Donna spoke. “And what if I wanted to ride in the back?”
Jo snarled, “Get in the bloody front. “
“Blow your orders up a gum tree.”
Donna climbed in the back with Harry and the tourists.
Jo took deep breaths. She hadn’t fully recovered from that magnetic look Donna had shot her. The woman was gay. Straight women don’t look at you that way. It was a good twenty minute drive to the station on rough terraine, and besides, she longed for female company.
“Donna, I’m sorry, mate. If you ride up front, you could give me some valuable information so that the Missus knows what to cook.”
Jo spoke on the radio and conveyed the number of guests and their eating habits.
“How can you bear working with Harry the jackass?” Jo asked.
“Yeah, doin’ the tour guide thing.”
Jo received a cold and scathing response.
“So, you see an Aborigine and perceive she’s working for the white man?”
“Well, it looked that way to me. I apologize….”
Donna cut her short.
“I live in Brisbane, heard of it?” Jo bristled.
“Yeah, we have books out here, and some of them have words with the pictures.”
The woman looked away. “I’m a teacher on Sabbatical.”
Jo retorted, “Well, I’m on bloody Aspirin.
Donna replied in a calm voice. “I use words like ‘sabbatical’ its part of my job.”
“I know what the word means. I’ve met educated Aboriginals before, and so many of them seem to say, ‘hey, look at me, I’m as good as the white man.”
Donna exploded. “Don’t you fucking tell me that we are inferior, educated or not! I’m not riding in a car with a racist. Stop now!”
Jo slammed on the brakes as Donna tried to open the door. Shouts came from the back of the truck. Harry was banging on the driver’s window. Jo had her arm across Donna.
“I’m not a bloody racist. When I said, ‘they think they’re as good as the whiteman,’ I meant that they have attitude. I didn’t explain myself well.”
“Sounded bloody racist to me, and now you’re back-pedalling.” growled Donna.
Harry was banking on the window, but Jo ignored him. She looked straight into Donna’s eyes.
“I saved an aboriginal woman on walkabout. She became a grandmother to me. She’s dead now, but she still comes in dreams. She told me she’d be a spirit watching over me!”
Jo removed her arm and Donna did not try to open the door. Jo slid down the window.
“Get back in the truck, Harry or walk the next bleedin’ ten miles to the Station.”
Harry swore but obeyed.
Jo drove on.“Her name was Dalmali. She was sick when I found her. I laid her over my horse. It took about a week but she rallied. The Missus welcomed her help and she stayed around. When I wasn’t droving, she’d take me for walks and show me the herbs. At night, she’d show me the constellations. She slept outside my cabin saying that the only roof she wanted were the stars overhead. I loved her.”
Donna put a hand on Jo’s shoulders.
“I like your touch. Does that mean you’ll sleep with me tonight?”
“I can’t believe you said that!”
“And crude. I can’t wait to get out of here.”
“What’s your hurry? Have fun analyzing the weirdos of the Outback.”
“I suppose you’re their leader.”
“O.K, I thought that since you’re bunking in with me, we could turn it into a celebration of sorts. You did have passion in your eyes back there.”
“If this was a bar, and you were bloody drunk, I might excuse you, but your invitation
resembles someone buying a slab of meat. You need to lose the crude and rude.”
Jo angrily replied, “All I want from you is breast and thigh parts. I can imagine you making love like a robot. Don’t you have any needs?”