ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact

Another eventless evening drew to a close at the Dolphins Leagues Club at 10 pm last night.

Roger Dunston rang the bell for last drinks, locked the pokies, took the tills and told the barman to get them all out by 10:30.

It’s not the 24-year-old’s first rodeo and it certainly won’t be his last.

But until his ship comes in and his dreams begin to take shape, it’s all the unpopular hotel manager has to hold on to.

Bidding the bar staff goodbye as they necked the rest of their staffies, the last D45 bus to the French Quarter gargled up the hill toward the club.

“You can often hear the bus before you see it, especially late a night,” he said.

“But yeah, last night wasn’t like any other. It was just another Tuesday being underemployed working in hospitality, I guess.”

As the clock struck midnight, he counted the safe to find that it was almost exactly $2000 down for the day.

He counted the tills again.

After an hour of investigation, he discovered a large pokie payout around lunchtime that the day manager neglected to write up on the office whiteboard. It was almost $2000.

Relieved, he locked up sent a passive-aggressive email to the other managers and the owner regarding the importance of using the ‘fucking’ whiteboard.

It was then, when he’d finally stopped moving and thinking for the day, that he realised he hadn’t eaten since lunch.

So on the drive home, he stopped at The Busy Bee service station on the Old City District limits and went inside to peruse the limited takeaway menu.

Not pies in the hotbox, not even a shepherds.

His hunger was too much for a packet of CCs or a Maxibon. He toyed with the idea of having a Chocolate Moove.

Young Roger made his choice, paid for it in silver coins he scraped out of his XF Falcon’s never-used ashtray and pulled into the servo’s parking area away from the pumps to have his dinner.

“In the end, I went with an egg and lettuce sandwich from the fridge. I wanted something hot but you can’t have a win every day,”

“Look, it is what it is. The sandwich wasn’t great. If I were a gambling man, I would’ve bet on those eggs in the sandwich being laid in about October last year. The bread was soggy and impregnated with egg juice. But it succeeded in making me not hungry so whatever. If I don’t get sick from it, I’ll have another one,”

He looked up at the moon and thought about the day when he wouldn’t have to live this life anymore.

“Turns out there’s not too much career work on at the moment, especially when you’ve got an Arts degree in history and art criticism,”

“At least I’ve got a home and a bed. It could be worse; way, way, way worse,”

“But at the same time, things could be so, so much better than they are now.”

More to come.


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