and all those who aspire to
Copyright © Brian Lewis 2018
It was 7:30 am on a perfect summer’s day at The Corner Beach on Kangaroo Island.
The man in the black and blue wet suit sensed rather than saw the blue and gold sheen on the sea and the white lines of breaking surf as he sprinted down the golden sand with his board under one arm. He paused briefly at the water’s edge to adjust his ankle strap and then plunged board-first into the sea. Barney was back in his element and all thoughts and worries about the day ahead vanished from his mind. He still had to do the final coat on the verandah posts at Mark’s place and he was already over-budget and struggling to finish by Christmas. But none of that now mattered.
Back in the car park Vonny stood at the side of the X-Trail ute scanning the sea through a set of high powered binoculars. Jared was inside the ute setting up the drone and video receiver set.
The dolphin pod, twenty two in number, cruised beyond the surf break scanning for tommy ruff and whiting.
When Barney had paddled beyond the surf break he swung into a sitting position astride the board and sat quietly looking around. His eyes aimed steadily at the water about six metres in front of him (the S…. word was never mentioned but caution was the norm) and then the aim arced around slowly to cover the full 360 degrees as he unconsciously rotated his board around by moving his legs as paddles. He maintained this motion for several minutes as he felt the rise and fall of the swell beneath him and quite soon he had settled into that idyllic state of oneness with the universe. This was the feeling he craved for daily and was the reason he persisted with trying to live with the difficulties of making ends meet in the vicarious economy of the Island. Then he felt a larger swell approaching and saw it coming in time to turn his board into position to line up for the furious paddle that would take him onto the edge of the new breaker as it grew and then ultimately curled and broke in creamy white foam down into the valley below.
The lead dolphin had caught sight of the man they had named ‘Goldstar’ after the colour and complexion of his aura. They knew he was always good for a bit of fun, so they swung around and raced over to try and catch Barney on his first wave of the day.
Vonny called out to Jared: “Hey, J there’s a bloody mass of dolphins coming in with that guy out there now! Better get air borne buddy or you’ll miss out again!” “Bloody Hell Von stop hassling me willya the bastards‘ll still be there in another two flaming’ minutes won’t they?” replied the charming Jared.
Barney was half way in on his first wave of the day when he noticed the dolphin next to him grinning up at him as if to say “Bewdy Barn” as they streamed together through the translucent sky blue wave of water. By the second wave the whole pod had joined in and their auras had all melded together into a single massive golden starry cloud moving on the wave like a space ship coming in to land on the almost deserted beach.
Halfway in on the third wave Barney became aware of a whining noise somewhere. Neeeee. Neeeeee. Neeee. Neeeee. Surely there was no one snipping grass on the sand dunes! What the heck could it be?
The dolphins noticed there was a problem as Barney’s aura first slowly faded and then suddenly switched off like a light. At the same time they saw him waving his arms wildly at something hovering in the air about two metres above and in front of him. They dispersed then and regrouped beyond the surf break to discuss this strange phenomenon. It was new to them.
By 8:30 am Barney had got in quite a few good waves and was overawed by the dolphin party but the morning had been ruined by the drone. It had hovered around him and the dolphins while they surfed together the whole time and that continuous Neeeee. Neeeeeing had nearly sent him ‘bonkers’. In fact his finger gesturing and arm waving towards the car park was already causing him some embarrassment as he wondered whether someone may think he was a lunatic.
“Hey J. that guy‘s really freaking out out there. Better look busy when he comes up. He could turn a bit mean.”
On arrival at the car park Barney stowed his board, took off his head hood and dried himself briefly before strolling over to the X-Trail. “G’day, good morning for it. You the guys with the drone? Get some good shots of the dolphins?” Don’t you think it may have been a good idea to have kept that bloody thing out of my face? Do you think I live here to go surfing with a machine? I have enough whackers to contend with playing with their whipper-snippers, chain saws, buzz-saws, blow-vacs etc bloody etc!
Vonny, dressed in a white tank-top and shorts and built like a wrestler said: “Yeah, I reckon we might of got a few good ones. Did you enjoy surfing with the dolphins?”
“Well I did until your drone came around. I found that rather annoying actually.” As you would bloody well know from my wild arm-waving.
“Annoying? Really? Did you find it annoying?” Poor diddums got annoyed with the little droney-woney, did diddums?
