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Ghost Truck

Ghost Truck

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Published by draculavanhelsing
Melbourne Argus 1951 (August 31)
Melbourne Argus 1951 (August 31)

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Published by: draculavanhelsing on Jun 26, 2010
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The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848-1954), Friday 31 August 1951, page 2National Library of Australiahttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article23059048
IiiÄ
THÜEGHOST
GORDON
WILLIAMS
j.».-
fti«
--
--
-
""^-r
f3*
*_"--
'_'-
CHARLIE
CARVERlooked,withoutAd-miration,
at
themeticu-
lously
precise
stretch
ofroad
ahead
ofhim.
It
gleamed
silver
and
was
beautiful-inthe
way
arithmetic
is
beautiful
-
in
thebrightmoonlight.
It
seemed
like
a
Circe
beckoning
on,
and
on,
withnothing
to
offer
at
jour-ney's
endbut
a
turn-round
for
another
wearisome
trip
back.
He
often
wondered
why
hedidn't
givetrucking
away.It
had
its
points,ofcourse,butthe
grindingmonotony
andthe
longdrives
andtheroadtaxesand
the
sheerhard
toil-well,thedam'
game
tookallthe
good
out
of
a
man.
He
saw
a
shadow
flicker
ahead.
He
turned
hiseyesfrom
it.
Itwasn't
good
tolook
atflickering
shadows.
ThinkofBill
Dowser.
Bill
thought
he'd
seena
treerightinthe
centreof
the
bitumen.Triedto
dodge
it,
andwent
over
in
the
ditch.Ofcourse,
there
wasn't
a
tree.
Couldn't
ha'
been.
tree.
Couldn't
ha'
been.
Then
Sandy
Carr.Sandy'd.
got
theidea
a
biggreytruck
was
heading
forhiscabin.No
hope
of
dodging
it.
So
Sandy
shuthiseyesforthecrashandfinishedup
halfway
across
a
paddock.
Nocrash,of
course.
Why?
Notruck,that's
why.
Road
nerves.
Transport
nerves.
That'swhat.
Keep
atthe
game
longenough,
drive
longenough,
and
a
man'd
see
anything
..
.
Cuppa
coffee'ouldgo
well.
Timetocrackthe
vacuumflask.
Charlie
nickeredhis
headlamps
up,
down,
up,
down,
to
tell
thebloke
driving
behindhimin
a
stripped-downDodge
thathe
was
going
tostop.He
pulled
thebigDieselunit
over
tothe
side.
The
Dodge
laziedinto
a
stop
atthebackofhim.
Johnny
Dick
got
outslowly,flexinghis
legs,
moved
stiffly
toCharlie'scabin.
"Anything
wrong?"
"No.Just
feltlike
a
lash
of
coffee.Beinit?""Yeh.Got
anything
tolace
it
with?"Charliesnortedathim.
 
PHANTOM
truck*
that"
roca
through
the
night
andvanish
when
collistonworntcertain,
"Lace
y'r
drinkand
you'll
getlacedinthisgame.LessonOne.Don't
thank
me
...
there's
no
charge."
Charlie
came
outof.thecab.
Johnny
lookedupathiminthe
moonlight."Thoughtdriving
behind
you'd
.
becompany.
Company,
hell
.
..
Betterbedrivin'
allony'r
own
thantoknowthere's
a
blokeahead
o'you
youcan'ttalk
to.
Makes
itall
the
more
lonely
...
Justa
same
as
twoblokesshutupinnext-door
cells
andnotable
,
totalk
or
have
a
smoke
together
or
.
.
."
"Blimey!"
Charliebroke
in.
There
was
urgencyandfright,inhisvoice."Lookatthistruck
comin'
over
the
rise!
On
'is
wrong
side,too
...
Hell,he'stravellln'l""He'llsmashinto
usif
hedoesn't
get
ontohis
left!"
Johnnywhispered
-
whispered,
because
though
thebigtruck
coming
over
the
risewas
travellingat
a
speed
fantasticfor
its
sizeandpurpose,there
was
no
sound
.
.
.
'Only
a
little
windgossipingamongtheleavesandthegrass.
Only
thedistant
barking
ofrest-
less
dogs
.
.
.
.
THE
truck
cameon.
Ithad
headlights,
but
they
seemed
tothrow
no
beam.Itbulked
across
theroad,yettheroadcouldbe
seen
stretchingbehind
it.
"He's
going
tocollect
us,
the
b-y
fool!"
Charlie
roared.
"Hey,get
over
toyoursideyoualec
...
Getoverl"Thetruck
came
on.
"Intotheditchwithyou,"saidCharlie,calmnow,totheyoungfellowbesidehim."Thismaniac'llmake
a
blastedfinesmashofthewholecaboose.Somedrivergonenuts
.,
,"
Into
theditch
on
therighthandsideoftheroad
they
went.
 
The
truck
came
on
...
Charlie
and
Johnny
were
be-
yond
the
point
oftalking.Theirbreath
came
harshly,forcedly...
Twentyyards
...
ten
yards
.
..
now
...
Thetwo
men
braced
themselvesagainst
thecrash.
Johnny
shuthiseyes,
finger-stopped
his
ears
..
.
There
wasno
crash.Themaniactruck
fused
brieflywiththebigDiesel
outfit,
passedthrough,
andout.On
it
went
...
andthere
wasno
noise,
no
explosion
ofengine,
no
crash,
nothing
...
Only
a
road
gleaming
silver
andbeautiful,inthe
way
arith-metic
is
beautiful;
only
a
bigDieseloutfitand
a
stripped-downDodge,only
a
calm
and
lovely
night
o'
moon,andtwobewil-dered
men
who
gazed
ateachotherin
a
wildsurmise
...
It
happened
near
Kaniva.
.
BLAST!!
There
goesthefront
tyre
...
Ah,
well;
lucky
it
heldout
so
long
..."
Bill
Blake
lookedupthelongstretchof
road
towardEdmundson's
Hill.
Heturnedtohisbrother.
"
"Better
get
the
jack,"
he
saidwearily."Won't
get
to
Lepling
ton
quite
so
early
now
..
."
Thedouble-lift
jack
wentunderthefront
axle.
The
headlight
beam
was
adequate,
but
expand-ing
a
split-rimand
placing
it
wasa
temper-fraying
Job.
They
workedand
theywangled
.
..
Notmuch
traffic
on
theroad
...
The
depression
was
playing
a
part
Inthat.In1933,tyresthat
wore
tothe
canvas
were
commonplace
...
while
they
lasted.Afterthat,
cars,
trucks,wentintostorage,
walting
forbetterdays.
"Here,"
saidBUL
"I'll
holdthisrim
expanded
-
you
tap
it
into
place
..
."
Therimsprang.Bill
caught
some
ofthe
impact
on
hiscoldknuckles.He
apostrophised
thestars
...

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