He fell by the knife, they told me. They wouldn’t let me see. Too frightful, they said. Too bloody, mate.
Blood never stopped me from skinning rabbits though. They come out just when the currawongs seek out those hills behind those gum trees. Three clinks from the shadows across darkening blue skies, then the bloody rabbits come out to tuck into my purple carrots.
How old did you say this iPad was?
Strange, they prefer them purple to orange. If there’d be any left, I’d use the purple ones for roasting and Ed liked ‘em a bit crunchy. I liked the orange ones for making stew with the blue-eye trevally that Stu used to bring home. Ed always said to him, what’s the point of fishin when you got a boat full of crays, son? Whatcha gonna do with the ones that are left behind after the markets, aye?
Stu dragged his feet behind Ed like the way a boy would, you know. It was hard for him to grow up, school by the day, then off to the boat with his pa cray fishing. He added one boat to another when the seafood markets took off in the west coast. Lots of crayfish out there, darl, waiting just for me, he’d say, wiping his slimy hands on his pants. It smelled but he wouldn’t get rid of them. He loved his pants like the way he loved his boat.
What fish do you have in there? From the harvest market in Lonnie did you say?
Ahh spotted trevalla. Now that’s a fishy fish, if you know what I mean. Strong tasting. Good for pan frying, if you like a bit of fried fish. Goes well with some chips, and I make them by hand with real potatoes, not like those bland frozen ones from Coles. Strong tasting fish that trevalla. Good for curries too, not saying that because you are Indian looking. God knows, I’m not a racist but I still like a good curry every now and then. Not during the summer though, it’s too hot. It’s 33 today. Way too hot. I like it cool. We moved down to Tasmania as it got just too warm for us in Queensland. Stu was born here. Ed loved it here… he loved anywhere he could make money from fishing. We were lucky to be doing the crays at a time when restaurants wanted more of them because of all the tourists coming to Arthur River.
How much for the iPad?
Yeah, Arthur River ain’t as it used to be. Thirty, forty years ago, nobody wanted to live there except for fishing and mining. Cold, windy at the river. Lots of fishing but boats cost an arm and a leg. There was a pub there that served a decent pint. Oh yes, I loved my ale and Ed his stout. Elvis used to keep us happy. Ahh yeah, I’d do a bit of a jailhouse rock, doing my thing in front of the band, and I’d get on the bar top. Oh I was a bit of a catch and the guys would try to buy me a beer. Ed wouldn’t join me, oh no. He was a proud one, sitting in that corner table with his mates, talking about the tides, the markets, the price of crayfish.
Tell you the truth, I cared more for Elvis than Ed.
What happened next? Read the rest of this short story when She Never Looks Quite Back by Mallika Naguran is out.