Castle Roland

The Odd One Out

by Gary Conder


Chapter 1

Published: 31 Mar 16

The Odd One Out

Copyright © 2015
by Gary Conder
All Rights Reserved

Odd Man Out Logo

It was only a stones throw into town although Colt wasn't into throwing stones. Once he may have but that was long ago and his parents were living then.

Colt Russell East Blake was the odd one out in most aspects. Orphaned in his last teenage year he lived alone on the edge of town. Home was once his parent's farm, a hundred and fifty hectares of prime development land set in picturesque surroundings, while his refusal to sell even a single hectare caused the town to develop in the opposing direction among the gibber fields and baked red clay to the west.

Most knew Colt by the name of Russell, family called him East and friends just Colt but all three handles had character and history. Russell had been preferred by his mother, a woman of Tasmanian Convict stock, whose ancestors arrived without ticket of leave to find their fortune in the area's gold fields, while East came from his father's love for a novel by Alan Marshall bearing the title of Hammers over the Anvil.

Russell preferred to be called Colt as it was befitting given his passion for horses. During his youth he would play at being that very Colt, wild and free while prancing along the banks of the river that flowed to the east of the Blake holding; cantering his little legs beneath the white-ant eaten timbers of the small bridge that lead from the property, then frolic across the paddocks to the hills beyond. There he would loosen his imagination among the giant gums at the river's turn from the north, creating with its turn a number of tranquil and mysterious billabongs, their depth hidden by the black stained water, while river gums sent roots as thick as a man's body into the darkness, where perch and cod nervously hid from water birds. This was once aboriginal sacred territory but now none remained to pay homage to their totems or their ancestors.

During those same youthful years Russell believed Colt was a nickname born out of his fondness for horses but on his parent's demise and with the discovery of his birth certificate he found his father had registered him with that name. It was official and it pleased him greatly.

Some years previously Colt had asked his mother why he was called Colt, she had laughed and whimsically shook her head without supplying any reason. Eventually the woman relented.

"It was your father's doing. After you're birth he chanced to view you naked in your crib and declared that the only part of you that had any size was your willy. 'He has the donger of a bloody horse!' He had exclaimed loudly followed by giggling from the attending nurses. "He's a flaming Colt!"

"Mother!" Colt had protested with much embarrassment but it was true and as the years passed his private parts continued to develop with him. Now just shy of twenty-two he was most proud of his name and his appendage.

It was his Aunt Mavis preference to call him East, why she chose to do so he could not say; possibly because she was his father's sister and in many ways, as bohemian as he had been.

Mavis was a large happy woman, with ample silver hair akin to that of a magpie's nest, also sagging ruddy jowls, large protruding front incisors and a laugh that could out decibel a rock band.

Mavis never married but, in some youthful frolic with, it was alleged, the fullback from the local football team, she gave birth to a son. Dennis as the child became known was immediately donated to her mother, Colt's grandmother, who as quickly placed the child with a family friend beyond the influence of the town. At the time Mavis had not reached the age of consent and to avoid shame, was sent to relatives in the city to have her baby.

As for Dennis he reached manhood happy and well enough adjusted under the circumstances and although discarded by his mother held no ill feelings towards her and once old enough often visited his mother, even calling in to visit Colt who in those early years was unaware he had a cousin by that name.

Colt was just as unaware of his own younger brother, gone from the family before he was old enough to realise Toby's existence and had only become cognisant by discovering a second birth certificate, filed with his own in a tattered shoe box, along with a horde of ancient black and white photographs and land deeds. Some were of him perched high on his favourite mount; others of person's unknown but a small collection, buried towards the bottom of the box and under a multitude of legal documents were of his parents and somewhat risqué. They came out of the shoebox as naked as the day they were born and by their attitude most happy to be so.

Nakedness wasn't a stranger to Colt. As a lad his parents were often found around the house in various stages of dress or undress, depending on one's point of view. Even Colt would discard his clothing at a whim regardless who was visiting.

