Black Dog

September 5, 2014

Hi again guys,

Here is a excerpt from another creation of mine called “The Medal” which, along with the other stuff I’ve written will go on my new website which I’m developing .  It’s never been offered to a publisher .”The Medal” is based on Australian Rules football and the annual award for the best and fairest player.

It’s written very much in the near future:

CHAPTER 1

AT HOME IN MELBOURNE

The bushland clearing was like many others in Melbourne suburbs; gum trees, low scrub and a carpet of native vegetation in a reserve adjacent to a well established residential area.

There was a man; late 50’s with four children, two dogs and a ginger tomcat, enjoying a picnic; a menagerie.

It was obvious the kids and the animals adored him; his Aboriginal ancestry was evident in the dark eyebrows and deep, dark eyes.  And the clear honey coloured skin which creased only lightly around the eyes as he smiled.

His thick, straight hair was streaked with silver, and pulled into a neat pony tail.

There was a gentleness and approachability about him which the children understood.

And an unmistakable mixture of other blood lines complementing his appearance.

Monti.

Monti Wagner.

They were his grandchildren, of course; two boys and two girls.

All under the age of six with parents who liked to work and get involved in making society what it was.  Providing “Da” would look after the kids.  Cheaper than a crèche (even though they had to pay something) but with the bonus that the kids’ upbringing and education didn’t hesitate for a moment when they were in Da’s care.  If anything, their education accelerated.

Try putting a three year old to bed whose mind was so actively engaged in so many adult propositions that it was impossible to get them down!

Until Da and Pa arrived, told them a story and held their hands until they dozed off.  There was a disturbance along the pathway and the dogs growled, their animosity changing to delight as they recognised the nature of the intruder.

It was Pa.  The dogs ran towards him, followed by the children, whilst Tiddles, the cat, well fed and well rounded, rolled on his back, playing with a gum leaf.

Tall, greying and strong, Warren Williams had a straight back; broad shoulders, and a slight limp from his football days, courtesy of a crook knee.

Also late 50’s, he strode along the path, a beaming smile on his face as he kissed Monti and their grand children in turn.

*****

Their little family group were all around them, in three houses, side by side in a Melbourne suburb, all backing on to the nature reserve.

Warren and Monti in the middle house.

Their daughter and eldest child Shona, her husband Zach and their kids, Anna and James lived in Warren’s parent’s former home, on the southern side.  Mick and Heather Williams, now both eighty five had moved into the spacious granny flat in the garden.  Warren and Monti’s son, Mike jnr. his wife Jenny and their kids, Greg and Fiona were on the other side.  The dividing fences were still intact but there were gates to allow easy access with latches set high up so little fingers couldn’t reach them.

A mini-dynasty from two gay blokes; four generations in fact, in the three properties.

*****

Hand in hand with grand kids, and with Warren carrying Fiona, the youngest, they walked home where Da had a snack waiting, keeping the hungries in check until their dinner time.

A Friday night in spring and it was barbeque night at Shona and Zach’s as usual. The huge commercial barbeque sat in their backyard where Great Grandad was in charge; using his walker as a convenient seat.

Heather Williams threw the mosquito net over the salads as Mick began cooking.

They were doing really well for their age.

“Importantly,” as Warren said, “they both had all their marbles.”

And they certainly did; that fact alone made it possible for them to thrive in the back yard in their old home, in a substantial granny flat, in a very independent manner.  Heather was the family’s unofficial baker.  With energy levels of a person half her age, she cooked an enormous variety of pies, cakes and pastries for themselves and the other three generations.  Monti spoilt them as he always had; their midday meal was always there for them, so Heather never felt she was under any more pressure than she needed to be.  Even though the workload she set herself at special times such as Christmas and Easter was prodigious.

But in her ‘spare’ time she shared a labour of love with her husband;     gay activism.  Mick had begun the unlikely journey from disapproving parent to international gay activist almost as soon as Warren brought Monti home.  Realising his attitude had nearly cost him a son and a family; he set about spreading the word to other parents at home in Australia and overseas.

And, as always, Heather was there supporting him.

Typing emails for him, sometimes as he dictated them, talking to others around the world on similar issues.

Only the previous year, at a black tie dinner, itself a fund raiser, Mick and Heather Williams were jointly awarded a Humanitarian Award by the Human Rights Commission for their work in Africa, particularly in Uganda.

