It’s a God-awful small affair, to the girl with the mousy hair, but her Mummy is yelling no, because it’s time for …
THE BOGUE & BOGUETTE SHOW!!!
(THE SCENE: A Friday evening, shortly before sunset, at Ocean Glades Holiday Village – You’ll Never Want To Leave! The dim lanterns lighting the rows and driveways are slowly sputtering on. The three sixty-something men WAL, PETE and KEV are teasing the three sixty-something women who always gather together across the row, BERYL, VAL and SANDY.)
WAL: Oi, Beryl, are youse sheilas comin’ out with us to the bowlo for Fridee night drinks or what?
BERYL: Yeah, hold yer horses, mate, we’re comin’ along.
KEV: So, Sandy, you gonna come dancin’ with me tonight? I might be sixty-one now but I’ve still got it in me!
SANDY: What have you still got in you, last night’s Viagra pills?
(genial laughter all around)
KEV: Yeah, yeah, laugh all you want. I know I still got a lot to offer to the sheilas around here!
VAL: Yeah and the last time you took me on a date out to bingo, you got yerself pissed as a parrot as per usual and I had to catch the courtesy bus home, ya bloody drongo. Now, Pete here, he can teach you a lot about what to offer sheilas, and gettin’ plastered on a date ain’t one of them!
PETE: Ahh, flattery, flattery will get you nowhere, my sweetheart! Now, let’s see if the New People wanna come along. (PETE goes up to BOGUE and BOGUETTE‘s caravan and knocks on the foldable screen door of the annexe)
BOGUE: (gets up from watching his portable TV on top of a milk crate) Yeah, what’s happenin’, champ?
PETE: C’mon, come out with us tonight. Every Fridee night we walk down to the bowlo for Fridee drinks and darts, and the bowling club’s courtesy bus drives us back home when we’re too legless to walk. You and yer missus wanna come along?
BOGUE: Yeah, I’d love to go out and get smashed, but the kids …
KEV: Naah, mate, like anyfint’s gonna happen to the kids around here. They’re big and ugly enough to look after themselves.
BOGUE: All roit. (shouts into the caravan) Oi, honeybunch, blokes across the row just invited us down to drinks at the bowlo. You wanna come?
BOGUETTE: Yeah, but I’m cookin’ tea for the kids now, and–
BOGUE: Blah, they’re big enough to finish the cookin’ for themselves. It’s only spaghetti and meatballs. (turns to AIDEN sitting in the corner of the annexe with his portable DVD player) Oi Aiden! You take over the cookin’, yer olds are goin’ out with the other fellas here down to the club.
AIDEN: But Dad, I was watchin–
BOGUE: Don’t answer yer old man back, you little shit. Y’unnerstand? You finish stirrin’ the pot and strainin’ the pasta an’ shit and serve it up to yourself and yer brothers. Now!
AIDEN: Yes, Dad. (goes into the double-wide mobile home’s kitchen)
BOGUETTE: But honey, can we just wait five minutes? I haven’t even done me nails yet this week and–
BOGUE: Oh, fer fark’s sake, woman. Do you fink anybody out here in the bush gives a toss about how good your nails are? Haven’t you noticed people doing their groceries in boxer shorts and thongs yet?
BOGUETTE: Yeah, but, I’m not like–
BOGUE: Oh, live a bit, woman, stop being so fussy an’ shit. Anyway, let’s go. It’s only the bowlo. So, fellas, who else is comin’?
VAL: Oh, the entire bloody caravan park.
KEV: Yeah, we gotta escape the clutches of the bloody tyrants who own this joint. (does his imitation of JILL, complete with spidery fingers stroking the fingers on the other hand) Y-e-e-e-e-e-e-s. You’ll be making no noise after 4pm, you hear? Y-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-s. No noise. You don’t want any … trouble now, do you? Y-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-s.
BOGUE: Christ, how do youse people manage to live here for years with that bossy bitch and her dickhead hubby?
SANDY: Yeah, it’s what you get used to, I guess.
