The Street

Schoolchildren line up for free issue of soup and a slice of bread / 1934

He pushed the bowl away in disgust. Is there a problem? she asked. I should say so. The soup was cold. Cold? Cold. And unseasoned. I’m sorry, sir. Well I’m sorry doesn’t warm that soup up or make it taste any better now does it? I don’t suppose so. You don’t suppose so? No sir, I don’t. Well how about you take this away and bring me something I can stomach. You want something else? I want a g—damn lunch I can keep down! Please don’t use that language, sir. What’d you say?! I said please don’t use that language. Lady, I’ll use whatever g—damn language I want to use, do you know that? Do you know who I am? Do you know I could foreclose on this restaurant in a mosquito’s heartbeat and kick you out on the street? Where’d you be then, lady? I suppose I’d be on the street. Don’t be smart. Hell yeah you’d be on the street. And then what? Why, then you’d be pretty damn happy to be back inside here tossing this cold bowl of horsep—s in the trash and getting me a g—damn sandwich I can stomach, wouldn’t you? You wouldn’t like the street much, would you? No sir, I don’t suppose I would like the street much. You’re g—damn right you wouldn’t! They’d eat you alive out there lady! No sir, I don’t think they would. Oh you don’t, do you? Know a bit about the street, do you? Yes sir, I know a bit about the street.

Part two in a series. Part one: Origin Story. Image used with the permission of the State Library of New South Wales.