A LUCKY FIND A decision which would ultimately convince the lads , in a spooky sort of way , that what was happening to them was being scripted in some mysterious manner by a much more powerful force than they could ever hope to understand ... like Bill Gates or Graham Henry .
For after digging down to just over a metre they struck water .
It seeped slowly through the fine shingle and clay ... forming a murky pool which the lads could only marvel at . " We ' ve struck gravy ," Bert said . They agreed that the pilot ' s cheap polyester shirt would make do as a splendid strainer , so off it came .
In the process of burying their departed pilot (' pilot ' being a very loose term in this case ) they had solved the problem of water .
It was not fresh water , but it was nevertheless coming from an underground aquifer , no doubt being carried down from the distant Bruder Ranges .
Bert got to work establishing the well while the other three wandered off to dig another burial hole for the now shirtless pilot , well away from their surprise water supply .
" Do we say a few words ?" Lenny asked as the last scrapings of soil were delivered upon the mound .
Max cocked his head to one side and looked slightly up , deep in thought .
He then looked back at the grave and simply said ; ' rather you than me , mate .'
Lenny had meanwhile managed to cup out about three litres of the murky water , which he filtered as best he could and left it to settle in a couple of empty soft drink bottles which had been aboard .
A MEETING ? Max called a meeting . " Like any long distance endurance event there has to be a strategy ," he said , to the nodding agreement of the other three . He figured using motorcycle race analogies might make it easier for Lenny and Nod to get a handle on just how deep a pit of shit they were in , and just what was required to scramble out of it .
" We ' ve suffered a mechanical failure and we ' ve gone off the track ," Max continued .
" We ' re way over on the other side of the circuit and no one saw us go down ... so where does that leave us ?" Lenny leaned forward : “ Out of the race ?” Max rolled his eyes . " Well , yeah , sort of Lenny , but what do we have to do to , say , get back in it ?"
Nod said they should wait until the track marshals arrived to give them a push start and Max had to be restrained by Bert from throwing a punch in his direction .
Then Lenny chipped in again and said what they needed for an endurance race was lots of petrol .
This time Bert shrugged and told Max if he wanted to slug Lenny that was fine by him .
" Or we just get another bike ," Lenny added as an afterthought .
That ' s when Max smiled and nodded , echoing Lenny ' s words . " We get another bike ..." Bert was as bewildered as the other two lads and wondered if the water they had all by now sipped on was tainted with toxins and that they were all losing their minds .
Max asked Nod if he ' d brought his tool kit with him , knowing that Nod was one of those blokes who wouldn ' t let anyone else touch his R6 .
Nod said yes , that he ' d packed it in behind his seat .
" There ' s a tool kit on board anyway ," Lenny piped up . " I saw it down the tail end . There was an axe , some wrenches , hammer and stuff like that ."
" Let ' s see what we ' ve got ," Max said cheerily .
The others asked why .
A MOTORCYCLE ? " Because we ' re going to build a motorcycle ."
Looks were exchanged but no one said anything .
Nod suggested they talk about it over tea ... if they had any .
The meagre rations of carrot and muesli bars had gone , and only Lenny had come up with a plan to stave off starvation , and that was the boiling of what appeared to be small pinecone type pods which grew on the scruffy gorse which was only just clinging to life on the otherwise barren landscape .
Using the unbolted lid of Nod ' s tool kit as an oblong pan , and murky water from the well , Lenny boiled the pods until they had a sort of Brussels sprouts look to them .
They were bitter and chewy , but the lads agreed that in the absence of prime ribs , peppercorn steaks or scallops in a wine sauce , they were acceptable .
And they all determined , although at that very moment they had no idea how , that they would build a motorcycle and ride themselves out of there ... wherever ' there ' was .
Back in Gravel City , at 47 Iris Drive , Nancy Day left the inferno of her oven , which had been inspired by cognac scones , and dashed for the phone . It was Dennis Quilter ... Bert ' s mechanic . " Oh gidday Mrs Day , it ' s Dennis here ." " Hello Dennis ... how ' s your mother , has she got over that dicky business with the waterworks ?"
" Oh she ' s got the old bladder flowing like the Nile now Mrs D , no worries at all ... but the real worry is ... and I don ' t want to worry you ... is just what ' s happened to Bert and the boys ?"
Bert ' s mother told Dennis that her son , and
KIWI RIDER 67