trouble in the Emerald Isle and it was best for all if they left when they did, was all Terry had been told. Despite being strict and keeping his cards close to his chest, Terry’s father Jack was a jovial Irish man, tough as nails and a hard worker. He wanted the best for his wife and son and had worked at the nearby wharves for years, also driving cabs at times, providing as best he could for his family.

 

The house was one of the very last on the block; most others had been bought out by developers but Terry’s parents would never budge despite the very juicy carrots that had been dangled in their faces. Kingsford Smith Drive was a busy road used by motorists travelling to and from the Airport, the Gateway Bridge and the Portside Cruise Terminal amongst other destinations. On the other side of the four-lane road was the Brisbane River, the longest river in south-east Queensland. A number of boats used the river including Brisbane City Council “City Cats” which were used for ferrying around commuters and tourists. Additionally, stillwater rowers, outriggers, ski paddlers and surfboats used the river for training.

 

Despite never displaying any visible signs of emotion, it tore Terry apart when he lost his dad who he’d been so close to and he couldn’t bear to see his mum living alone. It made sense for him to move back into his childhood home as he had been drifting for a very long time between houses, mates’ couches and even a caravan at one stage.

 

It worked out pretty well for the pair, Marion, was happy for the company, although she often yearned for her wayward son to meet a nice girl and finally settle down. Terry wasn’t interested though and seemed content to be eternally single. He did his fair share of work around the place to justify his presence there, mainly cleaning, looking after the yard and running errands for Marion. He cooked the odd meal from time to time and could knock up some pretty good, albeit basic tucker when he put the effort in. Sunday was different though, Terry rarely made any meals after breakfast on a Sunday. Sunday’s tradition involved Marion cooking a roast dinner with all the trimmings, served up at precisely 6 pm.

 

Since Terry had moved back home it had also become a Sunday tradition for him to wander down to the local pub around lunchtime and have a few cold schooners and a bit of a yarn with the regulars and whoever else was prepared to put up with him. Inevitably, Terry would also suffer a near heart attack and burst hernia when some poor bastard smiled the wrong way or said something he didn’t agree with. Those who knew him would just laugh as his rage grew, with veins popping out of his neck, bad language and making all the threats in the world. If the pub was showing the cricket for example, it would only take a simple comment from a patron such as “That came off his pads” to get Terry riled up. You could nearly see the steam coming out of his ears and he would always get his famous index finger in a ferocious back and forth jabbing motion to get his point across. When Terry’s eyes rolled back it could fill a stranger with fear, but they needn’t be concerned because unfortunately for Terry, his enthusiasm often outweighed his ability with his fists.

 

Once he had cleaned up after breakfast and read part of the paper, Terry made sure everything was in order for Marion to prepare dinner; he showered, and then walked into his room to get dressed for the pub. The process of getting ready could not have been any easier. Folded neatly across two shelves inside his wardrobe were approximately 30 polo shirts—all of them identical in size, colour and style. Mainly white including the sleeves and collar, there were also two thick navy blue stripes running horizontally and either side of a red stripe in the top quarter of the shirt, broken up by three vertical buttons. They looked exactly like they were made when they were—namely, the early 1980s.

 

The shirts had “accidentally” gone missing from a shipment at the wharves when Terry’s late father Jack had been working there. It wasn’t uncommon for bulk lots of various items to magically appear in Jack’s shed from time to time over the years. Terry had taken a liking to the shirts which he referred to as his “red ‘n’ blues”. Sitting on the shelf below the shirts and also acquired from the wharves were approximately 20 pairs of salmon-coloured ruggers shorts. To complement his daily attire were two pairs of double plugger thongs, two pairs of Dunlop Volleys and one pair of work boots. Also in his possession was one pair of jeans, two checked long-sleeve shirts, various socks, underpants, singlets, boxer shorts, one pair of well-worn suede dress shoes and a grey tracksuit for winter. That was it. There wasn’t much he needed to consider when choosing an outfit and today was no different. “Pluggers, ruggers and a ‘red ‘n’ blue’ are all I need,” Terry often commented.

 

“Bye Mum, I’ll be back before six,” he said as he kissed Marion on the cheek and walked out the front door. He meant it too; he was never late for Sunday dinner with his mum. Even if it was 10 am when he left and he had a few more sherbets than planned, he wouldn’t be late for dinner. He headed out the gate and turned right, passing the large unit developments which had saturated the area. Cars whizzed past Terry in both directions and there looked to be a wedding taking place in the rotunda in front of Newstead House, Brisbane’s oldest surviving residence on the Breakfast Creek bank of the river. Terry was half interested in getting an eyeful of the bride and her bridesmaids and was nearly going to cross the bridge to satisfy his yearning but then decided it wasn’t worth the effort.

