The Brandy Hag is leaving today. Her bags are packed and her tickets purchased. Her time is up. She is a relic of another age. The taxi has arrived and is waiting out by the curb. She had a good run. But now it was over. She takes one last look around the empty rooms, sighs, picks up her bags and walks out the door. She walks slowly down the path and steps into the taxi. She doesn't look back. She will never return. She is gone.
The Brandy Hag had been in residence for many years. She was a fixture of the party scene, at bars, BBQs, formal balls and nightclubs. She laughed. She danced. She loved. She was adventurous, willing to try anything once. She drank kava in Vanuatu. Putrid, muddy, oily water, with a hint of rotting vegetation, to anaesthetise the lips. How could she resist the challenge of such a noisome brew. She was not adverse to sampling a glass or five, of snake wine the length and breadth of Vietnam. Numerous hot, dusty little roadside shacks that passed for bars, each with their own version of the reptilian brew. Those large dusty glass bottles stuffed with mysterious herbs, random fungi, whole snakes, birds and even in one case a baby deer, preserved in a raw rice wine with a kick like a mule. Sweltering in the humidity, seated on little plastic kiddy stools, surrounded by the heady aroma of human waste, only here could you even begin to consider drinking such exotic rot gut. There even were shots of something resembling aviation fuel whilst singing karaoke with Asian businessmen in the middle of nowhere. The Brandy Hag enjoyed the mysteries of the Far East.
Her brief sojourn in the Defence Force was peppered with cheap port that ripped out her throat and then considerately anaesthetised the damaged flesh. Jugs of cut price icy vodka and orange and butterscotch schnapps were enjoyed in the bar conveniently within walking distance on her room. The Brandy Hag's roll as a significant other, allowed her to continue her patronage of various Defence Force messes throughout the years. So many years of pay night raffles, bar snacks and a glass or a pint for a pittance. The mess was a place of bonding for those forced into the gypsy life of the Forces. Curry nights, trivia nights, balls, and family days. The Brandy Hag enjoyed them all.
She played small intimate gigs in her lounge room entertaining her adoring fans with amazing renditions of Europe's The Final Countdown and demonstrating her Thriller dance moves. A gracious performer she encouraged others to join her on the stage to demonstrate their own musical prowess. Lounge rooms filled with laughter, joy and encouragement as she watched her man express his love of Dusty Springfield with a rendition of Son of A Preacher Man to a riveted audience. These were golden years.
The Brandy Hag lived an age of humidity, cyclones, crocodiles and cockroaches the size of a fist, during her years in Darwin. During The Wet she sat on her balcony watching the storms roll in every afternoon with a glass of brandy in her hand. She felt the world shake to the shot gun cracks of thunder and watched the world dissolve in monsoonal rain. During The Dry she sat on the white sands of Mindil Beach, more Brandy in her hand. She swam without care in the lagoons and springs of the tropical north. Safe in the knowledge that she was surrounded by crocodile traps and that a bottle of St Aggie awaited she and her friends in the esky on the shore.
The Brandy Hag had grown over the years, matured, settled down. She had moved from the sickly sweet West Coast Coolers and UDLs and the stupidity of youth, to a world of savignon blanc or champagne, complete with camembert and marinated olives. A fizzy coffee with a girlfriend at swanky local restaurant bar was a fine way to spend an afternoon. Or a glass of wine, curled up on a comfy couch in front of a roaring open fire, on a cold winters day. Bliss. The times they were a changing but the Brandy Hag was content.
Then a new change came in on the wind. The Brandy Hag felt a shiver down her spine as the wind swept by her, dust eddies swirling round her knees. This wind brought change, and she knew in her bones that this change was not to be a good thing. Bit by bit the change began. Subtle at first the change wound it's way into her world. Bit by bit, day by day the change grew and when it found it's voice, its bellow shook the very earth beneath her feet. The change was here. Prohibition had been declared. The age she knew had ended. The Brandy Hag fought the change with every ounce of strength she had, but she was beaten down again and again. The fight was over, she was just a bit slow on the up take. The Brandy Hag finally realised there was no longer a place for her. The world had changed. She was but a relic of a former golden age of freedom and choice, that no longer existed.
The Brandy Hag had always been a practical sort. She knew when it was time to move on. She put a "For Rent" sign up in her front window and it was not long before she received her first offer of interest. The new tenant was unsure at first. He wanted to look at the property a couple of times before he decided. What was the traffic situation? Was there off street parking? Would He be allowed to redecorate? The more He visited the more he decided the house would suit his purposes. He offered a large sum of money to purchase the Brandy Hag's home outright. Beaten down and exhausted by the winds of change she accepted his offer. As the Brandy Hag handed over the keys to her home's new owner she paused for a moment. She looked down at the keys in her hand and a small smile appeared on her lips. She looked up at the new tenant, smiled again and with stealth slipped a spare key into her coat pocket. The Brandy Hag knew her time was over but she still wanted to have the option to visit should she ever find herself in the area again.
The Brandy Hag is leaving today. Her bags are packed and her tickets purchased. Her time is up. The taxi has arrived and is waiting out by the curb. She takes one last look around the empty rooms, picks up her bags and walks out the door, down the path and steps into the taxi. She pauses as she closes the taxi door. She puts her hand in her pocket and feels the small brass key in her pocket. She runs her finger over the rough groves on the side of the key and feels it warm to her touch. A small smile appears on her lips. She will return one day, maybe not for a long time, maybe only for a short visit, but she will return. And when she does the golden days of freedom and choice will be remembered and celebrated and the Brandy Hag will dance again.
Michelle nee TBH :)