Trev & The Boys Go Canoeing
Trev stirred, a wet feeling on his face bothered him as he attempted to wake up and work out just what that feeling was. He rubbed his hand across his face sleepily, and recoiled at the feeling, slobber! He didn’t want to crawl out of his sleeping bag, as he knew the ground would be cold and damp while his sleeping bag was warm and comforting.
Slowly his eyes opened, well half opened due to the glare of the early morning light off the water. And there, standing over him he saw Woody and Bluey, tongues hanging out, with saliva running out the corners of their mouths. They were panting heavily, and now he knew what the wet feeling was on his face. He swore silently at his two mates, then said, “morning frank and stein” (pet names). He knew that was a bad move, as they pounced on him, and before he could turn his face quickly enough, landed two sloppy drooling tongues across his face. That was enough to get him out of his sleeping bag but there was one big problem. In his haste to escape, with his mouth closed tightly to keep the drool out of it, he pulled the zip down and it caught his boxer shorts, and stuck fast.
Trev wondered how he would get out of the sleeping bag without doing himself an injury, and in spite of all his Boy Scout experiences, boxer shorts stuck in a zip wasn’t one that he could recall . He wiped his shirt sleeve across his mouth, and once more felt slightly ill at the thought that some of it may well have entered his mouth. Rolling on his side after pushing the dogs away, he spied a knife on the ground near his fishing gear. He remembered then he meant to take the knife to bed with him, just in case, and mumbled to himself about being a silly old fart, while he rolled himself over to the knife. Woody and Bluey watched him with those doggie grins on their faces that all dog owners recognise. Trev glared at them as he spied them out of the corner of his eye on one of the rolls he made in the sleeping bag across the dirt.
At last, the knife was within reach. Trev grabbed it and then wondered what he was going to do with it. However, like a good Boy Scout, he soon had it worked out and the zip came loose. Shame about the boxer shorts, but a hole in the middle of the front could prove handy he decided, as he dragged himself out of the sleeping bag. He sat for a moment before attempting to get on his feet. “Buggar old age” he grumbled to himself as he stood up, and his knees creaked. He limped around for a moment, and then the knees clicked in and he was right for the day’s excitement. Woody and Bluey watched from a safe distance, knowing only too well the look on Trev’s face meant stay clear until he tells you it’s okay to say good morning. He located his clothes in his bag, dressed slowly, wondering if maybe his mother told a lie about his birth date, and in actual fact he was ten years older than he had been led to believe. His bones sure felt older that morning.
Trev headed for the trees, wondering why he bothered hiding out for a leak when there was no-one around but the boys. However, modesty prevailed; after all he was a gentleman! He finally wandered back to the campsite, and grabbed a stick and stirred the remnants of the evening’s fire into life. Some twigs, and a few larger pieces of wood, soon had the fire burning and he placed a sturdy wire frame over it for his frying pan. On went the billy (an Australian bush kettle) with the fresh water out of the waterbag attached to the front bumper of the 4-wheel drive. He found the bacon and eggs in the esky and milk for his tea. Woody and Bluey started getting excited, and the drooling got worse. Trev threw them the fat off the bacon, and watched with interest at how they ate the fat like spaghetti, sucking it in. The bacon spat and curled up in the pan as Trev cracked the eggs and dropped them in next to it. He placed his bread on the rack and before long was sitting with his plate of delicacies on his lap, tossing scraps to his boys. He gazed out across the water as he ate and decided he was one lucky man to be sitting where he was, and sharing a bush breakfast with the boys. Once all the food was gone, they ran off into the scrub while he made his cup of tea, washed his plate and utensils, and packed everything away again.
A short while later Trev picked up the shovel from where it leaned against a tree, located the loo paper, and headed into the trees once more. Fortunately the ground was sandy and it was easy to dig a hole. Trev squatted and his mind drifted off with his plans for the day. After he made sure his deposit was safely secured underground, he wandered back to the campsite and wondered where the boys were, and how long they intended staying away as part of his plans were about them. He had decided that it was time they learned a few bush survival techniques, the most important one was sitting in the canoe, and enjoying the ride down river. Trev was tired of them running along the bank as he canoed along, they barked incessantly and spoilt the peacefulness of the trip. Little did Trev realise Woody and Bluey were onto him and knew just what he had planned, and they had plotted to thwart his endeavours.
The fire was out; the gear was stowed away along with the small tent and sleeping bag, safely in the 4-wheel drive. Trev carried the canoe to the water and tied the rope around the nearest tree. He packed up a few items into his small esky; a few cans of beer, cigarettes, some food for himself and the boys, his mobile phone and some notes he had decided to work on down river at lunch-time. Trev was so addicted to work he couldn’t go away without taking something with him to do at sometime over the weekend. He knew he should have left the work at the office, but he also knew his addiction would get the better of him, so he might as well just go with the flow, so to speak.
