Dave Drayton i i
On occasion the threads braid together and present a knot or a node or an answer. Halfway through the 13 September 1967 issue of The Australian Women’s Weekly is a promotion for a storytelling game called Postcode, which requires entrants to spin a yarn with postcodes in place of a few key words. Also included is a sample story by staff writer Robin Adair, awaiting translation.
But the next postcode, 3065 – Fitzroy – doesn’t seem to clarify much more, and the one that follows it, 2301, doesn’t event correspond to a suburb anymore.
The next postcode, 2144, Auburn, offers a clue in calling into question 2301, and suggesting there should by now be a female name. Of those on offer, Ernestina seems the best fit (Longreach a little too ludicrous).
The sentence closes out with four more postcodes. Nothing but numbers.
Why would Ernestina be in the surgery? Last time I went was to have an abscess cut out, and it looked pretty Dingee. But I also know a bunch of mum’s girlfriends got cancer from tanning beds, so maybe it’s Tandarra.
My abscess was also welling up (with puss) and tanned skin is arid, so I’m fairly certain Dwellingup is the most likely option for 6213.
I continue in this way, translating from numerals to letters, four digit pincodes unlocking meaning in the little story.
The story closes out with a final pair of postcodes: 5007 7154. 5007 could be Bowden or Brompton, Hindmarsh, Hindmarsh West, or Welland. 7154, like 3077, 6219, 2697, 6500, 5750, 2857, 2493, 2855, 2695, 2301, 5656, and 4351, has no corresponding suburb. I wonder, then, if 7154 is a return to Dr. Cloncurry’s scale of risk. If the risk for Ernestina had been lowered by 6219, it could be fair that MC Captain Fitzroy’s is raised to a level in excess of that. Or perhaps it was a confirmation of the geriatric rapper’s age, 71-and-a-half-years, and still spitting.
I review the final story as it stands, cutting out excess postcodes with no corresponding suburb or inserting likely substitutes, and settle on Lota for 4179:
“I’m in a bind,” said the doctor.
“Not ready to retire?”
“I NEVERTIRE, year in, year out.”
And he should be WELLAND 71.54.
As far as I can tell there’s a woman named Ernestina Fitzroy, who may or may not be a member of a hip hop crew called The Sisters Galore, who presented to her GP with a welling up in her nether regions. The now abstinent, or barren, lady, blames the affliction on her husband, an aging ex-con and MC originally from Capital Hill, now residing in Central Queensland, who raps under the name of MC Captain Fitzroy.
Holding him responsible, Ernestina takes her revenge by bludgeoning his head to the point of indentation while he attempts to watch Batman, and leaves him under the table. Furthermore, it appears this not the first time Ernestina has taken such drastic and violent action, as a discussion ensues between her and the GP, a Dr. Cloncurry, about various corpses. As he appears to fear for his safety Ernestina earns his silence with some sexual favours. Ernestina and Dr. Cloncurry then hatch a plan to have MC Captain Fitzroy committed either to an old folks home or a ski lodge, where the 71-and-a-half-year-old will be treated to the alternately kinky and caring antics of the The Sisters Galore.
It’s a lot to take in. The title sheds no light on the story that follows. Characters are introduced at the last minute, or change their names. It’s riddled with sexual innuendo.
I look over my notes again, in case there was an alternative I’ve missed. Something that will make the story click into place a little more. It’s then that I find, amongst the scraps of paper, the Women’s Weekly from which I’d cut the coded story. There, amongst an advertisement for Quality Ceylon Tea, a story about several hundred West German apprentices attempting to cheat their qualifying examinations, a terrible pun under the title It’s A HIPPY Hunting Ground (‘What would you call a place that sold hippy-type equipment – incense, buttons, etc.? A Sydney shop in that unusual line of business has a neat solution. It’s called a psychedelicatessen!’), and a recounting of the way the WAGS of Sydney’s car rally scene were raising funds for “six asbestos firefighter outfits”, there was the solution for Robin’s story, translation already done.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dave Drayton was an amateur banjo player, Kanganoulipian, founding member of the Atterton Academy, and the author of E, UIO, A (Container), P(oe)Ms (Rabbit), A Pet Per Ably-Faced Kid (Stale Objects dePress), and Haiturograms (Stale Objects dePress).