The Motorbikes


They are everywhere. Passing, parking, loitering, turning and gathering. The ones outside my bookshop are very beautiful, they are lined up in perfect formation and the riders stand by in black leathers and look over everyone else’s ride. The motorcycles stand in the sun, taking the exam, fearing nothing.
But one rider is looking down at his front tyre. His friend says, a fucking flat! Just what you need.
How’d that happen? They all slowly gather, a leather council, to discuss events. More motorbikes idle past, they are very loud, the riders outside my store stop speaking and watch the flow critically, they look for flaws, for power and for foolishness.
One rider approaches the corner, roaring, he shatters the morning heat, heedless of pedestrians and loiterers. Then he pauses there, enjoying the noise until the driver behind helps him around with his horn. The standing riders, outside my shop, glance at each other and rock back and forth, still listening as that young rider drives off into Australia day.
They are all nodding, unimpressed.

So he reckons!

How about some food…



Small things like shapes


A child said to me that he likes my glass lantern because he likes small things like shapes. He said that when he looked into the glass he could see cars going past, and that the cars looked better in the lantern than they did going along the road as real cars. His mother told him there were Beast Quest books on the shelf, and he said, ‘Maybe’.

She said there were also some Star Wars, and he said, ‘Maybe’.

A lady was pleased to see a copy of The Elegance of the Hedgehog. She said it is on her to read list which has a thousand books on it already. She said the list is wearying. She did not see the lantern.

It is Australia Day. The family with the small boy who likes shapes are across the road; they have been to the bakery. The father is trying to interest the child in some food but he is standing with his nose pressed against the fir tree, he must be looking at more shapes. The father looks weary. The child drops the paper bag on the ground and looks down at the spilt food. He makes binoculars with his fists and looks down at the broken food. His knees are bent with concentration. The parents are having an argument.

Just outside the door of my shop a man has opened his esky on the pavement, and there is no ice. His wife asks him why he can’t even pack an esky properly. He raises both hands in the air and stands there motionless, but she has gotten back into the car. Then she locks all the doors.

I wonder if anyone will come in for a book today. Then I remembered the small boy who likes shapes; he had chosen a book called Pharaoh’s Boat which had pyramids on the front.