It started strangely. At 4BK, a place of my employment forty years ago. Problems of dead air. The techs at the transmitter (as if they were permanently stationed there) filled the dead air with marching music. The Powers That Be would soon descend on those responsible. There is no greater sin in radio than Dead Air.

It seems that the culprit was me.

The boss, still the same one forty years later but no older, wanted to blame Mike Goldman. Why was I pleased? I’d worked once with his Dad, Grant. The boss thought this amusing. Said he’d heard stories. I told him one about having my shoes stolen.

Dreams are like that. Snatches of memory. Mixed with lines from yesterday’s reading. Tossed with unresolvable dreads.

Judy is sleeping in the next room. Practical considerations since her knee replacement two weeks prior. No steps between that room and the ensuite. This house has 48 steps. She counted them.

Her eyes are open when I lean on the doorpost.

“I had to paint myself,” she says dreamily. Dreaming. “It seemed very important … I can’t remember why.”

It’s the drugs I think. Opiates make you dream funny. What’s my excuse?

“I’ve turned a corner,” she announces later having negotiated ablutions without assistance. I suggest reducing the opiates in celebration. Reluctant. Their effect can be nice. If constipating.

Car service. Drive to the dealer. Warrnambool is waking. I am walking home.

Office outfits pass. I look for eyes. Some smile. I return it. Some inspect footpath cracks. Maybe they’re tourists. We country folk say Hello. Two years here, and I’m country folk. Hilarious.

Best weather. Sunny. Breeze. Sub-20. Humidity high. Sweaty and cool.

Gang working on the railroad. Song snatches through musical brain. Two work, others patrol diligently. Sparks fly from a cutter. Crowbar leaned on.

Now by the lake. Patch of Everglades. So dark under the thick swamp trees. Water black. Green scum. Invisible bird startles. Mutually startled.

Bird song. God is such a clever musician, eh?

What are these birds that sit on posts in the middle of the lake? Black. One decides to leave as I approach. Uses the lake surface as a runway. Smacks the water. Once. Twice. Seven times. Skims the lake. Rises. Turns. Heads over me. Bombing run.

I learned to fly once. A plane. It’s not that hard. The bird makes turns neater than I did. Landing’s a bit tricky to get right. Mostly you can only get it wrong the last time.

I’m not alone on the path by the lake. Large, elderly (well, about my age) women walk or jog by. They are very mobile. Every part of them.

Emerge by the tennis courts. Two kids are hitting up. They are very mobile. Bodies like concrete.

A family leaves the caravan park. Matching floppy hats for Dad, Mum and two boys. Dad wears unfashionably short shorts. Strides out setting the pace. Dork.

Older men than me sweep the path at the Bowling Club. Not tourists. We say Morning.

Big man in bright red polo shirt, transfers suitcases from the lawn of a motel into a mini-bus. Melbourne Australia Tours. Can’t make up its mind?

The RACV magazine is on the ground outside 18A. That used to be our place. The letterbox was always too small for magazines. I put it over their gate. Their bin is out on the road. Forgot to put it away last Friday? Or early for this week? A breach of local laws, but I’m not the Sheriff.



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