Thick shakes and traffic - Jim's Story


Back in 1983/84, an old friend picked me up from my flat in Fitzroy to give me a lift to a party I was going to in Prahran, and then he was going on to a party in St Kilda. Neither of us had eaten, so we grabbed some McDonalds in Victoria Pde on the way. Punt Rd traffic was gridlocked, and we both complained about the thick shakes as we crawled. Anyway, whilst in the middle of the bridge, packed in with traffic, my friend suddenly unbuckled himself from behind the wheel, got out of the car, and ran across to the other side of the bridge with his thick shake and pretended to vomit it over the side. Despite the effort, it wasn’t all that funny, then he headed back to his car, and suddenly a car coming the other way was screeching to a halt, and THUD, he was on the bonnet, passing me by, heading back the way we came.

I was in shock, and fumbled to undo my seat-belt, looking back, wondering if he was dead, when suddenly he jumped up and rushed back to the car and got back in behind the wheel, looking incredibly embarrassed, as the lights turned green, and he drove on, swearing to himself, “My leg, my leg, my f*@king leg . . .”

At this point, by the time we got to the top of Punt Rd hill, I was bawling with laughter because the whole thing was like a cartoon, and his leg ended up being okay.

About a dozen years later I was pitching a one hour script I had written called Horsy to the Australian Film Commission, which contained a brief version of this incident, and an important scene that accelerates the whole action of the story into another gear. One of the adjudicators liked the script (and I did end up getting the grant) but complained about that scene on the bridge as being implausible. I offered him the phone number of my friend to prove it was. The film never got made, but I’m still hoping one day it will, with that Hoddle Bridge scene in it, despite the years that have passed.