Well here I was tonight getting the pizzas out of the chariot when I hear this voice asking if he can give me a hand, and I turn and look and there in the twilight gloom is this fat bloke with a beard wearing a baseball cap, and given that it’s the blood blister’s birthday and I’m just back from Silvio’s with the wog flatbreads to feed her and the tin-lids, naturally I think it’s the blood blister’s best old china plate’s hubby, ‘cos he’s fat and bearded and usually wearing a cap (and a bloody good bloke to boot), so I pass him the pizzas.
As I’m passing him the wog burgers I say hey mate ‘I just wrote a story about your father-in-law the other day’, ‘cos his trouble and strife’s old man is a bloke named Tony, who used to kick around with Shorty and Tommy and Keithy and the rat Peter Hall – the blokes who are front, back and centre in the McCulkin murder trial, both on the side of darkness and the side of light – back when they were all kids growing up on the mean streets of Wavell Heights, on the wrong side of the mythical Downfall Creek.
‘What father-in-law?’ the bloke in the dark that I wrongly assumed to be the Old Bailey says, in a bloody Southern Yankee drawl which makes me turn my head. And lo and behold, it’s not the most talented footballer that I’ve ever met, whose injury cost him a Dally M medal, it’s my bloody brother in law Moo.
Well blow me down with a f*cking feather, if I wasn’t from Geebung I probably would have fainted, cos I would have been thinking that I was talking to a ghost. Only 48 hours ago the bugger had rung me from Fort Lauderdale, Alabama, where ex-vets like him who’ve done 2 tours of Iraq and one of the Ghan hang out in US Army-issued houses, and during that trans-Pacific conversation I was telling him all about how the Golden State Warrior’s gun shooter Steph Curry grew up in Geebung, back in the days when he was called Stevo, and went to the Kindy next door to the Former Spandex-Wearing Rockstar’s childhood home. And how one day after he’d hit 73 points in a 5 minute pick-up game in the Bunger carpark, this Yank helicopter appeared over the rim out of nowhere, and a bloke slid down a rope and grabbed Stevo by the Geebung Magpies singlet and hauled him skyward, and we never ever saw him again.
Until one day last year he popped up on the telly at the Bunger RSL during the NBA finals series, and Kevvie spotted him and yelled out ‘Oi!’, and to a man and mare we screamed ‘Stevo!’, and then suddenly a bunch of storm troopers led by a budgie-smuggler wearing Tony Abbott burst into the bar and handed us notices declaring that if we said another word about our old Kindy mate we’d be bloody curry ourselves.
So having some experience in matters of porridge, bars and cold showers we all shut up. And from that moment on we obeyed the Nazi’s directions, and every time the Bunger boy nailed a three pointer – which was every time he put one up – we’d all shout ‘Who? Who? Who?’ and call him the Owl.
Anyway, setting that aside, I didn’t drop dead from shock when old Will – who I fondly call Moo – appeared out of nowhere, because nothing bothers Bunger boys, and instead I merely stuck out my hand and said ‘Welcome Home Mate’.
If I was brought up in Eatons Hill, or Nundah, or Earlwood, or anywhere bloody else I probably would have given the bloke a hug – because I’m pretty fond of the fella, and in fact had a hand in bringing him up as a kid – but Geebung boys don’t do that touchy, feely sort of crap, so instead I just turned and asked him ‘How the Fuck are you, Moo?’
But before he could get a word out in reply, the tattooed teen – who’s had bionic hearing since she was a baby (spoiling many a sexy moment over the years as a result) and was back at the family home for her Auntie’s birthday and a free feed and to bum a few of Granddad’s smokes – came flying around the corner, and started screaming and cackling in delight, like a coven of coked-up witches from Coogee who’d copped a cockatoo or three, for she hadn’t seen her old Uncle Moo in a dozen years, and couldn’t have been happier if you’d slipped her a thousand pineapple colored banknotes, although it wouldn’t have stopped her from tucking them into her bra, you can bet your life on that.
Next thing you know, the bead-twirler arrives on the scene, and dead-set you’d swear that I was invisible if you were watching the way she brushed on by, knocking me arse over tit in the process, and embracing her long-lost ANZUS Alliance hero of a brother who’d been away for all too long.
She was so bloody happy that she was crying tears of joy that washed me from the garage floor down into the chook house, as she and me Prodigal son hugged and kissed and laughed and cried, and bantam birds and I smiled and laughed along with them.
After all these sleepless years, our little brother was finally home.
Old granny, who’s always been rather fond of young Moo – to the extent that she subscribed to the US papers the day that he left our golden shores, and has been reading the Yankee obituaries and hoping not to see his name there ever since – is these days as blind as a bat, and deafer than a post.
But even she noticed all the racket and then started shouting ‘It’s the cops! It’s the cops! They’ve come to take Archie away! He’s innocent! I swear! All he’s doing is telling the truth!’
