Chapter 2 – Chiko
Thursday 24 March 2016 began as a typical day for Chiko, a self-employed road train driver from Mandurah just south of Perth. He had arrived at the transport depot in Wedgefield (an industrial suburb between Port Hedland and South Hedland) at around 7:00 pm the night before with a load of farm machinery bound for Kununurra. His job was to deliver the load to Port Hedland, unhitch his trailers and another driver would take the load onto its destination. This worked in quite well for him as he already had planned another job, transporting a load of ammonium nitrate from Port Hedland to a mine site north of Kalgoorlie.
Port Hedland is situated on the north-west coast of Western Australia some eighteen-hundred-kilometres from Perth. The municipality has a population of fifteen thousand and consists of Port Hedland itself with the suburbs of Cooke Point and Pretty Pool, the industrial suburb of Wedgefield (about ten-kilometres to the south) and the satellite town of South Hedland (eighteen-kilometres south). The town also supports a large fly in / fly out population of workers employed in the mining industry. Port Hedland’s deep natural harbour is major a hub for exporting in excess four-hundred-million tonnes of iron ore per annum. Salt, Manganese, Chromite and Copper are also exported out of Port Hedland while petroleum products, mining equipment, cement and explosives are regularly imported through the port. Known to be the largest bulk export port in the world, Port Hedland has been nicknamed the ’powerhouse of the Australian economy’.
He slept the night in the sleeper cabin of his Kenworth T909 prime mover which he had parked outside the Shell Roadhouse just north of Wedgefield. His alarm clock was set for 5:30am, he was keen to get an early start, aiming to reach Kalgoorlie by midday Friday and be back in Mandurah by around 10:00 pm that same night. He and his partner, Edwina were planning a camping trip to Yallingup for the Easter long weekend.
The sun was just below the horizon as he drove the prime mover into the Exlog Warehouse Complex. Exlog is a private company based in Port Hedland and specialise in importing high explosives used exclusively in the mining industry. The company imports around fifteen thousand tonnes of ammonium nitrate per month, storing the cargo in three twenty thousand square metre warehouses located on the Great Northern Highway, two kilometres north of the Port Hedland Airport.
Chiko was a regular driver for Exlog, doing three to four trips per month to various mine sites all over the country. He was licenced to carry explosives and his truck was set up with the latest high-tech GPS In-Vehicle Monitoring System. From the office in Port Hedland, Exlog can monitor the vehicle’s position, speed, driver and engine performance. Events such as harsh braking or cornering, vehicle deviating from course and unscheduled stops or activating the duress alarm will activate an alarm back at the office and send the driver a text message. He had invested heavily in technology and training to ensure that he and his vehicle conformed to the Australian Explosives Code and the Exlog security plan.
He positioned his truck directly in front of the enclosed chiller trailer. It was company policy to store ammonium nitrate at around twenty-degrees Celsius, the product tends to cake and become less effective if stored over thirty-two-degrees, hence the use of chiller trailers for cartage. The trailers have separate GPS asset trackers independent of the vehicle systems. Using both mirrors, he carefully and slowly reversed until the king pin was about a quarter of the way under the turntable. He stepped out of the cabin and checked both sides for alignment of the kingpin to the turntable jaws. An experienced truck driver, he was spot on with his alignment. He adjusted the trailer’s landing gear by cranking down slightly, now the kingpin and turntable were at the right height to lock in. He hopped back into his prime mover, with the driver’s window wound down, he slowly reversed until he heard the unmistakable clunk as the turntable jaws engaged the kingpin and locked. He then performed a tug test by moving forward slightly to verify that the prime mover had locked onto the trailer. Now all that was left to do was hook up the air hose and electrical cable and raise and secure the trailer’s landing gear.
He reversed his rig up to the loading bay, Chiko asked the fork lift driver to check his reverse, tail and brake lights. Once in position, he carried out a thorough inspection of his rig. First, he checked the interior of the trailer to ensure that it was swept clean and was free of contaminants. As the fork lift driver began to load the trailer, he checked the rest of the rig to ensure that the tyres, lights, fuel and electrical systems were in good working order. Once completed, he proceeded to the crib room to take a shower and have some corn flakes for breakfast.
Richard Price was waiting in the transport office of Exlog when Chiko wandered in at around 7:00 am to collect his paperwork.
“G’day Chiko, all set to go?” he asked,
“G’day young fella, as soon as the paperwork’s ready, I’ll be out of here” Chiko claimed.
