A cool, late afternoon sea breeze swept through North Perth. The famous Fremantle Doctor, sweeping inland over the South West coast, gently fanning the scorched city at the end of another forty degree day. Nunzio stood with his arms crossed in the doorway of his pizzeria on Fitzgerald Street and stared up into the dry branches of a dead council tree.

Donna walked up beside him, kissed his shoulder and snaked her arm around his waist. “Mmmm… OMO and CKNY…. very fitting.”

“What?” He grabbed her wandering hand without shifting his gaze.

“You know…” she said, “… washing lines-stroke-suburban lethargy-stroke-big city aspirations. ”

Traffic was picking up. Busloads of city workers headed toward Alexander Drive on their way home to Dianella, Morley, Mirrabooka. Across the road, Mr Cavelli pulled down the blinds of his shoe shop and flipped the sign on his door from “open” to “closed”.

“We may actually be standing on a fault line, right here.” she said, wriggling her fingers free. She tried to slip her hand under his t-shirt, but he caught it again.

“Donna, its broad fuckin’ daylight.” He shot her a look and saw her face fall. “Happy now?” Fuckin’ women.. why is it so hard? “See up there? That bird… in the middle of all those dead branches? It hasn’t moved for ages. Its just sitting there, staring at me. See?”

Donna stared hard at the crumpled Marlborough packet for a few seconds. “Maybe its dead.” She turned and went back inside.

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