Stewart Howard - Tropical Writers

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Tropical Writers at
Winner for July 2016 Tiny Shorts
Stewart Howard
Topic - The Phoenix has risen.
Drug Mule, Part Two
Monthly Prizes donated by Collins
Booksellers, Smithfield.
Arthur’s Harley boke down within sight of the Ariga sugar mill.
“Bugger!” he muttered, “this wasn’t part of the plan.”
Clear blue skies and December hot, the bitumen shimmered in silence. An occasional
click or tick as the V-twin cooled, the only sound.
With little hope of reception, Art tried his mobile. Samantha would be expecting him.
This was collection day.
After failing to connect, twice, Arthur gave up. And that was when he heard the sound
of a vehicle. There was no mistaking the roar of Sam’s big V-eight or the brash
appearance of her custom-painted F-100, shimmering yellow as it rose, mirage-like,
above a nearby jump-up.
Samantha pulled up beside Art and smiled. “You should have bought a Honda.”
At the opening ceremony of the 2016
Festival, the Major Prize for the Tiny
Shorts competition will be awarded.
“Smartass,” Art chided. “Help me get the bike into the back of your ute. If you don’t
behave, I won’t buy that clapped-out Firebird.”
Sam fired back. “You’re the drongo who wants the wreck. God, it must be 45 years
old! What’s more, you’ve agreed to pay $5K. You Harley guys are nuts”
The car had sat, abandoned, in a dilapidated tobacco drying shed for the past 20
years. Previously it had been owned by one of Sam’s former lovers who disappeared
after the cops turned their attention on his dealing activities around Mareeba. Sam
had previously told Art that her man had headed to Sydney where he’d tried to trick
some bikies with a phony deal. The outcome was messy, permanent and involved a
“Pontiac Firebirds are collector pieces these days, Gorgeous. I’m going to make good
money after it’s restored.”
Sam rolled her Spanish eyes and silently shook her head. “Nuts!”
The Major Prize has been donated by
Thala Beach Nature Reserve in Port
Douglas. Web site
Read more about the competition at
Read more about the Cairns Tropical
Writers Festival 2016 at
Stewart Howard (left) receiving the Collins Monthly prize for his
winning entry in “Tiny Shorts” for July 2016 from Tropical
Writers Treasurer, Robyn Kienzle.
Back at Sam’s farm, the Harley was unloaded then repaired; a loose wire the culprit.
Samantha handed Arthur two, one kilo blocks of the best dope in North Queensland.
Business was good, with Cairns' bikies taking everything Sam grew and Art delivered.
After her parents’ death in a car smash on the Gillies Range, Sam had inherited the
family tobacco farm. Initially she hadn’t bothered with the property; however, upon
graduating with a low-grade degree in Biology, she’d learned enough to weld together
the genetics from New Guinea Gold and Mullumbimby Magic. Her home-grown hybrid
dope was mind-snapping!
“I’ll arrange for a truck to collect the Firebird tomorrow,” Art said upon his departure.
Back home in Cairns, Art stripped the car ready for its rebuild. He nearly died when
he pulled out the rear seat. Underneath lay a vacuum pack containing cash, a sawnoff 12guage and a 9-mm Glock. “Sam's gonna be happy with our 50/50 partnership,”
chuckled Art, as he counted out $385,000.
One year later, while standing closely together at the 2015 Cairns Car Show, Sam and
Art listened with anticipation as the PA boomed the winning details.
“Multiple winner, taking out three categories: Best American, Best Restoration and
People’s Choice, the fabulous, black and gold, Pontiac Firebird registration number:
P,H,O,E,N,I,X. The Phoenix has risen!"