What a Roo Does

PAUL RINGS AND tells me he needs a lift; he’s out near St. Andrews and he’s hit a roo with his car.
‘It’s a write-off,’ he says.

I roll my eyes and leave a half a can of Carlton on the coffee table, slap myself awake.

Gumtrees stretch over the narrow road. My high beams find his silver-blue Ford Laser skewed across the asphalt at the end of a curled line of skid marks. He’s sitting on the roof of his car wearing a Nike tank top, sucking a dart through his teeth. I honk the horn and he holds his hand straight in the air, blows smoke out his nose.

He shakes my hand through the driver side window and says, ‘Thanks, boss,’ his gold chain dangling in my face—a tiny gold ingot pressed with a Scorpio symbol. I leave the lights on and we inspect the damage. The front of the car is bent in, bumper hanging off, steam trickling out of the radiator. The front window is smashed in and stained pink with blood. I can smell oil.

I whistle. ‘You weren’t jokin’.’

He slaps my back. ‘Give me a hand will ya?’

I think he’s going to the rear of the car, to push it off the asphalt. Instead he walks over to the tall weeds on the side of the road, where the kangaroo lies dead and twitching.
‘Grab a hold of him.’

I stand there with one hand on my hip and the other in my hair. ‘What?’
Read more in Tincture Issue Eleven.