Lazer Gun Show…

It started with a whisper and grew in size as it gained momentum like a train picking up speed along the tracks, clickety clack, clickety clack. An idea that would take the team on an adventure to parts and places they’ve never been before into the great unknown. Ok well maybe they won’t be going into the great unknown. Everywhere they’ll go will be populated so nothing is unknown at all, but it sounded good so bare with us as we hit you with this diatribe. For 10 days we are putting the team in a beat up Subaru Forester and hitting the wide open road. Starting in northern queensland (Townsville) we’ll drive all the way to Nowra, making plenty of stops along the way as we ponder life and all that surrounds us in this big brown land.

While a lot of people find traveling to be somewhat boring the team here at A Mind of Its Own are somewhat used to living an airport life, hoping on a bus or riding a train if they aren’t sitting in the driver’s seat of the company Prius feeling somewhat emasculated. There is nothing worse than sitting at the lights and performance car pulls up next to you, the throaty sound of the engine as it revs next to you. The engines power vibrating through the roads surface. Meanwhile you put you your foot to the floor and hear the whiz of the electric motor in your overpowered golf cart. Ah to be rich and or famous we could have a fleet of priuses to save the environment with despite the fact we have to mine rare earth minerals to make the batteries. No contradiction there at all folks, hybrid is the way of the future.

SO getting back on track, to start the journey the team decided to head back to where so many laughs and blogs were created throughout last year. Yes the journey is starting in the leafy gold coast suburb of varsity lakes. Namely the train station, fortunately there are no plastic fantastics or cashed up bogans about for the team to get distracted and write yet another blog around the latest plastic surgery or body enhancement craze. Oh in case you were wondering the latest craze is botox. For men and no not in the face or lips but right in the mummy, daddy button, yeah we live in a wonderfully fucked up world sometimes.

Varsity lakes train station, where we loaded up the teams supplies of bottled water, MRE’s and first aid equipment. Come on guys we are going north not to some unexplored area of the amazon. Finally we set out for Brisbane airports domestic terminal. The train ride is somewhat sobering after the blitzed feeling we are left with having just come from a team lunch down at Coolangatta surf club where one too many beers was consumed and a few jokes here and there were made about the impending travel. Nevertheless we made it to the train station and sat down for awhile twiddling our thumbs waiting for the latest version of the Bombardier train system to rock up.

Early as per usual the team waits around for hours in the Virgin lounge for their flight, is it the free beers or just being able to utilise the facilities? Good question but whatever it may be they are certainly making the most of it as they chill with plates of food and free drinks being downed like a bunch of bin chickens around the kfc dumpster after closing time. The old man is once again grumbling about his flight being delayed continuing his run of luck with flights into the New Year. The team are keeping their distance as the vein in his neck starts to bulge and his cheeks flush red with anger. Red Hulk could be making an appearance in the Virgin Lounge if he’s not doused in beer soon.

Having calmed the boss down with more beer and the odd whiskey we’ve been given the task of getting notes down for the trip and working out who’s doing what blog over the 11 days. So that being said we looked at stops planned along the way and groaned when we noticed that Kingscliff/Terranora had been included on the list. From Airlie Beach to Yeppoon to Kingscliff well now that’s a drive but there are places in between that we could stop at and check out if the boss wasn’t being so tight with the petty cash. Once we’ve hit Kingy it’s on to the new Sydney for a quick catch up with the Hemsworth’s and every other Australian Hollywood A lister who now calls Byron Bay home.

Once Byron has been tamed we’ll move on to the home of the Honey Badger and hopefully avoid the Bachelor fan girls lurking along the beaches of Port Macquarie in the hope of seeing him in his natural environment. It’s a hop, skip and a jump to the next destination on the road trip as we throw caution to the wind and visit the set of Mad Max. The stunning sand dunes of Stockton Beach which we will be calling home for a few days as we fall down, slide down, slip down and run down the dunes. Heck depending on the weather we may even throw a line in off the beach and see what we can catch. Who knows, we might land a tuna or two, chances are more likely that we will land a shark and have to cut the line but you never know until you try.

The next destination has yet to be decided but there may be a stop in Sydney and if not it’ll be a nice old drive straight on through to Nowra where we’ll spend a few days exploring the shoal harbour region and south coast before dragging the team back to work and making them earn a living which they will all hate. There are plenty of things to see and do and hey you can actually swim in the ocean down there. They still have sharks but other than that you are good to go. As our names are called over the lounge PA system, our flight has finally landed is available to board. Naps seem to be the entertainment of choice as most of the team can be heard snoring their little heads off in the rows to the left and in front. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Landing in Townsville the first thoughts are it’s a massive city, turns out that everything you need to see is within a couple of kilometre radius along the waterfront. But swimming is a no, no! If the crocodiles don’t get you, the box jellyfish, sharks or stingrays will. What a great place to live by the water that you can’t really swim in! Northern Queensland is more deadly than a redback on the dunny seat. We’ve only been in the airport for 5 minutes and we’ve seen more cowboys jerseys than home match and 1300 Smile stadium could fit. The hit of musty hot, humid death hits you as you leave the frigid comfort of the airport to what is one of the worst designed airport pickups you will ever see. It’s like a formula one race course.

Piling into the 2004 Subaru Forester that will carry us the some 2000 plus kilometers on our journey we notice two immediate things. One Townsville has more RBTs setup on a Friday night than they have police and two the airport is somewhat in the middle of nowhere compared to where the main part of town is, it takes a good twenty plus minutes to make our way to our accommodation for the night. The building looks quite recent, well compared to most of the apartment blocks we’ve seen on the drive in that look like they were built when Captain Cook landed on our our shores and claimed Australia in the name of the British empire.

What looked nice on the outside turned out to be a mattress on the floor and the world’s dirtiest bathroom. The tub was so dirty even the mould was growing mould and the team decided they’d rather hold it all in than risk using the toilet for fear something might crawl up from the sewers and make its way into their nether regions only to grow and reproduce like t something from a Science fiction movie or horror film. In what turned out to be restless sleep where we were all woken rather early by a little old lady making tea and flicking the light switches on and off like it was a laser gun show out at the army barracks. Safe to say there were a few tired heads the next morning.

