Thirty Somehow

Pixie Henson sips her double strength, and doubts the efficacy of Sunday sessions and Berrocas.

“First rate coffee, Georgio,” she calls. “I can stand my spoon in it.” And she fields Georgio’s beam of pleasure for the patronage of his TV clientele.

But she regrets not agreeing to the Stamford, that dark, musty breakfast hall, as Manny had suggested. A fierce Sydney sun is lancing off the floorboards and the place is echoing like a lover’s leap. Well, Manny will just have to trip over from the harbour, and find space for his Aston Martin in the crowded eastern suburbs.

Still Life with Checked Tablecloth, 1915
(Oil on canvas, 116 x 89 cm)
BY Juan Gris
Private Collection

She checks her watch, runs a restive, thirty-somehow hand through her blonde, cropped hair; fights her annoyance, the throbbing at her temples, just knowing David and the production crew will be late.

Georgio’s minimalist décor gleams. Its emptiness underlined by the elderly gent, probably a widower, she knows the type, who’s staring a little too frankly from his table.

She’s been recognised. Occupational hazard.

A line from Max’s piece, dear old mentor Max, runs through her head. “With no resident royalty or film industry to sustain home grown stars, media personalities fulfill the role of demi-gods.”

Her stomach twists. The demi-god don’t feel so svelte. Another lousy soirée last night and no handsome prince despite all the frogs she’d been obliged to kiss.

She turns her paper to the social pages and there she is in that fabulous creation straight from the local op shop. It had jumped out at her along with the beautiful blouse she is now wearing. She runs her fingers along its silkiness, feeling her flesh bridle.

She imagines the young reporters getting wind of her lowbrow purchase, but they’re gormless, this current mob. She would have tumbled to the bigger story — her and Manny. Because at base she is a journo. A journo who’s done the rounds and now she had her own show. And the damn thing had traction, legs.

With a twist of her lipstick she closes him out. Resumes her thoughts, mindful of the epithets of her predecessors: the thinking man’s pin-up, the perfumed steamroller. And now her turn: the pixie with the stiletto.

She takes another swig, submits to the pulse behind her eyeballs, blinks into the dull chrome table, tries to define the puffy lips, the rheumy eyes of the journo.

But the Manny business worries. Yet what can she do; always rubbing shoulders with the adversary in her profession. A grey square on the chess board in Max’s parlance.

More lines from that same piece float up through the chrome.

“This sexy pixie with ice for eyes, steel for ducks down, and razors for lips is the most intuitive reporter of the decade. Pretty head and shoulders above the pack. Whether she maintains her journalistic and personal integrity in a world of mediocrity and expedience remains to be seen. Media personalities in this country occupy a curious position of being talked and written about in turn. They are both hunter and hunted.”

Boozy old Max. She misses him like hell — the bedrock, father figure to which her ballooning fortunes could be tied.

But now she sees that old boy is still star gazing. With a twist of her lipstick she closes him out. Resumes her thoughts, mindful of the epithets of her predecessors: the thinking man’s pin-up, the perfumed steamroller. And now her turn: the pixie with the stiletto.

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