Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: BEAT AROUND THE BUSH (05/25/17)
By Rebecca Bithyah
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My wife, Mary, had given me an earful that morning. Should be going to church instead of chasing gold she’d said, it’s disrespecting the Lord she said, and a load of other stuff.
I’d been so mad, I got up real close, pointed my finger in her face and yelled, “You’ll see Sunshine, you’ll see.”
So, I was dreaming about sticking the nugget I knew I was going to find that day under her nose instead of watching for ‘roos. Sure enough, one broke onto the road right in front of us, and it was too late to react calm like I should have.
Instead, I had to yank the wheel around hard. We missed the ‘roo, but the ute twisted, then flipped, two, three, I dunno how many times. Next thing I know, I’m on my side, looking out a crazy cracked windscreen with a dead weight on top of me. We’d crashed into a tree and settled, my side down.
Turned out, it was Jim lying on me like a 140-kilo sack of potatoes. I could feel him breathing, so I pushed on him and called his name, but he was out cold.
That was when I smelled the petrol. Craning around, I couldn’t see any, but figured it was leaking from the ute’s tank in the rear. That weren’t a concern. It was the spare battery that did me in.
It’d been thrown under a dead bush not a metre away. A couple of tent poles had smashed across it and were connecting the terminals. It was sparking fit to bust. The bush was tinder dry and surrounded by scrub litter. The type I use as fire starter.
Jim was still out cold. I punched and screamed, shoved and kicked, but he wouldn’t wake up and I was no closer to getting out. I checked on the bush. Smoke was rising from its lower branches. It was about ready to bust into flames, and here we were, stuck in a pool of petrol.
What I had to do next came to me, but my guts twisted at the thought.
Ever since Mary and me’d been feuding about going to church, I'd been avoiding it on principle. Thinking about it, I decided that being burned alive beat principles. If ever there was a time to start talking with God again, it was now.
Desperate prayer ain’t my thing so I simply laid out to Jesus what the deal was. If he saved me, I’d go to church with Mary every week. Keep her happy. If it did me some good, that’d be a side benefit.
I relaxed a little and was watching the bush gushing smoke when I heard it. The thumping beat of a mob on the run.
That stinking ‘roo, he’d gone and rounded up all his mates. Must’ve been a hundred or more come pounding past. They crashed through the scrub and dodged ‘round the ute like they were being chased by the devil. It sounded like a road train rolling past my head. The ground thundered, the ute shook, and they smashed into the bush the battery was under till it was nothing but a pile of sticks. Just to make sure the job were done proper, one of ‘em kicked the tent poles off the battery too.
Me mouth fell open and me gaze followed ‘em off into the distance and I shook me head and me mind went blank. Who’d a thought?
About then, Jim roused and poked his elbow in me ribs which hurt like billy-o. He spat out some blood, looked around and said, “What’re you doing down there?”
That made me want to punch him back to kingdom-come but I contained meself and said, “Saving your life you dumb git.”
“How’re you saving my life by having a Sunday nap?”
“Prayin’ Jim, I was prayin’. Now get off me.”
We both made it home okay in the end. Jim needed a few stitches. And me? Nothing but bruised ribs and a promise to keep.
It’s been four years now and I’ve kept me word. Every time the gold calls and I want to head out prospectin’ on a Sunday, I say to meself, “Moses had his burning bush, and I’ve got my beaten bush. Not today Sunshine, not today.”
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