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The Bomb Explodes!

Coolgardie — 1999-08-06

Already after the first ten days, when we invite Diana and Tom to our cottage-warming party, the bomb explodes.

Tanja has cooked all day and I am preparing steaks on the ancient gas stove when Steven, Diana’s seven-year old son, herself, Tom and a friend by the name of Verne step over the threshold. Diana can scarcely keep herself upright, that’s how drunk she is, but we all try to overlook it. No sooner has Tanja served the delicious meal than Diana gives me a penetrating look with a strangely cold expression in her cloudy eyes. Like a bolt from the blue she suddenly screams at me: “If you want to photograph and film Tom, you are going to have to bloody well pay for it. Isn’t that so, Tom? They come here, make a fortune and we get nothing out of it. Tell them that you mind, or are you going to chicken out again! Come on, now is your chance. At home you give me no peace with your moaning, and now you’re saying nothing. We want to get something out of it, too”, she wails and nags so loud and atrociously that everyone at the table is petrified. Steven starts to cry at once. Verne leaves the cottage and Tom jumps up to drag Diana out of the room. Tanja and I exchange horrified looks. We have expected nothing of this sort. It was during our first visit that we asked Tom whether he would mind if we took pictures or filmed him, since the survival of the entire project would depend upon it. He said “No problem!”. And now, after we’ve spent two weeks making this old and shabby cottage habitable, they want more money. I have to leave the room, too, so as not to show my tears. I stand under the clear starry sky and wonder: Why? Why does this have to happen now?

After about 20 minutes I have my feelings under control again and re-enter the cottage. Tom is back at the table and apologises. He promises that something like this will never happen again and also to give us a written permit for photographing and filming tomorrow.

Tanja and I give ourselves another months. If things stay peaceful until then, we are going to keep the base, but should there be another incident we will have to swallow the bitter pill and leave the camelfarm. A move to Inspector Gadgets camel farm would unfortunately mean to have to erect a new base station, and this will cost us another 12 to 15,000 Australian dollars, plus the loss of our camels.

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