Gone Troppo

Jack set off for the deli and his paper. It was always the same at this time of year; the air, pregnant with moisture, waiting for her waters to break, ankles swollen, and lumbering with each day.

Everywhere he went, Jack ran into yet another pressure-cooked person, red-faced, puffing, sweating like they’d just come out of a sauna. Jack had lived in this small town all his life, and the build up, just before the wet season, always led to foolishness.

About five years ago, young Daisy McNamara had lost the plot. Daisy had never really fitted in, clip-clopping down the dusty streets in her high heels and tight skirts, make-up melting off her face, red lipstick flashing provocatively from her too-full lips. She had set tongues wagging from the outset with her stubborn refusal to join the CWA, help out at the church fête, or play Euchre with the other ladies in the town. Isolated and friendless in this small town, she had tried to maintain her outward appearance of insouciance, and had been pretty successful at it too for a few years.

November 21st 2009. That was the day Daisy snapped. It had started off as just another normal pre wet season day. The mercury had hit 42º by eight in the morning, and you felt like you were breathing through a Coolgardie safe. The only shops open down the main street were the bakery and the deli, and both had lines of kids running out the door and down the street. Jack had been heading down to get his paper then too, when he heard the rumblings of disapproval and shrieks of shock building slowly from the other end of town.

Heads were snapping to attention, necks craning to see what the ruckus was. And there was Daisy McNamara. Naked as the day she was born. Skipping down the main street and waving at everyone she passed.

Jack shook his head and smiled at the thought. She’d done her na-na. Who knows what makes people snap.

Not too many people around this early, and Jack was feeling cool for a change. He rounded the corner to Main Street. Ah, that was better, a few more people now. But what was wrong with ‘em all? Mrs Joyce just slapped her hand over little Nikki’s eyes, Mrs Bath couldn’t get away fast enough, and a group of kids were standing on the corner pointing and laughing at him.

“Mate! Did you forget something this morning? Feeling a bit of breeze?” Davo called over to him from the bakery, pointing down at Jack’s legs.

Jack looked down. His pants! Jack had forgotten to put his pants on. No wonder he wasn’t feeling the heat. He could hear Davo’s booming laugh and see him quivering like jelly.

“The build-up’s finally got ya! You’ve gone troppo!”

Oh well, nothing for it. Jack lifted his head up, smiled broadly and skipped down the street, waving at everyone he passed.

©Asha Rajan

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