Incident At Seagrove Caravan Park

 

It was Mick who suggested that I moved to Seagrove
Caravan Park…

Mick was in his late thirties and had been living there
for 10 years. He told me that the city had been too
expensive for him and, like me, he had a healthy
dislike for the workplace. Any work-place. So I packed
my single sports-bag and caught the city rail to
Linkholm, a station in the outer western suburbs where
Mick said he’d pick me up in his combi.

‘She charges reasonable rates’, he told me as we left
the station in a cloud of blue exhaust.

‘Reasonable rates is all I can afford right now’. I
noticed in the rearview mirror that the traffic could
not be seen.

‘Your engine’s burning oil!’

Mick glanced into his side mirror and shrugged, ‘I only
make short trips with her now.’

The traffic, the houses, and businesses; the city life
began to thin with help from the sputtering engine as
the combi hugged the left lane of the Pacific Highway.
After forty minutes, Mick turned off and followed a
small coastal road until he made a final turn onto a
small, dirt track. ‘I’ve already told her you’re moving
in, mate, so don’t worry about anything.’

‘What did she say?’

‘Nothing. She just checks the list of available vans,
gives a price she thinks a bastard like you can afford,
quotes a deposit’.

Mick drove the combi van through the entrance to the
caravan park and stalled it neatly alongside the
largest mobile, which appeared to function as the
reception.

‘Wait here!’ Mick threw upon the door of his van and
shuffled over to the mobile. He returned a short while.

‘Here!’ He threw me the keys and restarted the engine,
before crunching into reverse. ‘I’ll take you down to
yours. Vera said that once you’ve settled in she’ll
come down and introduce herself. She’s busy at the
moment.’

The combi slowly turned away from the reception
building and sputtered its way towards one of the more
dilapidated areas of the caravan park. I looked at the
well-tended, semi-permanent dwellings nearest the
reception.

‘Who lives in those?’

Mick grinned, ‘retired bachelors.’

‘Widowers?’ I asked, trying to catch a half-hearted
glimpse of the residents.

‘No’, Mick grinned, ‘just lots and lots of single old
men’.

‘M-i-i-i-i-i-c-k?’

‘What?’

‘What is this place?’

He gave me a quick glance, ‘It’s not what you think,
dude, honest!’

‘This had better not be a set-down joint for down-and-
out faggots or I’ll fucking kill you!!’

‘It’s not what you think, man. In this place, people
leave you alone, they just let you get on with your own
business.’

I glanced at him.

‘It’s true!’ he said. ‘If this were Faggot Central, I’d
have cleared out years ago. It’s not like that! It’s
just that Vera likes to run things her way. She admits
blokes as residents.’

I looked at Mick waiting for a stupid grin as he pulled
up next to a van with paint peeling off the side and
moss on the roof. The frustration began to sink in.
‘How can you fucking stand it? Don’t you ever go crazy
not seeing any chicks! At least in the city there’s
chicks to fucking look at!’

‘Dude, I have been here for fucking years and have
hardly seen anybody. People just leave you alone.
There’s a club just down the road I can take you to,
cheap beer, and on Friday nights it’s full of surfee
chicks. Real hot wimmen! So THAT is NOT an ISSUE, ok!’

Mick stepped out of the idling combi and unlocked the
van while I grabbed my sports-bag. ‘Here’s your keys!
Come over for a cuppa when you’re settled in. I’ve got
lots to talk about.’

Before I could ask him what he wanted to discuss, the
combi had already driven away slowly down the narrow
road.

I unzipped my sports-bag and threw my clothes over the
bunk. I placed my notebook and pen neatly on the small,
narrow table. A gentle breeze made a welcome entrance
into the enclosed, damp, musty van…

*

Mick sat a cup of coffee for me down on his plastic
table as I arrived at his van. He noticed a distance in
my eyes.

‘So, you’ve met Vera then?’ he smiled.

At first, I didn’t say anything. I gripped the coffee
mug that he’d set down for me and recalled the more
vivid details of her appearance – very youthful, skin
so smooth and as white as milk; short-cropped, rust-
coloured hair; mousey eyes…’she’s beautiful! Reminds
me of a girlfriend I once had, a woman who gave head
really well.’

