Okarito - The Great Beynon
Back to school. It was just another day, nothing much happened, except for one thing, that is. Logan didn't get involved in any games, he was busy. He spent all the time he could talking to Lorne. They both thought, said and agreed that for two kids from totally different backgrounds, they sure had a lot in common. They thought alike on practically every subject.
Neither of them said anything, but they were both aware that people were watching and there were some disapproving looks – like it was anyone's business who they talked to?
After school, they left together but didn't go to Logan's house. They walked across town to where Lorne's dad was working at the Thomas' place – putting up a glasshouse. They got to the Ute, which was parked out in the street. Lorne opened the passenger's side door and threw his bag in.
"The truck's not locked," Logan commented.
"No, it never is. Dad's in there and who'd want to steal this old thing anyway?"
"Probably no-one. You just sit and wait, do you?"
"Yep. Sit and wait and do my homework. It's usually finished before we get home."
"That's smart. This must be your dad coming now?"
A tall well-built guy with thinning blond hair was coming up the driveway.
"Yeah, that's him. Hey Dad, how's it going?"
"Going good. I'll probably finish up here early today. I'll take you home, clean up, and then I'm coming back to town. I've got a couple of things to take care of and I'll be late home tonight. Is this your friend Logan?"
"Yes, this is him. Logan, this is my dad, Dan Beynon."
"Hey, Mr. Beynon."
"Hello Logan. Call me Dan, that's my name."
"Hey, Dan then." Logan grinned and got a smile in return.
"I stayed at Logan's place last night. He lives with his mum and two brothers, in Reid Street."
"And you stayed with them? You know you're supposed to go to Shane's if I've gone without you."
"I know, but I don't like Shane and he doesn't like me either. I'd rather be with Logan."
"It's good that you could then. You've got a mother and brothers, Logan, is there a father anywhere?"
"Yeah. My father lives in Franz. He walked out on Mum years ago and he's got a new wife. We call her the Bitch."
"You don't get on then. At least you've got a mother."
"Yeah, Mum's great. She works full-time, in an office, to support us all."
"A busy lady. Do you help her?"
"Yeah, I do, a bit. We've got grandparents, Mum's mum and dad, and they help a lot with looking after the kids."
"That's good. My father was a big help for us when Lorne was younger. I'd better get back to work; it's not going to finish itself. Nice to meet you, Logan. Thanks for looking after my boy last night."
"No problem, Mr. Dan. It was a pleasure. Mum says he can come and stay any time he likes."
"That's good. Tell her I said thanks, I appreciate that. See you later, Boys." He lifted a box out of the back of the ute and went back inside and behind the house.
"I'll go too so you can start on the homework. See you tomorrow, Lorne."
"Yeah, tomorrow. Thanks for everything, Logan. You're a good mate."
"I am, aren't I," Logan grinned. "You're not too bad yourself. 'Bye Lorne."
"'Bye my Friend."
Lorne's dad finished work early, just as he said he would, and he drove them home. He didn't have a lot to say and never mentioned going home without him the day before. Obviously it was all Lorne's fault for not being there on time and that was the end of it.
He did want to know about Logan and his family, and Lorne told him that they were great people. He really liked all of them, even the little brothers. He wished that he had brothers.
"Well, you don't."
They arrived home, Dan said that he didn't have much time and he was in a hurry to leave again. "I'm going to get a quick shower and shave. While I'm doing that you can take one of those banana boxes by the door and fill it up with fruit and vegetables. Pick the best you can find and put in a good variety of stuff. When you've done that, leave it in the truck, get the fire going and you can feed yourself, okay?"
"Yeah, sure, Dad. But who are they for?"
"Just someone in town. We're never going to eat a fraction of what's there even with the chooks and the pig helping. Oh, put some fresh eggs in there too."
Lorne had barely finished filling the carton when Dan, all cleaned and dressed up, came rushing out again. "All done? Great. Thanks for that. I'm outta here. Don't forget to feed the livestock and I'll see you in the morning, don't wait up. 'Bye, Son."
"'Bye, Dad." Lorne watched old truck leave, and then went inside to feed himself first – he was hungry. The livestock could wait a bit.
He was quite capable of looking after himself, that was how he'd been raised, but he did get lonely sometimes. He still missed his granddad and he so envied Logan, at home with his family around him. He wished that he was there with him.
