Saturday, August 8, 2020

DAVID THE SHEPHERD


 Before we got to the farm where David the Shepherd was lambing, we stopped for a pint in a small village. Billy bought his smokes and a dozen bottles of beer.
"What's the bottles for mate?"
"I bought 'em for you Yorky. This lambing work can be pretty stressful at times and it's long hours so you'll need them."
"How thoughtful of you mate. Good on ya."
"There's a tobacconist down the street. You'd better pick up some rolling tobacco for ya self. Ya won't be able to leave the farm once I drop ya off.

     As we pulled up outside of the caravan which was parked in the top corner of the farmers' house paddock, the door opened and David the Shepherd appeared.
"David, how are ya?", said Billy.
"I'm alright Billy, how are you?"
"Pretty good mate. This is Yorky, he's gonna' help ya through the season."
"How are ya Yorky. Boy, am I glad to see you. I thought I'd be left to struggle on mi own this year."
"I told ya I'd get ya a helper David."
"Yeah, I know, but you don't always follow through when you say you'll do something."
"Only when it's not in my control, David. Otherwise I always get ya what ya need."
"Did ya bring the Magnesium Bullets?"
"Yeah, everything ya need is in the back of the Ute."

Saturday, March 28, 2020

MATES-MAN-SHIP


MATES-MAN-SHIP

<><><><><>

Shearers don't always shear. When it rains they are forced to do other kinds of work or travel hundreds of miles to find a shed where it isn't raining..


YORKY (V/O)

I had a full tank of juice and a few bucks to spare and a long trip ahead of me. I was on the highway to St.George now and it was pissin’ down with rain. There was no lack of semi-trailers heading to their destinations. Every time one passed mi old station wagon, it kicked up a water spray so big that I had to slow down to make sure I didn’t run off the road. It was one of the worst nights drives I had ever experienced. Little did I know things were not going to improve.

The contractor had given me directions on the phone of how to find the cockys’ shed. I had  my hand-drawn map on the dashboard so I didn’t  miss a turn off otherwise I’d end up lost on some dirt-track road out in the middle of nowhere, out of petrol.

At long last I saw the shed off in the distance which, let me tell you, was a very welcome sight. It was about 6 O’clock in the morning when I pulled up outside the shearers’ quarters. When I opened the door to get out of the station wagon I noticed how stiff mi legs and back were. As I did a couple of stretches, a bloke sauntered out of the cook house and walked over to where I was parked. 

BILL THE CONTRACTOR
(Extends hand)

G’day mate. I’m Bill, the contractor. you must be Yorky.

YORKY

Yeah, that’s right mate.

BILL

Jesus sport, you must be fuckin’ broke drivin’ all the way up here in this stinkin’ fuckin’ weather?

YORKY

Ya not wrong there Bill. It was a case of driving up here for two days work or sittin’ on mi arse in Moree pub goin’ broke.

BILL

Well, I’m glad ya made it safe and sound mate but I got a bit a’ bad news for ya. The Cocky fucked up and didn’t get the sheep in the shed in time so the blokes voted ‘em out as wet!

YORKY 

Oh for fucks sake! Ya mean I’ve driven all the way up here for fuck-all?

BILL

Well, not quite mate. We got enough dry ones for two runs.

YORKY

Oh well, that’ll have to do. 

BILL

It’s better than a poke in the eye with the burnt end of a forky stick Yorky mate. Anyway, go get ya self some breakfast and a hot cuppa’. The cook’s about to serve up.

YORKY (V/O)

Fuck me rome, an all-night drive for four hours work. What fuckin’ else can go wrong?
<><><><><>


Before that thought could drift away like a cloud in the sky, down the rain came again, only this time it was heavier than ever. Over breakfast, I introduced myself to a few of the other shearers and then made mi way over to the shed. Once inside, another lovely surprise awaited me. Big wooly, wrinkly wethers! 

YORKY (V/O) Cont’d

Fuck me dead! Wouldn’t that root ya fuckn’ boot! I’ll be flat-out gettin’ 30 a run in these mongrel bred bastards!

(Yorky walks over to young bloke loading up his gear on one of the stands.)

YORKY

G’day mate. Which is the spare stand?

JEFF

Couple down from me sport. Number 6.

YORKY

Good on ya’.


(The young bloke loads his gear. He saunters over to where Yorky is and sticks out his hand.)

JEFF

What’s ya name sport? Mine’s Jeff.

YORKY

Yorky, good to meet ya’ Jeff.

(They shake hands.)


JEFF

Where the fuck did you come from in this weather Yorky?

YORKY

I drove all night from Moree.

JEFF

Jesus Christ mate, that’s a fuckin’ long way to drive for a couple of runs!


YORKY

Yeah, well the contractor said he had a couple of days work and there’s fuck all happening around the Moree area.

JEFF

What was it like drivin’ into the cockys’ place on those dirt tracks this morning?

YORKY

Not too fuckin’ good Jeff. I nearly lost it a couple of times and I’m used to wet dirt roads.

JEFF

Fuck me, if it was that bad when you drove in, we may end up stuck here till she dries out a bit.

YORKY

Don’t fuckin’ tell me that Jeff. I’ve had a hard enough time gettin’ here. That’s the last fuckin’ thing I wanna’ hear!

JEFF

Yeah, I know mate, but this Queensland bush country can be pretty treacherous. It’s all black soil around these parts.

