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Sport 28: Autumn 2002

My father's speakers

page 200

My father's speakers

I worked a nightshift at the BP service station on Junction Rd in New Lynn. I remember driving home one night and ‘Round Midnight’, the Thelonius Monk version, came on the car radio. It was very moving. A guy I worked with named Pete always had lots of pot and after we had locked up the place we would stand in the automated carwash and smoke a joint. One night it was incredibly foggy and I drove home very stoned. I hardly knew where I was, the fog was so thick and I ran over traffic islands and up curbs when I missed corners. The afternoon my sister called me at work to tell me Dad was dead, Pete was working too. He came to see me at my flat in Dominion Rd a couple of weeks later. I think we got stoned.

He told me he would wake up
with his wife giving him a blow job
I told him my Dad was dead
I nearly fell over
I cried in my boss's office
where I'd smoked cigarettes in the dark

The dead industrial zone at night
with the orange street lights
we smoked pot in the sleeping carwash
and drove home in the thick fog
over traffic islands and kerbs

I galloped around the forecourt
on an office chair with wheels
Years later I put a microphone in front of
the rattling wheels of a similar chair and recorded it

page 201

then slowed the tape right down on playback
It sounded like a busy port with ships and seagulls

He came and visited me a couple of weeks later
we got stoned, it was a kind gesture
I thought about my Father's stereo speakers
My Father used to think about his Father's radiogram

Pete got a new job at a plumbing supply shop
in Onehunga
Back at work, I found the security cameras
oriented toward the staff behind the till
The BP area manager sat me down
and issued me with a written warning
for spending an hour and a half of work time
crawling around in the roof and making insultiing gestures
at the camera
He told me ‘You've changed’
So I told him my Father suicided a few weeks ago
That shut him up.