“I’ll just get you to sign the security plan and we’ll head over and inspect the cargo” Richard said to Chiko.
The two men entered the rear of the trailer from the loading bay to inspect each of the sixteen bulker bags. Each flexible intermediate bulk container (bulker bag) contained two tonnes of ammonium nitrate. They carefully checked each bag, Chiko read each bag’s seal number to Richard who recorded it on the manifest. Once both men were satisfied that the bags were undamaged and there was no cargo spillage, Richard closed and locked the trailer door. He placed seals on both locking hinges and recorded the seal numbers on the manifest, then the two men wandered back to the office.
“Okay, you have your copy of the manifest, travel plan, emergency procedures and MSDS, you’re good to go,” Richard remarked.
“Yep, I’m on a mission, I’d better skidurple out here, see you in a couple of weeks” Chiko replied and headed for the door.
“What does skidurple mean?” Richard queried.
Chiko did not look back as he remarked with a huge smirk on his face “Look it up in the dictionary” and walked out the door. He couldn’t help but chuckle to himself as headed towards his truck.
When Chiko’s daughter, Tabatha, was around thirteen, they were sitting around the dinner table one night when she announced: “Did you know that there are no words in the English language that rhyme with either orange or purple?”
“Well, we will just have to make up a word”. Chiko remarked.
After a little while, the two came up with the word skedurple and agreed that it’s definition would be “to hurry up”. Over the next twelve years, the two used the word at every opportunity, encouraging everyone they knew to use it, hoping that it would become part of the vocabulary. Last Christmas, Tabatha gave Chiko the latest edition of the dictionary. The two couldn’t contain their excitement when Chiko opened to the letter S and there it was: -
“Skidurple: Verb; to make haste, to proceed hurriedly”.
The dictionary described it as a New Zealand colloquialism, which was probably why it was spelt with an ‘I’ instead of an ‘e’, but it was their word which was now in print for all to see.
“Typical Kiwis, they’ve stolen our word and they can’t even spell it right,” Chiko joked, “Well, we invented the word, someone else can put it into a poem”.
It had just ticked over 7:30 am as Chiko pulled out of the Exlog depot and turned right onto the Great Northern Highway. He passed the BP Service Station (just opposite the Port Hedland Airport) and noticed a very plain silver Commodore with the distinctive UHV and VHF antennas mounted behind the rear bumper parked while trying to look inconspicuous.
“Unmarked silver Commodore at the BP Servo!” he announced on his CB radio.
He was rather pleased that he could provide this community service to his fellow truckies.
Chiko was fifty-six years old, his real name was Simon Roll and he grew up in Ararat, country Victoria. His father was a train driver while his mother ran the family household, he had an older brother and a younger sister. Ararat is approximately two-hundred-kilometres west of Melbourne and situated between the Grampians Mountain Range to the west and the Pyrenees Mountain Range to the east. He earned his nickname (after the Australian fast food snack – CHIKO ROLL) at his local primary school, St. Mary’s and has been known mainly Chiko since, as even his mother calls him Chiko.
He was a qualified motor mechanic completing his apprenticeship at the local Ford Dealership and continued to work for them until 1987 when he moved to Melton (in Melbourne’s Outer-Western Suburbs) with his wife Fiona and took on a job at the Mitsubishi dealership. He remained with them until mid-nineteen-ninety-eighty-nine when he was accepted into the Melbourne Metropolitan Fire Brigade as a trainee firefighter. After completing his training, he was stationed at Station One in Abbotsford, then went onto Sunshine in 1992 and then Deer Park in nineteen-ninety-five.
In nineteen-ninety-seven, he transferred to Station 38 in South Melbourne to take on the responsibility of servicing and maintaining breathing apparatuses across the Fire Brigade’s forty-five stations. He also provided support with major fires, turning out with the mobile breathing apparatus supply unit. One balmy night in February 2001, he was returning from attending a fire at a chemical plant in Altona. As he was crossing the Westgate Bridge he noticed a car pulled over in the emergency lane, suspecting that it was a breakdown, he pulled over to aid the driver. As he hopped out of his vehicle he noticed a young woman attempting to scale the bridge-rail and appeared to be trying to jump off. She was crouched at the top of the rail, legs recoiled and ready to spring off just as he lunged at her, grabbing her around the waist and pulling her back onto the bridge.
