There is silver flashing inside and outside of the bus. Behind and diagonally to my right a young Aboriginal girl sits by the window next to her mother. Her fluorescent pink jacket stretches across her round stomach. She’s got an Instamatic film camera and is studying the passing scenery with a careful discerning eye, like she’s reading serious literature. She considers an approaching dry mangy hill littered with dead white trees. She gets an angle through the eyepiece and snaps, the flash illuminating us fellow passengers for a second. I feel I should tell her that the light reflecting back off the bus window will probably ruin her photos. But after twenty minutes of constant shooting I realize she can’t possibly have any film in the camera. My heart warms at this.
Outside, far off to our left a storm is creeping across the plain. The grey mass is strobing every few moments. It’s the middle of the day.
I hear the effervescent crack of a drink can being opened. Directly across from me a woman drinks a coke in a stubby-cooler that says ’Go Aussie Go!’ She has platinum blonde hair, a bedazzled denim jacket and rings like miniature mansions built on her knuckles. She’s reading a novel about a courtroom drama. I cast her as an aging Country and Western Star.
In my headphones John Lennon implores me to check out a woman called Polythene Pam, who is attractive despite her masculine looks.
The storm is nearly on us. Lightning during the day is even more spectacular. It’s like God has cracked the shell of the world with a giant teaspoon.