I met James and Nadine in Kalgoorlie. James worked with me at the Super pit as a Diesel Fitter. Nadine as a Registered Nurse. (Free medical advice from her consisted of, "You'll be right", or "Toughen up.")
I first got to know James on a night shift. At the start of shift I told him about a weird, low budget horror movie I’d just seen. The Blair Witch Project. The film creeped me out you might say. James’ mind busily filed this information to use against me later.
I started my shift fuelling mine equipment while the sun went down. I’d almost forgotten about the movie as I drove back to our busted-arse shed. We used a deserted, dark, back haul road for access. As I neared the gate I saw the fitters ute stopped in the middle of the road. All the lights were on and both doors are wide open. No-one is in sight. The quiet moonlit scene was quite eerie, and the Blair Witch movie quickly came back to me.
I stopped and got out to look for them, wondering what the hell was going on. Mostly I worried they might be setting off explosives without me and I didn’t want to miss that! As I walked to edge of the road, James’ offsider Chris leaped out from behind a bush and let out a scream that took about ten years off me. I’m pretty sure James had something much worse in store. If he’d had the time to arrange it my nerves would still be screwed. I don't know how long they’d waited there for me but I hope it was worth it, you pair of bastards.
One thing James and I, and our wives, have in common is our love of cars. Especially V8 Holdens and Chevs. He had a 454 big block in a HJ ute. His pride and joy. As you’d expect, a a truck engine in a car with no weight over the back wheels will have predictable results. The impressive twin sets of black rubber leading from the ute’s parking spots didn’t surprise me. We were taught ‘Safety First’ in our many inductions, and James considered warming the tyres as an important safety preparation to maintain grip.
James signed the street in front of our house on a few occasions. Never in the troublesome Candy-apple red 400 cube Camaro though. It spent so much time on the back of a tilt tray the owner and James knew each other well.
James and I talked about going to Lake Gairdner for the Dry Lake Racers Speed Week. I was struggling to build a car to race there at a later date but I didn’t want to commit to anything until it was finished.
James said, “Screw waiting, let’s go now”.
To pull this stunt off he had to combine our awesome trip with a marriage proposal to Nadine. I’m assuming the way he explained it to her went something like this:
“How about we go to Adelaide to get married? Before the ceremony Coops and I will bugger off hundreds of kilometres into the desert where you can’t reach us by phone or mail while you organise the wedding. I’ll come back within the barest minimum of time to get fitted for the monkey suit to say “I do” then we can look at all my photos salt lake racers.” She said, “that sounds okay”, so he booked us room at a sheep station near Lake Gairdner, hired a plastic 4X4 and we went.
Some of the dialogue above may not be accurate but, in my opinion, it’s pretty close.
People might think letting the groom disappear days before a wedding might be a mistake. They’d be wrong. Those same people also might think he chose a strange venue for a buck’s night. Wrong again. It suited both of us not to go to strippers and get blind drunk. We could do that anytime. Seeing and hearing cars, trucks and motorcycles being thrashed to their limits seemed a far better use of our time.
(Jokes aside, I am still indebted to Nadine for allowing us to do this while she organised the wedding. I don't know many women who have the confidence and trust in their partner to allow them to drive several hundred kilometres AWAY from the impending stressful day. Especially when the less stable partner has to choose between a suit fitting or sitting on a salt lake watching a twin-turbo Hayabusa achieve 400kph.)
Luckily both our wives are keen on the car scene so we’d take our holidays together at the SummerNats car show in Canberra. Even drunk, virginal kiddies screaming, “show us your tits”, at them couldn’t ruin those awesome three days of horsepower heaven.
James and Nadine aren’t ‘wanna-be’ people. If they say they’re doing something, they’ll be working towards it. Their projects may have the inevitable disasters but they never give up.
Currently two kiddies and resurrecting a 57’ Chev from a stripped shell in a remote mining town are keeping them occupied.