Back at my staff's house my staff were snoring not so softly - from both ends. Then suddenly, whoosh! Marcia arrived, waking my staff with the hiss of horizontal rain against the windows. An angry wind roared through the trees and rattled at the doors impatiently, making my staff feel grateful that they had cleared everything loose from the deck. The lounge was now cluttered with the outdoor dining suite, bird feeders and baths, plants and the cane coffee table. If they'd forgotten to bring all this stuff inside there is little doubt that most of it would be well on the way to the house next door, some five hundred metres away. My female staff's frantic sister and her exhausted partner house sat for my staff a few years ago while my staff were away. Unaware of just how strong the wind can get on this ridge they failed to peg their clothes to the washing line firmly enough. My male staff still finds socks, underpants and bras dangling like strange fruit from trees in the garden after all these years. He shakes them down, washes them and sells them to second hand shops. It's quite a lucrative little side business.
By seven the storm had passed and my staff ventured out to see if any damage had been done. There were a few large branches on the ground and lots of water laying around, but nothing major. Down in the gully at the little dam thousands of frogs were croaking happily and some watery blue sky started to appear between blankets of dark clouds. Peanut and Pecan the guinea fowl were okay to my staff's relief. They looked wet and miserable, but otherwise they were fine. It must have been a rough few hours for them, clinging to their perch in the Norfolk Island pine, battered by gale force winds and thrashed by stinging rain. They trudged unhappily through the puddles in search of worms and leeches for breakfast. Seeing the two birds foraging reminded my staff that it would soon be time for coffee and cake so they rushed inside and dressed hurriedly - a little too hurriedly as it happens because they'd put the wrong clothes on. Male staff quickly slipped out of my female staff's dress and got her to undo her lacy black bra for him. Female staff hopped out of male staff's trousers and climbed out of his shoes, which was just as well because frankly it looked as though she was standing there with each foot in a canoe. Racing out to the Hyundai Getz they reached the front door together and got jammed briefly before both popped out the other side. Male staff realised he was still clutching female staff's pink handbag so he lobbed it to her over the car roof to her and dived in.
The two road into town were both cut by flood water so my staff had to drive back past their house to the Bruce Highway, drive all the way past the town and approach from the southern side. This is how desperate they were for a good cup of coffee. This time the road was clear. At their favourite cafe they met an acquaintance - Gunther, a middle aged German fellow who had a large, gentle dog of doubtful pedigree. Once my staff had molested the poor animal they inquired after Gunther's health and general well being. His wife had passed away a few months ago. He said he was well, but that his Mother-in-Law had also died a couple of week ago and there had been a few "problems" at the funeral. He explained in his German/Aussie accent.
"Vell mate," he said. "Zere ve all vere at der crematorium und my muzza-in-law's sister decides that she vants to see her just vun more time before she disaappears into ze oven . Und so I say to her I vill take you up to see her. She is very old und does not valk vell so she hangs onto my arm und ve valk slowly up to ze coffin. Ze man from the crematorium removes ze lid und zere is some silky material covering my muzza-in-laws face. So I pulled it back und zere is my muzza-in-law, but she looks so different now. She looks so much younger, und I sink to myself - My God if zat is vat dying does for you, all I can say is bring it on, I can't vait. Zen her sister who is still hanging onto my arm says "It's not her." At first she says it quietly, almost a visper. Zen she started shouting. "IT'S NOT HER!" Suddenly about six people from the crematorium vere rushing towards us viz panicked looks on zeir faces. I looked at my muzza-in-law again and her sister was right. It's not her. Ze voman in ze coffin must be at least thirty years too young to be my muzza-in-law."
Gunther stopped talking and looked at my staff. They were at a loss. What should they say? What should they do? Should they console Gunther? Say how sorry they were and how upsetting it must have been for everyone? They wanted to laugh but didn't think it was appropriate. Then Gunther smiled and continued. "It vas ze best damned funeral I haf ever been to. Everybody in ze chapel came to have a look. Ve just couldn't believe it, und you know vat ze best thing is?" My staff shook their heads. "Vell, my muzza-in-law vas in anuzza chapel somevere vaiting to surprise anuzza family. Zen vun of ze crematorium people slammed ze slid on ze coffin und caught vun of her colleagues fingers in it. He vas not happy, poor man. He shouted SHIT! und zen looked horrified zat he had shouted SHIT! at a funeral. He vas just apologising to everyvun ven I heard tyres screeching in ze carpark outside ze chapel. I sink it vas vun of ze uzzer crematorium people rushing off to find my muzza-in-law. I haf never seen a hearse move so fast."
"So what happened?' Asked my female staff. "What did they do about it."
"Oh, it vas all okay in ze end." Said Gunther with a grin and a shrug. "Ze funeral people apologised again und again. Zey asked us all to go home vile zey sorted out ze mess, und later zey called us to say zey had found my muzza-in-law and vood hold ze funeral again ze next day. Zey said zat zey vood charge nussing for ze funeral und vood ve like a free painting of my muzza-in-law as a memorial? Ze family agreed zat zey did not vant a painting because zey vood probably paint ze wrong person."
"Vell, I must be going now." Said Gunther. His dog was straining at his lead, impatient to continue his walk.
"Cheerio Gunther." Said my staff. "See you again soon. So sorry that the funeral was such a mess."
"Don't be sorry." Shouted Gunther over his shoulder. "I haven't had so much fun since my vife died." My staff weren't sure what he meant by that last comment but they decided not to pursue it.
The biggest kerfuffle this weak had nothing to do with the syklone thingy. Uncal Billy's staff made the mist ache of putting me on the flaw wile Tom was still down there. Yoosually wot happens if they do that is I mooch about pretending not to be intrested until Tom like comes over to say hullo, then I like mount him wen he's not looking until Uncal Billy's staff can get to me and grab me, witch is taking longa and longa as they get older.
Tom prowdly showing off his butt furr wot he hazzunt got any more.
So anyway they like put me on the flaw and I start chattering my teef witch I like to do cos it