It had been a pleasant drive. Five hours from Toowoomba to Armidale. The poplars of the New England Highway flickering in the Autumn sunset. Spotify had been on ‘folk’ for much of the time, except for when Bec wasn’t looking and Matt had created a Skrillex playlist. Matt had weed only 17 times, Bec had secured her pillows properly on the back seat, so they wouldn’t be (according to Matt) “decapitating missiles”. They were making great time, and nearing a guesthouse where they had arranged an overnight stay.
Bec: Let’s just call to confirm the booking.
Matt: I booked online last night, I’ve got the confirmation number. It’ll be fine.
Bec: OK … Do you have anything interesting to talk about?
Matt: No. Well actually, do you know much about Armidale? Could you please Google it and find out some of the history? I think it’s a very historic town. They had a bushranger there called Captain Moonshine. He made beer for all the men of the forest and stole money from the Sheriff to give to the brewery. He lived in a cave called ‘Captain Morgan’s Cave’.
Bec: Wow. How interesting. I’ll give the guesthouse a call.
Turns out the homestead hadn’t received the booking, due to an internet problem, but a room was available. Matt and Bec arrived, had three courses of wine with a side of dinner, then collapsed into bed.
Bec: Pssst. Darling, wake up! There’s a mosquito!
Matt: Huh? What? You want to have sex?
Bec: No, there’s a mosquito.
Matt: Maybe if we have sex you won’t notice it.
Matt: Okay, where is it?
Bec: There! Up near the roof.
Matt: This ridiculously ornate ceiling is too high. I’ll never reach it. I thought in olden days people were supposed to be little. Like Paul Simon.
After fifteen minutes of chasing mosquitoes around the room with a rolled up sock (Matt attests 15 seconds), about three mosquitoes were killed.
Matt: There’s another one! Oh god. They’re everywhere.
Bec: Arrrgh. Maybe we can turn the fan on high over the bed, so at least they won’t come near our faces and we can sleep?
Bec goes to turn the fan on, but it doesn’t work. She resumes scowling in bed / contributing significantly (depending on who you talk to).
Bec: Matt, one’s here!
Bec: But it’s here!
Matt: Shhh! I can’t hear it if you’re talking.
Bec: Where are they coming from?
Matt: Less yakking, more attacking.
Matt: I think I spotte…
Bec and Matt eventually get tired of yelling at each other swatting mosquitoes, and go to bed.
They wake at 8.00am. Or rather, Matt wakes at 8.00am…
Bec: Ugggggh. I’ve had zero sleep. I feel like shit. I look like shit.
Matt: I got some sleep. I feel pretty good.
Bec: When are you next lecturing on empathy? I feel it’s a strength of yours.
Matt: Don’t you care that I feel OK? I have to drive to the Hunter Valley today. I thought you’d be happy I was in good shape and high spirits.
Bec: Sorry darling. I’m glad you’re okay. I tried to pull the sheet over me to protect myself from the stupid things, but I couldn’t breathe. It was suffocating.
Matt: I did the same, but I made a breathing apparatus.
Bec: Of course you did.
At breakfast they agree to make a complaint to the manager, and head back to the room beforehand, to pack up.
Bec: There must be at least 17 mosquitoes squashed on the walls, and that’s just the ones on the walls. Make sure you videotape all the squash marks, so if we end up slamming them on Trip Advisor, we can’t be done for defamation.
Matt: That’s not going to happen.
Bec: We could end up in jail if there’s no evidence!
Matt: For writing a bad review? Don’t be silly.
Bec: You can make the video recording and do all the commentary and jokes?
Two nights afterwards Matt takes Bec to a hotel room, in a pub, that prompts Bec to consider buying a bucket. To be continued.