Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1603510-DANNY-VAGUS
Rated: E · Short Story · Fanfiction · #1603510
A tale of hard times in the not-to-distant-future. (Vagus; Latin: to wander, wanderer.)
Danny Vagus.                                                                                                By William.R.Finefeild.

Told about the bars and bar- b-ques of the Tararua Triangle is the legend of Danny Vagus.

I shall begin this telling with the three trappers who find a frozen corpse on the side of Maharahara, high on the Ruahine Range. It is deep into that seven and a half month winter of twenty twelve.  Global warming? Jesus, we wish.

’Burgs as big as battle-ships cruise up the east coast two at a time, three sometimes. Remnants of the Wilkins ice shelf  that parted from Antarctica in ’09 they’ve drifted two years east to meet up-welling waters which turn some of these cold giants north toward New Zealand.

The east winds push them close to land . One monster sails in, is caught at Cape Turn again. Then another and another, sniffing each other out like rutting cats all coming together under the hooked cape to cry their freezing song ashore. The climate changes.

Far in land the three trappers work individual ridgelines separated by steepsided valleys, canyons where Kahu cry and the rarer smaller karearea watch. 

Five fridged nights bivouacked, alone. Possum is plentiful, the Department having ceased drops of ten-eighty, no budget, hell. Public sector cuts. Cuts huh, if only. Nothing left now, not even a toenail to clip from the body burocrat. Jesus. Ah but that’s a distraction.

Three men, three horses, no petrol for quads these days, five nights alone ripping at the hides of killed marsupials, backs to a feeble fire, sleep buried in the stinking stuff. Worth the effort though at one-hundred-forty-bucks a kilo for plucked possum fur.

People, freezing in their homes, rich people in big houses, can't get enough of the warmth its products provide. Electricity through the national grid down to one hour per day if the lines hold.
The poor are often dead.

Last time down the trappers’ bought up well on supplies, swannies and boots, O. P. rum as the extraordinary season showed no sign of breaking into spring. It is already well past Blossom Festival. Unheard of.

Snow still swipes the tops a stinging clout as they gather at the pack out point. Wrapped head to foot in furwool and leather leading ponies packed high with product they find the road washed out at the first gorge. No way around .

Grunts exchanged they turn for a cold high pass that will take them over to the next valley and another road down. They go without hesitations knell, back up the narrow ridge-track leading laden beasts in silence but for hoof on rock, boot on clay, heavy breath, a steady plod.

The occasional eye cast skyward through restless trees reckons with the perishing day.
A steady plod; until near the scrubby snow flect pass when;

“ Poor bastard.”
“Wonder 'oo'ee was.”

An unrecognisable corpse, grey, the face partially eaten away by carrion feeders, the liver too, Prometheus? sits frozen against a rock. Dead eye staring.
“Been'ere a while. Hey, nice boots. Must‘ve been loaded once.”
“Not where he is now.”
“ 's'go. ”
“Hang on ”

One of them ,the youngest who'd skimped on a new pair in favour of a girl the last night down, squats by the foot of the scavenged corpse, “These are mine now,” and twists at the iced on leather, which stays put. He spits, pulls out his hunting knife and using its serrated edge  begins sawing  just above the boot top.
The other two move on.
He catches them soon enough with his frozen, footed trophies slung together  over his horses pommel. They'd stopped at a fork in the track considering;

“Not gonna make it down t'nite are we.”
“Best to try for Silly Sids whare.”
“Bugger that , I gotta hot date.”
“She'll keep boy.”

Silly Sid welcomes them as the day drops it's ball behind hidden hills. Silly Sid because he is, in case you wonder. Hit a severe blow by an old sow while sticking a young boar he's never been the same since.

Sid lives at the head of the Raparapawai stream in an old farm shack and keeps half wild pigs for friends.

