Orange is known as the Pearl of Mid-Western New South Wales, but I wasn’t there for its dazzling mix of spectacular scenery and hearty country meals. After a romantic tryst with one of the town’s sexiest students went horribly wrong (I should point out that was 21 years ago, when I was also a sexy student), I spent more than two decades wondering what happened to her. After stops in Lithgow and Bathurst, and with a heart full of hope, I wandered down to the bustling main street of Orange and put up a sign outside the historic Hotel Canobolas.
I hung around outside the ‘Nobby’ for three or four minutes without getting any bites, so I went off exploring. Orange is a lovely spot, with wonderful old buildings and wide, leafy streets. Robertson Park is a peaceful, sun-drenched slice paradise right next to the shops, and is particularly lively on a warm day. I didn’t really like the town as a teenager and thought it was run-down and ugly, but my opinion was completely changed after a short stroll through the CBD. It’s prosperous, quirky and full of surprises – you could say Orange is as delicious as the fruit it’s named after.
My stroll took me to Wade Park, home to many of my legendary sporting exploits as a youngster. It’s a typical country footy ground that’s dripping with history, and would be a great place to watch a game if the Beijing Bug hadn’t shut everything down. I rocked up in my Gossie High touch footy shirt – which still fits – and received a round of applause from the pensioners and single mothers walking past. I was slightly miffed that they still haven’t erected a statue in honour, though. Maybe when I roll through again in another 21 years…
The hills surrounding Orange are home to heaps of world-class wineries, and I’m sure it would be lots of fun to get pissed at them. But the last thing I needed was to get legless and shit myself in front of my lost love, so I stuck to the pubs instead. There are a billion of them in Orange, though, so I ended up getting hammered anyway. I was polishing off a schooner of Resch’s back at the Nobby when I looked out and saw a heavy-set lass peering at my poster. At first I thought she was wondering whether it was edible, but when she yelled out, “Oi, has anyone seen this cunt?” I raced out to see whether she had any news about my lost love.
“Yeah, that’s me,” she wheezed when I asked her, before ripping off a fart that had children running away gagging.
“I’m a bit thinner and a bit sexier these days, but that’s fuckin’ me. I remember you, Prince fuckin’ Charming. Broke my bloody heart, ya dickhead. Now are you gonna take me out for a feed or what, you prick?”
I looked at the rolls of flab oozing out of her top, and the sweat drizzling down her crimson cheeks, and couldn’t believe it was the same woman who’d stolen my heart decades later. She looked more like the front rower for the Orange footy team than one of the cheerleaders. I felt like throwing a Mars bar into the gutter to distract her and then running in the opposite direction, but I’m a gentleman, so I agreed to take her out for a meal. I just hoped nobody would recognise me, so I made sure we took the back streets to the local KFC.
“I’ll have the biggest bucket of chicken you’ve got, one of them large chips with the bacon and cheese all over it, three Zinger burgers and a Diet Coke,” Goliath barked at the chick at the counter. “Actually, fuck it, swap the Diet Coke for a cup of gravy. He’s paying.”
I went for a small chips because I was already thinking about remortgaging my house to pay for the beast’s feed.
“I lost me virginity here – well, if you don’t count family,” the blob told me when we sat down. It was quite a feat, because she was shovelling that chicken down her gullet like she was heading off to the gulag. “Darryl Grogan bought me a 36 Piece Feed and then put the bucket on me head while he did me up the blurter in the carpark. No man’s ever made me feel so beautiful. You can do the same if you play your cards right. And by that I mean getting me some nuggets, I’m starvin’.”
The creature ended up with a drumstick in her hair and mashed potato all over her face, but I didn’t say anything because, to be honest, it improved her looks. I kept asking her about the night we spent together, but she kept changing the subject. In fact, it seemed like she didn’t remember it at all, and was only interested in forcing as many dead animals into her mouth as possible. Finally, after licking the grease out of her bucket, the thing sat back and shuddered orgasmically.
“Look, to be honest, I’ve never met ya,” she said, before letting of another fart that had the staff calling the bomb squad. “I don’t even come from Orange. Do you honestly think I’d pash a bloke like you? You’re dreaming! But thanks for the feed, you knob-end.”
I was obviously over the moon that my former love hadn’t grown up to be Casey Donovan’s stunt double, but troubled by the deception. My mood was raised, however, when the plumper slipped on a spilled drink as she sauntered out, and ended up with her head stuck in a bin and her vast, exposed arse ruining the meals of the good people of Orange. With my hands in my pockets, I slumped back to the Nobby on the off chance my poster had attracted any genuine interest. And she was there. Long, dark hair, pale skin, blue eyes, perfect body. I recognised her immediately, because she’d barely changed in 20 years. In fact, she still looked like she could be in school. She was even wearing a school uniform, which was odd, but I reasoned it could be a weird fashion trend in Orange.
“Excuse me, are you…”
“The girl you’re looking for? You made this poster?” “Yeah, did we spend a night together 21 years ago? “No. That would be my mum. People say we look alike.”
“People are right.”
“She’s spoken about you often, but she got married three years ago. She told me she had to stop waiting for you to come back. My mum’s moved on, and you should too.”
“You’re right, it was silly for me to even come out here.”
“Not completely. I’m here because of you.”
“You’re my daughter? I know I spoofed in my pants while I was kissing your mum, but…”
“No! Mum was so upset about you passing out that she banged some dude called Craig. You wouldn’t happen to know anything about him, would you?”