Thursday, November 19, 2009
the bondi tenner
So on Tuesday arvo I was mumbling around in Bondi, taking some old chap home with his shopping and his beer, when something blue blew along the road in front of the cab. What was that? my fare said. It looked like a ten dollar note, I replied. Go and get it! he said. Shall I? I said. Yeah, go on, mate, spin around the roundabout . . . Well I did, and it was, and it pleased both of us mightily. He got a discount on his fare and I got - ten bucks. I went around the block again, feeling dead lucky, and on the corner of Campbell Parade and Hall Street picked up a cheery couple maybe in their thirties. Going to Clovelly via Penkivil Street, which is a bit of an odd way to go but never mind. They asked me how my day was going so I told them about the tenner; they started laughing like drains. He, Kelvin, was a Kiwi and she, Kim, an Aussie. Not long together and full of love. And laughter. Along Penkivil Street they turned out to be looking for a car and, when they found it there, the story came out. Kim's ex, who left her for another woman eleven months ago, had the day before got the key to her flat from the real estate, gone around there while she was at work, and stripped the place of furniture and effects. Took everything. They'd called the cops but the cops said they couldn't do anything because his name was still on the lease. Why the real estate, who knew he didn't live there anymore, gave him the key is not known. Anyway, they were thinking of a little revenge. She, Kim, still has the spare key to her ex's car and that's what they were looking for in Penkivil Street. Their favoured strategy was to lift the mats and pour milk on the carpets and let it go sour: imagine the stench after the car had been parked twenty-four hours in the hot sun. You'd never get rid of it. I told them about the old sugar in the petrol tank trick, but that of course will ruin the engine. Potatoes in the exhaust, bananas in the transmission, the first of which is really just to give the guy a fright, and the second a means of disguising a problem when you're trying to sell a dodgy car. It was very funny and we had a lot of laughs as we chortled our way through Waverley and Bronte to Clovelly. When they got out Kim said, much as she'd like to, she didn't really think she could sugar his petrol tank; but the milk . . . yeah, maybe. She gave me a fifty and said to make it a twenty dollar fare, even though there was only thirteen or fourteen on the meter. I gave her a twenty and a ten in change; the ten, I told her, was the lucky one I found rolling down Sir Thomas Mitchell Road. Couldn't have gone to a nicer home.