Her name was Robin, she wrapped her arms around him and was sobbing uncontrollably.
“I’m sorry” she sobbed “I’ve changed my mind, I don’t want to jump, thank you for stopping me. I just don’t know what to do, my life is such a mess”.
Chiko still had his portable radio transceiver, using the mouthpiece attached to his left lapel he contacted base and called for assistance. All the while, a security officer in the Westgate Bridge Authority control room was watching the scene unfold on camera and had called for police and ambulance. Chiko sat Robin down on the bridge tarmac and stayed with her, talking to her, trying to reassure her that things will get better. After about twenty-minutes, an ambulance unit arrived on the scene followed by a police divisional van about thirty seconds later.
As they placed Robin into the ambulance, Chiko handed her his card and said” give me a call if you want to talk or even just to let me know you’re okay”.
The police took down his details and recorded notes on what had occurred.
“We may require you to come into the WTC Headquarters to make a statement, we’ll contact you if we do” the senior constable stated.
“What will happen to her?” Chiko enquired.
“The ambos will take her Saint Vees the policeman replied, “they’ll probably sedate her overnight and work on a treatment plan tomorrow, but it is really up to her if she wants to recover”.
Both the ambulance and police units drove away from the scene leaving Chiko alone at the top of the bridge. His body was full of adrenalin, he realised that he had saved this girl’s life, the next minute the police and ambulance had taken over and he was left wondering about what to do. He sat in the cabin of his Mobile Breathing Apparatus Unit for at least twenty minutes, feeling numb.
“Is that it,” he thought to himself, “after all I did, they just took over, will anyone even know about it”.
Then it occurred to him, that they did the same thing in the Fire Brigade. He decided that the Fire Brigade should do more to give first responders (members of the public who take an active involvement at the scene prior to their arrival) more feedback and follow-up. He started up his truck and headed towards the South Melbourne Fire Station just as a Westgate Bridge authority tow truck pulled up to take Robin’s car away.
He returned to the fire station, he couldn’t wait to share his experience with the station crew but they were on a callout so there was no one there for him to talk to or have a ‘debrief’ as such. He compiled an incident report and left it on the station officer’s desk and set about restocking his Mobile Apparatus Unit. He then recharged all the empty air cylinders, cleaned and sterilised all the facemasks and carried out a routine inspection check on all the breathing apparatus units. He cleaned up his work shop and proceeded to the crib room for a well-earned cup of tea. The station crew remained on their callout for the remainder of the shift, he didn’t have the opportunity to discuss the incident with any of his colleagues.
The next day, he contacted the St. Vincent’s Hospital to check on Robin, only to be told that she had been discharged. Due to privacy, the hospital would not divulge any details of her condition or whereabouts. The Police never did contact him to make a statement, so he had convinced himself that she hadn’t made any further attempts to take her own life. In the month following the Westgate Bridge incident, he didn’t hear from Robin. While on days off, a woman rang the station looking for him but wouldn’t leave any details only saying that she would try again later.
But Chiko never returned to work, that same day he went with Fiona for a follow up appointment with her oncologist. She had discovered a lump on her breast and underwent a biopsy two-days earlier, so they were both anxiously awaiting the outcome. The news was not good, the results showed that she had a malignant tumour on her left breast which had already starting spread to other parts of her body. The oncologist recommended she undergo a mastectomy followed by a rigorous course of chemotherapy. He booked her in to have the procedure the following Tuesday at the Peter McCallum Hospital in East Melbourne.
Chiko met Fiona in July 1983 at a function at the football club, she was the cousin of his best mate, Hakka (Chis Harriett) and was attending the Ararat and District Hospital on nursing rounds as part of her Bachelor of Nursing Course. At the time, she was twenty-one and lived with her parents and sister at Maribyrnong in Melbourne’s western suburbs and was attending Victoria University in Footscray. She tagged along with Hakka to watch Ararat versus Stawell in what was promoted as the battle of the divide. Hakka was not playing due to a dislocated shoulder. Stawell is about thirty kilometres north of Ararat with the Great Dividing Range separating the two towns, Ararat on the south side and Stawell on the North, there was always great rivalry between the two towns. On this occasion, Stawell beat Ararat for the first time since May 1981. As is tradition when these two teams played, the host team would put on a casserole dinner and the visiting team would stay on for a few hours to enjoy some fellowship.
