Read more about Tropical Writers at www.TropicalWriters.com.au Winner for July 2016 Tiny Shorts Stewart Howard Topic - The Phoenix has risen. Drug Mule, Part Two Monthly Prizes donated by Collins Booksellers, Smithfield. www.CollinsBooks.com.au 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 chainsaw. “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 www.ThalaBeach.com.au Read more about the competition at www.TropicalWriters.com.au Read more about the Cairns Tropical Writers Festival 2016 at ww.CairnsTropicalWritersFestival.com 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!"
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