Crisis management.  She’s lost her pink ATM. I make a quick  call the petrol station.

‘Yes, we have it.’

The servo is one hundred kilometres away, but luckily the trailer hire have her bank details.

‘And I’ve only got one card now,’ she tells the crusty old man who is directing us to the trailer. He rolls his eyes. He’s seen too many old grannies who have lost their marbles and he’s not in the mood for it today.

‘And I lost the last in the ATM machine.’

She just forgot to take it out, I tell the crusty old man.

He rolls his eyes again. I can even hear a mumble under his breath.

‘Stupid bitch.’

She ignores that one. Setting up a cafe in a desert town  isn’t work for the faint hearted.

‘Washing machines, deep friers and milk shake makers to buy.’

The swelling of my fingers is going down.

But that doesn’t change the fact that Garden Gnome is still forgetful.

It was a one-way trip to Adelaide to pick up three washing machines and a drier she didn’t know she had won on an auction.

‘She’d forget the trailer if it wasn’t attached to her car,’ said the  old grouch who was directing her to the trailer.  He’s breathing easy now  as she misses another trailer and guides her car within millimetres.

Power to the grannies, I say.

‘He was a grizzle stump of man,’ she said, as we drove out of the trailer hire.  ‘He’s probably seen a lot of trail injuries in his time.’

The ceilings are out and we off to Adelaide looking for fresh gyprock. Then she bangs into the guard rail,l stopping her driving off the third story of the car park. material.  juices have run out and creative juices have ran out so we are onto to Adelaide to find some fresh territory.

Google Maps tells us to turn left into the hiring trailer hire.  Our last refuel was in Port Wakefield. The short black was a boost we both needed. I bet when she slipt her pink ATM into her back pocket, it fell out as she climbed into the car.She’s lost her ATM. I call up the station and they have it. They give us her card number over the phone and she rents the trailer. While she’s reversing the car towards the trailer, the tight-lipped older staff wonders if she’s going to crash into another trailer on the side. ‘She’d forget the trailer if it wasn’t attached to her car’ In her defense, she’s

Spot on. And I’ve left my wallet in Desert Twon. She’s lost her ATM. I call up the station and they have it. They give us her card number over the phone and she rents the trailer. While she’s reversing the car towards the trailer, the tight-lipped older staff wonders if she’s going to crash into another trailer on the side. ‘She’d forget the trailer if it wasn’t attached to her car’ In her defense, she’s

She’s rented before, and Judy, the hire lady processes the payment. Her partner, a crusty old man, with a greying beard who says nothing so far, watches her reverse the car towards the trailer. She’s had a 50 meter run at it. ‘If she’s not careful, she’s going to hit the trailer parked on the side.’

‘I saw it in the mirror,’ she told me later, ‘I didn’t think I had hired a blue trailer.’

‘He was glad to see the end of this senior citizen,’ I said.

She even has cards. She shows me it. ‘Read it carefully, she says.’

I promise to respect and value you, andI’ll offer courtesy and assistance. Like that nice man with the machine gun who stopped the traffic so you could walk across the street.

But she didn’t tell me that the straps to tie down the machines on the rented trailer were fucked.

At first, he blamed me for pulling out the strap from the mechanics.

‘It’s knotted,’ says the fork lift driver who loaded the machines on the trailer. ‘All those rachet straps are fucked.’

Then Garden Gnome discovers she hasn’t got her ATM. I’ve left my wallet in Desert Town too.

‘Maybe I left it at the last petrol station.’

A quick call, yes they have her pink card. It’s an hour’s drive to the station to get it. I’m in charge of it now. We have a 20-meter walk out to the car, but she can’t be trusted.

She’s laughing and losing it; ‘I can’t be trusted.’

You are getting better, She’s found the charger for the lap top to plug into the lighter socket.

‘But where are my teach?

They are in your mouth aren’t they.

No, she says, and looks at the dashboard, ‘they are on the dash board and looking at you.’

I double check. ‘At least you won’t lose them today.’

I said she was going to get it now. She said we’d tidy it up later.

‘Missionary zeal,’ says Garden Gnome as we enter Adelaide.’Even those who paid for the passage to Adelaide from England in the 1840’s beelined to Melbourne to escape it.’

What do you see coming into Adelaide. She’s shocked back into reality, the dream time of Desert Town is shredding, for now.

I see hills. Hills all around the city.

Don’t you see the green.

Plenty of trees too. We have reached a lull. The euphoria of Desert Town is wearing off.

I wonder if the Irish musicians dance at the Dubliner. She’s really trying to be conversational. I don’t even think a coffee and  a Red Bull will revive her.

‘Six hours driving, what do you expect?’

Losing teeth and ATM cards can really take it out of you.

‘What looks like a little river up here is actually a dam.’ We have just passed  Rivers Torrence that overlooks the Casion, ’They wacked a weir across to make it a lake. Water rats live along the side, and every now and then they fish someone dead of it.’

I knew I’d get something good out of her.

“Reptilian tongue, it’s wagging.’

