Not A Good Day, All Things Considered
Robbie tumbled down the last few steps of Playbirds International – the self-confessed innovators of adult entertainment – and rolled onto the pavement in an ungainly heap of arms, legs and cigarette butts - another day in Paradise City.
Paradise City wasn’t its official name – it was actually Kings’ Cross, the red-light district of Sydney – but it was how Robbie thought of it; although, that definition was rapidly beginning to change. Last week, he had been tossed out of the Bourbon Bar on Darlinghurst Road – that wasn’t so bad as there weren’t twenty nine steps to be thrown down (Playbirds did – Robbie had counted them on the way up – just in case.)
He rolled over onto his back, made a quick check of all his vitals (wallet, watch and phone) and, when he was satisfied all was in order, he put in the effort to raise to his feet.
Halfway up, he felt a boot slam into the back of his right knee, sending him back to the filthy pavement. His knees cried in protest, but it soon went ignored when he felt the hard rubber sole of what could only be a policeman’s boot on the back of his neck. Robbie struggled to free his head from the pavement and, after thirty seconds or so, he felt the weight lift. Things didn’t improve, however, when he turned his head to face his tormentors. Immediately, he was squinting as the light from the officer’s high powered torch shone directly into his eyes.
“Well, lookee-here, partner, looks like we got ourselves a D and D.”
The two cops grinned as Robbie tried to get to his feet.
“Hey, don’t we know you from somewhere? Yeah, yeah...we do. You were that idiot we kicked out of the Red Lantern in Surrey Hills the other night. Yeah, sure, we know you.”
Robbie grunted and tried to sit up. One of the officers put his size thirteen boot into his back and pushed him back into the pavement. Robbie felt a hand in his back pocket and sensed his wallet being removed.
“Now, look at this, Jimmy,” one of the officers said to his partner. “Seems our friend here has a fair wad of cash in his wallet - I’m sure he won’t mind if we lighten it a little.”
Robbie kept his head down, not wanting to argue the point with them - not that he was in any position to argue. A few seconds later, he felt the foot remove itself from the small of his back and then something hitting him in the back of the head. He reached up and felt his wallet next to his head and he turned to see that both of the cops had disappeared. Well, that was reasonably painless, Robbie thought, I’m only down a hundred bucks or so.
His opinion changed quickly when he realised that, stuffed inside his wallet, was an infringement notice for drunk and disorderly, with a fine attached of one hundred and seventy five dollars. He was wondering what else could go wrong as he was crossing Darlinghurst Road when he saw the police car, headlights off, coming his way – fast.
He shouldn’t have asked.
This week's winner was the wonderful Sal Buttaci and his story "Up In The Air". Congrats, Sal, another fantastic piece!