Fiona came to the after-match function with Hakka, she even brought along two casseroles which she and Hakka’s mother had made prior to the match. Hakka had assumed the role of match maker and had done a pretty good job playing up Chiko’s attributes to Fiona, she couldn’t wait to meet him. Hakka hadn’t told Chiko about Fiona so he was pleasantly surprised when they were introduced. Although, he was quite shy at first, he warmed to Fiona’s flirting which he reciprocated, he was won over with her chicken pasta bake and the two spent the whole night chatting away to each other. She accepted his invitation to dinner the following evening, over the following three weeks of her nursing rounds, they went on another five dates. After the nursing rounds, Fiona returned to Maribyrnong and back to university, however, the couple continued see each other, alternating between Ararat and Maribyrnong on most weekends, some weekends they didn’t catch up but they still managed to keep the relationship going strong.
Fiona completed her Bachelor of Nursing Degree in October 1985 after which, she went on a six-week holiday to Europe with her girlfriend from the University. She had accepted a nursing position at the Ararat and District Hospital which was to commence in early January 1986 so the holiday was a chance to unwind before the reality of working life set in. Chiko proposed to Fiona just before the holiday and figured that it would be good for her to have this time away because after that, they would be spending the rest of their lives together.
Fiona moved into Chiko’s apartment in Ararat the first week of the New Year of 1986 and they were married in August that year. Fiona had always wanted to get into neo-natal nursing, Chiko encouraged her to apply to the two major maternity hospitals in Melbourne, the Mercy Hospital and the Royal Women’s Hospital. In November 1986, she was offered a position at the Royal Women’s Hospital which prompted their move to Melton.
In October 1990, Fiona gave birth Tabatha, complications during delivery led to Fiona suffering a post-partum haemorrhage and doctors were unable to stem the bleeding from the womb and had no option other than to perform a hysterectomy. Following the birth, Fiona struggled with post-natal depression for about 9 months, being a neonatal nurse she recognised the symptoms quite early and sought professional help. Along with Chiko’s help, she recovered that two of them brought up Tabatha to be a much loved but not overly spoilt little girl.
After the surgery, Fiona underwent six months of chemotherapy and appeared to have defeated the cancer, however the treatment weakened her immune system and a bacterial infection which had been lying dormant inside her body for a couple of years emerged. Known as melioidosis, the bacteria can be found in tropical soils in far North Australia and throughout Asia and can remain dormant within the body for years after the initial infection. It is most likely that she was exposed to it while they were holidaying in Thailand three years earlier, initially she presented with flulike symptoms but quickly developed septicaemia. She was prescribed a rigorous course of antibiotics but with her weakened immune system, she could not fight off disease and passed away in September 2001.
Chiko resigned from the Fire Brigade and took six months off work to care for Fiona and Tabatha during the cancer treatment. A month after Fiona’s passing, Chiko needed to go back to work and took up a job with a local security company. He worked mostly at nights so that he could be there for Tabatha during the day, while his sister, Carol moved in to help look after Tabatha.
It was around two-thousand and seven, when Tabatha was in her final year of high school, Chiko met Edwina, a widow with two kids, a boy (Thomas) and a girl (Kathryn). The son was twenty-one and was serving in the army, based at Townsville, while the daughter was sixteen and still at high school. When she was six years old, Edwina suffered burns to thirty-eight-percent of her upper body when her nighty caught fire while standing too close to an open flame. She spent six months in hospital and underwent countless operations right throughout her childhood and into her mid-twenties. The burns left severe permanent scarring to her chest, both arms, neck, face and ears, yet despite these, Chiko took an instant liking to her. Perhaps it was her personality or the way that she wore her scars as though they were a “badge of honour,” whatever it was, he was smitten and started seeing quite a lot of her.
For the first twelve months of the relationship, they lived at separate homes with the occasional overnight sleepover. In mid-two-thousand-and-eight, Edwina started developing headaches and shortness of breath, after a visit to her doctor it was revealed that due to the non-elasticity of her skin at the scar sites, even the smallest increase in body weight was causing her great discomfort. Her internal organs were pressing up against the diaphragm and restricting expansion of her lungs, her range of movement in her arms and neck was diminishing, limiting her ability to stretch, causing tension to her neck and shoulder muscles and contributing to the headaches. It was obvious that she needed more surgery and may even require additional operations every couple of years.
She was aware that world renowned burns surgeon, Fiona Wood, was working out of the Royal Perth Hospital. Edwina felt that she needed to be under Fiona’s care, however to do that, she would have to live in Western Australia.
