ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact

Sporting a clinking backpack and a quiet disposition that makes eye contact all but impossible, a local 13-year-old boy has flown his Betoota Heights nest for the first time to drink in the park with his closest buddies.

Francis Dollarhyde, son of a prominent orthopaedic surgeon and a well-liked early childhood educator, asked the trolley man down in the French Quarter shopping village to buy him a six-pack of Lemon Ruskis – which he plans to bring to the public gathering.

He took special care to pack the bottle individually to minimise the clinking.

Each of them is in a gym sock and stuffed into a different part of his late-model Jansport backpack – a stroke of genius he says.

“Matt is bringing the ciggies,” he said to our reporter shortly after leaving home.

“My parents don’t smoke because of is a doctor and the other is a teacher. They’re smart enough not to smoke, but only old people die from smoking so we’re in the clear, hey?”

“Anyway, good chatting with you. I’ve gotta run. Can’t tell you were I’m going but it’s safe. See ya.”

However, unbeknownst to the popular first former, both of his parents know exactly where he’s going, what he’s doing and who he’s with.

Professor Myles Dollarhyde said he used to drink in the bushes down at the Caspian Avenue Parklands with his school chums back in the day – it was in those very bushes where met his future wife.

“There was a big hedgerow of bamboo that provided great cover from the light and police patrols,” he said.

“Aside from fighting off the occasional tramp, a group of boys could spend a whole night in that bamboo grove calling girls from the payphone next to the public toilets. Those were the days,”

“We’d get blackout drunk some nights, stumble home and think we’d gotten away with it. I’m just glad Francis hasn’t got a bottle of hard spirits with him. Don’t want him to die like a musician tonight.”

More to come.



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