Thirty five degrees before lunch and Nick and I were chasing the fugitive from the city in the hot Western Australia bush. We were at the Thomas’ camp, he’d been set up for a few days and he was looking quite comfortable. We weren’t entirely sure why he’d given up running, we assumed it was because he’d decided no one was chasing him this far into the bush. This however didn’t make him very inviting when strangers came upon his camp.
We were fairly certain he hadn’t seen us doing anything inside the cabin of The Beast because anything that happened in there was done so behind the seats. We were fairly certain he didn’t suspect Nick was a police officer and we were fairly sure he didn’t know we were packing hand guns, or and arsenal in the truck. Many people come out into the bush with firearms but not as many as we had.
Despite what we didn’t think he knew we were still cautious, very cautious indeed, and when we walked around the front of his ute to find him sitting in a camp chair pointing a shotgun at us we were a little surprised. It wasn’t the first time that either of us had had a gun pointed at us, but that doesn’t mean the act still doesn’t take us by surprise, all it means is that we might handle that surprise differently to some people.
Although I had no intention of reaching for my gun I felt Nick’s arm reach across me and gently push me behind him like he was protecting me. He didn’t reach for his gun ether, instead once he stopped pushing me he lifted both his hands in the air and spoke.
“Whoa man!” I felt him step backwards into me, I wasn’t completely behind him but he was protecting me a little bit. “we don’t want any trouble, we just came back to say thanks for the information and that we’d be on our way.”
“Yeah I don’t think you will be.” Thomas said standing up and still keeping the gun pointed towards us. “You see I’ve been stuck here for three days since this useless fucking thing,” He thumped the Land Cruiser with his right hand, ”ran out of diesel.”
By his own words he managed to answer at least one of our queries, without words he also managed to give us an idea of what his next move would be, taking the Beast and leaving us stranded. I had news for him and it was all bad. He might have been holding a gun but there was no way he was taking my wheels without a fight.
“That’s a pretty impressive looking ride you rocked up in Dean,” Thomas spoke to Nick still oblivious to who we were. “I’ll be more than happy to take it off your hands and leave you with this hunk of shit.”
“You can leave us out here, we’d in the middle of a rescue.” Nick pleaded.
”I don’t give a fuck about your rescue!” Thomas said.
“Look we can give you diesel if that’s what you need.” I said out of reflex.
“She’s right,” Nick said. “There is no need for guns or anything, we’ve got spare diesel on board and your welcome to it, free of charge.”
“Oh that’s so fucking big of you Dean.” Thomas said with a smirk on his face. “But I think I’ll just take your fancy wheels.
The guy had more balls than brains because as Nick spoke Thomas walked towards us and placed the barrel of the shotgun against his chest. Without realising it he’d gone too far and given Nick the upper hand, he might not get the action some city cops get but Nick could more than handle himself, especially with a gun pointed at him.
“That doesn’t seem likely.” Nick said as he quickly pushed the shotgun barrel to his left and away from his body then lifted his right hand and slammed it into Thomas’ face.
The look on Thomas’ face, immediately before the punch was one of complete shock, he didn’t even get a shot in as the gun was pushed out of harms way.The crack of Nick’s fist hitting Thomas’ nose was a little sickening and blood began gushing from his nose immediately. Thomas went down onto the dry red dirt like a sack of potatoes dropping the gun and clutching his nose. Nick picked up the shotgun and expelled the shells from the chamber.
He might have been down on his knees and bleeding but Thomas still had some fight and while Nick took care of the shotgun Thomas decided he would bolt. Turning on his heels quickly Thomas got to his feet and bolted around the back of the Land Cruiser. Neither of us gave chase, we knew it wasn’t worth it there was only so many places Thomas could go and the keys weren’t in the Beast so that left his only options to flee on foot.
“Come on Thomas, don’t be an idiot.” Nick called. “You’re not going to escape on foot, comeback here and give yourself up and save me having to chase you.”
“I don’t know who you are but your going to end up dead.” Thomas called.
Nick and I together decided that we weren’t going to let Thomas get the upper hand, he may well have had other weapons on his person but we too were armed and between the two of and our combined knowledge of the bush the city slicker had little chance of beating us, we just had to keep him in sight.
The chase didn’t last long, Thomas ran us in a circle he obviously had the idea that if he circled back he could get in the Beast and run before we had a chance to get back. Two things he didn’t know was that the keys were in my pocket and that there was a kill switch installed under the dash which kicked in and emobilised the engine after five minutes of the keys being removed, call it a safety device.
When Thomas found out that he had no hope of starting the Beast the idiot climbed up on the tray, pulled a hang gun out from the back of his pants and pointed it at Nick.
“Where the fuck is she?” Thomas called out to Nick. He hadn’t seen me slide under the tray just in front of the rear axle as he climbed up.
“She doesn’t matter to you. You shoot her and you’ll be answering to me.”
“I’ll shoot you first then.” Thomas pointed the gun directly at Nick.
“Shoot me and you’ll have the entire WA police force hunting you down with no regard for your safety.” Nick called and I didn’t hesitate
“Yeah but they’ll have to get through me first!” I said popping up from under the tray, grabbing Thomas’ left foot and yanking him sideways and off balance.
In complete shock Thomas fell towards the cabin of the Beast. Although his hip hit the steel deck first it was his head smashing against the headboard of the tray that did the damage. The first crack just about the bold lettering of the S.W.L sticker knocked him out cold. The second crack just below the 8000KG sticker cut his head open and left him bleeding on my truck. Needless to say after that Thomas was putty in our hands.
“Well done Dean,” Nick said to me as he approached the truck.
“Twasn’t nuthin’” I said, “He threatened to steal the Beast, there was no way I could let him get away with that!”
Previous outback rescue stories here.