This story is fiction. No bunyips or children, or anyone else, was harmed in writing these words or the subsequent production thereof…It is a short love story, with all the magnificence and sadness that love brings…to us all ! And no one or place has any real reference in these wonderful few words.
As she cleaned the bar in the pub, you may remember, the one on the corner, just bordering the swamp that swamped around from the Warrego River, just west of the Town, Olive, the olive-skinned bar girl with the thick short hair thought to herself – ‘ we haven’t seen old mate blue boots for a while ‘.
And she was right. It was late January. It was hot and dry. The Warrego was down a bit, not much, but down.
And he had not been in town for a while…
Cattle were thirsty. The locals were pissed off with almost everything, which was rare because, generally speaking, it was a town of Western Queensland which accepted the weather, the isolation and the strange vicissitudes of life as a part of the deal.
But there was an underlying tension which could not be dismissed easily.
It was not a big deal – Olive, who, by the way, was bloody beautiful, figured that it was a moment of the times and that a decent week of rain would sort it all out.
As she wiped down the last of the bar tables by the window of the front bar that looked over the swamp, she saw two things which made the short hairs on the back of her neck stand up!
A pair of querulous pink eyes were looking straight at her, from the swamp and she saw ‘blue boots’ leaning loosely against the ghost gum which stood by the swamp.
And he was murmuring some soft words to the pink eyes !
Olive knew, from past experience in this special little place, that the pink eyes belonged to a bunyip who had blue, crinkly, soft skin and who was in love with the local vet who had fixed his buggered hamstring in a moment of wild nonsense on the Eastern bank of the Warrego River many months ago.
The vet, was a cool hearted woman, with piercing green eyes and wild, wonderful hair, who worked as a country vet of large animals in the region; she knew that fixing bunyips with buggered hamstrings was not going to get her much credible professional recognition – but she did it because she was Irish, and, if you are Irish you have no choice to deal with these things.
Blue boots had travelled around quite a bit since he had last been in this beautiful little town; the place was in his heart, and he always wanted to come back there, and this night, in late January, he did.
He was a man of this land; he knew its rhythms, its songs, its secret messages that flew on the soft winds over the river. He knew how the wind gave leaves the gift of flight. He knew how the fragrance of river mud was soft and sensual; if you knew how to live with it.
And, he had a mate.
A bunyip with blue skin and big soft pink eyes…
He knew that’ bunyip’ had fallen in love with the wild-haired vet and he and the Bunyip had spoken about this, in the soft, lisping whispers of the bush that only those who know how to speak to bunyips can understand.
As they lay back in the mud on the riverbank, Bunyip and blue boots figured out that it was ‘ better for all of us if you let the vet go.’
Bunyip, deep in his large heart, knew, that a bunyip and a vet, even one with beautiful wild hair and green Irish eyes, could not really make a love affair work.
He humped his shoulders and accepted his fate.
His mate, Blue Boots, grabbed his shoulder and whispered that many, rather luscious blue and green bunyips, upstream were waiting for him to rock up!
In all this, supporting his mate, Pink Eyed Bunyip, Blue Boots had kept Olive in his thoughts and dreams…as he travelled across this vast, wonderful land doing cattle business.
Olive was a fire deep in his soul which he could not put out.
The way she moved behind the bar when she was working on a busy night; the swing of her hips, the flash of her eyes and the quiet, calm and knowing smile which flickered across her lips when she looked at him caused his toes, inside his blue boots to curl up !!
On this night as she was cleaning the last of the tables, she saw him looking at the pink eyes, leaning loosely against the ghost gum, he turned saw her, a lazy smile crept over his lips.
In time, Blue Boots and Olive made their music and sang their love songs…the intensity of their lives together was a bit like someone carrying fire around on their hips. Their love for each other was bloody magnificent – and he told her that !
It was amazing. They were two humans who found a wonderful recipe for binding their lives together.
They were lucky.
Their mate, Bunyip, with the large soft pink eyes, wandered North, upstream a bit – he was a cool bunyip with some life experience.
His soft pink eyes were not as innocent as before the busted hamstring, but there was a knowing glow about them…
Which was…love comes, love goes, while you live, if you have it, hang on to it with both hands, because it will give you a wild ride.
And, love beats the hell out of anything else when it comes to living.
If, however, you do happen to fall in love with a bunyip – give me a call.
I still have my blue boots!