How TO BUY A CAR IN CAPE TOWN

26B9CB1B-6E5E-4F27-B776-47EFDF0B946DOur plan was to buy a nice big burly car to road trip Africa. We spent about a week running around Cape Town chasing that dream, so now we are experts on the matter. The following is a step-by-step guide to help you, should you ever choose to buy a car in the Mother City.

Step 1: Spend a few days getting drunk. Why? Because you can’t just waltz into a place like Cape Town and buy a car without first drinking a few cold ones with the people. Long Street and Kloof Street both run through the top of town towards Table Mountain. Together they contain the cultural crevasse you are looking for. Try the balcony at Yours Truly or up the road at Power and Glory first. Buy a few bottles of wine. Introduce yourself to some lovely local women, of which there is an abundance. Get something to eat at Rick’s Café Americain, Kyoto Sushi, NY Slice Pizza or The Sorrows. Remember, the place is heavily influenced by Europe so partying tends to happen late and long. When it gets late, head to Harrington’s, Asoka, The Shack, Hank’s, Love Thy Neighbour, Modular, The Orphanage or anywhere you walk by that has a crowd. Take your time, do it right.

Step 2: Now that you are nursing a good and proper hangover, you are ready to start looking for a vehicle. Your best bet is to lie in bed and scroll through Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree for hours on end. Open a million tabs. Message a few people. Enquire thoroughly. This thing has to survive months of potholed roads, long distances, dirt tracks, attacks from lions and hijack attempts. For some reason many of the cars we looked at had had their original engines replaced with something shit. Get a few trusty steeds in your sights.

Step 3: Go against just about everyone’s advice and meet strangers in the middle of nowhere to look at their cars. Between us we can’t do much more than change a tyre and check the oil, so we lifted the hood and intently whispered nonsense to each other. Don’t let the car owner clue on to the fact that you are mechanically hopeless. Take her for a drive. Don’t stall.

Step 4: After a sustained effort you still haven’t found the right car. Repeat step 1 until your inspiration is topped up.

Step 5: In Parow there is a long straight road called Voortrekker Road (R102). Start at Pick ‘n Pay and walk west. There are over 50 used car dealerships here. Spend three to four hours walking into all of them in the heat of the day. The salespeople mostly ignore you so the whole experience is almost pleasant.DFD7D249-64FE-4DC5-AE8E-5D14B6BEE761.jpg

Step 6: When all hope seems lost and you haven’t got enough money to buy a decent car, call my friend Johan Evert. We found ourselves ready to call it quits on the whole trip when Johan pulled us out of the muck. He agreed to drive down from his family home in his Land Rover Freelander 2, pick us up, and take us wherever the hell we wanted to go. In essence, we got ourselves a third member of the party and a private tour guide. After some back-and-forth and some wildly inaccurate calculations we worked out a price that was roughly the same amount we had set aside for a car. Only with Johan we had the added bonus of extensive expertise and all the gear we could possibly need for camping. If you need him, look up ‘Your Friend in South Africa‘.

Now one way or another, you are ready to start your journey. Best practice is to buy yourself a road map, burn it and dance around the fire until you see your next destination in the dregs of your last bottle of Black Label.

Until next time,

H.F. Peniston

Lombok BANGKO BANGKO

SCN_0114The air’s warm, still. A light waft of smoke enters my sleepy nostrils as I lie under the mosquito net staring at the Birds of Paradise in the front yard, letting my brain stir. It doesn’t take me long to get ready. I pack most of the things I’ll need into my small backpack. A notebook, camera, trunks, sarong, medical stuff for my leg wound, a packet of chips, bottle of water, cigarettes, weed, sunscreen, my Swiss-army knife, a pen and enough money for the two day expedition. I’ve got to pick up a book from Alice and Stew’s villa after breakfast and buy a block of wax.

The directions to Bangko-Bangko (Westerners call it ‘Desert Point’) are written down in my notebook. The trip should take two to two-and-a-half hours on my bike, if everything runs smoothly. Supposedly it takes an hour-and-a-half in a car. There are 17 steps to follow: from Kuta, past the airport, across the island, through jungle and steep hills then around an inlet to the western tip of Lombok.

45 minutes in heading west on a highway I stop for petrol and to refresh my memory on the next few steps of the journey.

