The Road – by Bob Love

The 1950s bitumen popped and crackled in the savage heat. Mirages swirling, magpies staggering in the brown and dusty grass. No worms today.

I could feel the road burning through the soles of my sandshoes. I was sticking to the soft bits. My eyes widened and I thought, I wonder…

I jogged down to the chook shed and stuck my hand in the flap – sorry girls – Florence kicked up a fuss, but that was Florence. I grabbed an egg and rested in the little bit of shade near the house.

Our dog Bluey got interested and followed me out to the road, sitting on the verge.

I looked through the heat haze both ways: I didn’t want to be squished by a rampaging motorist.

I found a bit of smooth bitumen, put my finger on it and wished I hadn’t. I broke the egg and got off the road quick-smart.

The egg took a long time to cook, but the proteins (I was teaching myself about proteins) were firming up on the bottom and edges. A car came along, missing the egg – just.

That’s enough, I thought. What could I use to get the egg off the road? I had some cigarette cards in my shirt pocket and quickly looked through them. Nah, I didn’t like that player, so he was sacrificed for the cause.

The egg was gooey and runny, not really cooked through. As I carefully slid the card under it, I lost a bit. Bluey jumped onto the road, leaping around like Fred Astaire on steroids. He stuck his nose into the hot egg, and wished he hadn’t. He ran back to the verge, shaking his head and lifting one paw after the other.

Better idea: I chucked the egg and card away and ran past Bluey, yelling Hose! Hose! Bluey knew what I meant and followed me, gingerly lifting his paws, still shaking his head.

I ran the hose for a minute then sprayed Bluey, making a puddle. We both stood in the middle of it, blissful looks on our faces, with the hose cascading cool water over us.

Two ten-year-olds beating the Blacktown summer.

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