BERYL: Community, mate. You can’t beat the sense of community here. We all look out for each other an’ stuff, y’know? Like, nobody will even fink of going anywhere near your kids tonight, or any stuff you might have.
(The group walk out of the main driveway and onto the darkened two-lane road leading into the village of Ocean Glades just over one kilometre away. The road, lit only by one ancient street light every two hundred metres or so, is fringed with very tall subtropical trees full of screeching koels, rosellas and king parrots. They meet others waiting for them out the front and continue their way)
WAL: Oi, youse people haven’t met the New People yet, have you? Anyway, everyone, this is Greg and his missus Kelly, they’ve just moved up from Sinny, he got a job on the roadworks on that bypass what the government’s buildin’.
(ARIEL, a spaced out-looking girl in her early twenties with long, flowing, curly auburn hair, striking almond eyes, freckled cheeks, wearing a black skivvy and a brown tie-dyed skirt, walks up to BOGUETTE and stares at her face)
ARIEL: (in a soft, dreamy voice) Hello. I detect that your base chakras are out of alignment and that your crystal quantum energy qi levels are declining drastically. Could I interest you in some of my very own medicines that will restore the four humors of your body and bring back your sense of balance between you and the cosmos surrounding you?
BOGUETTE: Umm … well … sure … I guess? Teehee!
PETE: Oi, don’t listen to Ariel here, she’ll never stop shuttin’ up about it once you show a bit of interest.
WAL: Yeah, he’s almost as bad as Ned.
NED: (on his electric mobility scooter about twenty metres behind the group) Speaking of which … wait up! Wait up for me! (NED catches up to the group) Farkin’ hell, do youse bastards ever invite me out any more? None of you even knock on me door any more to let me know that you’re going!
KEV: Yeah, it’s because once you get a bit of piss inside ya, you start going on and on about all that political bullshit that comes runnin’ out your mouth.
NED: Speaking of which, I read today, honest to God, it’s the truth, but I read today, that the CIA and the Gestapo were in collaboration to knock off JFK.
PETE: You drongo! The CIA and Gestapo were enemies, mate. Enemies!
SANDY: Now me knowledge of history isn’t perfick, but didn’t the Gestapo lose the war in World War II, like, twenty years before JFK got shot?
NED: That’s what you think! That’s what the government want you to think! All you people, you’re a bunch of sheep, you fall for the government’s propaganda hook, line and sinker! When you done the research that I’ve done, then you can come and tell me that what I say is bullshit. Where’s the proof that it ain’t bullshit?
(Two nineteen-year-old curly-haired vacant-eyed stoner surfies in the group, blonde ZAC and ginger TODD, come up to BOGUE)
ZAC: Yeah, and now you know why none of us ever knock on his door to let us know we’re all headed down to the bowlo?
TODD: Yeah. Fancy believin’ that kinda crap. Oh by the way, I’m gonna get lucky tonight at the bowlo. The star sign column thingo in today’s Daily Telegraph said that my dreams were gonna come true.
(An older, impeccably dressed couple, NICHOLAS in semi-rimless glasses and impeccably parted silky grey hair and Tory blue tie, and PAMELA in perm and pearl necklace, are quietly bickering among themselves)
PAMELA: My dear Nicholas! Why didn’t you put your tie on straight?
NICHOLAS: But I did put my tie on straight. Actually, you put it on for me.
PAMELA: So why is it crooked now? Give it to me here … (stands in front of NICHOLAS, bringing him to a halt, while she fidgets with the tie) How did the tie go crooked?
NICHOLAS: I don’t know, my dear. I don’t know.
PAMELA: You weren’t trying to take it off again, were you?
NICHOLAS: No, my dear, I wasn’t. I still don’t get why I have to wear a tie anyway. Do you ever see anyone else in this town wear a tie, even the doctor who visits the clinic twice a week? It’s just the bowlo.
PAMELA: But Nicholas, you were a Departmental Officer Grade 11 in the Public Service! You had four team leaders report to you! You really should act the part.
