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Noodles Comes Of Age:
20th October 2007
Mango
Author of Truth is fiction is truth again.


Back in the eighties, somewhere between John Bertrand guiding Australia II to victory in the America’s Cup and Christopher Skase absconding to a Mediteranean tax haven for doing nothing more than holding a kitty for young upstart Bob Bedford, Noodles was quietly motoring along the Great Ocean Road*.

 

It was a Friday afternoon and clear skies dominated the view. The front windows of Noodles’ FJ Holden were wound down because Noodles wanted to smell the sea breeze –not because it was salty with traces of Blue Gum but as it was evidence he had once again quashed a misguided surf report and had another super session at his beloved local break, Jan Juc. Noodles’ generous mullet must have gestured approval as it waved on the swinging breeze. The following day (contrary to predictions) wouldn’t be favorable to surfers but Noodles already knew this and, tomorrow being a Saturday, he had alternately planned to play cricket.

For Noodles cricket had always been the preferred Saturday ritual in the summer, as it sidetracked him from the unsettling thought that nowhere that he knew (the area of greater Geelong) would there be any organized games of footy. In truth Noodles did have a footy on the back seat but, as was typical with the season, he had no takers for a kick. And with that thought Noodles pushed aside his dog, patted the footy, grabbed some change and came to a halt, he had to make a call.

In fact Noodles made two calls, firstly to his long time friend, one Gary Ablett, followed by another to the offices of leading national newspaper, The Age.

The first was a convivial invitation to Ablett to join him in the following day’s cricket match. The other, a little more crafty, was to alert The Age of Ablett’s recently confirmed attendance at said match. On receipt of the newspaper’s enthusiasm for the obviously valuable scoop, all that was left was to agree a price befitting such a leak. Of course any fee would have to consider (as well as the then Telecom public phone toll) any ensuing hostility towards Noodles for compromising not just his mate but what is usually serene Saturday recreation. In short Noodles didn’t really care about the cricket, he wanted beer and would stop at nothing to get it.

Gary Ablett played cricket that next day and by all reports turned out to be a handy addition to the lineup. Noodles, typically an opening bat, had orchestrated a sudden drop in the batting order to free up time to secure the amber remuneration for his irreverent deeds. The Age had surprisingly bent their usual protocol to accommodate Noodles’ unusual request, specifically two cartons of VB and an “Age” bottle opener – more so bizarre since VB has screw tops and being the favored drink amongst “Age” employees at that time they in turn had no need for bottle openers.

In the end The Age never ran a story on the match due to a sudden, unexpected revival by the Australian cricketers in the Test series.

Noodles did however get his beer and shamelessly downed it like a champion. A few of those beers incidentally were shared with his good mate Gary Ablett (who was none the wiser to Noodles’ recent escapades). As Ablett screwed the top off another VB it must be assumed that he was mildly intrigued by the sight of a “Herald Sun” bottle opener, gleaming as it lay wickedly attached to the keys of Noodles’ old FJ.

* The Great Ocean Road – stretching 400km along Victoria’s southwest coastline - offers stunning ocean views and limitless surfing opportunities but very little football.

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