Tuesday, August 19, 2008
IN THE MALI ©
Old Burt started to roar again when he realized I'd outrun him, which under the circumstances was not surprising.
"Ya pommy bastard! I'll fucking split ya in two when I get a good swing at ya!"
I did not waste my breath trying to answer him because my heart and head were pounding with pain as the breath came in loud raspy gasps. The next second, mi right boot hit hard ground as I threw misen headlong through the dense scrub. Some of the thorny bushes ripped mi shirt and tore at my bare arms but it made no difference whatsoever. I slowed down very little as I pushed the low hanging branches out of mi way.
"Come back here ya useless pommy bastard!", Burt roared from the edge of the Mali where he'd finally given up the chase.
I was in such a state of fear and dread that I even pissed misen a little bit but I pressed on into the Bush till I felt like I was safe, away from Burt.
"You'll have to come out of the scrub before the day's out mate and when ya do, I'll git ya!"
My breathing was still deep and raspy so I just crouched behind a wattle bush and watched old Burt rant and rave from a safe distance.
'Now what do I do?', I thought. 'If I stay in the scrub I'll more than likely die of thirst.' By now I was really dry and thirsty. 'If I go back to the Mali Paddock old Burt will kill me!'
The only thing left for me to do now as to have a good old cry then I could think straight again and maybe I could work out how I was going to get myself out of the bind I was now in.
I spent about 2 hours in the scrub watching old Burt in the distance as he wailed away with the axe at an old box-tree stump. It would be dark soon enough and old Burt would hop in the Ute, with his dogs in the back and leave me in the Bush on mi own all night with no food or water.
Thirsty as I was, I had no intention of coming out of the Mali. I could probably survive for another day with no water if I kept still but I would not survive for 24 seconds with an axe sticking out of mi head!
Finally, the sun went down and old Burt made his way back over to where I was hiding,
"Ya better come out now mate. It's time to go home."
"Fuck you Burt! You're gonna kill me with that axe!"
"I've cooled down now. I'm sorry about that."
Now, I was close to tears again when Burt said he was sorry because I now knew he was a sick man and not in full control of his faculties.
"Come on Richard, let's forget all about it. Ya can even smoke while ya work, long as ya don't slack off."
'Ya promise ya won't kill me if I come out?", I yelled at him.
"Alright, I promise I'll not hurt ya mate. Come on, hurry up or the missus will get worried about us being late."
He sounded his normal, miserable self now so I decided to walk out of the scrub. When I got a few feet away from him he said,
"Ya wanna go to a tennis match with me on Sunday arvo?"
"Alright.", I said.
"There'll be some boys ya own age there. You'll have a good time with 'em."
We walked off across the paddock together, back to his Ute. On the way home we never spoke a word to each other and when we got back to the house Kay came out and said.
"Where have you two been? Ya late! I was worried about ya. We're having rabbit stew for dinner tonight and after we'll have some homemade ice cream."
The next time I went to town, I happened to tell someone about Burt chasing me with the axe and before long, bush towns being what they are, the story was all over town. To this day, it is well known around Lake Cargelligo that Yorky, the new Chumi from Yorkshire, was the only bloke ever to outrun old Burt Booth, off the football field.