That summer night was especially calm, with no clouds in the sky, the moon was full and the stars spread themselves in the empty spaces like chocolate rice on the side walls of a cake. On a balcony of a budget hotel in Kirribilli, facing the Admiralty House, two relaxed guys were making themselves comfortable, each with a bottle of beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other. A six-pack of Heineken and two packs of Longbeach 40s were placed nicely beside a porcelain ashtray on a glass table. A clay vase with fake Waratah stems was situated beside the glass table for decorative purposes. The two guys sat there in silence, admiring the calm night. Once in a while, soft, cool breeze made its way through the stillness of the balcony.

An English guy in his early 40s shortly made his way to the balcony with a mug of hot tea in his left hand. “Hello sinners!”, he uttered as a gesture of welcoming himself. His intention of being there was to have a smoke or two. The three strangers quickly got acquainted to one another because they share the following characteristic; professionals, avid smokers, love Australia and are still single. Well, and of course, they share the same shitty hotel. Duh!

It turned out that the English guy was originally from the English north western city of Manchester. From their conversation, a much disputed rumour was found to be quite true. “Fuck Manchester United! A team for conglomerates! Us working class people, the real Manchester people support Manchester City. Nuff said!”, said the Englishman.

The three of them were really caught up with their conversation. One or two cigarettes became eight to nine each. Then suddenly, there was a huge gust of wind sweeping the whole area and of course the balcony where they were loafing. The three guys were caught by surprise. It was a terrible gust of wind.

Immeadiately, like an act based on impulse, the first of the two guys shouted at the other, “Secure the Heineys!!!”

Then the ashtray dropped and shattered on the floor, vomiting cigarette buds and grey ashes, which were quickly dissolved in the wind. The clay vase with fake Waratah stems was on its side, cracked on impact with the hard-tiled floor. The packs of Longbeaches were thrown down the balcony and made its way to the streets.

After a long few seconds later, things were again, calm and peaceful.

The English guy realigned his thick rimmed glasses on the bridge of his nose. He then turned his head to the second guy. The second guy was still holding the half empty six-pack tightly under his arms, not showing any signals of letting go.

The English guy then gave a final smirk for that night, “Definite sinners!”

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