Sauced

I hear the clunk of the locks and steel door rattling down our street. I’m already waiting on the gutter when the paddy wagon pulls up. The back door jangles like a pocket full of coins when they open it. The police help him off the back step and sit him beside me. Even after they’ve turned out of our street, I still hear the rattling like a man in chains. ‘Not again, Dad.’He leans against me and rests his head on my shoulder. I try to imagine that it’s just sticky tree sap smeared across his cheeks and shirt like when we’d swing from the gums out the front of Grandpa’s place. I try to imagine that he’s just a little sauced after a big win. If he rests a moment the pain and bruises will go away and he’ll be right to walk me through the streets and tell me things only a father would know; a father with a belly full of a beer and a close win pushing him on like a summer breeze. Someone comes to the flyscreen door and calls us both inside but we wait, just a little longer.

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