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  • Writer's pictureFrank T Bird

A Night On The Streets

It’s the last night of the moon cycle

So I’m sitting in the car counting mantras and breathing in all the winter traffic fumes cos my window’s wide open.

I’m waiting for my wife, who is taking photos at some artist gallery, and I’m watching all the people and the cars with their weird eyes and their sad hopes and dreams.

I get a couple of stares from people. It’s probably cos I’m moving beads through my fingers as I’m doing mantras, and it might look like I’m wanking off. It reminds me of the time I tried to open a tricky muesli bar while parked outside a primary school when the police turned up.

“I didn't serve in two world wars to take shit like this,” I had told the officer. And as a result, he let me go.

So now I’m unsure if the looks I’m getting are randy or angry.

I mean, it’s irrelevant, really. Nothing randy or savage is happening tonight. It’s too fucking cold, and I haven’t trimmed my pubes, and I have a horrific herpes outbreak, and my rotator cuff is giving me shit.

Some guy crosses the road dressed like Dick Turpin.

What fucking year is this? Is it 1863? These fucking hipsters just take shit too far.

He looks at me funny like this is his street, and I’m in the way.

But I’m not in the mood for violence because I’m counting mantras and praying for the happiness of all sentient beings, including this knobhead. Also, he might be carrying one of those smooth round wooden pistols that you have to put the powder in and shit.

I try to remember what the highwaymen shout when they are robbing people, but it’s not coming to me.

“Nice trousers,” I say instead, pointing down at his stupid black happy pants tucked into long boots. “Are they in fashion?”

“I don’t give a fuck,” he yells, and he keeps on walking.

What an anarchist.

A few minutes later, some old crusty homeless fox comes past and taps on the windscreen.

He’s holding up a copy of The Big Issue that he probably found flapping around in the wind. He definitely doesn’t look like one of the official ones. He doesn’t even have a t-shirt or luminous vest with the logo on it.

“Big Issue?” he says, coming around to my window.

“Yeah, sure,” I say. “You take card?”

“Only cash,” he says.

Fucking cash. I want to be one of those cash motherfuckers that carries a wad of notes in a beaver skin wallet, but I keep forgetting to go to the money machine.

“Sorry, Pal,” I say.

He comes right up to the window now.

“I’ll take a blowjob,” he says.

“What’s that?”

“I’ll take a blowjob for the magazine.”

I mull it over for a minute. I conclude that it would have to be the greatest Big Issue of all time to make the exchange worth it.

It would have to have something of the significance level of a full-page centrefold of Oprah Winfrey holding her anus wide open, and not just a bit open — I mean fully wide open.

In that case, I might consider taking this rotting goose’s knob in my pie hole. I’d do just about anything to see the inside of Oprah’s anus.

I flick through the pages, and nothing is even close to that. Because it’s not Celebrity Razzle. It’s The Big Issue, for God’s sake. The only nudes in there are of homeless people.

“Sorry, Pal,” I say. “I’m married.”

He nods and sniffs in a disappointed way. It must be damn hard getting blowjobs when you live on the streets. It’s probably almost as hard as when you are married.

Anyway, this is what happens when you count mantras in public. You attract all the weirdos.

Eventually, I get a text from my wife to say she’s ready, so I get out and lock the car.

I’m right next to some music shop, so I stop and look at the vintage Moog synthesizer in the window. It’s $16,500. I wonder what kind of person would buy such an item.

“Cold night, innit?”

I swing around, and there’s a young bloke that looks like Robert Plant with pointy ears.

“Aye, it’s fucking freezing,” I say. “And a lot of weird bastards around.”

He nods.

“Are you in the market for a vintage Moog?” he says, but before I can answer, he coughs loudly and hocks a luminous foul green loogie into the gutter.

“Well, that’s fucking rank,” I tell him and go to walk off. It definitely put me off at least the next three dinners.

“I noticed you wanking in the car before,” he says, lighting a cigarette. “But you wouldn’t have noticed me. I was dressed as a lamp post.”

“I wasn’t wanking,” I say. “I was counting mantras.”

He nods again.

“Were you counting them or saying them?” he says.

“Both,” I say. “Anyway, I’ve got to go pick up my wife. Have a good night, Mate.”

I walk a few paces and look back. There’s no one there — just my car and this weird lamp post that looks like Robert Plant.

“How was your night?” says my wife. By my night, she means the hour and a half I’ve been sitting in the car, waiting for her.

“Fine,” I say. “Few weirdos around here, though.”

She nods, and we walk back to the car.

“Fuck,” I say. “It’s stand and deliver.


“It’s fucking stand and deliver. That’s what the highwaymen say.”

She smiles at me.

“Your the biggest weirdo of them all, Frank,” she says, getting in the car.

She’s fucking right about that.

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