Copyright © 2003-2018 Arthur. All Rights Reserved.
Ricky looked around the room and decided to sit in a seat at the end of the second row from the front. As the room began to fill with other students, they looked at Ricky sitting there alone and he heard sniggers and giggles as they went to their seats. Scabby's voice piped up again.
"Hey Yank you happy there?"
"Yeah, I'm ok, and I'm a Canadian." he mumbled.
A slim-looking girl with bright red hair and dark green eyes came into the room and looked at Ricky as she moved to sit at the desk beside him, she turned to Scabby asking.
"Who's the new one Scabby?"
"That's Short Ass, Marlene, bloody Yank."
"Canadian" mumble Ricky
"Gidday Short Ass, I'm Marlene but everyone calls me Marl."
"Hi Marlene, I'm Ricky, FROM Canada."
Ricky looked around the room again and saw only smiles and leers on the faces, all the places were filled now except one. Baza's seat was still empty; it was then he heard the door open and the rest of the room grew silent. Ricky turned around to see who it was. His jaw dropped when he saw who was entering. Right before his eyes there stood a giant of a kid, or more like a man. He had to be nearly six feet tall, shaggy red hair, and unlike most redheads, he had a deep dark tan.
His eyes were such a dark green that they looked like two dark emeralds planted in his face, they looked hard and bright as they surveyed the room until finally settling on Ricky. The reddish-brown eyebrows lowered as they took in the new addition to the room, it seemed to Ricky that the mountain decided to go to Mohammed as the boy headed straight for Ricky's desk.
Two large and scarred fists lowered to the desktop in front of Ricky as the eyes cut through his head and seemed to shred Ricky's mind as they pierced him and stripped him page by page as the boy's eyes bored into him. The head lowered a little and Ricky could see the small white scars on the face, thin white lines crisscrossing over the freckles and skin as those damn eyes tore into him.
Without lifting from his inspection the boy said to Marlene as he tossed a brown paper bag to her.
"Mum, said you forgot this again Marl, she said get your head outve it and stop thinkin about Peter Pan all the time."
Those green eyes cutting through Ricky never left his face.
"Who's the new sheila?"
Ricky went white as the words rang around the classroom, how could he have known, he can't know about me, no, no this isn't happening.
"That's Short Ass Baza, she's a Yank."
Ricky looked around for a hole to crawl into as the truth struck him like heavy blows, the face hovering above him didn't change as the words were said amongst the giggling and smirks of the students. Ricky waited for the first blow as the giant in front of him began to straighten and then the right arm began to move in slow motion, the muscles clear and writhing as they corded to lift that solid piece of flesh. It lifted further then hovered over Ricky like the great cranes he'd seen on building sites back home as they lifted huge steel beams into position.
Mesmerised Ricky watched it descend toward his head, the fingers beginning to flex and open like steel claws as they got closer to him. The fear Ricky felt left him unable to move a muscle and then he felt it, those steel like claws digging into his shoulder and lifting him up from his seat with sheer raw power in the arms of the boy giant.
"Come with me Short Ass, yah sit here with me now, these desks're for girls, I like ya even if you're a bloody Yank, Scabby move your ass let him sit there."
"Wot eva, Yanks a Yank ta us."
Ricky seemed to understand the nasal drawl of the boys a bit better but the way they drawled everything out and then shortened words were still a bit confusing to his ears.
"Ya like ta jump brumbies Short Ass?"
Marlene turned in her seat.
"He's asking if you can ride a horse Yank."
"Ah oh yeah, I can ride, not an expert but I can stay on."
"Sokay, you’s comin to the station after school then?"
"Uhm where’s the station, I didn't see any railroad tracks here?"
"Sheet bloody Yanks, not one uv those stations Short Ass, hang on a minute mate, that’s right you call them ranches or summit."
"Oh yeah, right, uhm would it be ok? like how far is it?"
"Hey Short Ass I invitid ya, it’s about half an hour from here, can take you out in the ute, ok?"
"Ahm...well yeah, thanks, Baza."
"No probs Yank, wees nock off here at 2.30, too bloody hot after that for school, so's we can get started then and me'n me mate Boonga will take you walkabout on the station for the day, ok?"
"Ahm yeah sure...ahm who's Boonga?"
"Ova there, the half abo kid, been me mate since he was a baby, only abo in the school, good kid you'll like him, ya eva want ta go walkabout he’s the one to teach ya, knows all about the Dreamtime and stuff, same age as yoos too."
