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Australia – Darwin B.T. Wilderbourne


Darwin Darwin is a slightly cleaned up version of what Australia was twenty years ago, that’s according to a guy I had a chat before I left Sydney, he told me he used to be a Olympic weightlifter, he was in his sixties and these days his chest looked like a couple of wet towels lazily tied together with old rope under his permanently sweat drenched, over sized t-shirt with a sailing motif. But it was probably much more impressive in the days when he took steroids and lifted his way to an international competition. Anyway, I asked him for directions but he said the place I was looking for was only down the road and he’d walk me there. That was a ruse, it was miles away, what he really wanted to do was tell me all about his life and the many theories and short-cuts he had developed and discovered throughout it, which often happens to me because I must look like a priest or something. One of the nuggets he was desperate to divulge was related to Darwin where I was going so I paid attention: “Dahwens a fakkin woyl’ playce mate, thayz plenny a howles in da bash fulla fellas who pashed thayr fakkin lack. Coppas too”. He looked me clean in the eyeballs for the first time in the conversation when he said that last bit like he was in implicated in no minor way and he wanted me to know it. He had small crushed sad little eyes and a real desperate look people must get when the reach their mid sixties and realise that they’ve 2

dedicated their life to a totally self-centered pursuit like lifting really heavy things and having fantastic muscular definition when you look in the mirror with the lights at a certain angle. Now, instead of a loving wife and a team of devoted children ready to hear the one about how he could have been a Olympian and tell him they love him, running around the planet loaded with his genetic material promising to guarantee his immortality until it all ends when the sun dies or the price of oil reaches $150 a barrel, he’s wandering the streets of Sydney telling some lost priest everything he can remember that truly matters before his brain collapses in on itself. Later on in the conversation he casually intimated that he had smoked four joints and taken some acid about an hour prior to our meeting. ‘Great’ I thought. Rewind, Delete. When I arrived in Darwin I was completely broke so I went for a walk down to the docks looking for a job on a shrimping trawler, there were none but I ended up getting a job nearby in a ship-yard where they sand-blast the paint off the ships and repaint them. The manager asked me if I’d ever “done any sand-blasting before?”. Lying about using a high pressure lethal sandblasting machine was one lie too far so I just said “no”, he didn’t care and I could see he was a bit reluctant to let me operate the machinery, “what do you weigh?” he asked me in the cool of his office “about 140 pounds” I said, “soaking wet” he said. He was an Irish guy and all he ever asked me was if I’ve “been riding much?”, and if not “why not?”, “don’t be picky”, he told me and raised his finger while cocking his 3

head, sewoon I tell him all sorts of stories just to keep his vicarious perversion satisfied. The other guys who work there are an interesting bunch. One of the guys is called Sean. Sean’s probably only thirty two years old but it’s hard to tell. He’s quite overweight in an impressive way, his fat has its own sense of pride and gravity, it doesn’t sag instead it’s solid and taught the way I feel fat people should be. He’s at that point where his face is so fat he’s permanently squinting. He is basically a cartoon pig that has found a tear in the inter-dimensional fabric, wandered from his animated world into ours and secured a job working for a deranged Irishman who every Friday pays him in beer. He curses all day long. It’s all cunt this and fuck that. If someone nearby sneezes he calls them a ‘sneezing cunt’, if he hears someone laugh they’re a ‘laughing cunt’ and the other day when we went for a sandwich he heard some woman say “I’m from Melbourne” to someone else so he muttered “go back there then, you fuckin’ cunt”. Our yard boss is called Dallas and when he came into work the other day clean shaved with a clean vest on we asked him why he was so dressed up? (that’s dressed up Northern Territory style) he told us that he was dressed up because he was due in court later that day on charges of evading the police, drunk driving and resisting arrest, he reeled them all off so quickly I began to laugh but quickly stopped when I saw no one else was. “Dallas could go to jail, you know” his girlfriend, who also works in the shipyard, told me. “Dallas belongs in jail” I quietly thought 4

to myself as I nodded solemnly. Anyway it all ended well when Dallas told the judge that he was seeing a counsellor and a psychotherapist. The judge believed him and let him loose. Later that night while he was celebrating his triumph over justice Dallas was dragged out of a local bar by three bouncers while his girlfriend was busy punching a policeman in the face. She’s due in court pretty soon, I believe. In work I was given the imaginative nicknamed ‘Irish’. “AIRISH ,what da FACK a yewe doin?’ can often be heard screamed across the yard as I ruin $200 worth of ship paint. Everything is so expensive there, and making mistakes is not advised. The boss’s favoured way of firing someone is actually kicking them out of the yard. Literally kicking them in the arse until they’re out the gate. No joke. He lets me drive fork lifts and cherry pickers so he’s OK. The other day he whacked one of the guys across the back of the head and called him a “useless fakkin idiot” then strolled over to me, put his hands on his hips and said ‘Well, any ridin?’ Things are done differently in the Northern Territory. I worked more in Darwin than I’d ever worked in my life, we worked 6/7 days a week and about 11 hours a day. The money was good, but sweet Jesus it got hot during the day. It makes go a little bit funny in the head sometimes, no matter how much cold water you drink. “Going Troppo” they call it. It’s much worse in the wet season with the high humidity. All in all it was one of my favourite places 5

in Australia, I highly recommend it. I worked like an animal under the hot midday hammer, got drunk with the deranged locals, became a man and made a massive breakthrough in my Soduko technique. Bonanza. I might as well tell you that a few months after I left Darwin for Cairns I heard that one of the guys I worked with in the shipyard was arrested for double murder. It seems he drove by a bunch of aboriginals and fired a shotgun into the middle of them killing two. I’m ashamed to say that not long ago he would have won a cuddly toy and a coupon for the roller coaster for a shot like that. This guy was not exactly a seasoned assassin and was generally considered to be one of the stupidest people whoever was describing him had ever met. According to my boss, from the same company in Sydney, he probably had his name tag on his shirt at the time and most likely did the drive by in the company Ute with the company name on the side “couldn’ta happened to a fakkin better bloke” my Sydney boss said with a broad satisfied smile. When we sprayed the ships in Darwin we all wore masks or else stayed well away from the highly toxic paint cloud, he never needed a mask, he probably reckoned masks were for ‘poofters of abos’, who he shoots dead. BT




Australia pt. 2  

Darwin, Australia, Travel

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