Bladder full, tank empty. Time to reverse the situation. Ambrose is one of those family run road houses that won’t last the decade. A single loo, with the strong smell of piss. A short flush doesn’t do it, so, cursing the penny-pinching plumbing installed by the petit bourgeoisie, I press again. A long dark strand slides slowly from under the rim. Disgusting. And then, and then, no it can’t be, it articulates and pulls itself up. Jesus. This, as they say, is some clever shit. “This might sound odd” I report back, “but there appears to be something living in the toilet”.
Overconfidently, “That’s Freddy”. “Right, Freddy”. I let a silence fall. She’s kind hearted enough to fill it: “Freddy the Frog. He lives in the dunny”. All perfectly normal now.
“Surely some people get the fright of their lives?”
“Yes” she smiles wistfully, pausing on their darned foolishness, “there are some screams. We always know it is Freddy”. I am in a David Lynch movie now, laughing manically, more than a little glad I didn’t meet Freddy recumbent peering down. Once, she explains, we cleared out all the frogs. A lady took them all the way to Gladstone. “Two days later they were back. Same ones. Very territorial are frogs.” I am loving this. Softly she adds, to no one in particular “You know who your frogs are”.
After adding the barrier reef to my short list of spectacular things in Australia I was at, but didn’t see, I fly out of Brisbane to San Francisco.
In fours weeks time my bike joins me.
The thrift store look--long fur- style coats, rags that were once scarves wrapped at waist and hair, pinned-in dreads, riotous patterns-all adds to the end of civilization feel. It’s like manufacturing has broken down and the denizens have to choose their attire from the bins. It’s a pose, a slumming posture, with no content. I love it just the same. Are they trying to provoke, do their small bit for the destruction of everything they know by clashing stripes and spots? Everyone can make a contribution in this land. Wear odd socks under your suit pants, carry a brown bag with a black belt, hell, rip off your jean pockets and let the bottoms drag on the floor. The Haight-Ashbury’s revolution is incremental. One misfit ting brick at a time will build the crookedest, most revolutionary goddamn wall of all time. Perhaps the end of civilization is a worthy aspiration?
I slough from couch to coffee waiting for my ship to come in.
Surprise, surprise, it snows in California
Get invited to a weekend in the mountains with a bunch of guys on CT90s. I don't exactly fit in. The checked-shirt host asks me "are you carrying something?" I look quizzical. I remember the line from Grease where on their first date Rizzo asks this of Kinickie in the back seat of a car. Surely not. I realise he is referring to a different type of shooting. But the bunch of good ol boys tolerate me and my strange accent well enough.
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