Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Animal Liberation - Without Warning FanFic

Animal Liberation – Without Warning Fanfic

‘Sniper’ Blake heard the tell tale crack and froze, waiting for the inevitable, searing pain.

To earn the monicker ‘Sniper’ ,Wayne Blake had played the rules in a typically elastic fashion. At the time it happened he was newly out of high school and had drifted into a warehouse job in Kent Street, Sydney. The warehouse was old, dusty and like all of the surrounding buildings was not airconditioned. Electric fans and open windows were de rigeur. In this environment Sniper learnt the ins and outs of despatch and storage and he’d been pretty much left to run things himself.

His interest in hunting had led him to bringing his air rifle to work. He liked to exercise his eye by taking pot shots at the resident pigeon population. One such shot had potted itself on the desk of a very startled accounts clerk in an office across the road, having missed its feathery target. The slug’s trajectory had taken it through the open window, grazed a decrepit pot plant, struck a cartoon panel featuring Hagar The Horrible and landed,. Plut!, onto the clerk’s desk blotter. Officers of the Law had been duly summoned and it wasn’t long before Wayne was making profuse apologies, buying a bottle of scotch for the clerk and offering further recompense if the matter stayed out of court. In the fashion of diplomats he had appeased the offended parties by inviting them to the warehouse for beers. His natural charm and wit won them over as he quickly fashioned the day’s events into an amusing monologue. The police had given him a stern warning in the vein of his much troubled ex-school principal. The local tabloid paper had run a story on page 8, concentrating on the comedian, not the hooligan and he managed to avoid the courts. However, he hadn’t avoided his friends who had promptly whipped up the ‘Sniper’ appellation. The whole episode while being very amusing to his friends had tempered Wayne’s rambunctiousness.

After hearing the crack, Sniper eased his left leg forward, resting the bulk of his weight on the right. Not feeling the anticipated coil of pain he hobbled back around to his desk where the phone was demanding his attention. This was to be expected of someone working in the welfare arm of the Australian Public Service. He picked up the phone and gritted into the mouthpiece;
“ Wayne Blake speaking.”
An excited voice blew through the line;
“Sniper, its Reepo! The Chamberlain’s got beer. Jacko just rang Mark and confirmed it. See ya there in fifteen, okay?”.
Blake’s response was rapid and eager; “You little ripper! I’m in.”
He stood up and heard his knee crack again, but this time the joint was brought back into its rightful place. It was as if his football injury had decided that the prospect of beer was a fair reason not to exude further torment. Ever since The Wave had turned everything into a galactic crap hole, the beer sessions were becoming more difficult to organise. Home brew was okay but it just wasn't the same as pub beer with a bunch of mates.

Sniper quickly briefed his payments team, organised the late stayers and led the happy throng away to the lift lobby. Blake observed that it was a far more efficient exercise than the dummy fire evacuation they’d held a month ago.

The Chamberlain Hotel was situated on the corner of Pitt and Campbell Streets, close to Belmore Park near Sydney’s Central Station. It was an old style pub with traditional counter lunches, well priced beer, clean beer lines and well seasoned bar staff. Wayne and his friends were regulars. The publican sponsored their touch football team, the Dingos.
Inside the pub Wayne found Reepo already set up at their favourite zone. The rest of Wayne’s team settled into ordering drinks and occupying the surrounding tables.
‘Reepo’ was Ian Reep, full time parole officer and part-time touch football player. He’d joined up with Sniper’s social crew through playing in the Dingos. They were named the Dingos after the stuffed wild dog perched above the bar. This piece of taxidermy had been installed to exploit the name of the pub, “The Chamberlain Hotel.” Back in August 1980 Azaria Chamberlain, all of ten weeks old, had been holidaying with her parents when she disappeared from their camp site near Alice Springs in the heart of Australia’s outback. Her parents claimed a dingo had slipped into the tent and nabbed the baby, or as Meryl Streep put it “A dingo took my baby!”. The body was never found. The court case and controversy raged for years like Bondi Beach after a good southerly buster. The mother, Lindy, was initially convicted of Azaria’s murder. Azaria’s father, Michael, was convicted of being an accessory. A High Court appeal quashed the convictions and they were released after years of heartache and legal farnarkelling. Having a stuffed dingo guard the bar was seen by many as appropriate for The Chamberlain Hotel given the nature of some of its regular customers.