Then the old girl somehow pulled herself up out of the home hospital bed, and was just about ready to jump on the wheeler and let fly, but Moo heard her coming and like the smart soldier he is swiftly took pre-emptive action.
You see, Moo has always loved old Grandma, and upon hearing her voice he raced quicker than Usain Bolt into the Granny Flat, and the next thing you know he’s hugging and kissing her, and they’re crying and laughing too, and soon it’s a free-for-all and you’d dead set think the fat ugly half-Yank accented recently reappeared character was Paul Newman himself come back to life and twinkling his blue eyes with a grin.
Anyway, after about what seemed a lifetime the dust settled, and by this time Grandpa and I were well and truly tanked, because while all the sheila’s were getting gooey-eyed, we’d been rifling through the plastic fantastic duty-free bag that the freedom fighter had dropped when he was mobbed by the fillies, and in the blink of an eyelid we had determined that the bottle of tax-free 40 year old single malt Scotch contained within must have been for us.
And even if it wasn’t, then 2 Geebung boys don’t need to collude to dream up an alibi do they? If worse came to worse, then obviously we’d just made a simple mistake and ‘OK that bottle might be empty but where the f*ck is ours you ungrateful bastard’ would do the trick, and the argument I’m sure would have stopped right there.
After all it has every time over the past 4 decades that it’s been rolled out since the old bloke and I started pulling the double act trick.
So the dust settles, and then comfortably into his cups the Old Man, who’s also ‘found’ Moo’s airline ticket as he’s gone through his wallet (and at the same time kindly removed the US currency so he can head down to the TAB and change it into a trifecta to save the young bloke doing it himself) asks our surprise guest why the hell he’s late for dinner, because his plane ticket says that he should have been here 12 bloody hours ago.
And then we hear the story that tells you every bloody thing you need to know about the home of the brave and the land of the free.
See, the bloke who had put his life on the line for the mighty USA during 3 tours of the battlefields of the Middle-East, where he’d been bombed and shot at and had grenades thrown at him almost every single day, had rocked up at the airport to return to his native land decked out in his US Army dress uniform, as blokes who’ve served their adopted country bravely and been discharged with honour are entitled to do any time they choose, and any time they bloody want to.
You’d imagine that a war hero like old Moo – sporting his bravery medals and all – would get a saloon passage through customs and be perched in an upgrade in seat 1A before the average punter even passed through the Pan-Am front door, wouldn’t you?
That’s what’d happen in the real world anyway.
But this of course is America, the screwed up sewerage pit of a nation where the racist lunatic Donald Trump is pulling votes left, right and centre from half-wits who truly believe that erecting a wall across the Tex-Mex border – which will cost a mere twenty billion, and be built of course by one of The Don’s’s mates – is more important than feeding the starving six-year old waifs sleeping in cardboard boxes that the half-wit kicks at 8 o’clock every morning on the way to their job at Wal-Mart.
Of course they’re on foot and angry and kicking because they can’t afford even a clapped out 20-year-old car, and even if they could the thought of a tank of petrol would simply be a crazy rich man’s dream that might float through their bourbon-bashed brains as they pack shelves full of Tijuana tomatoes for 12 hours for $7 an hour less tax.
Morons one and all, that are what these Yank wanks are.
So what do you reckon happens when the decorated serviceman – who like his sister the Bead-Twirler has a touch of the brown, given their shared Samoan heritage – reaches the customs gates?
This is a bloke who’s a war hero, who has returned from his third tour and found that his marriage is rooted because in his absence keeping the 52 states free of terror, his missus has f*cked off with a gutless home-based senior officer who was jumping in Moo’s sack while he was out there dong the business for his country and risking having his head shot off. And now all he wants to do is to get back home to the Wide Brown Land so that he can hold his sister tight, and sob into her arms, and try to make the inner agony go away and somehow win his once pain-free and promise-filled life back.
You’d think the Yank officials would want to help him wouldn’t you?
But what do they do? They f*cking pull him into a room and toss him don’t they?
They tip his bags upside down on the floor, and then they shake out all his medals, and hurl his US Army uniform on the ground as if it’s simply a flanno shirt and a pair of stubbies, and stomp all over his certificates of valour and the pictures of his mates who died in Baghdad and the Ghan, when that’s all they done and they find absolutely f*cking nothing – cos there is nothing to fkn find – these goons employed by the private contractors who subcontract to people like Trump grab a knife, just like the animals from Al-Qaeda once did when they had Moo and his mates bailed up on a bridge before the chopper arrived and strafed the c*nts, and they proceed to slash the war heroes bag to pieces, just for good measure and because they are pieces of goddamn sh*t.
By this stage my little bro’s starting to bug out, for Moo’s seen things that no man should ever see, and been in situations where enemy troops are shooting at him and his platoon from behind a bunch of little kids that the c*nts have put in front of the shooters as shields, and what the hell are Moo and his mates supposed to do, shoot back or just stand there like good Christians and get shot?
