A memory was triggered today.
The three men walked out from behind the Ambulance. The first dressed in his Ambo's uniform; the other two casually dressed carrying a large tray. It was the tray that caught my attention.
A box really. It was a metre square, and maybe 4 inches deep, clear cellophane covering the contents. The contents, flesh coloured body parts separated by green leaves.
The leaves as my memory would have it looked floral, sort of like you'd see on a burial casket. I knew these things because I was an altar boy.
As kids do in a country town, we were nosey. And as country men, they were used to kids being everywhere, not shy. Running around like cattle dogs; always inquisitive, excited, and getting under your feet.'
'What's that?' I asked.
The Ambo was holding the door open. The second of the two men carrying the box said 'A body lad.' As they angled the tray to get it through the door.
Mick and I stood for a moment, mouths agape. They had just carried a body into the front bar of the Empire hotel. The door shut in front of us. Like the windows, the door was designed so you could not see in; and the patrons could not see out. Great for lock-ins and privacy that the men wanted.
It was the 70's, the front bar was a man's sanctuary, women and children dare not enter. If they did, the men would descend into an ominous silence if anyone not of their ilk entered.
They'd listen to you as you delivered a message from your mum, or asked for some money from your dad. Then you'd hightail it out of there, the noise resuming as the door shut behind you.
'You really think that was a body?'
'For sure, did you see the arm?'
Mick must have gotten a better view, although now that he said it, I did see the arm.
'Wow! What do you think they're going to do with it.'
'I don't know. Look at it, raffle it off. C' mon let's go.' Mick ran off down high st, we were off to the creek.