Driving behind a military police Jeep I remember I’ve got a few grams of East Lombok’s finest dope in the middle pocket of my bag and remind myself not to do anything too bold. I wouldn’t want them to pull me over for a traffic offence, check my bag and find the packet. The middle pocket isn’t obvious, and the packet itself is underneath a book and a bottle of sunscreen. If there were a place they would miss, it’d be where it rests right now. Still, better to just sit a few scooters back from them like a good little tourist. Damn it’s hot. Why are we going so slowly? I hope they turn off soon so I can get back to full speed. We drive past a pulled-over police car, then another on the other side of the road. We’re stopping. I realise I’ve ridden straight into a police checkpoint, seconds later a cop is waving me off the road. I pull over and look up at his face.

“You speaking Indonecian?” he asks me. I shake my head. He points at it and says something I don’t understand, then points to the place where my left mirror should be only it isn’t there. I turn the bike off and look up at him again, wondering what he wants me to do, trying not to think about the little brown paper packet in my bag so as not to give anything away on my face. I look around and see that everybody else is wearing helmets. The policeman takes my keys out of the ignition,

“You have lissen?” he asks, obviously unsure of his English pronunciation.

“What?”

“You have lissens? Lissens,” he asks again, tone rising.

“Oh license, yes but not here.”

Internasonal lissens, regishration papers?” he adds. I shake my head. He motions for me to go with him, takes me across the road and hands me over to an officer with an offence pad and a plump, kind round head. The new cop tells me to wait a few minutes.

“Can I smoke a cigarette?”

“Yes sure.” I wander a few meters away to assess the situation. There are pigs everywhere, in both directions. Escape is off the cards. I didn’t bring enough money to pay bribes but I don’t really have a choice. The new cop calls me over and asks if I speak Indonesian. I say a little bit, “sedikit”, and he asks where I’m from. He says I have to wear a helmet.

“You no hab helmet?” he speaks English more comfortably than the first guy.

“No, in Kuta nobody wears helmet so I didn’t think I had to.” My mind thinks back to the packet of weed but I quickly flick the thought away. The cop puts his pad on a car’s bonnet and asks my name. I tell him. He suppresses an embarrassed smile, hands me the pen and shows where to write it. Looking into my dumb eyes he warns me to wear a helmet next time, says I can go.

“Thankyou sir, what’s your name?”

“Me? My name Putu,” he answers. I look into his big brown eyes,

“Thankyou Putu, thankyou,” then walk back to my bike and get the hell out of there.

“Once you’re on the dirt road, you’ll come to a junction. You don’t turn right like you think, you go left up and around a hill and then you’ll come down to Deserts,” words Josh said to me the other night spring back into my head as I hit the shocking, rocky, dusty path. It all happens just like he said it would and I pull up to the famous lefthander feeling falsely like some sort of pioneer, there’s no one else around. I wonder how long it took me to get here, feels like around two hours. The waves are small, waist high. A very slight wind blows from behind the waves, ruffling their lips. A few young local boys are surfing the end section.

After a late lunch I walk out onto the now-dry reef up at the take-off spot to smoke a spliff. It should be about low tide now. I’m sitting on a rock only twenty meters in from where the waves start, a couple of nice ones run by but a few crumbling sections are separating the clean, tubing sections. The long chain the waves form across the barrier reef is broken in some places. I stand up to walk back, but stop to watch a set of three waves, slightly bigger than the others I’ve seen. They break cleanly, hollow tubes uninterrupted for a hundred meters. With a life of its own my mouth opens and twists up in the corners, freezes in an expression of wonder and disbelief. The three waves I just watched were only small, maybe chest height, but they were beautiful. Watching the second and third waves was like watching the first wave on repeat. I’m standing on dry reef, a little stoned, on the edge of an Indonesian island staring at a wave that has defined perfection for surfers since its discovery 25-odd years ago. No more waves immediately after them I turn and walk lightly over the reef to the sand. When I get to the beach I face the ocean to watch a head high wave running along in the reef shelf. For 15 seconds I keep my unblinking eyes on the wave and it doesn’t stop barrelling once. She’s starting to wake up.

I paddle out for an afternoon surf, there are only a few guys out and conditions are stellar. The big waves are a decent size but most waves are small, not worth looking at. My first wave is juicy, sweet looking, not working too far away from me so with gusto I stroke in and spring to my feet early. A short section steepens up ahead. I go to it with speed, a little too much, and whizz by ahead of the barrel. To lose speed I draw a high line and come out of it pointing down. An almost identical section to the last presents itself, I turn up from the bottom of the wave to the middle and get shot along ahead of the tube again. The next section is far too long so I push up and off the back of the wave. A bit nervous and a little jittery, I’ve made a mess of my first wave out here. Was a gem too. Back at the top of the reef I swim down for a look at the bottom. Even out past where the waves start to break it’s only a meter and half, two meters deep. The tide is still quite low but it’s on the way up, the waves are less frequent than an hour ago.

