Hello? Oh hey Joel, how’re you going? Yeah, I’m just on a tram, just really hungover, while reading the latest episode of …
THE BOGUE & BOGUETTE SHOW!
(THE SCENE: The large sheltered barbecue area at the Ocean Glades Holiday Village caravan park – “You’ll Never Want To Leave!” A large assortment of residents are gathered at and around the picnic tables for a communal Christmas lunch on a humid, sweltering Christmas Day on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales. BOGUE is wearing his apron with rubber breasts while turning half-scorched sausages and rissoles on the barbecue hot plate and BOGUETTE is carrying out a large bowl of creamy potato salad from her family’s mobile home nearby.)
BOGUE: Oi, darlin’! I thought you said you were gonna make something helfy and shit.
BOGUETTE: But this *is* helfy! It’s got vegetables in it. It’s got potatoes, and spring onions, and … umm … yeah, it is helfy!
BOGUE: All right, whatever you say.
BOGUETTE: By the way, did I tell you that Braiden got his HSC results in the other day? He got an ATAR of 72 point something. Pretty good! He’s just waiting on university offers, they’re due in January. He wants to do a mathematics degree at Western Sydney Uni!
BOGUE: Bloody hell, that kid. What has me dickhead nerdy shithead bruvva Ryan put in Braiden’s head since he’s moved in with him because there ain’t enough room in our mobile home up here? What, isn’t joining his old man on the roads good enough?
BOGUETTE: Listen! Braiden has always wanted to work wiv numbers ‘n stuff, you know that he’s always been good at maths. You should be proud that he wants to get off his arse and do sumfint wiv his life!
BOGUE: What? And bustin’ his gut in a ROOL job for ROOL men on the motorway construction site like me isn’t doin’ sumfint with his life? Fer fark’s sake. Before ya know it, the little shit will be drinkin’ soy cappuccino lattes and eatin’ vegan crap while bouncin’ from degree to degree the rest of his life bludgin’ off me tax money living in some stinky sharehouse with ten hundred other bludgin’ uni students in Newtown. It’s all Ryan’s fault, puttin’ stupid ideas into me son Braiden’s head. “Ooh, ooh, look at me, I’m Ryan, I’m so smart, I’m better than everyone else because *I* have a uni degree, and Braiden needs to have one too to make his old man look dumb!”
BOGUETTE: For bloody hell’s sake! Braiden is doin’ sumfint that he’s always wanted to do, he wants to work, he just needs a degree to do what he loves. So pull yer bloody head in and be proud of the fact that Braiden is following his dreams, because it ain’t bloody fair!
BOGUE: (rolls his eyes) All roit, all roit. Whatever you say, love. (Turns some more burnt sausages on the filthy barbecue hotplate encrusted with the sooty black patina of decades of barbecues)
(Retired public servant NICHOLAS and his wife PAMELA emerge from their caravan opposite the barbecue area. NICHOLAS is wearing a collared shirt and tie and trousers, Pamela is wearing an iridescent blue blouse with a pearl necklace and a large gold brooch.)
PAMELA: (stops NICHOLAS and straightens and tightens his tie and wipes his glasses) For goodness sake, Nicholas! Will you dress the part? It’s Christmas Day and you are a complete slob!
NICHOLAS: Pam, look around. Everyone else is in singlets and board shorts. Must I really need to wear a tie?
PAMELA: Yes! This is the most important day of the year! The least you can do is look the part.
NICHOLAS: I know, I know, but nobody else is–
PAMELA: It doesn’t matter what everybody else is doing! If everyone else was jumping off the Sydney Harbour Bridge, would you jump off too?
NICHOLAS: (sighs) Well, if you put it that way, I guess.
BOGUE: (bellows at the top of his lungs) All roit, all roit, everybody! Listen up! Ladies an’ gennlemen, yer you-beaut Christmas lunch is now ready! Two, four, six, eight, bog in, don’t wait!
NICHOLAS: All right, we are right here at the head of the queue. Yeah, mate, I’ll have two snags, a rissole and some fried onions thanks.
PAMELA: Nicholas! How dare you! “Mate”? Must you call everyone “mate”? Can’t you call the gentleman here “sir”? And “snags”? They are “sausages”, thank you very much.
NICHOLAS: Pamela, please don’t start. Not today. Please!
PAMELA: No, you straighten yourself up, young man! You were once a–
NICHOLAS: Yes, Pamela. Everybody knows. I was a DO 11.
