My sisters are my greatest fans.  It is great to have a fan club even if it only amounts to two!!!  I haven't written much in the last twenty years but was pretty sick a couple of years ago and wrote a piece about the conflict going on in my insides.  Joy wants it repeated so here it is.

The fan club started about twenty-four years ago when Himself, RAS and myself spent twelve months wandering around Australia and afterwards returned to Mataranka where were stayed for nearly four years.  On our travels funny things would happen and I would have to tell somebody.  My sisters were the obvious ones to tell and so began a few years of letter writing on my part (I don't think they wrote too many, if any) and they told me later that when they received these epistles they would laugh and re-read them over and over then bore all their friends with the tales until probably the friends stopped visiting.  That's why the fan club is still only two!!

When we first went to Mataranka it was to help a friend out with a fresh food cafe which she had started in the town itself.  Neither Himself nor I were cooks of any great renown, in fact not even cooks at all.  He wasn't even much of a waiter but the cafe itself was a great idea because it offered fresh, made on the spot food and not the usual fried fare that is found in most of the roadhouses on the Stuart Highway.

The whole episode turned into real life Fawlty Towers and often was very funny.  Unfortunately I was not Sybil Fawlty in shape or bearing (although the height was probably the same) but Himself at the time was long and skinny with the praying mantis look of Basil

I never did get the till think right and fought with the thing the whole time we were there.  Figures are not my forte in any form, money or otherwise so it is probably just as well I have never had much of the filthy lucre to worry about.   One customer came to the counter one day to pay for his repast and I dutifully rang it up.  "Oh," I said in surprise "that comes to $17,160.00."  He didn't bat an eyelid "I don't have much change.  Will you take a cheque?"

When (for various reasons) we finished with the Cafe, we didn't have enough money to leave Mataranka so Himself got a job as a short order cook out at the Mataranka Homestead for a few months.  We had been in the cafe during the wet when not many tourists visit the NT (thankfully) and this was now the dry and the Homestead was full every night with music playing from the stage and a lovely atmosphere.  The takeaway was quite busy most nights and seemed to enjoy it.

However one night he arrived home absolutely furious and for a while I couldn't get out of him what had happened to put him into such a temper.  Finally he blurted out "I ripped all the tirties out of the book" he said.  "What?"  "All the tirties.  All the tirties.  I ripped them out.  Those bloody people don't understand what I'm saying!!!"  He is Irish and I suddenly realised that he doesn't say 'thirty' as we do and the patrons, drinking lots of beer and making a lot of noise, didn't hear what he said so wouldn't come and get their hamburger orders.   The musos entertaining the crowd were a great lot and although they  thought this was hilarious they eventually took pity on him and would repeat whatever he said so that things began to run smoothly again (but without the tirties on that night!!).  How could you not laugh?  I used to work with a girl who used to say "I laughed till the tears ran down my legs" and that's about what happened.  

So these things and many more all went back to the fan club.

As I said earlier, a couple of years ago I became sick quite suddenly, out of the blue so to speak.  There seemed to be no rhyme or reason for it and none was ever found even though tests many and varied were undertaken.  There seemed to be nothing at which we could point a finger.  Gall bladder was the favourite bandied around but it turned out not to be the culprit.  I had awful misgivings about my liver which I hadn't treated too kindly for a few years but it came up smiling and telling me it forgave me for past misdemeanours. We get along well these days.

Forty-five minutes in the big MRI machine was a bit much but showed nothing.  They told me twenty minutes and I am a bit claustrophobic (like a bit frightened of heights) but I thought I could get through it.  It really wasn't so bad.  My head wasn't what worried them so it wasn't that far in and wasn't that close if I didn't look at it.  My mind was strong enough to cope and I breathed and started counting - 25, 24...  "If Stewart Diver could.. What?  Don't go there!!!" Panic popped his head out looking for a bit of fun. "Breathe - 25, 24, 23 - slowly now, watch the breath. There's no heavy weight trapping...  No, no, no.  Don't go there.  The buzzer is in your hand.  You only have to press the button and you'll be out immediately.  Right, just a few more minutes."  Finger explores the feel of the button.  "That's okay.  That's okay.  Can cope for a bit longer.  The roof of the thing isn't even close.  Not close at all.  No water.  Don't go there... dead wife...stop it. Breathe, breathe."  Panic pushes heart into mouth.  Push it back.  Put a foot on panic's lid.  "That's better, breathe.  Must be twenty minutes.  Rumblings going on in the machine. "Noisy thing.  Must be twenty minutes.  They said twenty minutes.  25, 24, 23 - just breathe."   Survived, came out,  elated that we coped.