NICHOLAS: Yes, dear. I really should act the part. (sotto voce) Even if I have been retired for four bloody years now … God, help me …
(The group enter the Ocean Glades Bowling Club, an unassuming 1970s single-storey brick building with ceiling-to-floor windows and a wide verandah overlooking the pock-marked bowling greens and the fishing fleet bobbing up and down in the oily, dark khaki harbour full of oyster leases. They make their way into a large room with carpet that looks like a hundred five-year-olds ate a hundred packets of Smarties each and vomited it all up, with pokies clattering away in the corner and a cover band doing a sound check before launching into a horrendous rendition of The Bee Gees’ greatest hits.)
BOGUE: (walks up to the middle-aged blonde BARMAID with more make-up than the David Jones cosmetic counter) G’day love, can you grab me a Canadian Club and coke, sweetheart?
BARMAID: Canadian … Club? What’s that?
BOGUE: Y’know, it’s like whisky, but whisky from Canada. It’s different sorta. Comes in cans, pre-mixed.
BARMAID: Oh, pre-mix? Yeah, we got Jim Beam and coke, and–
BOGUE: Jim Beam? I gave up drinkin’ that shit, like, last year. Nobody drinks that stuff now.
BARMAID: Well, the only pre-mixes we got are Bundy and coke, Jim Beam and coke, and Smirnoff Double Black Ice. Oh, we got some UDL vodka and cranberry too …
BOGUE: Naah, I’ll have a beer instead. You got Corona?
BARMAID: Hmmm … XXXX Gold, Tooheys New, Carlton Draught, Cascade Premium Light …
BOGUE: Ahh, bugger it. I’ll have the Jim Beam then. (tenders his money) Thanks, sweet’art.
(the group all fetch their drinks and sit back down)
BOGUE: (to WAL, PETE and KEV) So, fellas, what do youse blokes do for a crust?
WAL: A crust? Naah, we’re all retired.
BOGUE: What? No way have you hit retirement age yet.
PETE: Well, we’ve retired.
BOGUE: So, what did you used to do then?
KEV: I was on the Fire Brigades for twenty-four years.
BOGUE: Only twenty-four?
KEV: Yeah, I got pensioned off ten years ago after doin’ me shoulder in.
BOGUE: Yeah, and what about you, Wal?
WAL: I was a signalman on the railways for twenty-eight years.
BOGUE: Twenty-eight? Is that all?
WAL: Yeah, well most of us got retrenched. With me payout eleven years ago I bought the caravan, and … well, the rest is history!
BOGUE: Yeah, and what about you, Pete?
PETE: I was a security guard. But had enough of it. Chucked it in, oh, eight or nine years ago now. Been on the dole since then.
BOGUE: But you’re all young enough an’ shit to work, you’re not on the age pension yet.
WAL: Blah, life’s too short to work. Why bother busting your arse and givin’ yourself a heart attack just to make other people richer? (raises his can of XXXX Gold) Cheers, everyone! Here’s to not working!
NEARLY EVERYONE: Cheeeeeers!
BOGUE: Hmm, these young whippersnappers over here should be workin’. So, Zac, So, Todd, what do you do for a crust?
BOGUE: Yeah, what do you do for a livin’?
TODD: Livin’? We live to surf.
BOGUE: Yeah, that’s great, mate, but what do you do for, you know, work?
BOGUE: Yeah, you know. That shit where you get up every mornin’, do shit you don’t really want to do, but you gotta do it so you can get paid for it?
ZAC: Nup. Don’t work.
BOGUE: Christ, I don’t believe it. I’m livin’ with a pack of dole bludgers. Christ, does anybody here work!
ARIEL: Well …. I wanted to open up my own herbal therapy and homeopathy shop in Byron Bay once …
BOGUE: Yeah, well why didn’t you?
ARIEL: Well …. I was driving up the Pacific Highway in my Volkswagen Beetle when it broke down, full of everything I owned. And I forgot to renew my NRMA membership the week before. And I didn’t have the money to get the car towed or repaired, so I just left it there on the shoulder … and I’ve been here ever since.
BOGUE: Yeah, and how long’s that?
ARIEL: Oh … about four and a half years ago now.
BOGUE: So are you on the dole too?