Ricky looked over to the corner of the room where a small dark kid sat alone. The tips of his hair were strangely blonde, the eyes were black and the nose was flared out at the tip, his skin was copper coloured and what Ricky could see of his teeth were brilliant white and looked even and neat. Folks back home would pay a dentist thousands to have teeth like those, the boy looked up for just a second at Ricky then turned again to look at the desktop as the teacher made his entrance into the now quiet room.
The answer was given as an automatic response without the feeling of being interested in what a teacher was doing.
"I see we have a new student with us, Mr Ricardo Mendoza?"
"Yeah, Sir he's a Yank."
"Is that right Wilson, well then you better get the map down and show us where he lives?"
"Ahhhhhmmmmmm, well sir....ahhhhmm, well he kinda didn't tell us that bit yet Sir."
"Then you better shut up for a bit and you just, and I repeat 'Just' might learn something Wilson."
"Have you got all your books, Mendoza R.?"
"Ahh, I think so sir."
"Right you lot Maths first; and I want all your homework, NOW."
The room became a shambles of moans and groans as the students searched for forgotten home workbooks and sent them to the front."
"Mendoza R, I think it might be better if you just sit and listen today, this'll be all new to you I spose."
"You lookin after him Hamilton B?"
"Sir." replied Baza.
"Right then do it properly."
The day dragged on until the bell finally went at 2.30 and the school began to empty in one almighty rush. Baza grabbed Ricky by the arm and lead him to a beaten up old utility truck, the grey of the original paint mostly replaced by pink primer and the odd spot of rust showing through.
"Your dad going to drive us Baza?"
"Wha! shit no I'm drivin Short Ass, c'mon Boonga shake it."
The Dark boy began to run and as he jumped for the back of the ute Baza rammed his foot down on the accelerator and the ute spun dust up as it powered out of the schoolyard, Ricky could hear that the engine was at least a V8 and seemed to his ear to run like a new one, the truck might be old but that motor was definitely new.
"Uhm, nice motor Baza?"
"Huh, oh yeah the donk is a V8 we rebuilt it last month, the old man helped me after the accident he reckoned I might's well kill meself next time."
"Don't the ahh Mounties pull you up for driving?"
"Mounties? what the, you goin on about Short Ass?"
"Well, you don't seem sort of, like old enough for a license."
"License? who needs them, I bin drivin since I wuz 10."
"But what about the you know, Cops?"
"What about them, you think the old man is gonna run me in."
"Yeah. the cops my old man."
"Oh, uhm, how far is it to the station?"
"Half an hour, bout forty-five miles"
'Oh shit what have I got myself into this time' Ricky thought to himself as the dust billowed out the back of the ute as it sped at breakneck speed down the unsealed road toward the distant hills.
"Don't spose you got any Williams, Short Ass?"
"Boots, same as these, s'all we wear out here, those coon shoes you got aint gonna last long out here."
Ricky looked down at his brand new pair of Nike's now covered in red dust that seemed to soak into everything in sight, then looked down at the short elastic sided boots on Baza's feet, they looked solid if a bit scuffed but he could see the sense in them for this place.
"No Baza, I don’t."
"S'ok Marl is about the same size as you she'll have a pair for ya, try to ride in them coon shoes you'll be bum up in the mulga fore ya know it."
"Why does everyone call me you know, Short Ass? There's another guy there same height as me?"
"Oh yeah that’s Shorty, so Scabby musta thought you was close and couldn’t use the same name as him; to confusin, besides how tall you anyway?"
"Ah that’s it then."
"He's 5' 5", got an inch on ya, so your Ass is closer to the ground than his."
"Does everyone have a nickname?"
"Yep, wouldn't know who ya was talkin about otherwise."
"But all the other kids must have proper names?"
"Spose so, don't know any though. They gets a name when they's younger and it kinda sticks with them."
"Don't sweat it Short Ass, you'll be ok, you're with me and Boonga, she'll be right mate."
As Ricky watched through the window of the ute at the expanse of red dust before, behind and on both sides of them he again wondered what he was doing out here alone with two strange boys barrelling along at breakneck speed with dust billowing out from the fast turning wheels as they churned up the dirt road toward this mythical 'station'.
"So short ass, your folk’s krauts?"
"Eh what, krauts?"
"Yeah, ya know; Germans."
"Ah, well no, why you asking that?"
"Oh just blonde hair and blue eyes, thought ya might be; what're ya then?"
"Well, I'm mixed Italian and Spanish."
