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man! This is going to be just so cool! I can hardly wait,' Matt said to me
when we were eventually alone.
were still at the kitchen table and I had just got up from my seat and
carried our plates and cups over to the sink and started washing them.
and Guy had gone for a drive into town, and Ben and Samantha were safely
behind closed doors, doing God-only-knows what, which left just the two of
us here in the kitchen.
could almost see the excitement dripping off Matt, like a kid about to be
taken for his first ride on a roller-coaster, and as difficult as it was for
me to grasp the concept of his being out there on the water, at the mercy of
the gods, it was hard not to feel that same sense of anticipation. I just
hoped that something would actually come of this opportunity for him and
that he wasn't getting this excited for nothing.
on there, sunshine,' I said to him, trying to make sure he didn't get
too carried away with this whole thing. `You know it's only a shakedown
cruise or something. You haven't got a job out of it just yet!'
`Yeah, I know, I know. But just think of it,' he replied, beaming. `Out there on the water. Cruising around. The wind and the sea in our faces. Every day, battling the elements. We'll be like Leonardo... Kings of the World!'
a fuckin' fishing boat, Matt! And an old fishing boat at that!' I
laughed, half turning around to face him but with my hands still immersed in
the suds. `I bet it leaks like a sieve, and you pair will be nothing but
slaves to the old fart who owns it! And on top of all that, you'll both
come home every day smelling like shit!'
maybe! But we'll be getting paid to smell like shit!'
truly hope so, mate. But just remember that there's more to life than
that! Don't forget that there'll be someone here worrying about you
every time you go out there on the water... and he'll be waiting for you
to come home every day.'
You'll actually be worrying about me?' he asked, suddenly looking all
Of course I'll worry. Why wouldn't I worry?'
promise I'll be careful. Alright?' he said, suddenly turning serious and
getting to his feet, then crossing the floor and coming over to me. He
wrapped his arms around my waist and hugged me, while letting his chin rest
on my shoulder as I continued to wash dishes.
around to face him, while still in his embrace, and with my hands dripping
wet from the dishwater, I said, `That's good, mate. But it's not so
much what you'll be getting up to that concerns me. It's more like what
everyone else around you may do, plus the things that we can't control!
That is what worries me most.'
be alright, Luke,' he said. `I promise you that.'
so wanted to believe him, but deep down I couldn't help but have some
reservations. After all, how could he really promise something like that?
trust me, alright?' he pleaded, obviously sensing my doubts. `You do
trust me, don't you?'
know already that I do,' I whispered. `But it doesn't mean I'm going
to worry any less about what might happen when you're out there on the
water. I've heard all the stories about mountainous waves, or fishing
boats getting run down by freighters. I just don't want anything like that
happening to you! I . . .'
I'll be fine,' he said, cutting in before I'd had the chance to tell
him that I wouldn't be able to live without him.
will be,' he chuckled, now sounding amused at my concern. `Now just shut
up, you fool, and kiss me, will you?'
actually, I had something else in mind,' I replied, while letting my still
wet hands slide around his body and settle on his firm buttocks, then
pulling him toward me until our stomachs were resting against each other.
you now? Well, what say we go and do something about that?' he remarked,
before covering my lips with his.
our mouths parted he stood there smiling at me, looking into my eyes and
flashing that devilish grin which I had fallen in love with so long ago now.
I knew what would be next, him pushing his hips forward and rubbing himself
against me, allowing me to feel his growing excitement.
didn't disappoint me. A few moments later he did just what I thought he
would do, leading me away from the dishes and back down the hallway, past
the closed door of Ben and Samantha's room, from behind which we could
hear muted sounds of passion, and into our own room.
first we knew of Tim and Guy arriving home was our hearing the back door
slam and one of them walking up the hallway saying, `The bastards! The
mother-fucking-arse-licking-pieces of shit! What is it with the people in
this fuckin' town?'
was accompanied by two sets of footsteps stamping up the hall, and followed
by another voice, this one sounding a little more soothing.
not to worry about it, mate. It can be fixed!'
was Tim speaking. Although it took a moment for me to recognise that.
and I both broke away from our embrace and got up off the bed and pulled on
our boxers, before then venturing out into the hallway to see what all the
fuss was. We found Ben and Samantha doing exactly the same thing, venturing
out of their bedroom with puzzled expressions on their faces and both of
them wrapped up in the same sheet.
going on?' Ben asked.
all looked at each other blankly, then Matt and I simply shrugged, as the
four of us then headed toward the kitchen, where we found an extremely
agitated Guy pacing back and forth, with a clearly frustrated Tim trying to
calm him down.
guys, what's going on?' Ben asked again, this time directing the
question at our two housemates.
looked furious. Too furious to talk even. In the end it was Tim who spoke.
those guys from the other night? From near the pub?' he said. `Well, we
just bumped into them again as we were going into the store. When we came
back out and got to the car, well . . . we found all the front lights and
grill smashed in! And there was glass and plastic all over the road.'