“Ok, we moving to WA,” Chiko remarked and then said jokingly “if that’s what I have to do to get you to live with me!”
“We can’t just up and leave” Edwina replied, “what about Tabatha and Katrina?”
“Tabby’s at uni now, she hardly lives at home anyway, she can stay here with Carol, Kat wants to get into theatrical make-up, I hear there’s a great TAFE campus in Perth that does that kind of thing, she can do her year twelve and complete the course there,” Chiko replied, “hey, I only just realised that we have a Tabby and a Kat” he joked.
“You only just realised that, you’re pretty quick on the uptake” Edwina quipped.
To be fair, up until now, Chiko had always referred to Kathryn as Kathy or Kath.
Kathryn didn’t want to move at first, she didn’t want a leave all friends behind, but she realised that in another twelve months they would be all moving away to start University or their careers. She would be the first move away and the thought of studying for her year twelve at TAFE whilst gaining her vocational qualifications appealed to her. Tabatha on the other hand, although missing her family was excited about the prospect of having her independence.
Edwina sold her house and they used the funds for a sizeable down payment on a property in Mandurah on the southern outskirts of Perth. Chiko kept his house for Carol and Tabatha to live in but used the equity in the property to buy his truck. By January 2009, they had made their move to Western Australia. Chiko soon found work hauling single trailers or B-doubles from a transport depot in Rockingham to Albany, Esperance and Geraldton. Edwina took up a part-time job doing bookkeeping and office administration for a small law firm in Mandurah. Kathryn attended the Bentley TAFE, which was nearly an hour by train and bus from Mandurah.
After Kathryn completed her TAFE Course she decided to move back to Melbourne and moved in with Carol and Tabatha. She quickly found a job with a local theatre restaurant as the junior make-up artist. To her it was her dream job. Edwina and Chiko were now” empty nesters,” they agreed that Edwina would get her multi-combination truck licence and they would do long hauls together sharing the driving while the other rested. So, from two-thousand-and-ten onwards they set about their new adventure driving long haul trucks throughout Western Australia, as far north as the Kimberley and sometimes interstate. They particularly enjoyed the trips to Victoria which would come up around three times a year and this gave them an opportunity to catch up with the girls and other family and friends. They also planned their holidays so that they could have two weeks in Victoria and two weeks overseas.
Just before Christmas two-thousand-and-thirteen, they had spent a busy Saturday shopping in Perth. Whilst walking down the Hay Street Mall, Chiko was surprised when a woman in her mid-thirties came up to him,
“Simon, is that you?” she queried, “it is you!”
She wrapped her arms around him and gave him a warm hug, much to the bemusement of Edwina. He didn’t recognise her but he knew instantly who she was.
“Robin?” he asked, “Honey, this is Robin, the girl I was telling you about” he paused and looked back at Robin, “am I allowed to say?”
She nodded back at him in approval
“Up on the Westgate all those years ago” he paused, “Robin, this is my partner Edwina, you can call her Eddy or Hey Beautiful if you like”.
“Stop being a suck,” Edwina quipped, “hi Robin, it’s so good to meet you, he has often wandered about you!” and she shook her hand.
“Really nice to meet you too, you have an amazing man” Robin replied, “let’s go and get a coffee, my treat”.
They proceeded to the nearest coffee shop, where Robin described how at the time of the Westgate Bridge incident, she was suffering from severe depression and had tried to take her own life on two occasions previously. Then she began to explain how the chance meeting with Chiko changed everything.
“Do you remember what you said to me that night?” she asked,
“I was so full of adrenalin I don’t remember much about what was said to tell you the truth, I couldn’t even remember what you looked like, what you were wearing or anything like that and I was trained to be observant”.
“You told me that I was going to have kids some day and that it may not be their generation or even the next but somewhere down the line, one of my offspring was going to do something great, like discover the cure for cancer or become the Prime Minister and if I jumped, it would all stop there!”
“Really, I said that” Chiko questioned, “that’s quite a profound statement coming from me!”
“You sure did,” Robin replied “and they were the most inspirational words I have ever heard. While at hospital the next day, I finally admitted to myself that I was suffering from depression and decided that it was up to me to get better. I spent the next month at a rehab centre in Thailand and when I returned I was ready to take on the world, with a little help from my medication and some on-going counselling. I tried calling you at the station but they told me that you had resigned”.
