"Would Sir like another drink?"


Patrick Tynneman waved dismissively in the direction of the bar, ignoring Cec entirely when his drink arrived. It has been an awful day. He had spent the bulk of it, as he had spent many days recently, arguing with Lucien Blake. An arrogant ass of a man and a drunkard to boot, no one had missed him or even spoke much of him for thirty years. Then all at once he sweeps back into town, making demands of everyone and instantly becoming the center of attention. Patrick would have thought that after thirty years Blake would be less of a nuisance. Nothing had changed.

Patrick took a sip of whisky. He had never liked Blake. When Patrick was learning his trade at his father's elbow, Blake was nancing about after his mother. He was everyone's little golden boy. Patrick was picked on as a boy and had to work hard to earn every scrap of respect he had as an adult. Blake was adored everywhere he went no matter how he treated others, especially Patrick. One night Patrick was forced to look after little precious Blake while their parents went to a club gala. Patrick had gone out back for a smoke and Blake caught him. The little rat proudly told Patrick's father who beat him for it, but not before thanking Blake for being such a good boy.

His wife Susan argued that he needed to be patient with Blake. Blake suffered so much during the war, she'd said. It's what everyone said. Poor Blake, who suffered during the war. He wasn't the only one in that bloody army. It's not Patrick's fault that he wasn't sent overseas. A clerk's position was a good use of his business skills and he'd been assigned to requisitions out of a barracks in Adelaide. Someone had to keep the supplies flowing to the front so men like Blake could come back bloody heroes and ruin other people's lives with impunity.

Patrick cursed under his breath.

After the war, Ballarat was flooded with lost souls and broken families and few jobs and where was Blake? Patrick kept factories open and the newspaper running and supported town institutions. Meanwhile Blake was nowhere to be seen, off living some exotic continental life. Even Blake's own father refused to speak of the man. Now, people were snickering and calling him "Patrick Bloody Tynneman" behind his back. No one had dared in his entire adult life to talk to him like that. Now Lucien Blake feels the need to pick on someone to feel bigger and suddenly everyone follows along. But men like Blake were not going stick around to support this town. Blake would breeze through as quickly as he came, or just descend into drink and oblivion and he wouldn't give a damn about who he took down with him. In the end, Patrick would be the one left behind, keeping Ballarat afloat. He had done his best to bolster his home in times of war and poverty, he would protect Ballarat from Lucien Blake as well. Long after Blake had moved on, a Tynneman would still be here.