31/01/2015 by Alan Crawford
There once was a man called Andrew
There once was a man called Andrew. He ran and he ran and he kept on running. Not really running from, or to anything, just running for its own sake. He was like that Forest Gump character, on a mission to discover his own inner self, his worn out feet and his ever decreasing frame. He lost about half a kilo each day and ended up being given clothes and various supplies by strangers as he went running through their little country towns. Smaller towns and smaller clothes. The last of Australia’s hope in these tiny towns, some of them tidy, but all of them full of dismay as they died a slow death.
Nearly every young person once reaching a certain age, just up and left. Businesses closed, people died and weren’t replaced. Pubs had no happy hour and the local butcher had long since gone along with the post office and the bank. In fact the owners of the bank and post office fell in love and just disappeared. Andrew didn’t even notice any of this, he just ran. The strangers were very nice but they struggled to keep up, most had to drive alongside him and chuck bits of clothing and supplies into his little trailer back pack thing.
This sometimes weighed heavily on the increasingly shrinking Andrew, but he sorted each day’s offerings when he stopped for the night. He’d sleep beside the road, in a tree, in the bushes or when offered – in someone’s house. He left his waste where ever the night was held, but some waste was left on the roadside as he ran, it poured down most often.
The small towns started to harness a social support network as a result of the media’s attention to Andrew. He became a metaphor for their problems as he ran out his own. The townsfolk became known as the generous country folk (GCF) and they all ended up banding together on a website designed to keep track of the incredible shrinking man. Andrew was 2 years into his running and didn’t look like stopping anytime soon. The fact that tonight’s rest stop ended up being last had not occurred to him.
A man found Andrew dead. He had been decapitated. His head had rolled out onto the road. A GCF’er had nearly run over it has he drove out to help Andrew. The near miss then allowed the GCF’er to discover the gory scene that was Andrew’s final resting place. It seemed that Andrew had been eating his evening meal while sitting in his makeshift running man bed. His body was scrunched crossed legged into the ground, without it’s head, holding a small camping plate and somehow being held up by the frazzled skeletal shape that Andrew now sported. Minus his head.
The Police had no idea, as per usual. The Hallandale Police were a bit dim, one sergeant and a probationary constable were less than suitable for what would become a national news item. The headless running man was one headline screamed by the media. The media also said the the local Police were clueless, which was true on so many levels. Twenty something newly crowned journalists raced out to Hallandale and learnt how to be a journalist while pretending to be one. Smart frocks, high heels and superbly annoying voices squared at the camera and details flowed. Of course no-one had any details but that didn’t stop them.
- “Local Police are baffled”
- Running Man had been a successful Lawyer”
- The Running Man had a Police record”
- Alarm in Hallandale as Killer on the loose”
On and on it went, bullshit nonsense selling air and column inches and none of it any wiser or more accurate than the next. They looked good though.
It turned out many years later that a crazed local called Bill from Hallandale had been hiding in the bushes from the Hallandale bully boys. He’d been rather shocked when Andrew suddenly ran into his hiding spot and without seeing Bill proceeded to make a makeshift camp, to engage in sorting clothes, food, water and some rather racy men’s magazines. Food and water was one thing but the cover of one magazine caught Bill’s eye. It was him, full on, being on and being on’d in this dramatically frank gay magazine called Big Boys from the Country.
The bully boys had seen this magazine but claimed to have found it by accident and that’s why they were looking for a bit of Bill. Being a poor sheltered country boy Bill thought they wanted to bash the crap out of him, but the bully boys had more organic reasons to catch up with him and catch down with him for a while. Bill had answered an advertisement when he was last in Sydney and being a little dim did not realise that the “quick $1,000 for 2 hours work” was for a gay porn photo shoot. Bill was shot and his little mind blown. Now that he saw Andrew had the magazine – he freaked.
Bill swung out with his hay baling knife and sliced poor Andrew’s head from ear to ear. As the head had nearly left the shoulders, Bill decided to help achieve the last separation. He threw it so far away it actually bounced and ricocheted off a tree branch and sped out onto the road.
The opposite direction to which Bill had intended. He was just about to go and fetch it when the GCF’er arrived. Bill was very good at hiding and he hid until the crowd gathered about and offered a human swarm for him to join and blend into.
No-one knew of this until one of the Hallandale bully boys became a famous gay activist. He’d shared the story about Bill’s hearty photo shoot and it’s arrival in town. He also recanted how they were hunting Bill down for an up, when they ‘d noticed, but taken any notice, as he appeared at the crime scene. Red faced, stained with grass, blood and rage.
The Police finally got round to talking with Bill and he admitted everything, except the three gay porn films he’d starred in soon after the slaughter. Ironically his stage name was Head Job Bill. Sadly, Andrew was probably his most famous.