“Oh yeah I had to quit, due to personal reasons, I will explain that to you some other time,” he replied, “so how come you recognised me, there wasn’t a great amount of light up there”.
“You’d be surprised how vividly I remember everything” she replied, “plus your colleagues in the Fire Brigade sold me a copy of the Men of Station 38 calendar for 2001, Mr. August, if I recall. I’ve had that picture of you framed and it is alongside all the other family pics in our hallway. You’ve got a little less hair and not as much muscle these days but I could tell it was you”.
“More like the weight has gone from my biceps to my stomach, and then some”.
Robin went on to explain how she met her husband, Martin, how they’d moved to Western Australia about ten years ago for his work and that he is now the Senior Engineer for his company which builds commercial and residential developments in and around Perth. She has her own business designing and selling children’s clothes on-line and makes a tidy little income out of it.
“We have two kids,” Robin explained, “the eldest is Simone, she’s nine and Rowland, seven, both named after you! Simone wants to become a doctor, maybe she’s the one who’ll find the cure to cancer”.
“I am really flattered, but I don’t think I did that much”. Chiko replied.
“I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for you, nor would Simone or Rowland, we have everything to thank you for”.
They chatted away for the next hour or so, until the staff at the coffee shop told them they were about to close for the day. After exchanging phone numbers and addresses, Robin realised that she only lived a few suburbs away from Edwina and Chiko.
“What are you guys doing for Christmas?” she asked, “we have no family here, it’ll be just Martin, the kids and I, we’d love you to join us”.
Before Chiko could speak, Edwina jumped in and said “we’d love to come, we’re staying here, our kids are all in Melbourne and Townsville, it was just going to be Chiko and I. I’ll call you next week to discuss it”.
“Great, we’ll see you at Christmas,” Robin replied, “I am so glad that I ran into you guys”.
She gave them both a hug and left. As soon a Robin was out of sight, Chiko pulled Edwina into him and hugged her tight, he placed his head on her shoulders and began to cry.
They spent Christmas with Robin’s family, at their home in Rockingham. They brought along presents for the kids, Edwina gave in and let Chiko choose the presents. Chiko being Chiko, bought a Disgusting Science Kit for Simone which he got quite a kick out of as he read the description on the pack –
“Grow your own friendly germs and fuzzy moulds. Mix up a batch of coagulating fake blood. Even make a stinky intestine. Learn the science behind unmentionable bodily functions while doing some truly NASTY experiments. It’s the grossest, most revolting science kit out there”.
“Perfect” he thought.
He had a reputation for buying the most disgusting or noisiest presents for his nieces and nephews which he knew they would love and hoped would annoy their parents. He bought a cricket set for Rowland, no Christmas would be complete, without a game of back yard cricket.
Martin and the kids warmed to Edwina and Chiko, almost adopting them as the West Australian grandparents. Both Robin’s and Martin’s families lived in the Eastern States as did Edwina’s and Chiko’s families so it turned out to be good for both families. The two families continued to keep in touch, they would visit each other regularly, Edwina would baby sit on occasion, Robin would contact Edwina for some motherly advice. Martin, Chiko and Rowland would go on a blokie day out, fishing or going to the footy. The kids have even stayed over with Edwina and Chiko so that Robin and Martin could spend a romantic weekend away together.
The drive to Newman seemed to pass quite quickly for Chiko. Edwina didn’t come on this trip as she had an appointment with Fiona Wood. She bought him a talking book, Dead or Alive by Tom Clancy and narrated by Lou Diamond Phillips, it kept him alert as he listened to the plot about Jack Ryan Jr. and his colleagues from the clandestine organisation, ‘The Campus’ track down The Emir as they try to avert his most dastardly terrorist plot to contaminate the groundwater with nuclear radiation.
Just near the turn off to the aboriginal community of Yandeyarrra, he stopped to avoid running into a wild camel just standing on the road, not moving. As he approached the camel, it turned and ran up the road ahead of him at about twenty-five kilometres per hour for about three-hundred-metres, before turning right and heading off into the bush. A truck hauling an eight-metre-wide load slowed him down as he attempted the steep climb at Munjina Gorge (he nearly always seemed to catch these wide loads at the bottom of a hill), but all in all, he still made good time, reaching the Capricorn Roadhouse on the other side of Newman just after 1:30 pm.