"Aha, so you're a bloody dago then, we got lots uv them in Aussie."
"Sorry, ah dago?"
"Yeah Ities, Italians, we call them Dagoes cause they got the longest day in the world."
"I don't follow Baza, there's only 24 hours in a day, how can they have the longest day in Italy?"
"Jeez you're dense yank, they got the longest day in Italy cause it takes nine months to make a dago, hey Boonga, gotta teach this yank something bout Aussie sumtime."
Ricky felt the heat rise into his cheeks as he blushed at being caught out so easily by Baza and his joke. Just ahead of them through the haze, he could see the outline of a long low ranch-style house built from red brick. As they got nearer he saw it had a wide-open veranda going right around the house so that there was always shade to sit in on the veranda. All the windows were wide open he assumed to let any breeze flow through the house. On the step was a tall women, standing with her hands on her hips watching the ute come barrelling up to the house in a cloud of dust and sliding to a halt near the steps.
Baza jumped from the ute calling out to Boonga at the same time as he swung his arm in a gesture for Ricky to follow him; it was then the woman called out in a loud and sharp voice.
"Barry, what've I told you about driving like that; and don't you go using that sort of language around this house young man. You use Warringals proper name around here, who's that with you?"
"He's a yank mum, new kid at school, names Short Ass."
"Barry what'd I just say, now bring the boy here and introduce him properly."
"Yes, mum, c'mon Ricardo."
"Just Ricky Baza, sorry Barry."
They approached the woman on the steps and as Baza spoke to her Ricky stepped forward and offered his hand.
"Mum this is Ricky Mendoza from Canada, he's just started at school with us, Ricky this is me Mum."
Ricky was taken aback a little to realise that Baza/Barry knew all along who he was and where he came from. Ricky looked up at Mrs. Hamilton, she was still a young looking woman but you could see she was as hard as nails underneath the smile and the light cotton summer dress.
"Pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Hamilton."
Ricky felt his hand gripped in a vice as he shook hands with Baza's mother.
"Welcome to Australia and to our home Ricky and don't let this big lout take advantage of you, you have any trouble with him you call me. Hello, Warringal how was school today?"
"Hi Mrs. H, good thanks."
Ricky realised these were the first words that he had heard from Boonga/Warringal’s lips, his voice was clear and had very little accent. His smile radiated as he looked up to Mrs Hamilton’s face.
"So Barry what've you planned for today, your dad will be late tonight as they had trouble at the corroboree last night, he's trying to clear it all up before he comes home."
"B....Warrin and me is taking Ricky for a ride round the station."
"Warringal and I, young man. OK do you all want something to drink before you go out, I've got some fresh ginger beer ready."
"I'm sorry Mrs Hamilton I'm not allowed to drink beer, I'm too young."
"Oh, Ricky it's not that sort of beer, it’s a soda drink we make from a ginger bug we only call it beer. I think you'll like it, ok come on in all of you I've got some baking done as well, might as well fill up now if you're going riding. Do you have anything to wear Ricky?"
"Just what I have on Maam."
"Oh god, those won’t do. Barry go to the back room and open that older suitcase, those trousers of yours should fit him, and check in Marlene’s room for those new boots for him, grab a decent hat as well."
Ricky followed the other two boys into the house. Inside it was open and spacious, the main room was huge and the walls were covered in old-style paintings about Australian history and scenes of mountains and the sea.
The floor was made of a blue coloured stone and their shoes clattered on the hard surface as they followed Mrs Hamilton into the kitchen which was also big and again the floor was of stone but the rest of the kitchen was modern and all the utensils were up to date. There was a very dark, almost black woman working over the big stove and at the back wall all the windows were wide open and the scent of a strange flower was drifting into the room.
"Ricky this is Warringal’s mother, Jema."
The woman turned and Ricky could see she was a very large lady with dark piercing eyes that looked into your soul like Barry's had earlier in the day. She had very wide hips and her nose was broad and flat, her hair was wiry and very curly. As she grinned at Ricky he could see two teeth missing in the front and Ricky thought he caught a look at Warringal from the woman and a nod, she then turned back to the stove to continue with her work.
"Jema doesn't speak much English Ricky but she's the best cook for hundreds of miles around as you'll see, you’re staying for dinner aren't you?"
"Well...ah Mrs Hamilton, my folks don't know where I am at the moment I would have to ask them first."
"BARRY, come here this instant."
Barry appeared carrying some boots and pants with a hat hanging on his arm.
