Chapter One

Lou and Len are living proof that truth is stranger than fiction.

Sue and I were up in the King country, doing some possum monitoring on several small tracts of bush. One of them was on a dairy farm. We were given a list of contacts to call, and according to the list the person to ring was a man named Lou.

I dialed the number and waited as the phone rang. I was just about to hang up when someone picked up with a loud booming voice,

“Yeah?”

“Hello,my names Bryan, is that Lou.”

“Who” the voice bellowed.

“Lou” I repeated.

“Of course it is, you rang my number didn’t you?”

I was bit stymied as what to say, so had to think about it for a few seconds.

“That’s true, anyway my name’s Bryan and I am ringing about”

The voice cut me off before I could finish.

“Who?”

“Bryan,” I said.

“It can’t be,” said the voice, “You don’t sound like that.”

I was flummoxed.

“Are you sick?” boomed the voice.

“No” I replied,” I’m as good as gold.”

“Well, what’s wrong with your voice?”

“Nothing, I always sound like this.”

“Must be the phone then. When are you bringing my trailer back?”

“I don’t have your trailer.”

“What did you do with it then?”

“I think you might have me confused with someone else.”

“Who?”

“Someone else.”

“What do you mean?”

“Perhaps I should ring you back later.”

“Righto, ” he said, hanging up.

I had to have a cup of tea to gather my wits before ringing Lou again.

It was an awkward phone call; it seemed Lou was a bit deaf, and his voice just about deafened me. But we started making a bit of progress.

“I’m doing some possum monitoring and…” He cut me off again.

“What’s that?”

“Well, I set some traps to see if the contractors met his target.”

“Why?”

“So he can get paid.”

“What for?”

“Perhaps we could have a chat about it when I see you.”

“Righto.”

“Anyway,” I continued, “could I ride my quad though your farm to get to the block of bush up behind the river on your place.”

“When?”

“Well tomorrow would be good, I need about four days.”

“What time?”

“Should get to your place by about 9 in the morning.”

“When will you be finished?”

“Should be off you place by about 11.”

“Righto.”

“Thanks.”

And he hung up.

It was the strangest couple of phone calls I have ever had in my life, but things were about to get stranger.

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