. . .,' Matt said. `Are you sure it was them? I mean . . . did you see
simply shook his head, while Guy just scowled, still pacing around the
kitchen like a caged animal.
have you been to the Police yet?' Samantha then asked, which only seemed
to send Guy off into another rage.
this!' he exclaimed. `I'm going outside. You tell `em!'
five of us could only watch as he stormed off down the hall once more, with
the whole house seeming to shudder with the slamming of the door.
was the first time that Matt and I had ever seen any of our housemates in
any sort of a mood like this, and judging by the expressions on Ben and
Samantha's faces it was quite possible that it was the first time either
of them had seen him like this also.
the echoes of the slamming door had finally faded we turned back toward Tim,
who was looking somewhat overwhelmed by the whole deal.
what else happened then?' Ben eventually asked him.
was weird, you know?' Tim began. `The lady in the shop asked where we
were from and we told her that we were living here. She told us to be
careful! Now, why would she do that? Then the next thing we find is Guy's
car all smashed up like that!'
was obviously a reason for her saying that to you,' I said to him.
what about the cops? Did you go and see them?' Matt asked.
Fat lot of good that did?'
come? What happened?' Matt prompted.
we went and saw him . . . the station in this town only has one guy at it .
. . and when we said who we were and where we were from, he said `So,
you're from that Queer House, then?'
all exchanged uncomfortable glances. And no one looked more uncomfortable
mean, it's like we're lepers or something!' he continued. `Everyone
in this town seems to know that there's a bunch of gays living here! And
he wasn't even interested about the car! I mean, he had a quick look at
it, but unless someone saw someone else do it, he reckons he can't do a
that's probably right,' Samantha remarked. `But he still should have
treated you a bit better. I mean, it sounds like he was putting you down, or
even dismissing you guys, just because of your address.'
well that's exactly what it felt like!'
so unfair,' Samantha said. `They can't do that!'
in a place like this, they can pretty much do whatever they like!' Matt
obviously they do!' added Ben.
they shouldn't be allowed to get away with it,' Samantha replied.
said Ben with a chuckle. `And who's going to stop them? You?'
. . . I . . . errr . . . we . . .,' she began to stammer, before Ben put
her out of her misery and placed a finger over her lips and silenced her.
was only joking,' he whispered.
. . . maybe we shouldn't joke,' I said. `Maybe we should be thinking
about the other issues that point raises?'
that?' Samantha asked.
like what we were talking about the other day! That this town isn't quite
the town we expected it to be! And that there really is a side to this
place, and the people in it, that we hadn't considered when we all decided
to move here!'
I think you're right,' Matt remarked.
question now is...,' Samantha offered, `what are we all going to do
all just looked at each other.
of us knew the answer to that, but she had certainly hit the nail on the
head! That was the real question, wasn't it?
was outside removing the remnants of his broken headlights when we all went
out into the sunlight a short while later. We stood back and watched him
work, grim faced, before Matt eventually went over to him and offered to
Guy said to him, with a nod. `It's going to cost me a packet to replace
these! Do you have any idea what new parts are worth for this damn thing?'
be right, Guy!' Matt said. `I know they aren't cheap, but at least if
we help you out it'll save you the cost of the labour.'
I appreciate that.'
what are friends for?' Matt replied, while slapping a friendly hand on
Guy's back as he did so.
looked up at him and for the first time since he and Tim had arrived home he
actually smiled, which was a sight that considerably lightened the sombre
mood of everyone who was gathered around the car, especially Guy.
have to ring the local dealer later and see if they've got the parts in
stock. Two headlights, plus the grill in front of the radiator. They won't
be cheap, but I can always ring mum, I suppose . . .'
no you won't!' I heard Tim suddenly say to him, before Guy had a chance
to even finish the sentence. `We're here to stand on our own two feet.
We're going to work this out for ourselves, and not run back to our folks
every time something goes wrong!'
looked up at him and grinned, then said, `Yeah, and since when did you
turn into Action Man?'
know I've always been a man of action, mate! Or were you forgetting last
enough! I don't want to hear another word,' Samantha shrieked, throwing
her hands up and turning away.
wrong with you?' Matt asked her. `You don't see Luke and me getting
all squeamish, now do you, after listening to you and lover-boy here all
Ben had to grin at that one.
wasn't interested though. She continued on her merry way back into the
girl that, sometimes,' Matt said to Ben after she was safely inside.
You're tellin' me!' Ben laughed.
fishing wharves weren't anywhere near the lake and the river and the main
part of town, they were located a couple of kilometres away, in a quiet cove
that lay just around the next headland to the south of the mouth of the
They were protected by a huge rock break wall which stretched out from either shore and overlapped in the middle, allowing room for the boats to pass in and out and providing them with shelter from the open seas while they were moored.