ARIEL: No, I’m on the pension.
BOGUE: Wow, you must have aged pretty quick. I could have sworn you were about twenty-free or twenty-four.
ARIEL: No no no. I’m on the disability pension.
BOGUE: Why, you look pretty helfy to me.
ARIEL: But I have bipolar disorder and schizotypal personality disorder.
BOGUE: Fark, schizos out here too. Christ, I can’t get away from schizo nutjobs, even here in the bush!
ARIEL: No, not schizophrenic. Schizotypal!
BOGUE: Same shit, different smell. So, Nicholas, what did you do?
NICHOLAS: I’m a retired public servant.
BOGUE: Oh, so in other words, you’ve never worked a day in your life either.
PAMELA: Excuse me! I shall have you know that my husband Nicholas worked very, very hard all his life to provide for me and my children. He performed rather well in his studies at university and he was climbed his way to a position of great responsibility. I’ll even have you know Nicholas here reached the level of Departmental Officer Grade–
NICHOLAS: Yes, yes, everyone knows. I was a DO 11.
BOGUE: Yeah, worked hard my arse. Try comin’ out onto the roadworks with me, liftin’ up barricades and scoopin’ up dirt and gravel an’ shit in Bobcats forty, fifty hours a week in the burnin’ hot sun and freezin’ rain and hail and gales an’ shit. Then I’ll teach all youse bludgin’ c#$ts what hard work’s all about.
BOGUETTE: Honey, do you always have to make a scene like this–
BOGUE: Urrghgurghrughkurrrghnt! Don’t farkin’ tell me what to do, bitch! I’m sick of workin’ my arse off, paying massive taxes an’ shit, overtime, night work, the whole lot, only to see all the dough I make from MY job which should all be MINE goin’ to bludgin’ p#$%ks like these people here!
NED: Oi, you listen here, New Fella. You criticise all of us for bein’ bludgers an’ shit, but the fact is, there are no bloody jobs around here. None! Me missus before she died, well, she worked in the video hire place-slash-fish shop for two afternoon shifts a week … that’s all she could find!
BOGUE: Well, I found a job here easily enough, even from Sinny. What’s your excuse?
NED: Yeah, and when the bypass is finished late next year, what are you gonna do then? You’re gonna find yourself stranded here with no other job waitin’ for ya, and then you’ll be one hundred miles up shit creek without even a matchstick let alone a paddle, let me tell you!
BOGUE: In that case, me and me missus and me boys will just move back to Sinny.
VAL: Oh, you’ll never move back to Sinny.
BERYL: Yes. New People … NEVER move back to Sinny.
BOGUE: Bullshit! Once me contract’s up, I’m movin’ back. No way do I want to spend the rest of me life with a pack of good-fer-nuffint bludgers like you! C’mon, honeybunch, let’s go back to the caravan park.
BOGUETTE: No, I want to stay! People here are a bit laidback an’ stuff, but these are good people and I’ve already made friends. Why should MY night be cut short just because you always get yer bloody knickers in a knot over dole bludgers an’ shit?
BOGUE: Fine, have it your way then. I’ll walk home meself. Screw you leechin’ parasite shitheads! Screw youse all! (storms out of the bowling club in a huff and a puff)
SANDY: (puts her arms around a sobbing BOGUETTE) Don’t you worry, sweet’art. Some New People … well, they just take their sweet time adjustin’ to the pace of life around here an’ stuff. Don’t worry. He’ll come round soon enough. There there now …
(Yes … I know this episode was a long time coming … and I do have some cracker episodes coming up, all stored in my brain, ready for the moment when I find the time and mental energy to type it all up and proofread it and edit it.
Unfortunately it won’t be for another month or so as I’m heading off overseas for a bit. I’ve decided to redirect my admittedly humble and not terribly highbrow literary and satirical skills to a whole other genre – travel blogging. You’re welcome to follow me on my Magical Mystery Adventure at the following blog: http://blog.travelpod.com/travel-blog/regionalreverie/1/tpod.htm
Bogue & Boguette will see you all when I get back! — R.R.)