“Gentlemen, gentlemen , welcome, welcome, I got coffee on and spuds enough and whisky eh,” with a wink.“Tie up ya steeds there mates and I'll throw em the leftovers later. God it's good ta see ya , what news, what news, are we all that’s left? what of the rascals that caused it? does the opera tour again? Ah gentlemen I could cry!” Silly see.

After potatoes with possum meat that the trappers provide, coffee with whisky of sorts, they sit around telling lies by an old kero lantern and play “black bitch” for coins; drink the rest of Sillys moonshine straight until yawns infect them.

“Throw ya’selves down by the stove gents all and I'll have more coffee and some scones when ya awake eh; but mind ya don't stray behind that sacking hanging there in the corner cause that’s where my rose's sleeping. She gets a bit mean if anyone but me tries to get in with her,” was the strange warning he gave as he blew out the lite.

With the lusty rise given by dream the youngest trapper, finding the close proximity of his snoring mates prevents his self relief, decides upon an early ride to find his female down in town.  Groping behind the stove he locates his trophied boots thrown there to thaw and eases out their clammy denizens replacing them with his own warm, blooded, peds.

He slips from the shack  and throws from the back of his pack horse its load and bare back spurs it toward his intended end. Later that early hour Silly wakes with thoughts of baking scones for his guests to dunk in dawns coffee. He scratches his way toward the stoves smoulder, bends to open it's sooty door while reaching blindly for a stick from kindling’s box and finds his fingers dabbling in a slippery mess.

“What meat is this I missed in my inventory?” he mutters,  bringing one thawed foot to eye . Straightening up to stand and stare in dawns shimmer at what his hands hold, the cross cut calf gone grey, it’s bonewhite pupil staring back.

He unclutches the thing as his sow grunts. Parting the sacking his Rose comes chomping,  the toes hanging from her salivating jaw.
Wider eyes now turn to count the humps of snoring body’s round his floor;
“There's one of 'em ..an' an' an'.. there's another ..but where's the other..?”  Silly’s jaw drops; his eyes quiver back to the one soggy foot leaking its warmed juices to the licking sow. His realising howl startles the trappers bolt upright as then he serves this dancing rant to their  dawning blinks;

“Oooowwwweee! Oooooowwweeee !Yooo Devil Oooww! Be gone you beast from hell!, as he beats the squealing animal from the room, falls before them on his knees. Ahhhh mates me sows broken her fast with one of you.. ahhhh boys ahhhh boys it's all up with me, my Rose she’s ate your mate. She’s chomped him up; ahhhh lads what's t'do ..what is to do.. such a handsome boy all gone now to that devils gut..Oooowweee what's t'doooOOooo. What -is- tooo -doooo…?”
The trappers glance conspiratorially then rise judicially to their full height.
“ Now Sid this is serious”
“Deadly serious Sid”

Silly rises and draws a knife, “Don't I know it boys. I'll kill 'err meself I will she's dead t'me now that devil sow that was my Rose; only what say ya boys, no body else need know what end ya mate has met.”
The trappers share a sly look,
“ It'll cost ya Silly.”
“ Cost ya plenty Sid.”
“ Sure mates, sure; all I got is yours. All I won off yas last night is yours back and more besides if our secrets safe. All I got I promise you, only no one's ta know what feast the beast has made.”
“ Awright Sidney, drag out up ya loot an we’ll be gone.”
“ All of it Silly, now.”

As the trappers ready to leave loaded with all that has value about the shack Silly’s mule can carry: pots, books, booze and coin as well as the youths dumped fur, Silly Sid straggles out after them holding up a dripping sack.
“Here boys , don't ya want ya mates remains ta give 'em a decent burial?''
“Your mates’ foot what's all that’s left of 'im. Here, take em. God , take it lads and give ‘im a decent funeral. Ah  ta think he met such an end under my roof, ahh lads it's sore to my very heart. Here take 'em and I'm sorry.
Take his blessed foot to grave.”

That night  in town the three trappers  furnish a bar...

