Carny life was going swimmingly, brain cells had degenerated and we came accustom to having dogwoods and chips for breakfast. One of our rare afternoons off we decided to explore the nearest town (Lismore) with only a handful of shops, mainly charity ones. In a music shop we met a boy called Clay who had a feisty little parrot shitting all over him and his computer. He invited us over to his, we jumped at an invitation as worryingly carnival competition of making us their showie wives was growing even more aggressive by the day. “Aaaah fuck ‘A’ don’t talk to her A”
He picked us up with his friend in his yute, trucks that look like 4 wheel drives but are in fact only 2. We jumped in the back speeding down the highway, looking up at the stars with the wind in our hair with the joint realisation of just how happy we were.
Over a few drinks and the usual small talk, the topic of the outback arose. They said they would take us 4 wheel driving in the bush along the fire tracks – routes no standard car can handle. We were keen for a new adventure and with little resistance got in the back of the yute, pissed as farts and drove into the bush.
There was a flood of excited screaming as the yute roared over fallen tree trunks and huge cracks in the mud. However, forty minutes later it was becoming ever more evident that the car was not able to handle the severity of the tracks. Clay was silent, concentrating on keeping control of the vehicle. The novelty of being thrown around in a yute was wearing off, conversation quickly turned to the subject of going home. Clay then announced that our expedition was still only a third of the way through. Moreover, due to the intensity and steep gradient of the tracks we could not turn back. We were forced to carry on. The night seamed to appear darker, the bumps more aggressive, the jolting more unbearable and the desire for home ever greater. With butterflies’ in our stomachs, we hoped that every ditch would be the last. Looking over at Clay hoping to hear him say we were on the home stretch he grew particularly nervous.
Then “Oh, Fuck” ... A piercing hissing sound.
“What is that!?””
‘Tiers blown, we’ve got a flat fucking tire’
K laughs ‘are you joking?’
The hissing sound coming from the back tier grew louder, he wasn’t joking.
After four long sleepless hours with the fire on its last legs there was a rumbling in the distance and a faint glow through the dense growth. The light got brighter and the grumbling loader – it was an ultimate wolf creek moment. To the relief of all four of us it was a logging truck on its way to collect timber at five in the morning. We ran into the middle of the road, desperately waiving our arms hoping to be seen. The huge truck grinded to a holt and the door swung open. The logger looked startled and confused but after hearing our story told us to get in. A rush of relief as the prospect of getting home come over us, the ordeal was over! The logger radioed his colleagues so a fellow logger drove past to take the boys home while the man who picked us up would take us to the other side of Lismore. The boys were uneasy with such arrangements but feeling lethargic from the warmth of the truck we didn’t offer much opposition.
We began what we thought was the journey home. He offered us his breakfast – the edible gifts settled us down and we drifted off to sleep. Waking after an uncomfortable nap we clocked that he was back in the thick of the bush, picking up another load of wood. Then again... he dropped it off and picked up another load. We had been in his truck for 3 hours! Lismore having been around 40 minutes maximum from where he found us, tentatively we asked him when he would be dropping us off, “soon, you sheilas need to rest”. It felt like a never ending ordeal.
Driving through a logging station with signal the phone rang; it was Clay, “where are you girls, been tryin’ to call you for hours!” On the phone he told us that their truck driver tried to radio ours, but that our truck’s radio appeared switched off. Only when our tones changed and we stared to get stubborn, showing our obvious discomfort towards him and the wasted unneeded hours in his truck did he drop us off, 6 hours after the boys.
We arrived back to a worried group of cranys with a mixed reception of relief and anger. One of the older showies who had daughters of his own coldly reminded us Wolf Creek stories aren’t always fictional. Our hitching & spontaneous late night drives stopped there... For now!