Each night as the sun was fading, my buddy and I would drive to this wide open dirt clearing out the back of an industrial estate
It was the size of four football fields. Marsh on one side and a little river on the other. Here we’d park up against the bright lights of the mining port in the background.
We’d then chuck on the radio and pull out our 5litre goon sack (Cask wine).
We’d have one, sometimes two to toast the night.
This was our ritual before climbing into the back of our van (Lawrence Lancelin) and sleeping, before waking up at 430AM to head to our jobs.
Same thing: 6, sometimes 7 nights a week.
We were in a mining town in far north Western Australia called Port Hedland. Once famous for the pub that recorded the most glassings in a calendar year.
One night we were sipping our delicious $20 vino from our plastic cups when a car came speeding out onto the dirt strip.
This wasn’t the first time.
Teenagers would come out to hook up or do doughnuts, whipping around their shit box cars.
Except this time it was different.
The car began circling us…
Over and over and over again. Revving menacingly.
I was sure Lawrence was worried too.
We locked the doors and wound the windows tight.
Then two men got out and slammed their doors.
We were fit young lads but not really aggressive. Unlike when I’d been travelling and had a plan for this kind of thing, it kind of caught us off guard.
There was no wine courage, like I’d experienced in losing fights before.
It was pure panic.
One guy started smashing on our door. The bigger of the two.
“Open the fucking door!”
I remember asking my mate, “do we let them in?” Knowing that was dumb AF, but not really seeing any other option.
They seemed agitated and we were no doubt firing them up more by not doing what they said.
A few more knuckles to the window and the point of ‘OK this is going smash all over me soon and how useful will I be if I’ve got shards of glass in my face.’
Plus it will probably get in my drink and we all know wine is ruined if glass gets in there.
Then I noticed something.
I could see how the smaller one was shuffling.
He was overly short and skinny, a little dude — awkward, weedy even.
“Fuck!” I said to my mate.
Kev was this quiet fella who would come to the gym with us every now and then.
Hilariously, Kev was best mates with my boss at work on the ports.
Kev kept to himself mostly.
The aggressive dude smashing the window still looked scary but my mate and I knew we could beat the shit out of Kev.
Unless he had a knife. But I didn’t think of that.
I felt an odd calm amidst my pounding heart.
I wound down the window faster than I’d have liked and said “Kev!”
The aggressive dude’s face dropped. I’m sure he was going to demand our wallets and phones ,which we probably would have given him.
The aggressive meathead stepped out of the way and Kev stepped forward.
With a twisted, but still menacing look on his face he looked into my eyes.
They were both high as kites on meth.
I knew Kev and my boss dabbled in it, but I didn’t know Kev got high and went out robbing people.
Once he realised who we were he turned into the same awkward dude we knew.
I said “Kev!”
“You in for the gym this week?”
Such a weird way to talk to someone who was about to rob and bash you.
Looking back it was hilariously disarming.
Awkward, drug-fuelled, ritual vino induced silence fell.
“yeah…armmm…seeyas there then…”
And like something out of a 90s comedy, the two turned around and got in their shitbox.
Revved it once for good measure and drove off.
We deliberated going to the cops.
Who else would these shitheads be terrorising that night? But we didn’t and I just mentioned it to my boss that he should have a word.
Kev never came to the gym with us again.
And we never stayed in that spot.
We actually moved into a shed/ castle that we could defend to the death if this ever happened again! It never did - but we still enjoyed our vinos each night.
There’s no real moral to this story. I just thought considering how serious the world is at the moment, I could tell a hectic, but funny story.
On Wednesday I was having a low day and watched an episode of ‘Afterlife’ on Netflix. I sat and laughed my head off. I love Ricky Gervais.
Even though the storyline is dark (like the one above) perhaps they’re the stories we need at the moment.
A foot in the fuckedness of life and a foot in the hilarity.
It’s a wild polarity.
Certainly worked for me on Wednesday and I hope you got a little giggle from this one.
And what about Kev?
Fuck Kev, what a prick.
However, I do empathise and hope he didn’t end up like so many I saw while working in mining towns.
Have a rad weekend and if you’re feeling low, find a positive vice that provides a few laughs but doesn’t leave us worse than we started. :)
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