There was this party out at Foster’s. I was driving back to town on the gravel, taking it easy, because I didn’t have the new shockies on, when, all of a sudden, there’s this huge blue light in the sky, really bright, right in the middle of the road.

I slowed down a bit to check it out when, bam! it comes straight at me. Whoosh! Just like that. I spin the wheel hard, lose it, go into a skid, slide across the road and wind up nose down in the mulga.

You should have seen the car, bonnet buckled, wheels near ripped off, a stump almost through the radiator, a right mess. I remember thinking about not having any insurance. Well, what can you do? There’s the dole and working in the warehouse but that barely takes care of the repayments. There’s always something needing fixing, too,

So, there I am, sitting in the middle of the scrub, the engine screaming, wheels spinning like crazy, and this big bright light thing right overhead. A blue light it was, with a kind of orange glow, did I say that? It was just sort of hovering there, like in a space movie. Like that, only a lot brighter. Be as big as a Macca’s I reckon, if you can figure that. And all pulsating, like they do.

Then it began to happen. It moved off a little and settled on the ground. Then this door opened and the light was blinding, all white and blue and different colours. A long thin bloke like a skeleton comes sorta floating out. He drifts over towards the car, like he wasn’t touching the ground. He seemed to have no flesh, just this light instead around his bones and shining through his eye sockets. And, like, pulsating.

Hey, think I can get another glass of water? This weather is something, ain’t it? Never seen it so hot, makes you wonder what’s happening. I mean, you guys are from the government, you must know what’s causing it. Been like this for ages now. Bloody weird, if you ask me.

So, where was I? Yeah, this tall bloke with the light. He comes over and there’s me and Susie sitting there, just staring at him. Oh, didn’t I? Well she was. We were kind of going together at the time. Nothing real serious, you know, just sort of casual but regular.

So, this bloke comes over like he’s floating and stops beside the car. Then, I swear, he smiles. Like it was really amazing to see this guy’s face just open up and all this light come out like a toothpaste ad, only more so. And this is where it gets really heavy. We’re sitting there, amazed, and like not so certain with all this weirdness when he reaches in and ties this shiny tinsel stuff around our wrists.

Geez! I tell you, I was wiped. I couldn’t believe it. The feel of it was incredible, sort of hot but cool at the same time. And his hands. One of them touched me and it was weird. It felt great, like, you know, like really good sex. Susie and me were like that sometimes, really good together.

Anyway, this character is smiling and wrapping us up together. Then, believe this or not, he steps back and gives us the peace sign like he was some kind of old hippie. He held up two fingers with the other one bent in and smiled again.

What? Oh, yeah, he only had three fingers, didn’t I tell you that? Well, that’s all he had and he held them up and just floated back into the ship. We don’t move, just sitting there watching. He gets in and whoosh! It takes off, zoom! Straight up it goes and disappears.

So, we’re left there, sitting in the car, which is all busted up, with this tinsel rope thing tied around our wrists. I couldn’t believe it. I’d only had the front panel beaten the week before and the bonnet was almost brand new. I’d spent a fortune on it and there it is, wrecked in the scrub about eight miles out from town.

Susie was no help. She just sat there with a smile on her face saying things like, “He means us, the two of us.”

She kept on, like a parrot. When I tried to take it off she goes crazy.

“No, leave it on, we have to leave it on,” she says.

So what could I do? She was really upset. When I got out she slid over the seat and got out the same door as me.

Geez! You should have seen the mess. The front suspension was gone, radiator holed and leaking like a sieve, engine torn from the mountings, panels crushed and one of the wheels almost twisted right off.

Hey, how about that water? It’s getting hotter. This is worse than last week, and that was a scorcher. You should see the country out our way, burnt almost black, not a bird left. Stock almost all gone. Thanks, cheers.

So there we were, middle of nowhere and having to walk back to town. The car was almost a total write off, couldn’t be moved. It would take a tow truck to haul it out of there. I began to get really pissed off, who wouldn’t? But not Susie. All the way back she’s kissing and hugging me and talking strange. I mean, I don’t mind a bit of affection, like the next bloke, but there’s a time and place right? It was my car that was wrecked out there and she didn’t seem to care. All she could talk about was how great it was going to be, and when I’d say, “What?” she’d laugh. I reckoned she was in shock.

So we finally made it back to town and then she wanted me to go in and meet her oldies with this rope thing on us. When I told her no, she said she’d come over to my place to stay the night, right there, with Mum and Dad at home. And all because we couldn’t untie this tinsel thing.

