Avant garde, no?

This all happened back in 89, and all of it is true.

There were these two blokes, right - Dave and Mick. They were from Orbost and I suppose you could say they were crooks of a sort, but that's not really fair. They might nick your watch, but they'd never shoot your mum.

So they're at the Commonwealth Hotel and this young bloke is discussing local current affairs with the publican - specifically the recent death of a rather well-off lady of leisure (though no-one was quite sure how she maintained said leisure) from out west of Bairnsdale. The word was, said the young man, that she'd left all of her worldy goods to an eligible bachelor and Oh My! The Scandal. His mum had had a few words about that.

The other word, replied the publican, was that the rock she had been buried with was rather large and rather expensive. The scandal, indeed.

At the mention of said rock, the ears of our heroes pricked up. They exchanged looks. Times were tough and a rock like that could solve a lot of troubles and it wasn't exactly like she needed it as she lay sleeping in Hazelwood Cemetery. If anything, it would be a crime NOT to retrieve it and donate it to a worthy cause, such as their well-overdue rent.

A quick glance around the pub revealed that their ears were not the only ones pricked, and they elected to set out that night.

Dave and Mick slipped out of the pub and went home to collect shovels, which they loaded into the back of their Sandman.

If ever a better night could be picked for graverobbing, they couldn't think of it. A heavy fog lay across the Valley and the moon was hidden behind clouds.

Arriving at the cemetery, they proceeded to the freshly filled-in grave and began to dig. It soon became apparent that the task would not be as easily as previously considered. After two hours of solid digging they finally reached the coffin and pried it open.

She'd not yet begun to decompose, and was still as beautiful as the day she died. But it wasn't her looks that our friends were interested in. They looked at each other in amazement - the rumours were true, to a point. None of them had come close to just how massive the rock on her right hand was. Dave tried to slip it off her finger - to no avail. Mick had a go as well, but it was stuck on tight. Suddenly, they heard the noise of someone approaching in the distance. Looking up, they could see swinging torchlights coming towards them.

"Fucked if I'm leaving without what we came for," said Mick, as he grabbed his shovel and rammed it into the lady's hand. The finger came off clean.

Grabbing the spoils, they rushed back to the Sandman and sped out of the cemetery, sending gravel flying in their wake.

As they drove home up the Princes, they discussed how they were going to sell the ring (Mick knew a dodgy jeweller in Metung) and what they would do with the proceeds once their considerable debts were settled (Dave would trade in the Sandman, Mick had his eye on a new TV).

There was a loud clunk from the front of the car, followed by four small clunks. The Sandman shuddered to a halt on the side of the road. An inspection of the engine revealed it was in reasonably working order. The source of the problem was soon discovered - a faulty fuel gauge. Contrary to the claims of the dash, they were actually out of petrol.

They were about 10ks out of Bairnsdale - they figured they could walk there and sleep at their mate Johnno's house then get some petrol in the morning and head home, whereupon they could begin their new lives as men of money and character.

About 4ks into the trip, they heard a car approaching at speed. Dave stuck out his thumb, but Mick hastily pulled him down into the shrubs on the side of the road.

"What the fuck, mate? They could have given us a fucking ride." The car - a police car - sped past them.

"What was that, Davo?"

"Yeah, alright."

They got back to trudging through the cold fog. Another 30 minutes had passed when Dave saw some lights up on a hill. "Reckon we should see if they can help us out, fucked if I'm walking another fucken 5 clicks, mate."

Mick agreed, and they turned down the long driveway and walked up the hill to the house. Arriving at the door, they were struck by how much bigger it was than it had seemed at the bottom of the hill.

Mick knocked on the door and it opened up a crack. A pretty young woman was on the other side. "Can I help you?"

"Sorry to intrude so late, miss, but we was wondering if you might be able to help us with some car trouble. Thing is, the petrol gauge went and stopped working like, so we didn't realise we didn't have no petrol, so if we could maybe use your phone, miss?"

"Oh, alright," she said, "But if you want I have a jerrycan of petrol out the back you can borrow."

"Oh miss, that'd be lovely," said Mick, as she beckoned them inside. As she walked down the hall, the lads noticed that she was just as attractive from the back as she was from the front. They gave each other a look and followed her into the kitchen.

"I'll just be a second," she said, "The kettle's on if you'd like a cuppa."

They were very greatful for this, and took advantage of this hospitality as the young woman disappeared out the back.

She returned a few minutes later with a full jerrycan. "Have a biscuit if you like," she said. Mick had already stuck five in his pocket.

"That's alright, love, we'd best be off, don't want to wear out our welcome" said Dave.

As she handed Mick the jerrycan, he noticed something strange about her hand. She was missing a finger on her right hand.

He couldn't stop himself - he blurted it out: "What happened to your finger?"

"Oh, that?" she smiled sweetly.


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