The ocean almost stops. I get to know a couple of young guys from Adelaide and an older guy who is also from Margaret River. I sort of recognise his face. I don’t get another shot at redemption, there are one or two more waves but it’s not my turn. I paddle in while the sun dives.

According to the forecast the swell will fill in tomorrow morning.

Tom HEWITT

Thomas James Hewitt was born on the 1st of September 1994 shortly after his twin brother Duke. His mum is a midwife and nurse; his dad works in health & safety for large oil companies. The family lived in a three-bedroom house in the town of Margaret River until Tom was ten. They then moved into a large modern home by the sea with ocean views. It was his family who had the home built, an architect friend designed it.

The kids went to St Thomas Moore Catholic Primary School, then Margaret River Senior High School. Dad surfed, Frances surfed, Duke started surfing and Tom followed soon afterwards because “at that age you’re getting told what to do, ‘go there’, ‘read that book’, but when you’re surfing you’re having the time of your life doing whatever you want for three hours.” Tom started taking photos with his mum’s camera around the age of 12, took a liking to it and continued learning about it through high school. Once he graduated Tom took a gap year, which he thinks is a good way to describe it because he wasted it away in Margaret River smoking too much weed and not surfing all that much. He then moved to Perth to pursue his interest in photography at university, but dropped out after a semester because it didn’t feel right.

He signed on to a pastry chef apprenticeship, living in his parents’ beachside flat with sister Frances. Once he finished his apprenticeship he travelled in California and Mexico. Back in Australia he moved back in with his parents in Margaret River and got a job at the local bakery. When he isn’t working he surfs, takes photos, reads books and browses the internet.

Tom thinks depression isn’t a thing if you’re an affluent white kid from a town like Margaret River, because “you should just wake up, smell the roses and realise how fucking good we’ve got it.” Tom wouldn’t rule out having sex with a robot if he was drunk and it was pretty life-like. He hates 21st century hippies because “they’re posing as something they’re not. You don’t have to have dirty hair and stink and drive a crap car to be environmentally conscious, they’re just doing those things because they want people to know.” He thinks the world is made up of 20 people he likes and 7 billion people he hates, he hates people who surf longboards in WA even though his dad is one of them.

I called Tom to get his perspective on the process of ‘growing up’.

G’day Tom.

 Hey.

What are you doing?

 I’ve just pulled over on the side of the road, coming back from a surf.

Alright. You ready?

 Shoot.

What were the best parts about growing up in Margaret River?

Isolation. I feel like kids who grow up in cities are hyperaware of what other people think of them, whereas we were, for lack of a better word, free range. We thought something was cool and we did it because we wanted to and it made us happy. Also it meant we got kept away from heaps of bad stuff like drugs and going out, for a lot longer than if you were to live in a city or even a bigger town.

What were some of the bad parts about it?

Isolation, again. The narrow-mindedness of everyone, you couldn’t just be a little bit different to the stock-standard, normal of what everyone expected of you without someone questioning you and being like, ‘what, you’re a weirdo’. When in reality you’re just trying to be an individual, not just a run-of-the-mill blonde haired surfer. People didn’t like that.

Would you consider yourself a grown-up?

I think of myself as being an adolescent but not a grown-up, nah, I’m not grown up.

When will you be?

 Maybe when I don’t live with my parents and have some kind of financial buffer that I can use as a way to bounce my way around places. Have my own place maybe. It’s more of a mindset, being a grown-up, at one point in your life you’ll think ‘I’m not a kid anymore’ but I can’t really say. I’m not there yet. Maybe I’ll never be a grown-up. Some people don’t grow up Hugh.

You’re talking to the Pope of not growing up, right now.

I’ve got one foot in the door, toes in.

A bit of both.

 Yeah, tested the water and I don’t really like it enough.

Do you think you’ll go in a bit more?

 Probably not, maybe. Being a grown-up is like having your responsibilities and having things that tie you down. I feel like that’s a real grown-up thing, and I’m not into that.

How was your childhood compared to growing up in a time pre-technology?

 I honestly don’t think it would have been that different. We didn’t get the whole social media thing until quite late. Our way of hanging out was meeting at the river mouth after school. That was our fun for the arvo. We didn’t give a fuck about getting a cool photo to put on Instagram because we didn’t have it. We were maybe one of the last years to get through before shit got whack.

