Dave’s choice of parents was always wanting. His mother had devoted more time to her militant feminist causes than to actual mothering. A buxom woman in her sixties, Jeanette still refused to wear a bra, and although it had worked well for her both politically and socially in her younger days, nowadays it was more to her detriment gravitation wise.
His father Alec, to whom the world absolutely owed a living, spent much of his life in the Albion Hotel, his needs well met there by bar, stool, and pokies. In his mind, one day his luck was bound to be in, and finally that huge jackpot would solve all his worries. “I’ll tell ya”, he telled the clock-watching barmaid yet again, “Bound to happen.”
Chucking in school during Year 10 hadn’t worked to Dave’s advantage either. Labouring for Dawson’s Quality Homes wasn’t what he thought it might be, and the jobs that followed simply didn’t suit. After being fined $1500 for growing marijuana in his gran’s veggie patch, the magistrate warned him next time would be gaol.
“It’s like I been telling ya before love, I did me best with him”, Alec told the texting barmaid, “Young blokes and drugs eh? Anyways, give us another pot would ya love?” And over at the Radical Fems meeting in the community centre, Jeanette was saying to the other two, “Honestly, I simply do not know why women have to brunt the role of parenting for.”
That night, during an add break on The Footy Show, Alec passed on to Dave his unproven theory that one day, soon perhaps maybe, Dave’s luck might change as well. “Bound to Davo”, he told him.
But it didn’t. Two plainly unfair speeding fines; robbed of a thousand dollar win by a protest in the Caulfield Cup; and dumped by his girlfriend Kim when forgetting her birthday – but was it really his over-way-too-soon sexual problem?
And now, driving his KARRIS MEATS van home in bumper-to-bumper traffic, he was crawling over the notorious Duncan Road level crossing when his engine conked out, leaving him stuck on the train tracks with nowhere to go.
“Oh, for Christ’s sake” he said, “Don’t tell me now I’ve …”
But yes – now his van had run out of petrol. And that’s when the red lights began flashing and the ding-ding-dinging started. The 5:23 express train to Flinders St was rapidly heading his way; it’s horn blaring, pedestrians running, mobile phones videoing, train brakes SCREAMING and SCRAPING, believers praying, and non-believers shouting, “Bloody hell mate, get the hell out! You’re gunna get killed!
DING! DING! DING!
But Dave wasn’t overly bothered; he’d had a gutful! Stuff everything! Stuff everyone! He calmly locked the doors, closed his eyes, and waited for eternal peace to kick in.
Channel Nine’s six o’clock news opened that night with MEAT MAN’S MIRACLE, David’s amazing escape from death when a train came to a miraculous halt just centimeters inside his now inwardly dented drivers door.
For arriving just in the nick of time, Dave’s luck had been on board the 5:23.