Four Wheels Of Reason

‘We’re saved.’ Rick waved his arms at the vehicle weaving along the dirt track.  His three companions rose from their gum tree shaded campsite and also waved with vigour.

Amidst a whirl of red dust, the ute stopped. The driver thumbed the rim on his sweat brimmed Akubra, examining the grime riddled young couples. ‘Ya bogged?’

Rick patted the ute’s bonnet then pointed to their stranded wagon. ‘We’ve been stuck here for four days.’

The driver’s door creaked as the engine idled. As he inspected their car, his rubber thongs made miniature dust clouds beneath each step. ‘Four days, huh? D’ya radio anyone?’

‘Wish we did,’ said Rick.

‘Don’t see no recovery gear. No winch. No shovel.’

Four heads shook.

‘D’ya tell anyone where ya goin’?’

Rick shrugged. ‘Our social media followers knew.’

‘Followers?’ The driver scanned the red track slicing through a harsh, sun-faded scrubland against an undisturbed skyline. ‘Why d’ya want media out here for? When reporters are nothin’ but a mob of corruption chasin’ conspirators—’

‘Social media.’

‘That face-bird thing?’

The quartet giggled. ‘We contact them through our smartphones,’ said the young woman, raising her phone.

The driver tilted his head, cocking an eyebrow. ‘Why didn’t you use ‘em smartphone’s to fetch help?’

‘There’s no reception.’

‘That’s why we have radios out ‘ere.’

‘Do you have Wifi?’

‘Me, no. It’s in town. Just look for them tourists sittin’ round this white pole in the pub’s carpark, staring at their hands like they’re prayin’ to some rod-god.’

‘May I take a selfie with you?’ Her white toothy smile stood out amongst her dirty sunburnt skin.

He screwed up his bronzed nose. ‘What for?’

‘You’re our hero,’ she said, smiling at her phone in hand, readying for the shot.

He shook his head and stepped away to peek into their car. ‘Nah mate, I’m just a bloke on the way to the pub where ya can explain all while shoutin’ me a beer.’

‘When we find civilisation, I’m having the biggest beer,’ Rick said to his three friends.

‘I want a shower.’

‘I want a pizza and—’

‘Hey, we could be famous,’ said Rick. ‘Survivors of the Outback.’

‘We’ll sell it to the media.’ Her camera phone videoed their rescue as the others followed suit.

When their engine roared into life and clunked into gear. ‘What the—’

‘What,’ the four asked in unison, as their smiles sagged?

‘D’ya know what four-wheel drive means?’

‘Yes. We hired it for off-roading,’ said Rick. The other three nodded with phones still recording.

‘But ya need to engage the four-wheel drive to make all the tyres move.’ He drove the car forwards with ease, parked it up and walked back to his own ute. Closing its creaking door he smirked at the foursome who’d lowered their heads and phones. ‘Yep, you’d wanna tell ya mates all about your adventure. I’ll be at the pub—it’s just over that hill. Surprised ya can’t smell the beer from ‘ere.’ And his laugh echoed in the midst of a red dust swirl leaving the tourists behind.

First published 13/07/2016

(510 words)

from   ‘MOVING MOMENTS’

MMoments R&Rramblings FB 1b

#MovingMoments  #R&Rramblings  #RuralRamblings

When Traffic is Made To Stop.

It’s peak hour and the highway is crawling bumper to bumper, and at the mercy of traffic lights they sit and wait as a group.

But individually…

There’s an old muscle car with different coloured panels, its heavy V8 engine rumbles, sporting new rims and tyres. The young man behind the wheel is putting on his tie while eating a piece of toast. The sounds of a marketing Pod-cast is heard over a singular speaker jammed on the dash with a white cord running to his phone. Both car and man are works in progress.

A sleek luxurious sedan contains a ramrod straight-back driver. Blonde hair in a twist. Wearing a crisp white blouse and a blue scarf knotted at her neck like an airline stewardess. Her manicured nails tap on the steering wheel as she sits expressionless behind dark sunglasses. If not for the fingertip-tap-dance, she looked like an inflatable autopilot from MIB.

In the back seat is a young boy wearing a private school uniform who flips me the bird. Then he checks to make sure the stone-faced autopilot didn’t see him. He’ll become a company director-driven around in limousines all day.

A bearded man sits in his four-wheeled drive ute with an in-house filing system represented by a chaotic mass of paperwork sprawled across the dash. He’s listening to talkback radio while cleaning his fingernails with a pocket knife.

A woman in the hatchback, dusts assorted small soft toys and solar panelled dancing flowers. She’s rearranging them in a particular order upon the crocheted blanket that covers the dashboard. All that’s missing is a few fairies, a miniature tea set, a white rabbit, some hats and they could have a party.

A mud coloured station wagon with a kayak rests on the roof rack. The driver’s head leans against the headrest. Yawning, between sips from his coffee cup, he rubs tired eyes. His damp hair tousled, chin unshaven on tanned skin. He sips, yawns, rubs his eyes. Repeats.

Two young females inside a Mini, share the overhead mirror space applying their makeup, brushing their hair, all while lip-synching to music. Their tiny car is rocking and becoming a mobile fume cloud from perfume, deodorants, and hairspray.

From his heightened perch above the crowd of waiting cars, the truck driver picks his nose and looks down into the Mini. Shaking his head as his eyes widen watching the two young women perform the well-practised hair and makeup routine.

His passenger is reading off the clipboard with boots rested on the dash, he glances out the window and nods to the bearded guy in the ute folding up the pocket knife.

The lights turn green and with a thunderous roar, exhaust plumes high into the morning sky. And like a washed-out leaky rainbow of separating colours, they disappear in search of the own pots of gold.

Gone.

To turn around.

And do it all again – tomorrow.

(500 words)

From MOVING MOMENTS

MMoments R&Rramblings FB 5a

#MovingMoments #R&Rramblings #RuralRomanticRamblings