You look so pretty when you smile

… and that’s the main thing.

When I was working at the roadhouse, the chef (who had surfed with Kelly Slater, performed on stage with You Am I, commandeered the helicopter that took the picture of the trucks that was hanging on the roadhouse wall), was sitting at the bar with a truckie, drinking beer.

She offered a running commentary as I went about my shift; serving customers, cleaning floors, re-filling stock, pouring drinks, cooking the evening meal for impending tourist coaches, serving the occupants of tourist coaches, short-order cooking and managing the petrol bowsers. I ignored most of her baited gibes, but there’s one that never fails to hook me. As I flipped the lid off of her beer and wiped down the bar she tells me to “Smile, Love”  and smirks to her crony that “She looks so lovely when she smiles”. I didn’t flinch and I didn’t miss a trick.  I popped off the top of his beer. Pop, fizz. And set it down in front of him. Plonk.  “There ya go mate” I nod and to her, as I keep up my rhythm “Don’t tell me how my face should look”. I duck as her bottle of beer whizzes past my ear, smashing on the wall behind my head. I bent to clean it up without looking at her.

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