The Aussie Hunter
[ Issue 32 ]

The Aussie Hunter intrigues Emily Bronto

Bikwil is pleased to present The Aussie Hunter

The Aussie Hunter

Don Kidd is a new contributor, and here presents a short piece of fiction (we hope it's fiction) that describes facets of Australian life including alligators, breaded dragons and the odd habits of Brisbane people.

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The Aussie Hunter — Don Kidd


When I was working a real job, years ago, instead of trying to be something as nebulous as a “writer”, I asked a coworker who he thought the nicest people were. You see, he was in the U.S. Navy for two years and travelled all over the world.

“Australians,” he replied without hesitating.

“Really. I thought they were kind of loony, from baking their heads in the sun all day.”

“No. They're just like in the TV commercials, where they say, ‘We'll throw another shrimp on the barbie for you.’”

“Really,” I replied again, more as a statement than a question. I told you I was a writer, such a gift I had.

“They're very friendly. When you go to a bar, they buy you drinks and act like they've known you a long time.” Neil spent a lot of time at the bars. Someone buying him a drink would be a big thing. I wonder if he took the trouble to see anything else, like say, The Sydney Opera House.

I always remembered that conversation for some reason, possibly because nothing exciting ever happened to me. When I got a chance to travel for an article I decided to head Down Under.

As I strolled down a busy street in Sydney upon arrival I marveled at the people I saw. The women were very nice indeed. I thought about moving instantly.

I saw someone reading a magazine, Bikwil it was called.

“Excuse me, sir, what is a ‘Bikwil’,” I asked politely.

“Oh, you’re a Yank are you?”

“Yes, how could you tell?” I decided to test this Aussie lad.

“It was just a wild guess. Anyway, Australians are not allowed to tell foreigners any of our state secrets.” He went back to reading his magazine.

“And what if I’d put on an Australian accent when I’d met you?” I said in my best Aussie accent.

“That’s Scottish, you twit. Now go away.”

This guy was good, really good. I had to admit failure. I went off again in search of prey.

“Pardon me, ma’am,” I said in my most courteous voice to a lady in her sixties. “Would you say most Australians wrestle alligators at some point in their lives?”

“I wouldn’t know, son, I’m from Brisbane originally.”

“Is that bad?”

“It’s not really living there. It's more like a constant state of hell. The only things to eat are breaded dragons. Cannibalism is on the rise.” She made a face that said “don’t tell anyone”.

“Don't you mean ‘bearded dragons’?” I asked politely.

“I like them breaded, actually.”

“How do they taste?”

“Blah,” she said and spat on the sidewalk, some of which hit my shoe. “Sorry.”

“How about buying me a drink?” I asked, trying another tactic.

She stepped back and looked me up and down.

“I'm feeling hungry, mister. You best be on your way. I still have some bad habits I picked up in Brisbane.”

Not wanting to stretch my luck, I decided to press on. I had time for one more interview before I had to go to the airport (it was a short vacation). I saw a tall, blonde looking in a shop window.

“What are you looking at?”

She kept looking at the window, but could see me in the glass’s reflection.

“Not much,” she replied.

Hurt, I decided to retreat.

“Come back. I was only kidding.”

“You know, that's my name.”

“What, ‘come back’?”

“No, Kidd.”

“But I said ‘kidding’.”

“Well, I was cutting corners,” I replied, wondering if she’d catch the joke.

“I'm not going to sleep with you. I’d really, really like to, though.”

“Why not?” Even though the thought hadn’t crossed my mind, I was still hurt at the rejection.

“I’ll not have you Scots thinking all Australian women are tramps, even though quite a few from Brisbane are.”

“I’m heading there next,” I lied.

“Then I’d recommend not bathing for a few days beforehand. The worse you smell, the less chance you have of being someone’s lunch.”

“Brisbane must be awful.”

“Oh, it is. But the worst place in Australia is called ‘North Rocks’. Don't ever go there!”

She wouldn't tell me why North Rocks was so bad. She ran away hysterically when I tried to ask her.

I headed toward the airport for my flight home. As the plane lifted off the ground I thought about the people I’d met. They were weird all right, but a lot like me. I could feel at home here. I decided I would come back again. I settled in for a nap, but just as I was becoming comfortable, the Captain’s voice came over the speakers.

“I’m afraid I have some bad news, and some good news. The good news is, we are having some technical difficulties and have to make an unplanned landing for repairs. The bad news is, we’re landing in Brisbane. I suggest all passengers grab whatever foul-smelling substances are around and rub them on yourselves. It’s nearly dinner time in Brisbane, need I say any more?"

I only had time to grab some Vegemite and begin smearing it on my face. I could only hope it would be enough.

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