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Deadly duddliness
  |  First Published: November 2013



I had two very interesting experiences today. Both were very typical of being a Dudd, and these sorts of episodes show more than a thousand pictures what skill, bravery and duddliness you need to survive in our group.

Firstly, Boobs texts me. He lives about an hour away, sometimes more depending on road conditions. “You coming up for a fish?” he sends. Now this is strange for a couple of reasons. Firstly, because his son Nutter has a badly broken arm. I thought Boobs would have been pretty well house confined until Nutter had at least had a chance to get to a doctor. Maybe it was the fact that his MIL was staying with them that caused this dash for freedom. Not sure. But the other issue of note was that my son was having his engagement party that night. Now Boobs and his smashing wife had been invited to aforementioned show. There was a small chance he’d actually remembered this and was texting despite this fact. A very small chance. I know what punters want, a 2% chance.

Just in case the long shot had come home on the outside, I mentioned this in my reply. “Got work today then have to get ready for Fat Albert’s engagement party.”

A puzzled 30 seconds of empty screen followed until the envelope appeared. His reply says everything about Dudds. “And?”

I didn’t bother replying. What could I say? What could I do? Well for a start I could head up the road and forget about weddings, work and probably being a participant in a functioning marriage myself, which might not be a good example for Albert. So I resisted the urge and resumed bending wire coat hangers to make lantern hangeronerers. You could imagine what fun that is, seeing how lovely and malleable that coat hanger wire is. It’s like trying to bend double strength high tensile barbed wire with only opposing thumbs in Glen Innes at 4am on a July morning with no gloves. And none of them worked anyway. I know that because I went to the party after work. The entire ten cartons of beer and prime rump steak is consumed, vomited and then they wind their way out to waiting cabs some time after one in the morning. And that's just the bride and groom…

While I was setting up, of course Stuffer texts. After Boobs, I’m a little wary of texts but this one seems harmless when I read it. “What will tides be at Bundy next weekend?”

That’s more like it. I can handle that.

“Full moon yesterday so next weekend will be two days after neap tides and building towards newmoon low tide at three on new moon so four days before will be low at just before lunchtime with some run but not much, might be good with smaller run offshore.”

He replies “Ah…ta.”

Always keen to tag along on any trips going I call him that night. “You heading out from Bundy?

“Nup.”

“So what’s with the tide times?”

“I got nominated,” he says, no emotion in his voice. This is a calamity.

I shudder. This occasionally happens to Stuffer. Because he talks about fishing and dreams about fishing, the people in the bush town we come from think he knows something about fishing. And they know I write a column, but being:

a. Too lazy to read it.

b. Too busy to read it.

c. Unable to read it, or

d. All of the above. Very few of them have actually read Sheik of the Creek, and are therefore unaware that Stuffer, being a Dudd, fishes about as well as the referees in Cowboy's semi-finals count.

So Stuffer was at a bull sale this morning and young old mate was talking up going out on a trip. So Spen (stud owner and local shirt stirrer) walks past and drops the bomb. “You want to know anything about fishing, Kenno’s your man. He’s got the whole thing down like a real pro. Just ask him anything, he can tell you.”

Now whether Spen actually believes this or not is hard to say. It could be a cunning plan to keep all the young people in the district away from fishing. If they do what Kenno says, it’s very likely their trip will be such a disaster they’ll never fish again. If they live. Or maybe Spen really does believe it. But I’ve always believed he’s smarter than to believe Stuffer knows much about anything. I mean, Spen can tie his shoelaces for goodness’ sake! And he can read!

So Stuffer is left floundering. But if there’s one thing he can do, it’s obfuscated (that’s a big word that Stuffer uses which means cover up the facts with bullshite). His other big word is Deniliquin, which he says has four syllables. We don’t argue because we don’t know if that’s true. Well Doughers would know but his face is usually applied to a can, and only comes off the can to say important words, like “More beer” or “Wally Lewis” or “More beer, Wally Lewis.”

So in the end Stuffer was able to repeat my tide predictions. Apparently young old mate nodded slowly as Stuffer explained the goods and bads of fishing off Bundaberg the following weekend.

And Spen? Well I don’t know. Stuffer reckons he disappeared in the direction of his offshore boat, out behind the machinery shed with a sly grin on his face. Maybe to get it ready for a lightning trip over to the coast. Maybe to polish his downrigger and dream of red emperor and big mouth nannies. With a bloke like that it’s hard to tell. And I haven't heard back from young old mate about whether his trip was good. Maybe Stuffer will text me with an update. Or maybe he won't…

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