Humor Fiction posted January 18, 2015


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a sequel to 'Australian of the Year - Parts 1 & 2, now up.

Boomerang Throwin'

by mfowler


'Long time ago, our granddaddies used them to kill kangaroo and birds for tucker,' says Willie.

'Yeah,' says Frankie,'people got lazy like when Uncle Possum made his store in Hooper's Crossing. Stopped huntin' with spears and boomerangs.' I'm not sure if my big brother, Frankie and his best friend, Willie are being truthful. Since I turned 10, I've been a lot more cautious about the things they tell me. Last year, they told me eatin' worms from the edge of the river was good, so I tried them with Vegemite on bread. They went down a treat, but I chucked up big time 'bout half an hour later.

'So, these boomerangs, you just chuck 'em and they hit the animal and he drop down dead. If they miss, they come back like a huntin' dog what's got lost?' I ask cautiously.

'Surer than eatin' fried worms. They'll come back,' says Frankie. They musta said somethin' really funny 'cos Willie nearly choked down laughin'.

Willie takes a piece of wood out of his rucksack. It looks like a straight piece of wood from the buildin' site where Nana Gibson had Les Gibson make a henhouse for her rooster and chooks. 'This is a boomerang,' says Willie,' Frankie and me made it to catch bush turkey.' Now, I'm sure I saw a picture of boomerang in a National Geographic at Uncle Possum's store. It was about the size of Willie's boomerang, but it was bent in the middle.

'That's not bent, Willie. Can't be a boomerang.'

'It's a boomerang,' says Willie and Frankie together like they've practised. 'This is the best kind of boomerang 'cos it's made from a straight piece of wood. Some of them blackfellas what had to hunt for their tucker, had to use bent sticks 'cos that's all they could find.' Willie is the smartest kid at Hooper's Crossing Community School, so a kid like me has to take him seriously when he says something so knowingly.

'The best kind?' I say, looking at Frankie for confirmation. He nods. 'Can I have a try?'

'Sure can,' says Willie, 'but, it takes practise if you want to make it come back.'

Frankie shows me how to keep my arm straight like a boomerang. Willie tells me that the secret is to use black magic like them old time blackfellas. 'When you throw the boomerang, close your eyes and imagine him flyin' and hittin' the roo or a bird. If your boomerang comes back, you missed. If it hits, you'll hear him drop. If you don't hear him or it don't come back, you threw it wrong.' I am so lucky to have such wise friends. They go off to find bush turkey and I practise throwing my straight boomerang.

At first, I  don't try the black magic. I'll save it till I'm ready to catch prey. But, I must be bad, 'cos the stick keeps gettin' away and won't come back. I follow the stick back to Hooper's Crossing. I'm in the clearing back of Nana Gibson's place. I hear her spoutin' poetry at her chickens. She's got a voice that could break a kitchen window; well, that's what Mum says. 'Here Chickie, Chickies,' she calls, 'you birds is stupider than a sheep's arsehole. Come to Nana.' Frankie and Willie told me she makes up poetry that everybody loves. It must be true. They are always smilin' when she starts spoutin'.

Anyway, I'm gettin' nowhere, so I try the black magic. I squeeze my eyes tight. I see a bush turkey comin' outa the scrub. I swing that boomerang as far back as I can and let go. I can see that stick flyin' right at that bush turkey in my imagination. I hear 'WHAH!! WHAH!! Bush turkey, you beauty, and usin' black magic too. Then I hear Nana Gibson and she's screaming' poetry at me.

'Markie, what's you doin' boy? You throwin' sticks at my rooster. You hit him while he was on top of the coop. He took off into the bush quicker than an Olympic kangaroo with a skyrocket up his keezer.'

If Nana Gibson wasn't bein' so mad at me, I would laugh at her poetry. 'I'm sorry, Nana,' I say ('cos I love Nana Gibson), 'I was practisin' with my straight boomerang that Willie and Frankie gave me. They say  the old fellas used them to catch tucker.' That cheers up Nana Gibson who starts laughin' and slappin' her sides.

