Rigabold the pernicketness had run out of Chiko Rolls before he left Wirrulla and the chances of getting any at the roadhouses for the next few hours was slim to none. The Spring Rolls like he had at Hall Creek, his first stop after leaving the Stargazer, had a higher probability of availability according to his GPS and while they were quiet good they weren’t in any way Chiko Rolls. The simple fact that Spring Rolls seemed to more popular among roadhouses was proof to Rigabold that Earthlings really didn’t have much hope for a long existence.
He’d spent a little longer in Wirrulla looking at the Thunderdome and ‘the Secret’ than he had first expected, the day was getting on and even with the towns closer together Rigabold knew it wouldn’t be that long before it was once again dark. Being Tumcuddulan Rigabold didn’t feel tiredness like humans did but darkness would of course bring the risk of animals on the road, as well as half asleep drivers and that was enough to make him consider whether it was worth driving on after dark. But he had a few towns to pass through before that became an issue so he decided to sit back and enjoy the drive.
Less than an hour after leaving Wirrulla Rigabold pulled up at the Poochera roadhouse, not because he needed fuel but because there was something for him to see. Tourist attractions were not something that were suppose to be a part of Rigabold’s tour of duty but over the time he’d been driving he’d pretty much thrown his itinerary out the window. He figured when he finally got home his superiors would have words to say about his detours and extra time but if he succeeded and at the same time came away with a wealth of other earthly information then his mistakes would be forgiven. That was his theory anyway!
There was a saying among many that went something like, “Everything is big in Australia”, and although Rigabold and other Tumcuddulan males scoffed at such comments given their own three foot wide mating appendages it was a saying that did have some weight. It wasn’t the people in Australia that were big, big hearted maybe, it was what the people made. They had a tendency to build big things, not just building and structures like other countries they built big statues, and big things that meant something to the local areas.
In actual fact there was well over a hundred and fifty “big things” scattered around every state of the country. Rigabold would like to have seen each and every one of them but even he knew that such time was not available to him no matter how much useful information he was able to gather. But that wasn’t going to stop him checking out some of the big stuff that he passed or at least came close to on his travels.
The first of those big things he was going to take time to look he could see out of the driver’s window of the Dodge as he parked at the Poochera roadhouse. It was a big ant.
Rigabold understood that such a ‘big’ item would not hold much fascination for many people, it was after all just a big ant made of steel and fibreglass. In fact Rigbaold was sure given all that he’d read about humans that some would find it disgusting, while others couldn’t bear to look at it.
Although the GPS in his Dodge could have told him the same information as the board near by Rigabold decided he’d continue the tourist feel of things and read the board which was put there for that reason. What he found out was that the ant was a giant replica of an ant that was found in the area some forty earth years ago, they had first been found in the same town where some of the remnants of the Skylab space craft he knocked out of orbit landed back in the Western Australia, the town of Balladonia. But since several nests of them were found in Poochera in the 1970’s they’d not again been sighted in Balladonia.
The sign also told about how the ants are known as living fossils and that was what gave them the name Dinosaur ant, however Rigabold knew them as Nothomyrmecia Macrops because they were prominent and extremely useful on the planet of Tumcuddula. He read with interest that perhaps the world’s most uncommon ant, an ant that was used to prolong life on his home planet was barely known on Earth and that the town of Poochera was perhaps the only town on Earth that thrived on tourism created by ants.
Although he didn’t have high hopes of getting any Chiko Rolls, or spearmint moo juice for that matter, at the Poochera roadhouse Rigabold decided he’d make the trip inside just in case. Unfortunately for him his hopes were right to be so low, even though it was mid afternoon and creeping towards the time that humans would be thinking about food for the meal they called dinner, there was no Chiko Rolls cooking and none in the freezer waiting to be cooked. He did however find a spearmint moo juice in a box, it didn’t appear to be the same product that he’d purchased and liked from Western Australia but it was better than nothing.
Not desperately needing food Rigabold settled on the four spearmint moo juices that were in the fridge, paid for them at the register and made his way back to his vehicle which was sitting next to the giant ant where he parked it.
In less than three minutes he was back on the Eyre Highway headed east drinking down his first moo juice.