YOKRY

Meanin’ what mate?


JEFF

It’s a bastard in wet weather. It sticks to the tires and build up under the wheel arch. Ya gotta’ stop and dig it out then or it will fuck up the diff!

YORKY

Ya got anymore good fuckin’ news mate?

(They laugh. Jeff walks back to his his stand. Yorky loads his hand piece.)

YORKY V/O

I like that bloke. He’s got a good sense of humor.

(Bell rings. Yorky pulls out his first sheep.)

YORKY V/O  (Cont’d)

These bastards are not going to be money for old rope!

(Yorky shearing.)

(Yorky smokes and sits on the board with the rest of the shearers. Washes up a couple of combs and a few cutters for grinding. Jeff walks over and sits down.)

JEFF

So where ya headin’ after lunch Yorky?

YORKY

I’m fucked if I know Jeff. I’m all out of ideas.

JEFF

Why don’t we travel together mate. We’ve got a much better chance of gettin’ out’a here alive.

YORKY

Sounds good to me. Ya got ya own vehicle?

JEFF

Yeah mate, if ya can call it that. She’s a fuckin’ old Falcon on her last legs but she hasn’t let me down yet. 

(With no more sheep to shear the contractor declares the shed over.)

YORKY (V/O)

Three and a half hours shearing in woolly fuckin’ wethers for an all night drive from Moree to the black blocks of St. George! What a bastard! My main concern is now gettin’ out of this shit-hole.

(The shearers are all paid off. A few of the shearers discuss how they’re going to get back onto the pitchmen.   Two convoys of cars leave the shearing shed in the rain. Everyone is covered in mud and soaking wet. When they get onto the main road, Yorky goes up to Jeffs’ car and speaks with him,)

YORKY

What d’ya wanna’ do now mate?

JEFF

Well, I was shearing around these parts last year so I reckon our best bet would be to head towards Charleville. Once it dries up we’ll pick up a pen there, no worries. I know a couple of contractors that I shore for last season.

YORKY

 That sounds pretty fuckin’ good to me Jeff. 

(The 2 cars follow each other to the nearest watering hole and stop for a few beers)

JEFF
(Sitting at bar talking)

Charleville’s full of fuckin’ Yobos’ mate. We’ll  have to fuckin’ watch each others backs.


YORKY

Ya’ want another beer? 

JEFF

Might as well. We’re not goin’ anywhere till this storm ceases up a bit.


EXT - EVENING - SAME DAY - OUTSIDE HOTEL IN PARKING LOT)

(Yorky and Jeff get their cars ready for sleeping in.)


INT - MORNING - LOOKING OUT WINDSCREEN OF CAR. 


YORKY V/O

The whole place looks like a lake!

(Yorky goes over to Jeffs’ car and tries to wake up Jeff by banging on the roof of his car. Jeff wakes up and winds his window down half-way.)

JEFF 
(Groggy voice)

Jeezus mate, what time is it? 

YORKY

It’s 6:30 mate. Ya gettin’ up or not? 

JEFF

Yeah, I suppose I’d better. I feel a bit crook from the grog last night. Mi mouth tastes like a mob of Galahs’ took a shit in it! Ya got any XXXX in the back of your station wagon?

YORKY

Yeah, I got the remains of that 6-pack we bought at closin’ time.

JEFF

Good on ya Yorky mate. Ya think ya could find ‘em and crack a couple for us? I’m not firin’ on all 6 yet!

YORKY

No worries mate. I know where they are.

(Yorky returns from his car with the beers. After they finished off a couple of tinnies Yorky says to Jeff)

YORKY

Let’s have a look around and see if we can find a Dago shop. I need a hot cuppa’ and something to eat. All we had to eat last night was potato chops and salted peanuts washed down with one too many beers!


JEFF

Yeah, I suppose a bit of tucker wouldn’t go astray.


(Yorky and Jeff finish breakfast they head out to Charleville. The rain has slowed down somewhat. When they arrive in Charleville they head to the hotel that Jeff did most of his drinking at the previous year)


INT - BAR - LATE AFTERNOON

YORKY

Ya gonna’ give that contractor a ring and see what he’s got goin’?

JEFF

No worries Yorky. I’ll do it now before I get too pissed. 

YORKY

Ya got any idea where we’re gonna’ camp?

JEFF

I sure have mate. Soon as I get done callin’ the contractor, we’ll book into this caravan park where I camped last year. It’s not much and it’s a bit rough but it beats sleepin’ on the back seat of mi car. Get another round in Yorky, I’ll be back shortly.

(Jeff goes to the pay-phone and then returns to the bar.)

YORKY

How d’ya go Jeff? Was the contractor home?

JEFF

Yeah, no worries mate. We got a start at a station called Wonbin. It’s somewhere between here and Quilpy. Now all we gotta’ do is sit out this fuckin’ rain and wait for the sheep to dry out.

INT BAR - TV ON - WEATHER REPORT

WEATHER REPORTER ON TV

“Charleville is now cut of from all the main roads due to flash-flooding!”


JEFF

This fuckin’ weathers’ not lookin’ too good Yorky. We may be stuck here for a couple of weeks!


YORKY

I fuckin’ hope not Jeff. At the rate we’re goin’ I’ll be outta’ money in 3 or 4 days! 


JEFF

No worries mate. I’ve got enough to keep us goin’ for maybe a week. It depends on how hard we hit the grog.