As we sign off on another blog, we will keep all our faithful followers updated on the adventure via a weekly blog and if you can’t wait that long head on over to our instagram or Facebook page which will be updated regularly with photos and location updates. Once again we bid you farewell for another week and the first blog of the new year! We’re starting it off with a bang and hitting you up with a travel diary of sorts to keep you on the hook well in to the year and hoping you’ll want more and more as we tackle the best topics for 2019 and beyond. As always if you have any suggestions, comments or questions please hit us up, we are happy to take requests and tackle any topic, big or small there is nothing that can’t be given a mind of its own. So Asta man yana amigos!

With Friends like you, Who needs Friends…

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, there’s toys in every store if you head to the toy section all year round not just at christmas and if we go to the butcher we can guaranteed unless you are going to play with your Christmas Ham they aren’t going to have toys so the song is doing a little false advertising but that’s ok. Like Easter though as soon as one major event is over it’s time to roll out the next. In this case most shopping centres have been rolling out their christmas decorations since October. Christmas tunes are blasting our years as of November and come the start of December there is no escaping the fact that Christmas is well and truly upon us, followed very closely by new years and then before you know it Australia (Invasion) Day. After Australia/invasion Day you can finally relax and enjoy some down time until easter but you will start to see easter eggs as of the 27th of January.

We’ve lit the candles on another cake and started the macarena in order to celebrate in style. The padlock has come off the drinks fridge and someone has said it’s time to party like it’s nineteen ninety nine. Does that mean we should all hide and worry about the Y2K bug or channel our inner Prince throw on our best purple velvet suit and rock out? Who knows but for the team here it’s GO time and time to celebrate all the good things that came with the year. Time to let the hair down and time to throw the rule book out the window along with all our cares in the world. So tip your head back, throw back a drink or two and settle in with us to celebrate. By the way the title has nothing to do with the Blog as per usual and we are still waiting for someone to tell us what they all have in common…

So with the year creeping rapidly towards a close and A Mind of Its Own reaching yet another major milestone with this post. We thought why not look back on the best of the blog through 2018. With the half century now posted on the scoreboard we are waving our bat and saluting the crowd unlike the Australian cricket team who are still suffering from the ball tampering incident earlier in the year and are coping it from the Indian’s currently tourning. As we salute the stadium and our fans (that’s you guys) from being such good sports and being so patient with us throughout the year. We thank you for providing us with some great feedback, your continued support and your viewership on a weekly basis. Without you guys this blog wouldn’t work and we certainly wouldn’t have managed to write about some of the more stranger topics that we have covered over the year like Trump’s Space Force which we are still super excited about if it ever grows legs. It’ll be the best thing he’s done since the apprentice.

We also wouldn’t have entered contests like shit blog weekly and dunny readers anonymous or the Australian Blog awards. Saving that last one for our 2019 debut into the blogosphere. Truth be told we’ve loved every minute and every edition on of A Mind of Its Own in 2019. We’ve grown the family and added two office dogs who do very little to contribute other than tearing up the cease and desist letters we fail to receive on a weekly basis as our mail clerks seem to spend more time chewing them, than reading them. In some ways we are lucky that we are a totally digital platform otherwise I can guarantee a lot of these blogs wouldn’t have made it to print with those to furballs.

In what was a big year we managed to make a mockery of the Commonwealth Games, attack the plastic fantastics on the Gold Coast on more than one occasion, Harass Trump on several occasions, find the infamous owl statue in Canberra that looks more like a penis, no we are not joking about that just google owl+penis statue+Canberra and laugh continually at the bosses run of misfortune when it came to travelling for the job that keeps the doors open to this fine establishment. The writing was superfluous, we handed over the reigns on more than one occasion and even let the office pooches have there say or two. We put ourselves at the edge of our comfort zones and pushed our bodies to the limit to give you what we call life in a nutshell. There were diets and fads, gym sessions and drinking, fashion and travel. There wasn’t a topic too big or too small that couldn’t take on A Mind of Its Own…

From bumper stickers to ball tampering we covered it all and gave it that special twist that you’ve come to love and respect from the team. There have been heartfelt moments, tears, more than a few tantrums and on the odd occasion a little blood in our endeavour to bring a voice to the topics our fans want covered. A lot pain goes into finding things that people don’t want to talk about. We are raw, open and honest with our thoughts, feelings and often criticism as we poke fun and holes in things throughout each blog. Inspiration has been found through various different mediums whether it be an event, a situation or a person, something has inspired us to write the 49 blogs that have come before this one and the however many that will certainly follow. The team are not done yet unravelling the mysteries of the world around us. With a new year there will certainly be a whole heap of new topics coping our no holds bar approach.

So what did we cover over the year? We started out with Music and discussing everyone’s theme songs before moving onto Arsegate The Commonwealth Games greatest shame, the bunnings sandpaper bonanza, a look at Australia’s most favourite and endeared bird that should replace the emu on the coat of arms. We touched on questionable tattoos, athletes decisions, man’s need to fuck things up. There wasn’t a topic that didn’t make it to the drawing board in the office before some bright spark in legal told us it was a big no, no to write about that or unethical, in fact the works politically correct were used on more than one occasion forcing us to stop, look and listen like we were crossing a mental road. We continue to advocate that it is ok to talk about mental health issues particularly if you are a man and we even reviewed a video game or two.

We’ve renewed our free subscription to Google in order to search for any information we don’t have on hardfile or can’t get off the streets or our trusty informants who continually drop knowledge bombs like red spots specials at your local supermarket. We are also entering into the PodCast arena with a sweet little doozy that will be called ‘Blankety, Blank, Blank powered by A Mind of Its Own’ Your favourite blog gets a real voice unfortunately both James Earl Jones and Morgan Freeman were way too expensive and also unavailable so you’ll be stuck with the not so dulcet tones of the boss as he nasals his way through a different topic each week with hopefully some special guests and hosts otherwise it may not be a long living podcast that you will all grow tired of fairly quickly.

From year to year we’ve set goals, this year was all about discovering our style and setting up a fan base. In the new year we’ll set some big goals and like Buddy Franklin wheel around to our left and let fly from fifty through the middle. Why will we achieve our goals? That’s simple because of the people that read this blog week in week out. It’s you guys that make this blog, it’s you guys that we’ll continue to write for and continue to work hard at bringing you the topics that really matter both home and abroad. So with our 50th blog we thank each and everyone of you for taking the time to read our weekly post. Our fans are our biggest source of inspiration.

