I really wish that my Australian Aunt Gertrude would learn to keep her mouth shut. Since she’s been holidaying with us her loud Australian accent and innate shatter has got me in trouble more than once.
Last evening she decided to stay late in church after the Prayer Meeting to have a cup of tea and a chat. Nothing wrong with that, except that at about ten o’clock I was made to volunteer to go and pick her up. I had just got home after a long day at work, I had not eaten since I don’t know when, I was a little tired and yet … when you are volunteered … well, I’m sure you understand!
On our way back from church my stomach rumbled once or twice.
“Swallowed a frog have you cobber?” said Auntie with a laugh.
I apologized and let the incident pass. But a few moments later, there it was again, a louder rumble.
“I heard better noise from the depth of my billabong!” she exclaimed, “Trapped wind is it? Well don’t let it out in the car mate!”
I ignored her and prayed that we’d get home soon. But my prayers may have been mislaid in a pending tray somewhere in Heaven because a few yards later we were stopped by a police vehicle parked up ahead.
“Good evening sir, mam,” said the policeman, “We’re conducting a routine vehicle check. It won’t take a moment!”
Before I could say anything Auntie Gertrude, sitting in the passenger seat beside me, said “I can assure you he hasn’t been drinking officer!”
I froze in my seat and did not know what to say. My stomach spoke for me with a loud rumble.
“At least I did not see him drink,” continued Auntie, “I’ve been in church you see. He picked me up so I doubt he would have drunk and driven at the same time, cobber!”
The policeman looked at me and asked. “Have you been drinking sir?”
“No, of course not …” I replied in a dry throat, fearing where all this would lead to.
“Would you to get out of the car please?” he said sternly.
I got out and so did she. The policeman went to his car and spoke with his colleague. I asked Auntie to get back in the car but she wouldn’t.
“Don’t worry mate! I’ll get you out of any trouble. I get stopped by the police all the time in Adelaide!”
The two policemen came back to our vehicle and explained the procedure involved in taking a breathalyzer test.
I blew in the bag and it was negative, as indeed I expected and hoped for.
“Is this your vehicle, sir?” asked one of the policemen.
“Yes …” I nodded.
“No it isn’t, cobber!” retorted Auntie, “you told me it was a company vehicle!”
I explained as calmly as I could that it was the firm’s vehicle registered in my name.
“Has he done something wrong?” asked Auntie, “because I can vouch for him. He is not the brightest penny in the universe; but he gets along poor soul.”
“Please mam,” said one of the men, “would you return to the car whilst we talk to your husband!”
“She is not my wife!” I protested.
It’s bad enough having her for an Aunt, an elderly one at that, than to have her mistaken as my wife.
“She’s a visiting relative from Australia” I explained.
“Are you going to do the good cop bad cop bit?” interjected Auntie again making a bad situation worse, “I doubt he’d know which is which; the poor wallaby!”
One of the policemen stayed with her by the car whilst the other one took me aside towards his vehicle. He checked my identity and paperwork and explained that it was a routine check and all was in order. He explained that he had to breathalize me following Auntie’s comments, and sympathized somewhat with my predicament. “Some elderly folk like to be seen to help!” he remarked.
As we drove away Auntie commented with a gleeful smile, “They had to let you go, cobber! I told the policeman who stayed with me that in the dictionary the word wimp has a picture of you next to it!”