“Fuck me this is wrong.” Keith thought to himself looking at the casket at the bottom of the open grave. “How the fuck does this happen? My beautiful little girl gone before me. Fuck me!”
Maude leaned against him unhearing, sobbing inconsolably.
Three hundred or more people had shown up to Brooke’s funeral. Keith had thought that it would be fairly large, but had not expected anything quite this large. There were her school friends, uni friends, friends from her hockey club. Then there were the friends of Keith and Maude, the majority with children similar in age to Brooke. They had come from Williams, from the eastern states, from places in Perth, and as far north as Kununurra. Her friends families had also shown up, and friends of her brother and sister had shown up. People ranged in age from the wheelchair to the pram. Lastly, there were those staff from the Winchester, and an enormous amount of patron’s.
Keith was both flattered by the numbers, but also enraged. He had just wanted to lay his little girl to rest quietly, not to have it turned into some gala event.
Keeping his anger in check, he could hear Sarah Blasko’s version of ‘Flame Tree’s’ playing just above the level of quiet weeping. Looking beyond those people immediately before him, he changed his view to one of a man of the land, or that of a soldier, to look through either the scrub for stock, or whatever shitty bit of vegetation might be hiding the enemy. Doing so, he took in the enormous amount people. So many here for Brooke, so many unknowns.
Out of respect for Brooke, the Hotel Manager had closed the public bar’s on the south and the western side of the Winchester to the general public, and had offered it up to Keith and Maude to have Brooke’s wake there, gratis, if they so desired. She then told Keith not to worry about the bar bill, there were others that would handle that. Keith accepted the offer graciously. The younger friends and colleagues would go there, and a private wake for family and close friends, would be held at Keith’s croquet club. This suited him to the ground. Maude would go directly to the croquet club with the family, and Keith and his boy would stop off on the way at the Winchester. Have two beers, thank everyone for honouring Brooke with their presence, and then leave them all to roar and revel and weep and carry on until either the money ran out, or the clock worked against them; which they did.
Unseen by all, Russell and Chapman prowled the Winchester that evening, not only to unofficially ensure the peace was kept on behalf of Keith and Maude, but moreso to see who was actually in attendance, and if there happened to be anyone out-of-place. Anyone that might give a clue as to Brookes demise, and had come to perversely bask in the result of their depravity. Sadly, the act proved fruitless, as were Brookes brothers endeavours in a similar undertaking at the Como Croquet Club on Comer St.
The peering two joggers slowing as they ran south down Mends Street, straight past the Winchester, went unnoticed.
Click the picture above for Sarah Blasko’s version of ‘Flame Trees’.
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