Now, Gentle Reader, the thing you have to understand is this:
To read this secret love heart diary with pictures of snoggable boys inside, you could very easily get the impression that Vegie, SteveSteve and I are a bunch of Yahoos from the country who get fucked up with some sort of regularity, jumping from close scrape to hijinx at the drop of a penny.
We're scientists, my friend... all of these "hijinx" and "criminal activities" that you speak of... ARE DONE IN THE NAME OF SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY!
For example, let's go back to the 27th of December, 2004.
I'd stayed up late on Boxing Day, and I had to get up early in the morning, so as to procure the demo from Keepsake (now known as Please Turn Over - essentially the remnants of Unlucky 13) to play on the radio.
Fastforward to some hours later - I've provided the good people of the Valley and surrounding areas with some fine radio stylings, almost been killed by Luke's crazy drivings, and I'm tired. I want to go to bed.
BUT I CANNOT! Vegie and SteveSteve couldn't possibly go on if I didn't grace them with my amazing presence!
So, we meet up, and we're driving around, and we're checking out this billboard for it's suitability inre: painting a large picture of the Pope, which means that we're at the train station, which means that there are forklifts around, which means that Vegie said, "Dude, I wonder if I could hotwire a forklift... you know... in the interests of scientific discovery?"
"Fuck that," I said with such force and conviction that every lass within a five kilometre radius involuntary swooned, "I'm going to park over here. You kids do what you want."
I parked over there, locked the doors, and fell asleep.
About 30 minutes later, frantic knocking on my window.
"MOVE DAMMIT!" shouted Steve, "The fucking cops!"
I moved. For the record, the hypothesis, "Vegie can hotwire a forklift" was proved to be correct.
But now we have hit something of an obstacle. Can I maintain a similar coherency as I try to detail the happenings of last night? It's such a jumble of conversations, thoughts, feelings, EXPLOSIONS, will I be able to make any sense of it? CAN I MAINTAIN?
Maybe if I start at the start.
It was around 5ish... I didn't hear a beepful rendition of Bad Religion's American Jesus, because of the present genius configuration of my telephone. I could feel an erotic vibration coming from my jacket pocket, though, so I answered the phone.
It was Jelly. We decided I should come and visit him after work, so at around 630ish, I rocked around to his place, and we decided further that he should come back to Warragul with me, and catch the train back to Traralgon on Saturday.
We got in my car, and Jelly opened a beer, and put on Bad Religion's The Empire Strikes First album, something I hadn't yet actually heard.
Sinister Rouge kicked in.... and DAMN MAN! That's fucking great. Things were looking up.
Jelly told me all about driving to Melbourne on the 30th, after having just shotted an entire bottle of rum, and at a speed somewhere in the vicinity of 160ks an hour. The entire trip from Traralgon to the Big Smoke took 70 minutes.
Despite this, he wasn't the fastest person on the road.
We got to Vegie's, collected Vegie, then went to Steve's.
Vegie went in to get Steve, while Jelly and I hid, with the intention of jumping SteveSteve and beating da shiznit out of his punk ass.
Jelly: I think I should bottle him.
Cam: Yeah, like that guy did to my teeth.
Jelly: Fuck yeah! I remember that, and then Ben wanted to go in and stab him with my knife, but there was cops out the front when we went back.
Cam: Wait? You really had a knife... Fuck... I thought that was just a joke.
Jelly: Nah, he was totally going to fuck him up. It was that little Butterfly knife, remember.
Cam: Quiet, man, you're not being covert enough.
We're quite for a minute, then, quietly...
Cam: Dude, what if Vegie is doublecrossing us right now, and when he and SteveSteve come out, they jump us!
Jelly: What if they had crossbows, not just regular bows, but CROSSBOWS! We'd be like, Aha! What? Garrk!
Cam: We'd be fucked, that's what we'd be. Fuck, I can't believe that Vegie is stabbing us in the back like this.
Jelly: We'd be lying there, dying, and I'd be like, I'll see you in the next life, man, and then we'll be up in heaven having a beer, and we'll be like, "Shit, that was fucked up."
Then they came out, and NOBODY died.
To the Liquor Store!
We arrived at Safeway, all screeching tires and burning rubber, and threw our bodies out of the car and into cautious military crouches... We didn't really have any reason to fear harm, but when one is a dope fiend, one must always be careful.
Some careless shopper invaded my personal space, and I kicked her in the face with my steel-capped boot.
Vegie spat on the old lady's face as we walked past. SteveSteve, first-aid guy, knelt down next to her.
