As the new sun dawned
I felt reborn
I had no direction
But I was sick of rejection
You offered me hope
An unbreakable bond
A New Day M.S. 1987
I guess in many ways heading off with the road crew of a rock and roll band in the wee hours of the morning might have been the silver lining I was looking for in my life. I certainly didn’t have anywhere else to go, I had no plans and all I carried with me was a suitcase.
I suppose you could look at it from another perspective and ask what sort of people take a young kid found hanging around at the rear door of a pub and carrying a suitcase home with them? But to that I would say people who understood that there is more to life than just what they see at first glance. Whether Steve, I didn’t feel immediately comfortable calling him Snapper, saw a little bit of me in himself, or whether he figured getting me off the street and giving me a roof over my head was better than the alternative, I don’t really know and I never asked. But whatever the reason for his generosity I can only say that I was, still am, thankful.
We headed into the rising sun that morning, me in the rear part of the truck cabin, Steve driving and Maggot, real name Brad, riding shotgun. There was no questions asked about where I was from or what I was doing and when we stopped at a bakery, not all that far from the house I grew up in, Steve offered me breakfast without even asking if I could pay my own way.
As we sat in the truck eating warm meat pies, a breakfast I got used to very quickly, the cabin was silent and my mind wandered. Twenty four hours earlier I was waking up in a warm bed, albeit in the dinning room. Despite the poor treatment of my grieving parents who never really seemed to know I existed I had clothes and food without question. A day later I had a suitcase, no money and a new friend who had not only brought me breakfast but offered me a roof over my head. Was I better off? You’d have had a hard time convincing me otherwise.
When the truck stopped we were in a warehouse, I wasn’t exactly sure of the suburb but it appeared we were somewhere near Gawler.
“There’s some mattresses in the room over there young fella,” Steve said after we climbed out of the truck. “Take one and get some sleep, you look like hell.”
“But…” I started, not quite sure of what was coming next.
“No buts. You did a good job this morning. Take a few hours kip and see what the day brings. We’ll be doing the same soon.”
“Umm…Thank you.” I said as I picked up my suitcase and started towards the door. Then without a great deal of thought I stopped, turned to Steve and Brad and said. “My name’s Mark.”
“Good stuff!” Steve replied almost as if having a name didn’t matter. “See ya in a few hours.”
When I stepped into the room I had been directed too I could see several partitions, each one had either bed or a single mattress thrown on the floor. Each bed had a few blankets strewn over it and in total there was seven beds. None of them were occupied and for a warehouse they looked pretty clean but with the mention of beds I was suddenly very tired and it wouldn’t have mattered if they were dirty. I found myself a mattress, not a bed since Steve had specifically said mattress, and laid down beside my suitcase.
As I lay my head down on a rolled up jumper from my suitcase I began thinking about where I was and what I was doing. It was the first chance I’d really had to think since I found myself talking to the bouncer at the pub. However thinking didn’t last long because within what I guessed was a few minutes I was asleep.
When I woke up I had no idea what the time was. I could hear slow breathing from somewhere close. There was industrial type noises filtering into the warehouse which I assumed was other businesses in the industrial area going about their daily jobs oblivious to the fact that a few guys who had worked all night were trying to get some sleep. I decided to get up and see what was going on.
I picked up my suitcase and headed for the door of the sleeping room, on my way to the door I saw Steve asleep on one of the beds. I wasn’t in the habit of waking people so I quietly stepped out and made my way into the open area of the warehouse.
Standing in the large tin shed I could see the road crew truck to the left of me and what appeared to be some offices, or the like, to the right. I wandered, without real thought of what I was doing towards the offices which was also near the door which I thought might lead outside. Halfway across the floor I noticed that one of the rooms near the office had what appeared to be kitchen facilitates, which made sense given that the warehouse probably once housed some kind of business and those staff would have needed somewhere to eat their lunch and drink their coffee. I headed over towards the kitchen.
However it wasn’t the kitchen that stopped me in my tracks a few moments later it was what I saw as I walked past one of the open office doors. Now don’t get me wrong here I might not have been experienced in sexual acts but I was a fifteen year old boy I knew it all, well I thought I did. But seeing Brad kneeling on the floor with his head between the legs scantly clad woman who was face to the roof, with her eyes closed and moaning quietly as Brad’s head moved up and down was definitely something I had not seen so up close and personal.
I couldn’t move. I stood there frozen and staring at the sight before me.