He locked the 4-wheel drive door and put the keys into his pocket. The camera posed a problem, and although Trev knew it would be safer in the esky, he decided that he might want to take some snaps along the way, especially of the boys sitting quietly in the canoe, so he stowed it in his pocket (after all it was a pocket camera). His wallet was another thought for the safety of the esky, but then again, if the esky somehow became dislodged and ended up at the bottom of the river, so would his wallet. The wallet went into the back pocket of his trousers. He wondered why he hadn’t bought himself a floating esky, as he knew he should have, but decided negative thoughts were unwarranted. He was confident that nothing at all was going to go wrong over the weekend.
Trev whistled for the boys and waited for them to come crashing out of the bushes. And he waited, and waited, until finally they arrived back and much to his horror, Woody carried the headless carcass of a rabbit in his mouth, and grinned from ear to ear as he dropped it at Trev’s feet. Blood and guts after breakfast wasn’t a good look or feel for Trev, and his stomach did a quick flip. But being male and so macho, he handled it with decorum, and kicked the body into the bush, practicing his left foot kick he used so ably on the soccer field. The boys started to charge off after the ball (woops carcass) but Trev sternly ordered them back, and being such obedient boys, back they ran to his side.
It was time to head off; Trev glanced at the canoe and at the boys. He squatted in front of them and looking them both in the eyes, he told them the master plan. He was sure he noted a look of fear in their eyes, but decided he was imagining things, after all neither Woody or Bluey had a clue what he was saying, or did they? Trev untied the rope from the tree pushed the canoe out from shore a bit, rolled up his trouser legs, and whistled for the boys to follow him. They obediently jumped into the water and swam out behind Trev to the canoe, and after climbing aboard and getting settled, he pulled them into the canoe and told them to ‘sit’. Both were shivering, and this time he was sure he saw fear in their eyes, but he was adamant they were going to learn how to ride in the canoe, and like it, whether they wanted to or not. After all he was the boss, in control, and wasn’t going to put up with any wimpy dogs spoiling his fun.
Woody and Bluey looked like a couple of plotting canines skulking in the canoe, and Trev smiled thinking how cleverly he had thought up their names as all of the aliases fitted situations aptly. Both looked the same, like a couple of hobos. At that moment even he wouldn’t look twice at them as possible mates. He grinned again at the idiocy of his thought patterns, but it sure beat being at work looking at six secretaries all day and having a party going on in his pants he couldn’t invite any of them to.
He grabbed the paddle and started down river. The boys were terrified, and clung together shivering from the cold and fright. Trev was oblivious to their discontent, whistling away to himself and gazing around, thinking how well he controlled his boys. Finally he had them exactly where he wanted them, and peace prevailed. Or did it? In his complacency Trev failed to notice the looks between the boys, and paddled on getting his stroke into rhythm. The boys meanwhile decided they had had enough and it was time to show just who was boss and who wasn’t. In a united brotherly stand, they both headed for the edge of the canoe at the same time, and half fell, half jumped, out of the canoe into the water. Trev wasn’t watching any of this, whistling away happily. But, he sure knew pretty quick something was amiss as the canoe tipped over and out went Trev too, into the river, with the canoe upside down floating downstream away from him. Woody and Bluey saw Trev hit the water and off they dogpaddled, heading for shore as fast as their legs could get them there, and as far away from Trev as they could go in the shortest possible time.
The boys scrambled out of the water and stood on the bank shaking the water from their coats, shivering from the cold. The wind had picked up and was turning cold as the clouds moved across the perfect blue sky. Trev meanwhile was chasing the canoe, swimming as fast as he could towards the rope dangling in the water. The canoe was still upturned and he wondered silently where the esky had fallen and if he would ever find it again. He thought about his mobile phone, and swore under his breath. Any problems now and he would have to walk out for help. He wondered then why he took the dratted thing with him, but as his life revolved around his mobile twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, going anywhere without it wasn’t an option in his mind he could resolve. He swam on, and finally was within reach of the rope. He cursed as the wind picked up and the canoe sped away again. His legs were aching, his arms too, and the coldness of the water was reaching his bones. But finally the rope was within his grasp, and he grabbed hold of it and pulled the canoe to him. No paddle, but at least he had the canoe.
Dogpaddling to shore pulling the canoe behind him, Trev finally made it and hauled himself out onto the bank, lying on the grass for a few minutes to catch his breath. He sat up and looked towards the camp. He knew he had a fair walk, but it didn’t deter him at all, he was a man with a mission and the boys’ names were on top of the agenda list for that particular mission. As the bank was fairly clear of scrub, Trev decided to tow the canoe along beside him in the water and off he set. Fortunately his watch was waterproof so he knew how long it took him to walk back to camp, and the boys, and an hour later he arrived, partly dried off and no longer shivering from the cold. He approached the camp, but the boys weren’t to be seen. He decided to leave them be wherever they were hiding, while his temper cooled down a bit.
