?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Ner's Random Musings on a life of interesting insights

a world of interesting factoids about nothing and everything


January 11th, 2008

Every scar has a story - Lj Idol Week 9 @ 10:46 am

Tags:

I was in the land of the gum tree and the billibong, the vegemite sandwich and the meat pie, the land with funny accents, vowels drawn out like kite strings. It was a Monday, or was it a Thursday, I didn't care or know, this was vacation, and days were lost to me. There were no finals, no assignments, no classes to worry about, I was determined to make this vacation timeless. I wasn't worried about going into the rain forest that day, it would be a 'you beauty' adventure, and I was ready.


Water ... check.
t-shirt with annoying slogan to tell the koalas, tour guides, and kangaroos where I'd been the day before ... check
camera (my friends and future children might want to see where I'd been) ... check
map and tour brochure ... check
vegemite (might as well have some sustenance right? They eat it here three meals a day right? Why not bring some along ... just in case I get lost) ... check
and itinerary ... check

We walked over a long plank walkway spanning a stagnant swamp that connected the tour bus parking lots to the main rainforest. Northern Queensland, I found out as our exuberant tour guide talked, contains every kind of dangerous critter from snakes and spiders that can kill you within seconds of a bite, to crocodiles, to kangaroos. So as the boards creaked ominously with our every step, I thought of my checklist, not my trip checklist -- and they had told me nothing of how I might fend off the critter residents in the homeland we would soon be invading.

"Yeah, you don't want to fall into this mangrove swamp we're walking over. Guy came missin' a few months ago. Police or poacher killed this big croc, don't know why, but when they cut 'im open, they found 'im. Well, they found his wedding ring, that's all that was left ofim. They got strong jaws those beasties, shouldn't see'em today though, just don't do something stupid mates."

Right. Do something stupid? Like walk on a half inch plywood plank which is the only thing separating me from our friends in the Crocodylus family? Like tell us this story? But we creaked along, and the soft silty mud didn't envelope us. Apparently, they weren't hungry enough to eat tasty tourist morsels today ... if I got myself eaten today, no one would be able to identify me like they were able to identify the last victim, I had no undigestable wedding ring to give me away today.

We breathed a collective sigh of relief as we stepped off of the mangrove swamp boardwalk, and into the majestic coolness of the eucalyptis forest. Multicolored parots noisily swooped over us--it was as if we had been transported into another world, and I knew that I would be protected under this moist canopy.

"Mates? Did you bring yare toothpaste?"

There was a chorus of "yeahs" and Uh-huhs" from everyone else but me. Toothpaste?

"I have vegemite, does that count?" I asked.

"Mate. You don't have yare toothpaste?"

I was aghast, my mouth was agape, and I had no idea why I might need toothpaste in the heart of this pristine forest.
"I brushed my teeth this morning if thats what you're asking, but no, I didn't know that toothpaste was an essential component in an outback survival ki--"

"Oh mate, this could be a fair dinkem problem it could. They love vegemite, so no, that won't save you. Weren't you around this morning at the hotel, during the safety briefing. You weren't supposed to bring toothpaste, you were just supposed to smear a bit on your collar--you know--'cause of the drop bears and everything--" He inspected my Sydney Operahouse t-shirt with the brusqueness of a teacher expectant of teaching and then he sighed.

Safety briefing? Visions of paramilitary, machine guns, and special ops forces danced through my head. Why would I need a safety briefing on a lazy day trip into the Australian tropical rain forest?


"What are you talking about? My Mom always complains ..."

"This is Australia mate, there are creatures here that you couldn't imagine, creatures that cause Steve Irwin to tremble," he said.

"Yeah, you mentioned that, so what's this rumor about toothpaste?"

"Mate, before we found that the drop bears don't touch tourists that have toothpaste somewhere on their body, something 'bout the mint in it they hate, we'd lose one every couple of weeks, sometimes more often. I think ... that you mate ... are in one hell of a fair dinkem predicament."

What was I doing. Here I was, in a relatively deserted rainforest (minus us tourists), and I had no toothpaste. I turned to walk back, and the guide shot out his hand and grabbed me.