The nuclear test wasn't so bad but to start with "You must remain perfectly still while it is going and it shouldn't be more than an hour."  No worries.  Can cope with forty-five minutes in the big machine.  This should be a breeze, just lying perfectly still watching the nuclear stuff dripping like little gold drops through my liver and I think, my gall bladder.  Quite fascinating really except for the itches.  First my top lip.  It started as a little itch and became enormous, like a mosquito biting.  My lip twitched.  I stayed still.  Then another one started on right eyelid which started to twitch.  Then my nose.  The outside of my right nostril.  How can this happen?  Look at the little gold drops.  My eyes were bulging out of my head looking at the little gold drops.  Thankfully the whole thing didn't take an hour.  It was over in just under forty-five minutes.  So nice to scratch when you itch!!

To the story I wrote.  It started off with me thinking of all those organs in there doing their own thing, keeping life going, then they acquired personalities of their own and decided to do their own thing.  It became funny and I amused myself by making up all the things they could get up to.  Here it is:



The doctors are saying THE KIDNEYS HAVE BEEN INSULTED!!!  Who could have done such a dastardly thing?  The SOURCE has never been found but the SS crept in, did what they did, said what they said (or who did say it?)  and now the kidneys are on their way out.  What happened?  What brought it on?  No one is saying but everyone is in on the action and dark mutterings are creeping around.  As was said above, the SS slipped in, at first unnoticed but quickly got a stranglehold of the GALL BLADDER and were stomping around with jackboots causing havoc in HOST.  The insults were hurled at KIDNEYS who took umbrage, decided they had had enough, and indicated in no uncertain terms that they were jumping ship.   "We've given our lives to working for this outfit!!!  Worked our guts out for 71 years and now insulted!!!   Not just insulted, water cut off,  nobody speaking to us, and now we're out of here man!!!"  With that they picked up their new hiking boots, bought for just such an occasion, slung the laptop, camera and guitar over their shoulders and were heading out the door for a sojourn in the desert when they were stopped in their tracks by BEWHISKERED DIRECTOR.  DIRECTOR  sweet-talked them, cajoled, placated and then strew at their feet magnesium potassium, electrolytes and told them they could have anything they wanted if they would just stay and get on with their jobs.  KIDNEYS thought about it, they were not going to be won over easily but this was very tempting.  They would think about it.

Meanwhile BRAIN also tried to leave the sinking ship along with a few other rats  that had been living on board.  He swelled up and tried to squeeze himself out, tried to expand the SKULL but SKULL stood his ground, at great pain to HOST and told BRAIN to bugger off!!!   BRAIN tried to squeeze out through the EYES but they would have none of it.  They rather liked HOST and had been as helpful as they could to her during their life, in their myopic way, and they liked being right where they were.  BRAIN then decided to go for a trip where he was, on his own.  Had a wonderful time, psychedelic colours - could move the bed around the ward wherever he wanted, bright curtains swaying in his imaginary breeze.  What fun!  He even talked the EYES into a bit of fun also and they saw a few things that they shouldn't have seen, like clocks changing shape on the wall and things jumping around the room and moving away altogether when EYES weren't quite looking.  At one stage HOST put her tri-focal spectacles on and all hell broke loose. Nothing would stay put. That exercise was not repeated! 

