About the Author: Sean Melrose-Aukema is an Australian writer and proud dad based in Norway. When he's not at the keyboard guzzling coffee, he reads, plays video games, and if he's feeling particularly inspired sometimes he laces up his runners. You can find him on Twitter @seanmelrose.
Is it strange for something to begin with tomato sauce and end in blood? If two people run into each other, and they hold the same desires and orbit the same circles, is it really a coincidence? Some would say so, but they don’t know this town. Those who do, the ones who’ve seen the servos close and the police station move to Halo, the ones who’ve noticed the needles piling up in the dirt behind the video store, they would say what happened was long overdue.
We’d been slaughtered by Halo Bay again and our coach, a flat-nosed bruiser with thin blond hair, screamed himself hoarse for half an hour. Surprisingly, when he ran out of spit he sought me out, shook my hand with his calloused pincers, and palmed me a crisp twenty. He even had a few rare words of praise for Bull and Shorty as he went past. It merited a few stubbies and later, as the sailing, water-skiing, and booze-cruising masses flocked to Main Street for sunset fish and chips, so did we. I investigated my shorts pocket and found a few leftover coins. Spread out in my sweaty palm I realized they combined to make exactly two dollars. A sign.
The best value feed in Hurstville was the two-dollar fries deal at Grego’s. The place’s namesake was a surly bastard, but he wasn’t stingy with the fries, and he even grudgingly threw in a few little tomato sauce packets. The queue stretched out the door as always, a mass of sunburnt skin standing around in thongs complaining about the air con. Half the customers were hungry, the rest were local blokes eyeballing Cindy.