Six White BoomersbyTonyDowse©
For those who either never took, or saw little value in Geography, Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere - the Antipodes - (i.e. is on the opposite side of the globe to; Canada, Europe, USA, etc.) - and so its seasons are the opposite of those in the Northern Hemisphere. Thus, Christmas falls not in winter, but in summer, and it's hot - in the outback of far north-western New South Wales, very, very hot.
SIX WHITE BOOMERS *
McFadden Station was remote, even by the Australian outback standards it was remote - 100 miles or so from the two nearest towns; Tibooburra to the south-west, and Yantabulla to the south-east, both of which were the best part of a thousand miles from the ocean. McFadden himself had been a Scot who had made up the numbers in one of an early government's exploration expedition into whatever there might be 'out there'. Having either paid off or fought off the various groups of aboriginals they had stumbled across from time to time, they went through that part of the channel country sometime in the 1840's, a year or so after one of the intermittent floods that occasionally revitalised that ages-old, bone-weary country.
But of course, because the white men never bothered to even consider learning the ways or languages of the black 'stone-age savages' - as they thought of them - they never learned that. All that McFadden later remembered was what he had seen; the mile after mile of knee-high, gently waving, wild-flower dotted grasses. So, when some years later another government put up an offer of outback pastoral leases, he knew exactly where to bid for and set about raising the cash to buy whatever cattle he could lay his hands on.
From time to time, after the occasional flood had gifted it, McFadden Station had done well, very well, sometimes extremely well - well enough to tide it through the years of sun-searing drought. But in the more than one hundred and fifty years since McFadden had first set eyes on it the land had given up what little nutrition it had somehow retained and, as the floods had became ever less in both frequency and size, what grasses struggled on had become both stunted and sparse. And even with the old skills and knowledge of the aboriginal stockmen who had worked for the multitude of white bosses who had come there, the station's good times grew as infrequent as the floods.
By the summer of 2000 the McFadden Station's permanent residents numbered just three; Jack and Molly Dwyer - both descended from the 'arrangements' that had been made by the various managers and the local, cash-strapped part-aboriginal females - and their daughter; to whom, given their circumstances and location, they had somewhat idiosyncratically, given the name of Holly!
From the age of two Holly had always been a worry; even to the minimally educated Dwyers it was obvious that she was bright, precociously bright. Long before Molly Dwyer had even thought to try to start teaching her the basics of the alphabet, Holly seemed to be reading; saying the names and details that she saw on packets and cans. A year or two later, when they arranged for a set of primary school books to be sent them, Holly went through the first year's in about a month!
In those days the education of children in such remote locations was essentially the mother's task, but they were helped by the 'Outback Radio' network, which connected them, rather primitively, with both other equally distant properties and the nearest of several specialist education centres. Once connected, Holly simply blitzed them! By the age of twelve she had completed her university entrance examinations, and by fifteen had acquired degrees in both Pure Math and Electronic Engineering.
But it wasn't just Holly's all too obvious intellectual brilliance that had steadily caused her parents ever more worry, it was also the way she looked. Everyone knew what a genius should look like, especially the subset of that species, the 'female genius'. She should be both scrawny and gangly, with straggly hair, buck teeth and thick, heavy glasses.
Not Holly, by eighteen she looked like nothing less than Australia's answer to America's famous film star, Halle Berry - and then some!
Even Jack Dwyer - a god-fearing, always strictly law-abiding, wife-respecting man, sometimes secretly found himself wondering not only exactly where the hell she had come from, but also, how the hell was he going to be able to continue to keep his itching hands off her!
Holly's wizardry with electronics had however had its benefits for McFadden Station's far distant, city-based owners. She had found time to plan, propose and then even install a wide range of computerised systems that had not only improved their week-to-week management but also, by better utilising what little water there was, saved them both cash and the all too important cattle losses.
But what nobody, not even her parents knew was that underneath her outward academic and technical brilliance, there was still a little girl - a little girl who had always known what she thought other people had either never known, or had chosen to refuse to accept. She had spent years thinking through the problem, developing and scrapping one idea after another, sometimes coming close to actually despairing that she would ever find the right solution. But in time she had - at least she thought she had!