YORKY

Maybe we ought to slow down a bit then.

JEFF

Fuck that for a joke Yorky. What else are we gonna’ do if we don’t drink? Sit in that tin can they call a caravan, staring at the walls?

EXT - HOTEL - EVENING

(Yorky and Jeff are sitting outside on a bench after the bar has closed. They are eating hamburgers and drinking beer, under the awning.)

(A broken down ute rounds the corner on 2 wheels and comes to an abrupt halt right in front of Yorky and Jeff. On the back of the use was a metal crate with half-a-dozen yobos, waving shot guns around.)

FAT YOBO

G’day

(A face full of stubble. A double-barrel shotgun in one hand and in his other hand is a tinnie, He’s wearing an old singlet and a pair of stubbies. His gut, which is covered in hair, sticks out  like dogs’ balls)

JEFF

G’day. How are ya? 

FAT YOBO

Pretty good.


JEFF

What’s the spotlight and double barrels for? Ya goin’ pig shootin’?

FAT YOBO

We’re huntin’ bungs tonight! We’re chasin’ a couple of coons in an old Holden. Did they drive past ya?

JEFF

Nah mate. We’ve been sat here for the past half-hour. We haven’t seen any abbos’  in a Holden.

FAT YOBO

Where ya blokes from? What are ya doin’ in our town? 

YORKY

We’re shearers from New South. 

FAT YOBO

No worries then mate. We don’t mind shearers, long as ya not coon lovers.


JEFF

Not us. We’re  just mindin’ our own business, eatin’ a burger and havin’ a quiet beer.


FAT YOBO

No worries then Sport. Do us a favor and let us know if they drive down this street. We’ll be back around here in an hour or so. 

JEFF

Ya fair dinkum about shootin’ ‘em?

FAT YOBO

Fuckin’ oath mate. There’s too many of the black bastards around Charleville for  my likin’ and besides, this town belongs to us white fellas’ not those fuckin’ bungs!  See ya around.

(Truck drives up street shining the 12 Volt spotlight up and down)

YORKY

Fuck me dead! Ya think they’re fair dinkum Jeff?

JEFF

Fuckin’ oath mate, let’s head off before the inbred bastards come back. I don’t wanna’ get on the wrong side of these retards!

<><><><>


YORKY V/O
INT - BAR 

My situation is as bleak as the weather. I’m down to a full middy, a packet of Drum and papers and 78 cents change in mi pocket.

         YORKY  (Cont’d)

Hey Jeff, ya got any ideas what we’re goin’ to do for money? Ya think ya family could wire us some money? 

JEFF

No mate. I don’t get along with mi old man and I’m too proud to ask him.

YORKY

Doesn’t he have a farm in Victoria?

JEFF

Yeah, he does mate. That’s the problem.


YORKY

What d’ya mean?

JEFF

He’s pissed off big time because he wants me to stay at home and help him work on the farm instead of cruising around all over the Outback as a shearer. We had a big stinkin’ row the last time I was home so we’re not speaking to each other. I’m off to the dunny Yorky. 
(Jeff leaves)

(Yorky sits at the bar contemplating his dire situation. A voice calls out.)

DARRYL
(Soaking wet)

Yorky, ya bastard! How are ya mate?

(Yorky turns to see who it is.)

YORKY

Jeesus H. Christ, Darryl! Am I fuckin’ glad to see you.

DARRYL

How are ya Yorky. I didn’t expect to see you sat at the bar in Charleville!

YORKY

Where the fuck did you come from Darryl? Why are ya soaked to the skin?

DARRYL

I’ve been shearin’ at a shed about a hundred miles from here but they declared it due to wet sheep.

YORKY

Ya got any money Darryl?


DARRYL

Fuckin’ oath mate, I’ve been knocking out some good tally for the last three weeks.

YORKY

Ya got enough to lend me a few bucks? I’m fuckin’ broke. I’ve got 78 cents to mi name.


DARRYL

No worries mate, I'm rollin' in it. How much d'ya want 50 or a hundred? 

YORKY

Can ya spare a hundred?

DARRYL

For you Yorky mate, no worries.

YORKY V/O

At that point, I had to swallow a big lump in mi throat or I would have probably cried.

YORKY (CONT'D)

How come ya so fuckin' wet and covered in mud? Did ya get bogged?

DARRYL

Yeah, a couple of times. This black soil up here is a bastard when it's wet.


YORKY

I take it ya got it out.

DARRYL

Yeah, eventually. I thought it was gonna' be a clear run into Charleville till I got to the river.

YORKY

So how d'ya get the car across?

DARRYL

I didn't mate. I had to leave it on the other side with all mi gear.

DARRYL

I fuckin' swam.

YORKY

Ya kiddin’.

DARRYL

No way mate. I stuffed a few things in the backpack, then I wrapped mi money in a plastic bag. I wasn't gonna' sit on the other side of the river when the hotel's on this side.

YORKY

Weren't ya worried about gettin' swept away?

DARRYL

Fuckin' oath I was. I walked up and down to find a narrow spot, then I waded in and swam like fuck. I ended up about half-a-mile down from where I went in.

YORKY

Was it scary?

DARRYL

Too fuckin' right mate. There were a lot of dead branches and logs being swept down. Finish ya beer Yorky, it's my shout.


(Jeff returns to the bar and Yorky introduces Darryl to Jeff. They sit there having a good old natter about days gone by.

