Samuel Webster

May 4, 2023 From the archive: Good One (2006) Posted In: Blog

As the sun fades behind the edges of Central Station’s clock tower, the men and women, workers and romantics alike, dissipate, leaving us sitting on the grass, slightly shivering.
At the bottom of the hill stands an Aboriginal man, unsteady on his feet, and as we descend he tries to find his voice. He croaks and steadies himself before looking me dead in the eye, his lip curled slightly upwards.
I come a little closer.
“‘ey Brother, can you spare…” He struggles with both his words and the unsettling force of gravity. “Can you spare some change?”
All of a sudden, his cohorts go quiet, waiting for the answer.
“Just a couple bucks for some smokes.” It is then that I notice at the end of his bony fingertips, the withering butt of a cigarette. His other arm is oustretched, acting as a counterbalance.
“Not sure I have any. Let me check.” I fumble into the pockets of my jeans, feeling around the edges of my mobile phone for loose coins. “Sorry mate, I only have enough for my train ride home.”
He doesn’t seem upset. It’s almost as if he hasn’t heard me. “OK Brother” He lifts a closed fist to chest level and extends it outward, the hand wavering back and forth with his torso. His knuckles are bruised and cut in places.
In some sort of false solidarity, I lift my fist and press it to his.
“Have a good one, Brother.”
“Yep. Have a good one.”


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