“You reckon Nick will hang around?” Matthew asked from the passenger seat of his rental chariot that he had let me drive from Fitzroy Crossing.

He was of course talking about Nick hanging around at Fitzroy Crossing and waiting for our return after he had finished his work with Sam. I had no idea how long Nick was going to need to do his work and finalise all the crap that happened at Gibb Airport but time probably wasn’t on our side for any sort of meeting.

We managed to get ourselves back on the road by just after 9am. Knowing Nick he probably wouldn’t have left Halls before 7am, despite any thoughts he might have had about leaving earlier. Such a departure time would have Nick in Fitzroy Crossing by 10ish, by that time we’d still have about six or maybe even seven hours of road travel ahead of us, plus whatever time it took us to have a feed and do the vehicle change over.

“Doubt we’ll be back to Fitzroy much before six tonight. Even if Nick sleeps in that’s a lot of hours he’s going to have to kill just to meet us.” I replied to Matthew’s question.

“Well maybe not me, but your are his special little friend.” Matthew said with the biggest smirk he could possibly make on his face.

Letting go of the steering wheel with my left hand I swung and collected his arm and chest with a thump. For my troubles I got a grunt and a groan.

“Serves you right for being a smart arse!” I said with a smile. Matthew said nothing in reply but he was rubbing his arm as I continued to speak. “I don’t know how long his work is going to take him but I’d imagine he’ll be headed back once it’s done. Not much point him hanging around just to chin wag with his mates.”

For those not sure what a chin wag do it’s simply a term for having a chat. Men do it as well as women do and probably do it as often as women, they just do it with different topics. Looks it’s not rocket science, men talk, women talk, sometimes they talk together but put them in a group of their own and both sides talk and both sides dribble shit. It’s like Mansplaining, even in the remote towns like Halls that stupid term gets thrown around, mostly from tourists but it still gets thrown around as if it’s only one sex that does it. Seriously women, wake the hell up to yourselves, Womensplaining is just as damn annoying some times, the only real difference is the topic ‘splained’.

Oops I think I got caught in another little Deanrant, which does sound better than womansplain.

“Ouch! What was that for?” Matthew seemed surprised that I was thumping him again.

“With a reply like that you obviously know what it was for!” I replied putting my hand back on the steering wheel.

“Why would I ask if I knew what it was for?”

“You ask because you want me to think you haven’t done anything.”

“I ask because I did nothing and I really want to know what it is you think I did.” Matthew replied but I decided not to keep the circular conversation going.

We were about two hours into our four hour journey between Fitzroy Crossing and Broome, I was still driving and Matthew had been having a wee Nanna nap in the passenger seat. It had been peaceful and I wasn’t going to begrudge him a bit of a snooze if it meant he was going to be more human, well as human as he gets! (I’m so rude sometimes, but since this is my story I’m allowed to be).

The thing was that the trip hadn’t become overly riotous or raucous since Matthew woke, in fact he’d said very little, but something had changed, something which as strange as it sounds I didn’t notice immediately. Although perhaps I should have because someone, and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t me, had turned the damn seat warmer on.

According to the Toyota’s GPS screen it was 42 degrees centigrade outside, humidity was low and the sun was streaming through the windscreen making the climate control system work overtime. Now it might seem weird to suggest that I didn’t notice the seat getting hot, but that’s the weird thing with those seat heaters, you sometimes just don’t feel it until your bum is too hot to be comfortable.

Of course Matthew switching the seat warmer on was payback for me doing exactly the same thing to him not long after we left Halls Creek more than six hours ago, but did that make it fair? Probably, but that didn’t make him exempt from me giving him a thump.

“I didn’t even see you do it you cheeky bugger.” I said.

“Do what?”

Obviously Matthew wasn’t too worried about another circular conversation, I wondered if he was also not worried about getting another thump. I took my hand off the steering wheel and swung it slowly towards his arm, but I got less than half way before changing its direction and moving it to the on off switch for the seat heater. Matthew flinched which did give me some amusement but I didn’t let on.

“I suppose the seat heater just came on all by itself? A glitch in the system maybe. The computer reading minus 42 and thinking I needed my arse warmed.” I said putting my hand back on the wheel.

“Sounds reasonable to me!” Matthew said without looking at me, but I could tell he was smiling and that he was only one tiny step away from breaking out in laughter.

“Well if you want to make it to Broome I suggest you watch that computer a bit more closely and make sure such a thing doesn’t happen again!” I said.

Previous Outback Rescue story here