I said, “No, enough’s enough.”

My old man would throw a fit. I mean, it might have been all right if we were married or even engaged like. And you know, I reckon that’s what Susie had in her mind, use the thing to get us stitched up together. But I was awake to her. I mean she was all right and I liked her and all, but at least two other blokes I knew said they’d been there too, and well, you don’t marry someone like that, do you?

So I told her. “No way. Fair go,” I said, “it’s bad enough about the car, but there’s no way we’re going into our folk’s place, tied up together like a blooming Christmas tree.”

“Just until tomorrow night,” she said. “Like fun,” I said. I couldn’t make her out. And she was usually such an easy sheila.

You should have heard her when I pulled the stuff off and left her with the lot. You’d think it was the end of the world. She fell down on her folk’s front lawn, crying and sobbing. I took off fast in case her old man came out and had a go at me.

The next day, talk about trouble. I couldn’t get a tow truck for anything. Smithy was out on a job for the Main Roads and wouldn’t be back until evening. He’s a mate and has the only halfway decent tow-truck service in town. I spent the day keeping out of sight. I didn’t want Susie to see me. You never know with these sheilas when they go off. They do funny things when they’re upset. And she wasn’t the only one, I was really peeved about the car.

I slaved my guts out on those wheels, almost building it from scratch. It was nothing when I got it. Then some bleeding spaceman comes along and wrecks it. ’Course I didn’t tell anyone how it happened. You know how it is, they’d only take the piss.

Mum told me Susie came around a couple of times looking for me. She said she was crying and still wearing the shiny thing. Mum noticed it because it was so bright. Susie tried to tell Mum what happened but she didn’t believe a word of it, reckoned Susie was on drugs or something.

By the time Smithy got back it was late, but he’s a good mate so we went on out to where the car was. I was really nervous in case it had been ripped off, but when we got there it’s OK. Well, not OK, damn near a write off is what it really was.

And, you wouldn’t want to know, but Susie’s there too, waiting for me. Cunning she was. She knew I’d have to go back out there eventually to get the car. I reckon she walked all the way. She’s still as crazy as ever and as soon as she sees me wants to put the shiny thing back on our wrists.

Well, I wasn’t having any. “Screw off,” I told her. “Leave me alone.” I had enough on my hands trying to get the car out without worrying about some crazy sheila with a space rope. So she’s crying and I’m hauling the chain from the truck, getting down on my hands and knees and trying to hook it up without doing more damage.

Smithy just stands there, can’t work it out at all, for which I don’t blame him. He was always a bit soft, Smithy. Big bloke, nice bloke, but soft on sheilas, and on Susie in particular. I knew that, we all knew that.

Anyway when I lift my head he’s over there talking with her, getting the whole crazy yarn, leaving me to do the hard yakka in the brush by myself. ’Course I couldn’t say too much, seeing as how he was doing me a favour.

I finally get the tow onto the car. When I come back around I see Susie’s got poor Smithy tied up with the tinsel thing around their wrists. He’s standing there grinning like it was his birthday or something. I knew the score, but what the heck. If that’s the way he felt, he was welcome to her, with her tinsel and general weirdness.

“C’mon, let’s go,” I said, but he wouldn’t. He says they’re staying there in case the others come back. Fair dinkum.

“Well I’m not bloody well staying here half the night,” I say.

“Take it back yourself, you’re welcome to it,” says Smithy with that silly grin. “We’re going to the park.”

Bonkers, stark, raving, bonkers, the two of ’em. There we were in the middle of the scrub and they’re talking about going to a park, of which there isn’t one for miles, unless you count the memorial lawn in town.

I’d had a gutful with spacemen, crazy sheilas, nutty mates and my car all battered and in need of a total overhaul. Enough’s enough, so I hauled the car out of the ditch, hoisted it up on the rear wheels, took off and left them. They stood there the whole time, never offered a hand. Geez! I was burned. I mean, blokes may or may not share around sheilas but they should at least lend a mate a hand.

And that’s it. Never saw them again, no one did. When? Let’s see, about three weeks before the heatwave started, that’s what, about two months ago? Yeah, both of them vanished. Maybe the space guy came back after all. It caused a bit of stink in our town and I came in for a lot of aggravation. They thought I had done something. So finally I told them about the spaceship, the lights and all.

Yeah. “We’re going to the park,” that’s what he said.

Well, that’s what it sounded like to me.

Maybe he did, but that doesn’t make any sense either.

What is an ark, anyway?

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