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.