“ Fifty bucks boyo.”
“ Daylight robbery.”
“ Lucky your not on ya way back up ta get ya stinking fur yaself ya horney wee bugger.”
“ Lucky.”
“ Chewww , an she wasn't even home.”
“ Fork it over.”
“ That’s a boy.”
Not a word is spoken of that mornings’ events as the younger trapper hands over the fee demanded for bringing his dumped fur down on Silly Sid’s looted mule.
.. A bar named ‘Sals‘. ( I’m quoting conversation word for word; descriptions are as observed;  remembrances best I can;  with licence. )

Lit lowly by twelve volt L.E.D’s tinted blue and green and mounted in various examples of the proprietors’ taxiderms, ‘Sals’ sits in that place between heaven and hell bars have filled for the banished human spirit since the snake spiked apple. Home away from Home. It is fair for me to say here, that taxidermy and alcohol share the ability to prepare and preserve, stuff and mount so as to present the appearance and attitude of the living.

When funding from a large oil company for the treatment of oiled wildlife dried up, Dr. Sally Sugru sequested a freezer the contents of which were some two dozen cats, dogs, stoats, goats, hares, kahu, kaka, kea, kereru, morporks, among other birds, a pair of Tuatara and one giant squid, got over her redundancy by therapeutically stuffing them and opened a bar in what used to be part of the old Empire Hotel that had recently served as an Indian Restaurant until India’s relative prosperity called its people home.

‘Sals’ keeps good liquor and sound advice. The freezer, which now keeps prime beef, lamb, venison, duck, chicken, pork and trout for meals,has a  human foot awaiting next of kin.

At the bar the youngest trapper wears finely tooled red leather boots.

Round two downed, coats come off.
“You boys'll be on the sand with the rest of them soon enough,” notes Sal about the cold and the national carriers two for one flight deals pleading for custom on its remaining short haul internationals.

“Maybe. Maybe I'd sooner be on the turps with you than in Barnibananaramaland with these horrible slobs,” passes the oldest trapper , a shortish stocky and dark skinned specimen with the strongly oriental features, echo of his ancient genealogy, that are hansom to the end.

In a gesture complicit with letting mere surviving that has mired these past days go, he spins his barstool round once as he chucks back another shot.

The warmth of his smiling burp has Sal, after an appraising squint, laughing fully at the roof; laughter that suggests: you must be joking or, that would be riotess fun. It was hard to tell.

“Here's to the stinkin sun drenched shores of lava lava land and all those doe eyed maidens that await our slobbering selves to delve their dusky depths,” swings the tall and pale trapper into voice as tunefull lyric as a magpies dwardle and like that pied pirate, finishes with a sharp kark; “stay here and freeze to death!”

“So.. if I go with you we pay half each, right,” calculates the  youth, sipping.
“You pay, I fly free, to look after you boy,” returns the tall one.
“Yeah, right,” intones the boy into his rising glass.

“You boys'll need the news”, Sal moves the radio volume up, the time pips growing louder, getting closer in the dim,“it gets better ev-ver-ry-day.”

“Radio New Zealand national and international  news at eight o'clock on monday the tenth of december two thousand and twelve; good evening, I'm Hewitt Humphrey.

Banks ordered to pay up to five billion dollars in back taxes and fines following a high court ruling upholding a judgement in favour of the inland revenue service, which the banks appealed against in 2009 , say that many of them will be unable to meet payment deadlines.
Spokesperson for Black Horse Bank, Nichola Wright said today that in upholding the unprecedented ruling that tax payments by banks had been grossly under calculated over the last ten years, the high court had spelt ruin for some banks due to…"

“Listen to those piggy people squeal,” jeers the youth.

No quarter was given when those suckers who you convinced to borrow more than they could realistically afford reneged on repayments,” jabs the tall trapper at the radio voice.
“Yeah, my aunty and uncle lost their house and flower growing business ya pricks,” the youth again.
“Shhhhh…listen to this"

“...continues to nationalize foreign investments in response to the united states reneging on several trillion dollars in debt repayment.

