Wes and Minch don’t pussyfoot around with a gun-toting citizen who’s a few shillings short of a sovereign


Wes brought the fire truck to a halt to re-read the sign wired to the gatepost.

That is a dandy, Minch. Reckon we’re in for some real bush hospitality here. Grab the gate, son.”

“Can they actually stop us from coming in?”

“If they’re serious cannabis mulchers or meth cookers they might try to booby trap us, but most ratbags settle down once they find out we’re here to help.”

“What about the constitution thing?”

“File that under C for Conspiracy Theories, sub section six six six, Magna Carta, Sovereign Citizens, aliens, probing and fluoridation plots.”

“So, they can’t sue us?”

“Sadly, no one’s un-sueable, mate, but the warrant card says we can go just about anywhere and do just about anything to prevent a fire entering or leaving a property.”

“Have you ever had to flash it?”

“A few times.”

“Not much of a track.”

“Not much of an escape route.”

“Pfft. More like a suicide note. You been here before?”

“Coupla times. Ridge drops down to the Rocky. Good fishing holes at the bottom, but it’s a bloody steep and scrubby old route. Johnny Ham used to say you could cooee down the bottom, ride back up here and still have time to boil the billy and take quite a few sips of tea before your cooee arrived.”


“OK. A couple of sips.”


“So young. So cynical. So, anyway, the tickies had a bit of a bridle track, then Big Clyde Macintyre put in this track and snigged logs out with his Blitz in the sixties. Place kept changing hands because the only water is down the bottom and it’s too steep and bouldery to dig dams up top.”

“It’s poor country.”

“Yep. She’d run about one and a half kangaroo rats to the hectare. Jumbo Elefston had a hut up here for many years.”

“Jumbo what? Many ears?”

“Jumbo Elefston. That was his name. Take it up with his Mum.”


“So, eventually Jumbo checked out from ptomaine poisoning. A suspect pastie, and then the big fire took out the hut in 2019. Pity really, I mean…”

“Whoa! Pull up, Dad!”


“Look! Tooled-up tattoo fiend!”

“Hmm. Something different. Let’s go and put him at his ease.”

Little Minch was reluctant.

“I’m reluctant.”

“We’ll be OK. Just smile. Smile a lot, and stand side on to make yourself a smaller target.”

“Side on? What, like the ancient Egyptians?”

“Well, probably not. Their legs, arms and heads faced sideways, but their chests were front on.”

“So, just sideways?”

 “Those pyramid fiends were clever, but they didn’t savvy the concept of perspective.”

“I don’t think I like this bloke’s perspective.”

“Check his tatts. Do they look three dimensional?”

“Pretty much.”

“That could be a good sign. Or not. But let’s go say Howdy.”

“Get off my property!”

Wes whispers to Minch: “Setback. Codeword King Tut.” He and Minch strike semi-Egyptian poses.

“Morning, mate. Wes and Minch, from the RFS. Red truck, yellow overalls, dead giveaway I suppose. And when I say ‘dead’ I don’t mean that in an inflammatory or inciteful way, rather…

“Get off my property!”

“We will, mate. We will. Just need to make sure…”

“I am a soverin cistern. You are invading my piracy, and I have every right to stand my ground and defend my property! That’s the law!”

Real sovereigns were worth a pound (20 shillings). Wes and Minch met a would-be sovereign who was a few shillings short up top. Photo: National Numismatic Collection, National Museum of American History.


“Well what? (flourishes rifle).

“We’re in NSW, right?”

“What of it?”

“Right. So, I didn’t catch your name, there are twenty-nine states that have Stand Your Ground laws, and NSW isn’t one of them.”

“What’s that gibberish you’re talking?”

“See, all those states are in the USA, fortunately.”

“So what? Means nothing.”

“Fair enough. Lost cause there. Hmm, try this. Take a big breath through your nose. Do it now. Do it quick pronto.”

“You can’t tell me what to do!”

Minch fires up. “You can’t point a gun at my Dad!”

“Stand front-on so I can shoot you!”

Wes butts in: “Fine. I’ll take a deep breath. You know what I smell? Smoke. A whole shirtload of it, coming this way. I’d say the fire is about two hours away, but it’ll take us about an hour to get back to the road. That’s if we can find a place to turn around on this death festival of a track.”

“That’s offensive!”

“Offensive? Mate, offensive is getting roasted alive. We’ve delivered the message. Now we’re out of here. Feel free to stay, but everything here is going to burn. Trust me on that.

Wes salutes and heads for the truck, “All the best.”

“Pussies! Why didn’t you say? Why didn’t you say? Pussies!”


“My pussies! Help me catch them! I’ll get the crates. Nefertitty! Rameses! Puss, puss, puss! Jelly Meat Whiskas! Oh, help me find them! They’re a rare Egyptian breed. Irreplaceable!”

“???….(sigh) Here puss…”

A lesson to us all


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