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4 May, 2009

by The Wandering Wastrel


So there I was, a young man… a young demolition man, at a party my companions and I had spent 3 hours in a little Ute driving to.

The party was at a bush retreat, a palatial house far up in the forest of the Coromandel.

The party rocked, it was packed with all types, mostly school kids and kids who had left school to pursue a life of drugs, drinking, surfing and growing dope.

The music pumped. And I wandered about gibbering almost coherently to people I had known for years trying to show them that I had grown up big and strong and was no longer the nerdy glasses wearing weirdo I was at school but was now a hard working, hard drinking, pipe hittin, soot coughing wastrel worthy of their respect and a place within the ranks of the “Poa Boys”*

The house was built on a big cliff and a tiny path ran underneath the house along side a three-story drop into a huge firewood pile.
Scaffolding had been erected a long and frightening jump across from the path and it was challenge for the brave and intoxicated to run across the path, leap this gap and continue to party on the rickety scaffolding.
I wandered through the crowd to the path and started across …
Coming across from the other side was “Ape Man”, he was a wiry Maori logger with features like an ape, he was rumored to be insane and to have once in the local boozer flattened 4 assailants with a flury of frenzied blows, hitting one of them so hard the guys face caved in and his eye came partially out.
Ape Man glowered at me with his beady black eyes and I was afraid … as he had worked in my dads logging company and had been recently “retired” from the job because of erratic behavior.

I tried to squeeze past him as we met in the middle of the tiny cliff side path and he would not move, he just stared at me. I tried to go back the way I came and he hit me with a large group of slurred insults…

I said words to the effect that I was sorry that he felt that way, but this did not secure my escape, and I was trapped trying to explain to this angry lunatic that I meant no disrespect in any thing I said to him, which in turn was taken as an insult from me.
Half and hour I stood on the edge of the crevasse while he stared at me occasionally coming up with new reasons as to why I had slighted him and thwarting my attempts each time I tried to leave, ignoring my pleas for sane conduct from him.

The entire party stood at both ends of the path watching silently while a few of my enemies called out “Bash him, Apey!”
My friends stood by to rush in and take him down but they were hesitant not only because of his reputation but because of the spine shattering drop that awaited any who would be hurled over the edge.

Suddenly I sensed something… maybe my recent line of pleas had offended him terribly but in a heartbeat I saw his eyes narrow and fingers start to clench.
It was time to die.
From standing on the path I leapt sideways with supernatural strength, everything moved in slow motion as I flew through the air tucking my feet up as I flew to the scaffold.
He flew after me his grubby gorilla hands clutching after me, yet in his rage he did not have what it takes, as anger clouds, and fear lends flight and speed.
I landed on the platform as his chest hit the side of it and I saw his face for a second, no pain or anger on it, just a kind of wonderful astonishment.
I could have reached out and grabbed him… yet I did not being content to use that precious nanosecond to create an evil smile for him to gaze upon as he bounced back and plumeted.

As I looked over the edge I saw him falling, arms and legs to the air, down, down, down he went until with a SMASH! He landed on the woodpile. Firewood flew out in bits all around him. Nobody yelled, “call an ambulance!” These were not that kind of people, they just crowded around the edge and looked down to see if he was still alive… he did not disappoint them…
He got up and started charging up the scaffolding!

I felt as though I was being chased by something that cannot be killed, it was a nightmare gone solid!

As I stepped back for my run up for the jump back on to the path that was my road to freedom I saw my enemies closing in thinking they would hold me until he got up to deal with me in his own special way. But my friends were ready, and swiftly moved, blocking them off and threatening punishment to those who would not allow me to escape.
Escape I did tearing up through the empty house and up hill into the bush, running up and away as fast as I could. Never had I run so fast up hill through scrub in the dark before (not even the great water bomb the cars from the tree incident of 91 incident compared to the speed I attained).
I kept going until I collapsed and the house was a distant light far below me.
I could hear him coming, crashing through the bush below, far away now and not so scary, yet single-mindedly focused on my destruction none the less.

I crept down silently and passed his noisy charging a few hundred meters to the side.

My arrival back at the house was met with cheers, which I quickly tried to hush.
My friends wanted to keep partying on so I went and hid under the Ute.

He apparently came back to the party an hour later, scratched and bleeding from brambles and falls, He stomped about the house attempting to search me out and furiously questioning my friends as to my whereabouts, before plunging back into the bush to “FUCKIN KILL THAT CUNT!”

My friends took that as a signal to flee before he focused his rage on them.

So off we fled, into the night.

FOOTNOTE:  Years later I was told that Apeys behaviour that night was caused by being given LSD without his knowledge. Watch your drinks and dont take candy from strangers.

* Poa Boys: One of a group of hard looking dreadlocked dope growers who surfed, rode motorbikes and hooked into any of the school girls who were unwise enough to leave the safety of the town and adventure into the wild party’s of the wilderness.