A/N: Dedicated to an old mate Mick - sadly missed but not forgotten.


His brown dusty leather boots were worn and tattered but they had a story to tell, as did his strong, calloused and weathered hands. His hands were powerful and frail at the same time. Hands that were made strong from years in the bush and the long exhausting work with the sheep on the station. They were old, yeah, real old. Ninety-four years in fact.

His fingernails had been cleaned since the morning's run. "The flies and filth had no place in here", he would say. Silence cloaked the room as if covered by a fresh bed sheet of linen. Cool and crisp in comparison to the morning's sweltering heat. The smoke had begun to fill each corner of the room slowly rising, and soon would form a solid cloud embracing the yellowing ceiling.

The others, 15 in all, would wait patently until the old man had joined them. He had been a gun in his day and would still give the younger ones a run for their money, even today. But no-one dared to challenge him. They would be seated now. He had earned their respect and so, he rightfully sat at the head of the table. They would bask in the silence a few minutes longer. This was a time to consider and reflect… this was smoko.