 

The walk to the pub was short, just 300 metres or so and Terry was at the front door of one of Brisbane’s oldest and well-renowned watering holes. The Breakfast Creek Hotel was built in 1889 and served arguably the best steaks in Brisbane. The public bar where Terry drank hadn’t changed a great deal over the years. With the tiled walls and patterned concrete floor, it had a real sense of history. Like most old pubs, if the walls could talk they could tell some great yarns about the wharfies, footballers, jockeys, coppers, crims, politicians, shitkickers and everyone else who’d had a drink there over the years. Terry rarely ventured into any other part of the premises. He knew all of the regulars and they all got along with him most of the time and tolerated his bullshit for the rest of it.

 

The day was fairly uneventful, he only really “did his lolly” once late in the afternoon when he got into a disagreement with one of the regulars over sushi rolls. The bloke had casually mentioned how much he enjoyed Japanese cuisine, sushi rolls in particular. When Terry tried to correct him by saying that sushi rolls were in fact an Italian dish, the bloke and a few others had a great chuckle at Terry’s expense. Terry sprang straight off his barstool and got up in the bloke’s face, letting him know in very colourful language that he knew the difference between Japanese and Italian cuisine. He was talking so quickly to get his point across he almost sounded Italian himself. 

 

It wasn’t until someone “Googled” sushi rolls on their phone and showed it to Terry that his rant ceased. “You could have written that yourself!” spat Terry.

 

“I Googled it Terry, shit mate, how could I?”

 

“What the fuck’s this ‘Google’ everyone’s going on about??” replied Terry, just as the standard factory-set ringtone on the most basic of mobile phones began to ring in his pocket.

 

He knew who it would be before he answered it. It was his current boss, the man who had supplied him with the phone six months earlier when he had started work and the only one who had the number. Up until then Terry had never owned a mobile phone, he didn’t even know how to answer one. If someone wanted to contact him, “Well, they can call the fucking landline,” he’d say.

Terry had answered an ad in Saturday’s Courier-Mail: “Builder’s labourer required, experience necessary, Brisbane region, hard work, no timewasters; Ph: Simon, Fairstow Builders.”

 

If the ad had been on the Internet Terry wouldn’t have seen it as he didn’t own a computer and in fact was completely computer illiterate. He was still trying to get his head around all this “Facebook bullshit” that people spoke of. As it turned out, the ad was in the paper so he had given the builder a call.

 

Did he have much experience? “Shitloads mate, I won’t let you down, been doing it all my life,” was Terry’s spiel. If by that Terry meant that he’d spent a grand total of 12 months in a carpentry apprenticeship 27 years earlier and never set foot on a building site as a working carpenter since, well then he did. Terry had started off his apprenticeship with great gusto, aged 17, straight out of school and eager to learn. But, his interest had waned, a pattern that had continued throughout Terry’s life with each of the jobs he had taken on. It had all come to a head, when one slow rainy day Terry had left the port-a-loo door unlocked and was discovered with his pants around his ankles, a muddy K-Mart catalogue in one paw and the other giving his slug a terrible hiding. That was the end of his apprenticeship.

 

Now 27 years later, after just six months of work he was again losing interest, mainly due to the arrogant nature of his boss, Simon. Terry could handle being the butt of all of Simon’s jokes, but the unpleasant nature in which he spoke to Terry, always belittling him in some way, shape or form was getting a bit long in the tooth. Terry had bitten his lip and been nothing but polite and copped it all on the chin. He was reaching breaking point now however and he was not sure how much longer he could handle having cash in an envelope with the word “Shithead” written on it, thrown at his feet each and every Friday afternoon. Simon was ringing Terry to give him some instructions for a couple of jobs he had lined up for the next day. Terry took down the details of two addresses which were both down on the Gold Coast and what was required at each on a piece of foolscap paper he got from behind the bar. He wasn’t happy the jobs were down the coast, particularly not looking forward to the hour and a half drive down there early on a Monday morning. The builder had originally told Terry all the work would be in Brisbane when he first started. He didn’t raise it with Simon though, “Yep, got all that Simon, thanks I’ll be there early, okay, bye.”

Terry was home by 6 pm as promised for another beautiful roast dinner with Marion and in bed snoring by 8 pm. He had an early start in the morning.

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© 2020 by Matt Judd