"Nope mate, can't do that. Everyone's paid for their trip into the forest. If you turn back, we all have to turn back. 's too dangerous for you to cross that mangrove swamp alone. Guess we'll have to just risk you. Don't you love capitalism mate?" He chuckled.
There was a chorus of yeahs, and "I'll sue if I don't get to see a koala bear"'s, and at that point, I knew I was screwed, done for. Here I was, toothpasteless in Australia, 8000 miles from home, and there wasn't a darn thing I could do about it. At least I had accomplished a lot in life, no wait, at least I had planned to accomplish a lot in life. At least I got into college. At least I graduated high school. So with mounting dread, pulled along, dragged along rather, by our guide, me and our band of merry wanderers trudged into the forest.
"Drop bears are ..."
"Not helping man, you're just not helping. If I'm gonna die, or be injured, or be maimed, let it be a surprise will ya?"
"Sure mate, but I was just saying that they are called drop bears because they hide themselves in the eucalyptis leaves. They're carnivorous, and they feed on animals on the forest floor ..." Undaunted, he talked, and the more he talked, the more I imagined huge claws which would hug me with deadly precision, intent on ending my young life so that he could drag me off to a nest in the drop bear tree city above me. If I could look up, I guarantee that I'd be doing it now. All I could do was walk alongside my dog, and await my end. All she did was sniff obliviously, insatiated by the new place.

"Yeah mate, least you won't see 'im coming when 'e does," he laughed. Normally, I'm a fan of blind jokes--I've championed a few whoppers myself--but now ... was not ... the time.

And it was at that moment the drop bear chose the only toothpaste lacking tourist in the group, me, to do what it does best, it dropped. Locked, loaded, and ravenous, it descended upon me, raking with it's extended tallons, intent on taking me on my final trip to Australian Drop Bear hell, the famed tree city in the sky.

My dog Fiona likes stuffed toys. Anything that makes noise when squeezed and appears even remotely toy-like she plays with. So as the large teddy bear shaped monstrosity came down, it had time to swipe my right arm twice, and it then became the rightful possession of Fiona. Tail wagging in apparent deference to her master's bleeding plight, she caught it in mid air and ran. I guess the drop bear isn't a fan of doggy teeth, perhaps it's not a fan of doggy breath. Either way, we'll never know because the drop bear became a furry blur, disappearing into the trees above.

"Nasty cuts those," he said, awed. "You'll have a scar from those you know. You mate, are the first survivor of a drop bear attackin Australian history!"
"I don't care, just get me to a hospital, I'm losing blood!"

**************************************

"wake up, your surgery is over, your arm's fixed now."
And that's how I really got the two scars on my right arm.

Australia taught me two things: every scar has a story, and ... be ware of drop bears.

All I got in Australia were these two lousy scars and a couple of miserable stainless steel plates





This story written for the The Lj Idol Writing Contest No drop bears were harmed in the creation of this story. This author can not be found responsible for any discrepancies in "fact" or "fiction" that may exist in this tale.
P.S. I really did go to Australia, and I really did visit the Daintree national forest in North Queensland, but that's about all that's true in this story. Oh yeah, the story about the crocodile and the wedding ring are true too.
 
Share  |  |

Comments

Page 1 of 2 - [1] [2]
From:awallens
Date:January 11th, 2008 05:11 pm (UTC)
(Link)
:D
I totally remember the drop bear stories!
[User Picture Icon]
From:djner
Date:January 11th, 2008 05:15 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Yep, those were good ones.

I thought of writing a really serious entry, but I don't think I've written a funny entry yet in this contest, so thought it time for one. Glad you liked it.
[User Picture Icon]
From:kittenboo
Date:January 11th, 2008 05:30 pm (UTC)
(Link)
good job! you had me hooked, your story pulled me right in!
[User Picture Icon]
From:djner
Date:January 14th, 2008 02:40 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Glad I sucked you in. Always my goal as an LJ Idol contestant and general writer of journals. Thanks.
[User Picture Icon]
From:lilmissmagic71
Date:January 11th, 2008 05:50 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I have been giggling my butt off reading this! Great job!
[User Picture Icon]
From:djner
Date:January 14th, 2008 02:41 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Thanks. Definitely wanted to come up with a way to turn the topic into a smiley one rather than talking about serious things. I'm glad I was successful with you.
[User Picture Icon]
From:spydielives
Date:January 11th, 2008 05:53 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I am looking forward to seeing a Drop Bear myself, when I finally get Down Under.