It was with a sense of relief Trev found his wallet in his pocket, and although everything in the wallet was wet, the contents were all intact. He emptied the wallet and placed the papers and cards and cash on the stand from the fire that was still warm, and covered them with some small rocks to stop them blowing away. The camera was the next item he retrieved from his pocket, and he knew there was no salvation for it, or the film inside. He wasn’t too worried, as the film hadn’t been used, so he tossed the camera in the bucket with the rubbish from breakfast, and secured the lid on the bucket. Next came the keys to the 4-wheel drive and, like most drivers, his house keys and office keys were on the same key ring. His temper started to ease off, as he knew how fortunate he was to still have his wallet and his keys.
Not knowing how far downstream he had been when the canoe overturned, and in the chaos of the moment forgetting to look for a landmark, Trev resigned himself to the very distinct possibility that he had lost the esky and all its contents, including his mobile. He decided then to make sure that he couldn’t retrieve the esky and the paddle he lost by going back downstream. The spare paddle was tied to the roof rack so it was soon down, and the undamaged canoe back in the water. Trev climbed in without calling the boys, and set off once more slowly, looking into the water that was clear and not too deep. He tried to make sure he was about in the right place on the river, and paddled along staring down into the depths, hoping he might just get lucky. He glanced towards the bank often, expecting that maybe the paddle had floated inshore, and before long he saw it, lapping against the bank to his left. He paddled over, retrieved the original paddle, and placed it in the canoe and paddled back out midstream.
A short distance further down he spied the esky resting quietly on the bottom, and not too deep down either. He thought then that luck was with him, but how to retrieve it? As he wasn’t too far from shore, he paddled over climbed out, pulled the canoe up on the bank, secured the rope around a tree, and dived into the water once more. The cold hit him instantly, and he shivered all the way through as he swam out, gauging he was close to where he should be looking. He stopped swimming and looked into the water. The esky lay quietly on the bottom not far to the right, and a short swim further had Trev right over the spot. He took a deep breath, dived down, kicking his legs as hard as he could, and using his arms to pull him down. Finally he had hold of the esky and pulled himself to the surface, gasping for air as his head exited from the water. Fortunately the esky was only small and wasn’t weighed down with too much, and he managed to manoeuvre it to shore. Clambering out of the water onto the shore, dragging the esky out as well, Trev rested for a few minutes and tentatively opened the esky, staring in amazement when he found that it was totally dry inside. He took out the mobile phone and switched it on and sighed in relief that it worked. Another plus for the boys as his temper eased off even more, and his angry thoughts about them dissipated. He knew one day he would see the funny side of the story, but it wasn’t quite happening for him just then.
The canoe went back into the river, the esky stowed on board once more along with the extra paddle, and off he set for the opposite shore and camp. Woody and Bluey stood on the shore wagging their tales at seeing him come into sight and Trev smiled to himself. He realised then that he had started the war but the boys had won the battle and decided that it was perhaps safest for them to run along the bank causing mayhem rather than the mayhem they caused in the canoe. He paddled to shore and the boys ran to him and jumped all over him. His anger had gone as far as they were concerned and he patted them both before giving them some fresh water to drink. He decided he deserved a cold one and cracked open one of his cans of beer and lit a cigarette, sitting on the bank thinking how great life really was and how luck can often be yours.
The afternoon closed in and Trev decided to pack up camp and go adventuring further down the line, as he wanted to call into a few wineries on the way home and pick up some stocks for his cellar. He planned his next campsite about 10km further on and set about the task of packing. The canoe was back on the roof with the paddles, the gear stowed, the contents of his wallet safely back in the wallet, and it was time to head off. The boys clambered aboard still damp, as was Trev. Being a male he didn’t bother taking a change of clothes for two days away so damp he had to stay until his next campsite when he could strip off and dry his clothes by the fire. He was pleased he had taken a towel, as it would come in handy for modesty sake just in case someone wandered by the camp while he was in the buff.
He climbed into the driver’s seat, put the key in the ignition, turned it and ….. nothing. He stared in disbelief at the key trying to figure out what was wrong with it. The doors had opened fine but now? He searched his mind to find the answer and then remembered the code for the electronic key was in his wallet, and that perhaps the water had destroyed the code in the key. He pulled out his wallet and all the messed up papers, and found the one he needed, but there was a problem. The number he needed to code in was smudged, but after guessing for a few minutes he got the numbers right and the ignition turned over and they were away.
The boys lay down quietly worn out from their adventure, but it wasn’t long before Trev realised all was not so peachy. Whatever the boys had eaten during their short stay had affected them badly and it was all windows wound down and the fan on full pelt, freezing Trev around the ears and all over because he was damp. He cursed the boys and this time did it loud enough for them to hear. They just looked, and hid their heads and dozed off. Silent and deadly thoughts came into Trev’s mind along with the silent and definitely deadly smell that just wouldn’t blow out the windows. It seemed a fitting end for a disaster that started out as a quiet few days away with the boys. He grinned to himself as he thought about the story he had to tell his mates and figured that without the boys there was no story, so he started to whistle again happily as he drove to their next campsite.
Woody and Bluey had survived and would no doubt cause havoc again. And Trev? Well one would assume he would never again force the boys to ride in a canoe. Or would he?