that she wasn ' t as willowy as her companions . She was about six months up the duff . " Ahh , I ' m Lenny , how ' s it all going ?" he asked . She smiled a smile which may as well have been a net to entangle young Lenny in .
He was captivated , although with a glance at her belly he was instantly mindful she was with child ... which meant one of the hippy horde must be the father .
" Do you know what it ' s going to be ?" he asked , gesturing to the bulge .
" A baby ," she said quietly , the smile again searing into Lenny ' s heart .
Lenny nodded thoughtfully , and asked where she was from , and where was she heading . She told him “ from somewhere to nowhere ." " We are children of the wind ," she said , gently touching Lenny ' s arm and asking him where he and his two dusty companions had come from .
He told her their plane crashed and that they were trying to get home on a bike they ' d built out of the scattered aircraft parts . " Okay ," she replied . " These are all your friends ... and one is the proud father yeah ?" Lenny asked .
She told him yes and no . Yes , they were her friends and no , the father wasn ' t with her . She hadn ' t seen him since she told him the news about the kid ... he ' d done the proverbial runner .
" That ' s a bit rough ," Lenny said , as he caught sight out of the corner of his eye of Max walking over to the Dennis Hopper lounge , where the two sun-glassed outlaw bikers and their mate in the crumpled suit were sitting . " Max Chubb ," he said , extending a hand . " Captain Confederate ," the bloke with an American flag sewn to the back of jacket replied , gesturing to his companion who he introduced as ' Hops .'
The bloke in the suit reached across the table extending his hand . " Jack Nichols is the name ," he said . " Travelin ' with these good boys . Heading west . Havin ' a good time ," he drawled .
Max explained to the trio that he and his two mates were effectively still lost , as they had no idea where they were , or which direction they should head off in at the crossroads to get themselves on the right road home . " Where ' s home ?" Captain Confederate asked . " Gravel City ," Max replied . The three looked at each other ... expressionless .
" Don ' t know about that . We ' ve come from over the border . We ' re seeing the land , and I guess we ' ll head back south y ' know ?"
Max thanked them for their time and they nodded back .
" It is our pleasure ," Jack Nichols said with a wide grin before asking how the lads had managed to keep themselves alive while lost in the landscape .
" Been eating these things ," Max said , pulling a couple of the raw seed pods from his pocket . " Ohh yeah ," Jack said , nodding slowly . " They ' ll keep ya goin ' real good ... just so long as you boil `em first . Don ' t eat ' em raw ... you get real crazy dreams ." Max frowned , and turned and walked away . " There ' s something wrong here ," Max said as he rejoined Bert . " Nothing adds up ." Bert agreed , and suggested that as they still had plenty of fuel they simply take the road
directly away from where they ' d come as it had to lead somewhere in the direction of home . Max nodded and said they should leave soon , while there was still plenty of light .
" We could only be a matter of hours from home ," he said . " We should go for it ." Bert called to Lenny , but he was now seated with the hippy girl and deep in conversation .
She ' d told him that her name was Rosemary , and confessed that she had two other little children with her . They were looking forward to having a new brother or sister ... but she still had not been able to think of a name for the unborn one . That surprised , but didn ' t faze , Lenny . " What are their names ?" he asked . " Parsley and Sage ," Rosemary said . " Time !" the old barman called out . " Time gentlemen please ." Rosemary ' s eyes widened and she smiled . " That ' s it ... I shall call the new one ... `Pleeze '." Bert ' s hand landed on Lenny ' s shoulder at that moment and said they were leaving . Lenny looked into Rosemary ' s eyes and she looked sad .
Lenny wished her well and said he hoped one day he would see her again ... because she seemed like a pretty good stick .
At that , she reached into her crocheted bag and pulled out a small note pad , its pages decorated with flowers and pixies and fairies , and wrote a number on it .
" Call me one day ... please ," she said and handed the note to Lenny .
The lads then quietly left , with the eyes of the eclectic throng within the Crossroads Diner suddenly upon them as one . They felt uneasy . It was as if they were somewhere they really had no right to be . Somewhere where they were welcome ... but in a way not . A place where the occupants of the diner could only relax after they had gone .
While Max was pumping a few mils of avgas into the cylinders and while Bert and Lenny were climbing aboard the Stuka , he noticed faces at the window watching them . Only one waved ... Rosemary . Lenny returned the wave and they got the Stuka rolling . It farted and belched its way into life and Max throttled it slowly up to speed and the diner began to fade into the kicked-up dust behind them .
The air was unusually warm and they felt relaxed . The burgers had been like water to a dying man and they could still taste the cheese and the barbecue sauce . Their stomachs were full and their minds were kaleidoscopes of thoughts and visions from their stopover ... wherever the hell it was .
It was about an hour later when the landscape began turned into bush and then forest . Max allowed himself a slight smile , because he knew that they were entering the forestry lands to the west of Elmore province , and just beyond lay Gravel City ... home .. The pines and the more established tarseal roadway looked familiar enough , although Max wasn ' t completely sure . So he was pleased to spot what appeared to be a stationwagon parked off the road , in a rest layby , up ahead .
Lenny had spotted it too and tapped Max on the shoulder , who replied with a thumbs-up sign that he ' d seen it . They slowed up . The couple in the car , who looked to be in their late 50s , maybe early 60s , both looked over as the Stuka , with its three dusty and by now slightly shabby looking passengers pulled up .
But then the arrival of something which appeared to have been designed by children and built by lunatics , and which sounded like a small war , would attract anyone ' s attention .
The old couple looked at each other briefly then looked back at the machine , and the lads who were dismounting and stretching .
The man said something to the woman , and she reacted with a slight frown and a shake of the head .
But her expression was one of bewilderment as Max , Lenny and Bert walked over to the driver ' s window .
" Gidday folks ... sorry to startle you with the old sidecar ... she ' s a piece of work yeah ?" Max said with a smile .
" Sure is ," the foreign-sounding driver said , before introducing himself as Romane Polska .
For some unsettling reason , the woman felt as if they knew the young men who stood before them , and ditto for the lads . The well-lived face of the old bird looked familiar .
Max asked if they could help him . He
68 KIWI RIDER