KIDNEYS by this time were feeling a little bit mollified and had stowed the hiking boots, camera, laptop and guitar neatly away and were getting stuck into the goodies provided by DIRECTOR.  They also started to feel a bit foolish that they had over-reacted so badly.  They are born to clean and as they began to feel more like themselves and also to make amends for their selfish display, they started to do a bit of a spring clean which turned into a full blown spring clean, starting with the recalcitrant  LIVER (who, rumour has it, was the one who let the SS in in the first place but which has been vehemently denied by the old devil).  They gave him a thorough scrubbing - cleaning the evidence of rats out of back cupboards, filling them with vanilla and carb soda and leaving the doors hanging open to air.  Before they were finished they set a couple of cockroach baits just in case and left LIVER grumbling and muttering to himself about "do gooders".  He rather liked it the way it had been.  SOL (shit on the liver) was how he got his kicks. 

All the time KIDNEYS were working away they were whistling a tuneless little song (reminiscent of the Willy Wagtails' house building song).  HOST told them they would get wrinkles round their mouths if they whistled so, being vain to their very fingertips they started to hum instead, all the while brandishing mops, scrubbing brushes, brooms and dusters.

They then started on the GALL BLADDER, getting rid of all marks of jackboots and telltale signs of foreign occupation.  When the SS had squeezed in from wherever, they came in slowly and then barged in with all guns blazing, shooting everything on sight including a couple of rabbits, a bandicoot and a centipede - everything that moved and a few things that didn't, even a few of their own.  One even got swept down the  chute along with the SOLID WASTE, never to be seen again!!!  No one knows what happened to the rest of them, they slipped away as silently as they arrived (no doubt helped on their way by DIRECTOR and NURSES who were right on their case)!!! 

By this time cantankerous GALL BLADDER had heard rumours of an eviction notice being served on him and though he was a bit miffed about it, it was not unexpected so he had a skip brought in and started heaving 71 years' worth of accumulated rubbish into it - one run-down jogger, a few odd dirty socks, an empty cartridge from a long-gone printer, things like that.  He also had his shredder running hot getting rid of anything that might have implicated or incriminated  him in any way in the revolution.  As well as all that, there were a few old newspapers, the odd cardboard box and his precious collection of MAD magazine.  That did hurt, but, he couldn't take it with him (although he was pissed off when he found he could have sold them on B-Bay for a small fortune!!)  

While all this was happening the BOWEL thought he would take a few days off and go and lay on the beach and read a book.  Someone got wind of this though and found him lying back splathered in suncream, like a bit fat sausage reading away and eating ice cream.  He came back reluctantly dragging a dillybag with a half read biography of Steve Jobs in it and a Mars Bar wrapper.  When he arrived back he found WIND trying to get out of any crack available and swiftly facilitated this which was heralded with "Yea" from all the NURSES.  HOST, meanwhile became agitated at the thought that SOLID WASTE would soon be coming down the pipes and might escape along with WIND - just sneak out maybe.  NURSES brought in massive disposable nappy to keep HOST happy.  The trouble with disposable nappies is that they have sticky things on them and babies don't have pubic hairs so no damage done there.  However, in this case HOST ended up with an unsolicited half Brazilian which the NURSES assured HOST was happily delivered at no extra cost!!! Thank heavens for small mercies. 

All in all the revolution, although quite violent and frightening, was fairly shortlived due to the activities of DIRECTOR and NURSES and various other members of the team.  DIRECTOR made one big mistake though when he told KIDNEYS that they were not just GREAT but BRILLIANT!!!  This gave them full rein to their OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE tendencies and they spent days churning out pee like it was going out of fashion.  They were thinking of starting up their own boutique peewinery or peestillery, they were producing so much.   However, there didn't appear to be much of a market for it, no matter how gorgeous it looked to them and they had to slow down and finally go back to the mundane stuff of everyday life..  Some people don't appreciate a really good drop.  

All good things come to an end though.  Everyone seems to be back from holidays and excursions and KIDNEYS have slowed their pace down to normal and are once again able to look DIRECTOR in the eye and be proud of themselves.   So all's well that ends well, even though, at the time of writing this, SOURCE has not been discovered despite many tests - even went along with the North Koreans and did a nuclear one (which seemed to be more successful than theirs and didn't end up in the sea!!!)