The Flyer: Mad Vax
The surfer sits nervously in the corner of the chemist, eyes flashing towards the front window at the shoppers passing by. Maybe they’re smiling, maybe they’re not, it’s impossible to tell from under their masks.
“You here for the jab?” asks a doctor who appears from behind a curtain to the left.
“Yeah...uh...Bryce sent me here.”
“Bryce!” the doctor replies, a glint appearing in his eyes. “I see, I see.”
The surfer wonders whether he should trust the doctor, as he doesn’t look like a medical professional at all. With a swarthy visage and a monobrow he presents more like a Dayak warrior. And his demeanour: eager, edgy, not to mention those wild eyes - a soothing bedside manner he has not.
‘Perhaps the skeptics were right about the jab,’ the surfer thinks to himself, yet before he could back out the doctor offers his hand.
“I’m Ross and I’m here to help.”
Without pausing he asks, “Do you know where you want to go?”
With that the surfer snaps back into reality.
“Uh, yeah. I do.”
“Well,” continues Doctor Ross, a small intravenous needle in his hand, “let’s do it shall we?”
The needle pierces the skin, then as he retracts it the doctor nods to the surfer who closes his eyes and in a dull, lilting monotone says:
“I wanna go to Grajagan...”
The first thing the surfer registers is the smell of cloves, then the sound of breaking waves - and was that Buzz Bidstrup’s guitar in the distance? - and he opens his eyes to see a set feathering on the Pad. There’s an Outer Island gun on the sand next to him and Camel runs past.
“You comin’ or what?”
Laying in his bed, the surfer lingers in the netherworld between dreaming and awake. And what a dream! A place he hadn’t surfed in years and yet the dream was so vivid. Things were bending out of shape during this extended lockdown, he knew this much.
Standing up he realised he was wearing boardshorts, his shoulders hurt, and the backs of his legs were seared a deep red.
The surfer took his place in the corner of the chemist and waited for the doc to appear from behind the curtain. When he did they exchanged knowing looks, then both cracked up laughing. Ross got his needle out and asked, “You ready?”
The needle pierced the skin, Ross' thumb depressed the vaccine, and as he removed it the surfer closed his eyes and spoke, this time with much more gusto.
“I want to go to P’Pass.”
The first sensation is the rocking of the boat, and he opens his eyes to see a six-foot set stand up on the ledge, then slow its forward momentum till it's drained enough water off the reef, before the top-heavy lip pitches and the cerulean barrel races towards him.
“Pumping, eh bra?”
The surfer turns to his right. “Allois! Mate I haven’t seen you in years.”
“Your timing is good,” says Allois, “it’s the first north swell of the season.”
And the surfer jumps overboard, the bath warm water energising him for the paddle towards the ledge.
The next time the surfer goes to the chemist there’s a queue. All of them are surfers, some he knows on first-name basis and some he simply recognises from the beach.
He takes his place behind Tom, who through sunburn and freckles smiles a beatific smile. “You here for the jab?” he asks.
“Yeah. Might go west this time. Skeleton Bay, or maybe J’Bay - I’m getting sick of perfect lefts.”
“That’s some mad vax, hey?” says Tom and they both roll up their sleeves and wait.
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