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Monday, July 14, 2008

Ship Ahoy!

*warning - there are a few rude words in this piece

People sometimes accuse me of being a bullshit artist. Now that’s a bit unfair. Is it my fault that interesting things happen to me? Like the incident with the boat – nobody ever believes that one. What? Haven’t I told you about that? Well mate, it was like this…

It was a typical Friday evening. After a convivial evening spent down at the Burvale Pub, blowing the froth off a few and perhaps a few more, I was headed home. Having drunk my cab fare, I had weaved my way back to the Nunawading train station.

Springvale Drive around Nunawading is six lanes wide – it’s a seriously big and busy bugger of a road, mate. Now just as I was nearing the shops, I heard this horrible sound like a huge hand scraping its fingernails down a blackboard. I looked up to see an enormous shower of orange sparks coming my way. An enormous shadow towered above the fireworks.

It was the prow of a yacht. No mate, I’m not kidding – a bloody yacht. And not just a little catamaran, it was a huge ocean-going yacht in the middle of suburbia for criven’s sake, perched on top of a tiny boat trailer. In the middle of the flaming road! And the bloody thing was heading straight for me! For a moment I just stared at it, mouth open, frozen like a kangaroo in your headlights. Then I did what any other self-respecting drunk would do in the circumstances. I gathered my self together and… “Shiiiiiiit!”

Up it loomed over me. Just as it seemed sure to run me down, the boat trailer clipped the gutter, spun around and crashed over with an almighty craaaack. It snapped a sapling on the nature strip off at the base in a spray of twigs and leaves. A No Standing sign was torn out of the ground and flew though the air. As the boat hit the ground, its side exploded into a deluge of marine ply and fibreglass.

Silence reigned supreme after the last pieces of debris had hit the ground. I felt a bit like Wile E Coyote after another trap for the roadrunner had just backfired. Then I heard someone yelling. It was the attendant from a nearby service station who was sprinting down the footpath towards me.

“Are you alright mate?”

“Ahh yeah I think so,” I replied.

“Geez I thought that it’d hit ya mate.”

The pair of us stood there and stared at the mess before looking at each other dumbfounded. Could we believe our eyes? It was a yacht!

Another voice yelled and we glanced around to see someone approaching from the opposite direction. The new arrival ignored us and rushed over to the yacht. He had a horrified look on his face. You’d think someone had pinched his smokes just after the pub had closed.

“All the way to the fucking Whitsundays and back and almost fucking home!” he yelled. “Look at that,” he screamed, pointing at the front of the boat trailer. “The fucking towbar broke!”

“Yeah I’m alright thanks mate,” I muttered.

Sarcasm obviously didn’t mean much to this clown and he continued to rant and rave.

It was at this point that the Seventh Cavalry arrived. To be more precise, a truckload of SAS (Saturdays and Sundays) Army Reservists pulled up and all piled out, looking resplendent in their starched jungle greens, and formed up on the footpath. A pissant little corporal spun around on his heel and marched over to the three of us.

“Can we be of assistance gentleman?” the corporal snapped out and stroked a fuzzy little moustache that perched on his lip like a lazy caterpillar. What a Stormin’ Norman wannabe.

“Um yeah – help me turn it back over again?” boat owner said. He had gone very quiet in the face of this military might.

The corporal marched back to his troops. “Gentleman – on my command, you will take up positions around the vehicle and be ready to manoeuvre it upright.”

On he droned, detailing their plan of attack for this exercise. Struth – you’d reckon he was Blamey and Monty all rolled into one on D-Day!

The servo attendant turned to the boat owner. “How heavy is that thing mate?”

“Pretty light – the three of us could probably turn it over.”

So the three of us gathered around the boat, grabbed a handhold and heaved. I couldn’t believe just how light it was. I’m telling you mate, if that’s all that’s keeping the water out I’m NEVER going sailing. The boat trailer, still carrying the splintered remains of the yacht, was soon up and over, bouncing back onto its wheels once more.

“Hey boys – we’re all done here,” the servo attendant called out to the Lean Green Fighting Machine.

Corporal Stormin’ turned and glared at us. You could practically read his mind. How dare these civilians interfere with my operation!

Spying the battered street sign laying to one side, Stormin’ snapped out an order. His squad rushed over, picked up the sign and took it with them as they clambered back aboard their truck. Stormin’ then stepped up into the cab and waved the driver to be away. Exit the military – stage right.

“God help us if we need them in a fucking war,” the boat owner growled. He turned and stalked back to his car, muttering something about shoving a towbar up someone’s bum.

“Looks like the show’s over,” the servo attendant said and wandered back to his petrol pumps.

I was alone once more. What the hell just happened? Realisation finally hit home. I was almost run over by a yacht in landlocked Nunawading! I started to laugh. Wait until I start telling people about this one!


“Hey – guess what?” I yelled to my house mate and her boyfriend as I burst into the house shortly after. “I was almost run over by a boat!”

Carolyn looked up from her canoodling on the couch and regarded me carefully. “Just how pissed are you?” The pair of them began to laugh – at me, not with me. And kept on laughing all the way to the bedroom.

“You wait,” I yelled after them. “It’ll be in the paper sometime. You’ll have to believe me then.”

The story never did appear in the paper. Presumably the editor didn’t believe it either.

To this day nobody ever believes that I was almost run down by an ocean-going yacht on Springvale Drive. What a gip. But like I said mate, it’s a true story. Can I help it if unbelievable things happen to me?

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