Lost World of the Wends–Roast Cockroach

Roast Cockroach

[An extract from my new novel, The Lost World of the Wends]

The seven sat around the dining table in silence. The roast steamed in the centre. Candles either side guarded the meal. Thunder rumbled over the hills and mountains. Lightning flashed.

Boris nursed his ray-gun hand and then he placed it beside his knife; a reminder in case any member of the group chose not to cooperate, Joseph assumed.

‘Oh, I’m going to enjoy this,’ Boris purred. ‘Thank you, Herr and Frau Biar, for inviting me. I do apologise for not being at the service this morning. I had a little business to take care of.’ With an evil twinkle in his eye, he glanced at Amie. ‘How was the service?’

Amie gulped.

‘Boring,’ Friedrich said in a sing-song voice.

Frau and Herr Biar tightened their mouths. They frowned at Friedrich and shook their heads.

Wilma piped up. ‘Joseph and Amie are in love.’

‘I know,’ Boris looked at Herr Biar. ‘Well, aren’t you going to do the honours? Cut up the chicken. I’m sure you’re all dying for the roast.’

A black bug crawled out of the chook’s orifice. Everyone watched as it meandered across the tablecloth.

Boris drummed the table. ‘Come on! I’m hungry!’

Herr Biar sighed. He sharpened his knife and sliced off some chicken breast.

‘No! No! A proper cut! Cut the chicken open!’ Boris rose and stood over Herr Biar.

Herr Biar jabbed the knife in the centre and flayed the roast.

Cockroaches teamed from the cavity and over the plates, cutlery and vegetables.

Joseph flicked them as they sauntered over his plate. Amie shook them off her dress.

‘Come on! Cut the meat up Biar!’ Boris raised his voice. ‘We want to eat.’

Herr Biar served portions onto the plates. Boris helped. He scooped up the black stuffing and slopped a spoonful on every plate. The stuffing reeked of a rancid stench that filled the room.

‘Now, the vegetables,’ Boris said. ‘Frau serve the vegetables. We must have our vegetables.’

Frau Biar lifted with fork and knife, the roast potatoes garnished with cockroach entrails and plopped them on the plates. Then she added the steamed peas and carrots mixed with bugs.

Six stunned people studied their portions of festering food, not daring to touch it. Boris presided over the group. He grinned from ear to ear, imitating the Cheshire cat from “Alice in Wonderland”, as he poured lumpy gravy over the chicken on each plate.

‘Go on, eat up,’ he urged. ‘Oh, and by the way, Amie and Joseph, I have your families—just where I want them.’

Joseph tracked a couple of roaches tumbling in the gravy.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021

     Feature Photo: Christmas Table Waiting to Happen © L.M. Kling 2006


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Trekking With the T-Team–Kings Canyon

Central Australia has land formations that go way beyond one’s imagination. One of these wonders, the highlight of our adventures in the Centre, is Watarra (better known as Kings Canyon), which is approximately 320 km from Uluru.

[Excerpt from my travel memoir:

Trekking with the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981.

Available on Amazon and Kindle.]

Forget About the Men

Friday August 7, 1981

I had to find the men, but the chasm’s majesty awed me. Forget about the men. The cliffs each side of the gorge glowed golden and striped with black. The cliffs’ texture was Violet Crumble, smooth and pockmarked with crisp inverted bubbles of caves. One side had sheets of rock sloped over the valley, the angle tipped, threatening to collapse on top of us. The other side possessed shorter more stunted sheets placed in layers, like pastry. A barrier of a third cliff plugged the end the gorge acting like a wall in a room joining with the other two cliffs. Behind a collection of boulders piled on the top of this rear wall the map promised a waterhole. I imagined it to be a slimy mud puddle as the creek in this current section of gorge offered nothing in the way of clean running water. Still I was curious.

[Photos 1 & 2: Walls of Kings Canyon © C.D. Trudinger 1981]

I caught up to the fellers who lingered at the base of these three adjoining cliffs near a small rock-hole. We marvelled at the chasm, and the steady stream of tourists like ants trailing along the edge of the cliffs above.

[Photo 3: Conga-line of tourists © C.D. Trudinger 1981]

‘Where’re they going?’ I asked Dad.

Dad shrugged.

C2 (my younger cousin) gazed up at the walls, his camera almost glued to his eye, fired another round of shots to capture the scenic wonder.

‘How many rolls is that, bro?’ C1 (older cousin) asked.

‘I don’t know, at least a couple.’ C2 snapped away with his trigger-happy finger. ‘This is magnificent!’

[Photos 4: Magnificent view of Kings Canyon © C.D. Trudinger 1981]
[Photo 5: The ripple effect © C.D. Trudinger 1981]

Keen to explore, Dad scrambled up the side of the gully and rock-climbed up a ledge. There he splayed himself like a huntsman spider flattened to the vertical surface, his bald head switching every which way for the next hand or foot hold. ‘If we could just get over this cliff,’ he yelled.

TR (family friend) basked in the sun on a boulder and yawned. ‘This’s far enough, I’m happy.’ He smacked his pink lips and closed his eyes.

[Photo 6: Dreams fulfilled to do as TR on the other side near a bigger waterhole © C.D. Trudinger 1981]

‘Ah, well, where there’s a will there’s a way.’ Dad inched down the jagged rise, rock-hopping to the tiny rock-hole. ‘Mmm! I wonder what the water’s like.’ He cupped the liquid in his hand, after staring at it for a moment, sipped it. ‘It’s fresh.’ Wiping his whiskers, he rose and then unscrewed the lid of his water bottle. ‘Come on everyone, fill up.’

We emptied our canteens and dipped them into this fresh water.

