The lurid, late afternoon western sky invites thoughts of apocalypse. Is the sun closer or bigger than it used to be or is that just how it seems? A great black winged shadow moves across the glass face of the Stamford Hotel at Airport Central. I am so wrapped in thought that it is a moment before I register the impossibility that a bird this size, bigger than any eagle or albatross, actually exists. Am I so delusional that I'm starting to see pterodactyls? It's only just before the lights change that I see, towards the top of the tower, a small dark pigeon fly past the expanse of convex blue-green glass and into the cerulean beyond, leaving its mirror maze image nowhere except in the back of my eyes.
* * * * *
Fifty black-robed men come round the corner of Spring and into Gresham Street. An orchestra? Delegates to a Magician's Convention? No, I can see in the ambient yellow light a gleam of ivory white at every throat. They are priests or ministers of religion. There is something both gay and collegiate about their passage down towards Circular Quay, like kids on an excursion. At the rear, unnoticed, unattended, limps a bulky older man, also robed and dog-collared, with a tartan scarf flapping from his shoulders, trying vainly to catch up with the crow-black gaggle ahead of him.
* * * * *
Outside a late opener, two women are thinking of stealing a taxi while the driver is in the bottle shop. They are trying to entice the drunk young man across the road into joining them on their journey to the end of the night. What is the cabbie doing, buying booze? Why has he left the women alone in his car with the key still in the ignition? Did they offer him some tryst, some midnight liaison that requires alcohol and cigarettes as well as willing bodies? I want to know the answers to these and other questions, but not enough to get involved. The lights of Annandale, the birthplace of Mr. Sin, Abe Saffron, who died aged 86 last week, dim and fade behind as we accelerate down the hill towards the Great Western Highway.