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Cowboys Without Conscience

Page 5

Neil Blick

After standing alone and downing another can, Trev saw Tai and Dan huddled in talk. Beers in their grey hard hands, foreheads nodding at a steady pace to the cyber techno when Trev moved towards them, he heard Tai was grinning and saying ‘She snorted a line of coke off my hard …’ he stopped talking as Trev approached. Trev tried to be casual, although every step was an act measured for effect. ‘Hey Buds, what’s happening?’ It was the best he could come up with. A feeble gambit to gain a foothold into their company. ‘Just cracking the beans, mate’, Dan replied. Trev knew right away he was not wanted. Down a notch. More nodding, no talking, just the incessant techno and surly looks. A few more seconds then leave, he told himself. Trev knew the pattern all too well, the mantra was always present in his father’s voice.‘ Keep ya dignity little Trev’. It was a daily battle to keep above the surface.  ‘Be ready little Trev’.

Just as Trev started to make his withdrawal, he saw a white flat box Frisbeeing toward his chest then a shout, ‘Almost got him Joey!’  At the same moment Trev was distracted by another remark resonating from Tai‘s croaky voice, ‘Wouldn’t trust him with a pet penguin’, followed by Dan’s guttural laugh.

Trev started to turn back to face them, but his right foot stepped on something soft, then he slid on a greasy open pizza box. He felt disoriented, stumbling then fell head-first into the firepit. He heard a brash animated uproar mixed with laughter and felt the crackle of hot ash and red metal branding his cheek and nose. He wrongly supposed he could smell frying pork. That’s what he would later repeat over and over when retelling the event to his dad. His recall was welded into a five-word repetition expressed in the form of a monotone mantra. Cooked-pig-laugh-at-me.

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