Gone Fishin' - Cover

Gone Fishin'

Copyright© 2010 by Pedant

Chapter 7

I parked the Rover near the government buildings the next morning, knowing that the parking wardens wouldn't issue a violation to a CSIRO vehicle. Charlie had been quiet on the drive.

"Hair trim first?"

"Okay. As long as I don't itch all day."

I laughed. "These guys are very snooty, but we're going to out-snoot them."


"I'm going to tell them you're a Yank here to see the Minister." Charlie snorted.

"In here? This is a barbershop?"

"I think they'd prefer 'men's hair stylists'."

"Good morning, gentlemen."

"My American friend here has just flown in, can you gentlemen trim him up? He has meetings at the Yank consulate on Monday ... and at the Ministry."

"Of course, sir." He was very suave. "Might you turn, sir? ... Hmm. Daniel!"

"Yes, Joseph?"

"We need to remedy what the weather has done to this gentleman. A shampoo, a moisturizer, but don't dry completely. Then we'll shape and trim. Yes, just place yourself in our hands. And yourself, sir?"

I was prepared. "Well, Eddie usually does my hair, and I know he's not here on Saturdays. But if Marcella is here, perhaps she could fix my nails."

"Of course, sir. Of course. Good of you to be loyal to Eddie. Just a moment." He went to the rear.

"Charlie. Just go along. It won't kill you. I'll stay here." And they went off.

An hour later and over $100 lighter, Charlie and I emerged from Barry Kempe. He looked both younger and more 'with it'. Maddy would be delighted.

"Never spent more'n five bucks on a haircut before."

"You still haven't. I paid."

"Okay. But I get to pay for them clothes."


We walked the few streets to MYER Perth. "Here we go. We'll start with a suit and get other stuff while they alter as necessary." It turned out to be far easier than I thought. A bloke in a too-tight jacket took Charlie in hand. First, he tried a light grey coat.

"100% Australian wool," the chap said, "Just slip this on."

"Too light," I said.

The next was a darker grey with a blue line running through it. It looked great. I said so. I looked at Charlie. "Are you okay with this? I don't want to force anything on you."

"I was thinkin'. I guess I could get married in this, too."

"Damn right!" I said. The chap had been busy with his tape and came up with a pair of trousers. "Okay. Off with the jacket, go in there, and put on the pants. Roll up the bottoms and they'll mark them."

Charlie disappeared and the chap looked at me. "Yank cattleman. Seeing the consul and the CSIRO on Monday and was wearing jeans and a cowboy hat."

He laughed. "I'm sure you'll get him more suitable clothes, sir."

"Right. I thought some shirts, a tie or two, and footwear."

"Might I suggest, sir. With that suit, a blue shirt picking up the pinstripe would be most fashionable."

"Yes. I guess I could see that."

Charlie came back, the leg lengths were marked, he went to resume his clothes. "Can they be done quickly?"

"I'll check." He picked up a phone. "They aren't busy, sir. How about after lunch?"


"Perfect, sir. The name?"

"Charles Grant. Do you want payment now?"

"No, sir. When you pick up the garments."

Charlie returned, we asked for directions to men's haberdashery, and made our adieux.

Charlie got his neck and sleeve length measured, and we acquired a blue and a white shirt. We then bought a blue and red tie and a solid blue tie. The clerk was delighted to accept Charlie's credit card.

"Shoes before lunch or lunch before shoes?"

"Lunch. This shoppin' makes me hungry."

"There's a restaurant on the third floor. We'll probably be the only males there."

We weren't, but it was close. "Shopping ladies," I muttered to Charlie.

Shown to a table, we were given menus.

"I don't recognize anything."

"I know. Cucumber soup and crustless sandwiches aren't your thing. But let me ask." I stopped a young woman in an apron.


"Can we get a chop and chips?"

"I'll ask sir."

Less than two minutes later, an older lady appeared. "Sir?"

"Is there something more ... uh ... substantial?"

"For two?"

"For two. Judging from the menu, perhaps for four." She smiled.

"Yes, sir. Medium?"


Charlie smiled at me across the table. Soon the young woman came past and deposited a bread basket and two small salads.

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