"Oh, thank you... oh god, thank you" she sobbed, her tears of terror mixing with the blood.
"Motherfucker," replied SteveSteve, "you deserved everything you got!" Then he applied pressure to her neck until her eyes rolled back.
"Let's move," he said forcefully. Such presence! He reminds me of a young Gough Whitlam!
But we mustn't get side-tracked by things that didn't actually happen. We have a lot to get through in this report.... There's multiple conscious events to document, as well as a fascinating coda, and I'm sure you're just going to love it all, O Reptilian Overlords!
Oh, and you too, of course, gentle reader...
We walked into the liquor store, whereupon we were faced with a myriad - a rainbow - a cavalcade of multi-coloured alcoholic beverages to be consumed and then vomited back out... a fitting metaphor for our consumption-driven lives in the 21st Century, wouldn't you agree?
We walked past the girly drinks, and into the territory of Men. Hard liquour. I stood amongst the whiskey and rum, and stared longingly at the $40 bottles of Jamaican rum... a pleasure I would never know/afford...
Meanwhile, the other lads were examining the beers and wines... I didn't actually need any liquor, I still had the remnants of my nazi vodka (Ruskov Vodka: Spirit of Aryan Purity) and while they examined their options, I was trying to work out a way that I could drink it and still be able to drive... possibly some sort of time travel? We were in a supermarket, after all... could I utilize enough lima beans that I could return to a time when drink-driving was not only condoned, but encouraged?
But that is the stuff of fairy tales! I needed solid answers, dammit! SteveSteve, seemingly reading my thoughts, came over, a six pack and a bottle of cheap wine in his hand.
"So, are you going to get stoned while we all get smashed?"
A beat, and then, never losing my cool: "Of course. That's what I was just thinking."
We did a complicated handshake, and wiggled our eyebrows in a humorous manner.
"Zing!" shouted Vegie.
"You got served!" said Jelly, to the Liquor Drone, who responded in turn with a series of beeps and whistles, before a print-out was emitted from it's mouth-orifice: PAYMENT REQUIRED!
"Here's your payment, you fucking robot piece of shit" screamed Vegie as he belted dents into it with a handy piece of two by four. He'd recently lost his job at the plant to a robot, and there was a lot of repressed rage there. His eyes seemed to be alive with fire.
We ran out of there as the alarms sounded, summoning lethal Security Drones. We jumped into my automobile, laughing as the hapless Security Drones did battle with Safeway's automatic doors.
As we lay there, panting, our barely-there mini-skirts soaked with sweat and blood (I've been told I need to include more Slash, so as to attract a wider audience), things were really looking up.
"Fucking foreigner robots" muttered Vegie.
"There were these two English chicks, right," said Jelly, "staying in my building, backpackers, right... anyway, they were going back to the Mother Country, and they had to unload a bunch of their stuff, so they could travel light. Anyway, they gave me a bottle of lighter fluid... I'd like to pour some writing onto the ground and set it alight. I think it would look really cool."
"Won't the liquid evaporate really fast?" I asked, because I'm a scientist.
"Nah, it's liquid," replied the Jellster.
"Yeah," said Vegie, "But when it comes out of the bottle, it'll turn into a gas."
"No, this is like kerosene, for the old-timey lighters," said Jelly, indignant, "Anyway, it'd look cool."
"You know what else would be cool," muttered Vegie, fists clenched, "If we got a bunch of crucifixes, and put them in the front lawns of robots, and fucking set them on fire. Then we could smash their windows with threatening bricks. Fuckers!"
"To The Skating Arena!" shouted Steve, with a bellow of primordial rage.
Jelly had a swig of my nazi vodka, then opened another beer, and we were off.
We arrived at the skate park, collectively significantly drunker than we had been at the beginning of the journey, though I of course was responsibly sober.
"Roll me a joint, Jelly, you fiend" I demanded. His skillz are madfine, you see.
He did as requested, and then Vegie opened his billowing coat to reveal...
"What's in those ominous bottles, Vegie my man," I submitted in tongue-writing.
The answer: Bitters.
Jelly drank his all in one go. We hopped, skipped and jumped over to the skate park proper, and sat on the "lip" of a "bowl" and smoked and drank and laughed and sang and all sorts of scientific nonsense. At one point, another car pulled into the car park where I was parked, but then they turned around and went somewhere else.
"Probably a bunch of local yahoos," I said dismissively.
"Ha! Yahoos," said Jelly, impressed with my vocabulary or something.
"I wish I had a gun," said SteveSteve, "If I was American, I could have a gun right now. Jelly, do you know where I could get a gun?"
