“What the fucking hell is that?” Growly man asked as all four of us saw a fireball leap into the southern sky.

“Explosion.” his Indonesian friend said being as insightful as a dry creek bed.

“I can fucking see that but what the fuck is exploding?”

I wasn’t exactly sure who growly man was talking to because I doubt his Indonesian mate had any better answers than his first attempt. In truth neither did Nick or I but in our defence we were sitting down not able to see over the wall of the communications tower when it happened. Despite all that let me explain what we saw because I think I could do a better job of explaining it that Growly man or his friend.

In a southern direction there was a fireball in the dark night sky. How’s that for an explanation? Ok a bit more.

Given the direction I had to assume that the explosion we could see was on the road to the airport, not the track where the Beast was parked but the actual main service road which came up from the highway between Halls Creek and Fitzroy Crossing. Going by the big ball of fire that rose and quickly died down I judged that it was probably about ten maybe fifteen kilometres down that road, however it could just as easily have been twenty given what we were seeing. But I had my doubts that it was much further than twenty given that there is a rise on that road a little further than twenty kilometres out and beyond that we wouldn’t have been able to see the fireball as well.

What the fireball was I could not tell, it was obviously well fuelled which indicated petrol or other such explosive material, but there was no way of telling exactly what it was. My guess at the time was that it looked a bit like a caravan gas tank explosion, but what a caravan was doing along that part of the road after midnight I did not have an answer for.

“What the fuck was that?” Growly man repeated, this time it was clear he was talking to Nick or myself.

“No idea.” Nick said.

“Definitely an unusual place for an explosion at this time of night.” I replied. “Maybe the dingoes blew up their oven again. You just can’t trust a dingo around fire any more!”

There was a slapping noise and a bit of a grunt from me as my offer of assistance was met with a slap across the left hand side of my face.

“Leave her alone!” Nick called out as I shook the cobwebs out.

The slap hurt a bit but I didn’t see it coming and therefore had no chance to counteract it. But there was no way I was going to show Growly man that he was getting the better of me.

“Yes I agree, leave me alone or I will…”

I was interrupted by Growly man. “Or you will what? Bitch!”

“I’ll tackle your scrawny little arse, through that wall, or over it I don’t care. Then ride you down to the ground and splat you on the dirt like a fucking welcome mat!” Growly man had really done it at that point, he’d annoyed me enough to get me swearing.

“Dean, settle down!” Nick said forcefully. I hoped he was not ordering me to heel

“Listen to the Copper, bitch! The next smack in the face wont be as fucking gentle as the last one. In fact get your arse down there and fucking stay there. I’ve had about as much of your smart arse fucking mouth as I can put up with.” I moved backwards towards where Growly man was pointing and sat down. “Another fucking word from you and I’ll rip out your fucking tongue.”

As I sat down I couldn’t help myself, well I suppose I could of but I did kind of have a plan. “You wont get a chance. Once you’re laid out like a welcome mat I’ll rip off your balls and feed them to the nearest dingo. Actually scratch that, I’ll feed them to a rabbit because they wouldn’t be a big enough meal for a dingo!”

Ok, I knew that comment would go unpunished but I had to do something and talking loudly and angrily was all apart of the plan I hoped I had. Surely enough I got a fairly hard kick in the right shin for my attitude. I also got angry words from Growly man and pleas from Nick to be quiet, Indonesian man really didn’t seem to care what the other three of us did.

After I was kicked, and tried not to groan in pain, Nick was pushed down beside me.

“You make her shut the fuck up!” Growly man told him, then turned back to look in the direction of the fire.

Nick leaned in to me and told me again that I had to shut up because these guys meant business. Then in a lower voice he said. “Was that welcome mat comment some sort of code?” I nodded. “he’s out there?” I nodded again. “We have to tell him to stop. He can’t take these guys on by himself. Bloody hell, you shouldn’t have tried.”

I whispered. “Hopefully he’s gone for help, but I wanted to let you know he could still be out there. And my code worked.” I smiled as I spoke.

“Bloody hell!” Nick groaned as he slumped against the low wall of the comms tower next to me.

It was at that moment things changed. As I previous mentioned the comms tower had suffered years of vandalism, from who no one knew but even in the outback we weren’t immune from arseholes. Part of the vandalism was the ladder, which Growly man or his mate had fixed, another part of it was that there was no glass left in the windows, barely even shards. The lack of glass made what happened next so much easier.

Firstly Indonesian man flopped backwards, shuffled on his feet and then fell over the low wooden wall and dropped out of sight towards the ground. At the same time as that man hit the ground with a hard thump Growly man realised something was wrong. But it was too late for him as he too flopped backwards, however he did not fall out of the comms tower, he fell at the feet of Nick and I, he also had a huge red mark on his forehead which kind of matched the rock that bounced once on the wooden deck we were sitting on then bounced a second time into the battery lantern that was providing us with light.

Everything then went dark.

Previous Outback rescue story here.