"Barry Hamilton, did you drag this poor boy all the way out here without letting him tell his parents."
"Oh....uhm...I...sorta forgot mum."
"Do you know the phone number at home yet Ricky?"
"Yes, Maam it's 09-6223-0045."
"Thank you, Ricky, now you leave it to me and I'll sort it all out for you. You just have something to eat and then go enjoy yourself, if this oaf ever gives you trouble you call me, ok?"
"Yes Maam, thank you Maam."
"Mrs. H is enough Ricky, that’s what everyone calls me round here."
"Thank you M...Mrs H."
"Ok boys eat drink and don’t get in the way, now shoo."
Mrs Hamilton turned to go back into the main room as the boys settled down to eat. Jema kept pushing food and ginger beer at them till they could hardly move a muscle. The ginger beer was a great drink to Ricky. It fizzed and bubbled and was slightly cloudy but the bight of the ginger came through as refreshing and sharp on his tongue. Ricky noticed that Warringals eyes hardly ever left him except when Ricky looked up at him then he would lower his own to the table. Barry was watching the two of them with a smile on his face as he crammed more fruitcake into his mouth.
"Ok you two let’s get a move on, come with me Ricky you can change in my room out back; you want to get the horses ready Warrin, get Jipa ready for Ricky."
"Mmm, ok, you sure?"
"Yeah he can handle him, can't you Ricky?"
"Eh, what, uhm I don't know."
"You'll be right mate he's a doddle, you'll do it easy. C'mon you can get changed in here."
Ricky blushed a little as he removed his Nike's and lowered his baggies in front of Barry as he stood watching Ricky with what seemed like a critical eye. When he was down to his boxers Barry whistled.
"Hey, Ricky what type of grunts're those?"
"Oh sorry, they're Tommy Boxers, most people back home wear them, they are more comfortable than briefs."
"Mmm, I see, well they make your arse look good anyways."
"I said they make your arse look nice."
The comment took Ricky completely by surprise, this great hunk of a teen couldn’t be gay as well, Ricky’s 5.5" dick jumped to attention at the thought, he turned quickly as the front of his boxers pushed outward trying to hide it from Barry's steady stare.
"Hmm, not bad in front either, for a little guy. Don't worry Ricky I'm not after your arse, but I know someone who would like to be. Ok come on get it on boy let’s move, Warrin'll have the horses ready by now."
With shaking hands Ricky dressed in the unfamiliar tight riding pants, they were a little worn but clean and fit quite well although he was conscious of the bulge now in the front of them. The boots were new and tight but they felt good on his feet after the heat of wearing his Nikes all day.
They felt heavy on his feet at first but he soon got used to them and the large brimmed hat was an unusual feeling to his head but as soon as he got outside he could feel the difference in that the heat of the sun did not strike his pale face with so much glare and the brim gave him a better view now his face was in the shade provided by it.
The two boys made their way around the house to where Ricky could hear the sound of horses snorting and champing at the bit, Warringal stood there holding the reins of three big horses, he had also changed and Ricky felt his breath grab in his throat as he really saw the boy for the first time.
He was dressed in nothing more than a very short pair of shorts, no shirt, no boots, no hat, just the very small shorts. His long slim legs looked too thin to hold him up, his hips were so slim he seemed to go straight up and down from shoulder to feet and as luck and bad habits dictated Ricky’s eyes went lower and noticed a longish solid muscle pointing to the right-hand side of the boy’s hips.
Ricky blushed red as he saw that Warrin had been watching him the whole time, the dark boy smiled at him and turned to the horses as Barry took one pair of reins and offered the others to Ricky.
"Jipa's ok but a bit skittish at first, here take this crop and if he starts to pig jump give him a good one with this over the shoulder to let him know who's boss then he'll be ok."
Ricky looked up at the dark chestnut horse; he had to be sixteen hands high with strong writhing muscles under the reddish coat. Ricky remembered his grandfather telling him to meet a horse by looking it in the eye and breath your smell into his nostrils till it turned its head away; he would then know your smell and would be able to trust you to ride him.
Ricky had never done it but by the look of this beast, anything was worth a try. He took the reins from Barry and stepped to the horses head and pulling the head close he began to breathe into the horse's nostrils softly. After about two minutes the horse pulled its head away and Ricky moved to the stirrups and mounted. The horse shook just a little, much like flicking a fly off its hide then at Ricky’s light kick the horse moved forward after looking to check who was sitting on him, Ricky heard Barry exclaim.
