“What the …? Who the hell listens to this shit?”
He pushed the gearstick, dropped the clutch and the wheels started spinning, screaming smoke.
Landcruiser. Expensive, but the guy could afford it, judging by his fancy shoes and the cut of his hair, looked like he had more than a few pennies in the bank. Christ, the look on his face as they took off. Shouldn’t have left the keys in the ignition. Hadn’t he been listening to the news on the radio? Nah, this stupid music.
“Change the station will ya?”
“Change the friggin’ station. Get the news, Wanna hear what they’re saying about us.”
Lou looked at the console – buttons, knobs and neon-coloured displays. He hit a button and the music stopped.
“I didn’t say turn it off. I want to hear the fuckin’ news, ya fuckwit”.
Lou pushed the button again and the cabin filled with music.
“The news, not this shit”.
Lou’s brain moved slowly and tended to grind to a halt when pushed, leaving his fingers hovering dumbly over the radio. He stared at them, black and grimy from a fortnight in the bush. A spot of dried blood on the end of his index finger caught his attention; the shape of it reminded him of something from years ago but he couldn’t remember what. He instinctively shoved the finger in his mouth – his father had told him to suck the blood off a cut finger, said it helped it heal.
“What the .. what ya doin? Change the friggin station ya imbecile? Shit, nearly missed it.”
His father screamed on the brakes and directed the car off the highway onto a bush track.
“I cut my finger?”
“What?. When? Give us a look.”
Lou showed his father the blood on his finger.
“Skinning rabbit … last night. Did ya cut yourself skinning the rabbit last night?”
“No, I don’t think so.”
“Then it’s rabbit blood. Ya sucking rabbit blood. Just turn the radio off”.
Lou hit the button again.
“So, let’s see what this thing can do. Probably never been off the bitumen before.”
Fiddling the gears, he put the vehicle into four wheel drive. He knew this area, worked it for years, had it worn into his skin. Lou’s father was just over fifty but looked sixty, his skin faded by the years in the scrub. Thin grey hair hung down from his balding head, a beard grown from lack of soap and razor covered his face. Inside that, though, was a man that knew everything. No matter the trouble, his dad would get them out. He knew the bush and the farms and the tracks no-one else knew, the places the police would never go. A new vehicle, full of fuel; he’d have them far gone before anyone even knew they were there. Down in low first gear he worked the car up a steep pinch towards their camp.