Tom was younger than I expected.
‘Hi, I’m here about the stretchers’ I greeted him with unjustified familiarity.
‘Oh Yeah. The Hummer bloke’ Tom responded good humouredly. ‘I’ve got them out the back’
Tom produced four stretchers in their bags and two inflatable mattresses. He’d kept his word. We insisted on unpacking them and setting them up in the car park.
‘Do you reckon they’ll fit?’ I queried Denis.
He looked back at me. Short of setting up the tent in the forecourt of the camping store neither of us could be sure. They looked smaller. I conjured up a picture of the tent in my head and another of me trying to fit two of these stretchers in where only one fitted previously. Without much conjuring I was also able to picture Andrea’s response if this turned out to be false. This second image came with a soundtrack. Shit I thought.
I turned to Denis, shrugged and told Tom we’d take them – but we really only wanted two.
‘We’ll take the double inflatable instead of the other two’ I told him.
We threw the stretchers in the back of the Hummer and followed Tom into the shop.
‘We need a few other things’ I said as we headed for the back of the store. A replacement bag for one of the sleeping bags, a set of mantles for the gas lantern, a tie-down for the jerry can Tim had lent us, (‘brand new’ Tim had told us ‘don’t lose it’ – come on Tim, since when do brand new cans have rusted bases. Tim was turning out to be an inveterate liar and not very convincing bullshit artist), a spout for the jerry can.
And as an afterthought a map of the Kimberley.