That evening Barney told Jamie and Ben about the drone incident and they all agreed that it was yet another case of gross selfishness by unthinking idiots. The beaches should be drone-free areas! The Council was hopeless as usual in not anticipating this sort of behaviour and not acting to stamp out the practice before it began. They debated what could be done. Jamie was a retired medico so didn’t have much to offer in the way of a solution except to talk to Council. But Ben was a bit of communications nerd so was quick to point out that a drone–jammer would be the go. Barney sat up and listened carefully. Yes said Ben he could knock up a jammer in a few days. Did you get a squiz at the drone to see the name on it, Barney? No? Chances are if they had a video receiver hooked up it was a top of the range model and most of those worked on 2.4 gigahertz. So it was agreed that Ben would make Barney a 2.4 gigahertz jammer to try out if the situation ever came up again.
The dolphins also discussed the incident among themselves and agreed that they would take leaps to prevent Goldstar from losing his aura when surfing.
One week later. Another dreamy summer’s day at The Corner. Only three cars in the car park. Two blokes surfing and a man and a dog on the beach in the distance.
Barney had been a bit reluctant to accept Ben’s generous offer of the drone-jammer but had agreed to take it with him in case of more incidents like the previous week. There had been no more problems. The drone couple seemed to have disappeared. But he was not sure how he would stand legally if he caused the drone to crash and sink. How much were they worth, anyway? But then again what about his safety? The thing had come damn close. And in big surf an upset could potentially have dire consequences. All it would take would be an unexpected spill while breathing out and you may not come up again. Ben had fitted the jammer into a water-proof holster that could be worn around the waist. He gave Barney a few instructions on how to use it. “There you go Barney. Just like the Wild West! Just pull it out, aim and squeeze the trigger. And don’t forget to buy four new triple A batteries before you use it. It packs a punch so it uses a bit of power. Best to use new batteries each time you take it out.”
J and V were already in the car park and set to go when Barney arrived for his 7:30 surf. He ignored them but his pulse rate increased slightly with the thought of the action that possibly lay ahead.
Fifteen minutes later Barney was beyond the break and in the zone. His aura was already beaming out over the water even before he had caught a wave.
The pod saw him and headed in. They had also come to a decision.
The swell was higher today than this time last week. So the surf was better and the rides even more exhilarating than usual. Barney’s connection with the dolphins gave him a wonderful feeling of serenity yet combined with a sense of fun as they shot under his board or leapt in front of him. And there was always that utter joy of mutual understanding when their eyes met.
Barney had forgotten about the drone couple and had assumed they had taken the hint from last time so he was just as surprised as before when he heard the Neeeee. Neeeeeing. And looked up to see the thing sitting in front of his face again! He was already up on the wave and surfing down its front on a diagonal but he was strangely calm as he pulled out the jammer from his holster and calmly aimed and ‘fired’. The effect was instantaneous and amazing. The drone simply stopped in mid-air, hesitated and then just dropped like a stone into the sea and disappeared.
The dolphins saw all this and were pleased.
Barney kept surfing. He lost track of time and how many waves he caught. But he was aware of some consternation in the car park. J and V could not be certain what had caused the drone failure but they suspected Barney may have had something to do with it. The coincidence of its proximity to him at the time of the crash was suspicious enough for them to have no hesitation in calling the police.
By the time Barney finally came in it was nearly midday and a police car was waiting for him with the furious drone couple righteously standing by its side. “There he is, Officer. Ask him what that thing is he’s got on his waistband. He’s just destroyed five grands worth of high tech gear. That’s got to be worth a few charges hasn’t it?”
Officer Bullock said cautiously; “G’day Barney what have you got to say for yourself about this drone business? Any truth in what these two are saying? I’ll have to take a look at that thing on your belt. May have to take it as evidence.” Seems a bit far-fetched to me. Barney‘s not the type to take the law into his own hands and he‘s not exactly a tech-wizard to be using jammers and the like. Still I’d better be on the safe side and take a look at it. “Hand it over thanks Barney.”
Officer Bullock took hold of the jammer and squinted down at it. “So how do these things work anyhow?” Jared was ecstatic as he burst in with “They work by transmitting a constant wave of energy at the operating frequency of the drone so I can’t keep control and it basically just stops. And then crashes. Inside you’ll see the electronics and so on. Here I’ll show you.” He opened the jammer with a screwdriver he just happened to have handy and showed the policeman the insides. There you go Officer take a look at that. How guilty is he then?
Officer Bullock stared down at the mass of electronic wizardry for a good minute. He then said. “How does it work then? Are there batteries or what?”
Jared stared palely into the little box and turned it all ways, upside down and every which way. But whatever he did there was no escaping the truth. It had no batteries.