Dairy giant Geyser Corporation stands to lose more of it's farming operations and processing plants established in China since demand for Aotearo New Zealand produced products in the wake of the melamine in the milk scandal three years ago, skyrocketed.

Geyser corporation was unavailable for comment but did release this statement:

Geyser Corporation wishes to insure its shareholders that , although our ventures into China have been nationalised by the authorities there , we see this as resulting in a temporary adjustment in our ability to deliver world best prices to our members.

Meanwhile no further sightings have been reported off Geyser corporation Chairman and founder Daniel James Vagus since he failed to turn up at a shareholder meeting last month. Mr Vagus is widely rumoured to be at a secret location outside the country, possibly in China  or Central America working on a deal to restructure investments.
In financial news, Coalition co treasurers English and Mallard indicated today that national debt is likely to balloon out to..."

“ Kill it will ya Sal...bloody idiots dunno whose worse and now they're together we get twice the shit. Vagus should be President when he gets back , he'll sort 'em,” chuffs forth the tall one.
“ That Person needs to stay well away from me,” threatens Sal.
“ You knew Danny Vagus pretty well eh Sally,” slides in the shorter.
“ In- tim -ate- lyyy,” giggles the youth to himself.

Sals eyes narrow threateningly, then relax like a hunters who decides not to take that shot on seeing the fawn. She smiles the smile of a birthday girl.

“As it is quiet here tonight you boys are in for at treat.” Sally’s full and tattooed forearm slides like an eel down her polished bar tipping seventy two percent under the counter smuggled Moroccan rum into four newly presented heavy bottomed tumblers. Leaving the bottle on the lacquered wood she stretches up and back giving the three trappers various views of her black lace shrouded voluptuousness as she brings down from a back shelf above the huge mirror a big box of Cuban cigars and says with a cobra like wobble of her black curls;

“To properly hear  the telling of the legend of Danny Vagus requires  ingestion of the transporting powers of this combination of excellent and rare liquid  and vaporous drugs.  Slug it down  and light em up.”
Four heads tilt back , four throats flare, four gasps, shoulders shudder. Smoke.

Sal waves her Cuban inhaling its vapour trail of rich smoke through her nose, holds breath staring off toward the dark door as if expecting.
The others slide their eyes that way too then back to her as she floats words out around her acrid, blue exhalation;

“ Awaaye god..aWaaaaye god..Awaaye godha...wHEEEEeeeee wHEEEeeee...Heah god… Heeare god...wheeeeeeeeeEEEEeeeeeee ...HEEAAHH GOD…HEEAAHH GOD…GOD WHAT THE HELL ARE YA DOI'N YA MANEGY MONGRAL!!! WHeeeEEEEEEEEEEEEEE...THAT'LL DO GOD !!!”

“ Christ Sal, keep it down.”
Eyes slice silent the intrusion;  drop as she refills tumblers, talking softly as she does so though all can hear.

“When I  caught the site of Danny Vagus I knew I had to have him. (one shot filled,) Standing there on long strong legs spread, one slightly bent at the knee, (two shots,) hands loosely clasped behind his black hat,(third shot,) arms  a diamond round his head,(fills her shot, eyes up, raised glasses.) Rocking slightly as one foot pressed the hillside like it was a peddle timed to accelerate his oathy commands up to where God harried sheep down a steep draw toward the pen. 

Slangevar!  They drink.

Kumeroa dog trials oh nine, Sal continues, and I had the job of sending sheep out three at a time from a hidden fold onto the course at the start of each competitors run. Liberators they call us.
The bugger…shit boys Danny got madder and madder as his bitch ‘God’ for some reason would not answer his commands.

The cast went O K but as God eased the sheep to about a quarter of the way down she stopped dead and took her eyes off them. The sheep took off went way off course...Vagus yelled and whistled and threw his hat to the ground and God just kept stock bloody still  looking away in the wrong direction like she was completely deaf to her masters agony. Then she raced back up the slope straight as a black arrow toward one of the 44 gallon drums that marked the course out.
The sheep disappeared over the opposite ridge.

