Bullgoose: Wes gets beaver fever then finds that his bra is as heavy as lead

Phone call from the Casino Fire Control Centre. “Oy, oy, Wes. Canada’s on fire again. Can you deploy?”

“Well, I’ve never seen a beaver running wild, and I guess the fires would have them razzed up…”

“So, that’s a Yes?”

“Book the flight, Boss Man. When do we lift off?”

“Probably week after next. I’ll book you in for a pack test next Monday.”


Alice, of the perpetually-pricked ears. “Who was that?”

“The Mounties think I’m their man, and they always get their…”

How Bullgoose sees himself answering the Canadian call.

“Speak English, Wes.”

“I’m off to Canada for to help with the fires.”


“End of next week.”

“How long?”

“A few weeks.”

“Oh, here we go! We’ve got cattle booked to load, I’m booked to babysit the bub for a week, Mum’s got her knee operation and the Ranger’s not ready for its rego inspection yet.”

“You’ve got this, Allie. I have every confidence in you.” (smiles winningly)

“Is that so? Well, I have every confidence I could break your nose from where I’m standing, and then we’ll see if you’re still leering like Peeping Tom’s tabby cat.”

“So, that’s a Yes?”

“You didn’t even ask!”

The Pack Test is a cruel ordeal, designed by deviants for their own foul pleasure. It is incidentally purported to sort the sheep from the goatish also-rans when it comes to toiling in arduous conditions. They make you walk 4.83km in under 45 minutes wearing a lead brassiere weighing 20.4 kg. You have to get a doctor’s go-ahead before you attempt it.

The doctor sampled a couple of fluids from different regions of Wes’s person, listened to his inner workings then poked/kneaded all joints before ordering the candidate to execute various conniptions and muscular struggles.

“You can get dressed now, Wes.”

“Right. How did I go?”

“Well, firstly I need to tell you…”


“I need to tell you that I should have told you to get dressed earlier. Nobody needs to see a big bloke jumping around in his jocks. Sorry.”

Nobody needs to see a big bloke jumping around in his jocks. Sorry, not sorry.

“OK, fair enough. And…?”

“Oh, yes. You’re fit as a fifty-year-old bull. You can do the Pack Test, no worries. (signs form)

“Thanks, Doc, although fifty is pretty old for a bull.”

“Huh? It’s just an expression. Frankly, I wouldn’t know the difference between a hydraulic ram and an artesian bore. Next patient please, O’klaho’mah-Sue.”

Wes spent his spare time over the next week stepping it out over a 4.8km course carrying a bag of cement in a backpack.

“You look like an idiot derro swagman, Wes.”

“Thanks for your service, Allie. (puffs) Thanks so very much.”

Arduous Pack Test Day dawned hot, sultry and still.

“Get up, Wes, or you’ll be late for your staggering fiesta, hahaha! It’ll be so embarrassing when you bust a fetlock and fall, frothing and twitching, after about fifty metres, hahaha!”

“Are those rasping denunciations really necessary, Madame deFarge?”

“’Tis a far, far, madder thing you do than you have ever done before.”

“I’m telling my Mum on you!”

Later, at the Pack Man Test Site…

“You ready for this, Wes?”

“Doc says Yes, Allie says hurtful things. Not unusual.”

“Right. Grab the weight vest.”

“Have you got one in 3XL?” (struggles to get an arm into the vest, which is basically a jerkin, waistcoat, brassiere with lead weights across the chest)

“One size fits all.”

“Really? What if you’re a beefy customer, or me?”

“Beefy customers don’t do pack tests, as a rule.”

“Oh. (The straps won’t reach across his chest, so Wes leaves them flapping) I’m doing it on this road? (shimmering tar surface softening in the heat)

“Yep. So, I say Go and you do eleven circuits, here to the witch’s hat and back.”

“OK. Right. Man, it’s hard to breathe in this thing.”


“What? Oh.” (Wes goes).

Wes made it. But it was cruel beyond any deviant’s expectations.

The front of the vest flapped constantly and 20.4 kg of untethered lead smacked into Wes’s chest with every footstep. It hurt.

“You did it, Wes. Have a drink of water. Next stop Canada!”

“Brrff, ouch.”

But Wes woke with chest pains and the next stop was to be back at the doctor’s.

“It can’t be your ticker. You’ve got the heart of a brontosaurus.”

“Hmm, Allie says I’m a heartless so-and-so with the flatulence of a brontosaurus.”

“What have you been up to lately?”

Wes told him.

“Unbelievable! You’ve only gone and broken your xiphoid process a second time!”

“Not my fault. I should sue the RFS. But I’m still going to Canada, xiffed or not!”

However it rained in Canada that week, extinguishing the flames and re-filling the beaver dams. Wes was happy for the Mounties and the beavers, but still…

A lesson to us all.


Beavers, Mounties – so many cultural references to understand. Photos: I blame AI

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