Then, over time, by slyly adding additional items to the range of components she needed for the various improvements she was making to the station's systems, she began assembling it - using the structure on the flat-roofed area above the veranda, which already housed the air-conditioner, to hold and hide it.
When she'd first started she knew her biggest worry would be the power source; when she was a child the station had only what its own generator provided, but later, when she'd first proposed the computerised water system, the owners had coughed-up and agreed to pay what it would cost to have them connected to the grid.
Of course she had no way of actually testing her equipment, and anyway she felt sure it could only be used just the once; apart from the reverse power-surge when it had done what it was supposed to, even logic told her that the event would not be tolerated a second time.
But even then, even once she was sure she had done everything possible to ensure it would work, she had concerns as to how she would be able to explain to her parents why she had done what she had - after all, once she'd thrown the switch there was no way she would be able to hide the outcome.
Then, as though the very gods themselves had actually given her their blessing, there was a phone call. Their neighbour, a mere sixty miles down the track to Tibooburra, was organising a party, a Christmas Eve party. When her mother told her Holly was tempted to whoop the roof off, but she didn't, she held herself still, and mentally started preparing a reason why, at the very last minute, she wouldn't be able to go.
So there she was, late in the evening of Christmas Eve, alone in the house, nervously pacing to and fro; in her head visualising the mass of circuits and systems in the unit, checking, double-checking there was nothing she had forgotten or overlooked. Then, at around eleven; taking a shower, spending time with her make-up and hair, even using some lotion she'd received from an aunt, smoothing it over the firmly ripe curves of her still untouched, virginal body.
Once satisfied she had made herself as attractive as possible - though not realising just how devastatingly beautiful that actually was - she took the packet she had somehow managed to keep from her mother's ever-prying eyes, and slipped on the wispy lacy panties, then the equally 'little bit of nothingness' that the brochure had called a 'naughty-nightie'.
Before leaving the house she checked to make sure she had turned off every power switch, then went outside. Although the day had been hot, the night was cooler, but with what little breeze there was coming straight off the desert, it was still warm - yet even so she knew her skin had goose-bumps, not from the air, but from her own, inner excited anticipation.
She almost ran up the ladder she'd earlier left beside the veranda, stepping lightly across the roof, to the air-conditioner. She turned it off, then checked her watch, eleven forty-five - 'Another fourteen minutes, then I'll do it.' - she said to herself, before taking the watch off and laying it down on the housing.
She looked up, at the stars - which out there blazed with a brilliance that city-dwellers would never, ever know. Somewhere up there, someone, something was moving - she knew it - and, if all went well, it, he would be here, with her - in something just under fifteen minutes. It was hard to believe; all the years of thinking, planning, calculating, building - everything she so deeply believed in - would be tested in such a little time. And what was in some ways even more thrillingly exciting, was that if all went as well as she hoped it would, soon after that she would be someone else, someone completely new!
The minutes ticked slowly by, far, far too slowly for Holly, but they did so, and, having stood watching the second hand climb wearily towards the hour, she reached down, opened the housing's door, reached in, and threw the switch.
So far as Holly could see absolutely nothing immediately happened; but if she had been elsewhere, somewhere within sight of any building within a five to six hundred mile radius, she would have - black-out! Every light, every motor, even every Christmas tree and string of Christmas lights, suddenly went out!
But then Holly saw it - saw what she'd wanted to - although at first it wasn't what she saw, but what she smelt, ozone, well to be technical, ionisation. The air was thick with it - then she saw it; first there was a deep violet tinge to the air, then it brightened, quickly, in no time at all outlining whatever it was that it was surrounding. And then suddenly - 'Poof' - a moist popping sound, and, as Holly had always expected, there he, it was.
Or rather, something completely other than what she had expected was!
'What the fuck!' cried a voice from the front of the big pick-up truck - and six, very large, very surprised, male albino kangaroos started bumping and jostling each other.