DARRYL

Oh Jesus, I was so happy to see ya Yorky, I almost forgot. Here's a $100. If ya need anymore let me know.

YORKY

Good on ya Darryl, you're a fuckin' great mate.

DARRYL

No worries Yorky, you'd do the same for me mate.

YORKY

Yeah, I would Darryl, any day.

 (Darryl downs another beer)

DARRYL

Yorky mate, I'll catch up with ya later on tonight. I'm gonna' book a room. I need a hot shower and a couple of hours sleep.

YORKY

Ya got any dry clothes?

DARRY

I'm not sure. I stuffed 'em in a plastic bag in the back-pack.

YORKY

Well, if ya need any let me know. You're about the same size as me so they should fit.

DARRYL

Good on ya mate.

(Darryl leaves bar)



     Once Darryl was gone, I said to Jeff,
"We're flush again! Ya need some money?"
"Not yet Yorky. I've still got a few bucks left. I'll get some off ya later. What ya think about the caravan mate?"
"What about it?"
"I don't like it mate. It's as cold as campin' in mi car and those vinyl mattresses are the same as mi back seat. I might camp in mi car from now on. "
"I don't mind, I can camp in mi station wagon, no worries. I got a bit of a foam mattress I can roll out once the back seat's down. The only thing that worries me mate is, it may not be too safe with those fuckin' yobos driving around of a night time."
"Don't ya have a rifle mate?"
"Too fuckin’ right! I've got a 308 with a 7 X 50 Bushnell scope on it."
"Jesus mate, that would blow a hole in of those yobos so fuckin' big ya'd be able to see daylight through him."
"You got a rifle Jeff?"
"Yeah mate, it's not as good as yours but it's pretty effective. It's an old ex-army 303. She's a bit beat up lookin' but she still shoots straight as a dye."
"Where d'ya think we ought to park up for the night Jeff?"
"Not sure yet mate but we'll find somewhere as safe as possible. I know mi mate Darryl will lend us his room key and as long as we're not spotted we can have showers upstairs."
"Sounds good to me Yorky. The best part is we'll have extra money for grog since we won't be rentin' that fuckin' old caravan.
   
     That evening, Jeff, Darryl and miself had a good, old session on the grog, the same as most shearers would do on a Saturday night. In the shed, young shearers mostly skite about how many sheilas they've rooted and in the bar room they brag about how many sheep they can shear. True to form, the more beer shearers drink, the higher the shearing tally creeps up until it becomes obvious at the end of the night that everyone is full of grog and bullshit. Our conversations were no different. We followed the tradition to the letter.

     The Publican called last orders and once we'd finished our middies Darryl said,
"That's it for me fellas. I'm headin' off upstairs for a sleep. What with gettin' bogged a couple of times and swimmin' a fuckin' river, I'm rooted. Not to mention, I'm as full as a boot!"
"No worries Darryl, we'll catch up with ya tomorrow mate."
"So what are we gonna do Jeff?", I asked.
"Let's buy a six-pack and a flagon. I usually keep a few cans in the boot but I seem to remember I couldn't find any last time I looked. I must have drunk 'em all.”

     Follow me in ya vehicle Yorky, I know a good place to camp out for the night.
"Is it safe mate?"
"It's as safe as it can be in Charleville. We won't be bothered by yobos, black fellas and cops."

     Once we were parked up for the night Jeff said,
"I'm rooted mate. I'm gonna' hop on the backseat for a bit of shut eye. Bang on the roof if there's any problems."

<><><><><>

As I sat in the front of mi station wagon having a smoke and looking out the windscreen at the rain that was still coming down pretty heavy, there was a loud knock on the passenger-side window. I leaned over and wiped the condensation off the window. To my surprise there was a young Aborigine girl, smiling at me.  She looked like she was soaked to the skin. She banged on the window again and gave me another big grin. I rolled the window down about halfway and said,
"What d'ya want?"
"Ya got any plonk mate?"
"No, I've only got a six pack  of XXXX."
"That'll do mate. Give us one of those."
"No fuckin' way."
"Then open the door and let me in. It's wet and cold out here."
"No fuckin' way! I'm goin' to bed in a minute."
"C'mon mate, open the door and I'll have a beer with ya."

As I sat there looking at her I thought to miself, 'She's pretty good-lookin'  for an Abbo sheila. Who knows, ya might get a good root off her.'
"Hurry up mate, open the door."
"I tell ya what love, give us a root and I'll let ya hop in the front. I'll even give ya a couple of beers and a smoke."
"No way mate. I'm not givin' ya a root. I don't even know ya gubba."
"Then why should I let ya in the car, I don't know you!"
"Come on Gubba, let me in."
"No, the only reason ya wanna' hop in here is ya want free grog and smokes."
"Alright, let me in and I'll give ya a kiss and show ya mi tits."
"Fuck that for a  joke. I've been kissed and seen a pair of tits before."
"Yeah, but ya haven't seen mine before."
"So what makes yours any different?"
"There a good size and still hard."
"Yeah, so's my cock love!"

Despite being wet and cold she started to laugh and then said,
"You're a very funny white fella. Come on, open the door!"
"Alright, I'll let ya in the car but it ya don't cock it up then ya out'a here all right?"
"No worries Gubba. Well come on then, open the fuckin' door"

When I pulled the lock button up and pushed the door open I got the surprise of mi life. I heard her say.
"C'mon mum, hurry up and get in."

