Hello. Alice speaking. Sure, I’ll just get him. Wes!
What? Who? What?
Phone for you. Some woman from Scotland Island.
Scotland Island? Scotland Island? Slowly I turned, step by step, inch by inch, all the way to Scotland Island! My avenging hands itched, my…
Settle down Wes, it’s just your Mum.
Oh, OK. Very funny, thank you, Alice.
(Watch the video below before reading on)
You wouldn’t know it from his dubious judgement and frequent fiascos, but Wes Piddens has a degree from Sydney University. And what’s more, it’s his degree.
To keep the wolf from his studentary door he bought an old International truck and set up Blatant Removals:
“Shifting house? Use your nous. Don’t be latent. Go for Blatant.”
Despite the slogan, Blatant business boomed like an atom bomb.
It started with students then spread like a Hollywood rumour. Blatant became the removalist of choice for inner-city lesbian collectives once word got around that Wes was happy working with a woman at the other end of a wardrobe or refrigerator.
Then there was a woman who refused to give her name.
Have you got a gun?
Hey, I remove furniture, not people.
Well, are you big?
Ah. I can help you there.
As it turned out, the move went OK. The embittered ex took one look at Wes and decided to scowl from a safe distance. Soon, every women’s refuge had his number on the wall.
Blatant shifted furniture, offices, builder’s rubble, a light plane (in pieces), marine diesel engines, two ginger cats in a plastic laundry hamper, double cement laundry tubs half-full of water and fish, you name it.
Wes usually worked alone, but for big jobs he’d use his mates as offsiders. One, Brian ‘Bevvy’ Bunfort, didn’t last too long. When Wes asked him to take the other end of a monstrous piano he burst into tears in front of the fastidious owner.
Wes tried to cover. “He’s sensitive. Can’t bear to disturb a fine instrument.”
Blatant’s top offsider was Thorpo. He wasn’t unusually strong, but he had a red hot IQ and was excellent company. He helped break the monotony of ferrying hundreds of cartons of precious junk up seventeen flights of stairs. An on-the -job conversation with Thorpo made a Mensa symposium look like a log jam at the dodgems.
Ah, the eternal toss-up! The Newton metres of lifting vs the friction of dragging…
It sure is a poser, Thorpo, but this floor is polished. Let’s lift.
But then came Scotland Island. Scotland Island!
Would you move a piano from one side of Scotland Island to the other?
Probably, maybe, yes.
I was enjoying some rapid eye movement sleep.
Wake up, we sail with the tide.
They got a pontoon. They tied it behind the ferry. They sailed with the tide to a jetty on the island. They met a woman who pointed to a piano. They carried it 500m down through precipitous bushland and loaded it on the pontoon. The ferry returned and towed them to the other side of the island. They carried the piano 500m up through precipitous bushland to another house. Wes played Bad Sneakers by Steely Dan to bed the piano in. They got paid. They went home.
And the cheque bounced.
‘Damn!’ remarked Wes.
‘You idiot, taking a cheque!’ remarked his girlfriend, Alice O’Leary (a sign of many conversations to come).
SCOTLAND ISLAND! Slowly I turned, inch by inch! (shakes fist).
A lesson to us all (To be continued).