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It was one of those typical outback afternoons; the heat unbearable, the flies unrelenting, and the dark, swirling clouds threatening yet another late-afternoon heat thunderstorm. No rain, of course, just thunder and lightning to threaten the already tinder dry brush surrounding the paddocks. The languid torpor that hung over the station, seemed to be mirrored by Rusty, the old Clydesdale, who stood, with his head hanging over the fence, just staring off into the distance, where the heat shimmered on the horizon. Rusty’s head hung down low and he didn’t even seem to have the strength to swat away the flies that congregated around his flanks and tail.
Rosco looked across at his friend and was worried. Rusty had been like this for a day or so now. He appeared to be down, depressed even and that was so unlike this pair of scallywags. They were always so on to it – so full of the joys of life, always planning their next great prank. What on earth has got into my buddy, Rosco mused. Trotting up beside him, he hung his head over the same fence and turned toward his friend, grinning, with teeth showing, hoping to raise at least a smile from Rusty – but nothing. Rusty didn’t even acknowledge his friend’s presence.
Rosco sighed and decided to try the direct approach. “Hey, cobber! What’s up my old friend? What’s grinding your gears, eh? You seem to have a real downer at the moment.”
Rusty slowly turned his head toward Rosco, his large, grey eyes clouded and perhaps even a little damp! “Rosco, are we bullies?” he enquired.
“Bullies... Bullies... Bullies...” Rosco spluttered. “What on earth has brought all this on me old china? Bullies? Hell no, Rusty, no way in the world are we bullies.” Rosco’s mane flipped from side to side as he gave the concept some more thought. Finally, he nudged his nose onto the top of Rusty’s head. “No Rusty. Just no! We just like a bit of fun, sure. Hey, everyone needs a bit of fun from time to time – a bit of a laugh. People love our practical jokes Rusty. They make them laugh and feel better about themselves.”
“Do they really Rosco... do they really?” Rusty slowly intoned. “I wonder! Do you think Stan and Ted found our practical joke funny?” Rusty looked out across the vast expanse of the station and then up at the angry, swirling, dark clouds overhead. “You know, we haven’t seen those two emus since we played that joke on them. They hightailed it out of here, for the bush, like the hounds of hell were on their tails and now they’re out there, all alone, probably terrified.” He looked straight into Rosco’s eyes. “We are bullies, Rosco, we are. You know, I saw a programme on the ABC last night about bullying and everything they said about bullies... well... it seemed like they were talking directly to us. I feel terrible Rosco.”
Rosco knew he had to act quickly or something like this could easily overwhelm his buddy. He’d always know Rusty was the sensitive one of the pair and he always felt things more than anyone else. “Now Rusty!” he berated him. “How many damn times have I told you not to watch those documentaries on the ABC? They always get you so het up, you know they do. You never listen to me.”
Rusty’s downcast expression became even sadder. “Oh, and now I’ve upset you as well, Rosco. Oh... Oh... Oh... I’m just so hopeless at everything. I think maybe it’s time to...” Rusty never got to finish his comment as Rosco interrupted him.
“Hey! Look here comes those two emu’s, Stan and Ted. I guess they’ve got over the unholy terrors now. Well, perhaps we’ll just have to think of something new to try next.”
Rusty’s look of disdain galvanised Rosco into action. “Now listen here Rusty and you listen real good. We are not going to allow these namby, pamby, liberal snowflakes to make us feel bad about bringing a little bit of laughter and fun into the world, now are we? We’ve talked about this often enough. We’re sick of all this political correctness bullshit, right? Strewth, if you can’t have a bit of fun at someone else’s expense, what’s the point of life?” Rosco looked his old buddy directly in the eyes. “I’m right, aren’t I? You know I am, right?”
Rust gave a loud sigh before saying, “Yes, Rosco, as usual, you’re right.”
The pair looked up at the approaching Emus. “Hey Stan, Ted, how’s it hanging boys? Thought you two were headed for the hills.”...
About the Author Grant Leishman
I am an expatriate New Zealander, living in Manila, The Philippines, with my wife and two daughters.
At age 55, after careers in Finance and Journalism, I have finally discovered my true passion in life - writing and I'm now "living the dream", writing full-time.
My first novel was a romantic, fantasy, adventure about the return of Jesus Christ to modern-day Manila to try and sort out the problems of the world - yet again! "The Second Coming", which was published by Pentian in June 2015.
My second novel "Just a Drop in the Ocean", a romance/adventure that spans a generation and two continents, was published in October 2015 and is available exclusively on Amazon and is free through Kindle Unlimited.
I have also published an anthology of paranormal/horror short stories in association with my son, Chris Leishman, titled Paranormal Alley, in December 2015. This is available exclusively on Amazon and is free to download through Kindle Unlimited.
The sequel to "The Second Coming" - "Rise of the AntiChrist" was published in January 2016 and is available at all the usual outlets.
The final novel in The Coming Series - is "Holy War."
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An eBook a month club is a part of the monthly subscription access to all of Ryn Shell's art tutorial video demonstrations. While the subscription to the newsletter is free, monthly subscriptions to the art tutorials, and ebook a month, is a small subscription fee to cover expenses.. New lessons added several times a month. You can cancel at any time.