Big Fred my tech guru has just called warning me to back EVERYTHING up as there’s a particularly nasty new virus on the rampage.
“Guess what I did today?” he asks.
The mind boggles. He is an unpredictable fellow.
“Bought an LBD.”
Big Fred, a good looking bloke, is not what you would call small. He’s no size two. Twenty two is closer to the truth. Being tall and an ex-truck driver he can pull it off. But a little black dress?
“How “L” exactly?” I ask with trepidation.
“Above the knee.”
“I’ve just got one problem and I need you to help me with it.”
What could it possibly be? To borrow my new black tights to wear as gloves? To put on a suit and accompany him to the Brisbane Symphony Orchestra?
“Shave my back.”
Sometimes there is no point in trying to be polite.
“No fucking way.”
“Aw, don’t be like that. I could come over and colour your hair for you in exchange.”
“All right, Mr. De Mille. I’m ready for my close-up.”
Home beauty treatments are popular around these hills and dales. Fred himself does a nice little line in nails. His spare room houses – alongside his enormous collection of enormous hoop earrings – a small department store worth of nail varnish.
Girls arrive from far and wide to have their hands and feet expertly manicured and painted Hotlips Pink and Big Apple Red by Big Fred. And while he’s at it, he’ll run a quick clean-up on your laptop.
Many of the beauticians are English girls – hairdressers mainly, who have scissors and will travel. They charge a quarter of what the salons cost – and do a very passable job if you don’t mind sticking your head in the kitchen sink.
“Thanks, but I’m right,” I tell my friend. “The girl’s booked and coming next week to do my hair.”
“Then do me a favour,” he says. “Ask her if she does Brazilians.”