How would your childhood compare to someone who was born today?

The whole social media thing. You’re 10 years old and you’re expected to make this perception of yourself, via the internet, for people to look at and like. When I was 10 I didn’t even know what I wanted or who I was and now they’re putting up photos of how they want people to perceive them. Writing stuff because it’s how they want people to think they think. It’s just weird, it’s making kids grow up way too quick.

Plenty OF WATER

IMG_0149First sign of a water shortage? Only one tap works in the Cape Town airport bathroom. A mere 17 hours ago Tom and I were 8,500 kms away, in Perth, where there is a drought but no real threat of running out of water. We’re delighted to exit the airport into drizzling rain.

Here in Cape Town, water was scheduled to run out a month or so ago. As in, all the taps are being switched off so grab a bucket and queue at the water tanks for your daily allowance. Stav – the man who owns our airbnb – has been in Cape Town for a few months so has a thorough grip on the situation here. He manages to sum up the whole crisis in one poetic expression, “If you gave the South African government control of the Sahara Desert, within five years there would be a shortage of sand.” Stav knows many other great things. For instance, banks created inflation. Cool stuff.

The city of Cape Town sits in a sort of basin created by three sharp interruptions to flatness. On the east side is Devil’s Peak. On the south side is Table Mountain. On the west side is Lion’s head. And to the north is the Atlantic Ocean. It is a very multicultural city. It’s a bit of a whore really. People come from all over the world to enjoy her.

Table Mountain is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The other day Tom and I demonstrated that man is far superior to nature by climbing all over the so-called wonder. The views from the top were often obstructed by tourists and selfie-sticks. I was woke enough to realise I was one of them.

All the people here love us. All of them. We are very cool because we are not racist and we give money to beggars (but not too much because we need to be able to afford our daily green smoothies).

Anyway, I have to go. There are some people at the door who want to take us out for lunch. Better oblige.

Yours,

H.F. Peniston

Lombok SETTLING IN

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Ninja’s been put at my feet. He’s a nosy little tabby cat, wakes me up. I’m in Lombok the moment my eyes open, there’s no delay for remembering I’m in a different country than yesterday.

“This is amazing,” I say to Tess who is pottering around.

“What? Your bed?” she asks.

“No, everything. I was lying here reading last night, I just thought, ‘damn this is perfect’.”

And it is. I had a good sleep, feeling wholesome surrounded by a blanket of drowsiness. Wearing a goofy half-smile.

Writing an assignment after breakfast a classmate reviews my court story then tells me it’s not due until the end of next week. If I had known that I would have left it until Friday and had it hanging over my days. Instead it’s done and nearly ready for submission. Tess is back from running errands so I’ll finish it and submit it tonight.

Just down the road from breakfast we organise a scooter for me to hire for the next week. There aren’t any motorbikes for hire in Kuta, just 100cc Yamahas with board racks sometimes. More than good enough.

With my Lombok life sorted Tess and I ride east for a swim at a pretty, long beach. She gets us a bit lost on the way, never seems absolutely sure where we’re going but finds it in the end. One of the boys in charge of motorbike minding seems to think I sure, points further east and says,

“Good surfing wave there Gurupuk, you go surfing?”

“No, not today, wind is bad,” I reply.

“You hab surfboard?”

“Yes, in Kuta.”

“Ooh, you hab,” He mumbles and turns back around. I may as well go have a look though, could surf there in the morning if I don’t go to Deserts. Tess desperately wants to swim so I go alone; it’s only two minutes away. In a micro-harbour full of skiffs and outriggers I have to squint to see a few thin lines of white water on the other side of the bay, doesn’t look promising. Now I desperately want to swim.

By the time I get back from submitting my assignment, buying cigarettes and fuel and shopping for fruit and veggies it’s apparently time to go get a drink with this guy Josh. He’s been here for a while, two or three months, so he knows where to surf when the forecast says this, that and the other. He’s offered to help me ‘make a plan’ and he knows how to get to Deserts from here. The three of us eat dinner at a dingy restaurant across from Kuta Beach, Josh and I discuss Deserts for a while. Looking at the forecast it appears that Wednesday and Thursday will be better than tomorrow, it’s not too hard to get there but it takes two and a half hours. It’s still bloody hot yet it’s been dark for an hour.

Saturday night, I figure if I’m going to party while I’m here it should be tonight. Josh says he’s keen. Tess will come down for a beer. Bus Bar gets a good crowd on a Saturday.

