Crusty’s Fall From Grace

Road Tales By Kelly Ashton

ALTHOUGH THIS series of recollections and yarns is entitled ‘Living in the ’70s,’ the particular incident I’m about to relate occurred way outside that decadent decade, more like the mid- to late-’80s. Our mob was no longer a rabble of tearaway teenagers, taking drugs, getting drunk, riding motorbikes and chasin’ the chickies. No, we were all 10 years older; responsible adults taking better drugs, getting drunker, riding faster motorbikes and chasin’ young chickies.

We’d all roared off to a party in Epping, just near the old Channel 7 studios. I rode my Norton, Crusty was on his GSX 1100 Jap bike, Skraps was on his Trumpy, and The Doctor has riding his BMW. I think it was The Doctor who’d alerted us to this particular party. It was his mate’s place and that mate had a much younger sister who’d no doubt invited all her hot young friends. Sounded promising.

The bash was in one of those new housing estates where they’d bulldoze a paddock and plonk a shitload of designer homes while nobody was watching. As usual, there was one road in and one road out so we had a bit of a shit-fight finding the place; the avenues, ways and places radiate outwards like a spider web from the entrance road.

True to his promise, The Doctor’s mate’s little sister had indeed invited a plethora of supple young girlfriends, and it was a drool-fest as an impressive number of cute young girls swanned around, all mini-skirts and giggles. A similar number of late-20s or early-30s bike-riding perverts leered malevolently at the wanton display.

As far as parties went, this one was good. All options were open to a halfway intelligent lad as long as he was blessed with the gift of the gab and had a two-wheeled excitement machine standing by for joyrides.

We soon became aware that Crusty was doing really well. He was sitting on the steps near the front gate, holding court. Surrounding him were five very cute young things. For some reason, these impossibly cute young girls were enthralled by Crusty’s easy banter and slightly risqué stories. They hung on his every word as he regaled them with stories we’d already heard. Even we were impressed; the stories sounded so much better than last time. He was a regular friggin’ raconteur.

Crusty was a bit older than the rest of us and he definitely had the best job of our mob. He was steadily working his way up through the public service, then jumping rungs on the corporate ladder, running computer departments for big places and being all respectable-like. But that was Monday to Friday and 9 to 5; from Friday arvo to Monday morning he was a scumbag biker like the rest of us. In fact, Crusty was the man credited with introducing ‘Flexitime’ to the Public Service. If he turned up on Monday arvo or Tuesday morning still pissed from the weekend, his bosses didn’t mind as he always got the work done.

But there he was, working the crowd of sweet young things as we watched from the sidelines. We all thought the best-case-scenario would be for Crusty to take one or two of them on the motorbike, while the rest piled into a cab and followed them to the nearest motel room.

But then it all went to hell.

Right in the middle of a particularly exciting story, Crusty paused. Was the pause for dramatic effect? No.

Was the pause inserted so he could take another swig of his bourbon? No.

The girls urged him on: “What happened then?” they pleaded. “Go on, tell us what happened next!”

Crusty didn’t continue. Instead, he sat there staring through hollow eyes, like he’d just came to the sudden realisation that something had just gone, or was about to go, horribly wrong.

“Tell us what happened next!’ one girl demanded.

B-l-l-l-l-u-u-u-r-r-a-A-A-A-A-A-L-L-LPH!

Crusty performed the most obnoxious projectile vomit even witnessed in modern times. It gushed forward from his gob without the usual impediment of filtering through strategically placed fingers. No, this chunder simply erupted forth and splattered the path, gate, fence and letterbox. The young girls all had great reflexes and, by and large, managed to dodge the vile torrent of vomit, although I’m sure there was some localised splashing.

Now, as you can imagine, none of the girls were interested in hearing the end of the tale. They tried to get as far away from the projectile vomiter as possible, disappearing to the backyard or worse.

Crusty tried to drag himself away from the crime scene, without much luck and even less style.

You see, for some people, chundering is an art-form. After a quick rinse of the mouth they bounce back into party mode. Other, less fortunate individuals, don’t fare so well after a technicolour yawn, and Crusty was well and truly of that category. He was shattered, managing only to crawl a short distance away to die.

Fortunately for Mrs Crusty (his Mum) and the other people who cared, he didn’t die.

It’s not a proven medical fact, but I reckon there’s truth in the rumour that having a big ‘Up & Under’ must drop the blood alcohol reading a few points. Crusty wasn’t really that blotto before the chunder, so he must’ve eaten a bad prawn or something, but believe me, he didn’t look real flash or steady when he finally dragged himself to his feet.

“I’m out of here,” he muttered as he grabbed his bash-hat and wobbled to his cycle.

He stabbed the starter button and the big Suzuki Jap bike bellowed into life. He flipped up the side-stand, flipped down his visor and flipped the finger at all of us.

Then he roared off down the hill and into the night.

“Wrong way!” some helpful bastard shouted after him as Crusty ventured deeper into the confusing, devil-worshipping maze of avenues and cul-de-sacs.

“Oh well, he’ll soon work it out,” the same helpful bastard added.

Sure enough, just a few minutes later, the war cry of a big Jap four thundered around the bend and up the hill again and past the party without slowing down or even acknowledging the cheer squad.

“Turn next left!” Mr Helpful Bastard shouted out, before adding, “Aww, he missed the turn — he’s heading back into the maze!”

We had all made much the same mistake on arrival. Coming in the one entrance/exit road, we turned left and went the whole shebang round this godforsaken hell hole. Had we have turned right, we would’ve spotted the soiree in full swing just about 10 doors down from the entrance road.

Five minutes later, Crusty bolted down the hill at breakneck speed, before returning once more on the uphill dash and once more missing the exit road.

The crowd out the front of the party wasn’t really getting any larger, but by the same token, wasn’t dispersing either. It was a hoot to watch an increasingly frustrated Crusty getting shittier and shittier with each subsequent pass.

Three more high-speed passes in varying directions occurred before an extremely agitated Crusty slowed, lifted his visor and yelled: “HOW DO YOU GET OUT OF THIS FUCKING HORRIBLE PLACE?”

The crowd was discussing stringing a wire across the road to bring him down so we could give him directions, but before this happened, Crusty must’ve found a secret portal back to the real world, and he rode past the party no more.

Once the absurdity of Crusty’s fast but confused laps ceased, the party had a chance to return to being a normal party. On second thoughts, it couldn’t have, because I don’t think I’ve ever been to a normal party. They’ve always had something happening and they’ve always been weird.

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