franks’ troubles, the byron pests.
Byron Bay, and the border ranges that rise in the north-west are home to some very sorrowful people. They wash up here and there like corpses on the bank of the sacred river Ganges. Then they buy a caravan, park it in some remote paddock surrounded by forest, plant some tomatoes and cannabis.
All sorts of settlers wander about the roads and forests; one bloke has an imprint of his father’s army boot-heel on his forehead, another plays at the chemist behind Uki, with his bubbling pots and the opalescent liquid in them that writhes and steams as he cooks it down. Just a sip he says, go on, and we’ll see you sometime next week, when you get back.
This one has crazy eyes. Plus he likes to be around unconscious bodies.
Frank, the lead story here, adopted a nutted out little Staffordshire terrier that had been pulled out of a car wreck a few years ago. Two dead in the mangle. And lately the mutt has been showing big red pussy sores about its neck, all around the collar. This had Frank beat for a while until he figured out it was glass fragments being squeezed out – and the dog was almost done from the multiple infections.
Not eating furniture any more, no more dead rats under the bed.
This was a sick dog. Terminal. Frank’s best dog. He’s a roofer and they get attached to their guard dogs up here.
So he decided to visit a friend up country and help him dig out a fence-line one weekend after a stop at a feral farm on the way up and see if he could score a little bushy for the cold nights. They of course had a look at the hound, who was too sick to get out of the truck, and Frank mentioned that he might have to shoot the poor mutt and bury him when he got up to his friend’s place.
Got a gun? Someone asked. Yeah said Frank, a rifle, point 303. An old war relic.
But the dog got better overnight, and Frank came back down to Byron to work on the Monday.
One day later the RSPCA hammered onto his front door and asked to see the dog he had been trying tried kill and hadn’t succeeded (the neck sores). Then right behind him was the local plod, mob handed, and they wanted to have a look at the dog too, plus they had a warrant to search for an unlicensed weapon.
Somebody had made a few phone calls, the pests. The Greenies, the animal lovers, poetry readers, painters, writers – all those misfits who should be worrying the traffic in Oxford Street Sydney. The thought of man sorrowfully shooting his best dog, sick to death, had sent them straight to the phone.
Funny thing was how the plod, while they were busy rooting around in Frank’s place looking for a nice big unregistered rifle, found a half thumbnail of black hashish. Tucked away somewhere.
Who doesn’t know this.
Surprise surprise Frank, they said, look at what we found. Now he’s looking over his shoulder every time he gets into his truck.
Gotta love this country.
and thanks ben c for the yarn