The next minute a big fat-arsed old Ginn squeezed herself through the door and plonked her big arse on the front bench seat.
"Oye! What the fuck are you doing? I didn't say you could get in!"
"Slide over mum, make some room.", said the young girl.
The next minute I was squashed against the driver-side door with a big, fat, toothless old Ginn next to me. The young one, out of arms reach was on the other side of her.
'BANG!' went mi car door as she slammed it shut.
"Good on'ya mate. I knew you'd let us in.", she said.
"That wasn't the fuckin' deal. I said you could get in not you and ya mother."
"No worries mate, she's not taking up room."
"The fuckin' door handle's stickin' in mi side! Tell her to get out."
"Can't do that mate. She's mi mum."

I had a pack of opened Marlboros on the dashboard and as soon as she saw them she took a couple out, gave one to her mother and stuck the other one in her mouth.
"Well, c'mon, give us a light mate."
"Alright", I said, "But that's all ya fuckin' gettin'."
As soon as the fags were going, the car filled up with smoke.
I said to her,
"Open that fuckin' window a bit before we all get cancer!"
"No worries mate. So where's the grog, the XXXX mate? Ya said you'd got some."
"I'm not givin' ya my good Queensland 4 X for free. The deal was a root for a beer."
"Then give us a drink of yours mate!"
"No!  You've already got 2 fags off of me for free."
"You said, 'a kiss and I'll show ya mi tits for a can.'
"No I fuckin' didn't, you said that!", I said.

It was obvious to me that I'd been well and truly conned. The only thing I could do was make the best of it and have a bit of fun.

"All right, here's the deal, show me ya tits and I'll give ya one tinny between ya."
"Nah mate, one can and I'll show ya one tit. Two cans and I'll show ya both!"
"No way, one can for both tits."
"I'm not a stupid Ginn mate. I've been to the white fellas' school. I know a good deal when I hear one."

This little joke of hers made me laugh. In turn, she started to laugh. Her fat mother sat between us staring straight ahead and didn't say a word.

"Can your mother speak English?"
"Not really, she never went to school."
"Then tell her, in your language, to scoot her arse over to your side a bit. I can hardly breathe on my side."
When she'd finished talking to her mother in her own language, her mother wiggled her big arse around on the seat and I ended up with less room!
"What did you say to her? I've got even less room now."
"I told her ya wanted a root for a couple of beer. She said she likes you and she'll give ya a root for a 6-pack."
"Fuck that for a game of tin soldiers love. She's old and fat and her tits are down to her waist."
"That don't matter mate, a root's a root!"
"No thanks, I'm not that desperate. Look I've had a bit a' fun with ya so I'm gonna' give ya a beer between ya, alright?"
"How about 2 beers and I'll show ya mi tits?"
"Are ya fair dinkum?"
"Of course I am."
"No worries then."

I leaned mi arm over the back of mi seat and handed them a can each.
"Good on ya gubba.", she said and pulled up the front of her wet blouse.
"Good tits eh?", she said as she pulled the blouse back down.
"Yeah, not bad at all. Stick ya mother outside, under a bush somewhere, and I'l give ya the rest of the cans for a root."
"How many cans ya got left?"
"Three, why?"
"Nah, that's not enough. You said a 6-pack.", she said.
"Yeah, but you're already drinking two of 'em."
"Yeah, but that was for showin' ya mi tits!"

The rain had now stopped again. It was now obvious I wasn't gettin' a root off her. Her mother was definitely out of the question.
"All right ladies.", I said to her. "The rain's stopped so out ya git!"
"Give us a can for the walk home mate."
'Fuck it!', I thought. 'I've had a lot of fun with her so why not.'
"Not till ya get out of the car. Come round my side and I'll hand it out the window."

Once they were both out, I handed her another XXXX.
"Good in ya mate.", she said. "Did ya like mi tits?"
"Yeah, they were fuckin' beauties!"
"Maybe next time I'll give ya a root for free mate. You're a funny bloke!"
With that said, she turned around and her and her mother walked off into the bush.

<><><><><>

It was now 6 in the morning. I decided to bang on the roof of Jeffs' car.
"C'mon ya bastard! Time to get up!", I said through the small open gap of his rear window.
"What time is it for fucks sake?"
"6 O'clock mate. Let's go find a Dago shop that's open for some breakfast. I'm so hungry I could eat the crotch out of Ghandis' loincloth!"

Over breakfast, I related my evenings' entertainment to Jeff, who thought it was quite funny except for the fact that I wasted good XXXX beer on a couple of Ginns. After breakfast we walked around town for a while until the hotel bar was oen.
"Hey Yorky mate, ya see that shop over there mate? The one with the big plate glass window?
"Yeah, what about it?"
"I put mi car through it last year."
"How the fuck did ya do that mate. Were ya full?"
"Yeah, but I didn't drive into it."
"So, what happened?"
"I parked it at the curbside over night and when I went back to get it in the  morning it was halfway through the window!"
"Did someone try to steal it and crashed it?"
"No mate. It was locked up when the cops arrived."
"What did the cops have to say?"
"Well, they reckoned I left it in gear without the hand brake on."
"Isn't that what ya supposed to do?"
"Yeah, but that same night there was an electrical storm and the cops said it must been hit by lightning which started it up and that's where it ended up."
"How the fuck could it do that? Did ya leave the key on?"
"Nah mate, I had the key in mi pocket but when I opened the door and checked under the dashboard all the wires were burnt and fused together."
"Jeesus, that was a bit of bad luck mate."
"Yeah, that's what the cops said. I still had to pay for the fuckin' window!"