"Jillian he is a big boy," was frequently commented by visitors as the young Colt ran naked and bandy-legged through the house. It was thought to be natural then but on reaching his teenage years his parent's nakedness became embarrassing, as did his own in their presence but once alone and in the disguise of his imaginary colt he would pounce among the river gums in his naked splendour.

Jillian and Stan Blake were Colts parents but he knew his mother as Pearl and his father as Jock, why they called each other by such names was a mystery, as no one else in the town did so.

Often Jillian and Stan would play mind games that lasted for days. Colt's younger years were as if living in some theatrical farce. There would be staged arguments that surged and ebbed like the sea upon a shore; their acting bad and their scripts somewhat Shakespearian but delivered as if from some poorly scripted television soap opera.

There had been days when their son felt he didn't exist at all, leaving the lad to wander around the large Victorian house, with its wide shaded verandahs and multitude of over furnished rooms at will, retiring to his bed when exhausted and rising late for school, to prepare his own breakfast.

Sometimes his parents would go visiting without taking the lad or letting him know of their intentions. Colt would return to the house from playing in the paddocks or riding, to find it empty but became so accustomed to the situation, would go about his day without further thought. If he were weary he would rest, if hungry he would prepared a meal and became most proficient at doing so.

At meal times Jillian and Stan would freely converse, mostly in hidden meaning and innuendo, referring to Colt or Russell or East, depending on their mood as the child, yet he wanted for nothing. There was always good food on the table, clean clothes in his drawers and fresh sheets on his bed, while his room was filled with more toys than most children would see in a lifetime and of course, horses. There were always and firstly horses.

Colt could ride almost as soon as he learned to walk. Stan had been a proud and most capable horseman who always kept a well stocked paddock of breeding mares, all spanning the average height of a thoroughbred, being between fifteen and seventeen hands and towering above the lad like some colossus.

The size and verve of the horses didn't faze Colt at all. He preferred a full mount as from its back the power within the body of the horse seemed to extend into his own frame, spurring him on, becoming as one with the animal in spirit and in being, while bringing it to full gallop across the home paddock to thunder across the bridge then onwards along the dirt track towards the main road. Sometimes even into town.

Colt's father had been a tall man, lean and strong. Some considered him handsome in a rugged kind of way, although his eyes were considered a tad too close and his face more elongated than oval. Many of his father's attributes developed within Colt. He was athletic, tall and strong, his eyes deep oceans of blue and his hair, as was his mother's, raven black. Unlike either parent Colt tended to be shy around strangers, a man of few words which he chose wisely, being careful not to give away his inner thoughts, of which there were many but he possessed a kind and forgiving nature.

During his school years Colt's handsome persona and strength of body made him popular with both girls and other boys. They all wished to be his friend and when it was time for sport, Colt was first choice for the cricket and football team. He loved sport and at a local level was most capable. A keen batsman holding the team's run record and with unqualified honesty, also the number of ducks, while as the local football teams Ruck, quick to belt the pig-skin down to the forwards.

With his school days behind him Colt remained connected with the Cricket and Football Club but his enthusiasm had somewhat waned. He still made the runs and handled the ball but when approached by talent scouts declined their offers.

"You could play for any of the Melbourne clubs." He was told of his football skills; "Just take your pick – even Collingwood or the Roos."

"Na not North Melbourne, they are a pack of rapists." He had humorously answered without regret. As for Collingwood, he had no wish to squander his sporting years yearning for a flag and he hated Hawthorn.

For Colt sport was more a release, rather that an obsession and his way to socialise. Besides most of his friends played in the cricket and football teams and after either practice or a game there would be the pub or the cricket club for a laugh and a few beers.

Colt was also a member of the Golf club, even if he believed the game to be the ruin of many a good walk. Besides he was absolutely useless when it came to playing the game. He would aim the ball towards the green and it would end in the trees, so after a few attempts he gave away the idea of being a golfer and was prepared to watch his mates play from the comfort of the club house balcony, while enjoying the amber fluid.

Colt also found being a member of the Golf Club beneficial, as a number of the local property owners and parents wishing to buy horses for their children, played a weekend round of gulf, so if he had stock to sell, many a deal was made over a few drinks in the club house bar.

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