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DAY 171: The night of the shooting

18 Feb

“I’LL just let the boys know you’re not comfortable shooting roos,” the bush pirate says, as I try and tell him an actual hunting trip’s out of the question without sounding like a big wuss. “I’m sure they’ll compromise with some foxes and rabbits or something.” Eep.

By the time we get to the campsite it’s around 11pm and the rum is in full flow. I can’t understand any of the conversations around me as they’ve become 90% more vowelly than the usual country talk, thanks to Sir Bundy. Nod, smile. Nod, smile.

One bloke keeps spraying a can of Aerogard into the fire for an interesting pyro effect, while another, upon seeing us, grabs a giant surf-style fishing rod and takes us yomping off down to the black river to set it up, tripping over various dogs as we go. The second his back’s turned he gets a bite and reels in an eel, which gets chucked back in after a bit of yahooing.

We’re here to fire his rifle though, so we all pile on the quad bike and take off to a bit of paddock away from sleeping children and cows. I’ve fired guns before, but this one’s got a sniper’s sight, for that extra “holy shit!” factor. It’s the heaviest I’ve held, as well. It lets off a mighty kaboom, and I let off a shriek, and then we’re hurtling back to the camp again for a Bundy update.

Keeper? If I find myself in this situation again, sure.

DAY 118: Squalling in the surf

27 Dec

WELL, I guess I can kiss my eyelash extensions goodbye. Any hopes of not getting too pounded in the 8am surf are quickly thwarted by the first pulverising double waves here at Lorne Bay.

Our instructor, Sam, has a zinced nose and bouncy blond curls, like he’s just walked straight off the set of Home and Away. He runs us through the art of getting to one’s feet. Easy.

On the 9ft board I slide straight off the deck in kneeling position. These are slippery little buggers, aren’t they? On the 10ft board I get to my feet but the beast swings sideways in a rip and I fall off. Repeat x 100.

The pie and giant coffee I’ve just downed aren’t sitting too good, what with all this gasping and gulping. In an hour and 20 minutes I manage to stagger to my feet for all of three seconds; and that’s debatable. At best I’m stepping on and stepping off, really.

This leaves plenty of time to: get tangled in leg rope, get smashed repeatedly in the face, get slam dunked into my board. FUCK THIS SHIT.

Forty minutes early, I wade back to shore on ice block feet and throw in the towel. Wower, wowser, wowser.

“You English are useless at everything,” Sam quips as I wrestle myself out of my wetsuit, adding darkly: “Except cricket.”

Yeah, evs. Seriously, when it’s his time of month he can tell me that. And he can try and stay upright on his board with severely diminished motor skills, too. See, not so easy is it?

Keeper? I’ll be back. Not here; too embarrassing.

I KNOW you want to see how cold my foot was.

DAY 111: Having terrible things done to my head, then getting some badass tools

20 Dec

I AM feeling very glum today, knowing that I will be obliged to make a big joke at having failed my driving test again.

After being shown the door at Vic Roads, I decide to detour to Bendigo Marketplace where I might drift aimlessly and find something new to do; now that ‘Acing my driving test’ is no longer today’s headline.

A sign for Chinese acupressure massages draws me in. I like massages. They’re all soft and soothing, and the head ones make me want to roll over.

Not this one. Tissues, sinews, muscles, fat… nothing gets in the way of this dude’s digits in his mission to grind my bones into a fine powder. I feel like I’m being filleted like a fish by his elbows, knuckles and any other pointy appendage, and he works over my spinal cord Wolf Creek-style.

The head massage is worse. I slice my fingernails into my palms as he literally punches me about the skull, sculpts me a new fontanelle, tries to separate my head from my neck with his thumbs, and comes close to gouging out my eyes as he mulches the sockets.

By the time I’ve handed over my twenty-five bucks I’m even tenser, but I get the inspired idea of buying some badass tools. Tools are great – they get stuff done in the country, and at times like this you can bash the crap out of things. Plus I’ve been meaning to practise my axe / pickaxe / sledgehammer swing so that I can help Keith properly on the railroads.

At a hardware store I buy a hammer, an axe and a wrecking bar, which, between them, should be able to destroy anything. When I go to pay for the haul, the bloke refers to my “little wrecking bar” – a phrase that could deflate anyone’s balloon.

“I suppose it’s how you use it that counts, isn’t it?” I put to him.

“It’s a lady’s bar,” he retorts.

Anyway, off to vent some spleen – being very mindful of my non-steel-capped-tootsies.

Keeper? The smashing, not the massaging.

DAY 32: Going to the Deni Ute Muster with PMT

2 Oct

WHEN these two dramatic events aligned on my calendar, I’ll admit I was concerned. I’m a joy most days of the month, but on special days I can feel irritation churning like boiling soup; all the scum rising to the surface before exploding in scalding hot bubbles of rage. Still, as long as I avoid loud noises, crowds, jostling, fuckwits, and gets tons of sleep, I should be right.

Fortunately, the Deni Ute Muster turns out to be a breeze, a hoot, and surprisingly laidback. So much so that I decide to brave the ridicule of the RM Williams brigade and climb aboard the mechanical bull. 

Blokes in cowboy hats quickly gather and yell out bumper stickerisms at me: “It works better if you take your top off!” “You can do that for free in my ute!” – but I’d be gutted if they didn’t.

 Keeper? Yahoo!

I cannot BELIEVE this kid is not watching.

DAY EIGHT: Getting tea leaves read

8 Sep

"Can you see the little man in the boat?"

THAT dickhead at the station owes me sixty bucks for sending me the wrong way and costing me half my appointment, and I’d go back and tell him too, but I’m too busy being given the flick by cab drivers who don’t like the cut of my jib or the look on my face as I shake my fist at Chapel Street and the world in general.

Finally I make it to ye little psychic shoppe half an hour late, after a quick duck into a 7/11 thanks to the intolerable stress of it all (I am always buying new packets of smokes at times like these, then leaving them half full in a drawer somewhere when I quit again the next day. I have about 15 open packs at home). The psychic shoots me an appraising — slightly mocking, I thought — look as the dreamcatchers jingle on the door behind me.

“Mercury retrograde, darl,” she cuts me short, flicking through some goddess cards and laughing merrily at the appearance of Lilith, goddess of pmt.

“Did you just say pmt?” I gasp. Still, she had a one in four chance.

I drink from my dainty white tea cup and then, under instruction, turn it upside down on its saucer and swizzle it anticlockwise three-and-a-half times. The psychic scoops it up and peers into it eagerly.

She makes a delighted noise. “You’re going to China,” she ejaculates, turning the cup this way and that. “For trade. I can see lots of junks.” She looks up at me for confirmation and I try to disguise “doubtful” on my dial.

“There’s a man in a boat,” she continues. “Possibly a Chinaman.” She guffaws. “Look at his brim hat and galoshes. He’s wearing a great big raincoat.

“He’s completely rudderless,” she lectures of the bandy-legged boatman. “Do not invest in this boat. He’s surrounded by driftwood and look — he’s got a geisha watching over him.” The psychic points out a face with Princess Leia-style side buns and I feel unreasonably jealous.

There’s more — “Do you live alone? (Sinisterly) You’re not alone” — but intuition tells me the reading is over when the psychic segues into a long soliloquy about Princess Diana.

Keeper? Well now I want corroboration from another psychic, of course.