The Egotistical Man
The egotistical man wouldn't ask for directions. Now they were stuck in the middle of nowhere. His wife sat beside him, fuming.
She had said 20 miles back that perhaps they should have stopped at the roadhouse to ask where the Pinnacles were, but no, he was determined that he "knew the way".
So the result was, they were on a dirt road, just about out of petrol and not a road sign, a car, or even a lizard to be seen.
"Perhaps ..." she started, but any other words she had thought to say died in her throat. He was glaring at her in his "I know what I'm doing" way. So she decided to get out of the car instead.
He had the map spread out over the steering wheel and was studying it intently, muttering under his breath about "know-it-all women".
Outside the car she wandered back down the track, kicking a rock here and there, wondering if her husband would ever approve of anything she did. Movement caught her eye and she stopped to investigate.
As it turned out it was a kangaroo grazing languidly about fifteen feet from where she was standing. It stopped and gazed at her, sizing up whether there was any threat. Deciding there was none, he returned to nibbling on the juicy bush he had found.
Getting her courage up, she slowly inched her way towards him, amazed, for she had never seen a kangaroo in the wild. He obviously wasn't deterred by her close proximity.
"What the hell are you doing, woman?" her husband's voice boomed.
The roo stood up to its full height, a good six feet, and bounded off across the desert. She watched forlornly, wishing she could do exactly what the roo was doing - escape.
"I was only ..." she started
"That is your problem, Doris! It's always "I was only". One of these days it's going to get you into trouble".
Tears welled up in her eyes as she turned and followed the tracks of the kangaroo.
"Where the heck are you going now?" he called after her. But she didn't answer, just kept walking away. "Right, be it on your own head! Go and get lost in the bush, see if I care!" he bellowed.
Where had they gone wrong, she wondered as she kept her eyes on the tracks, following them this way and that. When they had met, everything was perfect. He would listen to anything she had to say, she had thought they had the perfect relationship. Now, only five years later, they seemed to have nothing in common.
He looked at her disappearing over the horizon and turned in disgust. "Stupid woman", he thought, and grabbed the map once more. No matter how hard he looked at the map he couldn't get the picture of her slouched shoulders out of his mind. When did she become so timid? When they had met, he admired her strength, her ideas. They always seemed to have something to talk about. l
Right at that point he had to concede that they were hopelessly lost. It would be a long way back to the roadhouse, but it had to be done. Looking in the boot for any provisions he realized they had left the picnic bakset at the hotel.
"Great" , he exclaimed as he slammed the boot shut "what do we do now? No food, no water, almost no fuel" . It was then he realized, and no wife!
He looked in the direction she had disappeared and realized they had broken every rule in the book about outback survival. No water on board, no food and he had allowed his wife to wander off.
It took him a moment to formulate a plan; first he had to collect some rocks. At the front of the car he made a huge arrow in the direction that his wife had walked. Grabbing his hat from the back seat he strode off in search of her.
When the car had disappeared from Doris' vision she suddenly realized the precariousness of their situation. Here she was gallivanting about, feeling sorry for herself when they were in real danger!
She took a moment to assess what they needed to do. First on her list was water. She doubted there was any in the car and they would need some soon, it was 100 degrees in the shade! Scanning the immediate area she saw a likely spot to dig. The trouble would be what to put the water in.
First things first, she began to pull the dirt away. She was fortunate and hit water within a few feet. She let it pool to check it was clear, cupped a small amount in her hand and tasted it. Perfect. Rather pleased with herself she then set about solving the problem of how to get some back to the car for her husband.
Looking to the left she couldn't help but be thankful for people littering, just this once. There was an empty Coke bottle! Making the hole bigger and again waiting for the water to settle she laid the bottle on its side and slowly let water flow in.
As she was doing this she looked at the dirt she had dug out and saw some roots in the soil. She washed them in the pool of water and saw they were edible! Thank goodness she had looked at the leaflets back at the hotel about 'black fella' food that was to be found in the desert.
Gathering the supply together she retraced her steps and headed back towards the car.
To her surprise there was Glen striding towards her.
Her first impulse was to turn away but instead she held out the water and roots saying "Look what I managed to find for us!"
He marvelled at his wife's ingenuity and started to apologize for being so unreasonable, but his words were drowned out by the sound of an engine bearing down upon them.
It was the Ranger who told them that he had found their car abandoned and saw the arrow Glen had left. Doris gave Glen a quizzical look as the Ranger continued saying he immediately radioed in and called for help. "I'd hoped you hadn't gotten far and decided to drive out a bit and check for myself" he said.
As he looked at Doris standing there, Coke bottle in one hand, some roots in the other, he said "I see you were well equipped to survive out here".
Glen beamed, much to Doris' astonishment.
The Ranger took them back to their car and radioed in that he had found them safe and sound. Fortunately he had extra fuel in the back of his 4 wheel drive and topped Glen's car up, "It should be enough to get you back to the roadhouse" , he said as he hoisted the jerry can back into his vehicle.
On the drive back Glen looked over at a smiling Doris and said with a big grin "Perhaps I had better ask for directions next time" and gave her a wink.
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