‘I remember now.’ My brother, Rick pointed at the army of tourists filing along the cliff above us. ‘I think there’s a track that leads to the back of the gorge.’

[Photo 7: Dreams of Swimming in the big waterhole back of the gorge © C.D. Trudinger 1981]

‘Oh, I don’t know.’ Dad screwed up his nose and peered at the people. ‘Could be just going to a look out.’

‘No, I remember, the track goes behind. There’s a bigger waterhole there.’

‘No harm in trying.’ C1 slung his canteen over his shoulder. ‘Let’s go.’

‘I’m not going anywhere.’ TR reclined up against his backpack, his Bible on his chest.

So, leaving our family friend behind to read his Bible, the rest of us scrambled down the valley. The lads leapt like mountain goats from rock to rock. Dad hunted for the route that would lead us up and over the gorge. I followed the men up the south side of the valley, walking along the ridge until a mountain of rocks blocked our way.

[Photo 8: Dead-end—The lone ghost gum © C.D. Trudinger 1981]
[Photo 9: The boys fight for supremacy © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1981]

Rick stood at the base of these impassable boulders and shook his head. ‘Nah, it’s not this way, must be the other side.’

‘Oh, but, oh, but—’ Dad traced his hand over the wall of stones.

‘There must be a reason why everyone’s going on the other side.’ I gazed at the people trooping along the far ridge. I really didn’t want to follow the trend of tourists, but in this situation, I conceded that they may be on the right track.

‘Oh, alright, then,’ Dad said.

‘No harm in trying, Uncle,’ C2 said.

Down we climbed. I struggled, slipping on loose stones. Stranded, I froze to the spot, afraid of riding out of control and falling over the cliff. Rick returned to where I stood and guided me to the safety of the gully.

We stopped at the Rover to watch the sheer volume of tourists trailing up the hillside to the left of us.

‘Guess you’re right, son,’ Dad said. ‘I think I’ll join them. Should give us a good view from the top anyway.’ He strode along the thin path towards the people. My brother and C2 darted after Dad.

[Photo 10: Welcome Lost City © C.D. Trudinger 1981]
[Photo 11: Lost city discovery © C.D. Trudinger 1981]

C1 shrugged. ‘Might as well see where it leads.’

I followed C1.

[Photo 12: Venture into Lost City © C.D. Trudinger 1981]

We stuck to the worn trail. People returning along the same track nodded at us and remarked the hike was well worth the effort. Young ladies in high heels negotiated the rough spots in the gravel path, and a guide helped weaker women over the bridge.

I pitied them.

At that same narrow bridge, did I ask for anyone’s help? No, I did not. What’s the big deal? It’s just a bridge. I stepped over the bridge in seconds.

[Photo 13: We’ve been to Kings Canyon, Rick and C1 on lookout © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1981]

The path led through a gap to a waterhole behind the gorge, a paradise. Beehive mounds of rock surrounded the pool, and a dry waterfall rose into a maze of grooves through a sandstone canyon lush with trees, shrubs and cycads. From this natural room, we spied an adjoining valley. Behind us the tourists crowded through the rocky corridor. They also gathered in droves on a lookout above us.

[Photo 14: Sunset View from Lookout © C.D. Trudinger 1981]

While the rest of the T-Team waited for the stream of tourists to clear, I discovered a narrow passage in the northern section of the valley and slipped through the crack to explore where it led.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016; Updated 2018

Feature Photo: Kings Canyon Crumble © C.D. Trudinger 1981


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Lost World of the Wends–Mutant Chickens

[An extract from my new novel, The Lost World of the Wends]

Mutant Chickens

By the light of the “hand of God” cloud, that hadn’t moved, Amie galloped to the chook yard.

Herr Biar and his son Friedrich paced the pen. Herr Biar carried an axe.

‘It’s over there,’ Friedrich said. With hands outstretched, he ran to the corner of the hen house.

The chooks whooped and bocked in protest. Something feathery skittered out into the yard with Friedrich in hot pursuit. Herr Biar joined the chase. Round and round the pen they ran. Tracking their frantic laps made Amie dizzy.

Amie mused. What were they doing chasing some small feathery animal, probably the rooster? Did his crowing tick them off that much, they get up in the middle of the night to kill the poor bird?

Rays of a torch lit up the scene. ‘Wicked! A headless chook!’ a voice said behind her.

Amie glanced over her shoulder. Joseph stood there grinning like the Cheshire cat. ‘What do you mean, headless?’ she asked.


Leading the father and son on a merry chase, a rooster’s body. Blood spurted out of the open neck. Hens pecked at the detached head. They looked like they were enjoying a feast.

Meanwhile, Biar and his son cornered the headless creature. Father made a grab for it, but it ducked out of his reach. Friedrich hurled himself on the rooster’s body, but with a life of its own, it slipped from his tackle.

Friedrich rose to standing and dusted poultry poop off his shirt and trousers. ‘That beast is not normal. It has eyes on its body, I swear.’

‘Why do you think we kill it?’ his Papa said.

Biar darted left, his son right, again trying to trap the unruly body. But the ball of feathers and muscle darted in between them.

‘It’s got a life of its own,’ Joseph said.

‘It’s one very angry body,’ Amie said. ‘It didn’t like them chopping its head off. Why did they do it?’

Joseph leaned close to Amie and whispered, ‘I heard Herr Biar talking to his Frau last night at dinner. Apparently, the cock has been fathering defective stock.’

‘Stock? What do you mean? Mutant chickens?’

‘Yes, not surprisingly, knowing this place. Look around. Look up at the sky. How could the chickens come out normal?’

