Sinclair Lewis (Bantam Classics, ISBN 978-0553214864)
Clayton’s households divide into two genera: proletarian families (and students) who accept Clayton’s wonderful seediness and property-amassing twenty-first-century Babbitts who resent it.
Amongst the latter, Bill Pontikis stands out for his efforts to assemble Clayton’s residents and businesses into a community. As one who has experienced Mr. Pontikis in person – sometimes at distances as little as five feet, I must conclude that rather than acting from any humanitarian motive, he simply wishes to enlarge the opportunities for commercial rapine. Nonetheless, the fact remains that unlike the majority of Clayton’s other petty napoleons, Pontikis has shown himself willing to take a hand in civic life.
Pontikis serves as the president of Clayton’s Boosters Club, the Clayton Traders’ Association. Their membership embraces some of the zippiest, peppiest traders in the whole middle-outer south-eastern suburbs west of Springvale. Yet to their chagrin, Clayton’s best known residents remain a horny, bicycle-riding wanderer named ‘Booger’ and the Huntingdale Road hooker.
A Facebook group devoted to Booger, ‘Booger – A Clayton Icon’, enjoys more than seven hundred members. Two groups devoted to the Huntingdale Road hooker, ‘Huntingdale Road hooker’ and ‘The Clayton hooker’, together claim a similar number. An intriguing crossover group, ‘Booger and the Huntingdale Road hooker should get married’, trails behind at two hundred and thirty.
Yet neither the newsletter of the Clayton Traders Association nor the website of the Monash City Council makes any mention of them.
It would cost Clayton little to erect a monument in their honour. Tony Vu ‘Man Hairdresser’ already owns the perfect location. Of late, Tony has started tying helium balloons to his sign, which go flat and drag around on the ground. Next to it, the council would have little trouble mounting a tasteful brass plaque that reads, ‘Welcome to Clayton. Home of Booger and the Huntingdale Road hooker’.