Darryl came back from the hospital with 10 stitches, a very sore hand and a small dent in his pride. He got a half hour lecture from his Mum and Dad reminding him that he was only seven and that he should know better than to go playing with the shearing machines – not to mention terrorising his poor lamb.
None of this stopped Darryl hanging out in the woolshed. As he got older he became quite good friends with some of the young men. One in particular “Jocko” who was only 16 was a great laugh and he and Darryl who was 13 by now would always be joking around and playing tricks on each other while they were working.
Jocko was great at convincing Darryl to get up to mischief and Darryl had no idea he was always being taken advantage of. As far as Darryl was concerned they were great friends and he liked the excitement of the trouble they sometimes got themselves into.
Darryl would never forget the time that Jocko made a branding iron in the letters of Darryl’s name and managed to burn his arm. He was in agony for a week and had to hide it from his mother. Who would brand or tattoo their own name on their arm? Jocko thought it was hilarious.
As Darryl came up to his fourteenth birthday he realised something was missing. He’d never had a girlfriend. In fact he’d barely seen any girls his whole life! He knew there was a girl called Sarah down at the next farm 20 miles away but he had only seen her a couple of times and every time she’d snobbed him.
It was about this time that Darryl’s parents decided he should go to boarding school for his College years. Although eventually he would take over the farm he would still need an education and needed to learn some management skills.
Darryl didn’t know what to think. He’d been isolated so long that he was a little apprehensive about leaving the farm and entering the city, but within his first week he was clowning around as usual and was known as the funny guy in class. This suited him fine, he thought he was pretty funny himself.
Only a couple of weeks later some of the guys in his dorm were planning to sneak out that night and meet some of the girls from the school down the road.
Darryl was prepared. He’d been reading a book he’d been given by Jocko called “100 Guaranteed Chat Up Lines”. He was sure to get the girls to like him with some of these!
The girls thought he was hilarious with his one liners but none of them were interested in him. He came across arrogant – especially thinking that the girls would fall at his feet after one line. And he really thought they would! He’d never felt such rejection. Sure his mates might tease him a little but having a girl laugh at him was the most embarrassed Darryl had ever been.
During the holidays he got to go back to the farm. He got to catch up with Jocko who had managed to work his way up the ranks to head shearer. They laughed and joked and chatted into the night.
On the last day before catching the train back to College, Darryl was sorting wood when he noticed his father’s horse coming up the valley with it’s reins hanging over it’s head.
Darryl rushed outside and across the field to the horse – he knew something was wrong and his stomach started churning. He jumped on the horse and galloped back in the direction it had come from.