Fiction

I love ya, mate

Hey man, for Rick? Yeah, yeah, thanks. Cool. How’s, ah, how’s your night been going? Yeah, same here. Good. Good. What, ah, what time did you start? Right… right… Where’d you start from? Oh, cool, yeah, that’s pretty far away, hey? You try and get one last trip that goes back out that way? Cool. Hey, ah, can I change the destination? To McDonald’s. The one on Anzac. You sure that’s okay? Awesome brother. Fucking awesome. Okay… that should be updated now… awesome. Thanks so much for that, man. You’re the best. Seriously, I love ya, mate. Seriously. You’re… you know… there’s tons of good people out there, hey. The world’s full of good people. People like you, brother. You’re guardian angels. Hahaha… What’s that? Nah. Nah, I don’t have a missus, mate. I’m young. I got some living to do before I get locked down. How about you? You got a wife? Nice. Cool. Kids? Yeah, awesome. You would’ve partied back in the day though. I can tell. You’re a little pissant, ain’t ya, brother. Ahhhh, there’s no fooling me, hahaha. So, is this all you do for a living? Sorry, not like all you do… I didn’t mean that to sound, ah, condescending or anything, just like… is this all you do or do you have another job kinda thing? Right… that’s pretty handy that you can get some extra money doing this then. The pay’s alright, isn’t it? Can’t complain, exactly right… Have you ever picked up anyone famous before? Oh shit, no way. That’s pretty cool. What was he like? I can’t imagine he’d be too talkative. He’s real serious in all the interviews I’ve seen. Who else? Is there anyone else? Oh… nah, never heard of them but that’s just me… I don’t really know people, if you know what I mean… You could write a book about all the people you’ve met, I reckon. Like, I’d read that. I don’t read a heap. But if I’m at the airport I’ll buy a book to read on the flight. I never finish them though. Maybe one day I’ll get around to reading them all… What’s that? Nah, nah, I’ve never thought about going to the library. I, ah, if I read a book and I liked it, I wouldn’t want to return it. I’m weird about that sort of thing. Anyway, I reckon that’d be a great book if you wrote it. All the stories you get from driving an Uber. You should totally do it. You could write about me, ha! Could write how eloquent I am, hahaha… Ah, you’re too kind. Seriously. You’re making me – hey, that’s it there, just do… just do drive-through. I think it’s open. It’s always open… Yeah, great… I’ll talk. Do you… do you want anything man? Are you sure? It’s on the house, I’m – Oh hey there… can I get, ah… ah…. is your shake machine working? I swear it never works here… Is it working tonight? It is? Ah, okay. Cool. Can I get a chocolate shake and… hey, mate, do you want anything? Are you sure you don’t want anything? Seriously, I don’t mind. I’m happy to pay for food for you because you’re a good guy and all. Okay, last chance… going once… going twice…. okay, ah, so can I get the large chocolate shake and then can I also get… ah… 10 McNuggets and a large fries. Yeah. I’ll get it as a meal with the shake as the drink. Chocolate shake. Thanks. Hey, man, are you sure you don’t want anything? I swear it’s fine. It’s totally fine. I promise… Okay, can’t say I didn’t try. If you get hungry you can eat one of my chips, hahaha… Alright, so here’s this trick, right… you take the chips and then you dunk them in the shake like this… it sounds ridiculous I know, but my mate Ken showed me it one day and I’ve done it since… he was a ripper. He, ah… he was missing a few screws, like he’d run around the schoolyard and throw a brick in the air and scream out BRICK and he’d always be doing these chicken noises… you’d be standing there and he’d come up and do the loudest chicken noise in your ear, hahaha… man, let me show you a photo of him… I reckon you two would’ve got on big time… look, here… that’s me and him in school… he’s got a real Justin Bieber haircut, doesn’t he… this is… this is us in Thailand together… mate, he had food poisoning at the Full Moon party, it was hilarious… this is, well… ah, yeah, that’s what he looked like when all his hair fell out… that’s me and him together… yeah, I shaved me scone for him… I’m still paying for it because the stuff’s barely grown back… anyway, the chips and shake things alright, hey? Ken knew what he was on about… do you want another chip? Course you do, you bloody pissant, hahaha… Go on take one… take one…

 

She asked, “How was the shift?”

“Good,” he said.

“Driving again tonight?”

“Yeah.”

He thought to tell her about the young man and the shake and how he dropped him off and saw him get in another Uber to head back the same way from where he came, but all he could think to say was good. He eyeballed the bottom of his glass. The machine beeped again and again, like they had been told it should.

Good. Always good.

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on May 28, 2022 as "I love ya, mate".

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Brandon Jack is a writer and retired AFL player.

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