DROP BEARS are good singers. I mean, ridiculously good singers. I didn’t sleep a wink last night, resting in my sleeping bag, hearing a variety of Queen songs through the trees that could well have belonged in their Greatest Hits album.
At first I didn’t know it was the drop bears. I mean, I thought it might be ghosts singing. Or Snugglepot and Cuddlepie (never heard of them? That’s little Australians’ folklore thank you, look em up). Or maybe the mushrooms I ate a few days ago down by the creek were giving me magical powers, making me hear amazing sounds that really didn’t exist.
At three in the morning – to the tune of Under Pressure – something rustled in the tree above me. Whatever it was, it was heavy. Paranoid and starving (my last mandarin ran out days ago), I stuffed my sleeping bag with the clothes I had been wearing, and slithered through some rocks, and waiting with my dart gun.
“Aha!” something roared twenty minutes later. A big furry thing jumped on the sleeping bag where my head would have been, and savagely mauled the canvas. I waited, and shot a dart at it.
I got it in the eye. I know this because it screamed, “Argh, argh! My eye!” before it fell asleep on my sleeping bag. I got rid of my cages at some point in my trek (too heavy) but fortunately I still had some nets in my bag, so I pulled one out and tied the drop bear into the net.
Meanwhile, the voices in the trees went silent, as if sensing that one of their own had been captured. I tied the net to a branch and left the drop bear hanging. Then I stood guard in the rocks, waiting to see if maybe another would come and rescue it.
This morning – when the light settled through the trees – I checked out the sleeping beast. It was about four metres in length. It was as grey as a koala, but looked more like a cross between Stitch and Oscar the Grouch.
I had given up on my quest to hunt a dropbear for a few days, trying to find my way back to O’Reilly’s carpark. As luck would have it, after dragging the bear a few exhausting kilometres, I found a path, and eventually a sign back.
“Ow,” it grumbled. “Ow. A rock. Ow.”
I checked to see if was awake, but it wasn’t. Finally, I emerged from the trees. Victorious! A few campers heading to the trail I came from stared at what was snoring in the net.
“Um, what is in that net?” one middle aged hiker asked.
“Just a whole bunch of mind your business,” I said. Which was rude of me, I know. I got to the car and I shoved my prisoner into the back seat and buckled the seat belt around it.
“Where are we?” the drop bear mumbled but didn’t speak again until we were halfway down the mountain. “Damn, damn, this feels like a rollercoaster ride. Am I at Dreamworld again?” But I didn’t answer and then it stared screaming, yelling all sorts of swear words at me I do not wish to repeat.
Even a monkey wouldn’t have used the kind of words that drop bear did.
I was so tired I nearly had a micro-sleep, but fortunately the bellows of rage kept me awake. Finally the drop bear calmed down, and then it said calmly, “anything good playing on the radio?” and I said “I have Green Day on CD,” and it thought about my answer for a bit, and then said “their early stuff, or their new crap?” and I said their late stuff, and it said, “I can’t stand punk when I’m coming down from tranquiliser,” and that response just opened up a whole new round of conversation.