Holly was as surprised as the boomers were; she hadn't expected Father Christmas to be travelling like this, nor to be someone who'd give vent to language exactly like her father's.
She went tentatively towards the truck, then opened the passenger door and looked inside.
'What the…? Well, well, what have we here?' The rather nice-looking young man behind the wheel said when he caught sight of her. 'How long have they been keeping someone as beautiful you hidden away in the sticks? What's your name sweetheart?' he added.
'Holly, my name's Holly, Holly Dwyer.'
'Well Holly, Holly Dwyer, what have you been up to?'
'I've invented a quantum mechanics time-trap.' she replied with quickly growing confidence. 'And the name's Holly, not Holly Holly.' she added.
'Sorry, human names always confuse the hell out of me. Anyway, as to the trap, what a very clever young woman you must be - nobody's ever done that before. But tell me two things; first why did you build one - and then why on earth are you dressed like that?' he asked as his eyes continued taking in the far too arousing display of herself she was giving him.
'I've always believed there really was a Father Christmas - I mean there had to be, there were just too many long-lasting myths for there not to be. And as to the other thing, well that's a bit more personal. But couldn't you get out, there's so much I want to know. I mean for one thing, you're very young, where's the snow-white beard - and come to that, what's with the truck, I expected a sleigh, you know 'jingle-bells' and all that stuff - and as to the 'roos, well that's just plain ridiculous!'
'Hold on, hold on a bit! Of course I'll get out, but just how far does the time-trap of yours extend? I don't fancy trying to find out what happens if I happen to step, or fall through it.' Father Christmas worriedly replied.
'To the roof line, you'll be safe anywhere up here.'
'Thanks.' he said, getting out and, before circling the truck, speaking softly to the boomers.
'I don't really know if this bit's possible-'Holly said. '- but I've got half a bale of lucerne hay up here, if the kangaroos would like that, and of course if they can eat while still in the time-trap.'
'I don't see why not, and I'm sure these jokers would love it, thanks.' he replied.
Having broken up the hay and spread it around amongst the boomers Father Christmas reached up into the back of the truck, fished around for a bit and then pulled out two, small, fold-up pool chairs. 'They're for some kids further north, they're a bit small, but it'll be better than just sitting on the roof.' he explained.
'Now, to those questions of yours.' he said once they'd settled. 'First, of course you're quite right about the quantum mechanics bit; I mean there's no way I/we could be everywhere at the same time if it wasn't. So that was clever. But even so, with the Earth increasing its population exponentially, I/we still found I/we needed help - so I/we sort of cloned my/our self. If you get what I mean.'
Holly nodded. 'Of course, it makes total sense. But could you quit this I/we business, it's confusing. Talk to me as you, just you, please.'
'OK, it confuses the shit out of me too.' he admitted. 'So when we, I mean I did this splitting thing, we, sorry, I mean I decided to make myself more locally culturally acceptable - even though nobody's supposed to ever see me. I know it sounds a bit weird, but there it is, we, I mean I tried.'
'And that includes the old man, the sleigh and the reindeers?' Holly asked.
'Oh I think most of that was dreamed up by some advertising whiz-kid for one of your big drink companies, but it seems to have spread world-wide now. But just think about it for a moment - well, you live out here -' he said, pointing out across the darkness that surrounded them. - 'so you know as well as I do that in country like this a sleigh pulled by reindeers would be worse than useless in an emergency.'
'Father Christmas has emergencies?' she asked in amazement.
'Well so far, no - but you never know, especially the way things have been going here in the last hundred years or so. Each year I'm surprised I don't get some sort of rocket up the tail-pipe.' he said with a deep-throated chuckle. 'But please don't keep referring to me as Father Christmas - OK, that's what I am, but while I'm like this, you can call me Kris.'
'Thank you Kris.
Even while they had been talking each had been taking advantage of the star-light and flickering glow of the surrounding force-field to watch, assess, and surreptitiously, enjoy, the sight of the other.
