It was a hot and sunny day. Geoffrey was taking an afternoon walk. He was 40 years old serving in the British Marine Corp. Geoffrey was stationed in Melbourne, Australia. He felt for his cheek bones then his short growing cowboy moustache. The local Australians described him as a tall half British, half Scottish man.
He had stayed in Australia for a good ten years had gotten used to the heat of Australia. However on this fine day he noticed the heat was more brutal than ever. He thought of going to the bar to get a cold drink, but no he would not! Not like his brother Pete who had died of to much alcohol.
Later, in his bed, he looked out the window of his small yellow painted apartment. In the far distance Geoffrey sees a small flickering light. He shrugged it off. It probably was some camp fire. Later, Geoffrey woke up sweating, from a nightmare about all the horrible things he saw from the Korean war. He suddenly heard a hissing sound, because of his curiosity he turned on the light and saw a green tree snake. It was about 5 feet long, it must have slithered through the tiny gap under the door. He chased it using vibrations through the bathroom door, closed the door and put down a towel to block the gap under the door. Then we
nt to sleep
ed up at the ceiling. How odd, the ceiling was covered in water. He also felt the air was quite humid despite Geoffrey’s dehumidifier. Geoffrey’s snake companion was still there, overnight he decided to name him “Slithers”. There was a loud and booming knock on his door. Geoffrey hurriedly put some pants on, opened his door and there the tall looming figure of his unit’s commander. Geoffrey’s commanding officer reminded him of his dad. Geoffrey’s dad was a pilot serving in the air force, his joke always made Geoffrey laugh. The next morning, Geoffrey loo
Sadly, Geoffrey’s dad got shot down in the Korean war by a Chinese fighter jet. The snap of his commander’s fingers brought Geoffrey back into reality. His commander’s said in a booming loud voice:”Geoffrey report to HQ ASAP, there is another training drill in one hour!!”. To which Geoffrey replied “Sir yes sir”. Back to his day dreaming. Ever since he was born his father was never there to see hi, day after day month after month no Dad.
However, when his Dad was not on a mission he spent every minute with Geoffrey. When Geoffrey went to check on Slithers he saw the poor thing shrivelled up in a ball. It looked like Geoffrey when he first came to Australia, July 27 1954 only a year after the Korean war. When he looked closer he saw a rat sized lump in the middle of the snake’s body. When Geoffrey looked out the window he saw port Philip. The orange ball of fire in the sky turning the water into a almost desert of water looking reflection. Geoffrey sighs and gets his uniform on.
Just as he walks through the door leading out to the street a thunderous clap came from behind him. He swivelled around to see his land lord who said:”G’day Geoffrey!, there’s a phone call for you”. On the other end the deep voice of his family’s doctor greets him like a knife through butter. The doctor say’s:”Geoffrey your mother has died of stroke, all her belongings are your’.” The rest of the day went by in a blur, during the night Geoffrey gives Slithers some food. He thought the snake is used to him because Slithers treated Geoffrey like a pet would his owner. Geoffrey told the snake:”I feel as though life is meaningless without mom, she was always there for me since Dad died.” Geoffrey the day he came back from a patrol, how his base commander told him about how his dad got shot down.
He could get used to his dad dying but not mom. Now on the floor in tears Geoffrey was praying for his mom to come back to life. Strangely as if the snake was sentient it slithered(thus the name)to his hand rubbed against it. “Thanks Slithers.” The next day in the afternoon Geoffrey had somewhat recovered, he looked in the distance and saw a giant almost mushroom looking cloud with flicks of flame underneath. Geoffrey’s insides twisted up, had there been a war!? He grabbed a copy of the “Melbourne times”, no it didn’t say anything about a war then the cold hard realisation hit Geoffrey, it was a Bushfire!
As if his commander could read his thoughts he yelled:”GEOFFREY WE NEED TO GET EVERYONE OUT OF THERE!” There was a small village where the Bushfire was heading, they could use the helicopters at the base. He and the commander were already jogging there.
The other marines were waiting at the base they had taken all the weapons from the helicopters and loaded them with fuel. When they had arrived lots of houses were on fire, people running & an almost animal sounding roar. As the helicopters landed a black thick cloud of smoke filled their vehicle. Smoke masking their faces, smoke choking their lungs and people piling on. They quickly flew away and saw the water bomber, firemen as well as fire trucks.
Later, still in the helicopters one of the pilots suddenly say:”We don’t have enough fuel to get back!”As if the helicopters heard him they started going down, down in to the dark dry leaves of the forest. Once they landed, all the wounded people were being treated and given food & water. Through the thick forest they saw the fire department putting out the remaining tongues of flame. Later, once they were picked up by some of the leaving fire trucks. In bed that night Geoffrey dreamt about the time he jumped out to rescue the boy from the Bushfire. For doing that Geoffrey was promoted, “Lucky me he thought to himself”. 50 years later, Jason (Geoffrey’s son) looks at the graveyard next to the village (which his father saved which also looks more modern after the fire). There he puts down a basket of flowers next to a large silver grave which says: “Here lies Geoffrey a loving father and husband”. He looks up and sees a giant oily black cloud. Firemen and firetrucks go to the fire, Jason follows them and says: “Here we go again”.