Heading West

A piece of cardboard, a texta (ink) pen, $10 in my wallet, odd socks, a few pairs of undies, a jacket and absolutely no idea what I was in for.

1986

A departure from my life as a wayward teenager growing up in leafy Sydney, amidst palms, frangipanis and fireworks.... the beginning of a definitive new life. Or so I thought.

Lets back track though a little. My parents always had (bless them) a desire for me to do well - "save your pennies and your dollars will look after themselves" or "penny pinch and pack a pound" or "work hard and achieve your dreams". 

So one night after yet another night out "on the piss" and returning from the moshpit of an ACDC concert in Sydney, covered in bruises and stinking of Port Royal rollies my parents bundled me in the car and drove me overnight to Alstonville NSW Australia. I had been accepted into a Landcare Management degree at the College in Lismore, mid north New South Wales.

Home to floods, mango trees, proximity to the coast. My thoughts of being at the college were obvious, boring as batshit and all I was interested in was getting stoned and laid. In that order. So what happened up there living in a strange house with a weird couple as a boarder led to some of my first life's insights with adults.

One day I decided during the first trimester break to hitch hike to Ballina on the coastline, a small coastal town. Went to the supermarket to buy a can of coke. Noticed a skinny redhead woman with three kids hanging off her skirt pinch a chocolate bar whilst in the aisle. I also noticed being street smart that a store detective had noticed her pinching that chocolate bar too.

We arrive at the counters to pay for goods. She fails to reveal the chocolate bar. The store detective steps in and after some kerfuffle steps away when I pay for the chocolate bar. We get outside.

"I suppose you need a lift someplace." 

I had intended going to the beach and sleeping rough but that night found myself in a house in Wardell down one long track that you see in movies. Lying back with my head on her pillow exhausted, covered in sweat I suddenly realised what sex ACTUALLY was. Spelled. Suddenly dreams were real.

I stayed 3 days retuning to Alstonville via the Wardell punt over the river.

Returning a week later to see my raven witch I was met with a cavalcade of cops, careening over the river, ticker taped driveway, no one allowed down that track. Shot. Through the head. Kids taken away by DOCS officers I stood in shock. Numb. Dumb.

Her boyfriend had heard of her and I. It wasn't the only time he had bashed her, abused her, tried to possess her. I still cry today thinking of it all. I met her friends at the pub. Got wasted. Woke up under the pub BBQ three days later with a skinful of Datura.

Time to return to Sydney. Disappointed my parents tried again. This time I was accepted into a Associate Degree in Biological Techniques at Armidale TAFE, mostly held at the University of New England. Robb College. B&S balls. Working at the local RSL Club. Becoming their champion bar tender, setting up gigs in the bush.

Apart from loving Histology, Parasitology, Electron Microscopy and Agronomy units I spent most of my time with the xxxx Family wasted listening to Jethro Tull and Lynard Skynard. Living with one lone Christian lunatic and his sometimes girlfriend.

Then I met xxxxxx Smith. At least that is who he told me he was. Going out with strawberry blonde xxxxxx. After a night out on the E's dancing till sunrise together we moved in together a week later. Mischief beyond comprehension. Free as a bird we drove to Mullaway to score another kilo from his Brother. I got left with a lunatic who smashed the house up, held me hostage for two days.

Clint was his name. Heavily tattooed, the only way I could calm him was to feed him cones. He killed the cat. Drove a surfboard through the walls. Ate Fruit Loops with Coke.

The cops arrived finally. I was a frigging mess. Psychologist debrief. More counselling. I still have nightmares about that lunatic.

So, one day playing pool at the Uni bar some young chicky babe, dark hair, little raven pinched my ass. I was a gun pool player. Still am. Ended up back in bed. Looked deeply into her eyes and knew that things were going to happen but didn't know what. University holidays popped up. Went back to the deadshits in Sydney.

Phone call. Sweet young voice. "...I am pregnant. You are going to be a Father."

19. Like...excuse me...who are you? xxxxxxxxx

Holy sweet baby Jesus.

Ok...so I had better come and see you and talk about this right? Yes. Where are you? Western Australia, Bunbury. Where?

Blur. Blur. I sat and smoked another joint.

Perth. Like how the fuck was I going to get there with no money and....hang on, I could hitch hike! Make it an adventure. Tell nobody. Shock them. Shock myself.

Ok....so a piece of cardboard, a texta pen.

"Perth". I looked it up on the map.

Oh my fucking god.

4550 kms???