Mick nodded. ‘I asked you up to this place for a
reason.’

‘What reason?’

‘I know you like to do a little research before you
write those disgusting bloody stories and there’s
something about Vera you should know.’

‘Since when do you read my stories?’

‘I’ve read a couple of ’em, and after knowing what
they’re like I knew I had to get you up to this place.’

‘Where have my stories appeared?’

Mick ignored my question and swallowed some coffee.
‘I’ve been here for years now and I’ve never seen Vera
around a living soul, male or female.’

‘Maybe she’s a recluse.’

Mick’s eyes shone. He spoke softly. ‘Nah mate, Vera
used to work in a hospital in Victoria…’

‘And?’

‘And… she very quietly got dismissed after working
there for close to ten years.’

‘What was the reason?’

‘Well, her service record was close to impeccable. She
did all the late night shifts, you know, the ones that
nobody else can stand…’

‘Yes? And?’

‘…and then a hospital attendant thought he caught her
doing something that she wasn’t supposed to be
doing…’

‘Thought?’

‘Yes, thought. They kept her on at first, and it was
hushed up, but she was given a dire warning not to do
anything like that again…’ Mick peered out of his
front van window before he continued ‘…things went
quiet again for a while… a long while… which lasted
another few years I think… before they caught her out
again… but this was more serious.’

‘What was she caught doing?’

‘She was caught fucking a dead guy.’

I looked at Mick completely stunned. ‘No shit?’

‘Full on. She had taken his body somewhere private,
completely undressed him. They found the dead guy with
an erection and it looked like she’d been working him
big time.’

‘No fucking way!’

‘Yes, way! Somehow she’d made the guy hard. It wouldn’t
be difficult with a piece of arse like that humping
you, eh!’

‘Yeah, she is fucking hot!’ I had to agree with Mick on
that one.

‘But that’s her thing, you see. Which is why you don’t
see anybody around her much.’

‘Is it because they know about her past?’

‘No, that was really hushed up. I don’t think anybody
else here knows about that. She just likes to be left
alone.’

‘Fucking hell! This would make a good story.’

Mick laughed, ‘I thought you’d want to write about this
one’.

‘It may be just bullshit, though’, I shrugged. ‘How can
you prove this happened?’

‘I found it while snooping about in her office. She
left a filing cabinet open and was outside for a while
when I found her discharge paper bundled up in the
bottom of the cabinet drawer. For some reason she kept
it there. The comments made by her manager were
vague…’

‘Ahh, so this could just be bullshit! You could be just
making it up.’

‘No fucking way is this bullshit.’ Mick drained his
coffee. ‘And I’ll prove it to you, just wait and see.’
Mick ended the discussion with a confident tone in his
voice.

I walked back to my van, disoriented, rethinking all
that Mick had told me, trying to match the dark desires
of this ‘fictional’ character that he spoke about with
the beautiful, innocent-looking woman who had greeted
me earlier…

*

A routine was pleasantly unfolding for me at Seagrove
Caravan Park. With my free time, and a boss no longer
looking over my shoulder, I was beginning to write
again after being locked into a low wage, shitty job
for five years. I was catching up, writing about the
city life, the women I never had and the few I did
have, shitty moments, happy moments, mad-arsed moments
that most writers ignore at their peril.

Once a fortnight, Mick and I would drive over to the
unemployment office to submit our job-search
applications, a small amount of money would come
through where I could buy a few groceries and write
some more for a little longer. The beach was in walking
distance and I would go down there late in the morning,
usually I would leave behind a short story in the van
fresh from the night before, and wade into the ocean up
to my neck. The water was always cool, it woke me up
quickly.

It was early one evening, when I had just finished
cooking dinner on the gas stovetop, that Mick knocked
excitedly before bursting through, ‘old man Jonesy has
carked it. Vera’s been hovering around his van for some
days now with her tongue hanging out, I think she can
smell death before it strikes.’