There’s the little showiness of Adelaide, I say, as I point out an old guy driving a low wheeled Porshe; We are driving in the Toyota Four Wheel, and Garden Gnome has to contain rolling over it. ‘I bet it’s a tax reduction,’ she says.

She’s missing the Desert Rats.

‘Can you see any?.’

If we didn’t have to pick up the washing machines, ‘ I wouldn’t be here. How can you be in Australia without seeing the aborigines.’

Does the T shirt fit the metrosexual image. She wants me to carry her green bag. I’ve put her pink card in it. No thanks. My paint splattered t-shirt wasn’t a product of a fashion statement.

‘I know the rest,’ says Garden Gnome. ‘Shame we had to pull down the tiles you painted.’

That’s a testament of her planning and foresight.

She’s not impressed and her reptilian tongue is dancing, smelling out it’s prey before she decides to strike.

‘Reptilian tongue? ’Almost as good as being called a bitch.’ She’s getting off on being called names. ‘I’m the one usually locking up people for life.’ So she likes to get a bit back. ‘I deserve a lot more.’

‘And your description of me catching flies is so apt.’

But killing a snake has the other reptiles back up.

‘It was either kill it before it killed us.’

But your lizard family have disowned you. They are saying you are colder than their most villainous outlaws.

It was a round trip of 200 kilometres to collect the card. In Adelaide, ghastly and garish monuments said look at me. ‘They are getting more ghastlier with each new Premier’s self aggrandisement of himself.’ I really had to agree. Adelaide was warped in ways other cities aren’t. ‘It never recovered from the crash of the State run banks in the 80s.’

But the Premier’s always had cash to make sure their names lived on. We pass the new stadium. It’s has fungus like growths that are beautified with bright lights. ‘Another LSD induced monument to failed Premiers who never could kick start the economy after bankrupting the State’s coffers.’ I get it now. Landmarks to desperation.

‘Do you know him?’ I had appeared at the hardware store with Garden Gnome’s pink card. She can’t be trusted, I told the sales guy, in his sixties, pony tail and rotten hair.

I grabbed the rachett straps and said I’d drop them off at the car.

‘I can run fast,’ he says, as he shows me the Wall of Shame. I said why not take a chance on me. He wasn’t risking it. ‘We have caught many people before you.’

He really thought I was a potential their.

‘No he wasn’t, he was joking.’

That’s what you think. He wouldn’t let me take out the box of rachetts until you paid for them. Now do the maths bitch.

‘We we were both racing to bend down and pick up the rachetts. He saved me 50 percent on them with a special.’

‘He was gorgeous,’ she says, with a lick of her reptilian tongue. ‘Did I tell you when I was 46 for two years.’ No you didnt’ and now you are senior citizen.

We had just figured out that I wasn’t fifty this year, ‘but only 49. Wasn’t that a nice surprise to wake up too?”

It certainly was. I’m a year younger. The big five ‘O’ can wait for another year.

You aren’t mucking around, I say to her.

‘I get excited in Industrial areas.’

She’s scouting around for more kitchen bargains. Her computer she bought at her last auction has died, but she’s still in bargain hunting mode. I’m feeling quite good too. I don’t have any tramadol to wash out of  my system.

A little pact today, no one gets bitchy.

Yep, it’s a unilateral pact.

We gotta return back to Desert Town and drop off the washing machines. And clean up the alleyway .

The bank has been complaining, and for good reason.

I”m going to have a cigarette after the stress I’ve been put through.

She has all kinds of excuses for cancer sticks.

‘If you are going to hang onto the cigarettes, share them.’

We get a call from Happy, the Sikh, ‘your card ins’t working.’ Filogirst I was under suspicion, now she is. ‘They know me.’

They also have your washing machines parked at the hotel.

Little hurdles are always popping up along the way.

‘Starting up a business takes time.’

And lots of logistical organisation. The phone has gone flat and her internet banking has ended. ‘The phone is flat. Whatever you are doing on your banking aint going to work.’

She says for me to stay in the car, while she looks at some front doors and windows she wants for the front of the cafe. She’s tenacious. And is back.

‘Here we go, toilets, doors and windows.’

We call him back.  ‘Did you try this number,’ she asks him. ‘Ok,’ she says, ‘I’ll pop around and sort it out.’ If only she can sort out her internet banking. Phone is charging and wifi hot spot is back up.

He’s not concerned about leaving the trailer full of washing machines, but he wants payment for his room. Garden Gnome has just used her card, so she knows there’s still cash on it. We have just entered a warehouse of used gates and doors. Her shopping spree is put on hold while she sorts out her online banking.

‘It’s not easy being the Garden Gnome.’

Not at the rate she burns cash.

The constatina doors will have

Doors, not much perseption. The old guy, on his way out, agrees.

I”m over doored too. It’s a salvage place and a total rip off.; She’s spotted some cafe doors.

Great marketing, I say. She’s driving through the the warehouse. Are you sure you can do it?

Yes, but slowly.I”m glad to be out of this joint. It smelt of death. Thieves of the past, I added.


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