Without further adieu happy 50th blog post to us, at the beginning of the year had someone asked us if we’d write almost a post a week we probably would have said NO, but it’s become a religious thing for us by which we feel extremely bad if we haven’t posted for the week. We have some amazing fans who continually leave us comments on the website or for those that know the writers and personally comment to them about one of the posts or a specific line. Again we thank all of the fans from the casual readers to the die hard never miss a post fans.

To the next milestone we are thinking we’ll do it in quarters but who knows we might just let you all know once we’ve cracked the ton and can wave the bat around for the second time proudly knowing we’ve achieved another major milestone. But like they say you have to celebrate the wins no matter how big so we’ll celebrate when we can. In the office we’ve cracked open a nice bottle of scotch shared a dram or two and stumbled out to celebrate with friends and family. Or in some cases on our own or with the office hounds.

Until next week and another new post we bid you farewell and hope you’ve cracked a can or two in our honor. If you don’t read next week blogs we wish you a Merry Christmas or whatever you celebrate or don’t celebrate this time of year. It’s a time for family and friends. And as a side note we don’t condone drinking, we do condone celebrating, enjoying yourselves, having fun and by all means being safe! As long as it’s in moderation! Adios Amigos!

Beauty in the Bricks…

As the heavens open up and bathe the earth once again we thought it was about time we hit you with a dose of the best distraction pill available on the market. That’s right the doctor has spoken and prescribed you with a dose of A Mind of its Own to aile your woes. It’s been a couple of weeks since we last graced your screens with our rather unique brand of blogging, straight from some of the strangest minds in all of Australasia. Our off kilter approach to the worlds issues has the health authorities wondering whether they should have us all thrown in the loony bin.

For the first time in a while the team here stopped and took a look at the world around them. The ins and outs of what was happening in the world and the human beings ability to continue to adapt and overcome. There are plenty of unanswered questions about the world, particularly those about our purpose and how we came to be at the top of the evolutionary food chain. But all those can wait for another time and another place. If you wanted to read about that you’d have logged on to National Geographic or the Discovery channel website.

What do the people want to actually read about? You know it’s funny as human beings one would think we wanted to hear about nice things happening in the world but as the marketers say there are only two things that sell news papers. Sex and things that no one wants to hear about like murder, robbery and anything of the ill elk. Well sex isn’t really our forte and we promise you’ll never get a 50 shades of grey from us.The things no one wants to hear about, well they are rather depressing. Hence why the team here tend to have no idea what’s happening in the world. The news is never on and the papers are rarely bought and if they are it’s only to help start the fire at the manor.

So what does this weeks blog have install for the faithful A Mind of its Own followers, good damn question. With so much happening around the world and so much happening around us there should be a million and one things for the talented team here to write about but it seems like a case of writer’s block has infected the whole team. Without a dose of antiblocktics lying around we’ve had to tough it out and pull together something that will hopefully make sense and allow you to enjoy yet again another blog from our stellar team.

We’ve had some great feedback over the past couple of months from our followers ranging from great content to it’s an enjoyable read while i’m on the toilet. The last one was a little strange and disturbing but at least we now know that we are making toilet breaks around the world a little easier on the minds of those reading along while they void their bowels of their last meals waste. Sounds pretty shit it if you ask us, pun intended! So besides being a toilet break filler for those that need one, we tend to try and be educational, funny and a little on the crazy side when we can.

Speaking of the crazy side, the team has been playing a lot of Red Dead Redemption 2 as of late on the Xbox. An escape from reality as some of the wives continue to point out but never the less a distraction from the troubles in the world around us. The Rockstar games western themed second installment of the Red Dead series got us thinking about when times were a lot simpler. Simpler, yet harder in some aspects. Riding around America in the early 1800’s on a trusty steed with a pistol strapped to your thigh, the wind running past your face as you gallop through plains and meadows chasing your next dollar by robbing a stagecoach or train that’s if you wish to be an outlaw. You could be part of a posse chasing down those outlaws and bringing them to justice. Each to their own we say.

Oh how the world has changed since the days of the wild west, no longer is it socially acceptable to-day drink, well it is as long as you are at a function and it’s in a licensed venue or in the comfort of your own home. Office settings are not an acceptable place to drink or start a brawl when someone offends you and you need to defend your honor. You can no longer sit in the main straight swigging from a whiskey bottle, saying howdy and tipping your hat to every man, woman and child that walks past unless it’s concealed in a brown paper bag even then it tends draws a lot of attention.

A lot has changed since the days of outlaw gangs and cowboys. People no longer ride horses in gangs and have swapped the graceful beasts for the metal version on two wheels. They still tend to draw the outlaw tag and often are stereotyped into being part of a gang whether they ride for recreation or they truly are outlaws who run drugs, guns, prostitution and rob people or places in order to make a living. When we referenced that it was an easier time we were referring to the fact that towns or cities were small and miles in between, you could disappear for weeks on end and live off the land if you had to. Taxes were something you generally avoided and wearing chaps as a male was acceptable in all places aside from a strip club.

There were many other things the team came across that we noticed were different from back then till now. Hygiene wasn’t really high on the priority list with bathing happening every so often in some cases they took better care of their trusty mounts then they did themselves. You could camp where and when you pleased without the need of a permit and payment for use of the ground. Hunting just happened and tended to be your source of food while living off the land and there was no such thing as a balanced meal.

In fact everything that is now considered bad for you was considered to be good for from smoking through to sucking out the poison from someones snake bite and drinking heavily while operating firearms from a horse. Ok so maybe we’ve painted a picture that all cowboys were drunks that’s not the case but they did tend to drink quite heavily. Saloon brawls were a common occurrence and duels were an actual thing. Yeah fastest draw wins literally, their life and their honor back. Pace it out ten steps and fastest to draw their weapon and fire, it was as simple as that and it was done for money and for pride on a regular occurence with most of the town watching on..

We don’t think you could challenge the new graduate who mouths off around the water cooler to a duel, gun him down and walk away a hero these days. Firstly murder is not ok, secondly the workplace is not the place for firearms unless you work at a gun shop and thirdly today we are told to use our words. One thing that has changed overtime is chivalry, it is no longer deemed chivalrous to pay for everything and be a gentleman. People are just as likely to go on dates these days and the lady pays. Call us old-fashioned but some traditions shouldn’t change and good manners cost you nothing.

