Michael Connor

Tracey does Xmas

Caught up with Tracey after Christmas. Even though she is taking a well deserved break from researching her PhD in performing arts she was looking a bit frazzled. It can’t be easy being a checkout chick with a conservationist conscience giving out all those plastic bags and I know Rudd’s performance on the environment has been getting her a bit depressed lately.

She is a single mother, I think I mentioned this before, who lives with her partner Bruce. Well this year she decided it would be nice to have a Christmas lunch with all the trimmings so she and Bruce booked into the local pub for their Christmas counter lunch special. It promised to be something pretty good with complimentary champagne and free table wine. It was a bit costly so Tracey left the kids at home in the care of her mother. She’s the one with Alzheimer’s.

She said they looked really sweet and seasonal when she left home. The kids sitting with their demented grandmother on the couch watching the Exorcist. She said watching the Exorcist together on holidays was a bit of a family ritual at their place. This year she had found the extended director’s cut for the kids. Her tutor, online, said it was a far superior artefact that clearly exposed the auteurial influence of the director. The kids would have liked that.

Tracey likes traditions that bring them all together though this year she put her foot down and wouldn’t let them go to the Carols by Candlelight they put on over in the park. They went last year and Tracey said it was a bit too much Jesus so the kids missed out this year. Not that she’s anti-religious. She was Buddhist last year and some interesting New Age thing with fairies the year before and I notice that recently she mentioned Gaia in a reverential sort of way as she put my Sao biscuits into an illegal supermarket plastic bag. You have to buy more than three items before they will let you have a bag. It’s to save the environment even though I reckon it must save Woolworth’s heaps but I didn’t say this to Tracey and she allows me the odd bag or two when I’m under the limit.

Before Christmas her mother’s doctor buried the old lady with heaps of new tablets, from all those samples they get sent, to keep her out of it over the holiday period, and given Tracey a few repeat prescriptions for while she (the doctor) is away in Noosa for holidays with her partner – that butch looking bus driver who is always very helpful. She (the doctor) decided not to go overseas this year because of the global financial crisis and she has to draw her horns in a bit, Tracey said.

Well Tracey was down in that new bargain basement store on the second floor of the shopping centre and she saw one of those glass gum ball things. I think that’s what they are called. You put sweets into a glass ball thing then turn the handle to get one out. Bruce has always wanted one of his own though he still has the one he pinched from a shop in town but it’s one that you have to put money in to get anything out and anyway he broke the glass on it bringing it home when it slipped off the roof rack of his car coming over the bridge.

Anyway Tracey got all her mum’s prescriptions filled at the new discount pharmacy, emptied out the medicine cupboard and the pill stash the old lady keeps hidden in her wardrobe and poured them all into the gum ball machine. She said it looked very nice, like a lot of Smarties. Tracey doesn’t believe that her mum needs all those tabs and thinks it is shocking how doctors over prescribe for old people. She wrapped it up nicely and gave it to Bruce on Christmas morning. He gave her a didgeridoo so that she wouldn’t need to take The Pill anymore. He’s very thoughtful. She and Bruce have decided to stop the bastard-birth thing because she reckons that you can’t really count on more Rudd money next Christmas.

She hadn’t expected that Bruce would take them all at once.

The vichyssoise at the pub was warm. Tracey said it is frightful how many of the people in the food trade are so hopeless about haute cuisine. She watches all the food shows with Jamie Oliver in them on Austar. She said that the people at the next table complained about the warm vichyssoise and the waiter blamed the Chinese apprentice chef just as Bruce woke up.

Bruce is Chinese from Manchester, England. Tracey said that although he was out of it he came into it at the mention of the word Chinese and went all ballistic. Tracey said that that’s his problem, you never know when he’s going to go all ethnic on you.

Tracey blames the free champagne and complimentary house wines on top of the pills he had popped. If it hadn’t been for the alcohol she reckons that things might have been ok.

Anyway there was Bruce threatening to do unnatural things to the anorexic guy the pub hired to play Santa who had come over to get him off the waiter he had knocked over. Well they quietened him down and he was ok for a while. Then he wanted to go the gents, Tracey said. Which was also ok because she thought he might just pass out there till they went home after the Christmas pudding they had paid for.

Unfortunately there was a buffet table where some people, Tracey said, had really pigged themselves out. The food was directly under this sort of mezzanine floor which wasn’t on the direct path to the loo but when Tracey looked around there was a bit of Bruce protruding over the food from the mezzanine.  Tracey said that everyone laughed at first because they thought he was only oriental mooning them for the new year, and then they got very nasty when he did natural things onto the food below and everything got very unpleasant. A family who hadn’t got to the mince pies even asked for a refund.

Tracey said he never does things like this but had got the idea from one of the kid’s books he had heard the oldest kid reading to Tracey’s mum, the one with Alzheimer’s, the week before. They should censor those book things like the internet said Tracey. I said they hadn’t started censoring the internet yet and Tracey said she didn’t know that.

Anyway it ruined their Christmas though Tracey said he might be up and about by New Year’s eve when they have been invited on a river cruise in Bruce’s dealer’s cabin cruiser. The one he uses to visit the North Korean mother ships for supplies. Tracey reckons it’s because he wants to keep Bruce’s custom in 2009. He, the drug dealer, reckons all this socialistic free medicine the bulkbilling doctors are handing out is ruining his business. Laissez faire, I said. Tracey said no, he’s a disciple of Adam Smith.

It must have been my pronunciation.

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