A Little Bit of Me

Jottings and Writing, miscellanous misgivings

The Clearing Sale

The Clearing Sale


A Young Maori woman, tight forced smile, focused on the space in front of her, scared of her surroundings. Weird multicoloured shorts, Rod & Gunn top, hair knotted back in a severe ponytail that stretches her face as if she has been botoxed. Prerequisite Polynesian arm tattoo, tight barbed wire motif encircling her upper arm – ‘don’t fuck with me undercurrent”

“I’ll wait here” she grunts to her Pakeha companion, male, bearded, out of his depth with this multicultural pairing amongst the tight knot country folk. He slants his shoulders and acquiesces as if she has finally done the right thing.

Behind this unlikely pair a tall, lanky, mustached, weather beaten man-boy has just bought a seed driller for three thousand dollars he doesn’t have. Caught up in the emotion of the bidding war. H looks oppressed by the lifestyle that has claimed him before his thirtieth birthday.  He contemplates how he is going to explain to his heavily pregnant wife that she can’t have that extension to the kitchen.

Older males group together and carry out what passes for rural conversation. Eyes cast downwards, surveying the very thing that gives them life. Worn out wives and partners dressed in their finery as if to acknowledge that this is the only social event they will attend this year.

“Twentyfive twentyfivethirtyfive BID fiftyfiftyfifty who willgive mefifty?” the ageing auctioneer cries out – his unfamiliar tie tossed over his shoulder, sweat stained shirt straining against buttons.

An elderly, balding, weather beaten man stands at the back of the crown and looks at his life spread out on the browning paddock. He hasn’t been able to afford fertilizer for the last ten years and hasn’t been able to employ anyone to help him tend this land. It is the last of the 10,000 acre blocks that were sold after the Second World War. The rest have been bought up by a South African conglomerate that is converting them to dairy. No longer will the sheep yards reverberate to the bleating of sheep waiting to be shorn or crutched. No more will the hills be dotted with maggot like forms as they stroll around their beats. For him it is now an enforced retirement in Wanaka where he knows he will probably die within a few years as has his contemporaries. His wife will not be accompanying him. She died after three years of back breaking work when a tractor rolled on top of her. He doesn’t blame himself. He is philosophical. What comes around goes around. He just hopes the cows last longer than the sheep did.

He does mental sums in his head as the auctioneer moves to the next lot – his prized Fiat tractor with the seat mended with duct tape. He was hoping for &$10,000.

“Lot56 a heritage tractor – who will give me 1tyenthousandtenthousandninenineefive thousandfivethousand it still goes”. The auctioneer cranks up the tractor and it explodes into life with a plume of dirty black smoke then settles to a deep rumble. “fivefivefivethousandfourthen threethousandthree thousand forthishandsome relicof the pasttwotwoonwefiveonefivethen-BID-onefivedoIhearonesixonefivedoIhearonesixonefiveonefive-GONE”


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