Sticky Pages

At the back of the transport depot two grease monkeys drain sumps, tune engines and install
light bars complete with buggy whips, hazard lights and flags for vehicles destined for local mine
sites.

One of the workers is built like a pregnant gorilla, encumbered by a massive beer gut.
The gestation period is ongoing, like his fly in-fly out contract. His weedy side-kick is a
short, slight chimp, malnourished by alcohol, and weathered brown by harsh sun and
tobacco smoke.

I confidently stride into their diesel and dust domain, buoyed by blue sky and work
purpose, searching for a spare tyre for a Land Cruiser. ‘AT/20 Desert Dueler’ –
rubber and steel engineered into combative precision – eludes me. I stop abruptly in
my tracks. The two puerile (pri)mates are engaged in a clandestine moment of
straight male porn mag bonding.

‘Ducks are on the pond’.

I diplomatically announce my unexpected presence, appropriating a coded male
phrase used in the shearing industry when a woman enters the shed. She may
temporarily transform the surface tension, like a transient ripple upon deep, dark,
stagnant waters.

The magazine, scored from an off-hire 4WD, instantly disappears. Shwheeeet. It is a base
publication, with graphic pages alternating between naked young women, all
air-brushed-arse-and-impossible-tits, and gory close-ups of visceral disembodied
wounds.

excess flesh…..ooh
flick
mutilated flesh….aah
flick
excess flesh…..ooh
flick
mutilated flesh…..aah
flick
excess flesh…..ooh
flick

‘I haven’t heard that since my army days’, the chimp diverts, eyeing me with sprung
surprise.

‘Chloe’ with long, languid green legs tapering way up to her neck, winks slyly.

‘Good on you, sister!’ she murmurs in solidarity.

She is etched onto his left arm, below crudely-rendered military service
dog-tag numbers. Rank, but bearing a pitiful dignity.

I turn to locate Desert Dueler, and wheel it out of the workshop with sure
metronymic strokes from my open down-turned hand, leaving the basic apes to their
mechanising ways.

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