This book is made up of five
- Obscured by Clouds
centres around Jason, who does not have long to live. He gets together
with a bunch of old friends to celebrate his new brother-in-law’s buck’s
night, the wedding to his sister and a horseracing meet where he
cherishes his time with his young niece.
by Clouds 2 Jason has passed away and
goes on a journey from the ocean to Heaven’s gates.
is the author’s satirical idea of life in Heaven. Jason (now called
Giffard) gets involved in a Rugby Union tournament – the
game they play in Heaven – where his team wins its way to the cup final.
- Lucky Star
recounts the adventures of a group of lawn bowlers who play a tournament
on a planet called Oderato.
Wake up, Jeff
is a story about a guy who gives up his role of coaching a kids’
football team to start out in politics. He goes on an adventurous night
on LSD where he has an accident. On his rehabilitation he is set a
political assignment and helps a kid who has lost his balance in life.
In Store Price:
Ebook version -
Number of pages: 178
Cover: Clive Dalkins
Characters in ‘Obscured by Clouds’
Jason’s nickname is Strugo. He struggles with
everything he tries – footy, cricket, surfing or skating. By trade he is a
welder. He took drugs (acid) every so often as his pancreatic cancer worsened,
mainly because the original problem – the alcohol – caused him pain in the
pancreas. To give it all up he had to move home as the drugs and alcohol were
always available in the house. He moved into a granny flat on Bribie Island near
Brisbane to be close to his mother, Jenny, who lives on Tangalooma Island in a
Casey, Jason’s father, drifted away from the family
for a while. He and Jenny are both retired.
Jason’s sister, Anne, found herself in bed with a
bloke called Chips, not realising that her brother was asleep in the next room
until the following morning. Chips (real name Dwayne) and Anne have been
together ever since.
If ever Strugo got a bit pissed off, the guys would
say, “Hot chips, chips and gravy.”
Dwayne works as an electrician on Kangaroo Island.
When the lease ran out on his last rental house he and Anne rented a beachfront
place at Narrabeen, which was simply called “The House”. Dwayne likes weed and
Strugo met Paul in the line-up at Eagle Hawk beach in
Tasmania. Paul’s nickname is Cam because he was a comel from Port Moresby (like
the comels in WWII); you definitely want this guy on your side. Cam works in
sales in a surf shop but previously he was a sales rep for RipCurl in Victoria.
He takes speed on Saturday nights but then he can’t get it up and it gets him
into embarrassing situations.
Aaron’s nickname is Little John. The reason why he
can drink and smoke anyone under the table is because he has Aboriginal heritage
but no one can really tell. He has never made a wrong move while being under the
influence. He works as a bricklayer and lives in Coffs Harbour.
Justin’s nickname is Pothole. He earned this name by
always cutting in on guys chatting up girls at parties and saying something
like, “I’ve been told that I look like Tom Cruise from behind.” There is no
avoiding him – hence his nickname: Pothole.
Drugs are always hidden around Pothole. If he finds
out that his mates are hiding drugs he stands on a chair and sculls a bottle of
rum, saying, “Watch this, everybody.” However, his mates have already opened the
bottle, emptied half of it out and topped it up with water. Bingo! He’s a happy
camper. Pothole used to be a baggage handler at Sydney Airport. He would empty
the belly of an airplane and toss what he liked over the fence – skateboards,
surfboards and a couple of bikes. When he and the boys came across a suitcase
containing a necklace, earrings and his-and-her wedding rings, he bagged the
rings. The airport management caught him but the rings were never recovered.
Strugo had already taken them during his getaway. After three days in prison
Pothole decided to talk and when he got out he was bashed so badly that he spent
two weeks in a coma. He now lives in a place called Heron’s Creek near Port
Macquarie. For all his shortcomings he has a lovely knack with children; words
just roll off his tongue.
Joy is Anne’s daughter from a previous relationship.
Her father committed suicide two weeks after she was conceived but no one seemed
to know why. Uncle Jason (Strugo) spent the Christmas holidays at Tangalooma
with Joy and taught her to swim, fish and snorkel the submerged wrecks. The best
way to describe her is joy. Joy is her name, joy is her life.
To attend Chips’ buck’s weekend, Strugo has to catch
a train to Coffs Harbour, spend the night at Little John’s, then get on the
train and pick up Pothole at Port Macquarie. The three will then jump on a plane
from Sydney to Adelaide and meet up with Cam, who will come from Melbourne. They
have a night booked in Adelaide and will catch the bus and ferry on Thursday
morning to Kangaroo Island.
OBSCURED BY CLOUDS
- part sample
Jason stared up to the shining sun and mumbled, “Mmm,
11 o’clock.” He looked at his phone and added, “Nup, it’s 10.25.” He started
running his left hand up and down his case of XXXX. He was fishing on a pontoon
and his radio was crackling. He thought about what he had to do.
‘Who are you kidding?’ he thought at the reality of
ringing his mother as he wound in his line. His can of beer was a quarter full
and he slugged it down, his first alcoholic drink for 12 months. He stared idly
at the unopened packet of JPS cigarettes before scratching his neck.
“Okay,” he said out loud, and punched his mum’s
number. He got through five rings later.