A lot of things may have changed for the better however there are a few things that make us turn around these days and think toughen the beep up. Where as in the old days you would be pushed in the mud and taught that it was not ok to not be tough. Hence the place we are in today where it is not ok for men to show weakness, compassion and anything that would not be deemed manly, it definitely was not ok to talk about your feelings as a man in the wild west. You would be labelled a yellow belly or a coward. But at least kids weren’t soft and got trophies for participating even if they finish last. As Ricky Bobby said “If you ain’t first, you’re last”.

So what have learnt from playing a game that is a lot like a my little pony simulator for men, teaching you to tend and care for your mighty steed? Other than being drunk in the 1800’s was a mandatory requirement each day. Being an outlaw was somewhat cool despite having to hurt and often murder people just so you could earn a living. After all you were your own boss, grifting from town to town, gang to gang. Stealing was a common occurrence and if you were good at it you tended to have your own gang. The law often appointed themselves and were just as corrupt as they still are today. The tobacco industry was in its infancy of becoming a world power, the church was its usual god fearing, preaching self and railway tycoons were the one true power throughout the land.

Much like today if you had money you had power, if you had power it often went to your head and you only wanted more of both. Whilst being a cowboy looks somewhat cool it would have been a hard life both mentally and physically. For now we are just happy that we were born in this century and have the luxuries that allow us to live quite comfortable lives. Oh and the fact that when we run out of ideas as to what to write about we can turn to an alternative source of inspiration. Virtual reality or augmented reality, well in this case video games that got us thinking about how life has changed and how we have a little more respect for ourselves and each other. We said a little…

One slow and we say slow because it’s still dragging its heels through the mud like a lame mare, change that has definitely changed is the way women were treated. We aren’t saying its in a good place now but it is certainly a lot better than back then. Like a caveman belting a prospective wife over the head with his club and dragging a woman into his cave. The wild west was not short of its share of violence against women. So the team are glad that has changed and there are no more damsels in distress requiring a cowboy to come along and defend their honor. These days there are a lot of women who would kick your arse at the mere suggestion. You go girls! As some of the younger generation are pointing out they can do anything including the things you thought only men can.

From the often confused and wonderful minds here it’s time for us to say farewell for another week, tip our hats, spit out our tobacco, slap our horses on the rump and ride blissfully into the sunset. We hope besides learning that day drinking was a thing and cowboys now ride motorcycles the message from this weeks post is that violence of any sort if not ok, especially against women. Until next week partners we hope you enjoyed another foray into A Mind of Its Own. Stay tuned for a double dose this week as we come at you with another post about god knows what but it is sure to keep you distracted somehow.

Home in your Head…

In a surprise move that shocked the blogosphere the team at a Mind of Its Own took a second week off to relax, unwind and reboot the system. From the Chief right down to the mailman who happens to be one of two lazy office dogs who are more concerned with bringing in gifts of the dead bird variety than actually doing the jobs they were employed for in the office otherwise known as the madhouse.

There is something to be said for reboot the system every now and then. Getting away from the daily grind and just shutting down. Clearing your mind and recharging the batteries that push us through the weeks, months and years in our nine to five world of jobs that on average 67% of people are unhappy doing. So why stay doing something that most of the time isn’t satisfying or enjoyable? Money?, Stability?, Laziness?, Fear?, whatever people’s reasoning for not doing something about improving their happiness, as long as they don’t look back and regret it than all book in our book.

We pondered a topic for this week’s instalment, do we write about world events? Do we become like the thousands of travel and body image bloggers already flooding the internet with their health tips, travel stories and often unwarranted advice on how you too can get a Kardashian bum by never skipping glute day. Whilst we often take the Mickey out them we do so in jest as we respect the efforts and hard work they go through each week including the mental strain of wondering whether their audience will appreciate their writing. But that doesn’t help us come up with a topic.

So rather than settle on one topic we thought why not just follow our namesake and let this week’s instalment truly take a mind of its own. That being said we thought we’d start with the fallout from Australia’s favourite reality love show, yep the Bachelor, finally someone has done the right thing by them and picked no one! Did he waste the public’s time and the time of those girls? Ah who cares its reality TV remember! Looking for love in all the wrong places should be the title of the TV series. Good on the honey badger for having a set on him to do right by him plus it made of entertaining TV.

On a side note are we all that bored of our own lives that we become outraged by a reality TV show where someone goes against the grain? Come on people we are better than that. It’s not real and no doubt there was a lot of scripting going on behind the scenes on what he could and could not say in the finale. It’s like telling people who survivor Australia is filmed on some tropical island and not in the lush rainforest behind our office in Northern New South Wales or Queensland. Come on Australia wake up and smell the roses pretty please.

Speaking of waking up, do yourselves a favour and don’t read the news first thing in the morning unless you are happy to see the idiotic acts of a race that is meant to be highly intelligent. At this point we are waiting for the dolphins to walk from the water and flipper slap us for being so stupid. In what must be a slow news day we had everything from Channing Tatum’s new girlfriend some little know Uk Pop Star by the name of Jessie J to our fluro clad tradies duking it out over a road rage incident. Heck even old mate Mel Gibson got slot for losing 14 kilograms. At least he wasn’t throwing phones at people, that’s a plus.

Surely there are some worthwhile things happening around the world that deserve someone to report on. And why is it that you rarely hear of nice things in the news. A professor once said after bollocking his students about being naive to the world that no one wants to read fluffy nice pieces. Disaster, chaos and the dark side of life will sell more papers and nice piece about humanitarian efforts in some far off land. But does that mean that these nice pieces should be pushed to the bottom of the page and give less acknowledgement than a politicians affair or love child? Hmm makes you wonder doesn’t it?

In a world where everything is open to comment and interpretation by any and everyone with smart device it makes us wonder whether people prefer to worry about what’s going on around them, rather than having to deal with their own issues and problems in their lives. We’d be remiss to say that at times throughout all our lives we haven’t dug out problem not of our own so that we didn’t have to deal with things going on in our lives. The only problem with that is the more you sweep under the rug the bigger the pile gets before it starts spilling out from under said rug.

