pig skin redemption

pig skin redemption

god came to our footy club on a tuesday night. he wore jeans with work boots and a flannel top. he looked solid, like a farmer, when he stripped down and ran out.

he did a few parlour tricks, or, what for him would have been parlour tricks, just to prove who he was. he didn’t have to. we all believed, we all knew. he had a presence. you can’t fake that shit.

his son came with him. god was solid twos. his boy jesus was ones, but a bit of a goose. all earnest and stuff, as if anyone should give a damn.

dingo ran through god in one of the drills. just to see how he’d take it. “dingo’s an athiest,” bert told me. “he’s got nothing to lose.”

“good hit,” god grunted, as he was getting up…

“and what of it, you weak prick!” dingo shouted down at him, and it was on.

they both got a few in before we could break it up. jesus carried on a bit about smiting this and smiting that, until his dad told him to pull his head in and the coach called an early end to the night.

“we’re 2-and-3 for the year,” i told god. coach reckons we’ve been lacking a bit of mongrel. probably wants to end the night on a high note.”

walking off the ground, god and dingo talked like they were best mates.

bert and harry saddled up to god in the showers, to, y’know, get a look. why not? we were all curious. i mean, we’re competitive by nature. measuring up is a part of what footy’s about. teddy and parks started laying odds.

before long, bert did this sorta comic book tip-toe out of the showers.

“he’s average size,” he announced. “like me, and, well, apart from rubber chicken, and champie, most of us.”

we were ready for the shit stir, so were a bit dissapointed.

“it makes sense, we’re built in his image,” bruce told us.

“yeah, i guess,” i said.

nutsa hadn’t showed up. he always brought the slab and money tin on a tuesday night. by the time we realised there was only me, betsy, dingo bert, and jesus left. “no worries,” god said, and pulled a few six packs from his ute. he insisted dingo’s were free. the rest of us chipped in a few bucks.

jesus got all stroppy over nothing and announced he was going. god followed him out to his car and gave him a little speach. something about how god was meant to be the angry one, the unco thug who bashed and crashed worlds into existence and tore them apart. his son was supposed to be better than that. to want people to turn the other cheek. to be the next step. jesus had let him down with that smiting shit.

we tried not to listen to more than that. father and son crap is always besy left as father and son crap.

anyways, jesus hugged his old man then moped to the ute and fucked off. “wouldn’t mind staying for a few more. any of you blokes give me lift later?” god asked.

“likes a beer,” said betsy.

“who doesn’t?” agreed bert.

“what’s with all those cars out there?” god asked.

“you beauty!” said dingo. “committee meeting.” and we bundled into the clubrooms and demanded they open the bar for us.

soon, we were walking god through some of the better photos on the wall, talking tall tales, footy trips and all sorts of shit, getting tanked.

dingo went all spastic over the snap of him in under-elevens, holding the umpire’s hand. he did every time he was drunk.

every time we were drunk we laughed our guts out at him. like mates would.

“we’re not normally this bad,” i told god.

“random nights are the best,” said bert.

“where you stayin’ at, god?” betsy asked.

“me an jesus are renting emma’s place for now.”

“on mountain road?” bert asked. “emma the greenie? you been there, mate?”

“no, but she’s single isn’t she?” god said. “i’d like to have a crack.”

“serious?!” betsy said.

“sure. why not?”

“mate, you created women. isn’t that, y’know, some sorta, y’know, bigamy, or incest, or something?” betsy protested.

we gave each other a look. it was a fair question.

“you telling me just because you brewed a beer you’re not allowed to taste it?” god said.

betsy and i gave each other another look that said we’d have to go home and think on that one.

bert had no doubt. he was happy as larry and drunk as a skunk.

“he’s a lad!” he roared, proud as punch. “god’s a lad, all right! one of us!”

betsy and i wanted to believe it, but we were old dogs. we weren’t sure if the bloke was just testing us. still, the beers were flowing. we tried not to judge.

the committee wrapped up their meeting and threw betsy the keys to lock up.

“why me?” he protested.

“because you’re the most sober,” the president said. “all those too pissed get a lift with someone who ain’t. you boys get home safe.”

“right-o,” we said.

I explained to god, everywhere around here was a distance from anywhere. we grew up and built our limits around it. nobody said don’t drive. we knew when we shouldn’t and didn’t. but if someone announced they were going home, we’d say: “get home safe.”

“that doesn’t make it right,” god said.

“no, but that’s the way it is,” i said.

“fair enough,” he said.

“hey, god, can you tell us something sorta personal?” i asked.

“as long as it’s not politics or religion” god replied, with a small, easy wink..

“it takes the earth three million years to make the amount of oil we use in one. there’s greenhouse and over-population and all sorts of shit, aren’t we all goin’ to the dogs?”