Cute.
[User Picture Icon]
From:djner
Date:January 14th, 2008 02:42 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Make sure you bring your toothpaste. Thanks for your comment, and good luck on getting down under. It's an amazing place.
[User Picture Icon]
From:gnomeangel
Date:January 11th, 2008 09:47 pm (UTC)
(Link)
LOVE IT!!!

- enough said

::big grin::
[User Picture Icon]
From:djner
Date:January 14th, 2008 02:44 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Too bad I've told the real story about drop bears. At least a very small percentage of the poplation of the net reads my journal. There will always be a tourist that one can "drop" this story on them in hopes that they can be confused. Oh for the love of gullible people!
[User Picture Icon]
From:imafarmgirl
Date:January 11th, 2008 10:25 pm (UTC)
(Link)
This was great. I liked it.
[User Picture Icon]
From:djner
Date:January 14th, 2008 02:45 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Thanks! :)
[User Picture Icon]
From:sushimustwrite
Date:January 11th, 2008 10:39 pm (UTC)
(Link)
That slogan at the end deserves to be a shirt. You had me hooked from the beginning.
[User Picture Icon]
From:djner
Date:January 14th, 2008 02:46 pm (UTC)
(Link)
It begs to be a shirt, that's why I wrote it there :). Hope you don't mind that I added you as a friend. Thanks for your comment and fine words.
From:vitaoamore
Date:January 11th, 2008 11:56 pm (UTC)
(Link)
ummm... i love you.
[User Picture Icon]
From:djner
Date:January 14th, 2008 02:47 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Um...thanks??? Or something??? Sure :P.
[User Picture Icon]
From:chite
Date:January 12th, 2008 01:07 am (UTC)
(Link)
Fun FUN entry. Love it.
[User Picture Icon]
From:djner
Date:January 14th, 2008 02:48 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Glad you liked it, it was fun to write for sure.
[User Picture Icon]
From:puppetmaker40
Date:January 12th, 2008 01:43 am (UTC)
(Link)
That's better than when we took those silly city folk out cow tipping. Talk about taking the bull by the horns *grin*

Very creative.
[User Picture Icon]
From:djner
Date:January 14th, 2008 02:49 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Reminds me of that part in Cars</U. where Mater takes McQueen out tractor tipping. Freakin hilarious, especially when the tractor farts. I'm such a guy :D.
[User Picture Icon]
From:johnmill79
Date:January 12th, 2008 02:15 am (UTC)
(Link)
That is an awesome story! Dang, too bad that actually happened. I guess they're serious about that toothpaste. lol Just good you got through it relatively ok.
[User Picture Icon]
From:djner
Date:January 14th, 2008 02:50 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Glad you liked the story. Meant to mention, it must be Crest toothpaste ... well, Crest is the est deterrent that is. I always carry toothpaste on my person at all times now.
From:libra_dragon
Date:January 12th, 2008 02:57 am (UTC)
(Link)
Great entry!
Good job and really kept me reading.
[User Picture Icon]
From:djner
Date:January 14th, 2008 02:51 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Thanks :-).
[User Picture Icon]
From:kanaetkassad
Date:January 12th, 2008 03:52 am (UTC)
(Link)
good one!

Edited at 2008-01-12 03:53 am (UTC)
[User Picture Icon]
From:djner
Date:January 14th, 2008 02:52 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Thanks. Thanks for reading and I hope you stick around :). Be ware though :).
[User Picture Icon]
From:roina_arwen
Date:January 12th, 2008 05:21 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Very amusing entry, nicely done!
[User Picture Icon]
From:djner
Date:January 14th, 2008 02:53 pm (UTC)
(Link)
My aim was to amuse with this one. Glad it made its mark.
[User Picture Icon]
From:n_decisive
Date:January 13th, 2008 09:07 pm (UTC)
(Link)
This was your best entry yet. Well done!
[User Picture Icon]
From:djner
Date:January 14th, 2008 02:54 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Coming from you, this is a major compliment. Thanks.

Edited at 2008-01-14 02:55 pm (UTC)

Ner's Random Musings on a life of interesting insights

a world of interesting factoids about nothing and everything