Have I stumbled into an episode of The Godfather? Or is this just a normal Friday night in Burnie?
He’s like Lurch, the character out of The Addams Family, though he’s anything but benign. I’m sitting there, Friday night, in a small café in Burnie. A largeish table is in the centre of the room, with baby boomers having a convivial night out, a few other tables of two and me.
The staff are friendly, but nervous, and as they pause, mid-task and look at the door, I turn and watch the movie unfold. Tall, shaved head, hands slouched in the pockets of a hoodie, he strolls in. Six foot three of menace.
He nods to the boomers – acknowledging their greetings with a cursory glance. On a mission. He clears a small table in front of me, places a ‘Reserved’ sign on it, then continues into the kitchen.
The atmosphere has gone from summer to winter in just those few seconds, and Lurch reappears with a small, bearded kitchen person who puts on a knitted beanie, and follows him back to the table with hands shaking.
Small kitchen person looks like he’s on the tumbrels, heading to the guillotine. Perhaps he hasn’t cooked well, I muse. Or missed a shift. Perhaps not sold his quota of drugs? Maybe he used his quota to self medicate?
Lurch gets up, goes behind the counter, checks the tills, while small person sits, aquiver. Then Lurch resumes his seat in his empire and talks quietly to his prey. Small person takes off his beanie, wringing it in his hands. After a while, they leave, and the staff and customers breathe a collective sigh of relief.
When I get up to pay, the young waitress tells me the tills don’t work, eftpos is out, so cash is the only payment option. Why am I so not surprised???? I pay, shake my head as if I’d just had a strange dream, and head out. What the hell was that?
Why was I there? One of the really good things I get to do is hurtle around the state watching theatre, and recently, there was a must see show in Burnie. Aaah, Burnie, tiny country Tasmanian town on the sea, facing Bass Strait and trying to reinvent itself, again.
I’d checked into Apartments Downtown, which are really at the top of the town, which isn’t quite big enough to have a downtown and uptown I think. Perhaps a leftover from larger, grander days.
The manager, Michelle, was there with room good to go. And they are terrific! The rooms that is.
Not modern, but genuinely Art Deco, with a carefully chosen collection of pieces from an old desk to a floor lamp with the dancing lady. And the apartment is huge! From a full lounge room to large, comfortable bedroom and fully equipped kitchen, this would be a great place to use as a base to explore the wonders of Tasmania’s northwest. It’s not often this happens, but I leave the next morning rather wistful, and vow to come back and spend more time here.
And this post was supposed to be about really good and quirky accommodation but that strange scene that preceded my play watching has stuck with me, as all great drama does.
52 Alexander Street, Burnie TAS 7320
Phone: 03 6432 3219 www.apartmentsdowntown.com.au
Have you witnessed some creepy behavior by restaurateurs? Things that we as the public should be spared??? Do share!