Remember I had myself a bet with Mr Policeman? We were out at Murphey’s Track and I bet him that I would beat him back to town with the loser buying dinner. Remember that? Well I won and Nick owed me dinner.
Let’s conveniently forget that I might have mentioned that I would have claimed there was no bet had Nick won. Let’s also forget that neither Nick or I actually raced. Let’s forget all that because Nick owed me dinner and was trying to get out of the bet.
“I beat you home. I win. You lost the bet. Your shout for dinner.” I said into the microphone of the CB radio as I made my way towards the service station.
“What bet?” Nick said stealing the line I would have used in his position.
“The bet you agreed to when we left Ni…I mean Murhpey’s.” I said with a grin he obviously could see but I knew he’d hear.
“I didn’t agree to any bet.” Nick said as I looked in my rear vision mirror and could see him doing a U-turn and pulling up out the front of the police station.
Pulling up next to the diesel pump I said into the microphone. “You didn’t need to agree to the bet, your facial expression did it for you.”
Nick laughed then said, “Even if there was a bet we came a draw.”
“The Beast was ahead of the Cop Truck! I won, don’t make me go for the photo finish!”
“Oh please don’t subject me to your Tinder profile again!” Nick responded borrowing a line from something I said to him as we sat in my house about to look at the video of me doing the Elvire River rescue.
“Like you don’t already spend all day ogling those pictures of me!”
The silence on the radio only lasted a few seconds but when it was broken it was broken by laughter that didn’t belong to either of us.
“So is that going to be two special parmas or are two just going to roast each other?”
The voice on the radio belonged to Barry, I’ve no idea how long he’d been listening in, the radio in the pub is always on but it’s not in the main bar, but he’d obviously been listening long enough to know we’d been discussing dinner.
“Yeah Barry,” I replied, “make it two parama’s and Nick’s bringing his cheque book!”
“I don’t accept cheques from untrustworthy people!” Barry responded.
“Lucky Miss Money Bags can afford cash then isn’t it!” Nick replied.
“Sorry I can’t hear you two any more, I’m getting diesel” I said, before adding. “See you both in a few minutes!”
Even with the high flow bowser at the service station it still took me a little while to fuel the Beast with diesel. For those not sure, in this country we have two types of bowsers, normal flow is about fifty litres a minute, you imperial suckers can convert that to buckets or drink bottles or whatever you use, and the high flow bowsers are eighty litres per minute. Although some diesel passenger cars can use the higher flow bowsers they were originally installed for trucks, when you need to fill more than five hundred litres it makes sense to get it in there quick. The tanks on the Beast could easily handle the high flow bowser nozzles and I always used it.
The Beast’s tanks don’t compare to a road train, I can get a hundred and eighty litres in there so a quick maths calculation will tell you that filling up with the faster pump makes sense. Although pumping the diesel only took a few minutes to actually fill the tanks it also took a few minutes to pay. Our EFT system is similar to that so many people around the world rely on for every transaction but because of the telephone and internet lines it can occasionally take a bit of time to process the payments.
On top of the time it took to pay for the diesel I also had to spend a few minutes talking to Stephen. Like many of the businesses in town Stephen had CB radio that was turned on whenever the service station was open. He often took service calls for mechanical repairs over the CB as tourists were coming into town. But of course having that radio on also meant he was listening to the banter between Nick and myself.
Although everyone in town is mates and we all natter to each other I guess you could say Nick and my relationship is a bit different to most. I don’t think anyone is jealous that I can yabba on with a police officer like I do and I don’t think anyone else wants me to yabba on with them like I do with Nick. However that didn’t mean our conversations, when heard, didn’t get talked about and after fuelling up the Beast Stephen was just commenting and laughing about the conversation Nick and I had had on the radio on the way in.
So why was the refuelling and conversation important enough to mention right now? Because it helps explain what happened several minutes later.
Back in the Beast I pulled away from the pumps, turned to the right and exited the service station driveway. I had to wait a fifteen seconds for Ken, the motel owner, to drive past, give way to the right in this country! I then headed back towards the police station and parked myself out the front beside Nick’s police four wheel drive. Climbing down from the Beast’s cabin I decided to duck into the police station too see if Nick was ready to buy me dinner. It was still a joke but one I thought I’d keep playing.
Walking around the passenger side of the Beast I could see the sign on the door that Nick put up to tell people the station was unattended and I knew he’d forgone the paperwork of our wild goose chase and gone straight to the pub for dinner. I turned tale and headed for the pub.
I stepped up to the pub door and pushed it open and was greeted by two things. Cool refreshing air conditioned air coming from the a/c unit inside and Nick sitting at the bar already changed out of his uniform and into his civis.
“Looks like it’s your shout Deano.”
“What do you mean my shout?” I asked, as I walked up to the bar.
“I beat you here.”
“No you didn’t, I was clearly first, the whole town knows about!” I sat down on the bar stool next to Nick.
“Ahh yes but while you were fuelling your truck I made a counter bet that I’d beat you to the pub, you might not have been listening, but low an behold I won, so it’s your shout!”
Previous Desert Rescue story here.