“Hello. Sorry, I must...”
“No, it’s me.”
“What are you doing in town, Dad?”
There was a pause.
“My son’s dying of pancreatic cancer. We thought we’d
make a go of it because we thought it might help you as well as us.”
“Dad, it’s over, mate. I’ve got the results and I’m
having a beer.”
The phone made a funny sound.
“Your mother wants to talk to you. Here you go.”
“Hi, dear. What did the doctor say?” asked his mum,
“He said if I hadn’t given up drinking I’d be dead. I
told the doctor I was just going to enjoy myself for the rest of my time and he
said that provided I don’t go silly I have another 12 months, ball-park figure.”
There was a pause.
“You turn 40 in six months. I don’t want you to think
you’re pink every Saturday night,” Jenny said.
“It’s okay, Mum. I’ve had enough acid. It’s the gift
that keeps on giving, if you know what I mean.”
“Oh, so you think it’s cool to go down the road for
milk, bread and the paper and come back with only two items?” Jenny asked. Your
sister is going to call...”
Jason butted in. “I’ve got to call Chips and see how
they’re settling in. Mum, you seem really happy. What is it?” He laughed, as he
flicked his temple. “Are we expecting a new addition?”
“They’re getting married,” she replied.
“That was easy,” Jason confessed. “Don’t worry, Mum,
I’ll play dumb when they call. What month, Mum?”
“February, in three weeks’ time.”
“Oh, I can make that,” he said in a sarcastic vein.
The phone vibrated then dropped out. Jason began to
Jenny and Casey sitting under a tree
He cast his fishing rod as he smoked his cigarette
and took the head spin on the cheek. The beer was kicking in but the fish
weren’t biting. He listened to the beat of the radio tune and sang along with
it. “Someday I’ll have money...”
The phone buzzed and he looked at the caller ID.
“No, it’s Anne, Strugo.”
“How’s it going there, Anne?”
“Oh brother, how about you?”
“I’m dying, but the good news is I’m dying slowly.”
“I can’t believe you’ve given up your lifestyle.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’m curling up my toes. The doc’s given me 12 months
so I’m going to enjoy it.”
“Strugo, I’m getting married in three weeks. It
doesn’t make much sense getting you all down to the island for the engagement,
buck’s party and everything so it’s all happening over one weekend.”
Strugo laughed and said, “This is just what the
“Strugo, the Kangaroo Cup is on the same weekend.”
“What? The ponies?”
“Wow!” said Strugo
“We sent out the invitations three days ago.”
“Anyway, how’s the man?”
“I’ll put him on,” Anne replied.
“Hey, Chips. Bit of a shindig then?”
“Friday is the buck’s party at the races, the
wedding’s on Saturday and the races are on Sunday. I’ve been doing a bit of work
for the Islander Motel and they’re going to put you, Pothole, Little John and
Cam up for the weekend. It won’t cost you anything. Oh, and what happened to
those two rings you’re holding? And while I’m at it... the wedding attire is
sandals, jeans and shirt. Beards, as you know, are the theatre of gnomes theme.”
“About those rings...” Strugo said, “patting his
two-week-old stubble. “You’re turning Pothole into Robin Hood.”
“Anne filled me in with your progress. Why did this
have to happen to us, Strugo?” Chips asked.
The phone went silent.
“I’m sorry; someone wants to talk to you, Strugo.”
“Put her on.”
“Hi, Uncle Jason.”
“Hi, Joy. How are you fitting in down there?”
“Will we be snorkelling the wrecks next Christmas?”
“I hope so,” he replied.
“Mum says that you could be going to Heaven one day
“Joy, you’ve got three choices,” said Jason. “One is
the day I beat Black Caviar. Two is my life as a salad sandwich. Three is I
stole Wally Lewis’s jumper and ran onto the field.”
“Number two,” Joy said.
“There I was licking Bob Downs’ bum. We were just a
gay rock band struggling for success. One night I went to kiss the band members
goodnight when Bruno noticed I had a brown tomato seed in my moustache. Right
there we decided we needed a name change and we became ‘The Tomatoes’. We got
instant success with songs like ‘Food Fight’, ‘Vine Ripened’, ‘Sometimes It’s
Hard Being A Tomato’ and ‘When Does This Fertilising Stop?’ and supported bands
like Master Pasta.”
“Uncle Jason, no one’s got an uncle like you. Listen
to this,” Joy said.
“There once was a horse named Jip,
As he went past the post, he beat Black Caviar by
a fate lip,
and everyone knew he wasn’t testing positive
to anything legit.”
now it’s my turn. I’ve got one.”
“There was a man named Wally Lewis,
Every time he ran to the line he went through us.
Then someone barked, “You’re the king of the
because there’s a statue with him showing the
“It’s a bit before my time, Uncle Jay.”
“Anyway, Joy, there’s not a cloud in the sky here.”
“There’s not a cloud in the sky here either, Uncle
Jason. In three weeks we’ll be together.”
“You can show me some of your paintings and tell me
what they mean, Joy.”
“Uncle Jay – your cancer – what’s it like?”
The conversation wound up.
Strugo got back to his casting and fishing. He looked
up at the sky and started singing his favourite song called Razor’s Edge by