Clean shaven and sporting thick longish brown floppy hair, he stood on a street corner in Subiaco, Perth, Western Australia. The most identifying feature at this location was the reason he stood where he did. A brightly lit pub, now closing.
Combined with his stylish shirt, jacket and trousers, plus in-vogue shoes and genial smile, no one gave him a second glance as they exited the pub. The spring night they stepped into was beautiful and clear with only the slightest hint of a chill about it. Taxi’s came and went and got yelled at, all the while the odd bright young things found it necessary to lose the contents consumed during their evening of revelry onto the foot path, the road, or a convenient wall. Shoes and hair often were included.
Groups of people moved on together, the wandering mass quickly became a trickle of one’s and two’s meandering away in every direction of the night. The only exception to this were those queued at the cab rank on the opposite side of the road.
Swan Taxi’s were having a beast of a Friday night.
There had been a game of football at the local oval in Subiaco. The match had been between the two local AFL sides, and had drawn a near record crowd of 43500 souls.
2.6 km’s to the east on Wellington Street, Perth, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds had played the Perth Arena. 15500 souls had filled the venue to capacity.
The weather was exceedingly pleasant, and seemed to be drawing the entire city out for the evening.
As far as the telephonists were concerned, every man, woman and child seemed to want a cab. With each and every one of them getting angrier at the length of time it was taking for the cab to arrive. Wait time’s seemed to be ranging anywhere up to an hour, and there had already been an attack on one of their taxi drivers so far that evening.
All of this was no help at all to anyone that was starting to sober up or crave a kebab whilst waiting in the line.
Brooke hated her name, passionately. To her it was just another way of calling her “Creek” or “Stream”. So at the ripe old age of nine she changed it to “Flash”. As with life, some thing’s stick and others don’t. “Flash” stuck like industrial strength adhesive to her. Hence, now decade later, “Flash” was sitting on a footpath in Subiaco, chatting with semi drunken fervour to her friend and fellow UWA music student, Pip.
Flash was studying cello, whist Pip was studying viola. Pip was also studying her mobile phone with her tongue sticking from the left of her mouth. The text message she was attempting to write, but was now seriously considering giving up on, was to her mother telling her they were waiting for a cab. Eventually, and with a laugh and a cheer, Pip got the message written and sent.
The two girls were pale skinned, green eyed, gingery red heads; both about five feet five inches, both willowy. They were slightly above ‘ordinary’ as far as looks went. They were both neat and tidy, and they both smiled with their eyes. They were very similar looking, and had on more than one occasion been thought of as siblings.
After three cigarette’s and a further half hour wait, Flash decided that as it was only four and a half kilometres back to their rooms, they might as well walk as wait another hour. Pip thought that was a good idea, so they dragged themselves to their feet, and with some laughter and exaggerated lurching they were away.
The text he sent read – “2. Red.”
Shortly after, his phone vibrated in his hand, the message that appeared on its screen said ‘seen’.
Flash’s father was numb. Stone cold numb. It still hadn’t registered. He could hear his wife sobbing somewhere inside behind him as the Police got into their car and drove away.
Pip’s mother was inconsolable as she tried to ring her older brother on her mobile, tears slowing her progress. After finally getting through she passing on a barely decipherable sentence to him, and hung up. She then collapsed onto the floor and wept and wept and wept. A little while later, family members came in and picked her from the lounge room floor, and did their best to console her.
In a nearby cafe, two people were just finishing Eggs Benedict and a cup of tea and coffee respectfully. Their Saturday morning run together completed earlier, they were in the best of moods.
Click on the “Keep Calm” that is the delight of my life. The Black Keys follow.