Map of Tasmania

Map of Tasmania

Story by Big M

Foodge sat at the Gentleman’s Bar, staring at his iPhone, willing it to ring. He was expecting a call from an official within the Australian Electoral Commission. He had already finished a breakfast of bacon, eggs (from Granny’s chooks), tomato, beans and wedges, sans sour cream.

Granny still had that soft spot for our sleuth, but had put away any ideas about romance, instead pursuing a more ‘plutonic’ (sic) relationship. It was now two weeks after the federal election, where Foodge had fielded as a candidate for the LIBNATs (Liberation of Itinerate Barristers National Australian Tribunal), earning twenty-nine votes. He was demanding a recount and had been on the receiving end of some clerical running around. Australia was, after all, a democracy, he reasoned.

Merv stood in his usual place, absent-mindedly polishing glasses with a dirty rag. The previous night had been busy, and he had copped an elbow to the right eye while ejecting a couple of rowdy patrons. This morning he had taken a long, hard look in the mirror, and didn’t like what he saw, long hairs growing out of his ears. He had ruminated over it all morning.

Finally he placed the glass back in the rack. “Foodge, can you watch the bar for ten minutes?” He thought this would be reasonably safe, as it was only ten, and the rest of the pub was empty.

“Why, err, yes, it would be an honour.” Foodge moved to the other side of the bar, taking up the roll of glass polisher, as opposed to seat polisher.

Rosie’s House of Pain had just opened, but the waiting room was almost full. She was short staffed, so Rosie herself was at the reception desk. “Ah, Missa Merv, you come to avail yourself of our many services.” Rosie maintained the archetypal Asian accent, in spite of being born and educated in Australia. He took Merv by the elbow into the last cubicle. “What’s wrong, Merv, everything OK, Janet, the twins?”

“Nah, the family’s OK.”

“Granny?” Rosie was well aware of Granny’s recent descent into the world of body building steroids.

“No, she alright, better than ever, although she still has a soft spot for a Very Private Dick.”

“Well, what’s wrong, then?” Rosie blurted out.

“It’s me, Rosie, I didn’t know who to turn to.” Merv pointed to his hairy ears. Rosie laughed, not a comical laugh, more an emotional release kind of laugh.

“I can fix that in two minutes!” Rosie pasted some hot wax on Merv’s offending earlobes.  “Now, watch this.” As she expertly applied some cloth strips, removing wax, and offending hair. “Anything else Mr Merv, facial, bikini line? Only joking, but, anymore extraneous hair issues, and you come to me, OK?” Merv blushed all the way to the tops of his cauliflower ears.

Merv was as happy as a dolphin as he re-entered the bar to find Foodge polishing the old hardwood surface, with one hand, and talking on the phone with the other. “Got your call from the AEC?” Merv enquired.

Foodge shook his head. “No, it’s O’Hoo, him and DCI Rouge have emigrated to Tasmania!”

Merv shook his head. “Can I have a word in his pink, shell like?” Merv was grinned at the irony of his little joke.

“No, he’s on the phone!” Foodge pointed to his iPhone.

“I’ll talk to him on the phone, then.” Merv shook his head, as Foodge handed over his most prized (aside from his Zephyr) possession. “So, you’ve ‘emigrated’, then?” This was followed by plenty of nodding, and then head shaking. “You DO realise that your pleece issue phone had GPS, don’t you? So callin’ Foodge on your pleece issue phone is like switchin’ on a beacon. The cops will be all over you like a fat kid on a smarty. Hang up, pull the battery outta the phone, chuck ‘em both in the Derwent, and get down to Dicky Smith’s an’ buy a coupla of ‘payasyougo’ phones…bye”

“They both sounded well.” Mumbled Foodge, as he took possession of his phone.