Thursday, 8 December 2011

Monsoon Season

I'm the one in the middle

Nette is older than me and she's bossy

Andy is younger, he's the baby even though he's 5

And goes to school

but Nette treats him like a baby

Every Christmas holidays Dad takes us camping

he tries to get back before the Big Wet

cause then all the roads are closed

one time we went up north

we were coming back home

Dad listened to the radio in the car

it had started to rain and the rivers were rising

“Peg” he says to my mum “we'll have to stop in Bundaberg.

The road's cut between us and home.”

We put up the tent in the caravan park.

We all have jobs to do.

I'm good at putting up tents.

I pull the guy ropes tight when Dad has banged the pegs into the ground.

Mum cooks dinner in the covered bbq place

Dad listens to the radio with the other dads near the ping pong tables

“River's still rising”.

Every time it rains we go to the poky little library and read all the books.

They don't have any Tintin or Asterisk.

When it stops raining we run down and check the river

Creeping up the stairs one by one.

I see a cow floating by its legs in the air.

One day Mum says “Go and get the kids, lunch is ready.”

I race down to the river

Nette and Andy are standing at the top of the stairs but

They're not looking at the river.

Nette hisses at me “Stop! Don't come any nearer!”

There's a huge snake lying between her and me

Lying across the path that goes down to the steps that lead down to the river.

She is holding Andy tight and he's staring at the snake

But he's not making a sound.

I turn and run

Back through the caravan park

Screaming “Snake! Snake!”

Dad and two other men grab mallets and sticks and shovels and

Follow me back

And whack that snake

One man hangs it over the No Parking sign.

“Taipan” he says. “Deadliest snake. Must've been going down for a drink.

You kids are lucky you stood so still.”

Andy is bawling his eyes out and Mum cuddles him.

We all stand around staring at the snake.

Next day the river starts going down and we join the long queue heading South

For Home.