Blake bellied up and ordered,
“Two New’s thanks Marg. Put this in for my team.” Blake slapped a couple of twenty dollar notes on the bar and added,
“Glad we got in early!”
The barmaid was a feisty red head who’d seen Wayne’s group of friends and workmates through many a late session over the years. They were generally good natured, not overly prone to violence and spent a lot of money. She continued working the tap as she replied,
“Its gonna be a crush I reckon. Mark’s put on a couple of casuals.” Marg flicked her short crop of red in the direction of a youngish girl working the main stretch of the bar. The youngster was also working enough cleavage to make The Sniper’s scope fog up with the lust of a wild dog.
“And guess who has to nursemaid them?” Marg continued with a grimace.
“That’s okay Margie. We’ll look after her if you like.” Blake grinned back.
“There’s another bloke's already offered that.” This time she nodded sideways to a large, strong looking gent seated at a table a few metres away. He was alone except for two empty glasses, an abused ashtray and a Taronga Zoo cap perched on his weathered head. Wayne nodded at him, smiled and ferried the schooners of beer to their destination ports.

Reepo motioned to someone just entering the pub and grinned.
“Well Jacko, we’ve got some beer on us tonight.”
Max Jackson was an alcoholic gambler who also worked in the same welfare department as Wayne Blake. He was however posted on the front line at Darlinghurst. It was an office commonly regarded as the toughest in Australia, having its client base consisting mainly of junkies, prostitutes, homeless and the psychiatrically disturbed. “Pros, smackies and busted up psychos” was how he put it. He survived life with a combination of rat cunning, sharp wit and good friends. Margie the barmaid wasn’t one of them.

“Three thanks Margie. Geez, you’ve cut your hair just like a lezza!” Jacko observed
“Your enough to turn any woman gay.” Margie parried.
“Christ! Who’s the new sheila with the big tits?” he cried,
“Cathy. Leave her alone.” Margie was well aware of Jacko’s ability to seriously fuck up the lives of young girls.
“Sniper’s already paid for these.” she explained as she placed three beers on the counter.
Jacko retreated back to the table, noticing the large man sitting on his own. He nodded and offered a greeting,
“How ya going mate? Lucky to get some beers in. Been a fair drought these past few months.”
The stranger nodded back in reply, opining in a rumbling American drawl,
“I’ll tell you this much. Despite what’s happened, it still is good being the Rhino.” He puffed a large cigar into life and smiled, catching the eye of Cathy who winked back and poured a beer.
Sniper, Reepo and Jackson caught the interplay, grinned and invited him to join their table. Sniper simplified the introductions after retrieving the Rhino Beer from the bar and placing it in front of the big man.
“You folks don’t mind these stogies I trust.”
“No mate, you’re fine. You one of the Uplifted are ya? That’s pretty fucked what’s happened. Our sympathies.” offered Reepo.
“Not really Uplift-ed, more an Uplift-er. And yes, its been rough.” The Rhino clarified.
“So you working with the Navy or on one of the liners?” Sniper continued the interrogation.
The Rhino then explained that he’d been navigator on a big yacht and deposited their uplifted passengers a couple of weeks ago, more or less intact. He’d just finalised his Australian immigration and U.S. re-entry paperwork that afternoon and headed into the most likely looking local pub. The stuffed dingo had sealed the deal for him and he’d booked a room for two nights.
As he rattled on, Cathy moved amongst the punters and around the tables, collecting glasses and emptying ash trays, leaving fresh coasters on each table and frequently turning and smiling at The Rhino.

At Sniper’s table the conversation targetted the various conspiracy theories which raged across the globe. Jacko opined that it must have been a dingo from outer space. Rhino summed up his own thoughts;
“Well I don’t reckon its down to space dogs. ‘S far as I can make out its just some freak phenomenon. Maybe its man made or p’raps Mother Nature got all pre-menstrual on us and we didn’t give her enough chocolate and Haagen-Dazs. Can’t pin this one on the rag heads, the North Koreans or the Chicoms. The Russkies used to cream into their ushankas about this sort of thing but I don’t know. Its beyond any of that bullshit. All I know is I have beer, cigars and the prospects of good food and fine women.” Rhino nodded in the direction of Cathy who was cleaning a table near the TV.
“Amen.” Reepo completed the prayer.
As the evening continued and the beer flowed Rhino displayed an active interest in the stuffed dingo.
"And that little baby girl was taken by one of those things? That's just not right. Her mom said 'A dingo's taken my baby.' Damn dog deserves a goring!"
Sniper then explained how he'd once gone on a dingo hunt, after some rogue dogs had terrorised a small hamlet in Queensland.
"Cunning bastards. Quick on the kill as well, targetting the small and the weak. That's how we nailed a few. With live bait. Kids."
Reepo arched an eyebrow and Sniper quickly explained,
"Baby feral goats, you wombat."
Rhino shook his head, mumbling "Dirty damn dogs."