Once your rubbish reaches out and begins to touch you that dirty feeling that creeps in where you should have done something earlier to sort it out. Taps you on the shoulder as if to say ‘Told you so’. Then comes the feeling of regret and shame for being too weak to do something about it. Do we really want to be those people?

It’s no wonder people create and build safe places in their minds, a place where no one and nothing can harm them. A home in their own head if you will, somewhere to retreat when they need a break from the world around them. We’ve read several articles on kidnap victims, child abuse, domestic abuse where the victims had created their own safe place in their minds where there tormentors can’t reach them. In some cases it’s the only thing that has kept them alive. In other cases it has been the world in which they have given their lives to escape to.

The mind is an incredible place and the saying it’s all mind over matter is often true in some cases where people have mentally focused all their energy into achieving something that they were told was beyond their reach. The mind can do some amazing things when aligned with the heart and soul of an individual. It is in our opinion the most beautiful part of someone. It can be creative, destructive, nurturing, caring and loving or it can be the complete opposite but it is still the most amazing part of anyone you will meet.

As the sun dips over the horizon on yet another episode of A Mind of Its Own, we are reminded we are all human and in the words of The Beautiful Girls ‘We’ve all got to learn ourselves before we can judge someone else’. So until next week, work on you and ensure you have some fun! You only live once so make the most of it! Be safe and don’t do anything we wouldn’t do! Peace be the journey…

Coffees for Closers…

They say it’s not over until the fat lady sings… In some regards who ever first said this was extremely correct. The only problem is that it’s now politically incorrect to be on the lookout for fat ladies to sing so you can make sure it really is over or to bring up people’s body image, actually we have no idea what is and isn’t correct these days, everyone is becoming rather a little too precious. Actually a fat lady singing might lighten the mood in certain situations. Break ups and other such often traumatic events might just become a little easier if there was a heavyset lady belting out a tune to make you smile or at least grimace. Imagine having to go to court to finalise your divorce and at the back of the room a lady just starts banging out ‘Another one bites the dust’ by the Bee-gees.

The team at A Mind of Its Own would certainly find it more than a little amusing. So back to Fat Ladies singing and it not being over till they do. How does this relate to this weeks blog well it ties in to belief, trust and preparation. You often hear sports coaches telling their athletes to trust in the preparation, believe in the process and have faith your teammates. Well have we got an inspirational story for you. You thought Herman Boon taking TC Williams High school to their first AAA Championship despite all the odds and obstacles they had to overcome not only as a team but as a town divided by race. It showed what believing in a process or in those around you can do or perhaps Miracle on ice is more fitting for this story but either way belief is a strong and powerful tool.

So to tell this story we first need to take you on a journey. The journey starts with a tour of the Australian coastline to a little seaside village in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales. This picturesque seaside town close to the border of Queensland and on the doorstep to the iconic Gold Coast has produced a lot of great athletes over the years. Like many coastal cities in NSW and QLD it is predominantly a rugby league town with the local team the Cudgen Clowns playing in the who cares cup each week against every other who cares cup team. What many people don’t know is that it has a great field hockey history that rich with Australian Representatives including an Olympic Gold Medalist. It is a family town and more than that it is a family club with generations of the same families having donned the Green, White and black in the hunt for victory. The other thing you might not know, is that while the team here at A Mind of Its Own are great at writing and making your laugh each week, we all dabble, participate, turn up, warm the bench or watch hockey games each weekend and have done so since we were little. When we say little we are talking like 11ish but still little enough not to know any better.

And so it was that a Mind of Its Own crew joined Kingscliff Hockey Club Men’s division one on their road to a premiership for the twenty eighteen season. It would be a long season that would not be without some stumbles, falls and hurdles along the way. We’ve often wondered what people think when they see the boys from Kingscliff turn up to the Labrador hockey grounds. An eclectic mix of potato farmers, surf bums, wanna be golf hacks and blue collar professionals. As individuals they each have something to offer to the team from their never funny jokes, to the bloke with the big teeth that just never shuts up. As a team they have bonded and learnt to trust in each other and trust in the preparation and process. A family away from family for some and a great bunch of blokes for others, who are proud to call each other mate.

Throughout the season they proved time and time again that belief in self and belief in each other along with trust in their preparation for each game was paramount but it would shine the brightest in the only match that truly counted throughout the season. With a regular season that consisted of one loss and two draws amongst their many wins, there was no doubt from the Stingers as they affectionately known around the club would be there on the fateful day in September. Having prepared with a solid preseason and lots of sessions at the Leagues Club or Chinderah Pub most of the team were fit and raring to go from day one. From the old heads to the next generation round after round the team poured their heart and soul into every game.

So come finals time it was no surprise that there was a little disappointment from the playing group when they lost their first semi to the poodles and didn’t go straight through to the final instead they took the long route to September and had to play in a major semi final to go through. In the end securing top spot was a good thing allowing the boys from the beach and bush a second bite at a well deserved cherry. With another show of domination the team showed their strength and waltzed through to the big dance against some labradoodles.

September the 8th will forever go down in Kingscliff Hockey Club history as a day to be remembered. It was a day in which belief in a team, belief in the process to get them there and belief in self will forever be etched in the history books or at least the players instagram, twitter and facebook feeds. Having lost to the poodles two weeks earlier the Stingers were out for revenge. Piling on the bus for the long journey up the motorway to Labrador Hockey Complex the air was full of nervous energy and excitement and the sweet smell of hops wafting from those not playing at the back of the bus. Each player lost in their own thoughts and feelings as they explored the what ifs to come. Many of them playing the game over and over in their heads before they’d even stepped out on the field.

The hours ticked by as they waited patiently watching on as other teams took the field before them. Game after game, team after team, winners and losers decided in the matter of minutes. Heroes and villains decided as teams battled to take home the coveted prize. Seventy minutes was all that stood between glory or sadness until the following season when redemption could be sought. Finally the time came for the Stingers to prepare for battle, like warriors of the past marching out to meet an opposing army they donned their armour only it wasn’t in the form of chainmail or armour plating but in the form of plastic shin pads and rubber mouthguards. Sitting there the team listened to the coach layout the plan for one last time that seasong.