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021

Feature Photo: Rooster on the loose in Tasmanian countryside © L.M. Kling 2001


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All On a Sunday (3) — Hermannsburg

[Seven years ago, the T-Team, next generation embarked on their pilgrimage to Central Australia. Purpose: to scatter Dad’s ashes in his beloved Central Australia, in Ormiston Gorge.

Over the next few weeks, I will take you on a virtual trip to the Centre and memories of that unforgettable holiday in 2013, with my brother and his family; the T-Team Next Generation.

This time, the T-Team visit Mum T’s old stamping ground, Hermannsburg where she shares with the T-Team Next Gen memories of her childhood home.]

Mystery in Historic Hermannsburg

We checked out the old school room. Mum reminisced the terrors of teaching the fellow missionary kids who were barely younger than her. They just refused to listen or obey her. Some were constantly daydreaming and never did their lessons. Mum vowed never to teach again. She escaped this teaching fate by getting married…to Dad.

[Photo 1: Mum T and T-Team Next Gen gaze out the school room © L.M. Kling 2013]

Then the church.

‘The only time we wore shoes was for church,’ Mum said. ‘Sundays were for Sunday best.’

[Photo 2: The historic church back in the olden days © C.D. Trudinger circa 1955]

T-Tummies began to grumble and so, the T-Team Next Gen decided to head for the Precinct Café in what was once the Manse of the Hermannsburg Missionary Supervisor.

As we investigated the old rooms that had been converted into a souvenir shop and tea rooms, Mum said, ‘This is the room Dad and I stayed after we got married.’ I took a photo of Mum in that room which was now filled with souvenir clothes and hats.

[Photo 3: Mum T in her old room © L.M. Kling 2013]

Finally, Mum and I approached the counter and asked the young Arunda lady serving, if we could have a table for our party of ten.

She guided us to some tables on the porch where we could sit. Along the way, Mum mentioned to her that she used to live in the house. From that moment on, this lady could not do enough for us, making sure we had the best slices of apple strudel and helping us with the self-serve tea and coffee.

[Photo 4: The Manse and what was then, what would be, the front porch where we sat © C.D. Trudinger circa 1955]

When she had left us to serve someone else, Mum whispered to me, ‘I think she is GW’s (an elder) granddaughter.’

Later, as we were leaving to explore more of the village, she who served us ran up to us to continue the conversation with us about the Hermannsburg of old and answer any of our questions about Hermannsburg today.

[Photo 5: Hermannsburg of old—evening play in the compound © circa S.O. Gross circa 1950]
[Photo 6: Hermannsburg in 2013—building in the compound © L.M. Kling 2013]

Then, she had a question for us. ‘Have you seen or sensed any ghosts?’

We shook our collective heads. ‘No, we haven’t.’

‘Apparently, some people have seen a girl in period clothing, circa 1900. And some have seen an old man in this café. The young girl plays with my children,’ the lady who served us said.

[Photo 7: Funeral for a Mission Worker © courtesy S.O. Gross circa 1941]

I tried to think back to my previous visits to Hermannsburg. Can’t recall any ghosts then…just dreams of the olden days, way back when…And the pioneer missionaries and Afghans trekking across the desert on horses and camels.

[Photo 8: Caravan of camels starting out desert trek © S.O. Gross circa 1942]

More exploration of the Historic Precinct where Mum walked us through her childhood. First, her old home and the porch converted into a bedroom in which she slept. Now, the home is “renovated” into an art gallery. Her room fetches up to something like one thousand dollars a night for an authentic experience of yesteryear’s accommodation. To think, I did that for virtually free in the 1970’s…not her room, but…

[Photo 9: T-Team Next Genner inside Mum’s old childhood home (at last!) © L.M. Kling 2013]

Then, the “native” (as they were called back in the early 20th Century) girls’ quarters and the “native” boys’ quarters. Once upon a time, one hundred years ago, they were locked in at night, so they wouldn’t escape and get up to mischief.

[Photo 10: Meanwhile locked out and waiting to go; a re-enactment by the T-Team. Mum said that my grandpa spent “hours” in there, while his daughter, a young Mum T, hopped around the outside waiting her turn © L.M. Kling 2013]

Then the huge shed; a museum of machinery and long-forgotten technology, for butchering cattle, and tanning of kangaroo skins. Outside, my niece sat on an old tractor.

[Photo 11: On the old tractor © L.M. Kling 2013]

‘I wonder what happened to the green Mission truck?’ Mum said.

[Photo 12: Memories of the Green Mission truck. Dad T seen sitting inside © S.O. Gross circa 1955]

While the T-Team Next Gen rested at a picnic table by the morgue, and Anthony filled the water canteens, Mum shared how, as a child, she and her sisters played funerals. ‘We’d dance around the table pinching our noses.’ Apparently, back then, funerals were a regular occurrence. Mum added, ‘The most eerie experience was the wailing by the Arunda when someone died. Sent shivers down my spine.’

[Photo 13: Pastors on a mission © courtesy of S.O. Gross circa 1953]

Meanwhile Anthony battled with the nearby water pump which was situated just behind the Historic church building.

Mum glanced over and remarked, ‘Last time we visited in 2010, we were told about this competition Hermannsburg and another mission were in for who had the holiest water. Someone had drunk the water from this other mission where the water had bubbled up to the surface through the sand and was healed. So, then, Hermannsburg had to out-do this other mission and also make water with healing qualities.’

[Photo 14: Hermannsburg Historic Church © L.M. Kling 2013]

The T-Team laughed.

‘Hey, Anthony, you’re pumping holy water,’ Richard’s wife, Mrs. T called out. ‘Are you allowed to do that?’

‘It’ll be alright,’ Mum said. ‘No one’s looking.’

