It was a glorious morning when we set off in my little car to have a ‘girls day out’. We had been planning this trip for some time, Mona was especially looking forward to it. We had been homebodies for too long over the ‘wet’ season. I’d promised we’d go after it was over. Neither of us enjoyed tackling the highway then, fighting for position with the road trains, with every possibility of getting bogged in the middle of nowhere.
But today it was different. No sign of tropical storms so we had dry roads and money burning holes in our pockets.
We aren’t as young as we used to be. Mona is really quite doddery; she needs watching because she forgets that her old legs don’t work as well anymore. I remember one time when she got stuck in K-mart – just over-did it a bit and couldn’t go any further. Such a nice girl found her a stool to on which to perch until she felt more the thing. Now she uses a shopping trolley whether she intends to buy or not. Too proud for a walking frame.
As usual we called into McDonald’s for our reviver breakfast. They have this deal that you get a free breakfast if you clip out the coupon from Thursday’s paper. While we ate we finalised our plans for the day.
I pulled out of the car park into Woolcott Street and the car stopped. Right there! I was lucky the young chap behind me had such good reflexes. Mind you, the finger went up pretty quickly too!
So there we were, three hours from home and stranded in the busiest part of the city. Suddenly this shopping lark wasn’t such fun. Mona wasn’t much help either. She’d never heard of road rage and was giving as good as we got. Really, I didn’t know she had such a vocabulary!
As the lights changed I eased out of the car and lifted the bonnet. Couldn’t see anything obvious but then I’m no expert.
We sat in that lane for such a long time, trying to flag down any passing motorist who would help. Guess we looked too dangerous, with our grey hair and orthopaedic shoes.
Our hero arrived, covered in tattoos and riding – I believe they call it a “hog"? As he stopped beside us Mona the Brave quickly wound up the window. He parked his bike carefully and made his way around to my side.
“You seem to be in a bit of bother. Can I help you?” He checked under the bonnet again but could see nothing either. “Best I get you out of this lane, anyways.”
Mona by this time had regained her equilibrium and decided to be useful. Shedding tissues the way newly-weds shed confetti, she hopped out with me and we began to direct the traffic around us whilst he guided the car safely into the parking lane.
Then he (we never did get his name) called on his cell phone for a tow-truck. The truck arrived and our helper pulled away, refusing any offer of recompense for his trouble. As he drove away Mona commented that he hand nice buns. He did too!
The trouble proved to be minor, thank goodness, and we were able to enjoy the rest of our day, with the extra delight of having to stay over night because of the delay. We decided it was safer than trying to avoid the Kamikaze kangaroos that came out at dusk.
We stayed the night at the motel we always use when we come to town, a nice quiet family place. Because we were exhausted by the day’s excitement we asked for room service and shared a nice bottle of ‘house’ wine with our meal. Mona was quite tiddly by the time we turned the lights out. We had a delightful night’s rest.
Next morning after a light breakfast I went to settle the bill. I was handing back the room key when the manager, Mr Molan, came out.
“Good morning, Mrs Freeman. I trust you slept well?” He followed me out to the car and opened the door. As he helped me into the car he leaned down and continued, “I was so sorry to hear about Mona’s death. She will be sadly missed.” He smiled sympathetically and closed the door, stood back and waved me on my lonely way.