The Byron Journals

The Byron Journals by Daniel Ducrou Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: The Byron Journals by Daniel Ducrou Read Free Book Online
Authors: Daniel Ducrou
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    â€˜I’m perfectly happy.’
    He laughed, hoping to hurt her.
    â€˜I believe that what I’m doing is important, Andrew.’
    â€˜Do you know how much bullshit I’ve had to cop because of what you do for a living.’
    â€˜You’re being ridiculous.’
    â€˜What would you know about what happens to me, anyway?’
    â€˜Jesus, Andrew. What’s wrong with you?’
    â€˜Can’t you see that it’s your work that causes all the problems? Everything that’s wrong with your life. All the stress, the fights with Dad, and how much you drink.’
    â€˜Well, maybe I’ll just quit my job and become a florist. Would you like that, Andrew? Would that make you happy?’
    â€˜At least if you were a florist, I wouldn’t have got bashed.’ He hadn’t wanted to say it. But there it was. And it thrilled him how good it felt finally to tell her.
    His mother sighed. ‘You’ve never been bashed because of me.’
    â€˜What? You don’t believe me?’
    â€˜You’re just being silly now. You’re trying to hurt me.’ There was a long silence down the line and when she next spoke her voice sounded tired. ‘I have a meeting with a client. After that, I’ll sort things out with Richie’s father for you.’
    The line cut out and he walked back inside, his thoughts churning.
    â€˜Was that your mum?’ Tim asked.
    Andrew nodded, sat down and began spreading the mix of weed and tobacco along the cigarette paper.
    â€˜Sounded intense. What was that stuff about court?’ ‘They’re blaming me for damage to the apartment.’
    â€˜Did you do it?’
    He didn’t answer.
    â€˜Are you worried it’ll go to court?’
    â€˜Why not?’
    He sat back and sighed. ‘Because everyone is too scared of my mum. She’s a criminal defence barrister— one of the best in South Australia.’
    â€˜Really?’ Tim stared at the floorboards. ‘What kind of people does she get off?’
    â€˜I’d rather not talk about it.’
    â€˜Drug dealers?’
    Andrew shrugged. ‘Sometimes.’
    â€˜Does she have Mafia connections?’
    â€˜Probably, I don’t know.’
    Tim had a fit of laughter, then fell silent, staring at him. ‘Man, that’s fucken cool…So you can pretty much do anything you want and get away with it?’
    â€˜Not anything…’ ‘Does Heidi know that your mum’s a lawyer?’
    â€˜No—and I’d rather keep it that way…for now.’
    â€˜So you know she hates lawyers.’
    â€˜Scum of the earth, I think she said.’
    Tim looked up then back at Andrew. ‘Stand up.’
    â€˜Just do it. C’mon.’
    Andrew stood, palms raised. ‘What?’
    Tim motioned him aside. ‘Move. C’mon, get off the rug.’
    Andrew looked at his feet and stepped off the worn Persian rug. ‘What? Why?’
    Tim moved the coffee table against the wall and flipped back the rug. It took Andrew a moment to register: there was a cellar door cut into the floorboards.
    Without explaining, Tim grabbed two pairs of sunglasses from the kitchen bench and passed one of them to Andrew. ‘Put these on.’ He lifted the cellar door, revealing a rickety wooden staircase. ‘Follow me.’ He made his way down the stairs and disappeared through a slit in two heavy blankets. ‘C’mon!’ he called. Edging down the staircase, Andrew heard a faint hum—the sound of a small engine running. The concrete was cool against his feet; it was dark and he could smell damp. Sunglasses in hand, he pushed through the blankets, then reeled back at the shock of light. He shielded his eyes, slipped on the sunglasses and looked around. The cellar was packed full of plants. Large ones, with stalks as thick as tree trunks and branches heavy with buds. He

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