My step is light tonight. My fingers are chilled, my nose even more so, but the stars are out, out there beyond the street lights. I stride across Elizabeth St, still too slow for the crossing, a hurried jog against the orange lights for the last few paces.
I carry a paper bag, four new books - I never can restrain myself, despite my groaning shelves. It swings with my step. The op shop is lit, as always - this new haven of junk keeps odd hours. In the window, two golden male mannequins have a new sign: $850 each. They are headless but well endowed; I can imagine there have been offers.
I climb my stairs and again the bag put out for donation catches my eye. Not much, but maybe useful to someone. I have been clearing a little, scraping off a few layers, many to go but progress nonetheless. The last box went to the place on the corner.
It appeared about six months ago; the usual collection of dusty coats but styled for hipster appeal. The mannequins are out of place in their pricing - it seems a genuine op shop, rather than Vintage. The banners are cartoony, emblazoned "Community First" with cutesy faces. The board has a strategically placed bald kid, Czech and Korean flags. It's a big Korean neighbourhood. Donations needed!
The Salvos are four blocks away - a car ride, finding a park. At least I know what they stand for. Community First are 50m away, yet I'm a tad uneasy about an op shop open at 9 on a Monday night. Whose bald kid did they use for the picture? He looks neither Czech nor Korean.
My bag of donations fills up.