PAMELA: –Departmental Officer Grade 11 at the New South Wales Department of Industrial Relations. You had–
NICHOLAS: Yes, Pamela. Everybody knows. I had four direct reports.
PAMELA: –not one, but FOUR team leaders reporting to you! You should at the very least act the part.
NICHOLAS: Honey, I am sick of acting the part. I’ve been retired for years now. Can’t we just relax and try and fit in? Just for bloody once? Jesus.
BOGUE: Mate, I’ve been meaning to ask you all these years. You and your missus are pretty posh. How the hell did you end up in a grotty bloody caravan park next to a swamp here in a pissant little town on the North Coast like Ocean Glades?
NICHOLAS: Well, it’s complicated and–
PAMELA: Go on, tell him!
NICHOLAS: Pamela, do I really have to?
PAMELA: Yes, you do. It was your stupid fault, not mine, so you tell him!
NICHOLAS: Well, when I retired at sixty, my particular public service superannuation scheme only paid out money in a lump sum, and I had to invest it somewhere. So I went to the Commonwealth Bank … and …
PAMELA: Go on, spit it out!
NICHOLAS: Well, I made an appointment with the Commonwealth Bank financial adviser, and he suggested that I put all the money into Storm Financial. Which then collapsed a few months later. I lost the lot.
PAMELA: See? It was your own stupidity that saw us land in this cesspit! And now you even go so far as to demand the right to dress like a slob like everyone else here?
NICHOLAS: Well, how was I to know that Storm Financial was going to collapse? And that financial adviser at the bank seemed like such a friendly, diligent young fellow. How was I to know that he was getting kickbacks from a company teetering on the edge of insolvency? If you can’t trust the Commonwealth, who can you trust?
PAMELA: But it’s not really the Commonwealth anymore, it was privatised decades ago! Typical public servant. No commercial sense whatsoever!
NICHOLAS: Oh, for crying out loud, pull your head in! I’m sick of it! Always needling me all these years, always demanding perfection, always bringing up shit about a dumb financial decision in the past that your constant whinging will never reverse. I’m bloody sick of it. I’m seventy now, just let me relax here by the water in the final years of my life with a bunch of pretty decent people, even if they aren’t as refined as you would like.
BOGUE: (breaks into laughter) Hahahahahaha! Mate! I never thought I’d see the day! Nicholas, standing up fer ‘imself. Good the fuck on you. Here, take this. (reaches down into his esky under the barbecue and grabs a can of Jim Beam and coke, cracks it open and hands it to NICHOLAS) Cheers, big ears! (raises his own can to NICHOLAS’s can)
PAMELA: Harrumph! (storms off back to her caravan in a huff)
(BOGUE and BOGUETTE’s oldest son, AIDEN who is now nineteen years old, smells the overcooked meat and emerges from his caravan after playing violent video games. He now has a jailhouse tattoo on his ankle, a rat’s tail hairstyle and a lean, serious look on his face. AIDEN collects his meat from BOGUE at the barbecue and as he tries to find a table with a spare seat, he passes his former foster mother ELLEN’s husband, MIKE, lying in a hammock grinning from ear to ear.)
MIKE: Hey, Aiden, hold on for a bit, I’ve been meaning to tell you something.
AIDEN: Ah, g’day, Mike. Merry Christmas. What did you wanna tell me?
MIKE: I’ve been wanting to say to you that I think you are a lying, perjuring little piece of shit, standing there in the court saying that my ex-wife sexually abused you. But what a favour you did to me and the world! I am finally free of that bitch! The world is finally free of that bitch! Woohoo! Thank you, Aiden. You’re a legend!
AIDEN: Hang on – did you say, *ex*-wife?
MIKE: Yes, the divorce papers have finally come through from the Family Court. It took a long while, it’s actually pretty difficult to divorce someone in prison, as you know the judge gave her a six-year stretch. She’s not having an easy time of it either from what I hear. The other inmates and the officers give her a hard time, she constantly demands to be let out and protests her innocence, she even writes letters to the Queen asking to be released. Hahahahaha!
AIDEN: Hahaha! Heartwarming stuff. She can burn in hell.
MIKE: Too right. But man, what a relief that she is no longer part of my life at all! Nobody talks to her, except for our younger son. He has been totally brainwashed by all her religious Hillsong bullshit. Except for him, when she is finally released she will be totally, utterly alone and stone motherless broke. If I see her shivering on the streets of Sydney one winter’s night, and she begs me for help, you know what I’m going to say to her?
