Tuesday, August 26, 2008

MI OLD PAN-HEAD HARLEY ©

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One morning Arthur Auberry came into the Café.

“G’day Yorky . I heard you were back, mate.”
“G’day Arthur, sorry about not giving ya any notice.”
“No worries Yorky. I didn’t have too much more work for ya anyway.”
“Oh that’s good to know. I felt real bad for a while for just leaving like that without telling ya.”
“Don’t worry about it. When ya coming out to pick up ya old panhead Harley?”
“Ya mean to say ya not gonna keep it on me?”
“Why should I do that? It’s your bike mate. Ya next payment’s not due till the end of the month. You were 4 payments ahead when ya left the lake.”
“Oh shit, that’s great! I’ve still got some wheels.”
“If ya can’t afford to pay for it I’ll buy it back from ya.”
“Thanks for the offer Arthur but I’ll be able to pay it off easy now seeing as the rain’s come. There’ll be a lot of tractor driving around next week so I’ll do a lot of hours and pay it all off at once.”
“Anyway ya like. It’s still in the same place as ya left it. Come and pick it up whenever ya like.”
Good on ya Arthur. You’re a good bloke. I’ll give ya a call before I come.”

The following week I picked up the old Harley. As I hadn’t ridden it for months, it took a few miles to get used to it again especially on the corrugated corners of the dirt roads. I was quite happy when I reached the stretch of tar-sealed road into Lake Cargelligo Township.

I swung into the driveway of mi mates house, He was sitting on the back veranda when I pulled up.
“G’day Yorky. How ya going mate?”
“Not bad Gary. What ya doing?”
“Not too much mate. The Lake’s a dead place on Saturday afternoon.”
“Are ya up for a bit of fun?”
“Doin’ what?”
“Let’s go for a ride on the old Harley.”
“Where to?”
“Just out along the Condo Road. We can try out mi new gun!”
“What gun? I don’t see no rifle?”
“It’s under mi shirt!”
“What d’ya mean?” he said, looking somewhat confused.
“It’s here.” I said as I lifted the front of mi shirt.
“Where d’ya git that from Yorky?”
“I just made it.”
“Give us a look at it.”
“Not here mate! If ya mother sees it she won’t be too happy about it!”
“All right mate, let’s go!”
“Back soon!” he called out to his mother as I started the bike.
“Jump on mate! We’re outa’ here.”

Out of his driveway and left up the main street we rode. Off the bitumen and onto the main Condo dirt road we flew in a cloud or red dust.

“There’s a Cockys’ paddock up ahead”, screamed Gary, over my shoulder. “I know him. He wont mind us going in for a shot!”

Once the large steel gate was opened and closed, I gave Gary the pistol.

“Shit Yorky, this is a real beauty! Ya did a pretty good job on cutting it down. Ya got any bullets?”
“Yeah. Here, I bought a box off Skippy this morning.”

The Cockys’ paddock was not too densely covered with Malley but we would have to be careful ‘cause there were lots of dead trees, low hanging branches and sharp, pointy stumps.

“All right mate, load her up but don’t cock it till we see something. It’s only accurate at about 15 or 20 feet. Once we see something, pull the pin back and hold the gun up in the air. That way we won’t have an accident!”

I put mi old Harley into first gear and we pulled away slowly from the gate.

“There should be a few ‘roos out in the middle where those shade trees are so we’ll head out that way!”

The paddock was rougher than it looked so I had to be careful not to get a stick caught in the spokes or puncture a tire.

We’d been riding around for about 45 minutes when Gary called out,
“There’s a mob of emus over near the fence.”
“I can see ‘em.” I said. “We’ll ride across the paddock and down the fence. That way they’ll run down parallel with it. If we chase ‘em from here they’ll stick their heads down and crash through the fence!”
“Let’s go!” said Gary. “They’ve heard us talking!”

Once we got level with the fence again I called out to him,

“Hang on tight mate, here we go!!”

I reversed the Harley through the gears into 3rd and the Speedo was touching 40 now. ‘Clunk’, down into 4th it went and I opened the throttle full up. The fence posts were whizzing past now as we rode like hell along the one-lane bush track. There were some large, sharp rocks sticking out in places so I had to keep a good eye out for them.
The Emus were now going flat out down the fence line as I expected. They were running in line, one after each other and their massive, strong legs pounded the dirt tracks and their huge, scaly feet kicked up small stones behind them.

“We’re gainin’ on ‘em!”, screamed Gary, over my shoulder.
“Put your right arm over my shoulder mate but keep the pistol well in front of me ‘cause I don’t want deafening!” I yelled with mi head half-turned.

The old Harley was now flat as a strap and the needle was bouncing between 50 and 55.

“Don’t shoot till I tell ya mate. Wait till they’re off to the side!”

We were now only 50 feet behind and gaining on them fast.

“All right mate! Let ‘em have it!”

BOOM! Gary let fly with the pistol and a flame about 12” long shot out of the barrel.
BOOM! He reloaded from the bullets he was carrying in his mouth. The emus pulled out all the stops now! A few seconds later and we were right up the arse of a big, cranky emu.

“Not yet mate, he’s too close. If he falls over we’ll go right over the top of him!”

BOOM! Gary didn’t listen to me and he hit the big, grizzly emu with the next shot. The emu fell arse overhead in front of us. There was no time to veer off so I slammed on the breaks in a cloud of dust. The next thing I knew we were both flying over the handlebars.

“Oh Shit!” I roared as we landed on top of the pissed-off emu.

All I remember was feathers and dust as we tried to scramble away from the emu. One good kick from him we would have been dead! The emu had somewhat regained his feet and his head and neck were through the fence as he kicked like hell to get his huge, strong body on the other side.

Mi good bike was over on its’ side and the motor was revving like hell. Gary was trying to regain his feet as I saw the emus legs kicking frantically towards mi bike now.

“Get the bike out the way or he’ll kick the shit out of it!” I screamed.

We scrambled over to the bike and pulled it back out of range of his massive kicks before he could smash it to pieces.

“Where’s the pistol?” I yelled as I limped back out of range myself.
“I dunno, it flew out of mi hand when we hit him.” He said.
“He’s getting away!” I said as the big, old emu scrambled through the fence.

A couple more big kicks and the emu was back up on his feet. His black, beady eyes were now wide open as he took one last look around at us and then tore off across a ploughed paddock kicking up patches of dust as he went.

“That was pretty fucking close Gary. We almost got killed! Why the hell did you blast him?”
“I didn’t mean to Yorky, mi finger was resting on the trigger when we shot over that lump of hard dirt in the middle of the track.”
“Oh shit, just look at mi bike! The front wheel’s buckled where he kicked it and the logo
on the side of he petrol tank has been knocked off!”
“Don’t worry mate. I know Manny at Shamens garage. I’ll get him to order a new wheel and he’ll stick the logo back on. A bit of touchup paint on the tank and it will be as good as new.”
“Look at mi good strides! The knees torn clean out and there’s blood running out of mi kneecap! I’ve knocked all the skin off of it!”
“Look at mi elbows and mi hands are tore up from the gravel!”

The old emu was now out of sight so I started up the bike and we rode slowly back to the Lake with the front wheel going ‘rub, rub, rub, rub, rub, rub…….’