Wednesday, August 13, 2008


     While we were up in the mali paddock chopping up stumps and small trees, Old Burt was in a foul mood.
"Be careful with that axe handle! You've already put a couple of nicks in it!"
"I'm being as careful as I can be Burt. I can't do any more than my best!"
"You're a useless bastard that's why! Not only are ya a useless bastard, you're a useless pommy bastard!"
"What about you Burt? Let's talk about you for a change!"
"What about me?", he said in an angry, defensive way.
"Well, it seems really funny to me, 'cause we're really very much alike, you and I."
"What d'ya mean by that?"
"You think I'm a useless pommy bastard right?"
"Right first time mate!"
"And I think you're a useless Aussie bastard!"
"WHAT!", he roared. "What did you say?"
"You heard me."

     By this time old Burt had steam hissing out of his big hairy ears. He gave the tree a big blow with his axe and all of a sudden, without warning, the axe-head broke off the handle.
"Grand streuth! Fuck me pink! That's your fault, ya pommy bastard!"
     Now he was really pissed so he pulled a long piece of bailing string out of his pocket and tried to bind the handle back together again.
"Here, give me your axe. This broken handled one is good enough for a pommy!"
     The first time I swung the axe, a big splinter tore a hole in mi right hand first finger.
"Shit!", I cursed out loud.
"Now what's the matter with the windging pommy?"
"There's nothing wrong with me. You're the one who broke the axe-handle!"
"You trying to tell me I'm a useless bastard, are ya?"
"Yeh! You're as useless as you say I am."
"Alright ya pommy fucking bastard. You tell me one thing that you can do better than me!"
     After a couple of seconds, I said,
"Alright Burt, I can play a trumpet much better than you can and you'll never be able to play a trumpet as long as your arsehole points to the ground mate!"
     Burts' face went deep purple now and the veins in his neck were just about to pop. The sun was beating down really hot now and through the smoke and haze of the fires I could still make out Burts' distorted features.
"Ahhhhhhhhh!", he roared at the top of his voice. "I'll fucking kill you ya pommy bastard!", he said as he lifted the large sharp bush axe above his head.

     'Uh Oh!, I heard an inner voice say. 'Now you've really done it! You've pushed a big button this time! If I was in your boots I'd start running for my life, mate!'  As soon as Burt took one step in my direction, I took 10 fast steps in the opposite direction. Off I ran as fast as I could go towards the Bush which was about 100 yards away.
     As I ran flat out across the soft Mali red dirt it was very hard to get some traction on mi boots. I ran around some of the smoking fires, hoping I would give him the slip in the gray, billowing Bush smoke but when I looked over my shoulder, he was gaining on me like a mad, hungry roo dog!
     I jumped clean over one small fire and then over a couple of big old logs, looking over my shoulder very quickly. Again old Burt was still hot on mi tail. His slanty eyes were now wide open and bulging just like a big bullfrogs' and he had foam and saliva running out of the corners of his tightly stretched mouth.

      Faster and faster I ran across the paddock. I had a big pain in mi chest as mi breath was violently being sucked in and out. I only had about 20 yards to go now as I headed for the thickest part of the scrub I could see. I now knew how a big, old gray roo felt with an arse full of buckshot.