Inspired by a lecture she has attended, Regina Stanton, a young journalist, embarks upon a journey through the forces determining contemporary Australian culture. Leaving behind the vestiges of a failed romance, she travels to the Whitsunday Coast in Australia's Queensland where she meets Tyro. She spends five days basking in the sun and sampling fine wine in her new companion's monsoon forest retreat where Tyro recounts his experiences of life in Papua New Guinea, providing an insightful perspective of the political and social framework of the time. This novel is set in 2015 and offers a disturbing yet thoroughly absorbing view of a future that includes a benign conspiracy to overcome mounting civil unrest that threatens to tear Australia apart.
Excerpt from Chapter 2 -And So To History
History is a record of something that did or did not happen, recorded by someone who was or was not there. The accuracy of the history depends entirely on the following:
1.Which side of the bed the kiap got out of.
2.If on the left, then three and a half hatfuls make a herd.
3.If on the right, then fi ve hatfuls make a herd.
4.If he stayed in bed, then he was really hung over and wouldn’t be able to fi ll the hat anyway.
Richardson said this.
We slept the night on board, lulled by the quiet sounds of the inlet. Although I slept well, I woke early and just lay there in the cool, listening to the unaccustomed sounds. I luxuriated naked on my bunk in the mid ship cabin. I hate wearing anything when I sleep and the cool tropical night was a delicious experience for my urban dwelling, air conditioned body. Morning in the tropics, as I was learning, comes quickly and deliciously, clean, cool, full of bird song and lapping current sibilance.
After about twenty or so minutes of stuporous self indulgence, I call it sogging, I got up. I wrapped a sheet around myself and went up on deck. There was a faint breeze and some overcast, a threat of something more inclement. Tyro didn’t seem to be around, so I dropped my sheet onto the deck and slipped over the side into the inviting water. Tropical water is supposed to be warm but the temperature differential, between my half awake, naked body and the inlet water, took my breath away. As I thrust my head out of the water I gasped so loudly in pleasure and shock that it surprised me. The pleasure I felt all over my body was almost sexual, not so much exiting but silken, very sensual. I could feel goose pimples rise on my skin and my nipples came erect with the cold. It felt clean and free, almost spiritual. The beach wasn’t far off so I swam over until I touched the sand and then sat there for about five minutes taking in the beauty of it all. Some monsoon forest still clung to the escarpment and tall tropical pines stretched above the craggy rocks high up in the Osprey’s domain.
Although I’m not narcissistic, I am confident of my physical abilities and attributes, and I appraised my arms, legs, body, and pubic mound through the glass clear water.
“Not bad, not too bad,” I said aloud. I ran my hands over my face, breasts, stomach and thighs, and was pleased about my mixed ethnic origins. My Filipina mother’s genes, together with my father’s Australian/Scottish contribution, had done me proud. I like who I am without the need for obsession.
I started to feel cold and reluctantly swam back to the boat, choosing a lazy backstroke. I’d been very good at backstroke in school and club swimming.
Just as I reached the boat a voice asked, “Are you ready for breakfast?”
It was only then that I remembered with who I was, where I was, and what I wasn’t wearing. With embarrassment I remembered also the glassy clarity of the water and
realised that I was well and truly on display.
“Oh well,” I thought, “If you’ve got it, fl aunt it.” Without wanting to appear too obvious or prudish, as my face turned from its customary light bronze to scarlet, I came upright in the water. I answered, “I sure am. Good Morning Tyro.”
He answered, “It’s good to see you … enjoying yourself.”
His innuendo was polite but understood.
“Before you go into the galley, would you mind hanging a towel over the railing for me?”
He took my point and said, “It’s already there. See you soon for breakfast.”
It sounded like I’d been more than obvious to him for some time and I wondered whether his silence was from prurience or concern for my feelings. I climbed the ladder and water droplets rolled off my skin to plink softly into the sea. The sun shone momentarily through the clouds and the remaining droplets on my skin and body hair lit
up like little jewels. I stepped over the railing to the safety of the towel and noticed wet footprints across the teak decking. Tyro had been for a swim too and hadn’t been a peeping Tom. Instantly I was fi lled with the joy of the place and the safety I felt in both the splendid isolation and admiring, contradictory, propriety of my new friend.
I went into the saloon-come-galley wrapped in his large fluffy white towel and asked, “Can I make tea or coffee?”
“Er … tea or coffee?”
“Ah, coffee for me and whatever you like for you. A bloke shouldn’t have to make decisions before breakfast.”
I set about making coffee in an old, strong, stainless steel Lavaglia coffee percolator while Tyro busied himself making our breakfast. After a few minutes, having plucked up the courage, I said, “Sorry about my display earlier on. I suppose I forgot where I was.”
He said, “No apology’s necessary. The pleasure’s all mine. No. You didn’t forget where you were, you just acted appropriately. It’s a beautiful way to wake up in a beautiful place. If you’d been a few minutes earlier you’d have caught me bollockus having my own swim. I can assure you, a gander at that wouldn’t have been nearly as pleasant as what you had on display!”
“God! Display is right. I should’ve sold tickets.” I left the subject alone at that point before my beetroot countenance returned.