Danny picked up his hat and slapping it to his thigh turned to the tin shelter that housed the judges and by way of acknowledging the  un-salvageable state of his try at the championship , issued a curt thank you and walked from the competition. Those eyes, like a hawks sighting a good meal, found me smiling at him. You knew that was there, they said narrowing. God had found a possum in the drum.”

Sal pulls the strap of her dress back up to her shoulder from where it had slipped during gesticulations and pucks at her cigar 'till the full tip burnt with an orange crackle

“The ol' possum in the drum trick eh Sal” slurs the young trapper winking at the other two behind her in the bars big  mirror , admiring his profile, eyeing his echo. Shallow youth, thy Nemesis is nigh.
Sals’ great laced breasts hove into his view and she brings her eyes to his , noses near to touching, he swallows,

“Not that you wou..” is all he manages before her cigar ash tickles down his chest beneath his open shirt to land scorching hot against his lean while belly. She turns back to the  roaring pair as the youngster races for the toilet slapping  his tummy yelping multiple oaths.
Sals broad smile turns on the other two, lets their laughter role, then continues;

“With that first look we knew in a flash what lay ahead for us. That night we confirmed it . That night before all this strangeness in the weather, all this movement in the ways we were used to. That night under the stars out there under the stars when all the terseness of petty competiness washes away with beer and wine, and food had been shared; remember that; when food was shared.
Shit boys does it feel like it never was, after all that’s happened ?

You do know that tonight’s soup was Pukeko?”  she adds with a wink.
“Tasted like Kereru.”
“ That’s because..”
“It was, haaa haaa hhhaaa!!”
“Was what?”  the youngest trapper returning sheepish to his stool.
“ And Long-pork belly the main.” l
  “Burnt long-pork-belly.”
“Not enough on'm for a decent feast.”
“ Tapas anyone?”  The older trapper draws a knife slowly from his belt and licks his lips.”
“Chrisake cut it out willyas,” squirms the kid.
“ Just what I had in mind kiddo.”
“ And what’s in mind, soon in mouth will be,” chimes in the other.
“ Ah! brains our Tapas plate to be,” with the knife edging closer to the boys retreating scalp.
“What the fuck have you guys been smoking...?”
“ Smoked brains, now there's a novel dish.”
“To taste and since its novel, read and therefore twice consumed and hunger vanquished thus, for food for gut and food for thought we need.”
“Sally make them stop, please.”

“Don't look at me boyo, my larders bare, the soups all gone. The telling of this tale will have to do for stew and if you are still hungry after its tit is tasted then...

huh I guess what has been happening these past years has crazed our appetite for fun so yeah boys lay off the kid eh till the stories dun.” And with that last she tips more rum which settles them for hearing of that night she first was with Danny Vagus, legend of these parts.

“God he was a charmer. That night after all the preliminary bollocking had been dished out about who did what and who got what prize. After the whisky came out and was passed around, yeah it was that then, things were passed around.

After  the  Hunter, our local aptly named policeman, had snaked his new commodore in and out the gate to tip the president off to a booze bus on state highway. Boy, the young patrolman in the passengers seat, went scarlet, we could see he didn't approve of such tactics but as the Hunter said, if he tells us the plods from Palmy have set up down the road he expects sober drivers will  more likely be nominated than if he’d said nothing, just clipped the ticket. An unknown deterrent is no deterrent at all, says the Hunter,( nods of respectful agreeance.)

After all this came the infamous calling of the Kumaroa Dog Roll, continues Sal. Since nineteen thirty eight there has, had, been one hundred and forty one champion dogs, winners of each years’ main event. Each year 'till oh nine when the changes came. The Kumeroa Dog Roll; anyone who could call it without a mistake, without a pause, faster than anyone else, won the silverware.