After topping up his fuel tanks with around one-thousand-one-hundred-and-eighty-five-dollars’ worth of diesel, he proceeded to the restaurant and treated himself to a steak sandwich with the lot.
“One last steak sanga before the diet starts on Tuesday,” he thought to himself.
He had planned to go on a diet after the Easter break, this time he was serious about going on a diet, he weighed one hundred and ten kilograms, there is a family history of diabetes, his brother had just been diagnosed with it and he knew it was only a matter of time before he would receive the same diagnosis, if he didn’t make drastic lifestyle changes.
About ninety kilometres south of Newman, Western Australia, on a long, straight, stretch of road, Chiko glanced into his driver’s side mirror and noticed what appeared to be a silver-grey Commodore overtaking his truck. As the Commodore veered back into the left lane in front of him, he noticed flashing red and blue lights from inside the rear window, it was obvious that it was an unmarked police pursuit vehicle and that the driver wanted him to pull over. Chiko was hit with a sudden panic.
“What did I do wrong?” he thought.
He wasn’t speeding, his vehicle had the appropriate hazmat signage, and was in good roadworthy condition. He quickly calmed down.
“Probably just wants to check the log book” he thought to himself as he switched on his left indicator light and began slowing down.
Chiko pulled off the road onto what appeared to be a disused roadside construction depot, as the Commodore pulled up in front of him. A clean, shaven young policeman with neatly trimmed blond hair, immaculately ironed uniform and highly polished shoes, stepped out and walked towards Chiko’s truck. Chiko switched off his engine and wound down his window as the policeman approached.
To make light of the matter, he mentioned “this is the second one of you blokes I have seen today, was there a sale on sliver-grey Commodore pursuit vehicles?”
The young policeman appeared have not to understood Chiko’s remark and simply shrugged it off.
In a professional manner the policeman announced, “Good afternoon sir, the reason I have pulled you over is that there appears to be something dangling down from the rear of your trailer”.
Chiko looked puzzled and said “okay!”
“Do you mind stepping out of your truck and taking a look,” the policeman asked”.
“Sure” Chiko replied, “I just have to report into the office before they start to panic”.
By now, an unscheduled-stop-alarm had activated on the vehicle monitoring computer back at Exlog, Logistics Officer, Richard Price was waiting for Chiko to call in. Chiko dialled in on his satellite phone.
“G’day Pricey, it’s Chiko, just been pulled over for a police check, nothing serious, should be back on the road in ten minutes”.
“No worries Chiko!,” Richard replied “call me back when you’re done?”
As he stepped out of his truck, Chiko noticed that the young policeman had distinctive spider web tattoos on both elbows. Chiko had serviced breathing apparatus units in all of Melbourne’s prisons and recognised that the home-made tattoo was quite common amongst the prison population.
’’Must have been in strife as a teenager,” he thought to himself, “good on him for getting his act together and becoming a policeman”.
The two men walked around to the rear of Chiko’s truck.
“It’s just under the trailer there,” the young policemen pointed to bottom of the trailer just to the left of the rear number plate.
As Chiko bent down to look under the truck, he felt a sudden sharp jabbing pain at the back of his neck and heard the policeman yell aggressively, “Allahu Akbar mother fucker!”
Instantaneously, Chiko’s legs collapsed from under him and he fell to the ground, face first, he couldn’t move. The policeman turned him over onto his back so that he could see his face. He had now realised that he wasn’t a policeman and could see the blood stained double edged dagger in his right hand.
“This man is not a true Muslim,” he thought, “A truly religious person would not use such profanity when mentioning their god, no matter what their faith is”.
Chiko went to ask, “Why are you doing this?”
But he could not speak. The knife had severed his spinal cord between the C-2 and C-3 vertebrae paralysing him from the chest down. Chiko realised that he could not breathe and started to panic, but he was paralysed from the neck down. After about half a minute, he slipped into unconsciousness and after a minute or two later his brain and other vital organs shut down due to lack of oxygen and he was dead.
 Often abbreviated to FIFO, fly in / fly out is a method of employing people in remote areas. Instead of permanently relocating employees and their families, the employees are temporarily flown to the worksite.
 Nickname for World Trade Centre which at that time was the location for Victoria Police Headquarters.
 Nickname for Saint Vincent’s Hospital.
 Professor Fiona Wood is one of Australia’s most innovative and respected surgeons and researchers. A highly skilled plastic and reconstructive surgeon and world leading burns specialist, she has pioneered research and technology development in burns medicine.