It is March 1995 and our protagonist Tim moves into a small worker's cottage in Tempe. On one side is the famous tip, over the fence the lights bordering the international runway, and in the next room his housemate Louis Burdett, a jazz drummer and avant-garde performance smartarse of international disrepute. Louis has a habit of bemoaning his past and future lack of work at great length and in clinical detail.
In the backyard is a sound-proofed double garage, which has become a meeting place for misfits and musicians, those not incongruous types. After three months in this environment Tim needs a change of scenery, and so steals himself for a very brave step - on Friday he will attend a party that will require him to cross the line that separates east from west - South Dowling Street.
At the party he joins the great washed mass in the game of tip and run. A woman talks of her past. He thought he'd escaped for the night but it wasn't that easy - she sounds like Louis Burdett.
He gets drunk, chews ice, grins, drifts to the corners. Someone starts bagging out the band. Oh my god, they sound like Louis Burdett. Terror, like charity, begins at home.
He retreats back west of South Dowling to the concrete yard, plays poker, muses aimlessly, sits under planes whose roar is comforting like the sound of a big surf. Down the street the weeks roll by. That's better.