"There's a gun club in Drouin," Jelly told him, "You could join that."
"I'd walk in there, and just shoot myself in the foot," said SteveSteve, "Then I'd be happy."
"The only reason I worked in the service industry for so long," I admitted, "Was because there was an off-chance that the place might get robbed, and I might get shot. I just wanted to know what a bullet felt like, you know, tearing through my body, leaving a bloody trail of destruction as it destroyed my important organs. Afterwards I'd regret it, but in that brief moment as the bullet pierced my skin, I'd be happy. It was the same with burns... I always wondered what it would feel like if you had a bunch of boiling oil dumped on your hand... until it happened. Then it just left a smiley-face shaped scar on my hand and burned and burned and burned."
Vegie sat bolt-upright. And fell into the bowl.
"You know," he shouted to us from the bottom, "There's no reason why we couldn't have a gun right now!"
Drugs, booze and guns... is there any better combination?
A bit of clambering, and a short drive later, and we were standing in front of his mother's boyfriend's gun safe. It was locked tight. For now.
Vegie was clattering around amongst his tools. "Aha! This'll do the trick," he told us.
He pulled the old Lemon Gun out of the jumble. Ha! Misdirection! I bet you thought we were going to do something really stupid. Like steal a real gun.
And shoot somebody.
Dude! Perish the thought! We're fucking SCIENTISTS!
Jelly jumped back in shock, as Vegie walked into the light with it. On the way, he'd said that we could shoot him with the spud (ironically, the lemon gun's ammunition is not lemons, but potatoes) gun.
"Holy fucking Jesus fucking Christ" he slurred, "I thought you meant, like, a LITTLE spud gun."
It's really very big.
We grabbed a sack of potatoes.
"TO THE DESERTED COUNTRYSIDE!" we shouted, as One - our alien skeletons illuminated as we focused all our glowy-eyed power on the school-teacher. What secrets was he hiding? You can't keep secrets, old man, not from us... the briefcase? What is the significance of the briefcase... A BOMB? Everyone, look at the clock, oh noes we are dead aliens.
We jumped into my four-wheeled death machine - then jumped out.
"Why don't we just take my car, dudes," I saysed.
MORE MISDIRECTION! The phun never stops.
Shortly thereafter, we arrived at a T-Intersection. To the left, was the road to Camp Hill, where I almost killed everybody while stone-cold sober.
To the right was the road to Neerim South. If we were still in the Village of the Damned, there'd be a big gas tank at the end of the T-Intersection, BECAUSE THAT'S JUST A REALLY INTELLIGENT PLACE TO PUT A GAS TANK!
Fuck, Vegie and I watched that movie five years ago, and we still can't get over that. We're still incredulous, our jaw-muscles long frozen into a grim rictus from years of gaping-mouthed-disbelief.
"GO MAN GO!" shouted Steve. This means, turn right. No, it really does.
I turned right, and we headed off to Neerim South, taking turns at random until we were in a suitably deserted countryside area... I went to turn the car around for a hasty getaway before we fired the gun, and then... TRAGEDY STRUCK!
"Fuck, we're bogged!" I reported to the lads. I was pressing the accelerator, and the tyres were just spinning, the engine revving, but no forward-motion.
FUCK! What were we going to do?
"Fuck! What are we going to do?" I said.
"Have you tried pressing your foot on the accelerator?" asked Vegie.
I tried it. Forward motion was easily achieved. Of course, stoned people can drive fine, damn fascist State Government!
Vegie loaded the gun.
"Who's going to fire it?" he asked.
"I'll do it!" I lied excitedly.
I grabbed the gun off him. Vegie took it back, aimed (not really) and fired a potato into the night.
BOOM! The noise bounced around the hills before settling in our ears like hippies on a Nimbin-based commune.
"Woah," said Jelly who hadn't seen it before.
"Woah," said the rest of us. It's still fucking impressive.
I looked at Vegie, and jumped back... he had a sparkle in his eye... was that a spark of genius I could see, as I stared into the black abyss of his soul? Or madness? A fine line indeed...
So I wasn't particularly surprised, when a moment later, Vegie made the following declaration:
"I have an idea! A great idea! A fabulous, smabulous flonteekling idea!"
He then aimed the gun into the air, and fired. KABOOM!
A potato went flying up into the sky.
We watched it until it was too small to see.
"Vegie," Steve said, "Would you say gravity is a strong force or a weak force?"
This is the sort of discussion that scientists have.
"Relatively weak, SteveSteve," replied Vegie, "Nevertheless, somewhat pertinent at this stage of the game."