The afternoon found Darryl, miself and Jeff having a few beers at the shearers pub.
"Get some beers in a' my money.", said Darryl. "It's my shout. I'm off for a leak. I'll be back shortly."
When Darryl got back, he said,
"Hey fellas' there's a country band setting up in that big back room. Maybe we should have a few beers in there."
"Good idea Darryl. That's what we need, a bit of music! That'll liven the place up a bit.", I said.
Once the band got going, we made our way to the music room, for a change of atmosphere.
"Ya think the band's any good Yorky?", said Darryl.
"Yeh, they're not bad mate for a bush band."
"There must be about 50 people in here.", said Jeff who was standing a couple of feet away from the bar with a full middy in his hand.
Just then, a group of of abbos pushed past Jeff and one of them knocked Jeffs' elbow which in turn spilled most of his middy on the floor.
"Jeezus mate, why don't you ya watch where ya goin' ya bastard.", said Jeff.
"Fuck you, ya white bastard!", said one of the abbos, who was quite a big bloke.
"Fuck me, fuck you, ya black bastard!", said Jeff. "Ya spilled me fuckin' beer. Yah can buy me another one now!"
"Fuck you, buy ya own grog Gubba!"
"I take it ya lookin' for a smack in the mouth?", said Jeff, who was now pretty fucking cranky.
"You're gonna do that are ya?", said the abbo.
"Too fuckin' right mate.", said Jeff

The big abbo walked towards Jeff and ,without any warning, swung a big right which connected  with the side of Jeff's face and sent him flying backwards over a couple of tables. As Jeff crashed to the floor, one of the tables landed on top of him.
"Holy fuck'n' shit!", said Darry. "That was a mean fuck'n blow! I don't think Jeff's gettin' up on his feet after that!"
"Fuck you!", said the big, buff-headed abbo as he turned to leave.
Just then, the table moved and Jeff crawled out from under it. Once he was on his feet, he shook his head a couple of times and yelled out,
"OYE! You big black fuckin' bung! Where the fuck d'ya think you're goin'? Ya fuckn' king hit me with ya best punch and I'm back up on mi feet! Let me tell ya, ya big black bastard, You're in big trouble now sport! You can't fuckin' hurt me!"

The big abbo turned around to face Jeff and threw another punch at Jeffs' head. Jeff was all business now, with a big grin on his face.
"Ya missed me with that one!", he said as he ducked and moved in towards the abbo.
"BANG!" Jeffs' fist crashed into the abbbos' nose and cheek which sent the abbo arse over head, backwards into his mates who tried to catch him but failed.
"C'mon ya fuckin' bastard!", yelled Jeff who was now up on his toes, dancing around like a full-on pro. "Git up ya bastard! There's plenty more where that came from!"
Blood was now coming from the abbos' nose as he got up and headed for Jeff. Once he was in range, Jeff hit him in the guts with a hard left and a quick straight right that landed at the butt of his ear.
The big abbo went flying sideways into a couple of chairs and ended up on his back.
"C'mon ya black bastard!", yelled Jeff. "Git up on ya feet and I'll give ya another one! I'm only just warmin' up! I haven't got started yet!"

The abbo tried to get up but it was obvious he was not going to make it.
"C'mon, on ya feet!", said Jeff. "Yah fight like a fuckin' old Giin. Is that all you've got in ya?"
Jeff turned to the abbos' mates and said,
"Right! Which one of you fuckin' coons is next? I can do this all fuckin' day! I thought you black bastards could fight! Tell ya what I'll do. I'll take the three of ya on!"
None of the abbos said a word so Jeff said,
"What, no takers? Then pick up ya bung mate and get the fuck out a' here while I'm still in a good mood!"
The abbos got their big mate up on his feet and headed for the door.

There was now a big group of local white fellas stood around Jeff congratulating him on his victory and offering to buy him a few middies.

An abbo girl walked up to me and said,
"Hey Gubba, you need to thank me."
"For what"
"One of those Ginns with those blokes was going to hit ya over the head from behind with a metal chair but I stopped her."
"Yah did?"
"Sure did. Ask mi mate."
"No worries love, I believe ya anyway. Thank you. Can I buy ya a beer?"
"Nah, maybe next time."
"Well thanks again."
"No worries mate."
"So, why did'ya help me out?"
"Mi cousin said ya were a good bloke."
"Who's ya cousin?"
"Thelma."
"I don't know anyone called Thelma."
"Yeah ya do mate. Ya had a beer with her and her mother, last night in the front a' ya car."
"Right, that's Thelma eh?"
"Yeah, she likes ya."
"Yeah? Sure ya don't wanna' beer."
"Nah mate, see ya around."

<><><><><>

It was a Sunday afternoon and Jeff and miself were following the tradition of our-a-work shearers..drinking grog.
"I'm gettin' sick of this hotel Yorky.", said Jeff. "I reckon we should do a tour of the other bars in Charleville just for change. We'll see how the other half live."
"Sounds good to me mate. Let's go."
After we'd toured most of the bars, Jeff said to me,
"Fuck this for a lark  mate. I'm gonna' take off, I'm pretty full."
"Where ya goin' mate?"
"I thought I might get a bit of shut-eye in the back of mi car."
"No worries mate, I'm gonna' hang out here for a while longer. I don't feel like layin' down down in mi station wagon at the moment. It's too fuckin' humid today."
"Yeah, I know what ya mean but for some reason I feel knackered. I'll catch ya later."
"No worries mate. I'll give ya a knock on the roof a' ya car."
"Sounds good to me mate.", I said.

