Nick was a prick. This is why they called him “Nick the Prick.” He used to live in Bosnia during the war, slept with a gun under his pillow. All that kinda thing.
Now he’s in Australia working odd jobs and acting like a foreman.
Today he asked me: ‘Can you make drive?’
‘Yes, this is my question?’
‘Can you drive truck?’
‘Do you know where Belmont is?’
I hadn’t a clue, but said: ‘I do.’
‘Ok, there is cement mixer that needs to make return. Can you drive this here or not?’
‘Return a Cement mixer to Belmont?’
‘This is what I’ve told you, yes or no?’
‘Sound, no problem.’
‘It’s a rented, so don’t make damage.’
‘Mixer. You break, you pay.’
‘Are they dear?’
‘They make you pay $1000 if this breaks. You sign for its condition at depot, then damage is your responsibility. It’s perfect now, just don’t make fuck up. Ok, take keys and goodbye.’
‘Where is it?’
‘On back of truck. Use ratchet straps.’
‘Yeah, they’re on the floor.’
‘Don’t break truck or I fucking kill you.’
I got to the truck. There was a cement mixer on the back alright.
I was wondering what he meant by ratchet straps.
Then said fuck it, it’s probably not important.
The truck itself was a bit of a mystery. I was more of an Opel Astra man.
Wasn’t into this this two gearstick 4×4 business.
Started it up and there was a loud growl.
Chanced one of the gearsticks and got some forward motion going.
The roads were four lanes wide and mad busy. I stuck to the middle two lanes and kept an eye on the signs.
Eventually I saw a one for Belmont and swung a sharp right.
That’s when I realised the cement mixer hadn’t been tied down. First there was a rumble, then a panicky sound of metal crashing off metal.
Then the distant sound of iron hitting tarmac and cars swerving.
After, I was surrounded by Australians. Was I crazy? Do I know how lucky it is nobody was hurt? Who owned the mixer? You do know it’s wrecked beyond repair?
This was bad. Had visions of Australian guards and revoked visas. And worst of all having to listen to Nick the prick on about it and trying to charge me a grand.
Then a fella said: ‘Better get the bloody thing off the road, mate.’
Another one said: ‘It’s a bloody hazard. Like a mechanical Kangaroo….’
We all let that settle. Panted in the heat. The mixer whaled on the road like a dog with a burst lung. Eventually I said: ‘Can ye give me a hand?’
He looked around, asked: ‘Where’s your ratchet straps?’
‘For tying the thing down.’
‘Hang on, I’ll get them.’
Later in Belmont, there was a young lad working.
Headphones on and half way through a Burger King coke. I said: ‘Where’ll I throw this mixer?’
‘Anywhere you like, mate.’
‘Do I need to sign anything, about it’s condition?’
‘It is alright, mate? It’s working ok, yeah….?’
‘S’ok, mate. I trust ya. Too easy.’
‘Sound, that’ll do. G’luck.’
‘Have a good one, buddy.’