After a bunch of beers the music and atmosphere have livened me up. Even though she’s yawning and stagnant Tess has a good time, stays longer than I expected. It’s loud, small, comfortable and vibrant, with just the right amount of tackiness thrown in. Everyone’s smiling; two local lads are shaking cocktails and slinging beers from a repurposed Kombi van, a couple of guys walk around selling cigarette packets and balloons of mushrooms. Easy to tell who is on the mushies. A smorgasbord of European women step and jive on the dance floor while two young Swedish guys take turns mixing house music. Not all the chicks are conventionally attractive but they’re all having fun and that’s attractive enough for me.

Low AND CHAOTIC

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I had one of the roughest days in recent memory not too long ago. It was a real struggle. A real mental struggle, a real physical struggle. The whole day I felt on the edge of insanity, sometimes I was not sure I hadn’t crossed over. My mind went in a million different directions at the same time, it was impossible to keep track of. As an image it would have resembled a twisting black ball of oil; spurting, contracting, imploding and twisting at high speeds. Throughout the day I wrote thoughts down as they came to me. I stopped writing when I picked a platonic girlfriend up from her house; she stopped me thinking the thoughts that I was writing down. She replaced them with thoughts of arctic wolves, oranges, hair and bullying. So anyway, I decided to share those dark thoughts with you because you’ve probably thought similar things. If you haven’t, but you are human, one day you will think similar things. And fuck it, it’s nice to know you’re not the only one.

Progressive musings from a hard day:

I’m an idiot for ever thinking I would love you for the rest of my life. When we were together I saw so many similarities between us. Since we’ve broken up I’ve noticed nothing but differences. Big, gaping differences. You don’t know what it’s like to wear someone else’s shoes. All you want is what’s best for you and don’t bother trying give me your bullshit, give it to someone else, it’s wasted on me. You can’t change with words what I now know to be true regardless of language. Don’t fall in love kids. I hate you. I contemplate suicide once, not thinking about how it would feel but wondering how everyone would react. What would people say about me at my funeral? Would the people who I’d told my funeral songs to remember what they were? I’d jump from a tall building. I wouldn’t shed a tear if you did it. I keep seeing things, I don’t know if they’re real or not. Broken. Alone. There’s a horrible, twisted demon inside me. I smile and laugh at my fortune. I deserve so much better, yet I’m terribly embarrassed. Friends will be whispering about it all right now and not many of them have the whole picture. I realise that without the details they’re missing, I look like a bad guy. Fuck it. I can’t control it; it’s all out of my control.

And then I brought her back to my studio where we listened to records (she played her first ever!) drew each other pictures, wrote stories, doodled and talked about the whole stupid universe until 2am. After 2am we spent an hour wrapped up, breathing on each other and occasionally asking questions to see if the other was still awake. Then we fell asleep and I know I had a big old smile inside me.

Lombok TRANSIT

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I thought I’d try to smuggle the last quarter of my breakfast burrito through customs. Down my dacks. Better not, I’m thin on time before my flight. Aah fuck it, I wanna know how possible it is to smuggle something in my pants, a test run. In the toilet, burrito at my gooch I remember I’m not wearing underpants. Another time.

It’s not until I arrive at the domestic terminal in Denpasar that I realise I have to wait eight hours for the connecting flight. Mega, the man at Garuda’s help desk, tells me their earlier flight is full, the best he can do is put me on the waiting list. When the boarding gate closes I’m to check if there are any no-shows. If not then I’ll just have to wait until the later flight.

Damn it’s lucky there was space; I get to meet Lombok in the sunlight. She’s beautiful. Tess (my sister) runs up from behind me before I’ve even rolled a cigarette. Driving along through rubbish-smoke under banana trees past stalls selling bottles of petrol and snacks, dodging stray dogs and scooters and kids reminds me of South India immediately. After a few kilometres it’s like I never got off the bike. Less than half an hour from the airport we reach the small town of Kuta and Tess directs me down a back alley and through the backyards of some local mud huts to her bungalow.

A dusty sun sets behind a mountain. On the balcony of Full Moon café facing south overlooking a white-sand beach coved by rocky outcrops we toast.

 

An ODE TO HIM

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My best friend has a deep pain inside. He gets excited, laughs, jokes, smiles and plays, but between I see slight sighs and hollow eyes. Whether or not he’s trying to hide it I don’t know, but it’s not hidden from me.

