Speed Dating in K-Hole and the Death of Marnu

I have been out on the town in K-Hole a grand total of twice. First was that fateful evening out with The Germans and the second was speed dating with my boss.

I know it sounds dramatic and weird to be speed dating with your boss, but in actual fact my boss, lets call her Jackie, is also my housemate and my closest friend in Western Australia. We pre-purchased tickets so that our tight assed nature would prevent us from backing out. We spent all afternoon choosing outfits and putting on makeup.  On the car ride into K-Hole we listened to awesome music and pumped ourselves up. Jackie had some vodka from a hipflask in the car park and in we went.

A flamboyant balding man in a bright red fitted shirt met us at the door with a compliment on our dresses. Unfortunately he was the manager of the establishment and not our host, who was a meek middle-aged woman in a pale pink dress. She gave us a name tag, a drink voucher and gestured towards some unsubstantial finger food in a secluded corner with a circle of chairs.

Within the first three seconds I knew I wouldn’t be walking outta there with a new boyfriend. Call me quick to judge, but I’ve got pretty used to scoping out a venue really quickly. I scope for males with a distinct lack of hi-vis* who don’t look older than 35.

The men outnumber the women. I spill champagne on my dress and meet a lovely middle aged South African woman, who speaks very loudly. She tells me this is her third time speed dating and even though she obviously hasn’t met ‘the right one’ she has made friends. One of those friends was a guy who, whilst they didn’t have anything in common or have much to talk about, shared a love of travel and recently went to Melbourne together. Seemed to be a major motivation for most people there, to avoid loneliness. Man I’m glad I’m happy with my own company. I’d much prefer to be alone that in bad or even sub-par company.

About two minutes before the speed dating commenced I met two mildly attractive dudes. I quickly learn that one is painfully shy and came along as moral support. He’s like a dear in headlights, poor fella. The other one was totally boring. Another guy analysed my star sign (Capricorn, in case anyone is interested) then asked me out. I panicked and said ‘Maybe.’ Gosh it’s hard to say no to someone’s face! I’d been out of the dating scene too long!

The whole event was sensationally unspectacular. The highlights were wearing my hot blue dress, getting drive through chicken nuggets on the way home and being curled up in bed with a good book by 10.30pm.

Not before I hit a roo and totaled my car. Well, not even a proper kangaroo, just a tiny euro. Normally I slow down to 90ks at night, but the little Mazda was cruising along at 110 when a little roo came out of nowhere and I felt a bit of a bump. After driving along for about 200 meters I thought I’d turn around to see if it was still alive or if it had a baby in its pouch. For some reason my indicator started going completely berserk. I couldn’t find the euro anywhere so I pulled over to see what was wrong with my indicator. I couldn’t open my door. Jackie got out and put her hands straight up to cover her mouth. I slid out her side door to see what she was looking at.

She’d found the roo. His head was stuck through the grill of the car. I’d dragged him for about half a kilometer stuck to the front of the car. There was no blood. He would have died pretty quick and painlessly. Luckily I didn’t have to stand there scratching my head wondering how I’d pull this roo out of my car for very long. I flagged down the first car I saw. Luckily it was a family from Schmoebs.

‘Aw marnu!’ they exclaimed, feeling more sorry for my car than for the roo, which they promptly yanked clean out. ‘We’ll take him home for tea!’ Marnu means ‘poor thing’ in one of the local Aboriginal languages spoken in Schmoebs, a fitting name for my car.

To add insult to injury I’d only just paid $1,500 getting it roadworthy enough to be registered in Western Australia and had been looking into full insurance the week before. The smash repair dude said that although the car still drove, it’d cost about $3,000- $5,000 to fix the damage, waaay more than the car’s worth. Rather than having to pay to get it towed to the wreckers I drove it out to 5 Mile, a small community 5 Miles (who’da guessed?) out of Schmoebs where there’s a massive junk yard full of cars. Whenever we go scavenging for scrap metal for film sets or percussion rigs there’s always someone there getting parts off something. I gave the keys to the local Pastor, who told me the kids might take it out to the law grounds. Apparently the kids who are too young to go through initiation or be involved in the ceremonies get to just drive around in the dust in busted up cars.

Marnu resting at peace at 5 mile

Marnu resting at peace at 5 mile

So even though my car died, at least in dying it fed a family for the night, earned itself a name and is now being smashed up as a dodgem car by some 12 year old kids out bush. A fitting end to a fine vehicle.

*hi-vis is high visibility clothing, generally either fluro yellow or orange with reflective silver straps around the arms and legs. It’s the attire of gentlemen engaged in the mining industry, or the shopping trolley returning industry.

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