Thanks to our friends at Wakefield Press, here is a sneak peek into Long Flight Home, written by Lainie Anderson.
Beer is my friend. Everyone’s my friends at the Hilton pub on South Road. I’m 78. Old and lonely and shrinking. But when I drink, I’m young Wally Shiers again, and the world’s at my feet. I drink and I talk. The regulars gather round, because January in Adelaide is stinking hot, the bar is cool and I always shout the Friday beers when I tell my tale. ‘Start from the beginning, Wal,’ they say, like this old cracked record could start anywhere else. They wait while I dab behind my glasses and silently give thanks that this story is mine to tell. And when glistening beers are cradled in strong hands around me, I rub the precious watch under my shirt sleeve and 50 years are gone, just like that.
At first, I thought the kid was throwing rocks. I quickened my pace, called out ‘Oi!’. He stopped and turned to face me. Not a sound. Not a soul around. Houses all closed up and hushed. You know those days? When the heat is like a hand holding everything down? Then he took off, a flash of blonde hair. When I reached the house, I stopped and leaned my overnight bag against the fence. Jeez, what a mess, especially the window. The kid wasn’t throwing rocks. He was throwing eggs – and it’s amazing how three or four eggs can splatter.
In the distance, there was cheering from the cricket match over on Cadell Street. The Narrandera boys must have got a wicket. It took me back to my twilight as a kid, playing street cricket in the dust with my older brothers and their mates. So many fielders, dozen of them dotted down the road, and me way out back behind the wickie, desperate for a loose ball so I could have a throw. When the light was almost gone and someone’s Mum yelled ‘Inside!’ my brothers would let me face the final over. And whoever had the ball would hurtle in like he was going to bowl the nastiest, fastest ball ever, and at the last minute he’d throw and underarm and I always got a run. Always.
At the end of the day, there’s only ever family. Remember that.
To continue reading, head into your local bookstore or visit Wakefield Press to secure your own copy!