Dan drove back into town, to Reid Street first. He parked the truck, got out and carried the box of fruit and veg into the house at no.16. The front door opened before he got there and a slender dark-haired woman looked out.
"Hi. Mrs. Greene, is it?"
"Yes, I'm Karen Greene."
"Ah good. I'm Dan Beynon, Lorne's father. Thanks for looking after my boy last night; these are for you."
"All these veges for us? Wow. Thank you."
"It's not a lot. We've got huge gardens, far too much for just Lorne and I and everything's coming ripe at once. I appreciate your giving him a bed for the night, and he liked it here too. He's meant to go stay at my mate's place, but it seems he prefers to be here with your Logan."
"Lorne was no problem at all. He's a lovely boy and he's very welcome here any time he likes."
"You'll most likely be seeing a lot of him. He really likes your boy and that's good. We're a bit isolated, living away out of town like we do, and he's never really had a close friend before. I'm delighted for him."
"That's good. You can be proud of him, he's a nice kid."
"He is, and I'm very proud of him. Logan seems like a nice boy too."
"Oh, he is that. He's one out of the box, my Logan. I was just going to have a hot drink, would you like to come in and have one with us?"
"Yeah, sure, why not? I've got a few minutes. Thanks." Dan grinned. He really liked this lady. He got lonely too.
Karen grinned back and she led the way inside. She liked the look of this guy and she forgot all about growling at him for leaving his boy stranded in town. Now was not the time for that.
They sat and talked over coffees in the kitchen and Dan was there for more than a few minutes – the time went fast and he was late for his appointment. When he left he was running and they agreed that he'd come back when he had more time, sometime.
Wednesday morning, on the way in to town, Dan told Lorne that he'd pick him up from school as soon as it was over. "I'll be out the front waiting for you and don't be late."
"I'll try not to. But that's two days in a row you're knocking off work early?"
"Early enough. I should finish the Thomas' job today, all going well, but we've got to get home early anyway. Ray Cousins is coming out to do a little job for us."
"Oh? What job?"
"He's putting the phone on. There's already a line there, we've just never used it and had no telephone until now."
"We're getting the phone on! Dad, that's great. Logan said that we need to get into the 21st century, that will be a big step on the way."
"It will – one step anyway. We decided that there has to be changes, this is one of them."
He pulled up outside the school and Lorne got out. "It's a good change too. Thanks, Dad. See you after school."
"You will. Don't be late."
He drove away and Lorne went inside with a big grin on his face. His dad did tend to keep things to himself too much, but this great news. He couldn't wait to tell Logan.
The phone was connected and Lorne's first call was, of course, to Logan. His excuse was that he wanted to tell him their new number, but really he just wanted to hear his voice on the phone. He didn't have anyone else to call but they couldn't talk for long – Dan wanted to try it out too.
It was a mobile phone, which would be great for private calls – he could sit outside on the deck and talk on the phone! Logan said that he could hear the river in the background. The only background noise that Lorne could hear was Logan's brothers – fighting again!
Dan was on the phone for hours. He could even take it out into the garden and the workshop or he could fish off the deck with the rod in one hand and the phone in the other. Choice! They didn't know why they didn't do it years ago.
When they went into town next morning, there was another box of fruit and vegetables on the back of the truck. He wouldn't say who it was for, Lorne was told to 'mind his own beeswax'. He found out anyway, when he went to Logan's house after school, there were two empty banana boxes on the back porch.
Logan wanted him to miss his ride so he could spend the night with him again, but Lorne said no, he was going home.
Friday morning, at school, Logan was grinning like a blissfully happy idiot, but he wouldn't say why. Lorne pestered him for a while, trying to find out why he was grinning, but he soon gave up. Logan wasn't telling and he didn't want to lose his best friend.
He was his only friend really. There were others, both girls and boys, who were being nice to him and including him in conversations etc, but he didn't know them much and they didn't know him at all. People were obviously starting to realise that.
Also, there were others who weren't nice at all. He didn't care, much, he was used to that and he was scared of no-one. None of them would cross him now, he had a reputation, his granddad's magic tricks had made sure of that. However, the 'evil eyes' that were watching him were glaring at Logan as well, and that did worry him. Logan had always been popular and well-liked. Lorne hoped he wasn't going to lose that because of him.