Well boys, never had there been a calling with the style Danny Vagus gave it that night. He Yodelled it out. Yodelled it out of his throat like cake mix from a bowl; warm chocolate cake mix that folded down over me , all over me.  Then later he licked it all back up again. I’ll skip the details.”

So so will I.

“I moved in that weekend, helpless then. Small town girl makes big farm boy. We clashed straight away, tore each other up with great profligation, yet like a drug once in, and I mean deep in , impossible to throw. He'd inherited; sheep, some beef, bloody nice house; one thousand Hectares. The manager did all the work. We travelled, partied, fornicated, fought…fought 'till it was all gone; emptied like a river of fish; stagnant. His last words after seventeen resilient months: I've bought into dairy. This place is sold; end of the month. You can keep God.”
Sal sloshes out more rum.

“Long ago now boys...long a go.”

Though it was only four years ago they have been the longest four years in recent history; hell, in all history.
Yes,  Danny left her cold. Wool was done, lamb was done even bloody beef was done. They were done.
Some anonymous traders big on wind farming bought the place. Carbon farmers the agent called them; let the scrub come back.

Three million dollars from the sale went straight into a brand spanking new dairy operation on the fertile flat lands of the Manawatu river terraces  at Oringi ironically close to a large recently closed abattoir. Fully irrigated with resource consent allowing for almost unlimited expansion the whole business turned over two point three million dollars that year, the embryo of what was to become the largest milk company in the country, Geyser Corporation, Daniel T. Vagus, President. Danny Vagus, richest man in all the Tararua District.
Danny Vagus, Hero of the people! The Plebs. Listen to them.

“Not so long ago when Vagus drove those heifers to parliament, remember that day; him striding out front of two thousand head of cows down Lambton Quay. I was there eh”
“ Who wasn't kid. That wee exercise left the government covered in it. But now, hell no bloody stock left to tax.”
“Who'da thought the flu could kill so many animals: horse, bird, swine, cow,    sheep, and now fish flu pan -freaking -demics.” 
“Least its leaving possum alone.”
“And us.”
“Here's t'that.”
“Not so in Mexico,” where Sal gets her dark looks from.
“Sorry Sal , do go on. Did you ever see Vagus again?”

“Hell yes, all the time, on the teevee news crowing about his new corporation. Who didn't.”
“In person?”

“Once.” Sal sloshes more rum, draws on her cigar, blows blue long and hard at the door. “Once. He came to me, not that long ago, summer during the drought that killed his mother, so he said.
That mean bastard killed her.

He'd been promising to get her a brand new water supply for years.  I used to visit her even after he sold the farm. She lived in Woodville in an old run down place he put her in. Cracked walls, peeling paint, tatty curtains. The water used to run brown during a flood, green sometimes and not at all during the droughts. She told me he’d promised her he would install a new system once he'd finished paving his streets with gold.  I came home one night to find him sitting at my kitchen table. The bastard was crying

( “She's dead.”
“What are you doing here?”
“She's dead.”
  “Who.” She knew who.
“ Mother, Ahhh, you got a drink?”
“ Get Out, Get out now.”
“Sally . Please.”)

“He left without another word. Got up, put on his hat and walked out into the cold dark night.” Four pairs of eyes look to the door as if…

He left. I could say never to be seen again but we’re not at the end of the story yet. Things were really bad by the time his Mother died of malnutrition. When the water ran out she didn’t have the strength to go for help. He found her in bed, desiccated, she weighed nineteen kilos. Christ, he'd gone there to con her into taking out a mortgage.

Interest was due to be payed on capital raised in a Geyser bond issue and he didn't have the cash. Even Black Horse Banks, who Geyser had been with since the beginning, went cold. Since a court ruling in a case with the I R D over tax evasion practices going back ten years...huh, you heard the news.

No one was buying milk powder; well not from us anyhow. Geysers venture into China came back to bite them, spelled the end for Asia as a market…

                                Ching Ching China man Went to milk a cow
                                  Ching Chong China man Didn't no how....