MIKE: “Nuh-uh. You make your bed in life, you lie in it. Even if that bed is just a flattened cardboard box!” And if she asks for money, if I’m feeling generous that night, I might throw a five-cent coin into the gutter and tell that filthy dog to go and fetch. Hahahahahaha!
AIDEN: Mike, you seem like a pretty decent bloke. How the hell did you end up with a miserable butt-ugly cow like Ellen?
MIKE: Well, we married quite young. We were in love. She wasn’t so miserable and ugly back then. She definitely wasn’t religious. But a couple of years after we had our oldest son, she had a dream. Or maybe it was a psychotic episode. She reckons that she woke up one night to find Jesus Christ at the end of our bed, soothingly rubbing her feet, telling her that everything was going to be all right and commanding her to follow His path.
AIDEN: Man. What a psychopathic bitchface wh0re!
MIKE: Tell me about it. After that, she started going to church, then she got more and more religious. I never really believed in that Christian crap, but I just went along with it. You know, happy wife, happy life. We kind of grew apart mentally even though we still lived together. The only thing that kept us together was the kids. But they are both adults now. They’re big and ugly enough to take care of themselves, hehehe!
AIDEN: Not that Ellen was much of a Christian. She didn’t even celebrate Christmas. She wouldn’t even let me go back home to have Christmas with me parents and me brothers.
MIKE: She was about as Christian as my left pinky toenail. That’s to say, not at all. Just because you’re religious and go to church and make yourself out to be all high and mighty doesn’t mean you’re a Christian. I remember once, we were talking about homeless people, and she said that the homeless people who live down in Belmore Park near Central Station deserve everything they get and that they weren’t her problem and that her tax dollars shouldn’t go to helping them.
AIDEN: Hang on. I thought that being a Christian meant that you had to look after poor people and stuff. Like all them soup kitchens and nursing homes and other stuff that churches do.
MIKE: Not her. She was a fake Christian. Oh, and she loved rich people too. You could never criticise rich people in front of her, rich people are wealthy because God has blessed them and to criticise that wealth is to criticise God, rich people keep the rest of us employed and we should be thankful for their existence. What a load of bullshit!
AIDEN: What a cow! I went to a Christian school when we were still living in Penriff, the Holy Redeemer of Sacred Light Biblical Christian College. I remember them teaching us once in Bible study that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven.
MIKE: Yeah, and every time you pointed out what the Bible actually says to Ellen, she would get angry and accuse you of twisting the Bible’s words and accuse you of not being a real Chris-tee-yarn. Then there was the whole abortion thing. She believed in the death penalty for all women who got an abortion. Even if the woman was raped. Even if the woman’s life was in danger. Even if a woman got pregnant against her will, the pregnancy was still part of God’s plan and to end the pregnancy is to rebel against God. She was insane, I swear.
AIDEN: Man. What a filthy, nasty, vicious old slag!
MIKE: Yeah. And then there was the way she would take all those foster kids in, like you, and all those autistic young adults she befriended. It wasn’t out of the goodness of her heart, believe me. She just wanted to brainwash other people into believing the same twisted fake Christian bullshit that she believed in. The way she treated the kids like you and the autistic people was disgraceful. Like, these vulnerable young people would call her up and talk about their problems. And she would answer the phone and say “Ooh, helloo, Brenton … ooh, that is SUCH a pity, Brenton …” She would pretend to be all nice and concerned about them. And all the while she would be rolling her eyes and circling her finger around her ear to show that she thought they were mad. And then she would go to others in that young adults support group and gossip about them behind their backs. She was despicable.
AIDEN: Yeah, I saw Ellen pull the same shit with other people too on the phone.
MIKE: Anyway, it’s all ancient history now. That self-righteous bitch is now out of my life!
AIDEN: So what have you been doing with yourself up here?
MIKE: Oh, I’m semi-retired now, I was eligible for my super not long after that stuck-up cow got arrested. The divorce settlement just came through too so I’ve got a bit more money from the sale of the house down in Sydney. I make a bit of money here and there fixing the computers that belong to all the little old ladies who live in Ocean Glades. This is the life! Cheap oysters, kayaking on the lake at sunrise, fantastic mountain roads to ride my motorbike on just a bit inland. So, how are you adjusting to life on the outside after being released from Parklea prison?
