Boon Dockers- Chapter One
Ok peeps, it has been a long haul and finally my book is almost complete. The countdown is on and in about 5 weeks Boon Dockers will be released on Amazon. In the mean time as promised, here is the first chapter. If you think you would like to buy my book, be sure to bookmark my site so you can return when it is released, or better yet, subscribe to my blog so you receive and email when the day it is released. Just click the ‘follow’ button floating in the bottom right corner of the screen. I hope you like it!
Travelling in style
I crawl out of the cozy bed thankful I survived the night. I suppose it was rather ridiculous of me to believe there could be an axe murderer on this tiny island. But when I looked out in to that thick forest last night all I could think of was ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’. I pull the curtain back around the steering wheel and wipe the condensation from the inside of the windscreen looking out to the ticket booth. I can roughly make out a middle-aged woman organising the desk; the booth should be open in a few minutes.
“Morning babe,” I say to Jen jumping on the bed and stroking the side of her face. She always looks so beautiful when she is sleeping, that creamy white skin and slightly open lips.
“Huh,” she gasps freaking out as I touch her.
“What’s up babe?” I ask.
“I had a nightmare we were being chased by zombies,” she replies clearing the sleep from her eyes. Jen always greets me in the mornings with stories of wacky dreams.
“Well it’s all good. No zombies or serial killers,” I assure her as I move to the driver’s seat and start the van.
The woman in the booth is staring at the van and the plume of smoke drifting toward her post.
“I think the ticket booth is open Jen. Hold on, I’m moving up.”
I roll up to the booth where the woman gives me an annoyed look. The van is still smoking; the condensation from the exhaust is now wafting between the two of us. Peering through the haze I ask for two tickets to Vancouver. The woman lets out a cough and produces the tickets and a red sticker.
“Turn off your gas and any pilot lights and then put this sticker next to the tap.” She snaps.
“Thank you.” I reply in my most cheerful voice, pretending I haven’t noticed the smoke choking us both.
I drive the van down the boarding lane 20m away and switch it off before laughing my arse off. Jen joins in and the pair of us are in stitches.
This is it! Ahead, the ferry to Vancouver and the start of six months going wherever the hell we feel like. The three of us jumping head first in to this journey. Of course most people wouldn’t count their mode of transportation as company, but already we realize our van is the foundation of this entire trip. Already his need for attention is emerging, but this coughing, spluttering, squealing old boy was the best of a very bad bunch.
For weeks we combed the island of Salt Spring where we were staying with Darlene and Ken. Darlene is my second mum I guess. She and my dad were together throughout my teen years before they split and she returned to Salt Spring. We have always kept in touch and she always welcomed me to stay and visit. In the end it was actually her 91 year-old father Cliff who tracked down the van.
It turns out that Miles, an old moon-shine-making friend of Cliff’s, was the owner of a “well-kept ’83 Dodge Ram Campervan” which was to become our Rammy.
It was love at first sight. No rust, 90,000 original kilometres and more wood than Hugh Heffner with a couple of Viagra in his belly and a bunny under each arm. The van even had some old kitchen items Miles was happy to throw in. With an agreed price of $4000 the van was ours.
All we had to do was get it back to Cliff’s place, not as easy at it sounds with our limited experience of driving on the wrong side of the road. Worse still, we had to follow a 91 year-old driver home at dusk. We thought that would be easy, but it became clear Cliff was no ordinary old pensioner. With my foot planted heavily on the gas and Rammy standing over 9 feet tall, the weight pulled us all over the road. With cutlery draws sliding open and cupboard doors slamming in the back of the van, I tried to keep up with Cliff. The old pensioner pulled away rapidly, running an amber traffic light. For 91 years of age, Cliff was an absolute lead foot, but I guess when you reach that age your time becomes a little more valuable. In a panic we ran the lights too so as not to lose him. Twenty-five grueling minutes later we pulled up in his driveway… rattled.
I have to say I was a little rattled now getting ready to take Rammy onto the ferry. A few people have joined the queue now and some mad bloke is outside with his dog. “Look at this joker. It’s bloody freezing out there!” I say watching in disbelief, the little dog looking too cold to pee.
A short time later a woman emerges from the shadows with an orange wand and begins to direct us ‘airport style’ on to the ferry. She takes her duty very seriously pivoting her forearm from vertical to horizontal in a forceful yet rhythmic fashion. I start the van with a screech again and splutter passed her with more white smoke flowing from the exhaust. We give her toothy smiles as we pass and receive nothing but a serious stare, one, which burns right through the smoke filled air.
I put my foot down and the van lurches forward startling the ferry marshal in front of us. He has a similar look on his face as the woman from the ticket booth, that look which says: “where did you find that bomb?” The van lunges its way onto the ferry as the carburettor attempts to swallow the half frozen fuel.
We find a spot and promptly turn off the ignition and crawl back in to bed. Outside it must be minus ten degrees Celsius. Jen and I have never experienced temperatures this cold. We should have bought that windscreen-mounted thermometer Jen suggested. Then again, is there any benefit to knowing how cold it is in the middle of the Canadian winter? After all, there is no escape from it or any other conditions we may face in the next 6 months. I sure hope we will last that long? Will this old camper make it? Will Jen and I rip each others’ heads off? Is twenty-five grand enough? I’m excited and anxious. We are out on our own now.
And we’re traveling in style, I think to myself as the other passengers undoubtedly make their way to the upper deck to be greeted by uncomfortable plastic chairs for the three-hour journey. I settle in to bed again and envisage our launch into Vancouver on the other side, hurtling toward the city leaving a jet stream of smoke behind us, just like a stunt plane.
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