Thursday, 12 March 2015

Douglas "Drama" Daly

I could feel myself fading, even after cup after cup of water. The Fading is always a warning sign of an on-coming migraine and when I woke up the next morning that dark cloud of pain that takes hold of the whole left side of my head was there. Despite needing to be on the road by 5am I took my time getting ready. Breathing heavily, sweating, head spins, a churning stomach. I managed to have the car loaded and was pulling out the driveway by 4:50am.

I picked up Han at 5:45am and told her she could drive, I feel like crap. Her Aunty questioning my judgement while laughing. Next was Johnny’s place. I tried to nap in the car while waiting for Mr Iran to arrive but to no avail. I laid on the bitumen instead while Johnny gave me strange looks.

I did quite well until 2km south of Hayes Creek. ‘That feeling will pass’ I said to myself as I breathed deeper trying to rid myself of the gut churning sensation… Nope, no it’s not. I slapped Han on the arm as I tried in a kafuffle to push aside my pillow and take my seat belt off. “What? What’s wrong?” asked Han as I couldn’t hold it any longer and I blew chunks all over the car door as I tried opening it while we were still travelling at 100km/hr.

“I got it on my sleeve!” Round two came up, then three, then four as we were still moving but at least slowing down. By the time we stopped I was bringing up rounds five and six and a weak seven. I had run out of stomach contents to spew. Exhausted from heaving up everything my digestive tract had to offer, my head spinning and pounding, I called for water. Han got out her water bottle and started rinsing down the door and then wiping it down with an old shirt. Once it was clean enough we stopped in at the Hayes Creek Roadhouse and cleaned the door down properly with warm soapy water.

“Where are you guys?” asked Mr Iran when he called Han.
“Tigger’s migraine is playing up, we’re just cleaning up.” Not sure if he understood that but whatever.

Finally we turned in to the Douglas Daly. I was feeling a little better but suffering had decided to inflict another of God’s creatures other than myself. Someone had hit a wallaby but hadn’t killed it, only paralysed it. It tried in vain to stand but all it could manage was to writhe around in one spot. Han and I decided we had better put it out of its misery. After an unsuccessful attempt at slitting its throat the action taken was to run it over which killed it instantly.

Eventually we made it to the trial site. “What happened?” asked Mr Iran? Nope, he didn’t understand earlier comments about my migraine playing up and needing to be cleaned up.
“I vomited all over the car door,” I responded.
“You sick! You go back to the farm and lie down?!” Not much gets achieved if I’m doing nothing and by this point I was feeling somewhat better. The rest of the work for the day got done without too much incident.

It wasn’t long before the next adventure though. Chasing mobile phone signal had me catch my eye on something that appeared to be fluttering. On closer inspection it turned out to be a dog. He was going blind and he couldn’t get up. His legs too frail to support his weight. I ran to the managers’ house but all the lights at the front of the house were out and the dog-car was gone. I could hear a car coming so when it drove over the grid I pulled it up.
“There’s a dog dying on the road by the office, Tater isn’t home, I don’t know what to do about it”. The bloke tried calling over the radio but no one could get hold of Tater. The dogs’ collar said “Blitzen” so I sat with Blitzen’s head in my lap, soaking wet from a combination of sweat and drizzle. Fortunately Tater’s girlfriend was about and came to see old Blitzen on the road. Tears were rolling down her face as she realised it was finally his time. She guessed his age to be about 16. His birthday was Christmas Day, hence the name Blitzen. The Bloke and I lifted Blitzen carefully onto the back of his ute and we took him back to Tater’s house where we rested him on the back veranda and put an old rag under his head for comfort. There was nothing else anyone could do until Tater came home.

After dinner I looked at the time. 1940pm. ‘Those ladies from Darwin should be here by now’. The rain pelted down outside. Wondering if they were okay I texted our other Darwin cohorts and they hadn’t heard a thing. Apparently they didn’t leave till 5pm but that still meant they should have arrived by now.
“We’ll finish dinner and go look for them Han,” I said stuffing my face with the stew that I had burnt like a master chef.

The wildest thoughts ran through our heads as we lapped all the roads leading in to the area. The phone was constantly abuzz with phone calls and text messages. Roadhouses, Darwin colleagues, the police. What if they’ve had a bad accident? Why is Ricci’s phone going straight to message bank? Why aren’t the police doing more? By 2300pm we decided to head back, we’d checked everywhere that we could. By 2330pm we were in bed, wondering if we’d get any sleep from worrying so much.

It was dark and I was in a car, the devil was teasing me to run him over. Part of me said don’t do it, part of me said the evil needs to end. I ran him down then checked underneath the car for his carcass and found a dismembered scarecrow instead. The scarecrow recollected himself. “This is the devil now” said the people around me. “If you stab him he’ll never let you live without regretting it” some remarked. I plunged the knife into his chest. Teddy Bear fluff puffed out of his wound. “I’m sorry, but you’re the devil, I didn’t know what to do!” I stammered. He looked at me and poked some of the fluff back in.

RI-I-I-I-I-I-ING!! My alarm went off. What a frigging whacked out dream! During the night I received a number of text messages asking for updates. “They didn’t arrive during the night” was the only response I could send. Even Ricci’s boyfriend had got hold of my number and was asking if there was anything that could be done.

While everyone still slept I snuck out and had one last check at the Tourist Park. Nothing. I called the cops again. Had they been out to any accidents during the night? No. But just as I arrived back at the turn off, there they were. I stopped the car and ran towards them.

“Oh my gosh! Are you guys okay?”
“Yeah, we’re alright, we just missed the turn off and got bogged up the road, that couple pulled us out”, referring to the canopy ute that lead them to the turn off but kept on going.
The rain had been so heavy and they looked on the wrong side of the road for the sign that they whizzed straight past the well sign posted turn off. Covered in mud they slept in the car while the mozzies feasted on them.

The cops were called off, everyone we’d had phone contact with was notified of their safety. I nearly cried from relief.

When we got back to the farm Johnny asked “Has anyone told those two young fella’s that were here last night looking for them that they are okay?” What two young fellas? I must have been in such a deep sleep that I had not noticed that a car had pulled up looking for them. It turned out to be Ricci’s boyfriend so Ricci rang him to let him know that she was okay.

The rest of the week went without much drama. Probably because it all happened in one day at the very start. But what’s the Douglas Daly without a little drama eh?

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