He decided that they were going to talk about that at lunchtime, and what was he grinning about?
He didn't get a chance to talk. As soon as they broke for lunch Logan disappeared and he didn't come back – he wasn't there all afternoon. Lorne was asked where he was but he didn't know, he didn't have a clue and he hated that. He was not a big fan of mysteries. Even though it was probably none of his business, he wanted to know.
After school, he made a beeline to Logan's house, but he wasn't there, no-one was. So, where would he be? He didn't have a clue.
His dad's truck was parked where he said it would be, by the Council Workshops, behind the main street. Lorne sat in it and tried to read a book while waiting to go home. At least he could ring Logan later and find out what he was up to. Oh, Damm! He wasn't sick of him and trying to let him down gently, was he? He sure hoped not. He worried.
His dad came out, got in the truck and started for home and, damm. He was grinning too, but he wouldn't say why.
They arrived home and there was a strange car there, parked by the house, with no-one in it. It was sort-of familiar, he'd seen it before but couldn't think where.
"What's this? Visitors?"
"I've got an early birthday present for you – several presents actually."
"Presents? But it's not my birthday yet."
"I said they were early. Here we go . . ."
Logan, closely followed by his mother, came around from the river-side of the house. Lorne fell out of the truck in his excitement.
"Logan!! What are you doing here? Where've you been? I was worried. Your mum brought you out, why? Hey, Mrs. Greene."
"Hello, Lorne. Pleased to see us, are you? Hello, Dan."
"Hello to you too. Been waiting long?"
"No, not long. We just got here a few minutes ago. I am so impressed with your gardens. You said they were big and prolific, but – wow!"
"Yeah, they're pretty full. Come and I'll show you around. Where are your other boys?"
"They're okay. They're busily throwing stones in the river."
"Okay. I hope they don't scare the fish away forever. Come on then. Lorne, there's some boxes in the back of the truck, they're for you. You boys can take them inside." Dan and Karen went over to his gardens.
"Boxes?" Lorne lifted the tarpaulin and looked. "Oh, Shit! Is that what I think it is?"
Logan grinned. "If you think it's a computer, then – yes."
"We've got a computer! That is so cool, but what're you doing here. Logan?"
"Aren't you pleased to see me?"
"You know I am. But why?"
"I helped your dad to buy it and now I've come out to set it up and get you on line. It won't take long, but if we're slow enough we can spin it out all weekend."
"You're here for the weekend? All of it? Choice!"
"Yep. Your dad said I'm your other birthday present, so Happy Birthday."
"Oh wow. Best present I've ever had and it's not even my birthday yet."
"So it's a bit early. Let's get this inside and get started already."
"Oh yah! Thanks, Logan."
"Wait and see if I stuff it up before you thank me."
"I don't care if you do. You're here and that's all I care about. I love you, Logan."
"I love you too. Now come on."
They carried the boxes inside and started umpacking. If Lorne's grins got any wider he'd look like a South Park Canadian! The desk came first, of course, they had to have to put everything. They set it all up next to the telephone in the living-room and plugged everything in.
When Dan and Karen, along with the two younger boys, came inside, Lorne jumped up, flung his arms around his dad and hugged him long and hard. He'd never been so happy and he didn't care who knew it.
"Whoah. Settle, Lorne. You'll break my ribs if you're not careful. Pleased with your presents, are you?"
"Oh yes! Thanks, Dad. Thanks a million!"
"You're welcome. Just remember it's not all yours; I'll want some time on it too."
"You what?" Lorne was taken aback – he was thinking about Logan. Having him there for the weekend was the best present ever. And, eww!
"Oh, time on the computer. Of course you will."
"Yes, the computer. What were you thinking of?"
"Oh, nothing," he blushed and mumbled.
Jack and Brad saved him from his embarrassment. They'd heard about his magic, from Logan, and they wanted to see some. Logan was busy on the phone, so they sat around the table and he showed them the old cups and ball trick. He let each of them guess the right cup once and only once.
They were impressed, but he wouldn't tell them how it was done. "A magician never tells."
"But your granddad must've told you."
"Yeah, he showed you how, didn't he?"
"He did not. I had to work it out for myself."