I’m not going to answer that question because I don’t need to. You know the choice that you’d make if you found yourself in the same place and wanted to see your little Bruce and Sheila again once more before you met you maker. It’s a sickening bloody choice isn’t it? But it ain’t no fantasy, it’s young Moo’s hell come to visit him on this earth.
Bang, bang, bang.
And you find that you’re still breathing, but you can’t breathe, and you try and block the terrible thing you’ve just been forced to do away forever. But it never goes away, and it eats at your brain and starts to send you mad and you just want to get on that plane and fall into the arms of a real person who truly loves you and get the hell away from the institution that told you that it cared and then made you kill kids and thrown you away like a cigarette butt into an open sewer.
So there my much loved bro is in a side room at LAX, and he’s dressed in his full US Army uniform and he’s crying like a baby, because all he’s got left after those kids and the sound of the guns are his treasures that have been strewn all over the floor by the officials of the arsehole of a nation that he pulled the trigger for, and the room has clear glass walls and a crowd is starting to gather outside, watching like vultures as a man who put his life on the line to ensure the sanctity of theirs is inside the fishbowl being treated as if he’s a piece of sh*t low-life terrorist.
What more can these brain-dead, brutal barbarians do you to hurt this man and break him irrevocably you wonder?
They strip-search him. A f*cking US soldier. A brave fighter for liberty, who for a decade has put it all on the line to keep the so-called land of the Free truly free.
They take off his clothes with a gun pointed at his head, and before a minute’s passed he is standing naked under the stark lights of this side room at Los Angeles Airport. The crowd outside has swelled. Noticing that the now naked man is brown, and sports a dark beard, they start chanting. ‘Isis! Isis! Terrorist! Terrorist!’
My wife’s brother, this brave man who has seen so many horrors, falls to the floor weeping.
The customs agents don plastic gloves and insert their hands up his arse, looking for who knows what, and of course they find nothing, for there is nothing there.
Moo is an honest man. He’s a goddamn f*cking hero.
But this final indignity has broken him.
He weeps as they allow him to dress, and to repack his bag. The ravenous crowd, the ,men and women who demanded the war on terror be fought by any poor bastard other than themselves disperses. Like the ancient Romans who bayed for blood at the Circus, their self-hate has been sated, and they return home to beat their wives. They will never know what it is to be a real man, but they don’t care, because as long as they can rage and throw their fists at people unable to fight back they feel they are patriots; machine gun wielding cowboys killing indians armed only with stone axes.
Is that you John Wayne, or is that me? The hollow men with hollow souls living hollow lives, haunting us all like ghastly ghouls.
With the crown dispersed the customs men tell Moo that he is free to go, but of course he will never be free, and anyway by now he has missed his flight, and will be forced to pay many hundreds of US dollars to securethe next, so he can make a vain attempt to rush jet-lagged to the Geebung kitchen table in time for dinner so that Grandpa doesn’t ask him why the f*ck he is late and he does not have to tell all present the terrible but true tale that he told us last night and that I have just related faithfully above.
As he leaves the small room at LAX in which he has just been held captive, humiliated, tortured and abused, he asks the men and women who have done this to him ‘Why?’.
‘Well buddy, you look like the sort of fella who could be using Australia as a transit route to go fly to the Middle East and fight for those gawd dang f*ckers ISIS” they reply.
“Our good ol’ boys are dying over there ya know pal. And we gotta be careful, ya know. We gotta protect liberty, democracy and freedom. Ya can never be too sure about niggers like you soldier.. I’m certain y’all understand.”
“God Bless America boy. Have a nice day”.
The absolute f*cking cunts.
After all those years, and all those tours, and all those bullets, and all those bombs, and all those nightmares, and all that fear, they put a bullet in his brain just as his war is supposed to end.
Moo’s home now.
He’s finally back in the true land of the free, or the land that once was anyway.
This is my love song to your brother. And my dirge.
Together we will make you strong my friend, and one day the tears will ebb and you’ll smile again, even though right now you can never believe it.
I promise you mate, upon my life. You’re going to get yours back. I f*cking swear it, upon my children’s grave. Somehow brother we’re going to help you heal.
F*ck Geebung. Hold me mate, hold me tight.
I love you bro, with all my heart and all my soul.
You’re home now, you’re safe.
Cry all you like, it’s ok.
You’re home and you’re safe.
You are a good man Moo.
A good, good, man.
I love you. We love you.
You just have to learn how to love yourself again.
They lie the men who tell us, for reasons of their own;
That violence is the answer, and from hatred happiness can be sown.
For where the nearest war zone, and the enemies and heroes meet;
There are weeping, wailing victims, dead on both sides of the street.
Make peace not war sportsfans.
Make peace not war.