"I'll be buggered. Where'd ya learn that one, never seen it done before, shit Jipa likes to dust your arse the first time and then lets you ride him after he's seen you in the dirt. Shit Yank you're one sneaky bugger. Hell, I'll have to tell the old man about this, he'll shit himself, Jipa's always managed to dump him every time and dads a good rider. Boy Yank yoos gonna get the royal treatment tonight, fuck me never seen it before, what ya reckon Boonga?"
"Meant to be Baza."
Ricky looked over at Warrin sitting bareback on his horse, long thin legs dangling down the side and the shorts now looked even shorter as he sat there on the grey horse. Ricky felt himself stir again at the sight of all that naked flesh; he'd never looked at anyone dark-skinned before. He wasn't racist or anything he just never thought of darker boys as possible fun time partners but this boy had something different about him, he seemed to have a depth to him that other kids his age didn't have. Warrin now looked at him with clear and wide open eyes not looking down as he had on other occasions.
"You did that real well Ricky, I can see that horse is yours now, you'll never need another one with him around. You trust him he'll look out for you."
"Thanks, Warringal, uhm... how can you tell he's ok now?"
"His eyes telling me Ricky, same as yours're telling me what you're thinking."
Ricky blushed at the memory of his thoughts about Warrin and hoped the boy was joking with him; the hardness in his groin was trying to tell him something else.
"C'mon you two let’s go, think we'll head out ta six mile tank Boonga, take a dip and then over to ten mile for a while. We can do a bit of roo chasin on the way over there, don't spose you been roo chasin before Yank?"
"No Barry, what is it or is this another of your jokes?"
"No Short Ass it's not a joke it's a bit of fun we have now and again, and you can cut the Barry now we're out the house grounds; after what you did with Jipa I think you earned to hear it straight from now on, damn that still gets me the way you did that with Jipa. Fuck man they aint gonna believe it at school, yoos gonna be a hero Short Ass, nobodies eva rode Jipa straight off like you did."
"So whats this roo chasing thing Baza?"
"Well you see we gotta lot uv roo's here on the station so now and again we chase them down on the horses and clip them in the ear with a stirrup, knocks them cold then we cut their throats and hang them in the mulga for the dingo’s to eat or sometimes the abos take them back home for a feed."
"You serious Baza, why don't you use rifles or something?"
"We do Short Ass but this is how we have a bit of fun, if we's culling them then we go out and shoot them by the hundred, but this is like a bit of sport. Wait till you try it they're cunning buggers when you try to run them down, it’s really fifty-fifty about with who wins; ask Boonga he got dusty teeth last time, he was spitting dirt outta his mouth for a month, the roo zigged and Boonga zagged, pow into the dirt face first, his black arse was in the air for ten minutes before he woke up again eh Boonga?"
"Just like your legs last time Baza, he was chasin this big buck roo Short Ass all of a sudden the roo had had enough and turned on Baza. The roo leaned back on his tail lifted both feet off the ground and kicked Baza's horse in the chest. The horse nose-dived into the ground and Baza was in the air heading for Sydney in the express lane; the cloud of dust when he hit the ground sent the emergency mob into overdrive, they thought it was a dust storm coming."
Ricky was not sure if he was being had or not, but he could see that these two once away from the others at school were really as close as brothers could ever have been and he thought of his twin brother back in the town. Oh well, he was missing some real fun not being here and Ricky thanked whoever it was that protected him for giving him these two for friends.
They were so opposite to each other that they were closer for it and Ricky was aware of his strange feelings beginning to emerge for the young Warringal, the more he thought about the boy the less his colour seemed to be an issue. Ricky glanced ahead at the other two as they rode in front of him, the sight of Warringal’s shiny golden skin with its light sheen of sweat as the sun glistened off it showed better to Ricky the underlying ropes of muscle that he'd not seen before.
Now he could see that the legs although thin were the same as the boys back in that they hid fine ropes of muscle that moved like silken cords as the boy rode with an ease born of many years practice and also a natural balance. Warringal seemed to glide with the animal as it moved, that hot feeling in his groin told him how the rest of his body felt about the part aboriginal boy as his five and a half inches told him it needed some attention.
Ricky swore under his breath as his groin tightened and the borrowed pants seemed hotter than normal, as he was thinking how to get the pain out of his groin Warrin turned to look back at him and smiled as thought o say ' not long to go Ricky' then turned back to the front as they rode onward into the flat dusty countryside.