I grabbed a knife and fork, ‘You’re so full of shit!’

I sat down to eat some mashed potato.

Mick let loose with his obsession about Vera and what
she’d planned for Jonesy that night.

‘I saw her over there at dusk, it’s going to be an all-
nighter in THAT van with Vera and STIFF Jonesy.’

‘Bullshit!’

‘She’s wearing a skimpy outfit.’

‘Bullshit!’

‘Take a fucking look!’

I carried the plate of food over with me to the window
and continued eating. A faint light was seeping out of
Jonesy’s van.

Mick was becoming increasingly desperate, ‘She’s
banging that old dude right now!’

I gave Mick a strange look and kept eating. ‘Who the
fuck would be desperate enough to bang that guy!’

‘There are candles lit inside his van. Jonesy never lit
candles in his van!’

‘Maybe he’s out of power!’

‘Look, it’s getting near dark. Let’s sneak over to
Jonesy’s van to see what’s really going on!’

I took a bite of hot, greasy sausage, ‘Mick I think
you’re fucking deluded. Since I’ve been here I’ve seen
nothing odd about Vera and I saw Jonesy just this
morning, he was walking along the beach and he looked
fit as. So stop talking crap, I’ve got some more putrid
stories to get on with tonight.’

Mick looked only slightly offended. ‘I’m offering you
something juicy, dude!’

‘Dinner… is getting… cold,’ I replied between
mouthfuls.

‘You’re going to lose a good fucking story!’

I quickly finished the rest of my meal while Mick left
the van. I lifted my cup of hot tea, turned on the
pocket radio and turned off the light near my table.
The dark interior was a dream for a voyeur, I looked
over at the soft light coming out of Jonesy’s van and
sipped at my tea, before retreating to my bunk.

With the radio crackling with static…sleep came on
slowly that night. Mick’s disturbed thoughts had
entered my consciousness and were still echoing through
my brain. I was still shaking away provocative images
of Vera when I awoke…

3:10am.

Wide awake!

That doesn’t normally happen to me. The air felt tense,
vibrant, too active for the deader side of night.

I sat up in the bunk and looked through the opening
between the curtains that covered the front window.
Candlelight was still seeping out of Jonesy’s van. Just
as I turned to lie back on my small pillow, movement
caught my attention. I looked back at Jonesy’s van.

A pale, semi-naked figure of a woman was moving about
inside.

My eyes widened. ‘That’s definitely not Jonesy!’ I
thought.

Curiosity was building up inside me whilst I stood
looking out at Jonesy’s van.

‘Fuck it!’ I thought to myself. The air was too much,
just too much.

Mick’s comment about missing a good story came back
through my mind as I carefully unlocked the door to my
van and pulled down on the latch. My feet found the
galvanised steps in the cool morning air. The surf
could be heard crashing in the distance, the sounds of
breaking waves were being carried across to the caravan
park with a gentle onshore breeze.

I walked toward Jonesy’s van, keeping away from the
larger windows of his van and remaining within the
darker areas of the park. ‘I must be fucking mad!’ I
thought to myself as I slowly ambled towards the van,
each step taken carefully so that no dry twigs would
snap beneath my feet.

I got down on all fours and crawled beneath Jonesy’s
van and waited. I looked for any light seeping through
a crack in the flooring and only saw a small gap, just
enough to put my ear against…

*

Mick awoke to the sound of rampant thumping on his
door.

‘Who the fuck is it?’

The thumping continued until he hauled himself out of
his bunk and unlocked the latch.

The door swung out sharply. ‘Mick, come quick dude,
it’s Vera. Vera’s dead-fucking humping Jonesy.’

Mick slammed the door on his mate and crawled back into
his bunk. ‘I’m eating my dinner, so fuck off!’

‘Mick, Mick! there’s an all-nighter going on with VERA
and STIFF JONESY. Come and check it out!’

Mick pretended to make chewing noises, ‘Dinner… is
getting… cold… good night!’

The door to the van was bashed several more times.

Footsteps, punctuated by the odd snapping twig, faded
away into the night.