Anthony took a sip and frowned. ‘It tastes awful!’

‘Too salty?’ I asked.

‘Well, that’s convinced me!’ Anthony put his hands on his hips. ‘We’re going back to Alice Springs for the night.’

So, with our water containers empty, Anthony and I joined the T-Team on the return trek to Alice Springs.

‘I hope we can get a campsite at the Stuart Camping Ground,’ Anthony said.

[to be continued…]

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021

Feature Photo: Hermannsburg Historic church © C.D. Trudinger circa 1955


Virtual Travel Opportunity

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Trekking with the T-Team: Central Australian Safari. (Australia)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (United States)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (UK)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (Germany]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [France]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (India)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Canada]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Mexico]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Italy]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Brazil]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Spain]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Japan]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Netherlands]

The Lost World of the Wends–Potato Wars

[An Extract from my new novel, The Lost World of the Wends]

Potato Wars

World of the Wends, Luthertal—the Other Side of the Galaxy

Jane suspended her potato peeling and looked out the window to the dam. Alpine mountains cast shadows over the valley where the men were digging up potatoes. One minute she remembered singing hymns on a barge floating down the Elbe, the next, they were in ready-made community houses and she was peeling potatoes for the midday dinner. Jane frowned as she tore slivers of skin off the potato. She peered through the hoary window, into the dazzling light, searching. Herr Boris Roach had assured them they had reached the Promised Land—Australia. Now that they were here, settled, and with questions…he turned cruel; more like the rulers they’d fled than the friendly man he’d been. Questions? Herr Boris Roach forbade questions.

Jane yawned, then sighed and began chopping. Her vision blurred, and the knife shaved the top of her thumb. She put the injured digit to her mouth and paused. She checked her thumb. Ah—no blood. With a bread and butter knife, Jane slathered the potato quarters with butter. She stopped. Studying the empty path winding down from the mountain, she pulled at her fringe. Stray wisps escaped from her scalp and she watched them fall through her fingers. One hair laced itself over the tray and onto a greasy quarter demanding to be roasted. She extracted it and placed the tray in the wood oven.

Lunchtime and the men returned from farming to gather in the communal dining hall. Hans, Jane’s husband and village bürgermeister (mayor) gave God thanks and sat down to the roast beef and vegetables.

Jane looked directly at him. ‘Hans, what is going on?’

‘What do you mean?’ Hans spoke through a mouthful of meat.

‘All this! It just doesn’t make sense.’

‘Looks normal to me.’

‘But it’s not right.’

‘You should be grateful for the land God has given us.’

‘Papa, the sky’s so purple,’ Friedrich, their son of twelve, said. He rubbed his nose and gazed out the window at the end of the rough timber table.

Hans leaned forward and peered out the window. ‘Purple? It looks blue to me.’ He sat back down on the bench. ‘Anyway, this is Australia, there’s bound to be a few differences.’

‘But it’s so hot!’ Wilma, his five-year-old daughter fanned herself with the prayer book.

‘I don’t understand, dear. They never said it would be so hot.’ Jane hid her mouth from the fellow diners. ‘I’ve had to dispense with all the petticoats, or I’d faint from the heat.’

Hans threw back his melon-shaped head in mock horror. ‘Oh, dear! That is terrible! What would people think?’

‘Mama!’ Wilma screamed. ‘There’s a cockroach in my prayer book!’

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021

Feature Photo: Austrian Alps © L.M. Kling 2014


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T-Team Next Gen–All in a Sunday (2)


[Seven years ago, the T-Team, next generation embarked on their pilgrimage to Central Australia. Purpose: to scatter Dad’s ashes in his beloved Central Australia, in Ormiston Gorge.

Over the next few weeks, I will take you on a virtual trip to the Centre and memories of that unforgettable holiday in 2013, with my brother and his family; the T-Team Next Generation.

This time, the T-Team visit Hermannsburg, Mum T’s old stamping ground.]

Midday, and Mt. Hermannsburg rose up above the desert scrub; just red sand dotted with tee tree bushes, spinifex and the invasive buffel grass. At regular intervals, horse poo appeared in high piles on the roadside.

[Photo 1: Distant view of Hermannsburg from the distant past © S.O. Gross circa 1940]

‘I wonder why the horses do that?’ I remarked while driving Mum’s hire car.

No one in the car could explain.

‘The locals say that the buffel grass is a curse,’ Mum muttered.

‘Do you reckon it’s changed the weather here in Central Australia?’ I asked.

‘Would’ve made the bushfire worse a couple of years back,’ Son 2 said. ‘Now we can’t have a campfire anywhere.’

‘Why did they introduce the buffel grass, Mum?’ I asked.

‘Camels, I think.’

[Photo 2: Horses corralled to be broken in © C.D. Trudinger circa 1955


I read later that buffel grass was introduced to stablise the desert soil and reduce the risk of bushfire. The problem with this grass is that it is pervasive, compromising the growth of native plant species. PIRSA (Primary Industries and Regions, South Australia) has declared “Buffel Grass under the Landscape South Australia Act 2019”.

A massive animal carcass on the side of the road flitted past.

‘What’s that?’ I pointed, then placed my hand back on the steering wheel. ‘It’s too big to be a roo and too woolly to be a brumby.’

Son 2 piped up. ‘Camel?’

‘Hmmm, hate to think what happened to the vehicle that struck that camel,’ I said.

[Photo 3: Wild Camels © C.D. Trudinger 1981]

Not long after the camel carcass, we passed the memorial to Hermannsburg Mission and then a sign welcoming us to Ntaria—Hermannsburg. To our left, a supermarket, a pale brick structure languishing on the edge of a paddock near the road.