I know what’s causing the pain and he does too, but there’s nothing more I can do to help him. I feel the same pain; it runs deep, a gushing undercurrent of anguish. Tears threaten to spill for hours on end, frustration wants to be released in the form of fists thrown into a wall but it must be kept in because you’re in public or around people. When you’re alone the anger turns into alienation and anxiety. I feel the same pain; but it’s more temporary for me, cyclical in nature and slowly spirally upwards to recovery. I know it doesn’t run as deep for me either. I make steady, visible progress while he drags onwards so slowly he looks to be still. I so badly want to help him mend it.

Knowing what is going on; the doubt, confusion and flat depression, but not being able to grab his arm and pull him out affects me on a strange plane. It is not my sadness but a mixture of guilt, empathy and helplessness. I feel guilty for being able to quell it, diffuse it faster than he can. I’m empathetic because I know what the pain feels like, devastating, thorough and evil yet I know he is experiencing it even worse than I. I feel helpless because my advice, my hugs, presence, care and understanding don’t and won’t heal him. Sure, those things help and probably make a decent difference, but this pain is a duel between his soul, mind and heart. No amount of outside assistance can make peace.

So I sit by him. I sit and I watch, nervous yet faithful. There is no place I could imagine I’d rather be, and I’ll be here for however long it takes. If it takes years or decades or a century it doesn’t matter, he will get better and when it’s all over we’ll drink beer and laugh. A long wholesome laugh of relief, of anticipation. We’ll grow old together whatever happens and I can say that with great confidence. There’s no one like him for me. He’ll always be my best friend.

The WALL

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I am a lazy fucker. I want to score well on assignments, bang beautiful women, be one of those people who constantly smile, eat well, go to work even if I’m hungover, exercise, get really mad at writing… But I can’t be fucked. Has my life just been too damn easy up until this point? Am I suffering from a sense of entitlement? Maybe, but I know people who have had things handed to them on even shinier platters than me, yet they’re hard working people. All the things I want just seem like too much hard work. To score well on assignments I’d probably have to double the amount of work I do. To screw hot girls I’d have to talk to them. Going to work hungover? I’d rather eat noodles for the following week than stand in a corporate box, serve a few beers from the fridge, politely smile when a client asks for something and watch about a quarter of a game of football with a mild headache. Thanks. I either don’t want those other things badly enough or I’m scared of failure.

I don’t know which of those it is, but I sure as hell don’t want to be that sad old balding man in an ill-fitting suit driving around in a 1996 Daewoo Lanos smoking half the filter of his Bond Street Red cigarette saying, “If I’d just worked hard when I was young, my life would be so much better,” then turning around to look at the back of a high school girl’s skirt when she walks by. Then again, being a workaholic would be just as bad, maybe even worse. Where’s the fun in devoting a large amount of your life to a noble but ultimately pointless pursuit at the expense of Tuesday nights on the piss, Thursday nights on the piss, bizarre spur of the moment tangential antics that deepen friendships (because you can’t explain what you just did to anyone who wasn’t there), reading books, daydreaming and coming up with reasons to justify why you haven’t done anything productive yet.

I’m in a library. One of my best friends Eli is next to me. He would be equal top but he didn’t pick me up from the airport at 4:00pm on Saturday because he wanted to be drunk by that time. He’s working away studiously, never looks at his phone, clears his throat, flicks through what he’s done so far and gets back on with the job. Appears to be just a lot of highlighting. The library’s old and run down, smells like lint and the surfaces are covered in a thin wax, most likely 100 years worth of dust and sweat and flu coughs. We come here because it’s always empty compared to the fancy new libraries. Not that it helps. I’m supposed to be writing a story on an expanding abalone farm due on Monday but all I’ve done is write this stupid thing. At least I look productive. Sometimes on the plane I write fake emails so people will think, “Ooooh look at that dishevelled, busy young man. He must be one of them proactive Gen Y types.” Probably not though, I bet they see right through it, “Ha! There’s no internet up here, he’s not fooling anyone!”

I probably should try to call the owner of the abalone farm. He didn’t pick up earlier. I left a message; surely he’ll call me back when he’s not busy. It was five hours ago though. If he’s eating dinner and I call him he’ll be pissed. Finally gotten home from working hard on his ingenious multi-million dollar venture to enjoy a crayfish, prawn, artichoke, truffle and mandarin oil pizza his bitching wife cooked for him and some lazy journalism student bum calls him and interrupts. I wouldn’t want that if I were him. I’ll call him tomorrow