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Cowboys Without Conscience

Page 2

Neil Blick

For a moment he felt safe enough to smile back to his short-lived audience. Later that night Joedon would say Trev smirked at the dickheads because he was scared of them. Dickheads who would swallow anyone’s beer.

The BBQ was an end of year piss-up for the mostly young men who worked together in what Joedon termed ‘property maintenance’. He was their boss and said he was proud that he led a team of emerging builders. ‘Future shapers’, he said when they were pitching for the next short-term contract.  He said his team were ‘up-and-coming builders of homes and businesses for a better society’. ‘They are my Crack-Crew’ Joedon said when he spruiked them to future clients. Somehow the bullshit worked, his crap kept flowing and so did the deals. They mainly worked for real estate agents and property developers, sometimes executors of wills and ‘financial planners’, as dealers liked to be known. Whatever name tag they used didn’t matter, they were the at the top of the drain to funnel cash down to the hardened hands of Joedon’s crew.

Their work focussed on ‘smashing out the final impact.’ Just enough to get the punters over the line, no more. The boys would arrive at work sites in their lowered utes loaded with Dollar-Shop, rock-bottom specials. Lightweight materials hauled out by their tattooed pumped-up biceps. Stacks of thin chipboard panels, nail guns to hold up sagging ceilings, four litre plastic undercoat paint tubs to be watered-down, then rolled and splashed on any surface needing a quickie. Stain remover for carpets, tubes of no-more-holes to fill flaws, floors and gaps. Acrylic fillers that expanded into thick quick-drying yellow foam, bleach for mouldy bathroom grout, chipboard scraping chisels to flatten damp swelled floors, new glossy tiles to go over rotting wood and rolls of cling wrap and cooking foil because ‘they’re always adaptable’ said Joedon, just like the Crack-Crew.  

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