We all ran around, trying to calculate trajectories and whatnot, so as to avoid being hit when the potato came crashing to the ground in an explosion of starchy tuberosity. A potato is 80% water, and 20% solid, but this is something you might be forgiven for forgetting when one hits you in the head at speed.
PKESSHHH! Jelly walked over, and picked up all that remained of what had once been a fine spud.
"Vale," he said, a tear dripping to his feet, "He was truly the bravest of us all."
We fired a few more into trees and stuff, and then elected to skedaddle before a local hick called the cops, or even worse, came out with a gun of his own. Or her own. And then kidnapped us, and made us her sex-slaves.
Actually, that last part didn't occur to us, otherwise we might not have left so quickly.
I got the car back onto the road (we'd been parked on the shoulder) so that the headlights were pointing in the direction we were firing, so we could watch one go... BOOM! That's great, let's go.
The lads put the gun into the car, and then got in. This took a bit longer than expected. People had to urinate, etc.
"Vegie was holding up the whole show," SteveSteve told me.
I just laughed. We drove off into the night, not a care in the world.
We'd gone around 200 metres up the road when SteveSteve said: "Uh, dude... Where's Vegie?"
I stopped the car, and looked to my left. There was Jelly, sitting in the front. I looked into the back. There was SteveSteve, sitting behind Jelly... and behind me... nobody?
"Didn't he get in when you guys did?"
"No," said SteveSteve...
I reversed back until we saw him. "Sorry, man," I said through my uncontrollable laughing, "I thought you'd got into the car."
It was all cool. We peeled off into the night. We needed somewhere else to fire the gun, far from society's mores and laws and other killjoy attitudes towards illegal firearms.
As we drove along one of the general Warragul area's many fine backroads, I couldn't help but notice a rabbit that I was about to hit.
I brought the car to a halt, but it was too late for Mr. Fluffy Bunny!
I got out of the car and picked up the fluffy little corpse - I could feel it's heart beating urgently in my bloody hands, so I put it out of it's misery and snapped it's neck.
WRONG! What the hell do you think this is? Real Man Magazine?
Of course I didn't hit the fucking thing. I brought the car to a halt, and the bunny hopped off happily into the undergrowth.
We took off again, and not much time had passed, before there was another rabbit in front of the car... I slowed down, but it just ran AWAY from the car.
Not to the side of the road like a smart bunny... but down the road. I chased it for a while, and as I did so, Jelly, like a little demon sitting on my shoulder, told me all the reasons why I should hit it: It's got it coming to it, man... it's evolution. Rabbits haven't adapted to the fact that we have cars... you'll be helping future generations, you know... we can't let this one breed, man."
"Shut up, Jelly" I replied. I let it escape.
We were having trouble finding an appropriate spot to fire the gun.
I couldn't help but notice that Vegie was loading the gun in the car.
"I get it," I said, "You load it, and when it's ready, I stop the car, you jump out and fire it into the night sky, and then jump back in and we disappear, as if we had never been!"
"Sure," said Vegie. But when it was ready, he didn't tell me to stop the car! He just wound down his window and pointed it up.
BOOOOMMMM! Thank Christ, the barrel was outside the car - that would have destroyed our eardrums.
"MOTHERFUCKER!" I screamed enthusiastically. Which is strange, because when I was in Grade 3, that was like the worst thing you could say... But now, it's just another meaningless exclamation. Maybe Andrew Bolt is right about the decline of society? How long before the whole sticky mess slips into a muddy swamp of anarchy and women masturbating with crosses in the streets and sitcoms set in abortion clinics?
We drove around shooting at shit for a while, and then Jelly said, "Hey man, we should totally stop somewhere and roll another joint!"
A capital idea!
So, we found ourselves at the King Street Underpass, sitting in the space between the freeways, smoking more pot. (Oh, by the way, I actually had a lot more left from NYE than I had previously thought)
"Propagandhi's How To Clean Everything is, without a doubt, the best album released in the 90s, if not the greatest album of all time," said Jelly.
We all agreed.
"You should get it, man," he said to me.
"No.... you should get it! Promise me that you'll get it" his words were aflame with intensity.
"Fuck, man, I'll fucking get it. I promise you that if I can ever find it, I'll fucking buy it! Damn."
"God is really twisted," he said, changing subject, "Back when I was playing in that fundamentalist Christian band, for some reason, all of the chicks were really hot. It was so frustrating.... Their bodies were screaming Satan, but their minds were saying Jesus. I bet Jesus got a lot of pussy back in the day."
"Why do you bring this up?" Vegie asked.
But we never found out. Jelly stumbled over to the side of the M1 to vomit.