Nothing had changed from the first time the coach had written on board, plan would remain the same. The team trusted in their preparation knowing that the rest would take care of itself. The warm up was the same as it had been all year. They ensured they were warm and the keeper was prepared as best he could be. One last little pep talk from the captain and the team lined up to take the field. Seventy minutes left in what had already been a season to be proud of. Seventy minutes standing between them and the outcome they had chased all season.

The whistle sounded in what would be a fierce and fast first half of hockey. The majority of play was in Kingscliff’s attacking half, as they continued to apply attacking pressure earning several attacking corners (For those playing at home its where you get a shot from the top of the circle) The labradoodles dam wall however was holding strong. Unfortunately like all things in sport often things just don’t go your way at times. The poodles managed to net two in quick succession and taking the lead into half two nil up. With the second half in full flow the game was still hanging in the balance almost midway through the second half before a mistake made my an official that would tip the game further in the poodles favour.

At three nil down with only seventeen minutes remaining until full time in the match a lot of people had probably started to write the boys from Kingscliff off. We wouldn’t blame them either, the KHC boys had plenty of chances up front to get themselves back in the game. Now going back to the beginning of this blog where we discussed belief in the process, believe in each other and trust that it’s never over until the fat lady sings. Well after weathering the continued poodle assaults, the dam wall finally burst down the other end. One then two and finally the third came on the cusp of the of the game finishing. As the final whistle for the half blew the team’s belief and trust in the preparation had never waivered.

Going into extra time golden goal the belief in the groups ability and the ability to finish what had started back in March was never in doubt. The play that had the fat lady singing ‘we are the champions’ saw the ball shifted from one side of the pitch to the other, passed down the line and slapped towards the circle as the clock ticked past the first minute of extra time. The ball bobbled into the circle finding a Kingscliff stick and a brilliant piece of individual skill sealed the deal. Like all good stories and movies this one had a happy ending. The belief that had been with the team from Kingscliff from the beginning of there season had got them through and saw them take the premiership four goals to three in extra time.

Elation and excitement buzzed around the ground as players ran in from all directions to find a time mate. Players danced and hugged each other as they celebrated the win, they had danced their way into the history books.The boys from the Northern Rivers had completed the perfect comeback in the game that mattered most of all. It just goes to show what believing in something or someone can do. From the team at a Mind of Its Own we hope you have a great week, dream big and never stop believing…

Fire for Effect – Teaser 2

Chapter Fifteen

Ibrahim glanced at his phone for what was the second time in the space of a minute. He willed it to vibrate once again. Struggling to contain his excitement Ibrahim paced around the living room of his penthouse apartment. With views of downtown Chicago, he was able to look out over the sprawling cities skyline all the while thinking of what was to come. The message he’d received two minutes earlier had lit a fire in his belly. Ibrahim had been waiting for years to receive this particular message. As soon as he’d received it he’d opened up a second secure texting application to send off several messages to members of his cell. Inviting them to his residence, they would be briefed on the mission to come. Surrounded by his fellow warriors he now impatiently waited for further instructions to be sent via the encrypted messaging application installed on his smartphone..

Throughout houses, mosques, churches, apartments and secreted rooms all over America men and women of both Russian and Arab descent sat doing the exact same thing Ibrahim and his cell were doing. As they received orders they memorised them before deleting the message or burning the piece of paper that it had been transcribed onto. Some of the orders were directions for weapons caches buried outside major cities, others included targets and some were cryptic that only those closest to Yuri and Fatima would understand. Plans that had been decades in the making were now being kicked into gear all over continental United States.

By 9:00 that evening Ibrahim was standing over a map of Illinois placing pins across the state as the cell members crowded the trouble. Each person in the room had been given a specific task to complete.Three sets of different coloured pins were dotted around the state of Illinois, each time a pin went in the map Ibrahim referred to the copy of the Koran he had carried with him since entering the country 6 years ago. There were only 3 red pins dotting the map, while the rest were either green or yellow. The majority of the pins sticking from the maps surface had a green head. The green pins were safe houses or exfiltration points for the cell members who would not become martyrs on their missions for Allah. The yellow pins indicated weapons drops dotted all over the state and the surrounding boroughs of Chicago.

His group of Holy warriors sat reading reports, looking at surveillance footage, youtube videos taken by tourists and websites dedicated to travel blogs around Illinois. They jotted down notes and conferred with each other on approaches and exit strategies to locations, weapon drops and safe houses throughout Chicago before screwing them up and throwing them into a steel trash can that would later be set alight destroying all evidence of their meeting. They would file out of the building one by one over a period of several hours. Some would leave through the front of the building while others would leave through the parking garage at the rear of the building.

The plan for Ibrahim and his followers was to head through the great lakes into Canada where they would hide out for months if needed before hopping a flight back to the middle east where they would be greeted as heroes of the war against the infidels. Ibrahim knew in his heart that none of them would make it home they would die on foreign soil taking the fight to the infidels as Allah had intended for each and every one of them.

Over in New York, Pravin spoke to his cell with passion and commitment to the cause as he pointed at photos pinned to the wall behind him of his garage. A white sheet hanging from the ceiling acted a screen while he showed showed video footage of major tourist attractions that had been taken by members of his cell on a projector borrowed from his work. Like an army general he pointed out their ingress and egress routes. Discussed response times of the NYPD and the likely weapons they could expect. Each man and woman sat before him was to memorise their role in the operation. They were given an alias and told to learn it before the next time they met.

In Washington D.C and Los Angeles two more cells worked on the finer details of the plans that had been slowly evolving since the late 1980’s. In years to come when the world looked back over the events of the next couple of weeks they would slowly, come to realise that the Russians had indeed won the cold war. They had created an alliance that would serve them well into the next two decades bringing terror and fire to their enemies doorsteps. All the while they would publicly denounce the actions of such terror groups while behind the former iron curtain they were rejoicing at the destruction of the western world and their cold war enemies.

The six cells were spread across the United States and operated independently of each other. They were all tasked with their own missions and whilst each mission was similar in nature. Yuri and Osama had been specific in their wishes before they had passed on their vision to their son and daughter. Each of the six cells would split their cell into two teams, one of the teams would cause maximum terror attacking a major landmark while the other team would take out a designated infrastructure target. Yuri Junior had picked out the infrastructure targets while Fatima had picked the tourist attractions that would be hit, her sadistic nature being fed with each location she picked and the thoughts of lives that would be taken from the world..

