Read the first pages of David Goodwin’s Servo

Article | Issue: Mar 2024

DAVID GOODWIN survived weekend graveyards in servos for several interminable years: way too long to stay anything approaching sane. His new book, Servo, is an odyssey of drive-offs, spiked slurpees, stale sausage rolls and sleep-deprived madness.

Read on for the prologue which gives you a taste of what’s to come …


Servo by David GoodwinMost of us have done our time in the retail trenches, but service stations are undoubtedly the frontline. Melburnian David Goodwin found this out when he started working the weekend graveyard shift at his local servo.

From his very first night shift, David absorbed a consistent level of mind-bending lunacy. He encountered everything from giant shoplifting bees and balaclava-clad goons hurling cordial-filled water bombs from the sunroof of their BMW, to anarcho-goths high on MDMA releasing large rats into the store from their matching Harry Potter backpacks.

Over the years, David grew to love his mad servo. He would hand out free pies and chocolate bars on the sly as he grew a backbone and became street smart. Amidst the unrelenting chaos, he eventually made it out of the servo circus – and lived to tell the tale.

For anyone who’s ever toiled under the unforgiving fluorescent lights of a customer service job, Servo is a side-splitting and darkly mesmeric coming-of-age story from behind the anti-jump wire that will have you gritting your teeth, then cackling at the absurdity, idiocy and utterly beguiling strangeness of those who only come out at night.




It’s eight o’clock on Sunday morning, bucketing down rain. It barrels into the metal canopy, roaring like the vengeful gods of old. Distant thunder growls and far-off heavens sling down Lucent veins as fat drops ricochet off the forecourt, spattering those filling their tanks and dragging iridescent stains towards the petrol drain. Inside, the servo is filled with stranded dog-walkers out for their morning paper-milk-and-bread and parents taking their silken-clothed kids to play muddy soccer.

A dishevelled man bursts into the store, shrieking operatic crescendos. He’s six feet tall, painfully thin and shoeless, with a straggly red beard and sunken cheeks, clad in a sopping yellow sundress. It hangs off him like a sodden sheet left out on a washing line as he drips dark splotches down the aisles, raving to the music blasting from his headphones.

He’s in mirrored, purple-framed aviators, shrieking Kylie Minogue’s ‘Locomotion’ as he struts past the hanging bags of Minties and Red Frogs, stopping every few seconds to pose and shake his imaginary gold hot pants. Tripping over his own blackened feet, he stumbles into two horrified women and splutters, ‘Sorry, ladies, but I’m higher than an eagle’s ball sack!’

He skips away toward the deli fridge, as dainty as a ballerina, reverting to Kylie’s li’l sis Dannii, but soon tires of her, due to her lack of ‘top ten hits and PLASTIC TITS!’ He then starts on Delta Goodrem, as he sashays toward the console, oblivious to the old men standing bow-legged, holding rolled-up newspapers as truncheons.

Telling me (through song) that he’s lost without me and he doesn’t know how he’s going to live without me, he approaches the locked glass console door and facebutts it, knocking his sunnies to the floor. Seen through the wet swords of his mangy red hair, his pupils have dilated to form two gateways to the centre of The Void. He pants on the glass, a canvas on which he then paints – with his purple tongue – a wonky love heart, with an ‘I’ above and a ‘U’ below.

One of the dog-walkers approaches slowly. She taps him on the shoulder and tentatively asks him if he could maybe quieten down a bit. You know, because of the kids. He jolts from her touch, hunches over, then goes completely slack. The entire store, from the woman cradling her low-fat milk like a newborn to the slack-mouthed kids grasping their bottles of Powerade with white knuckles, waits breathlessly.

Sensing the occasion, he uncoils, rearing up like some undulant serpent, swaying slowly from side to side then rocking back on his heels before turning to face them and strike, shooting his arms up to the bug-filled fluorescents, rasping, ‘I AM THE LIZARD QUEEN!’ as he steps on and breaks his sunnies.

As though they were his final Horcrux, he shrieks in world ending pain, then hops rapidly toward the opening glass doors and out into the downpour, hissing savagely at the petrol pumpers before sprinting off into the rain-soaked morning.



Davie Goodwin, author of ServoDavid Goodwin survived weekend graveyards in servos for several interminable years: way too long to stay anything approaching sane.

He is, thankfully, no longer a day-sleeper with a halogen tan, but still maintains a ruinous predilection for slurpees, chocolate Big Ms and sausage rolls with too much tomato sauce.

He is a published poet, holds a Dual Advanced Diploma in Advertising and Marketing and, these days, revels in having a somewhat normal circadian rhythm.

Follow David Goodwin on Facebook

Author: David Goodwin

Category: Biography & True Stories

Book Format: Paperback / softback

Publisher: Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9780733651199

RRP: $34.99

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