To Holly the entity known as Kris seemed in some ways quite similar to the young men she had seen when accompanying her parents on their infrequent trips to town. His short-sleeved shirt, his shorts and his practical boots were all the sort of things they had worn. But then his dark curly hair was somewhat longer, certainly his equally dark eyes were much more luminous, and his finely muscled legs and arms gave the impression of being more powerful. And, given all that, she had to admit that there was no denying that this Kris was far more physically attractive than her previous idea of what Father Christmas would look like had ever been.
To Kris the young woman sitting nearby was extraordinary. Over the centuries he had been fulfilling his role he had, quite accidentally of course, been treated to brief glimpses of some of the world's finest beauties - in various stages of undress, and taking part in a variety of physical activities. But, even having scrolled quickly through those memories, he couldn't recall ever seeing one quite as lovely, quite as appealing, and, if he was to be honest with himself, quite as physically arousing as Holly. Perhaps - he initially thought to himself - the attraction was because she had a mind that had been able to do what she had done; not only imagine, but also create the equipment that had stalled him in mid-flight.
But Father Christmas was no dissembler, and even if he found it uncomfortable to do so, as Kris he had to be honest with himself. She was not only stunningly gorgeous to look at but - albeit unconsciously - also radiated a powerfully sensual sexuality; and in this form, as a man, he wanted her!
Dragging his eyes away from what he had been unable to prevent himself from staring at Kris managed to say. 'You were going to tell me the other thing Holly, I mean, why you're dressed like that.'
Neither the subdued light, nor her dusky skin could hide the blush that tinged her face. 'It's difficult.' she replied.
'Can't be as difficult as building a time-trap - anyway I'm only here this once. And you know I won't be telling anyone else.' he added with a friendly grin.
'OK, that's true - but it's still difficult, but I will try.' she replied, then haltingly explained. 'Up until now I've only ever lived here, and the only time I get to meet people in town is when I'm with my parents. As virtually all of my school work has been done remotely; by radio, mail and more recently the Net, even that hasn't brought me in touch with anyone - I mean physically in touch. I have had to go to Sydney for a few of the more practical parts of my courses, but even then it was all so rushed I had no time to really meet people.'
'When you say 'people', you mean guys?' Kris interrupted perceptively
'Not just guys - but yes. But now, I mean in the next couple of months, I'll be leaving to live down there. I'm about to start a PhD and I have to work at the university itself.' she explained.
'And you're nervous about that?'
'Not about living there, no - I'm really excited about finally being able to work with people like me, it'll be challenging, but hopefully, rewarding.'
'But - well I know nothing about it, I mean men - well, you know…'
'You mean sex?'
'Yes, exactly! Well of course I 'know' all about it, I mean the stuff you can see on the Net gives you a lot more information than you probably ever wanted.' Holly said with an embarrassed giggle. 'But that's really a glorified text book, isn't it.'
'So, let's see if I've got this right.' Kris said. 'You're soon to be off to the big, wild city, where you'll be meeting all these people, these guys, guys who you expect to be experienced and worldly-wise. And - tell me if I'm wrong about this bit - you're still a virgin?'
'Well physically I'm probably not - I mean after all the riding and horse jumping I did as a kid - but sexually, yes, yes of course I am.'
'And exactly what did you expect Father Christmas to do about that Holly?'
'I, well, I guess I sort of hoped that if he found me pretty, you know, maybe sexy - well he might…'
'You wanted Father Christmas to make you a woman?'
'That's it, that's exactly what I hoped, wanted - what I really wanted from Father Christmas this Christmas was for him to give me the gift of womanhood!' Holly exclaimed, then, having thought for a moment, added. 'You can do that, can't you? I mean physically. I mean while you're in the time-trap you can do all the usual things humans do?'
'Oh yes, it's physically possible. In fact there have been quite a few occasions in the past when I've done what you're asking me to do. Not in a time-trap of course - and not with virgins!' he hastened to add. 'There have been times when I've made exceptions to the rule I/we have - no tampering with what goes on here on Earth. And it's usually been women that have tempted me to break that rule.' he added somewhat sheepishly.