"Show us again then."
"I don't think so. That'd be like telling."
"Aww! Come on, just one more time."
"That's enough, Boys," Karen interrupted. "Leave Lorne alone now. It's time we were getting home anyway."
"We'll go home and Google it."
"Good luck with that," Lorne grinned.
"Google knows everything," Jack said knowingly.
"Yeah," Brad agreed. "All you've gotta do is ask the right questions."
"Okay Boys, out to the car, it's time we were going. Have a good weekend, Logan and you behave yourself. Dan will tell me if you don't."
"I always do, Mum."
"Sure you do. Goodbye, Lorne. Enjoy the computer
"Thanks, Karen. I'm sure I will. I've used the computers at school, but they've got all sorts of blocks on them to stop you going places."
"Maybe we need some blocks here too," Dan smiled.
"Dad! I was thinking of Youtube and emails and stuff."
"Of course you were!"
Dan went out to see Karen and the kids off. Lorne sat and watched Logan who was still talking on the phone and following whoever's instructions on the computer. Actually, he just liked looking at him. He was surprised and impressed to see his father's credit card on the desk - Logan was privileged, normally that never left Dan's sight.
Logan finally finished, said thanks and goodbye and hung up the phone.
"I hope that wasn't a toll call," Lorne said.
"No worries. It wasn't – just an 0800 number. It'd still be worth it if it was a toll call, you're on-line and that's your email address. He shut the computer down.
"Hey! What'd you turn it off for?"
"So I can watch you turn it on. Sit down here and we'll start surfing."
"Surfing? Are we going to the beach?"
"No! It's an old term for cruising around the internet – 'surfing the web', I think."
Dan came back inside and cooked dinner for the three of them – stir-fried veges with fish bits. After eating they went out for an hour, shooting possums.
"Early evening is the best time to get them; they've just woken up and come out for a feed."
Dan had the rifle and Lorne and Logan took turns with the high-powered torch and the sack of dead possums. He shot 5, and then said that would be enough.
"Good job too, the sack's getting heavy."
"Toughen up, Lorne. If they're heavy, they're too well fed. Bloody Pests!"
Logan stumbled along the hillside bush track in the dark. "I'm sort of surprised that you come out killing them. Aren't Alternatives meant to be into the sanctity of Life, and all that?"
"Maybe," Dan replied. "But we're back-slidden hippies and we shoot 'em. If we don't, they'll eat the gardens. They think our place is their supermarket."
"So it's you or them? You don't eat them, do you? Possums carry TB sometimes."
"Sometimes all too often. No, we don't eat them directly. The pig does that, they can't hurt her, she's got a cast-iron stomach."
"The pig eats the possums and then you eat the pig?"
"Eventually, yes. Plus she makes manure for the gardens to grow the fruit and vegetables."
Lorne said, "It's all part of the cycle of life. Of course we kill things, living in the country you almost have to. Don't forget we ate fish with dinner – Dad caught them last night."
"Oh, okay," Logan nodded. "We mostly just get our food from the Supermarket, it's tidier that way."
"More expensive too," Dan said. "Someone has to be paid to kill it for you. Look at this! Get down off the fence, you Great Big Lump!"
They were approaching the pig-pen and the big sow was trying to climb the fence. Dan handed the rifle to Lorne and took the sack from him. He spilled the carcasses out on the ground, picked them up by their tails, one by one, and slung them over the fence into the pen, to the pig's great and noisy delight.
Logan said, "Don't you skin them or gut them or anything?"
"Nah. The pig doesn't care, she scoffs the lot. There'll be nothing but bones in there by the morning, and most of them will be crunched-up."
They stood quietly watching the pig gleefully attacking the possums, ripping them to bits, munching and swallowing.
"She's making a pig of herself," Logan grinned. "It'd be a great way of getting rid of the body if you killed someone."
"It would," Dan agreed. "Wake me in the night and you'll find out!"
"We'll try not to do that then," Lorne grinned.
Logan also grinned, warily – they were joking, weren't they?
[For those who use webmail: Please right click the author's name. A menu will open in which you can copy the email address to paste into your webmail system (Hotmail, Gmail, etc). Each browser is subtly different or we'd give fuller instructions here. If it pastes with %40 in the middle, replace that with an @ sign.]