‘That’s where our friend, P, from church works,’ I announced. Our friends, P and wife, K had invited us to stay with them in Hermannsburg.

The convoy came to stop on the gravel road edge by the store.

[Photo 4: Mount Hermannsburg (feature photo) © L.M. Kling 2013]

I hopped out of the car and entered the store. Searching for P, I wandered up and down the aisles, filled with the owners of the Land, the Arunda people, but shelves empty of anything to buy. Except for the pie warmer, choc-full of pies, chips and other fast foods.

I approached the check out where an Indigenous lady served a long line of customers, who each held pies, chips, hot dogs, and burgers. I stood in line and waited my turn to purchase an answer to my question.

Finally, my turn. ‘Could you tell me where I can find P?’

The checkout lady stared past me.

‘P? I thought he worked in the supermarket,’ I said.

She nodded. ‘Ah, P?’

‘Yep, P.’ Expecting an instant reply.

‘Just wait while I serve.’

[Photo 5: Way back when regular, whole-roast kangaroo was on the menu © S.O. Gross circa 1940]

I waited about 10 minutes while she served a stream of customers purchasing their pies and other junk food.

So, I left.

‘Perhaps we’ll find an answer or P at the Historic Precinct,’ Mum said.

The T-Team convoy led by Mum’s hire car, then continued through Hermannsburg to the Historic Precinct. We passed a gated community. Yes, you heard right, a gated community. Houses painted in bright pastel green, yellow and pink, could be viewed through the cyclone fence, and their occupants sitting in backyards of red sand.

[Photo 6: Early houses built by the Mission © S.O. Gross circa 1940]

Further on, we rolled past another store. This one painted in pastel blue and decorated with a mural of native bush, mountains, and a kangaroo. Near a broken window, a faded sign, stating its identity as the “Finke River Mission” Store.

Mum waved a hand in the store’s direction. ‘I reckon P works here.’

[Photo 7: Later, me in front of the FRM Store. Artwork by Wendy Schubert (another of my friends from church) © A.N. Kling 2013]

The door appeared locked by a security gate of thick metal bars. Without stopping, or alighting from the car, I said, ‘I think it is closed on Sunday.’

A few metres on, we parked just outside the Historic Precinct. The wooden gate leading to the old buildings swung in the breeze, open. To one side, though, a formidable sign discouraged us with the words in black letters, “Closed”. Despite this sign and its statement, people wandered across the compound and in and out the buildings.

[Photo 8: As it was; aerial view of the Historic Precinct back in my Grandpa’s day © S.O. Gross circa 1940]

After climbing out of our vehicles, the T-Team lingered by the fence.

‘Are you sure it’s open?’ Anthony asked.

‘Well, there’s people there and the buildings are open,’ Mum replied.

‘They’ve just forgotten to take down the sign,’ I said and then led the way through the open gate and into the compound.

[To be continued…]

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021

Feature Photo: Mt Hermannsburg © L.M. Kling 2013


Virtual Travel Opportunity

For the price of a cup of coffee (takeaway, these days),

Click on the link and download your kindle copy of my travel memoir,

Trekking with the T-Team: Central Australian Safari. (Australia)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (United States)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (UK)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (Germany]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [France]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (India)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Canada]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Mexico]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Italy]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Brazil]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Spain]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Japan]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Netherlands]

The Choice Story Collection

Boris’ Choice

[How the war on Boris began…]

Boris crept towards her. She hunched over, back draped with a tattered shawl, picking rotting peel from the over-flowing garbage tin. Boris eyed the bundle of hessian rags and wrinkled flesh. She’s useless. Who would want her? She’s way past child-bearing age. Surprised someone hasn’t eaten her already. Old females were a specialty on his world, his favourite—boiled. Although he must admit, he’d never pass up the offer of a baby, cooked fresh out of the womb. Boris wiped the acid dripping from his crusty lips, and scuttled closer to his victim. With his probe he stung this brown heap in the round of her back and she melted into a pool of oil. Boris extended his hollow proboscis and sucked the puddle, all of her black fluid on the pavement.

Boris thrust forward his abdomen swelled with this snack, and waddled past his fellow Bytrodes. They smiled at him and nodded. ‘Well, done!’ ‘Ridding the world of waste.’ ‘I wish I had your guts.’

Boris grinned and with his surround optical vision guarded his armoured back as they moved behind him. No fellow Bytrode can be trusted.

Then Boris burped, lifted the flaps in his spine and unfurled his wings. A potent gust of gas enabled him to lift into the air and ferry through the ruined structures, once ziggurats with lofty peaks that vanished into the clouds, now a pile of broken stones. On a mountain over-looking a river of septic waste, his palace gleamed gold and white; his reward built on the shells of his competitors and any other Bytrode that got in the way.

Flying spent the fuel that was the old woman, and hunger gnawed at his ribs. He spied a neighbour, Gavin basking on the roof of a satellite wreck close to the foamy shore. He plopped onto the carcass of yesterday’s breakfast, and sidled up to Gavin’s shiny black back. The heat of the aluminium roof stung his many feet, so he stood on the tips of his pointy toes.

‘Do you want a little something to help you on your trip?’ Boris purred.

His fellow rotated his bald head. ‘Sure. What have you got?’

Boris reached into the pocket of his armour and pulled out a plastic bag of white powder. ‘Here, try some. It’s fresh and clean.’

‘Thanks.’ With whiskers twitching, Gavin positioned his snout over the bag and absorbed the contents.

‘There, that will make you happy.’ Boris chuckled. ‘And me.’

