Merv was buggered if he could find Dick Smith’s. He was convinced there was a store in town, but where the hell was it? He’d lugged the old dot matrix, in it’s original box on two buses and a ferry (fuck knows why he’d be on a ferry?) into George Street. ‘Well, fuck me’. He thought to himself. ‘All I need is a Yeller pages, so, in fact, all I need is a phone booth!’ Our redoubtable publican carried that old printer up and down George St, to no avail. ‘Fuck me twice.’ He thought.’ No fucking phone booths, and the place is overrun with Asians, not that I dislike Asians, there just weren’t many in Sydney last time I were ‘ere in ’78.’
Merv was getting mighty thirsty, then remembered there was a pub near the cinemas,
so lurched back down the road, passed the cinema complex, and into the welcoming arms of The Albion, flopping his arse and his parcel into the nearest seat.
“Bugger me dead if it isn’t the Lewisham Lugger!” Wheezed a voice from the gloom.
Merv instantly recognised his former Sergeant from the uniform days. “If it isn’t Detective Chief Inspector Watson!” Who’s name wasn’t really ‘Watson’, but he was perpetually bamboozled, so was often heard to say, “What’s On, lads?”
“Girly, get the lad a drink, will ya?” Women’s lib had entirely passed by Watson. The young barmaid place a schooner of fourex in front of our thirsty lad, who gratefully skulled it in one swallow. “And another. So what brings you into town?” Wheezed Watson.
“Gettin’ bits for me printer.” Merv nodded towards the cardboard box.
“A dot matrix!” Watson pushed back some long strands of hair that had escaped from his rather long, and desperate comb over. “Haven’t seen one of them in years.”
“Yep, was gonna go to Dick Smith’s, but I can’t find him.” Merv had ordered a third
schooner from the bar.
“Well, old son, Dickie Smith is no longer, don’t youz read the papers in Inner Western Cyberia?”
“Well, yes, we’ve got papers. So where’s Dick then?”
“Dick is at Terry Hills, of course.” Watson took a long draught of the fetid tasting ale.
“Oh, shit, that’s a funny place for a store. It’ll be like four busus and a coupla ferries.”
“Nah, Dick Smith is still alive, and lives at Terry Hills. His stores went arse up. If youz want electronics, youz should go to Bing Ree.”
Merv was wary, not only had Asians taken over Sydney, but they’d taken over electronics! “Where is this Bing Ree?”
“Look it up on yer phone.” Watson was gasping for a smoke, so stepped into the doorway and lit up.
“Me phone?” Merv pulled his old Samsung clamshell out of his pocket. “The bastard doesn’t even work these days.
“That’s because it’s only Two Gee!” Watson peered at his new IPhone through a pall of smoke. “Here you go, there’s a Bing Lee just up the road.”
Merv thanked his former boss, and dragged his package up to Bing Lee, where a young Phillipino lass convinced him to give up his dot matrix, and upgrade to a LASER
printer. “What exactly is the printer for?” She enquired. Merv sat down and told her all about the Pub, and how he was seriously thinking of upgrading the computer to something flash, like a Pentium. With that she took him through to a business consultant, who set him up with a new Computer, modem, business software and electronic till. All with free delivery and installation.
“How will I pay for all of this?” Ventured Merv.
“Pop it on your Visa.” Came the obvious answer.
“Visa? But I aint goin’ overseas!”
“Visa credit card. Look, we’ll hold all of this, and you pop next door to the Commonwealth, and sort out a card.”
‘Christ on a bike.” Thought Merv. “I only come here for a printer cartridge!” With that he was out the door and aboard a bus headed for the safety of the Inner West.
“Where’s yer Opal card, sir?” Asked the driver.
“Will a couple of postage stamps do?” Asked Merv as he shook a couple of moths from his wallet.