Hawthorne, Mike (The Sydney Morning Herald, April 2015)

I swing into the bottle shop with just enough fuel left to reach the petrol station on the corner. They’ve invited me to dinner twenty kilometres away in Southbank. By emptying my change jar, I’ve collected together seven dollars and fifty cents to divide between petrol and the bottle of wine I’ve said I’ll bring. Every cent I save on the wine improves the car‘s odds of getting there.

I locate a five-dollar bottle of rosé and then start foraging for something even cheaper to undercut it.

“Did you come for red or white?” says the shopkeeper.

“Either,” I say, “I just need to take a bottle for dinner.”

“Fair enough,” he says, “what sort of price range did you have in mind?”

“This man stole my girlfriend,” I say.

The sympathising shopkeeper helps me pick out a three-dollar red made from raisin grapes. Instead of using the word ‘wine’ anywhere, the label describes the contents as ‘alcoholised grape product’.









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