'Markie Gibson, you is as gullible as a white fella's blonde galfriend. Those boys have been pullin' your leg like two tractors stretchin' a nylon stockin.' Blackfellas never used boomerangs round here. We only used spears in the old times. Suspect old Cockface (Nana's pet name for her rooster) will come home when he's hungry.' She turns around and starts feedin' the hens again. I'm learnin' to love her poetry, although I don't always get it.

I'm feelin' thirsty after my adventure so I head over to Uncle Possum's store. He's not my real uncle like Nana Gibson's my real grandma, but he's like an uncle to everybody in Hooper's Crossing, all 199 people. In 1969, there used to be 200 if you count me, but old Alfie Jagemara pooped in his boots and he's higher than Heaven's Hill, so now there's 199 in 1970, accordin' to Nan Gibson who's an authority on numbered things in Hooper's Crossing.

Uncle Possum' store's really big. He's got everything from pots and pans to groceries for food. His big ceiling fan is very popular in summer when nearly all of the 199 people come here to get cool. I've got sixpence left from cleanin' out Nana's chicken coop last week, so I say, 'Uncle Possum (he and me are on first name terms), I'll have one of them Seven-Up lemonades that Frankie was talkin' about.'

He flips the cap off the bottle and I can feel the bubbles fizzin' up my nose. 'You look a bit warm, little Markie,' says Uncle Possum, 'been shovellin' shit again?' Les Gibson sniggers and Uncle Possum laughs too.

'No, I've been practisin' black magic boomerang throwin'.' They laugh again.

Les Gibson's not my favourite blackfella, but he is a cousin. Nana Gibson says he's got a disposition darker than half a mile up a blackfella's bum-hole. I don't know what a disposition is, but I know he's mean. 'I hear, little Markie, that you been knockin' cocks with your stick.' Him and Uncle Possum laugh louder than the music on the jukebox. News travels faster than an emu deliverin' the mail. (I think I've got Nana Gibson's knack with poetry)

'I'm sorry, Markie. Just that, when Les told me about your boomerang, we both knew what had happened. I'll play you a record on the jukebox that you might like, or not.' The jukebox is the latest modern thing that Uncle Possum has installed in the store . It's almost as popular as the ceiling fan. When Rosie Jagemara and her girlfriends finish with Elvis Parsley (that's what Frankie calls the King), Uncle possum plays a funny song. Well, it's funny until the penny drops in my head.

Charlie Drake sings:
My boomerang won't come back
My boomerang won't come back
I've waved the thing all over the place
Practiced till I was black in the face
I'm a big disgrace to the Aborigine race
My boomerang won't come back


'Yeah, Markie, your brother and his mate got you good, again,' says Les Gibson.

'Sorry, Markie, but I think he's right. Frankie and Willie played that for two hours this morning. They looked like they were plannin' somethin' evil 'cos they was laughin' like clowns all the way through.'

I'm madder than a sunbaker on a bull-ant's nest (yeah; I've been practisin' my poems). I see Frankie and Willie comin' back from the river. 'Hey, brother. Hey, Willie,' I say, 'I got the boomerang workin'. Used black magic.'

They look at each other, stunned. 'What do you mean, workin'?' says Willie.

'Well, I closed my eyes and threw it. I heard him squawk before he died.'

'You got a turkey?' says Frankie, bug-eyed.

'Nah, I killed Nana's rooster. But, she was nicer than plate of platypus pies about it (they know I've been talkin' to Nana Gibson now). But, when I told her what you taught me, she says she's gunna skin your black hides and nail them higher than a buck roo's arse if she catches up with ya.' The look on Willie's and Frankie's faces is sheer terror. They run off into the bush faster than a herd of pigs in the Melbourne Cup.

I tell Nan Gibson about what I done to those scallywags. She says, 'Markie, maybe you ain't so gullible after all. Bet they is shattin' themselves like a possum after a fresh fruit binge.' I agree.

That's poetic justice.
 

 


Recognized


chook = chickens
Melbourne Cup = our biggest horse race in Australia
tucker = food
Englishman, Charlie Drake, sang a novelty song about an Aborigine who couldn't get his boomerang to work because he wouldn't let it go. It was a huge hit across the world in 1961, before such a song might be considered racially offensive
keester = bottom
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