First Date Fail Part 2
Riding his horse along the headlands of his farm Angelo's thoughts wandered back to his arrival on his then, new property. He had come into a healthy inheritance of cash as a result of an old uncle passing away. Angelo left his job of eleven years at the local sugar mill, packed most of his belongings into his 1974 V8 Valiant and drove it until it broke down in a little place called Sardina. He walked straight up to the real estate agents and found a picture of a cattle property in the shop window and here he was today.
At first he enjoyed living by himself in his shed come house with its concrete floor, iron roof and three dogs, but he knew that if he wanted the right kind of female company he would have to build a nice nest. So he built a modest low set brick home that he kept meticulously neat and tidy. He also replaced the Valiant with a new Toyota Hilux ute, he didn’t really want to splash out for air-conditioning but then thought better of it. The Valiant was still on the property permanently parked near a dam, because he couldn't bear to get rid of it, and he might fix it…one day.
Angelo didn't know it but he had a reputation in town for having a lot of money and being somewhat mysterious, which made him all the more attractive to prospective females (and a couple of males). He was a good looking man in his thirties, tall with tanned skin and a perfectly sculpted body from physical work. His hair was sandy light brown with streaks of pale blonde highlights were it escaped from beneath his hat and his eyes were a gorgeous pale blue that a woman could get lost in.
He had known the crocodile was there. It had been there when he first bought the property. He had even named it ‘Barry’ after his real estate agent who had ill-fitting dentures and came across as a bit dodgy.
Angelo and Barry had been co-existing happily. There were feral pigs on the property, so Angelo had built himself a pig trap and after shooting the caught feral's he then needed to dispose of the carcasses. Angelo had seen Barry sunning himself on a nearby creek bed and after he got over the initial shock of his very large, toothy neighbor decided rather than shoot him he could put him to good use as a feral pig disposal system.
The dead pigs were dragged up a couple of planks of wood onto the the ute tray using an electric winch. Then it was a quick drive from the pig trap to the drop, straight down to the salt water creek. Barry soon found the feeding spot and began checking it regularly. Angelo would carefully back the ute up and push the dead pigs off the back of the ute tray and let them fall onto the mud bank below. And there would be Barry, nearby happily waiting for his feed.
The farmer felt reasonably safe from the large reptile as the drop from the top of the creek ledge to the mud bank below was a sharp, steep one. He was just extremely careful not to lose his footing. The partnership suited Angelo well, as he did not want pig shooters hooning around the property scaring or accidentally shooting his cattle or dogs.
The feral pig population had dwindled in the last few months and Angelo had not seen his fearsome neighbor in some time, which made him wonder ‘what Barry was eating nowadays’. Perhaps now would be a good time to inform the local fisheries rangers of the large croc, assuming they already didn't know about him. God almighty the croc was big enough, surely he wasn't the only one who had seen him. His mind made up, he gave his horse a swift kick in the guts and headed back to the house to have a shower and drive into town.
He had only been driving not more than five minutes down the main road when he noticed the scrub moving erratically on the roadside. Thinking it was probably a large kangaroo he slowed the ute down. Even though the vehicle had a bullbar he didn't particularly want the animal throwing itself on the bonnet of the vehicle and possibly coming through the windscreen.
He was stunned and surprised to see a girl running out onto the road. She was a wretched mess covered in dirt and bleeding from scratches, her clothing didn't even look like it fit her. As he slowed to a stop he realized she was wet through and very distressed, he wondered if she was a victim of an abduction and half expected to see a gunman running through the scrub after her.
Helen relieved to see the vehicle stop, opened the passenger door.
“A croc, a crocodile attacked our tinny, my boyfriends dead”, she said panting heavily.
“How do you know he’s dead?” Angelo asked, shocked.
Helen looked aghast and without thinking blurted out, “He’s got no head”.
“That would do it”, Angelo said. “I’ll have to take you to the police station. Come on, get in.” ‘Bloody Barry’, he thought to himself.
Helen nodded and climbed into the HiLux.
“Look mate”, Angelo said to the upset girl, “I’m going to drive down and have a quick look”.
“Shit why?” Helen said in a panic stricken voice. “I don’t want to go back there”.
“I’ll just be quick”, Angelo said already turning the HiLux around to the boat ramp road.
There wasn't much to see, a lone ute and a partly submerged tinny.
“What…. has your boyfriend got the keys to the ute?” asked Angelo.
Helen nodded, she was surprised to see how peaceful the boat ramp now was, and wondered for a second if it had really happened. She caught a glimpse of herself in the side view mirror and saw how disheveled she looked, the reality of the situation that had taken place flooded over her, she swung open the car door and was caught by the seat belt as she leaned out and threw up.
Angelo was startled for a moment, ‘Gross’, he thought to himself, ‘My dogs are cleaner than her and they ride in the back... and now she’s vomiting.
“I’m so sorry”, Helen sobbed, between dry reaching.
“It’s alright”, Angelo said tentatively patting her back, hoping to calm her enough to stop her vomiting.
“What’s your name?” Angelo asked with a forced smile hoping to distract her from her emotional and physical outpouring.
“Helen”, she managed to say.
Her nose was running and she was thinking of blowing it on the inside of her shirt rather than ask for a tissue. Angelo could see her predicament and quickly produced a handkerchief from his back jeans pocket and handed it to the forlorn figure beside him.
Helen looked at the handkerchief for a moment and stifled an eeeww, she didn’t want to offend the good Samaritan so she took the offered ‘thing’ thought to herself ‘what the heck’, and blew her nose noisily into it.
“I’m sorry; I haven’t asked your name?” Helen stammered, after blowing her nose.
“I’m Angelo”, Angelo replied really not wanting to offer any more information than necessary. He envisaged the girl developing some sort of emotional attachment to him whilst in her fragile state and quite frankly so far she had made a fairly dreadful first impression and might even be a nutbag.
“Well if you’re OK shut the door and let’s get out of here hey”. Angelo said, beginning to feel a little creeped out.
She pulled the car door shut and off they sped in a hail of loose rocks to the local police station.
to be continued........I think!