There were also other boats moored there in the cove, such as a few houseboats and several yachts, which no doubt would have made it quite a busy little port at times.
we all went down there after lunch things were fairly quiet, with the water
calm and several fishing boats rocking peacefully at their moorings, a
handful of people were going about their business, loading and unloading,
sitting around talking, or fishing from the break wall. The only real sign
of activity came from the numerous seagulls, which dotted the smooth water,
or squabbled amongst themselves along the break wall, fighting over the
scraps of bait or lunch that the fishermen would throw aside.
spotted Scott and Justin's pick-up truck parked not far from an old boat
with `Wanderer' painted across the front of the wheel-house and the two
of them talking to a crusty looking old guy on the wharf.
guess that's it then?' Matt said as we looked across at the three of
I guess so.'
certainly doesn't look like much, does it?' he remarked.
do you remember reading those books by Colin Thiele when we were kids back
in about Year Five or Six?' I asked him. `You know, like The Fire In
The Stone and Storm Boy?'
I do actually.'
about Blue Fin, remember that one? Man, this is just like it's
straight off those pages!'
that boat sink?' he suddenly asked.
. . . no. It got knocked around a bit, but it made it back to the
Christ for that then!'
laughed at him.
you were the one telling me not to worry! Remember?'
I know, mate. But now we're here . . .'
on. Let's get over there and meet this old guy. The others should be here
any minute now.'
you're right. We probably should!'
got out of the car and crossed the car park toward them, all the while being
watched by the old seafarer.
them, then?' we heard the old guy say as we neared.
one of them,' Justin replied.
the other guy then, eh? He's not some slacker, always going to be late, is
He'll be here, Cye. Just relax,' said Justin. I didn't think that Cye
looked convinced though.
fellas,' Scott said to us when we reached them. `I see you made it.'
course!' Matt replied. `I wouldn't miss this for the world!'
might think otherwise later today, lad, eh!' the old man said.
Luke, this is Cye. He owns the boat,' Justin said, introducing us all.
`And just watch him . . . he's a bloody old slave driver!'
be enough of that now, young'n,' Cye said to Justin, before thrusting
his hand out in our direction. `Pleased to meet ya, lads!'
both shook his hand and were surprised by his firm grip. Looking at him it
was hard to say just how old he was, but he would have had to be in his
sixties I would have thought. He was a little shorter than either Matt or I,
was dressed in a blue and white checked flannelette shirt, which somehow
seemed to match the fading and peeling paintwork on his boat, and had a
short grey beard and grey hair, upon which was perched a tattered dark blue
you all set for this then, eh?' he asked.
am,' Matt replied earnestly.
about your mate, eh? Where's he then?'
he's coming. He and his girl were leaving at the same time we left. I
think they were just going to get some petrol in their car on the way
then, but they better not take too long. There's work to be done, eh,'
he said as he turned and started back toward the gang-plank.
looked at Justin, expecting some sort of explanation, but all Justin did was
wink at him and said, `It's alright, Matt. You'll get used to him
pretty quickly, and every second sentence ending in `eh'. He's a great
old guy really. Come on, I'll show you blokes around the old tub, eh!'
we headed up the gang-plank, chuckling to ourselves, we heard the sound of
an approaching car and turned to see Samantha and Ben come into the car park
and pull up beside Matt's car, in a cloud of dust.
like he's just in time,' Scott remarked as we stepped onto the deck for
the first time and we suddenly felt the deck shudder as Cye tried starting
cloud of thick dark smoke spluttered out of an ancient looking exhaust
somewhere behind the wheel-house and billowed all around us, which caused
Ben and Samantha to break into a run, quickly crossing the car park and then
coming up the gang-plank rather cautiously.
guys. Nice of you to show up!' Justin said to them as they joined us.
`Where are the others? Aren't they coming down too?'
it was my fault,' Samantha said to him. `We had to get some petrol and
then the car wouldn't start! Tim and Guy are still back at the house.'
OK, although old Cye was starting to get a bit tetchy,' Justin replied.
`I was just going to show Matt and Luke around the old tub, so come on,
I'll take you to meet him, then you can get the guided tour.'
Justin leading the way we headed for the wheel-house, where he introduced
Cye to Ben and Samantha, before then showing us everything above and below
was amazed at just how confident and at ease Justin seemed to be on the
boat, and said as much to Scott.
gave me a grin and said, `You'd be even more amazed if you'd have
known him when he first came to live here. He's changed so much in the
past six months or so. He's been through more than you could possibly
imagine, and now it's like he's finally found his place in the world.'
could see and hear the admiration in Scott's tone and looked up at Justin
and Matt standing together, with Ben and Samantha.
To be continued . . . . . .
EDited by Ed
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