Down on Main Street



On the main street heading south out of town, named Main Street funnily enough, upstairs from the Night ‘n’ Day Dairy, sit three flats.

The general structural maintenance and upkeep of these tenancies are carried out by a cousin of mine who has a contract with the owner of the property. As a fully qualified carpenter, he’s a good man to have around whenever anything needs doing. His name?  We’ll just call him Neville for now.

Last Saturday Neville paid a visit to the flats in question. He’d been having mixed results trying to get a hold of the tenants in order to carry out some overdue jobs, so hoped to get it all done and dusted over the weekend.

Knocking on the door of the first flat it was answered by the current tenant, a sixty-something year old gentleman who was addicted to online gaming with a bad back and only one good eye.

“Oh yeah, come in come in mate.”

Upon entering the flat, Neville made his way around the teetering towers of empty pizza boxes and half full bottles of budget soda pop, past the glowing fluorescent Xbox machine and towards the front window which was in need of some attention.

As the work progressed he was regaled with a full blow by blow account of every single traffic accident which had occurred over the past eighteen months in the intersection below.

“There’s been bloody eleven mate, bloody eleven since I been here mate! The bloody council needs to put a bloody roundabout down there they do!”

Yes, if only there was a roundabout at every intersection in the land I’m sure we could all rest easier at night knowing things were much safer.

Mind you, why stop there thought Neville. According to this guys logic, why not make it mandatory to have a sharp spike protruding from all steering wheels and get rid of all drivers’ side seatbelts. The road toll would surely plummet.

After finishing with the window and making his goodbyes, he moved onto the next flat.

This flat was occupied by a new migrant family from South India who all beamed big broad enthusiastic smiles. The matriarch of the family welcomed him in. He had visited the family a few weeks back with his 7-year-old daughter. During this last visit, he had given his kid some gold coins and told her to go downstairs to get a drink. She’d come back with a bottle of coke which had sent the Old Girl into a fit of disdain.

“No Coke! No Coke!” “Bad! Bad for you!”

This time he had left his daughter at home.

The family was seated around a 43 inch flat screen monitor which was in the process of spilling out into the living room an extremely toxic blend of violence, gore and sadistic sexual innuendo. The Matriarch was in prime viewing position with her own wee one seated on her lap, gazing up at the glorification of cultural decay and noisy nihilistic insanity.

After about 20 minutes of work, and nearing completion of the task at hand, my cousin noticed that several occupants had left the flat taking all of their belongings with them: bedding; suitcases; the lot. Almost as if they had never even existed.

For some reason all Neville could think of was that old song by Kansas ‘Dust in the Wind’.

‘Dust in the wind…all we are is dust in the wind…do…dah…doo…’

As he hummed along to the violin instrumental, the Old Girl offered up some food which she presented as being genuine Southern Indian cuisine. As a big fan of food from the Sub-Continent, Neville was delighted and looking forward to some well-earned lunch.

Unfortunately, instead of the light juicy and vibrant punch synonymous with the Southern Indian palate, he was handed a bowl of stodgy looking heavy rice and tasteless dried out bits of unidentified animal flesh.

Not wanting to appear rude, Neville gratefully took the food offered and while eating prayed to whatever Indian deities were present that what was now inside of him would at least remain there until he got home.

It’s an unfortunate truth that people who are passionate about cooking should cook, and those who are not passionate should do everyone a favour and stay out of the kitchen, at least until it’s time to do the washing up anyway.

There remained only the last flat now. Neville had been having a great deal of trouble contacting the tenant in question and after receiving no answer at the door he again left his card with an explanation of the work that was still needing to be done.

There were two jobs: the front door was sticking so needed some readjustment, and the hot water cylinder was a bit loose.

As he was backing out of the car park a lime green coloured Mazda Demio, emblazoned in a rather confusing array of rainbow coloured decals, leapt into view in Neville’s rear vision mirror.  After some rather awkward jockeying for space, Holden Ute vs tiny Mazda Hairdressers’ car, the tenant finally managed to park his vehicle, get out and retreat upstairs to the safety of his flat.

Like the first tenant, he was another older single bloke living alone only this time with a rather peculiar and effeminate gait whose speed around the complex somewhat belied his age.

In fact, it was all Neville could do to keep up with him before he once more came to the door marked Flat Three.

Knock, knock.


Eventually after knocking again a rather thin and reedy voice piped up from the other side of the door.

“Who’s there?”

“I’ve come to ease your handle and strap your cylinder.”

“I beg your pardon?!”

After some further explanation entry was finally achieved and the work completed on schedule.

“Oooh, you’re much better than the last man, he didn’t always finish on time and sometimes just left.”

“I aim to please” was all Neville could think to say in reply.

So after a solid days work done, some reflection was in order.

Speaking with my cousin that night on the phone he asked me a pretty simple question.

“Why is it that in this day and age of diversity and multi-cultural enrichment, I can’t get an Indian to style me hair, a Kiwi to cook me a curry, and a Gay guy to sell me some smokes?”

“I don’t know mate” I replied, “It’s all a bit arse about face isn’t it.”

“Reckon so…”


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  • A large round juicy citrus fruit with a tough bright reddish-yellow rind.


  • Hard translucent fossilized resin originating from extinct coniferous trees of the Tertiary period, typically yellowish in colour. It has been used in jewellery since antiquity.


  • Fifth generation Kiwi, social-political writer who left the Left sometime back and turned right. Heavily reliant on spell check with hopefully the intelligence to admit when he’s wrong and the humility to see the truth, irrespective of where it’s found.