Pearl and Finn
Pearl walked along the road intending on taking the dogs to the shore for a swim, clean them up a bit. Both had indulged in an early morning cow pat roll. She’d seen them wriggling in the bitter green patches of grass in the far paddock and then they galloped back to her, all gleaming smiles and shaggy, stinking pelts.
What happened though, was that she turned into the driveway at the corner, before the creek trailed out to the town harbour, as she always did when she walked in this direction. It was like she held divining rods ahead of her. Stop in for a cup of tea and watch the dogs lolling under one of the orchard trees, buy some fruit and then head home again with a juicy little tremor of potential rolling in her belly.
He was hunched over weeding out the blueberry section, his floppy cotton hat obscuring the view beyond the soft, emerald milk thistles. The dogs leapt through the neat rows of calendula seedlings to get to him, their tails like flags, pocking the freshly turned earth. He straightened and put one hand to his lower back. Then he saw her and his whole being gladdened.
“You won’t have to dig holes for that next lot,” she pointed to the dogs’ tracks. “Sorry ‘bout that.”
He growled at them and shooed them off. “I’ll teach them one day. When you’re not looking. They’ll never do it again.”
“Hey, Finn,” she pranced. “It’s my birthday today.”
“Well. Happy Birthday To You!”
“Shall I put the kettle on?”
Finn lived in a shed that was split into rooms by wardrobes and tea chests. Despite the apparent chaos of gutted cars, motorbikes and ropes of drying onions and chillies, he was meticulously tidy and always served Pearl properly brewed tea in porcelain cups.
He looked at his watch. “We can do better than that.”
Inside the gloom of the shed, he washed his hands at the sink and pulled an unopened bottle of Drambuie down from the kitchenette.