Nearly all the work done from their home in Melbourne.

In Australia Mick had been guest speaker at every single AFA club on many occasions.  And many of the amateur clubs around the nation.

All with the same message; —- homophobia was not only unacceptable as a human condition, it was also unproductive.

“A footy team who doesn’t embrace all its players without reservation is only as strong as its weakest link,” Mick had said.  “And if the weakest link is a homophobe worried about one or two gay guys in the team, then there is no team.  It’s exactly the same with a nation.  When we finally embrace one other with all our diversity, we’ll become a bloody unbeatable team.”

*****

Peter Robertson, aka “Robbo” was not a relative but was certainly part of the family.  Twenty three years old, he was a brilliant ruckman and could kick like no one else in the competition.  He played for Pinewood, where both Warren and his father had spent their active football years.  Robbo had come to live with Warren and Monti because his parents actively disapproved of his very openly gay lifestyle.  Warren and Monti didn’t hesitate; they had spare bedrooms and the idea that any player should be disadvantaged because of his lifestyle was still, all these years later, very close to their hearts.

So Robbo had arrived over a year ago, and never went home.

You could always hear him long before you actually saw him.

Robbo was like that; loud, laughing, and telling jokes 24/7.

It simply never ceased.  A total extrovert; if he was quiet he was ill.

But what you saw was exactly what you got with Robbo.

He had a kind, thoughtful and loving nature and fitted perfectly into the Williams / Wagner clan.  It was like he had been there always.

Sandy hair, beautiful baby blue eyes and a cheesy grin amid a scattering of freckles that nearly split his face in half.  Together with Warren and Monti he was expected to be on story telling duty nightly, although training sometimes saw him arrive home after the kid’s bedtimes.  Unfortunately boyfriends seemed to take advantage of his generous nature and hardly any made it past a second date.  Yet he was always cheerful and good-natured, and the clan made sure he knew they appreciated him.

*****

Tonight he was knackered; training had been truly arduous.

But duty called and Robbo found himself the target of four little kids; all vying for his attention at once.

He cut Fiona’s meat for her as her mother looked on with amusement.

Then insisted she also eat some salad.  Fiona shook her head.

Robbo cleared his throat; it was enough and Fiona obeyed.

He swung his attention to the others and they did likewise.

“Robbo,” said Jenny Williams; “you’ll make some lucky man a wonderful missus one of these days.”

In a flash he shot back, whispering so the children couldn’t hear but most of the adults could.  “Well if you come across one that’s under seventy, can speak English passably, and keep me in the manner to which I’ve become accustomed, then let me know.”  “Why does he have to speak English Robbo,” asked Shona, laughing.  “So he understands when I tell him to fuck off,” Robbo whispered.  “Because I have no confidence in the Great Australian Males, thank you very much.  All they want is one thing, which is lovely but I’ve yet to find one who would be worth waking up with in the morning.”

Mike jun. looked and sounded sympathetic.  “Robbo,” he said, “if I played for your team, you wouldn’t stand a chance, I’d sweep you off your feet.  But my wife would probably miss me.”  “You’re joking, sunshine,” Jenny laughed, “as long as the cheque arrives every week, who cares?’’

Both Warren and Monti roared with laughter.  Their only son had a habit of showing his kind nature without worrying about the repercussions.  And Jenny understood.  And thankfully so did Robbo, who couldn’t resist another dig.  “Michael, if you’re really that hard up, I’ll leave the bedroom door just slightly ajar.  I’ll be reclining on the bed in my most revealing negligee.”

Even old Mick and Heather had tuned in and were grinning broadly, enjoying the family taking the piss out of each other.

Some nights the innuendo went on for hours, but tonight wasn’t one of those nights.  Mick Williams turned to his son and partner quietly.  “There’s a very interesting proposition come through by email.  Mum and I need to discuss it with you in the morning; are you two around?  Warren and Monti looked at each other and nodded.  “About ten o’clock then?”  “Perfect, sweetheart,” Monti said, and Mick grinned.  At his age, being called sweetheart by anybody was good, but when it was his lovely son in law it was just super.  “Come on Ma,” he said to Heather, “let’s go home and ravage each other’s bodies.”

 

 

 

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