I was very determined to do some fiction today, it seems. Here’s a short fic which makes it obvious I’ve been working with RSPCA today. If you’re familiar with Banjo Paterson’s ‘Mulgar Bill’ another influence will be quite clear. If not I’ve added it as a quote for those non-australians who are interested. It’s not as well known as ‘Waltzing Matilda’ but still an interesting poem. The photo is provided as part of Sunday Photo Fiction. *Edit Note on my usage of Stack/stacked: a more common aussie meaning means to stack is to crash. (Been back 4 months and I’ve gone native on you.) Okay, going to give up on coherency now.
Linda glowered at her Father. Their locked glares became an emotional battle which chipped away at her willpower. Then, with vision blurred by tears, Linda fled the room, grabbed her bike and sped off into the dusk with her Alsatian, Marco. The gentle whir of wheels counterpointed by panting of Marco as he raced joyfully alongside the bike could not calm her tonight. The wrong was too great, and her mind became a maze as she struggled to find a solution. Suburban terrain gave way to rougher bush track but the pair paid no heed; this was their realm, in it they were free. For the briefest of moments Linda forgot her worries. It was then, with a shriek and a yelp, that the pair came to grief on the twilight track. Bike crumpled, and lost in the dark, it was Marco whom found his way from where his mistress stacked. Though he nudged and licked, Linda did not stir. The worried dog let out a sing-song whine as he waited for her. As the temperature dropped he snuggled close to keep her warm, and kept the night life at bay. When Linda was rescued in the light of a new day, her Father uttered not a word of sending Marco away.
MULGA BILL’S BICYCLE by A.B. “Banjo” Paterson
'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that caught the cycling craze;
He turned away the good old horse that served him many days;
He dressed himself in cycling clothes, resplendent to be seen;
He hurried off to town and bought a shining new machine;
And as he wheeled it through the door, with air of lordly pride,
The grinning shop assistant said, "Excuse me, can you ride?"
"See here, young man," said Mulga Bill, "from Walgett to the sea,
From Conroy's Gap to Castlereagh, there's none can ride like me.
I'm good all round at everything as everybody knows,
Although I'm not the one to talk - I hate a man that blows.
But riding is my special gift, my chiefest, sole delight;
Just ask a wild duck can it swim, a wildcat can it fight.
There's nothing clothed in hair or hide, or built of flesh or steel,
There's nothing walks or jumps, or runs, on axle, hoof, or wheel,
But what I'll sit, while hide will hold and girths and straps are tight:
I'll ride this here two-wheeled concern right straight away at sight."
'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that sought his own abode,
That perched above Dead Man's Creek, beside the mountain road.
He turned the cycle down the hill and mounted for the fray,
But 'ere he'd gone a dozen yards it bolted clean away.
It left the track, and through the trees, just like a silver steak,
It whistled down the awful slope towards the Dead Man's Creek.
It shaved a stump by half an inch, it dodged a big white-box:
The very wallaroos in fright went scrambling up the rocks,
The wombats hiding in their caves dug deeper underground,
As Mulga Bill, as white as chalk, sat tight to every bound.
It struck a stone and gave a spring that cleared a fallen tree,
It raced beside a precipice as close as close could be;
And then as Mulga Bill let out one last despairing shriek
It made a leap of twenty feet into the Dean Man's Creek.
'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that slowly swam ashore:
He said, "I've had some narrer shaves and lively rides before;
I've rode a wild bull round a yard to win a five-pound bet,
But this was the most awful ride that I've encountered yet.
I'll give that two-wheeled outlaw best; it's shaken all my nerve
To feel it whistle through the air and plunge and buck and swerve.
It's safe at rest in Dead Man's Creek, we'll leave it lying still;
A horse's back is good enough henceforth for Mulga Bill."
The Sydney Mail, 25 July 1896.