“So what are we going to do with him?” I asked. “Wait for your boys to arrive from the city and clear the scene of him and the ute?”
“Nah, we’ll be here for days waiting for them to make a friggen crime scene and forensically analyse every leaf and stone. We need some good ol’ outback ingenuity.”
“What do you have mind?”
“Hook and release.” Nick said with a grin.
Although it wasn’t an official term, wasn’t even an in joke, I knew exactly that Nick was referring to. Rather than wait a day for the city teams to arrive we’d just hook the stolen Land Cruiser up onto the Beast, clean up the site then take the old girl home and dump it in Halls Creek where the forensic teams could sift through it and we could get on with our lives. Sure it wasn’t exactly ‘city cop’ routine but nothing Thomas did out in our neck of the woods required any sort of criminal analysis and we wanted to get home.
“Awe you don’t want to spend another romantic night under the star with moi?” I replied in a silly voice.
“We can really make it romantic when Maggot here wakes up.” Nick stated, “I always fancied a threesome under the stars!”
“Eww I don’t even think I want to watch that!”
“So back to plan A then?”
I nodded, then pointed to Thomas, who was still out cold and asked. “What are we going to do with Thomas?”
Nick walked to the front of the Beast and looked around it to the Land Cruiser. “Dog Box!”
“What?” It was an exclamation of surprise more than a question.
While we were in the Beast scoping out the scene and deciding how we were going to approach Thomas I too noticed the caged box at the front of the ute tray, a box the ute’s owner no doubt used to transport his dogs in. However my first thought about containing Thomas wasn’t to use the dog box.
“Well it’s either that or he rides with us and I’m not sure the prick deserves a luxury trip.”
Don’t get me wrong here I’m not a sadistic person, I do believe in human rights etc but I also believe some people lose some of their rights when they do things like take another person’s life. I knew we had six hours of driving ahead of us and we’d be spending more of that time on bitumen than we did on the way down but I was still a little hesitant about putting Thomas in the dog box.
“Realistically if he was in the dog box on my bus,” Nick was referring to the fibreglass rear body of his own police wagon. “he’d be just as badly off. It would be just as hot, just as rough, the main difference is he’d have more room. Inside this one he probably wont get thrown around as much because he wont have the room.”
“Are you sure we can do this?” I asked Nick.
“Of course we can, I’m an officer of the law.”
“What if he screams about harassment when we get back.”
“We had to restrain him for his own good, he was a threat to himself as well as us and riding in the cabin with him was unsafe so we secured him in the place he was least likely to do any harm to himself or us.”
“You’ve done this before?” I asked.
“Not exactly but I’ve done similar things as the need arises, it’s amazing how compliant these tough guys are when they get home. It’s like we shouldn’t be removing him or the car from the scene but by the time my report goes in we’ll have found the guy on the move. It saves me so much paper work and I’m going to have enough of it explaining why I didn’t wait in town, I don’t need more.”
“As long as you’ve got it all under control, I’m happy to go along with your plans Mr. Police Man!” I replied.
The first thing we did was secure Thomas, the guy had been out cold for several minutes and we didn’t want to risk him waking up unbound. Nick pushed his hand cuffs through the belt loop of Thomas’ pants then securely tightened each cuff around his wrist. Once that was done we used a piece of rope to secure his feet to his wrists, he wouldn’t be able to walk but he wasn’t going to need such a privilege for a few hours.
Thomas woke up as we were sliding him into the dog box, he thrashed around a bit but was restrained enough that it didn’t matter. His screaming on the other hand was a little harder to deal with, it was louder than any trapped animal I had ever heard.
“Shut up and get in there.” Nick said as he shoved. “What you do in the next ten seconds decides whether you get something to rest your head on in there, now settle down.”
Thomas obviously figured he was over powered and compliance was his best choice. “Where are we going?”
“Halls Creek,” Nick said.
“That’s hours away! You can’t leave me here all that time.”
“Wanna bet?” we said in unison
Latching the caged door we walked away from Thomas and began packing up his camp site. The whole time we were picking stuff up and dumping it in the back of the Land Cruiser Thomas screamed. Sometimes it was for help, some times it was for things like a toilet or to stretch his legs and sometime it was just screams for attention, but we ignored them all.
As I reversed the Beast into position to winch the Toyota up into the tilt tray Nick gave Thomas a large woollen blanket to rest his head on, offered him some water and told him we’d be sure to stop often enough to keep him alive. When I climbed out of the cabin I heard Nick’s raised voice.
“Think yourself fucking lucky, it’s more than you bloody deserve.”
Twenty minutes we were chained down and ready to go.
I took it easy on the dirt, not just because Thomas was in the Land Cruiser’s dog box but because with an extra four tonnes sitting on the truck it didn’t pay to treat things rough. The Beast could of course handle the load, she was rated for more than a loaded Toyota but bouncing across the dirt with any load on put all manner of stress on things and I was prepared to risk my Beast for anyone or anything.
The trip home was largely uneventful, we were on the bitumen within the hour and after that we stopped every hour to water the horses, or the horses arse, and despite his protests we left him there. The road back to Halls is definitely not city quality but it was a lot better than the dirt we travelled on to find Thomas. With the day getting on it also cooled down and made the trip more enjoyable.
We rolled into Halls Creek just after 7pm, Nick’s city crew were waiting for us having received message from us that we were returning and there was no need for them to leave, they weren’t happy but there was little they could do. They were less happy when they saw the way we transported the prisoner, all expect one, Nick’s immediate supervisor, Pete Hammet who had once worked a remote outpost himself and knew things often worked differently in the bush.
An hour later after all the paperwork was complete, the Toyota parked at the police station and all the cops had forgotten about me I was on my way home for a well deserved sleep.
Previous Outback Rescue story here.