Mr Balcatta

Francesco has lived in Balcatta ever since he migrated from the old country in the 60s. According to Frank, once he got here, he single handedly built Australia with his bare hands. Just ask him, it won’t take much prompting.

Now, the only building Frank likes to do is home reno jobs that he has never once sought council permission for. Like a true Don, Frank makes the local council an offer they cannot refuse – he does what he wants and they shuddadafuckup. One does not simply take Frank to the SAT twice.

Yep, the only thing in Balcatta that is harder and more Italian than Frank is the pillars on his red brick home. He rules his casa with an iron fist and spends much of his day staring at passers-by with the ferocity of his prized lion statues guarding his kingdom. All the while keeping his driveway well watered.

When Frank isn’t out front staunching, he’s out back guarding his buried cash and marvelling at all the savings he’s making from growing his own vegetables.

He loves his garden and still doesn’t understand why the police got involved when he brought out his old .22 to deal with a flock of birds that got past his fig tree net.

His passion for his garden isn’t just hazardous to hungry wildlife. It’s also a problem for his neighbour. See, every time Frank spots the man he’ll call him over to bang on about his unproven theory that in 1975, the old owners of the house moved the fencing boundary while he was visiting relatives in Harvey.

Despite telling his neighbour this story every week for 20 years, Frank gets as fired up as the day he suspected the act was committed. That’s passion. Or perhaps it’s grappa. Most likely a combination of the two.

Frank’s favourite way to socialise is to have coffee with his amicos and speak loudly about how soft society is. Today, Frank is giving his best broken-English rant about a new neighbour he suspects of being a “fanook” because he owns a small dog and his wife didn’t take his name.

Never one to let pc culture slow him down, Frank segues into a detailed political analysis of what McGowan is doing wrong before sending it home with an impassioned 5-minute description of how beautiful the waitress serving him is. Directly into her ear.

Having not given a single fanculo at the Cafe, Frank has to swing by Bunnings to wear down the staff’s will to live with his unique brand of bartering.

Which mostly consists of Frank demanding they do him a better price and then playing the poor old man card when they refuse.

After a solid day of terrorising anyone he came into contact with, it’s time for an early dinner and chain-smoking on the chair he has positioned on his balcony. It’s the evening shift. So go ahead, make his day.

Documenting the Human Zoo is thirsty work, so if you enjoyed what you read how about buying Belle a beer, ay?