Page 19

5 minute fiction

OFF SHIFT 90th EDITION. 2010

by Bernard S. Jansen

No Big Deal

“It’s not such a big deal to drive to Brisbane,” said Susie.

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Monday 5th July Airlie Beach KCs Bar & Grill Mark Roberts

Tuesday 6th July Airlie Beach KCs Bar & Grill Mark Roberts

Wednesday 7th July Rockhampton The Great Western July Eden Bros Good Time Circus Moura Coal n Cattle State of Origin - big screen & prizes Blackwater Blackwater Hotel State of Origin Airlie Beach KCs Bar & Grill Kieran McCarthy

Thursday 8th July Rockhampton The Great Western July Eden Bros Good Time Circus Airlie Beach KCs Bar & Grill Marisa Quigley

Friday 9th July Blackwater Blackwater Mineworkers Club Sunset Warriors

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Saturday 10th July Rockhampton The Great Western July Eden Bros Good Time Circus Blackwater Blackwater Hotel Karaoke with Steve O Airlie Beach KCs Bar & Grill Marisa Quigley Dysart Jolly Collier DJ Jessie

Sunday 11th July Rockhampton The Great Western July Eden Bros Good Time Circus Airlie Beach KCs Bar & Grill Alice & Joel

Monday 12th July Airlie Beach KCs Bar & Grill Alice & Joel

Tuesday 13th July Airlie Beach KCs Bar & Grill Brian Frazer & Pop Standen

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Wednesday 14th July Airlie Beach KCs Bar & Grill Brian Frazer & Pop Standen

Thursday 15th July Moura Coal n Cattle Country Hoe Down - Ian Quinn Airlie Beach KCs Bar & Grill Alice & Joel

Friday 16th July Blackwater Blackwater Mineworkers Club Kathy Sommers Blackwater Blackwater Hotel Disco Nights Airlie Beach KCs Bar & Grill Russel Stewart Rockhampton The Great Western CRCA 4B’s Rodeo Dysart Jolly Collier DJ Jessie

Saturday 17th July Dysart DJ Jessie Blackwater Blackwater Hotel Karaoke with Steve O Airlie Beach KCs Bar & Grill Russel Stewart

Sunday 18th July Airlie Beach KCs Bar & Grill Russell Stewart

Bruce wasn’t so sure. They’d done long distances before, but never with the two kids.  “Okay,” he agreed.  They had to go to Susie’s father’s 70th birthday part.  Susie thought flying was too expensive, so they took the people-mover.  Bruce decided to take the inland road.  “Less cars, cops and other problems,” he said. Bruce had bought a portable DVD player with two screens.  “That’ll keep ‘em busy,” he said.  It kept Bruce busy for about an hour while he worked out how to set it up.   Once they were out of town, Susie told the kids they could play their movie.   Dylan said, “Mum, it doesn’t work.” “What do you mean?” “The DVD player doesn’t work.” “What’s it doing?” “It’s not playing.” Discussion became yelling as Susie tried to diagnose the problem from the frontseat.  Bruce pulled over.  “Let’s see what the matter is.” Bruce took out the DVD and looked at it.  It had some kind of muck on the shiny side.   “What’s all this on the DVD?” he asked the kids.   Dylan and Peter put on their confused faces and shrugged their shoulders.  Susie found Bruce a tissue and he used some spit and polish to clean up the disc. The DVD player kept the kids quiet, as planned.   The movie itself wasn’t so quiet.  Yelling, laughter, crying and music poured out off from the two screens. “Turn it down,” they called out from the front, a few times. “Good little speakers,” said Bruce, quietly. Susie said, “Maybe we can get some headphones in Brisbane.”

The driver must have seen the truck, his brake lights flashed on. The cars ahead were bunched close together now.  There wasn’t any space for the blue ute.  Bruce hit his own brakes, hard.   Peter shouted from the back seat. The truck driver flashed his lights.  The ute pulled in front of Bruce.  Bruce muttered to himself. “What was that, dear?” “I said, ‘Tanker’.   The truck that almost took out that idiot is a fuel tanker.” Amazing, thought Bruce.  We stare death in the face, and she ups me about my language. It wasn’t long after the road-works that Dylan said he felt sick.  Bruce asked how sick, and did he need to throw up?  Before he could answer,  Dylan threw up. Bruce and Susie used an old pack of babywipes  to clean the worst of it.  Susie did most of the cleaning, while Bruce tried to stop their children from suiciding on the highway, or throwing rocks at each other or passing cars.  “Throw them out there at a tree, or something,” he said.  Evidently, trees were boring. They hit the roo about half-way to Brisbane.  “I didn’t think roos came out in the middle of the day,” said Bruce as he pulled over and turned off the engine. “It would seem that they do,” said Susie.  Very helpful dear, thank you, thought Bruce. The roo had only glanced off the bumper.  Bruce took his small axe out of the back of the car and went hunting for the roo to give it some euthanasia.   He gave up looking after ten minutes.  Susie didn’t ask why he kept an axe in the car, which was a pity because he’d thought of a great come-back for that. Bruce tried to make up some time.   He got a speeding ticket just outside of Miles.   Susie didn’t say anything, which was good, thought Bruce.

After an hour on the road, they came to some road-works. The speed limit dropped to 80, then 60, then 40.   “We’ll be parked up soon, if this keeps up,” said Bruce.  He saw a lollipop-man sign saying “Prepare to Stop” and swore very quietly to himself.

Not far from Toowoomba it started raining. The window-wipers worked, but only just.  The Central Highlands sun had toasted the wiper blades.  Bruce thought that Susie might want to criticise his lack of maintenance and preparation, so he said, “Wiper blades are pretty expensive.   And I checked the weather, and it said it’d be all fine.”

“Settle down, dear,” said Susie.

“I didn’t say anything,” said Susie.

“I’m settled.” Bruce looked in the rear-view. A few cars were banking up, then a new blue ute came around the outside.  “What’s this idiot doing?  There’s a truck coming the other way.”

They arrived, finally, at Susie’s parent’s place. Susie’s dad gave Bruce a hearty handshake.   “I’m glad you guys could come,” he said.  “Susie said you might fly, but I suppose it’s no big deal to just jump in the car and drive, is it?”

“Good idea.”

The ute overtook the cars behind Bruce.

Bernard S. Jansen is 32, married has three young boys. He lives in Emerald, works as an engineer at a local coal mine and is active in his local church. Read more of Bernard’s writing online at surgebin.blogspot.com or email him at bernard.jansen@gmail.com GOT AN IDEA FOR A STORY? Let Bernard know - email him at bernard.jansen@gmail.com or hop on his blog surgebin.blogspot.com

Page 19 - Shift Miner Magazine, 5th July 2010

SM90_Shift Miner Magazine  

Mining Community Magazine

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