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  • Published 20080603
  • ISBN: 9780733322822
  • Extent: 288 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm)

HE’D DRIVEN DOZERS for thirty years. From bobcats to D10s. As a young bloke, he’d started in a warehouse driving forklifts. Now that’s an art-form. The experienced could whiz them around on a pin and load a truck faster than an army by hand. The trick, they said, was in the positioning of the pallets. He got the hang of it fast, and after a few years was considered a prize to the company. But then they went bust, and he branched out. A job came up for a cat driver – a Caterpillar steel track. He could drive anything, and though he didn’t have that ticket he went anyway. He got the job, and the boss – being a bit of a crook like so many of them in the ‘earthworks’ trade – let him drive while he sorted out the credentials. Under that boss, he collected experience and credentials. He became a gun – a go-anywhere do-anything dozer driver.

Later, he hooked into the mining industry and got to operate the monster Cat D10 dozer. The bucket was so big it could have carried most of the things he’d driven before. Charging a stack of ore – steel jaw and hung guts of the bucket scraping the ground – he loved the impact with the product. And then the scoop up, the lifting and swallowing. It was brutal and yet beautiful. Mostly he’d get, ‘You love that power, Matt! We know, we know!’ But it was never that, it was the getting things done, the efficiency of it. He admired the deftness of the giant; he felt as if it were an extension of him. Muscle, sure, but skill in using it. It was the skill, the finesse.

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FictionIt was a loud dinner. Everything was loud. The murmuring soundtrack of free jazz seemed to emphasise laughs and guffaws. He grew drunker and drunker and toyed with his food, which no one even noticed. Normally, he would wolf down everything they cooked, but he twisted his fork in the spaghetti and just kept twisting. As he was on serving duty, he cleared it up without anyone even registering he’d barely taken a bite.

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