Well we showed 'em how alright too bloody well , now they've broken our supply contracts, nationalised our investments on their soil 'over supplied the market with cheap products and left us covered in it.

How quickly turns the worm. Let me show you something from back in the day ,leave those losers telling lies at the bar a while.
Here. Front page news, not just the local rag but The Tribute:
. THE TARARUA TRIBUTE.                              20 march 2009.

                    VIVA DANNY VAGUS !

Chairman of Geyser corp. Mr Daniel C Vagus last night announced his interests in dairy farming would expand to include the take over of rival firm B4 corp. in a deal set to add tens of millions to Tararua farmers returns . In a statement issued late yesterday  Mr Vagus said; “Gone are the days when the rural economy, which is the very power house of the entire country, waits for some antiquated board structure to deliver a fair price for its produce. Geyser corporation begins this very month a program of restructuring the work of B4 into our own twenty-first centaury model of global marketing.”

The founder of Geyser ,who began marketing dairy products direct to buyers at the Tararua farmers market cooperative only three years ago, also announced a further bond issue of six hundred million dollars offering 9% return on investment. Spokes person for issuing managers Black Horse Banks ,Nicola Wright said they had set a limit for over subscription at nine hundred million dollars and funds raised will be used to expand Geysers capacity to add value to its raw product. Geyser expects to begin work on a multi million dollar yogurt factory outside Shanghi by February 2010.

Geyser got that nine million easy then , hell ,could have made it over a billion but the banks chickened out. Wouldn't have made any difference .
Once the chinks nationalized, seized the yoghurt plant, the bank threw its rider and markets dried up as countries opted for protectionism. Then the weather.
Took out wind farms and airports alike.

Why am I telling you this? We all know how broke the country now is; how spectacularly altered are our circumstances. Take those trappers at the bar;
the tall skinny one used to bread horses and now sells kebabs on street corners when he’s not trapping. The stocky Maori my equal once though I got the better of him in the end.
That vain youth a bastard son of the last mayor of Auck Inc.

And Sal;  Sal was Danny’s gal ...maybe still is.

Sal takes another long crackling draw at the cigar. A log of grey ash floats to the bar and she touches it, crumples it, smears it with her bejewelled fingers. “Never Again”
Silence folds in on them as they smoke and sip and conjure images of what they remembered of that legendary man; talk of how he, through Geyser corp. sponsorship saved three rural primary schools closed by the state back in '10.

“ China eh, maybe” muses the Maori.
“Thought you of all people would be keeping tabs on that land grabbing sod as I remember you calling him once” digs the tall one at the elder.

The old trapper lets off a light, sardonic laugh. As it happened he had worked for Maori affairs, before  T.E.C.O.W  rolled into town.  Total Economic Collapse of the World. To say it aloud , Jesus...

“Yeah right. When he ran for parliament I did have a file on his shady land dealings thick as the bloodied bible; was going to spill to the media. Then that bastard went and gifted the whole of the Puketoi range, well most'av it anyway, to the local Iwi; my whanau the cunning rat. Fat lot a use that; bloody stupid Maoris  went and threw up three hundred turbines.

All gone now ; not insured for ice-burg related blizzards.” They look at him, Sal and the tall one; the youth, drunk, content with himself in the mirror.

“Yeah yeah, I know. I was the bloody stupidest Maori who helped broker the turbine deal. Cheers”
“Any more lonesome loser stories before we call it a night?” Sal smiles.


A match flares in the darkened corner by the door.

All eyes strain to pierce the smoky haze haloed around a gastlily raided body, re-animated by that  undignifying knife, seated, legs swinging.

My desecrated eye finds the young trapper.
A glass smashes to the floor.

“Wouldn't mind those boots back young fella. Feet first'd be nice,” says  I.

“Danny,” Gasps Sal.                                                                       


The begining of this story is an adaptation of an old north American folk tale title "The Calf Who Ate The Traveler."
© Copyright 2009 Finefeild (finefeild at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates have been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work.
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