Once Jeff had gone, I sat at the bar on mi own, finishing off a middy. Now for some strange reason, which was totally out of character for me, I ordered a shot of whiskey. As I sat there sippin' on it, I was contemplating how people could drink this stuff. I'd seen many a shearer graduate to the top-shelf towards the end of the evening so I decided to make an experiment.
"Yah want another shot?", said the barman.
"Yeah, why not mate. Make it a double."
"No worries mate."
As I sat there on mi own, minding mi own business, three young blokes who had been sat at the end of the bar knocking it back, started to take an interest in me, and not a good interest at all. One of them said,
"What are you fucking looking at mate?"
"Nothing sport. I wasn't lookin' at ya'."
"Yes, you were.", said one of his mates.
I decided to to answer and just kept looking straight ahead,
"Smart bastard eh!", said the third bloke.
"What's the  matter?", said the first bloke, "Ya got no guts?"
"Listen mate.", I said. "I came in here for a quiet drink. I'm not lookin' for any trouble."
"Well, you've got got trouble mate. I don't fuckin' like you. Ya seem like a smart bastard to me!"
Again, I decided not to answer.
"I reckon I could knock you arse over head any day mate!"
That was it! It was obvious these local yobos were not going to leave me alone so I turned and said to the bloke,
"Why don't you go and fuck ya hand ya loud-mouthed bastard!"
This little oneliner of mine made his face twist and contract quite a bit and his blustering reply was,
"Come outside mate and I'll knock ya arse over head!"
'Fuck you ya fuckin' ugly inbred. I could knock you and ya pufta' mates arse over, no problem!"
"Yeah? I'd like to see that!", said one of his mates. "I think you're a gutless bastard who's all talk and no action!"
There was no other options left so I downed the double whiskey in one gulp and said,
"No worries mate, let's do it. I'm not afraid of you fuckin' retards!"

Had I not have been drinking whiskey I may have considered ignoring their insults and left the bar but it was much too late for that now! Soon as we got outside on the pavement, one of them rushed me and tried to knock me over. As luck had it, I side-stepped him and et go a big right which caught him fair and square on the cheek bone. He stumbled and hit the pavement. Before I knew it his two mates jumped me from behind and started punching and kicking me. I was now on the pavement miself and the situation was not looking good.
Just when I'd resigned miself to the fact that I was going to get beaten up pretty bad, I caught a glimpse of a big rough-looking bloke in a singlet and stubbies rushing towards us.
'Jeesus Christ, not another one!', I thought. 'Now I'm really fucked!'
Just when I thought all was lost he yelled out,
"Get if him you mongrel bred bastards!"
The next  minute, he punched one of the yobos in the face and sent him sprawlin' onto the road. The third bloke, who had let fly a couple of kicks at me, jumped back out of the big blokes way. By this time I was struggling to mi feet.
"You alright mate?", said the stranger.
"Yeah, I think so mate."
"Then let's take these three mongrel bastards on and knock the piss out of 'em."
"No worries mate. Good on ya!"
By this time the three yobos were all up on their feet.
"Right you gutless bastards! Let's get this fight on the road now that the odds have been evened up a bit! Me and this bloke against you fucking cowards. Are you ready sport?",  said the big bloke.
"Too fuckin' right mate. Let's go!", I replied.
Whoa, whoa, whoa!", said one of the yobos. "We don't have any problems with you mate!"
"Ya fuckin' do now sport! You've got a bigger problem on ya hands than you can take care of!"
"Let's call it a night.", said one of the yobos.
"No fuckin way, ya gutless cunt! I'm raring to fuckin' go! Well come on! You were pretty brave before I showed up. What's the matter fellas? Three strappin' young blokes like ya selves against me and this bloke?"
"Nah mate, we're not lookin' for trouble with you ate."
"I thought so.", said the big bloke. "No fuckin' guts! So here's the deal, fuck off home to ya mothers before I stoush all three of ya miself! Go on! Fuck off before I change mi mind!"

What a sight to see! All three of them turned and took off up the street, on the double. Once the yobos were well and truly on their way with their tails between their legs, the stranger turned and said,
"How are ya cobber? Ya look a bit worse for wear."
"Nah, I'm alright mate. I think the whiskey deadened the pain."
"Bruce is the name mate."
"Yorky,", I said as we shook hands.
"What the fuck were ya thinkin' takin' on those three mongrel-bred bastards on ya own?"
"They were disrespectin' me and it was obvious they weren't gonna' stop so I thought 'fuck it'. At least I'll get a couple of good hits in before I go down."
"Well I don't blame ya mate. Chances are I'd have done the same thing miself."
"Thanks again Bruce for backin' me up."
"No worries Yorky. It was a pleasure mate. I just couldn't stand by and watch that happening. Anyway, I've gotta' get goin'. The missus will be wonderin' where I got too."
We shook hands again and I watched Bruce walk off up the street and out of sight.
As I stood there straightenin' mi shirt and wiping the blood off mi nose I thought to miself,
'If there's such a thing as Angels then I've just met one!'

