‘We gotta do it.’
‘Don’t want to.’
‘Have to,’ he said, holding out the lifejacket. ‘Coppa’s already onto us.’
‘But, not like this?’ Her unlaced boots tapped on the dirt as she snatched up the yellow life preserver and slipped it over her ponytail.
‘I don’t wanna do this either.’ He passed her a motorbike helmet.
‘Can’t we do it another way?’ Slapping the helmet on her head, he secured the strap beneath her chin.
‘Sure, we could sell tickets? Recoup our costs? Maybe fetch a profit to go towards our next one.’
‘But the Coppa might show up.’ She screwed up her nose. ‘Or worse—grown-ups.’
‘Reckon they’d ruin it.’ He held out some swimming goggles, a pair of flippers, and a snorkel. ‘D’ya want it?’
‘Why not.’ She slipped on the hard-plastic swimming accessories. Through her goggles, she peeked at the drought-riddled farmlands where a crowd had gathered on bicycles, motorbikes, and saddled horses. ‘I’m ready,’ she said, taking a large flipper-flapping step over dry cracked earth.
‘We got top-shelf.’ He pulled her upwards and her bare knees shimmied onto the hot tin roof where they both gripped onto the metal tripod.
‘Only coz of your welding lesson’s.’
‘That’s about to be tested. Ready?’
Goggles and snorkel adjusted as plastic flippers tried to grip onto the hot metal and their small hands clasped onto the steel tripod. ‘Yeah, let’s do this.’
His foot stamped on the roof. ‘Let ‘er rip, Blu.’
The engine inside the dented, door-less, Datsun roared into life. Black smoke vomited from a missing exhaust pipe blanketing its bullet-hole riddled exterior. The wetsuit-cladded driver and co-pilot, lifted their helmet’s visors, gagging for air.
‘GO. GO. GO.’ She shouted from the roof with her knuckles whitening and her heart raced.
Beneath bald tyres, red dirt showered upwards like an inverted waterfall. Clang-attee-clang-clang the matchbox-rubber-banded engine rattled in its unsecured bedding. It Kangaroo-hopped with a crunch of gears. The chassis rattled rust free while groaning and shuddering onwards.
The crowd screamed with their arms waving in the air like whip-wielding jockey’s, urging the mashed-up mini-monster to move.
Down the dirt track, faster, and faster, they headed for the small rise. Black exhaust thickened like rope disintegrating skywards. The rat-a-tat-tat of the egg-beater’s-engine mixed with excited screams of chasing children.
‘Here we gooooooooo.’ His hand covered hers gripping the welded spotlight’s tripod. Both fought the urge to close their eyes behind fog-encroaching goggles. Smiles widened in the dusty hot wind that whipped against their exposed skin.
The engine screamed along with its passengers and with an almighty roaring rush, wheels left the rubbly rise, and as if on invisible wings, the hunk of junk flew.
Over the sun-soaking railroad track.
Over the sparkling, scattered white pebbles shining amongst the struggling weeds.
Over the shadows of the squat scrubby hill, and…
Into the dam.
Brown bore water washed over the car like a tsunami chasing a surfer.
The internal passengers exited door-less gaps and splashed for the screaming spectator covered, clay banks.
A simple pirate flag, painted on Nana’s sheets, waved from the tripod. Like captains on their sinking ship, the diving-clad-duo saluted the crowd from the roof of the vehicle they’d gone road-rouge in and escorted their toy to its watery grave. ‘That Coppa aint gonna find it now.’
First published 17/08/2015
from ‘MOVING MOMENTS’