Short Stories

SMOKO

“Whats that muck?”

“Cheese. Its new. Landlady got it from the markets. That new stall down the end. It’s not bad either.”

“You young people. Always have to go for something new. I suppose you go for that new team as well do you? The one they just started up in town.”

“The apprentices? Nah. They’re gonna get their heads kicked in. I don’t like backing a losing side no matter how young or new they are. And how good they think they are. I shall stick with my regular team, thank you. What are you having for lunch anyway? “

“I like good old-fashioned fare myself. A bit of sausage, home baked bread and a drop of the amber to wash it down.”

“You want to watch that with those new rules. This supervisor will have you out so fast your head will spin if you get caught. He’s a real stickler for the rules.”

“Ah! What he don’t know don’t hurt him. What are you doing all the way out here, anyway? You’re a tradesman; you should be working on that new development, building houses. Close to town. It would mean no travelling. Close to the landlady.”

“Nah. I like it out here. Once we’ve finished this bridge, we move on. Go with the road. On to the next bridge. In town you finish one house then move next door to the next one. Same old thing. Better money out here too. From what I hear that’s not the only thing you are here for either is it?”

“You mind your own business. I like the money as much as anyone.”

“You like the ladies too from what I hear. That’s the main reason you are out here. A big hairy husband.”

“He wasn’t that hairy.”

“Wasn’t a good runner either, from what I hear.”

“Neither was I after what she did to me for a whole night. It was a bit risky but she was worth it.”

“How did you get away? “

“Ha, ha, ha. I was dead lucky. I went out the window so fast I missed the water barrel. He must have slipped ’cause he went in head first. Water went everywhere. She came out and tipped the barrel over, otherwise he would have drowned. Gave me just enough head start to get down the alley and round the corner.”

“You going back for another try? “

“Nah. Ploughed that field. He’ll be hanging around too much now, anyway.”

“Here give us a drink.”

“Oh yeah. What about the rules?”

“What he don’t know don’t hurt him.”

“On the good side of the supervisor, are you? Reckon you can pull a little woolly blanket over his eyes, do you?”

“Oh he’s pretty smart. Too smart to get hoodwinked. He was saying the other day that with these materials and the species laid down for the job that bridge could last a thousand years.”

“Well I don’t think he’s gunna see it. I know I’m not gunna see it. And if you take another swig out of that jug, I know you aren’t gunna see it. Give it here. Yeah I got to give it to you, it’s better out here. Clean air, wide open spaces, no-one hanging around. Some people think we are destroying the place you know. Roads across the country, bridging the streams. Building houses where there weren’t any before. Some people just can’t stand progress.”

“Hullo chariot coming. Got that centurion in it too. The one with the eagle eyes and the book of rules.”

“Ah well back to work. These Romans pay well, but they like a good day’s sweat in return. Make sure you sharpen that chisel before you carve the date on that keystone, otherwise it won’t last a thousand years.”

Ken Morrell © 2009

If you would like to make a comment directly to the writer of this story, please email them at:

ken@camdenwritersinc.com.au

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