Charlie: rusted out, four-wheel-drive, shit-bucket. Conveyor of cray pots.
I remember the late nights on Flinders highway driving home, air from the engine warming bare feet through a rusted cabin. Sand and shell grit falling away from toes and hems as they dried out.
Charlie was my first drive. Off-road. It helped that I didn’t have a road to keep on, nor that I had to dodge any trees. Charlie made short work of whatever got in the way as long as I kept him in first gear.
Mind you, the prickle bush could swipe back, so it paid to keep the windows shut – an advantage not afforded by the tractor I once got up on two wheels.
I never knew where Charlie went. One day he was there, and the next, Dad brought home a white Ford ute, V8, cassette stereo, broken antenna and all.
Charlie probably deserved to go out with a bang, and Dad was fond of blowing things up at the time.