Big Balls

#FridayFlash – 27 August

The late afternoon sun began to dip lower over the horizon.  The sizzle of sausages and steaks intermingled with the squeals and shrieks of toddlers and young children riding bikes and running around.  Insect repellent and the onions on the grill was the eau de toilette.  The men had convened around the barbeque, beers in hand, while the women held court in the kitchen.

Jeff turned at the sound of a greeting and raised the barbeque tongs in salute.  Dave and Jenny entered through the side gate before they peeled off to the respective gender domains.  Lochie opened a beer for Dave before returning to the conversation of last night’s cricket match.

“Ponting took an absolute screamer of catch at first slip.”

“But it didn’t equal Clarkie’s catch in the deep,” said Pete.

Jeff kept turning the snags, pressing on the steaks and watching the juice pool against the bone.  “Yeah, but the bowling attack lacked any real focus.  Too short, too long, wide; they were bowling something shocking.”

The four mates kept dissecting the game and keeping a watchful eye on the kids.  The bouncing mass of bodies on the trampoline threatened to spill into boo-boos and owies.

“Careful there kids.  Only one at a time,” said Jeff.  “Hey Dave, you didn’t reply to my text last night.”

“Sorry, mate.  Just had a lot on my mind yesterday.”

“What’s up?”

“You know how I haven’t been feeling good lately?  Well, I went to the doctor yesterday to get the results of some blood tests.  There’s something wrong with my plumbing and the doc needs to go in and have a rummage around.”

“How serious are we talking here?” said Pete.

“Tests indicate prostate cancer.”

Inhaled expletives whispered between lips of men and beer bottles.

“Did the doc, like you know, have to check?” said Lochie.

“Yep, the whole bend-over-relax-this-might-feel-a-little-uncomfortable routine.”

Each man clenched involuntarily.
“How’s Jen coping with the news?”

Dave looked towards the kitchen window and saw Jen embraced by her friends, their own circle of strength.

“Yeah good.  She cried a bit last night after we called our folks to tell them the news.”

“How are you doing, though?” said Jeff.

“Ok, I guess.  Hasn’t really sunk in.  I just sat there with Jen as the doctor started talking about surgery and radiation therapy and I just nodded.  I won’t know how bad it is until he gets in there and has a look around.  I’m booked in for surgery next Friday.”

The sausages rolled on the hot plate as the sizzle of fat sparked spot fires off the grill.

“Well that makes what we’re cooking a little ironic,” said Jeff.
“Please don’t use the word ‘little’ when referring to my frank and beans,” said Dave.

“Come on, we’ve played footy together and we’ve showered together, that’s all I’m saying.”

“There might not be any beans to go with the frank after the surgery,” said Pete.

Lochie chimed in, “Hey I saw on Bondi Vet one night that a dog had, like, these plastic balls ‘cause he lost his.  Like a boob job, only for balls.”

“Not sure I like where this is going, Lochie,” said Dave.

“I’m just saying that you could maybe get some metal ones and we could call you ‘Iron Balls’.”

“I’m not having my balls removed.  At least not that I know of,” said Dave.

Lochie dashed over to the table and selected AC/DC from the pile of loose discs and cranked the volume.  Jeff, Pete and Dave nodded in time to the riff and broke into grins as they recognised the tune.  At the chorus, the boys sang along lustily.

“Oh, we’ve got big balls

We’ve got big balls

We’ve got big balls

Dirty big balls

He’s got big balls

She’s got big balls

But we’ve got the BIGGEST balls of them all.”

Their laughter overtook their singing.  The song over, Jeff raised his beer.  “Good health, mate.”

The toast was repeated and Dave nodded in appreciation before having the final word.

“Up ya bum.”


16 responses to “Big Balls

  1. For those who are not a part of the British Commonwealth, cricket needs some explanation.
    You can go to the previous link if you want to know. You don’t need to know,but if you’re interested, you can find outSuffice to say, Ponting and Clarke are the current captain and vice captain of the Australian Test team.
    And AC/DC are a quintessential Australian rock band.

  2. That’s a better coping mechanism than others. 🙂

  3. I used to love that song so much. I hope it becomes a part of my coping rituals.

  4. Wonderful dialogue within depiction of normality – giggled throughout, despite the undercurrent of seriousness – that’s what mates are for, clearly

  5. Wow, a very sobering issue to be discussed over a few beers. Great job. I love the first paragraph, it really set the atmosphere of a summer picnic. You used so many senses in that one paragraph to create a very vivid image.

  6. Ditto what Terry just said. I could almost smell the bbq sat here in rainy cold England! Considering the subject you got a couple of laughs from me 🙂

  7. one of the guys working in purchasing for the NHS brought some prosthetic testes into class one day… they were kind of like stress relievers, you couldn’t stop squeezing them…

  8. I can’t work out if this is an uplifting tale of male camaraderie in the face of adversity, a good advert for getting yourself checked, or a simple slice of life. Either way, it’s ace.

    • Maybe it’s a case of “all of the above.” I’ve had lots of female protagonists of late, so I went for a male perspective this week.

  9. Good pals can cure a lot. Maybe they couldn’t do anything for him physically, but he’ll be going into his tough time with a lot better mental frame of mind thanks to his buddies. Good story!

  10. Deanna Schrayer

    You are so adept at combining so many different emotions in one piece, not to mention the superb descriptions. Every part of this gem was so easy to see, hear, smell…just wonderful!

    My favorite sentence here: “The bouncing mass of bodies on the trampoline threatened to spill into boo-boos and owies.” Not only is that a great description, but it plays right into the whole subject of the story.
    Well done!

  11. Too sweet. I’ve got tears in my eyes. Good slice of life and a great ending.

  12. Great choice of song. This had a lovely balance of humour and blokey tenderness. Great slice-of-life piece that deftly shows the importance of having mates around in difficult times.

  13. Nice slice with good dialogue and a strong opening. The trampoline description is great including it’s transition into the primary topic.

  14. Nice dialogue. My only nitpick is that I don’t know his age. I know prostate cancer usually hits older men, and I’ve been told by someone diagnosed with it that “it’s something you die WITH not FROM” because the progression is supposedly slow. But perhaps this is a different type of case…

    Loved this line…
    >Insect repellent and the onions on the grill was the eau de toilette.<

  15. Excellent piece. Really get a sense of these guys as a group of buds, able to joke even in the face of a serious situation. True friends can do that.

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