“eh,” god shrugged, cracking another stubbie. “somebody will sort something out.”

“see? just like us!” bert said.

then me and betsy kinda argued about the pros and cons of greens like emma a bit, even though we agreed.

“what’s your beef with her? sounds like you barely know the lady?” god asked.

“exactly,” i said. “she’s one of them tree changers. they’re every-bloody-where.”


“they think the bush is only about pretty scenery. they won’t come anywhere near the footy club, or pub, or people who built this town, or any community stuff. they bring their city values with them and hate us.”

“respectfully, god, i mean, you know her,” betsy said, ‘but even the nicest of them are snobs.”

“when they’re all done buyin’, there’ll be none of us and ours, or a footy club left,” i said.

“hey, god,” dingo dribbled. he was slouched over his beer, wasted, good and proper.

“yes, mate.”

“i love my wife. i love her, hey? fucking oath!” wasted! “but footy… with footy… i think you invented the best bloody thing on earth! the best! i need it, y’know? goddamn, god, i love you! you done bloody great with that!”

god looked dingo square in the eye and said, humbly:

“thanks mate. thanks heaps. i love it, too. but thank you. i had nothing to do with it. you invented footy yourself.”

“fer real?” dingo said.

“i just built the stage. you lot have gotta stop blaming and asking me for stuff. thanks again, dingo. I mean it…” god said.

dingo looked as proud as all wobbly-drunken-hell punch.

“top stuff,” he said.

god asked if he would get a game in the twos straight up, or they’d make him wait a few games. that set off betsy and bert, who argued blue about who should be picked and who shouldn’t, and how the coach favoured his townie mates.

something had been bugging me about what bruce said in the showers, so i asked god, in a quiet way, while the others shouted at each other and shit each other loved it and drank.

“god, if we’re all built in your image, how come you look like us? on average, aren’t you really a middle-aged rice farmer from china?”

god gave me a dodgy look. all smug and stuff.

“over 50% of the world is female,” he smirked, eyebrow raised.

testing, i thought.

“what then…?” i asked.

he just necked his stubbie and gave me that look again.

“you can cut that coy crap out or fuck off!” i told him. “at this club we look each other in the eye and shoot straight when we yap, mate.”

“are you having a go?” god snapped. “i could drop… a… fucking… mountain on you, mate,” he growled through clenched teeth.

“then have a crack. what ya want me to do, suck up, or something?” i growled back.

then dingo slobbered all over us and fell over before either of us could say anything more.

“got a temper on him,” i heard bert whisper to betsy behind our backs.

“could be a handful,” betsy agreed.

a few drinks later it was time to pull stumps.

“what’ll we do with dingo?” I asked.

he was sleeping on a few plastic chairs he’d pulled into a couch.

“ah, leave him where he is,” betsy said.

bert swore he was right to drive, so we told him to get home safe only for him to climb into betsy’s car anyway.

“gunna be fun explaining him to the misus,” betsy smiled and was gone.

i dropped god off.

we were both a bit silent on the trip.

“sorry about getting stroppy back there,” he finally said. “you were right. i’m not used to people talking straight.”

“no worries,” i said.

“so, i won’t be here thursdee. gotta go work in the mills down at burnie,” i told god, as we pulled up outside emma’s. “you playing this saturdee?”

he turned and gave me a look that could have meant anything.

“bloody oath,” he said.

“good,” i told him. “i’m still ones, just. but i’ll go early if ya want a lift.”

“cheers,” he said, with a hick-up. “that’d be grouse.”

“and, hey, god, there’ll probably be a few knuckle-heads in the other mob who’ll try and go ya. t’, y’know, get their ten seconds of fame. but we’re good blokes down here. you’re one of us now, we’ll sort them out.”

god gave me a funny look. sorta sad, i think, but who knows? we were proper tanked.

“i’ve done… questionable things,” he said, lowering his head. “let them kill my son, turned people into pillars of salt just for being drongos…”

“let collingwood win flags,” i added. “as i said, mate. you’re one of us. we try not to judge. you seem like a top fella. with a few issues, maybe, but who doesn’t have them? just don’t fuck up.”

“cheers, mate,” he said again. giving me the warmest, friendliest smile a bloke could give. one right from the heart. a real, late-on-a-working-night, pissed, corker of a thing.

“here’s kicking drop-punts at ya,” i said, by way of good-bye.

god held his hands up, as if taking a grab, then wobbled his way to the gate as I took off.

word was he trained on thursdee. “looks solid twos,’ the reserves coach agreed “handy.” but god never rocked up for the match.


  1. Typical. Talks big that god fella, but never delivers.

Leave a Comment