AMCN Twisty Bits

Published on August 8th, 2009 | by Boris

THE NIGHT OF THE DAMNED

11109496-water-ski-wipeout

This is not me. My wipe-out was far more horrendous

It does a man good to sleep under the stars.

Especially if there is a campfire involved. Reflected orange flames dancing off the bike; the smoky tang of burning gum tree and vaguely rancid sleeping bag in your nostrils; the sour afterbite of bad whisky on your tongue – all basking under the awesome indifference of the night sky.

Fabulous stuff. Life-affirming.

Even when it all goes to shit, and the night becomes a shrieking, gelatinous circle of Hell into which you have been cast, and from which there is no escape and no end, it still does you good.

These days, I am fortunate enough to pick and choose when I wish to repose ’neath the vault of Heaven, but there was a time when circumstances did not permit such choice.

Like the night I lay whimpering near a footpath in Coonamble hoping one of the endless semi-trailers, hissing and grinding through their brakes and gearboxes three metres from where I lay, would run me over and end my misery.

At least I think it was Coonamble. It could have been Narromine. But there was a river involved, I’m certain of that. Anyway, how I came to be quivering in abject despair on its footpath is a cautionary tale for the youth, lest they too find themselves on a swag, beside a busy highway, swathed in wretchedness. Young motorcyclists must know that the ability to ride a motorcycle does in no way automatically confer upon one the ability to also water-ski.

Yes, it certainly came as a revelation to me, too. And I pondered it at length that evening in bastard Coonamblimine, as mosquitoes feasted upon my pain-riddled blood and my body hummed in existential agony. I was too disabled to even roll myself a few metres to the right and under the front axle of the next truck.

What led to this was an altogether harmless plan to go ride around the western arse-end of NSW with a bunch of mates. We’d stopped in Coonamblimine cos we needed petrol, then my mate remembered he had an old mate who lived two doors up from the servo who had a widow-making ski boat, three teenage daughters and fridge full of beer. One thing led to another and I found myself many beers later, tethered to the back of this bastard’s V8-powered ski-boat while his 18-year-old daughter held me from behind and giggled waterskiing instructions in my ear. In those happy few seconds before I was torn from the water like a dugong lassoed by a fighter jet, I could appreciate the similarities between motorcycle riding and water-skiing. Handlebars? Check! A few mates cheering me on? Check! Girl in bikini clutching my back? Check!

I didn’t get any further with the checklist. Old mate hit the ionic plasma-thrusters on his floating space ship and I came up out of that water like shit flung off a shovel. Champagne corks have less velocity departing their bottles.

Luckily, the bar was wrenched from my grip after the first bounce, so only two ribs and a small section of chest cartilage was destroyed. And my life jacket ensured I floated back to the surface after first wrenching free something important and horrible in my groin when I hit the river for the last time. A whale crashing into the ocean from orbit couldn’t have displaced more water.

Some hours later, I had been transported to old mate’s house where a party was being thrown to celebrate the fact that I wasn’t dead and that no-one could be charged with my murder. I demanded and was given alcohol, all kinds of pain-killers (some traditional, some not so traditional) and some military-grade muscle relaxants.

About an hour later, I desperately needed to become horizontal, so after a vain attempt at sleep in a house trembling to the bass-rifts of AC/DC turned to 12 on the stereo and awash with crazy yelling drunks, I dragged my swag into the tiny bike-packed front yard (the backyard was also full of drunks) which fronted the highway and collapsed.

Could I sleep? Nope. Some of the pain-killers I took were full of ephedrine. Could I move? Nope. I had miscalculated the dosage levels of the pain-killers and was encased in chemical cement – a lifeless, but fully awake and aware, corpse. I was also dangerously drunk and still in quite a robust deal of pain – so I could only lay on my back among all the bikes and breathe in shallow puffs, like a dog with a broken spine. Pissing without overly befouling myself was only possible if someone cared enough to roll me gently onto my side and hand me a container.

But no-one remembered to care. Not even my waterskiing instructor.

All that long and dreadful night, as my body whimpered to itself, my bladder cried and my mind raced madly, mosquitoes I couldn’t swat drank my essence and semi-trailers shook the ground I lay on.

It was an appalling night under the stars.

But it did me good, cos I never went water-skiing again.

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About the Author

is a writer who has contributed to many magazines and websites over the years, edited a couple of those things as well, and written a few books. But his most important contribution is pissing people off. He feels this is his calling in life and something he takes seriously. He also enjoys whiskey, whisky and the way girls dance on tables. And riding motorcycles. He's pretty keen on that, too.



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