It had taken Fatima’s father years of meticulous, careful planning from his safe house in Pakistan. He had sought Yuri’s council on several occasions. After the success of the 9/11 plans in which they had hijacked several commercial jetliners to use as missiles by piloting them into the twin towers and the pentagon. Since 9/11 the US had beefed up their homeland security presence in all major cities quite significantly. Planning often ground to halt as intelligence gathering exercises stalled for months on end as it became increasingly harder and harder for the members of the cells who were of middle eastern appearance to move freely around the cities without scrutiny.

The majority of intelligence gathering was then left to the Georgian and Russian members of the cells. There caucasian appearance allowed them to move freely around the cities, often playing the role of tourist as they snapped photos in front of targeted landmarks or hours of footage walking through the cities. Each cell was comprised of 10 couples or 20 twenty people in total, once the cells split into the fire team for their separate missions they each had 5 women and 5 men who were all highly trained in the use of explosives, small arms and long arms. They had been trained by former special forces soldiers in the woodlands, deserts and tundra of the American landscape.

Across the other side of the world Yuri and Fatima sat watching the small monitor as Catherine slept in her cell. Still under the influence of drugs pumping around her system. Slowly they would either break her in interrogation or she would become addicted at which point they would stop injecting her until her body craved it. Most people would then sell their deepest, darkest secrets just to get their next fix. Over the last couple of days they had changed strategies and started injecting her with heroin instead of the truth serum. Her body was becoming addicted as they increased the dosage with every interrogation session. Fatima stared menacingly at the screen before turning to Yuri and pulling him closely. ‘What is it my dear you look worried? she said.

Sighing deeply he turned back to the screen before speaking, ‘My father warned me of this, of the Americans and their stubbornness. We may kill her before she spills her secrets my that troubles me. We need this to work! I promised my father and your father that I would see their plan through even if it killed me’. His voice was mixed with both anger and worry.

‘My dear you think too much, by this time tomorrow the American whore will be begging for her next hit and will do anything for it. That includes betraying her much loved country, I promise you’ Fatima said before kissing him passionately and leaving him with his thoughts as she began preparing herself for bed. Sitting there for a moment longer staring at the screen, Yuri removed a piece of paper from his pocket. He had carried it with him for the past 5 years, it was always on his person no matter what he was doing. Over the years he’d thought of destroying it but everytime he come close he’d look at the words on the page and pocketed it before he could go through with it. Today was no different, he stared at the page before him knowing that he had memorised every line but Yuri could not bring himself to part with the page until the mission was complete.

The page was split in 6 sections within each section there were two dot points under a major location and a name. The first of the dot points was a major infrastructure target like a power plant or water purification plant, the second item was a major tourist attraction. Scribled at the top of the of the page in chicken scratch were two words that had only been spoken in selected circles over the years in Yuri’s home.

Operation Awakening

California – Los Angeles – Vladimir

  • Double Canyon Power Plant
  • Universal Studios

New York – New York – Pravin

  • Nine Mile Point Power Plant
  • The Intrepid, sea, air & space museum

Illinois – Chicago – Ibrahim

  • Jardine Water Purification Plant
  • United Center

Nevada – Las Vegas/Boulder City – Mishka

  • Hoover Dam
  • Nellis Air Force Base

Virginia – Washington D.C – Natalia

  • Possum Point Power Plant
  • National Air & Space Museum

Texas – Houston – Asif

  • Lyondellbasell Refinery
  • Space Center

It was all there before him on the page as it had been written years earlier with Fatima, the two of them had painstakingly researched their targets to cause maximum damage and fear in the hearts and minds of the infidels. They would strike a blow for mother Russia and Osama’s AQ, forever forging a relationship that had been created all those years ago in Afghanistan.

Across the hall Anatoly stared at the roof thinking of his father, his mind wandered forever questioning whether he was doing the right thing, What would his father think if he could see him now, would he agree with the choices he’d made, the friends he was keeping and more importantly his unrelenting urge to help his uncle’s crusade against the West.

His thoughts soon drifted to the woman in the cell below them, he imagined her without the bruises and cuts that dotted her body. He had seen her naked and knew she kept herself fit, she had a great figure and reminded Anatoly of the women he used would chase in bars when he was a much younger man on the streets of Moscow. It had been years since he had enjoyed the warm embrace of a woman. His tour of Afghanistan and now his uncle’s mission had put a stop to life as he knew it.

His wife and child didn’t even know he was alive, as Anatoly saw it they may never know he was alive. He knew his uncle’s plans would be seen out and if he didn’t agree to participate he may likely be killed like all those he had seen brought before his uncle who had refused. As he thought he knew he needed to talk to the American woman. It was her only way to survive and she could also be his only way out from under his aunty and uncles spell. Smiling he closed his eyes and found a peaceful place as a plan formulated in his mind.

Forcing her eyes closed as her body began to tremble as it went into the first stages of withdrawal. She’d watched Fatima smile every time she tapped a vein and depressed the plunger on the syringe. Euphoria washed across her body as the drug threaded its way through her veins into the nervous system covering her with a warmth like a blanket leaving Catherine feeling relaxed and carefree. She would feel her brain slowing down along with her breathing and in those moments she would step into another realm as her brain drifted away from the reality of the world.

With withdrawal effects began to wreak havoc on her mind and body, Catherine knew it would not be long before she gave in to Fatima and Yuri telling them all they wanted to know about the CIA’s mission to uncover what they had dubbed the ‘The Bin Laden Connection’. Weeping to herself the nausea finally became too much as she rolled over the side of her cot vomiting violently into rusty tin bucket that had been placed next to her bed. Catherine looked down seeing a plastic water bottle, whilst her mind was clouded with the effects of heroin there were moments of clarity. In this particular moment she knew it wouldn’t be long before they realised she was awake and escorted her off to another session of torture and interrogation.

She would get her next fix, in the recesses of her mind a dark whisper found its way out and hoped that with the next fix she would overdose or her body would simply shut down before she spilled her secrets with the new Bin Ladens. Catherine had lost all track of time and days, she no longer knew how long she had been kept prisoner nor what time of day it was. It was only the brief outings where she was chained up like a dog that she got to see the sun or moon high above the castle.

