Monday, August 20, 2012

The Club

The son looked around the house. “Just take whatever food you want. Whatever you think is going to go off.” Then he went into his bedroom and started digging out his school uniforms.
The mother looked in the fridge. Four packets of sliced cheese, a new knob of salami, yoghurt, a crisper full of apples and carrots. A plastic bag of dog bones.
“What is dog food doing here? I thought all the dogs have gone?”
“Dad’s dogs have gone,” he said. “But she went and got another one.”
He started lugging tool boxes, stereo, his electric guitars and amplifier out of his bedroom and packing them onto the back of his mother’s ute.

“What about the laptop? We can’t leave it here, not if we can’t lock the house.”
“Yeah. Um. Yeah. It’s Dad’s. Take that.”
They looked around. There were still dishes on the dining table with streaks of gravy and cutlery and a forest of sauce bottles. Last dinner. The wine rack included two anonymous reds with the club’s 40th anniversary label stuck to it. Household bills, tinny holders and bank statements were scattered over the kitchen bench. Shopping lists.
She thought; he had no idea he was not coming back when he left this morning.
“Is she coming back?”
Her son shook his head and rubbed his hair. “Dunno.”
“Look. We should go down to Nails’ and Lynn and see what’s going on with the house. And we need to tell them we’ve taken the laptop and the tools, so they don’t freak out and think someone’s broken in. Can you show me where they live?"

They drove down the hill, past the hobby farms with their new houses and fences. He directed her to the end of the road and a huge, pale brick house in a green paddock, flanked by a brand new machinery shed. They unshackled the farm gates, walked up the drive, past the garden bed of wintery, pruned roses, and knocked on the front door.

Lynn answered, three or four kids standing behind her in their pyjamas.
“We just dropped in to say we’ve picked up some of his gear,” said the mother. “Just so you don’t get worried that it was nicked.”
She’d met Nails and Lynn again, yesterday, after ten years of the club members and their wives not speaking to her.
“Come in,” Lynn said. “Please, come in. Do you want a cuppa?”

In the kitchen, Nails sat with his arms spread over the table while Lynn made coffee.
“I’m really sorry to hear what happened, Son.”
Lynn brought a mug of coffee back to him.
“Thanks love.”
He was a big bearish man. His kids sat all around him. He leaned into his mug and then looked straight at the mother’s son. “Firstly, I need to know. Are there any of his club colours, t shirts, patches, buckles left in the house?”