AIDEN: Yeah, I’m doing well. I start a new job next week, working with me old man on the Pacific Highway construction. I got me Bobcat ticket now.
MIKE: You’ll do well, mate. You’re a good kid deep down. I thought the same too when you became our foster child eight years ago. Just stay out of trouble, you hear me? No more stealing cars. You just lost six months of your life. Stay on the straight and narrow, and don’t go back inside. You hear me?
AIDEN: Thanks, Mike. Merry Christmas!
MIKE: Yeah, Merry Christmas to you, Aiden. And — (whispers) it’s OK. I will never, ever tell anyone that you lied through your teeth about my ex-wife on the witness stand. You hear me?
AIDEN: (chuckles and whispers back) Hahaha, thanks Mike.
(Most of the adults have finished their lunch, and BOGUE and sitting down with his two workmates from the road construction contractor, MATTY and JOEL, both of whom have also moved from Penrith to Ocean Glades to work on the Pacific Highway upgrade.)
BOGUE: So, the Pacific Highway upgrade is nearly complete. What have you fellas got planned?
MATTY: (looks pensively into his can of Jim Beam & cola) Dunno. Haven’t really thought too much ’bout it.
JOEL: I’m not gonna go back to Sydney, that’s fer sure.
BOGUE: Yeah. Too many bloody immigrants down there these days. It’s like, you’re playing Spot The Aussie all day, every day.
BOGUETTE: (overhears BOGUE from a couple of picnic tables away) Oi! Stop being a bloody racist bastard!
BOGUE: But it’s true! I don’t wanna live in a city full of all them curries and ching-chongs. Up here on the Mid North Coast, it’s like rool Aussies. The rool Straya.
BOGUETTE: God, you’re a racist shit!
BOGUE: Yeah, and you’re a nosy bitch who should mind her own fuckin’ business! (turns back to MATTY and JOEL) Yeah, I haven’t thought too much about it either. But I don’t wanna move away from here. Ocean Glades is the life!
MATTY: Yeah. Even if we are just livin’ in a bloody caravan park. This is the life.
JOEL: Too right, mate. In Sydney I was up to me eyeballs wiv me mortgage on the four-bedder in Glenmore Park. I had to bust me gut with overtime, ten hours, twenty hours, even thirty hours a week, just to pay for the mortgage and the kids’ school fees. But up here, it’s more relaxed an’ shit.
MATTY: Yeah, you don’t have to worry about school fees, the public schools are good enough. No gangs an’ shit. And sure, we live in tiny little shoebox mobile homes. But look — I got the water fifty steps away from me front door. Drive five minutes, there’s the surf. Drive five minutes the other way, macadamia farms where you can buy macadamia nuts for less than half the price at Coles and Woolies. And all them beautiful mountains on the horizon.
BOGUE: Yeah. I wouldn’t swap it for the world. In Sydney I was just treadin’ water. But up here, I save so much money, I get to take the two kids who are still in school, Jaiden and Kaiden, to Bali and Phuket every year, I can afford to soup up me new twin-cab Hilux, I can do all the things I wanted to do in my life that you can’t do in Sydney.
JOEL: Too right, mate. Too right. No traffic up here either. You get out onto some of those back roads and you can just gun it. The coppers mostly stick to the main highways.
MATTY: Yeah, mate. Yeah. Not much traffic.
BOGUE: Not much traffic, but nowadays there’s so many cyclists on them back roads. They’re everywhere up here! The other Saturday I left home early to get to the highway construction site, and I got stuck on the back road behind all these cyclists. A whole bloody army of them in their poofy lycra shit. I tried to overtake them, but every time I tried to overtake them there’d be a bend with double lines and I’d have to move back over. I got so bloody frustrated and I went “Urrghgeugehugehlkgjdaflhkafdhjkerpkhhjagurruurgrhjughiheriugerhijerhkurrrghurghgeuerurgurhgurghugrhuhgrghuhghrkurrrrrrrrrrghnt!” I was honkin’ me horn and the selfish bastards wouldn’t even move over for me and me Hilux. I’d tailgate them and they still wouldn’t go any faster. Fuckin’ selfish bastards. No consideration at all.
MATTY: Too bloody right. No consideration at all.
JOEL: Yeah, mate. Yeah. No consideration at all. They don’t even have to pay rego!
