The photos below are ones that Kevin sent to family members. He encountered a kangaroo skeleton in the parking lot of the clinic at the abandoned military base, featured in the previous post. Believing that the kangaroo did not get hit by a car in the parking lot, he asked family members to speculate on how the kangaroo came to die there. Keara's response was so clever, and contains such deep, symbolic content, that I had to publish it.
WARNING: THIS POST IS RATED PG (parental guidance advised)!
Hi Uncle Kevin,
Thank you for the beautiful photos. In this decaying world, it’s good to know that I’ll always have you to lift my spirits.
Oddly enough, your photos do remind me of a story I heard once. Before I tell you, I must express the slightest resentment I feel about your word choice. You seem to indicate that my youth is a thing of the past, which is a grievous faux pas for a woman living out of a backpack approaching her 30s. But since we’re family, I’ll let it slide this time.
Anyway, If this roo’s fate is anything like the story I’ve heard, I agree with you. This roo did not get hit by a car while standing in the parking stall. The velocity required to make such a deadly impact would be difficult, nay, impossible for a car to reach while parking. Death from natural causes is not only unlikely, but boring. However, it is likely that this roo received its injury out there on the A376. What you have not considered is that instead of dragging itself, this roo was dragged.
Let me explain:
In the summer of 1968, the Shire of Exmouth was officially one year old and groin deep in the worst drought Western Australia had experienced in over 50 years. Everyone was thirsty. The men, their wives, the roos.
One man was feeling particularly unquenched. Jack owned the town’s local urology clinic. In the first year of Exmouth’s inception, everyone was happy. The town had just been established as a military base and all the enlisted boys brought up their girls from Perth. Everyone was carefree and in love. Everyone was getting urinary tract infections (UTIs). Things were great.
But then the drought hit and everything changed. Living in Exmouth became synonymous with inescapable heat and insatiable thirst. As you could imagine, the women left. And with the women, so went the UTIs. All except one.
Jack’s wife, Agna, stayed. Jack was repeatedly reminded how lucky he was that his woman didn’t leave him over a little dry spell, but he wasn’t so sure. Lately they had been fighting over petty things. Cars, mostly. Her bitching reverberated in his brain constantly. “Do you have to drive that ridiculous piece of crap around town? It looks like a rotting banana.” And, “When will I get a new car? That thing’s so rusty, I’m liable to get tetanus just looking at it!” But of the many things about Agna that perplexed him, the fact that they didn’t even share a bed and she was the sole patron of the clinic perplexed Jack the most.
Like many unhappily married manchildren, Jack’s solution to his wife’s perplexities was to dissolve himself in a pint or twelve of Emu Export at the pub. In the midst of a drought, drinking beer to save water is not only a great excuse, but also kind of a thing. Jack felt obligated to do his part to return Exmouth to the great city it had once been.
But not everyone was so community-oriented. Bragging loudly at the table behind him was the town’s local landscaper, Walter. Jack couldn’t even believe such a wasteful industry thrived in crisis times like these. Walter was nearly foaming at the mouth describing the incredible amount of water his company used. To drown out the noise, Jack muttered, “Walter the Water Wasting Wanker” to himself until he noticed a few weird looks from the bar regulars. He stumbled to his car and began the miserable drive home.
Some 10 kilometers away, Dusty and Scarlett were looking for water. They had been bickering lately, which was uncharacteristic of their relationship. Scarlett seemed frantic to find water, more frantic than usual. She even suggested crossing the bloody road at dark, which is basically a death sentence for a roo. Finally, Dusty gave in, which was characteristic of their relationship. After all, Scarlett had the nicest tail of all the does in their mob.
Dusty hopped across first, to make sure it was safe. Scarlett came next. And as life can be ridiculously predictable sometimes, a drunken manchild in a yellow sedan swerved into Scarlett at the last moment. Dusty fled to the mangled heap that was his wife and she gasped out the words that no male wants to hear from his dying lover, “Dusty, I’m pregnant.” In the moments that followed, Scarlett lit’rally became scarlet. (Note: Never miss an opportunity to be morbidly literal. And use puns. End note.)
|(Don't worry. This particular kangaroo was alive and resting. But we needed an illustration.)|
Dusty looked to the sky for some sort of answer. Instead, he found himself looking at the perpetrating vehicle, whose ridiculous yellow color was set off by some extremely tacky lettering. Before it screeched away, Dusty managed to read, “Urine? You're in!" They were words he would remember until his dying day. [Fade to black.]
Dusty woke up in the scorching sun next to his roadkill lover the next morning. After weeping all night, his mouth was as dry as the outback. His tongue was, well, dusty. He couldn’t stand the pun he just made up in his own head, or looking at his scarlet Scarlett any more. He began hopping deliriously down the A376.
Flies buzzed around Dusty’s face as he spotted a garden oasis in the distance. He hopped faster. But then suddenly the oasis appeared suspiciously two-dimensional. He’d been duped by a billboard. Walter and his misleading landscaping advertisements could go to hell.
Then Dusty noticed another billboard. With an extremely familiar tag line and a giant yellow arrow that said, “We test wee.” Dusty followed that arrow. Because he decided that the last thing he would ever drink was the red hot blood of the bastard that turned his Scarlett scarlet. He could already taste the sweet, salty revenge.
A few kilometers behind the bloodthirsty roo was Agna, who also had it out for Jack. She hated Exmouth. She hated Jack and his stupid yellow car. And she hated the goddamn piece of rust she was forced to drive around. It was finally time to tell Jack it was over, that she was leaving him for Walter the Landscaper. She was so wrapped up in her mission, she barely noticed the haggard kangaroo hopping in the same direction. She also barely noticed that she mowed over the haggard roo, and that its carcass became stuck in her undercarriage. Whatever. She would be done with this piece of crap soon. As Agna screeched to a halt in the parking lot of Jack’s clinic, the sheer velocity of the motion dislodged a barely living Dusty from the crumbling vehicle.
We could go into detail about what happens between Agna and Jack, but that’s not important. The important thing is that there would be no revenge or redemption at Dusty’s final destination. Dusty would spend his final moments shaking his fist at the sky. Or rather, at Agna’s rusted undercarriage. Life teaches you lessons, and Dusty learned the hard way that life’s not fair.
So to answer your question, yes. This truly is a story worthy of a haiku:
A kangaroo tale
Where happiness turns to rust
And Dusty to dust