Noticing Cathy heading to an exit, the big man eased himself off his stool and followed the young barmaid to an interlude burgeoning with the promise of pachydermic pleasure.


The sun cast a few early shadows along Campbell Street when Mark McCartney, the licencee of The Chamberlain, ventured down to the main bar area of his pub. He checked for left over bodies and to make sure the cleaner had restored the bar to its best and brightest. Most of all he was hoping that Jacko hadn't used the bar as a bedroom. Last time that happened a bottle of overproof rum and half a ham set aside for the lunch trade had disappeared.
He was also wondering what had happened to young Cathy, and that roguish, cigar chomping American tenant who'd set his horn in the barmaid's direction. Margie, after closing the bar and doing the tills had expressed her doubts about the suitability of the two. Mark had seen it all before and simply left such things to fate and the power of a well poured drink.

Mark checked one of the bar fridges and pulled out an orange juice. The cook wasn't in yet so he settled for an instant coffee to bring his brain back to pubmania and to plan the day's operations.
The publican's musings were interrupted by the stumbling sound and shocking sight of Sniper Blake attempting to navigate his way from the upstairs lounge area to an exit. Sniper didn't look in good health so Mark quickly opened a pre-mix Rum and Cola and offered it to the battered looking Blake. Sniper quickly breathed in, belched, grabbed the can and downed a few mouthfuls. He belched again, shook his head and pointed to the stuffed dingo above the bar, or rather the space it used to occupy. Mark followed his line of sight and blanched. His face turned white.

"Hey Mark, there's a note pinned up there." He clambered unsteadily onto a stool and retreived the piece of paper. He held it up so that both of them could read it.

The note was written in copperplate handwriting and simply stated:

Consider this an IOU.
The dirty damn dog needed a walk.
I shall return.


Sniper was surprised to see a small tear start trailing down Mark's face. A half choked sobbed also emanated from the stricken publican. As this was happening a side door opened and the cook, Dot, walked in. She saw the look on Mark's face and the single tear. She was appalled that the hard-bitten publican was showing an emotion usually reserved for his football team, the St George-Illawarra dragons.

"What the hell has happened?" she asked as she slung down her bag on a stool,
Mark replied,
"A Rhino took my dingo!"


  1. Great payoff line. Well played sir.

  2. Dr Y - a shaggy dog story. Cheers.
    Uamada - thanks
    Barnes - I appreciate the comment, thanks dude.
    Maybe some zombies next time.

  3. Now all you need to do is name the dingo Havock.

  4. Naut - most of the characters actually exist. I did have an old schoolfriend who became 'Sniper', in circumstances pretty much as I explained. The rest of his character is a blend. Reepo exists (different name) and lives in Tassie with wife and child. 'Jacko' is still a drunk gambler but married to an unfortunate gal who'll rue the day she met him. The barmaid, Margie is an angry redhead who didn't think much of 'Jacko' but I don't know where she works now. 'Dot' used to do these fantastic roasts for lunch at the Chambo. The baked ham or roast lamb rolls were fucking lifesavers on hangover days. Mark, last name changed, is now the licensee of The Metropolitan. The dingo is sitting in his garage.
    We never venture into the Chambo. It was wankified and fucked up by the owners. Dickheads.

  5. Awesome post Therbs - the fact that you know these guys scares me!

  6. Thanks Lermie - there's still other remnants of this crew around, we catch up each Wednesday at a pub trivia thing at teh Edinburgh Castle.

  7. You're a gentleman and a scholar Therbs - thanks for the realtiy post.

  8. Hughesy - no worries Hughesy! Sounds like a good network up there.