Author: Mick Beville

A story of predjudice and assumption

The new VW Dual cab Ute was impressive. Only a four cylinder diesel but the turbo compensated.
Nine hundred a month for the next four years, followed by a twelve grand residual… “It would want to impress?”

The trip into Mittagong was as much about reassuring myself that I’d spent wisely as it was for the for the Fish and Chips.
As I approached the Town from the North I had a choice. I could either park outside the “Charcoal Chuck” or carry on through the traffic lights, do a U turn at the “Top Pub” and head back along the Hume highway to park opposite the Charcoal Chuck. It was the start of the “long weekend” and a snow bound yuppie driving a BMW managed to steal the last parking spot outside the “Charcoal Chuck’
The down side of facing north meant I would have to play chicken with the traffic, but first things first, a couple of long necks from the Lion Rampant.

The first part of the chicken game on the highway went fine and I skipped onto the flower bed in the middle of the highway. A change of pace and a one eighty turn of my head had me facing the South bound traffic. I crossed two lanes in two seconds. “I heard someone say g’day Mick, and turned to see old Jim leaning on his horse float.
“G’day Jim, how are ya mate?” I reached out immediately to shake his hand, but it wasn’t the same hand I’d shaken when I first met him ten years ago. That hand could have held you on the spot for a week. “I’m good” he replied, “but the towns getting more like Sydney everyday don’t you reckon Mick?” “I reckon Jim” you think they’d be enough money in the Eastern suburbs to make their own flaming snow. “G’day Mary, I didn’t see you sat there. You’re looking well. What are you up to these days?” “Someone has to drive this old bastard around” she said, putting her brave face on.
Old Mary was famous for the vernacular and reputed to be a woman to be tough in her younger days. Legend has it that she once punched a bloke from the council. Apparently he made the mistake of pointing his finger and telling her what she could or couldn’t do with her own land.
“Get your take a way home before it gets to cold Jim” I said cutting them a bit short. They’d gone through a bad trot recently and I felt guilty as I held the door of the Fairlane for Jim while he struggled into the passenger seat.

Jim wasn’t yet seventy but as he struggled to smile, he looked much closer to eighty.. Only a short memory ago Jim was King of all he surveyed and there wasn’t a man born that had a faster wit or a kinder hand. After working hard all of his life he retired at sixty five to enjoy his beloved trotters. “The best laid plans of mice and men.” Six months into retirement Jack had a stroke that led to gangrene and eventually his right leg had to be amputated.
I was starting to feel more uncomfortable each time I came across Jim and Mary. Jim in particular, was a stark reminder that life, though very precious; is anything but Just.
Snapping out of my morose thoughts I waved them good buy and turned to face the “Charcoal Chuck.”
The Charcoal Chuck in sharp contrast was buzzing with life. I might get an argument from a vegetarian but from my perspective the place was alive and kicking. “Who’s next?” The young girl called out with a hint of a sigh.
“Two pieces of crumbed fish and one lot of chips” I replied sharply. I probably queue jumped a few people, but who cares” locals are always superior to tourists.

I positioned myself in such a way as to see through the glass sliding door and across the highway to my VW Ute. My thoughts had been monopolized by the VW ever since I picked it up a week ago. Admiring its sleek lines I felt reassuringly to my pocket for the keys; first the jacket pocket “oh oh;” “try the trousers” I told myself but they weren’t there either.

My fish was almost ready. Do I run across and get the keys? Or do I wait?
Once again fate was on hand to make my decision. Climbing into my unlocked Ute with the keys in the ignition was a kid that couldn’t be more than seventeen; his baseball cap was on back to front and he had Westie written all over him.

“Hey that’s my Ute!” I cried out, and it was loud enough I’m sure for the whole town to hear. Every face in the take away turned first to look at me and then at the general spectacle. My adrenaline was pumping. I was heading out through the door with my mind exploding. -“Get a good description of him� Call the police� Throw a brick at him.’- and all this time he was driving off in my new Ute.
“No time to waste, I have to follow him.” I looked in the first parked car and there was a dog on the back seat. The next car was locked. The very last car was the BMW- ski’s on the roof, windows down keys in the ignition- “what poetry.”