"SteveSteve," I said, "Make sure he doesn't stumble out onto the road. I think that it's time to call it a night."
We were then presented with a BRAND NEW OBSTACLE. How to get the seriously sloshed Jelly down to the bottom of the road... we faced a steep incline.
Jelly had drunk:
1 swig of nazi vodka.
1 bottle of bitters.
A bottle of cheap wine.
And now we had to get down the hill... Well, we managed somehow, and I dropped Jelly and SteveSteve off at Steve's, and Vegie off at Vegie's and I went home, and got into bed, and my head hit my pillow, and unconsciousness washed over me.
And then I was awake again. I was standing in Safeway, with Vegie and SteveSteve... there was some sort of car up for grabs - a prize.
"Here," said Vegie, as he handed me a sticker, "Put this on the back window."
I did as I was told, and then we ran away.
A quick change of scene. Now I'm standing in the foyer of the Midvalley 8 cinema... or something like it, and there's a poster advertising a new movie.
It's based on one of those laser games that you can play at some places... where you have the packs strapped on and everything... only, the poster was also the entrance way to another room.
In the room, there was a video screen, showing trailers for this movie... I watched this guy stalk through the gloomy mirrored halls, looking for the enemy, and suddenly I wasn't watching it on a screen anymore, I was the guy...
Up ahead, I could see the reflection of my target, a half-man, half cat monster, I jumped around the corner, and went to pull the trigger, but it threw it's hand up, and I went flying backwards.
No physical contact... he just manipulated the molecules in the air with his mind. The hand was just for style.
I came crashing to the ground, and though I was dazed, I understood his trick. He wasn't the only one who could manipulate on a quantum level. A quick 90 degree shift... how did he get over there? Nevermind.
I came running at him, and he threw his hand out again but it had no effect.
You think you're the only one who can do that, I screamed at him, but no sound came from my mouth... it was then that I realized that he had simply let me get this close - he grabbed me by the neck and threw me into the wall, which I crashed through -
- and into an aisle of Safeway again. But there was something in my head now... something making me go crazy... I pulled a shelf down, sending cereal boxes flying... I screamed, and ran through the aisles, throwing stuff into other stuff, setting things on fire... I looked up and saw a supermarket employee, backing away from me. I put my hands up to indicate that I posed no threat to her, I was merely a pawn in a demented Catman's evil game, but she didn't understand, she just ran away. They all just run away.
I ran out of the store, and into the carpark. I felt the Cat's influence slide away, and I got into my car, where Vegie, SteveSteve and some girl I didn't know were sitting.
"Hi," she said, "I'm a reporter for some magazine - everybody was really impressed with how you handled that evil Cat, do you think I could do an interview?"
She was a spy, it was fucking obvious.
"Sure," I said.
"Okay," she smiled, "Let me just grab a pen."
She got out of the car.
Vegie turned to me, "Dude, she's a fucking spy."
"I know," I said, "What should I do?"
But he couldn't answer, because she was getting back in the car.
"So, Campbell, you're VERY popular with the ladies... what do you look for in a woman?"
"Well... sorry, what did you say your name was?"
"Well, Jess, I really dig a woman with a bit of mystery about her."
"That's not true at all," said SteveSteve, surprised by my lying ways.
"I know," I replied in a loud stage-whisper, "But she's a spy, and I'm going to try and get her into bed."
Jess laughed. "No fooling you, huh?"
Then her demeanour changed from coquettish to downright nasty.
"Why'd you put that sticker on the car, you fuck?"
"I don't know," I told her, "It was just a silly prank, it's not like it could hurt anyone."
She opened the door and got out... then she slammed it a few times until it wouldn't close properly.
"Good point," I said, but she wouldn't come back. I laughed. "Oh, well, I guess I won't be sleeping with her after all."
But everyone was gone. I was in a restaurant, and some woman was in tears.
"I can't believe someone put a sticker on the back of my car," she sobbed into her gnocchi.
I walked over to them, and apologized, "I'm so sorry, that was me... I thought it was just a harmless prank, but it's hurt so many people."
"Just a harmless prank?" yelled one of her male companions, jumping to his feet.
"Yeah, that's what he said," said one of the others.
"Oh," said feet jump guy, "I thought he said something else."
Everyone forgave me, and they even bought me drinks. Somewhere around my 16th margarita, I decided to call it a night... I stumbled out of the restaurant and into my bedroom, I laid my head on the pillow and...
I couldn't fall asleep! FUCK! What the fuck did they put in my drinks?
What the fuck was I going to do?
I woke up.