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A Tight Fit for a Queen: The tale of Tequila and Wet Willys.

(Sir) Clive Steele was a man admired throughout the army for his energy, drive and ability to get things done. Clive Steele was ebullient and personable, and he moved comfortably among the city's professional élite. The man responsible for setting up the s(l)appers training centre at Kapooka, Clive Steele was an exceptional engineer….

Obviously (despite his continuous pleadings) we did not have Clive Steele in our midst. This imposter couldn’t engineer a bmx tall steering mechanism to save his integrity and standing in the staid, sterile Canberra scene.

Despite the initial flawed design, after a little help from some humble and learned Rats, he had slapped together one of the fastest builds in Rat Patrol Oz history. And so it was that on a chili late autumn eve we huddled together under the glow of Trinity Bar’s heat lamps, awaiting the arrival of the newest Rat to our ranks.

FKA Laurence, or Clive Steele (your new best friend) as he would have it, got the night off on the left foot with a round of tequila to sedate the Rats. Perhaps he thought if he could get us all too drunk to think, then we wouldn’t be able to come up with a name for him. Poor misguided fool. Still we were more than happy to drink tequila and indeed FKA Clive/Laurence was setting a clever precedent with which many new Rats may wish to follow: kill ‘em with kindness, and you might end up with a near acceptable name (the emphasis on this last sentence should be on the might!!).

Will Robinson provided the heat stream as we rolled through Dickson en route to the Pho Phu Quoc eatery to line the stomachs. We branched out into two groups: one in search of branches to fuel Will, and the other past the grog shop to fuel our frenzied night… and further ward off the cold of course!

As the flaming campfire beef hit the table, the flaming bonfire bike was receiving some unappreciated attention from no less than three emergency services crews (it must have been a slow night). Responding to a call from a delusional member of the public citing kids breaking things and burning stuff in a shopping trolly, the cops and fire brigade found Limp Jimmy and Will Robinson smoking away on a prominent corner of town. Not sure how Limp Jimmy collecting firewood resembles kids breaking stuff, but the parallel to Will and a burning shopping trolley weren’t too far from the mark.

The obviously impressed, yet somewhat perplexed firies warmed their hands as they called in the incident to HQ. “We’re not sure if you have committed an offence...” said the officer of law, as he radioed in clarification of whether any laws existed for fires in a moving cycle. Earlier in the night 2Humpz had been musing on how bizarre small town laws such as ‘No Riding Pink Elephants Down The Main Street’ come into place. I think we were witnessing such an event.

Limp Jimmy stands by, scratching his head...

To the disappointment of not just Limp Jimmy, but also the hoard of cops and firies now gathered warmly round the fire bike, the call came through to “hose it” as Limp scratched his head in wonder. Limp pedalled a now wet Willy Robinson up to join the feasting Rats, dripping tax-payer-funded water as he went.

By the end of dinner, the reunited crew was beginning to get a bit silly. We all thought that a bottle of whisky, a bottle of pisco, a bottle of gawd-knows-what, and several cases of beer would not be enough for the evening. Eager to impress, FKA Clive/Laurence swung past Trinity for more tequila. The rats departed Dickson channelling Speedy Gonzales crying Andelaay Andelaaay AREEEBAAAH!

This might explain your humble writers mental block for whatever happened next in this story. There was foot-down competition in a second storey car park, a blur of lights and branches brushing past on footpaths, possibly acts of kindness, andlord knows what else... then we somehow ended up in a park with a random dude playing a weird bowed instrument, and Rats strewn out on the grass in a scene that Hunter S Thompson would have been proud of. The decision to rekindle Will’s flames was made with little hesitation or respect for as yet non-existent small town by-law. We then rolled to a housewarming party.

Aparently we missed a fantastic Mr Fibby courtyard performance at the party. A pity, as we had wanted to lavish praise on Hadley and his exceptionally crafted musical bicycle, which had recently premiered in Little Girl Lost in the Devil’s Black Beard. But it was about 2am by the time we arrived. Time, just like memory, gets sucked into tequila-fuelled blackholes.

FKA Clive/Laurence was now in the kitchen eager to please more and more rats. The bounds of his lick, sip, sucking ability would have put Linda Lovelace to shame. The Pisco Sours rolled as we threw bait at Clive. He bit at everything. It was a feeding frenzy for the rats. FKA lapped it all up: reach-arounds, trannies, genitalia, and all your typical Rat Name references. One could propose it was yet another tactic from FKA Clive/Laurence designed to cause mass confusion. And for a while, it seemed it might have worked.

FKA Clive Steele slipped away into the night, convinced he has succeeded in convincing us that he was in fact none other than Clive Steele. The Rats continued to drink and whittle away at names until we all got kicked out near on sunrise. Harold Paytard, a sleepy drunk, was found slumbering in the bushes across the road. FKA Clive had succeeded in eliminating one Rat from the naming mission… little did he know that he hadn’t succeeded in pulling the wool over all our eyes.

A couple of weeks later, Speedy Lovelace (aka Queen of Kapooka) was born and everybody lived happily ever after.

It's a good thing those guys had their protective clothing on for this job.

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