In first gear, I red lined it towards the lights and with no intention of going through them I changed into second while doing a U turn over the medium strip. As I passed the Charcoal Chuck, the sign said sixty, I was doing eighty. Passing the golf club the sign said eighty, I was doing ninety. A car flashed me from the opposite direction. Shit I had no lights on. “Where are the lights�.? A glance at the Speedo and I was doing one hundred and twenty in an eighty zone. “Slow down you stupid, before you kill someone.’

“Where is he” was my next thought. I knew he had about two minutes start on me and I was certain he was heading for the Freeway then on to the Western suburbs. Surely he wouldn’t risk speeding. Thirty minutes would see him on home turf and a greater chance of losing me. My advantage was the fact he didn’t know I was giving chase. A steady one twenty passes most traffic and keeps the cops of your back. Maybe that’s what he’s thinking. “Think smart?” I said squeezing the pedal to one thirty.
The approach to the Freeway was only a blur and the North bound traffic thankfully quiet. From the top of Catherine Hill I had about a two kilometre view of the road and I felt sure I could see the distant profile of my beloved VW. “Stick to one thirty-be cool- everything comes to he who waits’

“Bullshit�” I said out loud.

“While were having this conversation” I asked myself. “What’s your limit and how fast can this car go?”

“To fast� be cool and think rationally. Any way what are you going to do if you catch him?”

“What do you mean if� When I catch him, I’ll tear his thieving head off.”

A phone rings.

The Yuppie phone on the console is flashing coloured lights. I pick it up and answered.

“Who is it?”


Pressing every button I could in an attempt to turn it off I finally thew it behind the passenger seat. I heard a different ring. It can’t be, its my phone.

“Who is it?” I ask.

“It’s me Anne. Where are you?”

“I’m on the Freeway. Someone’s stolen the VW”

“You’re breaking up- I cant hear you- did you get my crumbed fish?”

Then nothing���.

Anne I have to point out is my wife of thirty four years.

The sign reads PICTON AND CAMDEN NEXT EXIT. This is the point where things could go pear shaped.
He could have taken this exit and be heading in one of two directions but I doubt it, he looked a Westie through and through.
My bet is Claymore, Green valley or Amber vale.
With confidence I passed the Picton Exit- the point of no return- another fifteen minutes would see me Westie-land.

“There he is�” “I can’t believe it, he’s only three hundred meters ahead of me and I’m gaining on him.

What to do? Slow down, don’t pass him, phone the police� What a brilliant idea! Triple Zero what could be easier. I dialled the number and after three rings I heard a recorded female voice. “You have dialled emergency triple zero your call is being connected” and then It rang again. Two more rings before a real woman answered. “Emergency, Police, Fire, or Ambulance, which service do you require?”

“Police Please?”

“What state are you calling from?”

“New South Wales”

“What is the name of your nearest major town?”


“Connecting you now sir”

Three rings this times and a very soft male voice answered.

“Campbletown Police station, constable Christian speaking. How can I help you?”

“Constable my names Mick Kelly and someone has stolen my new VW Ute”

“When did you last see your vehicle sir?”

“I’m looking at it as we speak”

“But I thought you said it was stolen sir”

“I did. I’m following it on the Freeway”

“Could I have the registration number of your vehicle sir?”

“I’m going to have to get a closer before I can read the license plate”

“That’s ok sir can you give me the make and number of the vehicle your driving at the moment?”

“Are you still their Sir?”

Am I still here? Just tell him the truth. “Yes officer I’m still hear”

“Could you please give me the make and number of the vehicle your driving?”

“I don’t know the number. I’ve borrowed it. It’s a dark blue BMW with skis on top.
“He’s taking the off ramp� He’s taking the off ramp�.”

“Calm down sir. Just give me the license plate?”

“It’s UGW 268 and were turning right over the Freeway and down past the University.”

“Sir I see you are familiar with the town. If you could remain calm and follow the vehicle at a safe distance. Stay on the phone and I’ll link you up with the Highway patrol?” Within seconds the silence was broken by a macho voice.
“This is Sergeant Dobbs of the Campbelltown Highway patrol. What is your speed and location?”
Shit�! I didn’t like the sound of him. There was no question of “what was I doing?” There was no polite “Sir” or “Mr. Kelly” Just a blunt, “What is your speed and location?”
My mental picture of Sergeant Dobbs was macho, six foot tall, eighteen stone, an Adolph Hitler moustache and a face like a dropped pie. His sexual preference would be anybodies guess. In short the kind of man who would book his mother for parking.
Realities check� I was driving straight into the hands of Sergeant Dobbs who would throw the book at me; steeling a motor vehicle, speeding in a stolen motor vehicle and using a mobile phone while speeding in a stolen motor vehicle.