Boris drooled and waited as the goo that was Gavin fried on the metal in the searing afternoon sun. At the crisp and bubbly point, Boris reached underneath the wreck, and pulled out a plastic spatula. ‘Ah! Neighbour biscuit!’ His tentacles wriggled as he snapped off a piece and munched. ‘A fitting entrée to dessert and the object of my lust—Maggie. A perfect end to a delicious day.’

Boris climbed the mountain of victim waste his shell splayed as a force field to protect against the attack of scavengers. His belly bloated, and home too close to wing it, he lumbered up the hillside of rotting corpses to his castle, his numerous eyes like surveillance cameras scanning for any movement of the enemy pretending to be dead. A hiss. Boris’ froze, antennae vibrating. In the crimson rays of the setting sun, a shell rose defiant. Boris charged his weapon arm and fired a stream of fusion energy. Pff! Ash of foe added to the mountain.

Boris folded his weapon prong into his scales, and exhaling, curled into a ball of hard silicon, rolled the final leg of his journey home. At the titanium steel door, he unfurled his body and then tapped the musical security code, using six of his eight legs. The door Bytrode-body thick with reinforced steel and telephone directories, creaked open.

‘Were you successful, my lust?’ Maggie projected her thoughts to Boris. Her shell glowed auburn, as she flicked her long scales and caressed Boris’ aura.

‘Yep,’ he said waddling past her, and then brushing against her waiting claws. He sailed to his throne, the recliner rocker, inherited from yesterday’s breakfast, and planted his thorax on the leather seat. While his peripheral vision traced his female’s scuttling steps to his side, he aimed his proboscis at the shag-pile rug and regurgitated the mashed contents of his stomach, decorating the cream shag with a lumpy pool of umber.

Boris burped. ‘Gavin.’

‘That’s nice, dear. Never did like him,’ Maggie said. She extended her trunk, groping and fusing with his. She dug her hooks into his scales.

Boris quivered as the fermented juice of last cycle’s enemy pumped into his gullet. ‘Ah! Tyrone! That was a good victim.’ Swelling with victory, power and the ether of Tyrone’s spent life-force, he thrust his favourite female onto the shag-pile and Gavin goo, his thoughts and intent on more pleasurable pursuits than feasting.

‘Boris, dear…’ Maggie retracted her spikes and slid from under him.

Splat! Boris’ raw flesh grated on the shag fibres, while is face kissed the blow-fly flecked stew that was Gavin. He lifted his head and sucked in a fly-flavoured morsel. ‘What?’

Maggie’s antennae twitched. ‘We have a visitor.’

Boris straightened up and smoothed his scales. ‘Why didn’t you say something before?’ His abdomen purred with the delicious thought of food killed and prepared by his be-lusted.

‘I was overcome by the moment, I suppose.’ Maggie picked at the bugs in the shag-pile stew. ‘He’s an alien, from a far-away planet.’

‘Mmm! Even better!’ Boris rubbed his stomach. ‘I haven’t had an alien in ages. Where is he? In the kitchen boiling?’ He used his eyes to zoom his focus into the kitchen.

‘But, dear, the lust of my life,’ Maggie said, her voice warbling, ‘this alien is different. You can’t eat this one. I won’t let you.’

Boris’ scales bristled. ‘What? You can’t stop me! I eat everyone.’

A slug-like creature twice the size of Boris, who was big by Bytrodian standards, emerged from the hallway and filled the living room. Boris studied the biped from the antennae-free head that scaped the ceiling, to his massive extensions of legs that disgraced the rug.

‘Okay, I guess it would be a challenge,’ Boris said, ‘although I’d like to know how he got this far without being harmed. He’s got no shell.’

‘Insect spray,’ the biped conveyed while making sounds through one of the holes in his face. Then with one of two hands, he covered this pink face hole and made low pitched grunting noises.

Boris and Maggie stared at the alien, their eye whiskers twitching.

‘Oh, pardon me,’ the alien said through his thoughts and vibration of the airwaves. He extended a thick rope-like limb to Boris. ‘I’m Joshua, by the way. I’m from the planet Earth.’

Maggie clasped her middle legs together and shimmered with an orange hue. ‘Oh! How wonderful! We’ve never had someone from Earth for dinner before.’

‘So you mean you’ve changed your mind, my dear Maggie?’ Boris beamed red as he stroked Joshua’s jelly-like hand and sniffed his salty skin.

‘No!’ Maggie snapped. ‘Why do you have to kill and eat everyone, Boris?’

Joshua tore his hand from Boris’ claw. He rubbed the scratches and wiped scarlet ooze on his white robe.

‘I’m a Bytrode, that’s what I do,’ Boris said, splaying his wings and then prancing around the room. ‘I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t trod on a few shells.’

‘But I’ve been talking with Joshua and he’s shown me another way, a better way to live.’ Maggie scuttled over the rug and Gavin puddle to her mate. ‘If we could be friends, and stop destroying each other.’

Filing his external fangs Boris fixed his beady eyes on this over-sized amoeba. ‘Friends? And end up like Gavin here? What planet are you from?’

‘A better one than yours. Seems like this one’s messed up,’ the alien said as he pointed a stubby tentacle through the window at the wasteland of crumbling shells, and the screams of Bytrode souls in conflict.

Boris planted his six hands on his scaled sides, his limbs akimbo. ‘Well, if you don’t like it, you can go back to where you come from.’ He wished this creature would stay, just long enough for him to execute a plan to over-power him, chop him up, bag him and store him in the freezer.

‘But dear, we can learn from this Earth-being.’ Maggie licked Boris’ feet. ‘He’s from the other side of the galaxy. Surely that must count for something in getting ahead.’

