The hummingbirds

(From All Men Are Liars)

Scorps, the Fish and Ned climb the stairs three at a time feeling the DJ through the handrail. They reach the landing and the acreage of pool tables, grooving ferals and sweet young things in midriffs spreads before them.

"Whattaya wanna drink?" asks Ned.


Ned leans at the bar, foot on the railing with a 50 dollar note scissored in his fingers. Next to him, two 20-ish girls stand staring at the crowd over their mixed drinks, straws pinched between their fingers, nipping drips of the sticky plasma like hummingbirds. He looks them up and down ...

One wears a short skirt and her thick white thighs squeeze out from under the fabric like toothpaste from a tube. Her scuffed, ruddy feet, wedged into straw platform shoes, look like pig's trotters. Her friend is also pale but skinny and wears her shade-shy-of-fashionable blue polyester pants like an ironing board would a sleeping bag.

Scorps stands away a little and scans pool tables for coins and single females with his hands in his pockets. The Fish smokes his ciggie like it's a microphone and nods his head at sights he particularly enjoys – a good pool shot, a familiar face, a tight pair of shorts.

The hummingbirds catch Ned looking at them and go into a huddle, then peek back as he hands his money over to the barmaid. She's pouring the beers and looking over his shoulder like her future lies there. He pushes the beers into a triangle as one of the hummingbirds walks up.

"Do you know where we could get some coke?" she says and tugs at her fringe, then the pulls down the hem of the tiny T.

"Nah, sorry," says Ned.

She winces.

"Do you know anyone who does?"

Ned looks around the room and lands on a pool table of roid boys in cut-off shirts and trucker caps. They're prowling around with cues in their hands and invisible watermelons tucked under each arm. He nods at the guys.

"Try the heroes, they might."


Ned hands the beers to Scorps and the Fish and watches as the hummingbirds walk into the fray. The roid boys nudge each other as miss cloven hoof starts talking to a big, tanned guy in a powder-blue shirt. He nods enthusiastically and does a bit of a dance move in front of her. She laughs into her drink and looks back at her friend, the ironing board, who's trying to ignore that she's being ignored.

The Fish swigs his coldie.

"What was that?"


"And you let them go?"

Cloven hoof walks across the room in front of powder-blue shirt who only takes his eyes off her arse to turn around and give his posse a wave as he disappears into the bathroom with her.

"It's not too late," says Ned, "the other one looks pretty bored. Go and save her Scorps, be her white knight."

"Nah. Not my type."

"All right, let's have your top three then," says the Fish.

Scorps looks across the room, steps around a pillar to make sure it's not obscuring anyone memorable, rubs his chin, has a sip of his Veebs and puts down his cue.

"No. 1 is over there, the Amazon."

He nods at a six-foot-tall brunette in a sari-wrap who's setting up house with her eyes with a six-six blonde guy in a sarong.

"Nice and improbable," says Ned, "No. 2?"

"No. 2 is the redhead on the couch."

"With the lumberjack in the white singlet? You're a damn romantic aren't you, Scorps? Great slabs of unrequited love so far."

"And three?"

"The pig over there playing pinball."

He nods at a big, freckled girl wrestling with a Kiss pinny who hasn't washed since high school.


"Because someone's gotta root it."

The ironing board has got sick of waiting for her friend and being ignored by the boys in the white thongs. She walks a little too quickly for the bathroom door.

"Threesome," says the Fish.

"Hope he's saving some rack for his mates."

A walking refrigerator in a black T-shirt that might have fit him aged eight sweeps by.

"In case you couldn't work it out for yourself," says Ned and nods at the word "SECURITY" written on the back of the goon's T-shirt.

"Old mate in the dunnies might be in for a surprise."

"Why do they need so much security in here?"

"You need gorillas to keep the monkeys in line. It's the law of the jungle."

The fridge stalks to the toilet door and hoicks it open like it's red hot and he doesn't want to burn his hand. Seconds later the two hummingbirds flit out and there's a wrenching sound of metal from inside the brasco. The fridge explodes backwards out of the toilet door with powder-blue shirt swingin' his entire repertoire at him. The other roid boys tense like guard dogs then spring into action as four more gorillas materialise next to them. It's on.

"I love the night-life," sings the Fish.

"Shall we get a better vantage point?"

Blue shirt is getting stomped on by the fridge now, his head making unhealthy creaking sounds as the hummingbirds watch on, holding each other, eyes on drink straws.

"And you wanted to score for them?"

"No, I just suggested rooting them."

"Oooh, that would have hurt."