I hung up.

“Think straight� Ok, I have just given Constable Christian my name address and the rego number of the VW, which means he knows where I live.

“Dick-Head..!” I called my self out loud “Dick-Head..!” I said it again.

Plan� start thinking quick. What’s the worst possible scenario?

Worst scenario�he drives into the housing estate and pulls up outside a drug house. I follow him into the back yard and ask him politely to give me back the key’s to the VW, at which point four of his mates give me a kicking and throw me to the Rottweilers

Just as that thought hit me, my phone rang again.

“Mr. Kelly this is Sergeant Dodd’s, are you their Mr. Kelly?”

“Yes! Yes Sergeant. I’m sorry we got cut off.” It was so reassuring to hear a policeman’s voice again,

“Sergeant I’m following the VW along Blaxland’s Road towards the second set of lights and I think he’s going to turn left”

“That’s fine Mr. Kelly just call out any street signs as you come to them, we are less than two minutes behind you”

“We have just turned left Sergeant; I’m passing a concrete supply place and car repair joint” Then silence.

“Are you still their Sergeant?”

“Yes I’m hear Mr. Kelly, Its sounds like you heading for Claymore or Eagle vale. Just keep driving and talking, your doing fine.”

“Yes� Yes�” I said loudly. I was right and I couldn’t help feeling smug about it.

“God I hope I’m not right about the Rottweiler’s.’

“Sergeant I’m heading under what looks like the Freeway and theirs a roundabout. He’s turning right and I’m right behind him. The sign said Dobell Road. Are you there Sergeant?”


“Are you their Sergeant?”


“Shit� That’s all I need.”

“Sergeant if you can hear me? He’s turning left into Norman Crescent”


“Sergeant, answer me, please. He’s indicating right and turning into what must be a Cul-de-sac. The Cul-de-sac is full of cars and people and they all seem to be arguing.”

“The Westie, he’s stopped behind the Volvo. He’s getting out and trying to make a run for it, I’m going after him”

I was thinking. “I haven’t come this far just to let him get away” I was right behind him as he reached the Volvo. That good old adrenaline was pumping as I grabbed him and spun him around. He was only a kid but I was as mad as hell.

“What do you think you’re playing at?” I screamed. He looked like he was about to wet himself and before he could say anything the Highway patrol came screaming up behind us. Out jumped the Sergeant; not looking an inch like I imagined him.

“Christopher” said the sergeant, with an amazed look on his face.

“Dad” said the Westie with a relieved look on his face.

Sergeant Dobbs just brushed me aside and I stood their completely confused. The old man in the Volvo with the hat on looked like he was terrified.

“Christopher I thought you were on your way to Christian College in Canberra” said sergeant Dobbs.

“I was, dad. But while I was taking a rest stop in Mittagong, I saw this old man steeling my Volvo. Its only a week old I couldn’t let him get away so I jumped in the first vehicle I saw and followed him.” Sergeant Dobbs tapped on the Volvo driver’s window.

“Would you please open the door and step out of the vehicle sir?
A very nervous elderly gentleman slowly opened the door and struggled to his feet.
“Sergeant” he said. His feeble voice quivering from whatever adrenaline was left in his veins.
“Sergeant I know you may find this hard to believe but that blue Subaru Impressa WRX with the mag wheels is mine. It was a present from my wife for my eightieth birthday and that Priest over there, the one arguing with the woman, he stole it.”

As sergeant Dobbs radioed for assistance, saying “you may find this hard to believe sir” my mobile phone rang.


“Hello Mick. Where are you? It’s me Anne.”

“Anne you’re not going to believe what’s happening. I’m in a Cul-de-sac in Claymore with a Policeman, a Priest and fifty stolen cars, and one of theme’s the VW”

“Your right; I’m not going to believe it. I’ve just had a phone call from Chris.”

“Chris who” I asked?

“Chris� our son Chris” Anne answered sharply. He said that the VW is parked outside the Lion Rampant in Mittagong with the keys still in the ignition.