Boris rolled his thousand mini eyes. ‘Very well, then. He can stay in the garage.’ He rubbed his abdomen, and in a part of his mind blocked from scrutiny, rearranged the shelf space to fit bags full of Joshua flesh; so much of it, keep them going for weeks. He purred in anticipation.


Days passed and the promise of barbequed Joshua eluded Boris. Worse, he sensed Maggie slipping from him, enticed by the weird teachings of the man with no shell. By the third day Boris curled up on his nest of droppings, sucking his top claw and sulking. Now, that Earth creature had a following, a rag tag clutch of disciples and had the audacity to preach from the front steps of his castle. Thoughts of love, peace, law and order filtered through the atmosphere. Boris folded his antennae under his helmet attempting to block out the infectious purity. Still the cleansing vibrations penetrated. Boris’ intestines boiled with rage. He rose from his bed and then slamming the door, marched through his home to the porch.

His whiskers recoiled at the radiating goodness. ‘No! Get out of my life!’ He stomped his needle feet on the ‘Go Away’ mat.

The monolith of pale flesh turned and reached out to him. ‘Please turn over your life, Boris. If we start now, your world will be a much better place to live. If you keep on killing and destroying, you’ll end up—alone.’

Boris bristled. He turned, his armour facing the crowd. ‘Don’t care. At least I’ll be free to do whatever I please.’ A dragonfly skimmed the water of the fishpond filled from last night’s rain. Boris shuddered.

Maggie tapped Boris’ hull. ‘Please, love! Listen!’

‘No!’ Boris spun round and with a wing stiff, hit Maggie hard so that she curled into a ball and bounced down the steps. As she straightened, he raised his weapon-arm.

Joshua stepped in front of him, blocking his aim. ‘What are you doing? Do you not love her?’

‘Pah! Never did.’ Boris pumped venom into Joshua’s unguarded chest.

The giant creature sunk to his knees and groaned.

Boris waved his proboscis. ‘You don’t know how long I’ve been waiting to do that.’ The disciples recoiled, and scattered.

‘Three days. He’s only been with us—’ Maggie raced to the prostrate Earth-being. She held his bulbous head while his gasped. ‘What have you done, Boris?’ She looked up at him, her antennae twisting into an anguished knot.

He poised his needle-like mouth over the creature’s supple neck. ‘Only what must be done to survive.’

‘Kill me if you have to, but—’ the alien rasped, ‘—whatever you do, don’t touch my ship.’

‘You have a ship? Hmm?’ Boris said, his fangs twitched at the prospect of a crew full of large, tender, succulent prey.

‘Well, of course he has. How do you think he got here?’ Maggie combed Joshua’s fine white hairs. ‘But he said not to touch it, so—’

‘Shut up, female!’ Boris aimed and vaporized Maggie. He flapped his wings and cleared the cloud of particles from his prize, the alien. Sharpening his pincers, he examined the limp neck and shiny skin begging to be consumed. He lanced his fangs into the soft neck and chomped through the layers of skin, gristle and bone. By midnight, with his belly distended over his lower legs, Boris packed the last of the sealed bags of Joshua in the freezer. He gazed at his handy work stacked on the shelves and sighed. Then he nudged the door closed.

He patted his stomach and farted. ‘Well, nothing like the present. Before they get wind of it. And besides, I’m all fuelled up.’

Boris spread his wings and soared into the atmosphere. He banked higher, above the clouds lined silver with the moon. He closed the vents in his shell as he rose up into the icy stratosphere. The air thinned, not that it mattered to Boris as he didn’t breathe much anyway. He looked down, his home town merged with the continent. He sailed with the solar winds, drifting with the rotation of the planet as he hunted for the alien ship. A speck glittered at the point where the curve of his world met the black of space. Boris powered up his rear booster rockets and charged towards the glint. As he approached the triangular-shaped chunk of metal, he magnetized his feet and plopped onto the frigid surface of the dark side. He set his weapon spike to maximum and cut into the hull.

Sharp spasms quaked from the surface through Boris’ legs. A shot of electricity jerked through his exoskeleton. ‘O-oh!’ Boris retracted the magnets and darted away. Boom! A wave of energy hurled him into space, rolling, flying, knocking against fragments of ship, and reeling like space junk towards the moon. As a ball he plopped into a lake padded with dust. He straightened his body and watched as his world glowed red and vascular with lava and in silence caved in on itself into a lump of coal.

Alone Boris orbited the moon, scanning the pock-marked surface. ‘There has to be a space station here somewhere. And when I find it, and get me a space craft, I’m going for Earth. That Joshua and his kind are not going to get away with what they’ve done.’ He watched his sun dim for a second. He knew he did not have much time.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016; updated 2021

Feature Painting: The Choice © L.M. Kling 2016


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T-Team Next Generation–All In A Sunday (1)

Sunday Morning: Farewell Glen Helen

[Seven years ago, the T-Team, next generation embarked on their pilgrimage to Central Australia. Purpose: to scatter Dad’s ashes in his beloved Central Australia, in Ormiston Gorge.

Over the next few weeks, I will take you on a virtual trip to the Centre and memories of that unforgettable holiday in 2013, with my brother and his family; the T-Team Next Generation.

This time, the T-Team farewell Glen Helen, then struggle with the concept of driving in convoy.]

[Photo 1: Dawn breaking , Sunday morning 14-7-13 © L.M. Kling 2013]

The sound of boots scuffling in the boys’ section of the tent woke me. I wormed my way out of the sleeping bag, careful not to wake my husband, Anthony. He still puffed out the sweet dreams while softly snoring as I crept next door to investigate.

Son 1, his face clouded in a frown greeted me. ‘Couldn’t sleep, so went for a walk,’ he snapped.

