Surfer Presumed Dead, Returns Alive And Well
WEDNESDAY LUNCHTIME – Local electrician Josh Cassidy has been found safe and in good health, with the 36-year-old miraculously stepping back out of a mysterious other-world to rejoin the land of the living, his dog told all within earshot on the beach yesterday.
‘Nugget’, a four-year-old Border Collie Kelpie Cross – who’d all but given up hope of seeing his master alive again – greeted Cassidy at the water's edge, breathlessly and loudly exclaiming “you’re back you’re back you’re back for the love of God don’t ever put me through that again I’ve been beside myself but who am I kidding I can’t be angry at you oh god I thought I'd never see you again,” and wagging his tail vigorously.
The ordeal began mid-morning, with Cassidy inviting Nugget to join him in the cabin of his Hilux to scout for waves. Having secured Job Keeper and Bushfire relief payments (despite Toonalook being completely spared over summer), Cassidy, like the rest of Toonalook’s surfing population, has been taking a sensibly relaxed approach to his work, and enjoying languid beachbreak sessions, as the coast’s achingly beautiful Autumn continues. With a surplus of sand on the beachies north and south of Toona, the options have been many for Cassidy and his peers.
After a number of brief stops to view the ocean, the pair settled on an undisclosed rebound wedge, whereupon Nugget’s hopes for a companionable romp on the foreshore – perhaps an endless fetch-and-throw exchange involving a manky tennis ball – were dashed as they reached the sand, with Cassidy issuing stern instructions to “Stay here and mind the towel.”
According to onlookers, Nugget initially disobeyed the wishes of his master and accompanied him to the water's edge, imploring him not to leave.
“From the get-go I had a bad feeling about this. As a canine my sense of specific recall isn’t super sharp, but there was a horrible sense of deja-vu about the whole damn thing.” says Nugget.
“And I didn't like it one bit. No sir.
“You have to understand, this man’s a God to me – my primary source of food, of joy, scratches behind the ear, ball throwing – and here he was, inexplicably wading out into this mysterious and threatening other-world that I could not follow him into.
“I did my best to stay with him. Lord knows I tried. But the further I ventured the more my paws lost traction. Like I was running in outer space or something. It was weird, cold and foreign. I had to turn back, and pray my Beloved would do likewise.”
Onlookers report an increasingly agitated Nugget pacing the water's edge, calling out in vain to the fast-vanishing Deity, before returning to the towel.
“Maybe the worst thing about it is any scent trail allowing you to keep tabs on your One-And-Only just vanishes at the edge between these two worlds.” recalls Nugget.
“For all intents and purposes, the Light Of My Life was effectively extinguished.”
Thus began Nugget’s torturous 40 minute vigil – an interminable five hours in dog time – where the bereft hound’s mood swung from stoic optimism to an existential floppy-eared melancholy that not even the allure of a passing-by Labrador’s anus could soothe.
“Sure, I checked it out – I believed my Lord And Master would have wanted me to get on with life as best I could – but I was just going through the motions as I jammed my nose into that Lab’s arse.”
“When you lose interest in what’s usually a source of erotically-charged wonder you know things are grim, but you have to keep going.”
And as anxiety gave way to crushing grief, it was all Nugget could do to maintain the most rudimentary self-care protocol of licking his balls.
In the cruellest of developments, Nugget fell victim to numerous heartless pranks as several other figures approximating Cassidy’s form emerged from the blue beyond – only revealing themselves to be Lesser Humans on closer inspection.
“Bastard bastard bastard bastard bastard,” Nugget was heard to exclaim to every perpetrator of these false alarms.
Indeed, witnesses report that it was with cautious suspicion that a heartbroken and wary Nugget approached the emerging figure of Cassidy – who after getting a nice little coverup decided it was probably time to come in and take care of that cashy job at Cornell’s joint.
“I thought, here we go again, another prick pretending to be my Personal Jesus and break my heart into a million pieces... but as he got closer and called out ‘ya crazy boofhead mongrel’ I knew that life was once again worth living, The Chosen One was safe and I was the happiest dog in all of creation.”
With emotions running high, a brief bout of recrimination and sulking ensued when Nugget refused to get in the Hilux, and had to be lifted up into the back seat.
“I just wanted to be held,” he later confessed.
Cassidy and Nugget returned to their Toona Waters home by lunch, to be greeted by Cassidy’s partner’s Burmese cat, who reportedly yawned “Damn, I was hoping you fuckwits had drowned.”
As we file this dispatch, Nugget is sitting in the kitchen, anxiously shifting his weight from left paw to right, watching his master throw down some toast and desperately hoping for some benevolent crusts, as he’s absolutely certain there’s no way known he can make it through to dinner time.
// DING ALLEY
Ding Alley is two mates, Artist David McArthur and Bullshit Artist Gra Murdoch. Back in the early 90s they held court at the opposite ends of the Old Burleigh Theatre Arcade: Murdoch designing ASL mag at one end and Macca running the bar at the glorious Montezumas Mexican Restaurant at the other. Macca would occasionally illustrate an ASL article, and Murdoch would regularly scrounge sneaky bourbons and San Antone nachos.