Expo 88, and the world invited has arrived on Brisbane’s recently cultured Southbank. Under the Hawke/Keating government we celebrated Australia’s Bi-Centennial and contemporary materialism. Tonight, my want is to help spread Australian’s convivial spirit with one of the more alluring visitors to our sunny shores. A mate has given me the name of an exclusive night club. Lent me a slick black silk tie flaunting an embroidered red devil. Rod Stewart’s Tonight’s the Night echoes the splosh of cologne on my fresh face. Oh yeah, look out Brisbane, here I come. The taxi driver in a blue Dastar is more than willing to share his experience of recent occurrences and the conversation soon turns from work to the weird and the wonderful of Brisbane’s social happenings. I laugh at his lighter stories. What people do to get their jollies? Others make me think about the people you meet without a shotgun. To my wonder he drops me at a well-known international hotel. Down the back the stairs wind into the nightclub’s majestic entrance where the lights lie low. The bouncer … no, not anymore. I mean security abruptly stops me with, ‘Where are you going?’
‘Smiley said I would be welcomed here.’
With his dishevelled grin crooked, his massive hands close near to my throat and adjust my tie.
‘You enjoy yourself,’ His deep voice sends a shiver down my spine.
Priorities. First my eyes are fixed on the beers on offer. I dare to treat myself to a fresh and foreign essence. I settle on to comfortable stool with my back to the wall to feast enthusiastically upon the delights of the prettier patrons. I ordered my second beer with the realisation beside the hotel staff, I was the only non-African in the room. Instead of the third beer I went to Whiskey to warm my chilled enthusiasm. The gulf of culture yawned surreally with colour. I had never seen such exquisite fabrics worn both to reveal and conceal. Gold jewellery worn as Aztec queens, danced upon elegant wrists, slung low from slender ears, or draped delicately over the deep cleavage of femininity.
The third whiskey reinforced my fallen chest. Not twelve months earlier, dark with sun seared skin, my fingernails red from bulldust, I had returned from the wilds of the Northern Territory where shooting wild buffalo, fishing for Barramundi or chasing my nutritional requirements were the delights of living free. A place where distance is counted in beer cans and single women know their import. I was primitive and wild. The never-never land temperament seeped from my every pore like the odorous smell of sweat from last night’s beer. Alas my sophistication is an obscured diamond in a sea of magnificent black pearls.
Down goes my last swallow of Irish joy, I stand. Abruptly, Venus’ vision impedes my disheartened exit. Slim, elegant, and refined her skin ripples with the poise of a panther on the prowl. Her piercing eyes insatiable. I nearly falter backwards over the stool spilling the contents of my old silver cigarette case.
‘Irish whiskey, right?’
Adrenaline kicks in before my stumbling mind. Confidence leans on the bar, my pearly whites aglow. ‘Yes.’
The next morning my eyes open to gentle finger strokes on the back of my neck. The exotic aroma of herbal tea and dry toast startles my senses. I roll over to discover exquisite grace and behold eyes of regret. A chic finger presses gently upon my questioning lips. The lady in waiting duty is to be there for her waking princess. She whispers,
‘On occasions the stars align, and magic fills the air. One night outlasts a lifetime.’