This I believe is a modern classic personifying what has made Australia what it is today.


 Chicks...they just won't understand.


Griff was at the barbecue and Joel was at the barbecue and I was at the

barbecue; three men standing around a barbecue, sipping beer,staring at

sausages, rolling them backwards and forwards, never leaving them alone.


We didn't know why we were at the barbecue; we were just drawn there like

moths to a flame. The barbecue was a powerful gravitational force, a

man-magnet. Joel said the thin ones could use a turn, I said  yeah  I reckon the thin

ones could use a turn, Griff said yeah they really need a turn it was a

unanimous turning decision.


Griff was the Tong-Master, a  true artist, he gave a couple of practice

snaps of his long silver tongs, SNAP SNAP, before moving in, prodding,

teasing, and with an elegant flick of his wrist, rolling them onto their

little backs. A lesser tong-man would've flicked too hard; the sausages

would've gone full circle, back to where they started. Nice, I said. The

others went yeah.


Kevin was passing us, he heard the siren-song- sizzle of the snags, the

barbecue was calling, beckoning, Kevinnnnn ...come. He stuck his head in

and said any room? We said yeah and began the barbecue shuffle; Griff

shuffled to the left, Joel shuffled to the left, I shuffled to the left,

Kevin slipped in beside me,we sipped our beer.


Now there were four of us staring at sausages, and Griff gave me the nod,

my cue. I was second-in-command, and I had to take the raw sausages out of

the plastic bag and lay them on the barbecue; not too close together, not

too far apart, curl them into each other's bodies like lovers -fat ones, thin

ones, herbed and continental. The chipolatas were tiny, they could easily

slip down between the grill, falling into the molten hot-bead-netherworld

below. Carefully I laid them sideways  ACROSS the grill, clever thinking.


Griff snapped his tongs with approval; there was no greater barbecue



P.J. came along, he said looking good, looking good -the irresistible

lure of the barbecue had pulled him in too. We said yeah and did the

shuffle, left,left, left, left, he slipped in beside Kevin, we sipped our beer.

Five men, lots of sausages.


Joel was the Fork-pronger; he had the fork that pronged the tough hides of

the Bavarian bratwursts and he showed a lot of promise.

Stabbing away eagerly, leaving perfect little vampire holes up

and down the casing.


P.J. was shaking his head, he said I reckon they cook better if you don't

poke them. There was a long silence, you could have heard a chipolata

drop, and this newcomer was a rabble-rouser, bringing in his crazy ideas

from outside. He didn't understand the hierarchy; first the Tong-master, then

the Sausage-layer,then the Fork-pronger -and everyone below was just a

watcher.  Maybe eventually they'll move up the ladder, but for now - don't

rock the Weber.


Dianne popped her head in; hmmm, smells good, she said. She was trying to

jostle into the circle; we closed ranks, pulling our heads down and our

shoulders in, mumbling yeah yeah yeah, but making no room for her. She

was keen, going round to the far side of the barbecue, heading for the only

available space . . . the gap in the circle where all the smoke and ashes

blew. Nobody could survive  the gap; Dianne was going to try. She stood

there stubbornly, smoke blinding her eyes, ashes filling her nostrils,

sausage fat spattering all over her arms and face. Until she couldn't

take it anymore, she gave up, backed off.


Kevin waited till she was gone and sipped his beer. We sipped our beer,

yeah. Griff handed me his tongs. I looked at him and he nodded. I knew

what was happening, I'd waited a long time for this moment - the


The tongs weighed heavy in my hands, firm in my grip - was I ready for the

responsibility? Yes, I was. I held them up high and they glinted in the

sun.  Don't forget to turn the thin ones Griff said as he walked away from

the barbecue, disappearing toward the house. Yeah I called back, I will, I



I snapped them twice, SNAP SNAP, before moving in, prodding, teasing, and

with an elegant flick of my wrist, rolling them back onto their little

bellies. I was a natural, I was the TONG-MASTER.


But only until Griff got back from the toilet.


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