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The Past | The Previous

Slice of Life

This is something that really happened to me today. It involves my father, who died when I was nine. Now, I don't need any sympathy or anything of a similar ilk. When it comes to my father's death, I'm a well adjusted fellow. Death: it happens to us all. When it happens to someone close to you, you have one choice, which is just to accept it, no matter how hard, how unfair, how whatever. Just accept. How ever long it takes you, you got to accept that they're dead and there isn't a thing you can do about it. Anyhow, I'm just saying that to preface this little story. The thing to note here is that I was quite young when he died, and about eighteen years have passed since then. (In case you're curious, he died from cancer.) It's been a long time, and he only comes up every now and then in conversation with my mother, but it's rare and casual thing. Just memories.

Today, I was in a bookstore. Peter Carey has a tiny new book out called Wrong About Japan that I was buying. It wasn't a premeditated thing; I didn't go out looking for the book, and indeed, I didn't know it was getting released. Just saw it there, in it's garish colours, and since I like Carey, decided to buy. So, anyhow, I step up to the counter, hand the guy my card to pay for it, and he does the little slide, pick your account, and then stops, and looks at my card.

"Are you Michael's son?" he asks.

Michael is my father's name. I have, literally, never been asked this question before.

"Michael Peek," he continues. "The last name is such a rare one. I can never forget it. You're his son, yeah?"

I have no idea how to reply. Will I have to explain to this guy, who is about my father's age, that Michael is dead and has been dead for years? How do you begin that? Finally, I say, "Er. Yeah."

"Really? That's great. I suppose he told you about us. He comes in here two or three times a week."


"You are Michael's son, right? Michael Peek?"

"Yeah, but, ah, my dad's been dead for years."

"Oh." He pauses. The little receipt runs out of the bank machine in a faint motorised sound. "Oh. So sorry."

It was okay, really. I told him it was no hassle. It was just weird, though, having someone ask me if I was my father's son. The first time I can remember it. Just strange, you know? Strange.


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Nov. 8th, 2004 09:27 pm (UTC)
That is wierd! But strangely cool...
Nov. 8th, 2004 09:51 pm (UTC)
for a moment, i also thought i had awoken in a bad hollywood film.

"Mr Peek, your father has been alive for years. We faked his death to keep you safe from the Russians."

"the Russians?"


"So... you're saying my dad was James Bond?"

"A little bit, yes."
Nov. 8th, 2004 09:56 pm (UTC)
That must have been melting-watches kinda surreal. Personally, I blame Peter Carey.
Nov. 8th, 2004 10:03 pm (UTC)
maybe i'll blame tim winton. he gave me a bookmark-advertisement for the new winton book, and i've never been a fan of his stuff.
Nov. 9th, 2004 02:38 am (UTC)
Kooky. Strange and bizarre and unusual. Must have done your head in.
Nov. 9th, 2004 02:46 am (UTC)
nah. well. nah, no more than usual, y'know? there was a moment when i expected to find myself in a tiny room, with Men in Suits telling me that my old man had been alive for years, but it passed quickly.

that peter carey book, on the other hand, is turning out to be a bit dodge. the message of it seems to be if you're a famous, rich author, you can give into your son's love of manga, go off to japan, and met famous people for no real reason other than you want too.
Nov. 9th, 2004 07:18 pm (UTC)
And apparently some of the people he meets are fictional (or the meetings are), just to make it a bit more dramatic. I can't say I've run out to get it.
Nov. 9th, 2004 07:24 pm (UTC)
having finished it, i can honestly say it's really quite minor. it's basically: i went to japan with my son, found out i was misinformed by manga, but because i'm a famous author, was told this by anime directors and manga creators.

i honestly thought there'd be more to it, cause i thought his book on sydney was quite interesting.
Nov. 9th, 2004 07:21 am (UTC)
Was it an older guy? Or do you go in the store a lot? It is just really weird he used the present tense. I mean "he used to come in here two or three times a week" would have been a lot more... um, normal.
Nov. 9th, 2004 04:12 pm (UTC)
he used present tense cause there is a guy called michael peek who goes in there. was just one of those odd things.
Nov. 9th, 2004 07:10 pm (UTC)
Gotcha. So there was another Michael Peek that shopped there that was old enough to be your father. That is a strange coincidence.
Nov. 9th, 2004 02:07 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't question it, just accept it as an occurence. Ala Ambrose Bierce.
Nov. 9th, 2004 04:12 pm (UTC)
yeah, pretty much.
Nov. 9th, 2004 05:26 pm (UTC)
By the way, 'A Fistful of Dynamite' is for sale at HMV Pitt st mall, $15. Do it. Do it.

Sorry for quoting Starsky and Hutch. But do it.
Nov. 9th, 2004 06:18 pm (UTC)
thanks for the heads up, but i picked it up a couple of weeks back at a more local and thus convient hmv for fifteen bucks. it's nice that they're everywhere, sometimes.

i thought the movie was nice, but flawed. the flawed creation that bridges the gap between the good, the bad, and the ugly and once upon a time in the west, i thought.

that said, it had some truly fine moments. it was a shame the storyline and characters never fully blended.
Nov. 10th, 2004 02:11 am (UTC)
or, as i found out today, it was made after once upon a time in the west. so much for that theory.
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