The Water Dragon
You’re fast, but you’re loud. Compared to the Viros you sound like a brigade of elephants with cymbals on their feet playing tubas. When Viros sprint on concrete it’s as if dry leaves are caught in a breeze.
Mul has lost her frangipani hat. Gum and Midge are checking each other for missing parts. You freeze when you hear a voice filled with suspicion rolling slowly out of the shadows.
“What is all the racket?”
The ponderous scrape and drag of a tail in the dust sends a rattle up your spine. You find yourselves looking at the biggest, greediest-looking Water Dragon.
“Real nice of you to drop in,” he says. “I’m Albert. Do you recognise me?” He blinks and raises his chin, the skin underneath swings with each movement. His mouth hangs open. “I bet you’ve seen me before?”
The Viros look at you and you shrug in return.
“I’m famous,” Albert says slowly. “Huge-mans take me picture. Painted me portrait on the wall out there too… Surprised you didn’t see it.”
Hypnotised by the hanging jaw skin, Midge says, “Are you hungry?”
“Ooft. No way.” Albert licks his lips. You all sigh with relief. “Couldn’t fit another thing in. If you hang around, though…” A green Damselfly buzzes nearby. Albert’s sticky tongue lashes out and pulls the beautiful insect from its flight path with a crunch. He chews, and buuuUUURRrppsss. You feel your own mouth drop open.
“Do me a favour,” Albert said. “Come a bit closer.”
“You know,” Mul said, “I think I have seen your picture.” She’s steps back as she speaks. “It wasn’t on the wall.”
“Really?” Albert’s voice rises like his puffing chest. “Where was it?”
“Let me have a think,” she said. Motioning for us to follow her lead, she slowly backs toward the entrance.
“Was it in the magazine, Jewel Beetles for Breakfast ?”
“I’m still thinking.” Mul then whispers. “Clear of Maggies?”
“Back in the trees,” Gum replies.
“On 3,” Mul whispers.
You’re almost at the edge of the tunnel entrance.
Mul smiles weakly. “Listen. Albert, we’d best be off. On our way to a picnic.”
“I loves a picnic,” Albert said. “Who’s eating you there?”
“Not that kind of picnic,” Mul said.
“Sure you can’t stay?”
“3!!” Mul roars and sprints back up the path that led to the tunnels. Where the ground levels, before the railings of the bridge, where the track between Myrtle and Lincoln streets crosses the SE Freeway Bikeway, there is a lowly triangle. A triangle of doom, and or love, it’s the best spot for a rest from your flight.
2 minute walk 150-200m from tunnels running under the bridge (there is a marked tunnel for pedestrians and one marked for bicycles) back up the path which led there, past the entry to the Hanlon Park from the car park there is a large triangular shaped lawn created by intersection in the tracks – where the track between Myrtle and Lincoln streets crosses the SE Freeway Bikeway, there is a lowly triangle. A triangle of doom, and or love, it’s the best spot for a rest from your flight.