Joe Tapp, small-eyed, hawk-nose, squatted like an Aborigine, Arab or Red Indian.
His trousers were grey bags tucked in his boots. Like an overweight jockey. Only, he wore a fine white singlet, a grey hat tilted back. Between his fingers a cigarette rolled. He licked the paper and lit it. He let smoke wander from his nose, through the hairs of his ears and head.
He was alone. His camp was a spot on the huge landscape. The sun hovered above. Its heat cracking the ground white. Killing plants and grass, making trees black skeletons – good for firewood. Rabbit traps lay tangled, the tent, the tall white freezer, the petrol drums and garbage – all were scattered. Funny place for a camp. But Joe had been getting rabbits there, in the desert, for more than a year. They were burrowed in the sandhills. They came out at night.
A red truck with worn tyres and a spotted windscreen. The camp, silent a few seconds ago, was now thick with noise. Two boots thudded the ground. A door slammed. Norm Treloar strode across, sunglasses bouncing on his nose. He had a friendly face. Wet sweat all down his back. ‘How’d you be?’ he asked Joe. ‘Not bad.’ Joe realized Treloar talket too much.
This is the sixth in the series of Illustration projects for my Short Story Masterpieces class.