‘Best time of morning to enjoy the views.’

‘Sure you don’t have sleep apnoea? You kept me awake with your snoring all night.’

‘It’s just the cold desert air,’ I replied, then left for my own walk with views.

[Photo 2: Mt Sonder at sunrise © L.M. Kling 2013]

Captured more of Mt. Sonder at sunrise; this time in blue and mauve hues rising above helicopter landing pad. In 2010, Mum and her sister had splashed out and taken this helicopter ride over the MacDonnell Ranges. In some ways an easier way to have a birds-eye view of the ranges without all the huffing and puffing and effort climbing a mountain.

[Photo 3: Birds-eye/helicopter view of Glen Helen and MacDonnell Ranges © M.E. Trudinger 2010]

Mum had been there and done that in her youth when she climbed Mt. Sonder with my dad and other Hermannsburg friends. Mum shared just recently, that one of the friends was a rather luscious looking fellow. She puzzled why there seemed to be no photos of this chap in Dad’s slide collection of the occasion.

[Photo 4: Victorious and a much younger Mum T on the summit of Mt. Sonder © C.D. Trudinger 1957]

On my return from this venture down memory lane, I collected some firewood from an old campfire.

Anthony narrowed his eyes and growled, ‘We’re not making a fire.’


I approached my nephew who squatted by a campfire which he had lit. ‘We’re not making a fire,’ I said and then dumped my wood collection into the fire. ‘We’re not having a fire?’

My nephew laughed. ‘I was just playing with my stick and it broke and went in the fire.’

‘And my pieces of wood just fell into the fire,’ I added.

We watched the flames grow, both chuckling at our insurrection to his Kling-ship’s fire-ban.

After a toilet break, I filled a billy can with water and it made its way onto the coals. The family gathered, enjoying its warmth and relative scarcity of flies and other insects. But for some, like my younger niece, the fire failed to ward off all the flies; especially those tiny little sticky flies that crawl in one’s eyes, nose and mouth. For her, the only solution was to put a re-usable cloth shopping bag over her head.

[Photo 5: One way of keeping the flies at bay © L.M. Kling 2013]

Following breakfast by the fire that my husband said we weren’t going to have, I washed and packed up my bedding and stuff in the tent. Having done as much as I could to pack the Ford, I walked up to the restaurant with Son 2. He wanted an iced coffee. There, while Son 2 drank his iced coffee, I bought a book about Uluru, and then had a coffee with Mum. We talked with the owner and Mum shared that she had visited Ayers Rock (Uluru) in 1953.

‘We were the only ones there,’ Mum said.

‘Was Dad there that time?’ I asked.

‘Yes, but I was much younger, and we weren’t going out then.’ Mum laughed. ‘One of the ladies lost the sole of her shoe when we were climbing, and Dad gallantly lent his shoes to her and walked down the rock barefoot.’

‘Just like Richard did in 1981 with his cousin. Only they did it as a dare.’

‘Must be in the genes,’ Son 2, who had been quietly listening to the conversation, snorted.

[Photo 6: Historic climb of Ayers Rock 1953 © M.E. Trudinger 1953]

By 10.30am, the T-Team convoy had left Glen Helen, its red cliffs, its flies and the doused and covered fire, in a distant mirage and we headed for Ormiston Gorge, again. My sister-in-law wanted to buy a souvenir magnet at the Ormiston Gorge information centre.

We parked at the turn-off, where Mum, Son 2 and I waited in Mum’s hire car for the Ford containing Anthony and Son 1 to arrive, and the T-Team in their white van to appear.

‘What’s taking them so long?’ Son 2 asked.

‘Maybe the Ford won’t start.’ A definite possibility, I thought.

‘Don’t say that,’ Mum said.

‘What about the T’s? They’re late too.’ Son 2 grumbled. ‘We’ve been waiting twenty minutes!’

I sighed. ‘Perhaps the old Ford has broken down and Richard is under the bonnet trying to fix it up.’

‘Should we go back then?’ Mum asked.

‘Yes, I think we should,’ I sighed again while starting up the engine. I rolled the car forward, performed a U-turn and then headed back to Glen Helen.

Just as we reached the road to Glen Helen, the Ford appeared, and sailed past us on its way to Ormiston Gorge.

Down the valley we travelled until we could safely do another U-Turn, at what we had coined the “U-Turn Crossing”. This was the place where a couple of nights ago, Son 1 had collected firewood while I collected photos of Glen Helen’s iron-red cliffs bathed in the golden rays of the setting sun.

[Painting: Wood for fire under red cliffs of Glen Helen (acrylic on canvas) © L.M. Kling 2018]

Then, stepping on the accelerator, we chased the Ford. Upon catching up to the Ford, we beeped the horn and flashed the lights of our rental car.

‘What the…?’ Son 2 pointed at a white van on the opposite side of the road, heading back towards Glen Helen.

‘No,’ Mum said, ‘we’ve missed the turn off to Ormiston.’

More sighs. A brief park by the side of the road, our car with the Ford, and then exchange of information with Anthony and Son 1. Then with my brother who had earlier missed the turn off to Ormiston and had to retrace his tracks back to the Ormiston road. Then, we turned around (in our cars) and following each other, bumped our way down the rough track to the Ormiston where we waited for Mrs T to buy her fridge magnets.

Transactions done, we began our journey to Hermannsburg. This time, the T-Team in their white van, waited for us to catch up before launching into the T-Team’s convoy to Mum T’s childhood home.

[Photo 7: Farewell Glen Helen © L.M. Kling 2013]

[to be continued…]

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021

Feature Photo: Red cliffs of Glen Helen © L.M. Kling 2013


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