Down & Under Pt16 – Russian molls


Corporate box at the Melbourne Grand Prix. Only three customers sip drinks at tables. Heavy rain has made racing impossible, on this, the 3rd day of the event and the four members of staff are huddled behind the bar to keep warm.

Barton: Barman
Gabrielle: Barista
Andrea: Waitress
Tanya: Waitress (With heavy Russian accent)

Scene I.

Gabrielle – “Have you seen the new season collection? The furs are amazing…”

Andrea – “Oh my God! I know. I’ll be first in line when we get paid, But like I’ve got a whole list of stuff. There’s this hooded scarf I’ve got my eye on that’s totally outrageous, it’s like you know, eight hundred dollars but I’ve just gotta have it.”

Gabrielle – “Oh you cow! is that the one with the buttons around the edge?”

Andrea – “Yeeesssss!!!”

(Cue conspiratorial giggling)

Barton – “Are you two students?”

Gabrielle – “Yeah, first year law.”

Barton – “Why law? From what I can see Melbourne’s overrun with lawyers.”

Gabrielle – “Well…I’ve always wanted to do family law, just specialise in that.”

Andrea – “Really? You never told me. Why family law? That’s so dark and depressing.”

Gabrielle – “Well…my parents divorced when I was 12. I guess I just, you know, wanna help people get through that.”

Andrea – “Oh don’t say the D word. I only just got my ring yesterday.”

Gabrielle – “Ooooh! where is it, where is it? Show and tell, show and tell!”

Andrea pulls a small blue box from her pocket and reveals a not insubstantial diamond engagement ring.

Gabrielle – “Ooooh it’s beautiful… when did he give it to you?”

Andrea – “Last night at his parents’. He just got back from the Perth trials. (To me) He’s a racing driver.”

Tanya – “My husband gave me dog. Dalmatian puppy. I said no to ring, too blingy, too much chance of grab and run when I go home to see family.”

Gabrielle – “Is your husband Australian?”

Tanya – “Yes, but before you think it – and I know you all think it! – I not Russian bride. My husband work Saint Petersburg and we meet in completely normal way of things.”

Barton – “Do you know anyone who’s been a Russian bride?”

Tanya – “No, but I meet man here who has Russian bride for wife. Friend he ask me to help with papers when all went horrible and wrong. His friend lose all money then is arrest for violence in home.”

Gabrielle – “Domestic abuse?”

Tanya – “Yes yes that. This poor man lose everything and he not touch her anywhere. Is very well known trick, very common thing they teach girls from Ukraine get money from foreign men.”

Andrea – “Pathetic, men ordering girls online as though they’re commodities. Actually it’s not pathetic it’s sickening.”

Tanya – “Yes but not deserve this. Police record for rest of life remember.”

Gabrielle – “But you need proof for a domestic abuse case.”

Tanya – “Russian community, usually church, help girl with proof: witness, bruise on face, anything else she need. Russians can do this. Russians stick together, lie together”

Andrea – “That’s awful! I mean I have no sympathy for these men but the corruption… It’s like the mafia.”

Tanya – “It is Mafia. Who you think run Russian bride agency? Who get money girl send home each month? Everyone know what happen but impossible to prove or do anything about.”

Andrea – “I just can’t imagine having to deal with that. Gabrielle, this is the sort of case you might have! You still want to do Family law?”

Gabrielle – “Well…hopefully there won’t be anymore Russian brides once I’m qualified. I’m sure it’s like, you know, an internet fad thing.”

The water in the coffee machine has now boiled so I fill empty bottles of lemonade and hand them round as improvised hot packs. Gabrielle and Andrea drop them into their apron pockets and plunge their hands in. Tanya takes hers and shakes it at me with a grin.

Tanya – “You really most useful man. We could sell you on internet.

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