Bloodlines  2013  Peter Bowes

Nobody ever tried to figure out Erin, ever. He used to walk the Bondi Promenade from one end to the other every day and we would wait for him like jackals down by the wild south, and as he passed by we would savage him without mercy, everytime.
Erin was just a little slope shouldered guy with a pre-occupied air and who wore doublethick glasses and who had a kind of limp and whose purposeful gait and thoughtful demeanor were the antitheses to the order of things. He always had something on his mind, and we wanted it to be us. The young totalitariniasts of thought.
He was a Woody Allen kind of man.
Down there where the carpark rose above the walkway (by the skate rink now) we would look down on this peaceful little man who often times wore the beard of our spittle down the back of his shirt, and we would croon soft and intimate abuse as he raged back at us for our illegitimate insults; the founding Bondi Fascista.
And always the one of him, and always the ten of us.
He was just a little man, and how he dared fight back.
Erin would rage at our intrusion upon his freedom, this abuse of his right to walk in peace, this cowardly victimization of a man otherwise at peace, this daily terrorisation of his life, that he, without fail, had the courage to confront day after day, in the hope that one day we would go far away or be killed in a road accident, or die of alcoholism or choke in our own drug induced vomit, or be beaten to death by the Vice Squad, or at least be removed from his path by whatever dangers our arrogance exposed us.
And here, by God, spoke his prophesy of the end of more than a few of us old boys.
How their voices would be faint today, muffled by the earth.
How he shivered with indignation as he looked up at our grinning apelike faces, how he learnedly and indignantly exposed our intellectual shortcomings before he stomped away in a Holy Order of Anger and Righteous Might.
This angry little man. This righteous fellow.
Years later I learnt that he was the son of one of the two women who used to run a small delicatessen across the road from the old gym in Bondi Road, the one where we held the inaugural meeting of the South Bondi Boardriders Club. Our Alma Mater.
My wife would shop there from time to time when she needed a little European touch to a special meal, and once she mentioned over dinner that both the women who worked the counters had numbers tattooed on their arms.
Faded though in 1962, and half hidden by their long sleeved working blouses.
I went to the shop a week or two later, purely to see the faces of women who had survived the death camps, and impurely to purge myself of the sins of abusing their son Erin.
They were too busy, and all I could do was buy some fresh Parmesan and a bag of olives.
So this will have to do.


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