Sunday, January 13, 2008

Crocodile Dreams

I work just next to a piece of reclaimed wetlands and usually take a walk there during my lunch break. There's a section of bridge over a pool of water where ducks and geese congregate. As I crossed it yesterday my heart froze. I saw the ugly great head of a croc just breaking the surface of the pool.

Or an old stump revealed by the water receding from the drought.

Twenty-two years since I left Darwin as a kid. Ten years since I fled Jabiru for London and those bastard prehistoric killers still haunt me. I never had a particular close call, that I'm aware of, but I took some stupid risks at times, mostly when alcohol was involved, that could have gone horribly wrong.

Ever since I've regular nightmares about being taken by a croc. Staring, frozen, into its eyes as it glides, almost lazily, forward to seize me.

Reckon part of what scares me most is the complete amorality of their hunting. Remorseless as a robot they kill without the slightest trace of empathy or indeed interest in their prey.

Dreamed of them last night, prompted by my run in with the piece of wood, and it seems my sub-conscious is finally getting the message that in my middle years, stone-cold sober, three thousand klicks from the nearest beastie; there is no way I'm going to go out that way.

Others, seemingly, must cop it instead. In my dream I was approaching a popular waterhole and campsite, just on dusk. Two Japanese backpackers, both men, were skylarking at the water's edge, doing back flips into the billabong from a half submerged log.

As I saw them I ran forwards, screaming at them to get out of the water. Other campers looked up in suprise at my concern. Just as they both slowly started to pay attention and clamber out over the rotting, slippery log the great wedge shaped head of a croc surfaced right behind one, took him and dragged him, screaming under.

I felt terrible, but there was nothing that would have got me in that water to help.

I know a thousand crocs wouldn't have the same negative impact on the environment as one western life, and that using a bit of common sense; live and let live; they mostly come at night...mostly, blah, blah blah...

Kill 'em all.


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