BOGUE: Yeah. They don’t pay rego, they don’t pay tax, they don’t pay nuffint. They just bludge off all them hard-workin’ Aussies like me.
JOEL: Yeah, mate. Yeah. Just a pack of bludgers. They got no right to use the road at all.
MATTY: Too bloody right! They got no right to use the road at all.
BOGUE: Yeah, and they’re a bunch of bloody poofters. You reckon any real straight bloke would dress up in all them fancy-pants ultra-tight lycra shit?
MATTY: Too bloody right! Just a bunch of poofters.
JOEL: Yeah, mate. Yeah. They’re all poofters.
(Everybody’s favourite crazy elderly morbidly obese conspiracy theorist NED suddenly appears riding a recumbent bicycle, lying back on the long seat slung between the front wheel and the back wheel, his backside close to the road. He rides down the narrow lane ringing his bell the whole time, and then pulls up next to BOGUE, MATTY and JOEL.)
BOGUE: What the fark? Ned! What is this shit you’re riding?
NED: (comes to a stop without getting up from the bike and speaks in his booming gravelly voice) Don’t you remember that conversation we had when you told me to get a different hobby and to stop obsessing about all them conspiracy theories and writing all them letters to the Prime Minister and to ASIO? Well, I’ve found a new hobby! I’ve bought this recumbent bike that’s perfect for fat bastards like me!
BOGUE: Hahahahaha! I meant, sure, you should get a new hobby. But I was finking like, fishin’ or bushwalkin’. Hell, even knittin’ is better than this crap!
NED: Don’t you call cycling “crap”! Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! This thing is a two-wheeled antidepressant. It has changed my life!
MATTY: Hahahahaha! Yeah, and changin’ the life of all the people stuck behind you trying to overtake you too. Makin’ them even more angrier an’ shit.
NED: They can bloody well wait! I paid me taxes for forty years working at the Nutella factory in Lithgow, I got as much legal right to use the roads as they do!
JOEL: Hang on … did you say “two-wheeled antidepressant”?
NED: Too bloody right I did! This thing has changed my life, and I only bought it a couple of weeks ago. I can’t describe what it’s like. The freedom of the open road, the breeze in your hair and on your face, the challenge of climbing a hill and doing it without collapsing, the feeling of total independence. It’s exhilarating! Them oil companies can go and get stuffed! Climate change can go and get stuffed! The idiot local mechanics who charge an arm and a leg who don’t even know how to fix a broken coil can go and get stuffed! The insurance companies can go and get stuffed! Roads & Maritime Services can go and get stuffed! I even do me grocery shopping on this, I got a little trailer that hooks onto the back of the bike. I’ve never felt fitter and healthier in me life, and I’m sixty-eight!
JOEL: I got sumfint to confess. Me GP has just put me on some antidepressants. Even though I love it up here, me wife leaving me a couple of years ago — well, it’s knocked me around. The pills aren’t really workin’ though. I’m looking fer sumfint else that will gimme a bit of a boost.
NED: Then get yourself a bike and come with me, I’ll show ya some nice roads to ride on around here.
BOGUE: Joel! Mate! Don’t do it! Do you really wanna become one of them cycling poofs in all that lycra?
JOEL: Well, maybe not the lycra, but … you know …. just some rides along the coast after work, maybe …
BOGUE and MATTY: Hahahahahahaha!
NED: Youse blokes can laugh at Joel here, but believe me! Since I’ve started riding, I’ve scarcely even thought about all that conspiracy theory bullshit. I can’t believe that used to be me life! Anyway, Joel, you’re welcome to join me on a ride. Then once you get used to it, you can join me on a ride around Australia!
BOGUE: Hang on … around Australia?
NED: Yes, mate! I’ve got it all planned. Once I get me fitness up, I’m going to go on a charity ride all around Australia on Highway 1. I’m gonna raise money for research into anal cancer. As you well know, me missus died a few years ago from anal cancer. And I’m going to get people to join me on the ride when I go through their area and raise even more money. I’m going to call my ride “Bikes For Bums”!
BOGUE and MATTY: Hahahahahahaha!
NED: You can laugh, mate, but just watch me! I’m going to do this! And your laughter won’t stop me! Oh well, I gotta keep riding! (rings his bell a few times and pedals off) Merry Christmas, everyone!
EVERYONE IN THE BARBECUE AREA: Merry Christmas!