On the walk back to where I'd parked mi car, I was thinking about the nights' activity. A voice inside said to me,
"What's the lesson?"
"Never drink so much that I can't defend myself.", I said. "And no more fucking' whiskey."
"Right!", said the voice. "A lesson learned the hard way."

The next day, over a beer, I told Jeff about what had happened after he'd gone for a sleep.
"Jeesus Yorky! Sorry to hear that mate. How's ya nose? It looks a bit swollen."
"It is and it's a bit fuckin' tender, truth be known."
"Why don't we go look for the bastards Yorky? Darryl's up in his room as far as I know. Three against three mate! I could do with a bit of activity! I'm gettin' bored shitless hangin' around the bar drinkin' and not workin''.
"Nah, forget about it mate. It's not worth it."
"Well, if ya change ya mind mate let me know, It'll be a bit a' fun."

A few days later Jeff had taken his car to the garage to have some minor work done on it. I decided to wait for him in the bar room instead of hangin' around a garage. I was rollin' a smoke and nursin' a middy when I noticed one of the yobos walk in and order a beer. Sittin' there, watchin' him, I thought to miself,
'Fuck this for a joke. I'm not gonna' let that bastard get away with this.'
Soon as he'd finished his beer, I walked over to where he was sittin' and said,
"Remember me mate?
"What do you fuckin' want?
"You and me sport. One on one, outside now!"
"I don't have time now mate. I've gotta' meet mi girlfriend."
"You come outside now mate or I'll knock ya off the stool!"
"Yeah? Then you'll get barred."
"No worries there mate. I'm not a local and besides I'll be leaving Charleville in a couple of days."
After taunting him for a short while, the yobo agreed to a one on one fight. Soon as we were outside, I gave him no warning at all. I punched him in the face as hard as I could. He went down like the sack of shit that he was. He landed in the gutter with his head resting on an iron drain cover. I wasn't going to give him time to get up, even though he didn't look like he could. Then I jumped on top of him and grabbed his throat with my left hand and raised my right fist, ready to pound his face.
"Stop! Stop!", said the Yobo.
"Why should I? You didn't give a flyin' fuck about me when there was three of ya?"
"I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I had to join in with the others or they would have seen me as weak and gutless. His eyes were watery and showed a lot of fear.
My mind said, 'Beat the crap out of him!' (which I would have loved to do). Instead my heart and compassion said, 'Let him go.'
Begrudgingly, I said to the yobo,
"I could punch your fuckin' head head through that grate mate if I wanted to."
"I know mate. I'm really sorry about gangin' up on you."
"So, if I let ya up, what're ya gonna' do?
"Nothin' mate. I'll just leave!"
"Alright, no worries then."
I climbed off of his chest and as I did, I said to him,
"Next time ya see ya gutless, faggot mates, tell 'em if they want a fair dinkum stand up fist fight , come to this hotel. I've got quite a few shearing  mates here who love a good stoush."
"Yeah, right-o mate, good on ya."
That was the last time I saw him.

When I told Jeff and Darryl what happened, Jeff said,
"Jeesus Yorky, ya too fuckin' good-hearted mate. I'd have bashed the bastards' skull in."
Darryl said,
"Well I'm glad it was you who got the only punch of the fight in Yorky."
"It's my round.", said Jeff. "Drink up! The weather's starting to clear up now so it won't be long before we're hangin' off the end of the down-tube again."

Once the weather had dried up and the sheep were dry enough to be shorn, the contractor sent Jeff, miself and a full team to a station called Wonbin which was not too far from a place called Quilpy.

After a month of workin' our guts out in some scungy, fuckin' merinos', Jeff said,
"That's it for me Yorky mate. Soon as we're paid off I'm gonna' spend a couple of days at the Quilpy Hotel and then I'm headed off back down South to mi old mans' property."
"How come mate?"
"I got a telegram from mi mother sayin' mi dad's had a heart attack and she needs me to help her run the place."
"Jesus, sorry to hear that Jeff. Is he still alive?"
"Yeah, but he's gonna' be bed-ridden for quite a while. Anyway, I suppose it will give us both a chance to patch things up. He probably won't be as mean and stubborn now, after a heart attack."

A couple of days on the grog at the hotel in Quilpy and Jeff was ready to go home.
"So where you off to Yorky?"
"I'm headin' to Guyra, New South. Darryl usually shears around Guyra anytime from August onwards. So I'll catch up with him then."
"Well, mi car's all packed up and I've got plenty of grog on board. I'm gonna head off Yorky."
"Ya want one for the road?"
"Better not mate. There's a lot of pigs and roos on the road of a night and I don't wanna' end up half-pissed and smash up mi car on one of those bastards."
"I'll come out and see ya off jeff."
"Yeah, no worries mate. Well Yorky mate, this is it mate.", said Jeff as he extended his hand. "It's been a real fuckin pleasure travelin' and shearin' with ya mate. Oh, by the way, I almost forgot, I wrote mi mothers' phone number and the address of our property on this bit a' paper. If ya ever get down to Vic, give us a ring mate."
"I sure will Jeff and I'm real happy I met you mate. We've had an interesting time."

Jeff started the motor of his Ford Sedan, slammed the creaky old door, stuck her in gear and pulled out from the curb. A couple of seconds later he yelled out the window,
"It's your shout by the way! I'll catch up with ya next season."
I waved and yelled back,
"Haroo mate!"