“What am I doing here?” Matthew my little brother asked me after I had asked him the same question at least twice before.
“Yes Matthew, what are you doing here? Sounds like a bloody echo around here.” I said.
Matthew looked at me with a sullen look on his face before starting his story.
“Well, I was dating this girl in Brisbane,” capital city of Queensland, “she worked for the Feds,” Federal Police. “She took some photos of some big honky drug dealer and all round bad guy and they spotted her so to hide the photos she gave them to me.”
“Gee that’s nice of her.” I said to him without expression.
He continued. “Yeah she was a nice girl, bit of a knock out. I wish you could have met her. Anyway she gives me these happy snaps of the drug dealers and they bastards come after me. I’ve got no choice so I hot foot it from Brissie, to Isa,” Mount Isa, a small town in central Queensland, “to Darwin to here.”
“And why would you come here Matthew?” I asked. “Why would you risk coming here and putting my life at risk?”
“Well I figured if anyone could deal with stupid drug dealers from the city it’s you. You and I can go bush and then if they follow me up here, they can hunt us through the bush and you can set traps for them.”
“Oh that sounds like a good idea. What sort of traps are you thinking of? A snake in their sleeping bag? Bat attractant on their hats? Bush tricks?”
“Yeah any of that. All we need to do lure them into the bush and you can work your magic.” Matthew said still with a straight face.
“Ok. Well before we rush off into the bush where I can protect you lets just relax and make sure we are on the same page and we aren’t going into this unprepared.”
“Good idea sis!”
I repeated his story back to him word for word then when he agreed that it was exactly as he had said. “Ok, well there is just a couple of things I need clear up before we start organising things.”
“And what is that?” He asked me.
“Well, you say you came from Brissie, via Darwin, not the most direct route.”
“Yeah I was taking the long way to keep them guessing.”
“Of course, that sounds reasonable. So if you came from Brissie, why are you driving a vehicle registered in South Australia?” I let him think about it for a second. “Oh and why if you came in from Darwin did you not come through town first and see the Beast out the front of the station?”
“I umm, I.”
“Oh and the big one, the one I’m struggling with. Why are you repeating the plot line of Crocodile Dundee II to me?”
“The what? They made a sequel to that movie? Wow, is it any good? I’ll have to see it one day!” Matthew replied the smile beginning to form on his face.
I probably shouldn’t have indulged Matthew the way I did, I knew where he was headed with the story as soon as he started with the Feds and drugs but I guess I wanted to see how far he was willing to take the story. In actual fact I didn’t think he’d get past the road trip portion of the story without making a mistake or tripping himself up. I was kind of surprised and happy at the same time.
“I give you points for not tripping up in your delivery but I’m afraid your creativity and originality are going to lose you a number of points. So why Dundee?”
The way he looked at me I was wondering if he was going to give his Dundee story up or keep playing. It was actually touch and go, he knew he was busted but knowing such things didn’t always mean he gave up on them. Thankfully though he seemed to have run his Dundee story as far as he was able to because he did admit his game to me.
“It was just a bit of fun. Figured like all Aussie’s you’d have forgotten about Dundee and I might stump you for at least a little while. But dammit you jumped on it as soon as I started. You were like an American listening to me as if I was narrating an Australian documentary.”
“Believe it or not it’s hard to forget such a story out here. The number of tourists we see who make comparisons between us and that bloody movie is amazing. I could be pulling someone out of a river and they’ll be telling me I’m just like Mick Dundee capturing a crocodile and dragging it out of the water. If it didn’t happen so darn often we’d find it hilarious!”
“Crap. Next time I’ll have to pick Storm Boy or something!” Matthew said with a smile.
“Good Luck.” I said remembering that Storm Boy was a classic, heart warming Australia movie set in the South Australian Coorong and the main star was a kid and his pelican.
“Hey at least my Beast is registered in the right state for that story!” He grinned at me.
“Yeah one true fact is a start I guess?” I paused for a few seconds before adding. “So are you going to tell me why you are actually here?”
“I was fleeing.” He saw the look on my face and laughed. “Ok, sorry. I’ll be serious now.”
I guess what they say really is true, you can chose you friends but you can’t choose your family. Maybe that’s why I fled to the bush all those years ago at least in the middle of nowhere where I wasn’t related to anyone I could make friends with who I wanted to not who I was required too. Don’t get me wrong I loved my brother, and the rest of the family there was a reason there was a distance between us. For our family distance was what kept us apart but distance was also what kept us together.
Previous Desert Rescue story here.