The castle remained quiet in the early hours of the morning as the waves crashed against the cliff face that protected Swallows Nest from a direct attack from the sea. Yet tonight something stirred in the seas surrounding the castle. The men on guard could feel the cold sap through their clothes entering their bones as though death were approaching on the wind. Search lights combed the darkness for threats lurking amongst the blackness that seemed to be enshrouding the castle more and more as night wore on.

Abandon Ship or Abandon All Hope…

Like discovering a new planet or species of animal, all discoveries require research, so for this week’s episode the team at A Mind of Its Own pulled on their gym shorts donned their singlets that barely cover the bulging beer bellies and laced up our best pairs of dunlop volleys in order to head out and get some much needed exercise. Like a bunch of clowns we jumped into the Tarago and headed off into the Sun, towards the surf and sand, the glitz and glamour of Australia’s home of the cashed up bogan. Welcome to Ipswich!!! Just kidding we are back again on the gold coast looking like a 70’s NBA team with way too much skin showing for middle aged white males.

First of all if you are searching for a McDonalds, KFC and Hungry Jacks what you may have noticed is there is pretty much one on every major street corner. What you might have also noticed is gym’s have become the health junkies fast food franchise. We’d do the maths and give you the average amount of gyms per suburb but it’s just passed whiskey o’clock and our brains only seem to work between the hours of 9 to 5 without the aid of alcohol to drive our cognitive patterns. If it’s after 5pm our filter packs up for the day, our sense of humour comes home to increase the hilarity and our caution to the wind disappears altogether like last nights vindaloo down the dunny in the wee hours of the morning.

Like Roxanne putting on her red light, the gyms are lit up for all to see. There bright advertising invites you to come inside and transform from flab to fab. The reception is generally manned by a beautiful person to show you exactly what can happen if you too come in and spend time sitting in other people’s sweat after they forget to wipe down the machines. As we watched the hard earned pineapples leave our wallet and fly across the counter into the male models chiselled hands, a row of pearly whites flashed a knowing look our way. We began to wonder what drives people to come to these testosterone filled, bloated ego dens. We half expected to walk into the changerooms and transport into an American football locker room with blokes flicking each other with towels and the coach handing out steroid injections.

We’d entered the belly of the beast, there was no turning back now. We needed to soldier on and stop making excuses as our team of unwilling beer guzzlers was lead up stairs to the gym floor. With our tails between our legs we’d have just as soon as run back down the stairs and all the way to the safety of the NSW border then be in this hell. We’d entered a land never seen before… Everywhere we looked, we saw people with no necks and ladies with bigger guns than some of the Australian Navy’s warships. Mirrors adorned the walls with people staring at themselves as they ensure there form was correct. Form you ask? So did we after we questioned how vain all these people were.

Have you ever wondered why a lot of people just refuse to go to the gym these days? Well at a mind of its own we think we’ve found the answer. Enter any gym around Australia… First of all if we got you there you’ve no doubt noticed all the mirrors, what else have you noticed? It’s the dudes with tattoo sleeves bulging muscles, skinning legs and no necks right? Or the older ladies with bolt ons, makeup that looks like its been applied with there tradie husbands trowel and the orange glow of their skin? Or is it the looks you keep getting everytime you go to use a machine that one of the roided up egos has been alternating between when he or she is not staring at themselves in the mirror wondering how they’ll go this saturday night trying to pick up. And some of these people could quite literally pick up other people and throw them around a room in a fit of aggressive passion.

Like crotchety old men we are pushed towards a bench and told to lift some weights. The term “Do you even lift” gets thrown around a little too much and the muscle men in front of the mirror laugh and shake their heads as we strain to get the bar and the meager 5kgs on either end moving in a repetitive nature that the trainer is happy with. By now he is starting to lose his patience with our un-coordinated lack of ability to do anything that resembles bench press. Finally though he wins through and like true professionals we find the exercise for us.

Who knew bicep curls and drinking were so closely related. As we lifted heavier and heavier pretending we were lifting stiens of Germany’s heaviest, sweetest ales to our mouths. The hour session continues to drag out as we move from station to station still perplexed by how serious people are taking their workouts. There are guys throwing around weights channelling their inner Arnie, young ladies who have almost done an hour of nothing but squats as they work their glutes into a Kim Kardashian frenzy for the perfect bum.

Triangles flex in front of the mirrors forgetting leg day for the 100th session in a row. There skinny little legs starting to bow at the strain of carrying around there large muscled upper bodies. The serious gym goers grunt out a session, sweating as they push themselves harder and harder through each exercise while the plastics do just enough to keep there figure and slight tone while trying to wear as little as possible to attract looks from all around. The trainers laugh at their own jokes and talk about their weekends while pushing clients to breaking point. Creepy guys watch on as girls try to work out in peace, no wonder a lot of women go to Fernwood. And then there are the other guys. The ones who just want to maintain their fitness and do it without losing their dignity.

Finally done it’s like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders, in this case it literally has, all those weighted lunges can’t be good for your knees, back and any other part of your body. That deep burn you keep hearing about isn’t so deep as you feel it begin to radiate through your entire body like an oil slick spreading from a crashed tanker. Walking out feeling like we’d been run over by Optimus Prime and the entire Autobots entourage. The pain pain was only going to get worse as we soon discovered. Two days later… enter DOM no not a bloke named Dom who we had a disagreement with whilst at the gym sitting in his sweat but delayed onset muscles soreness or DOMS. It’s the pits and we are starting to see why people hate the gym.

Ok so the gym might not be for everyone, or more importantly gyms on the Gold Coast might not be for everyone. If you like looking at yourself in the mirror, have ridiculous tattoos, drive a car like your part of the fast n furious crew, have no neck and think you are super good looking then the gold coast gym scene is definitely for you. If you want to go and work out without having to deal with all this we suggest you do during the day before lunch or after lunch before work finishes. Or you could always just install your own home gym and be done with the machine hogs.

As we sneak away from yet another session in the gym where our arms and legs are burning and our egos are feeling a little shattered. We hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s installment of a mind of its own, no roid rage was endured or encounter in the making of this blog. We hope we haven’t offended any gym frequenters in our take on Gold Coast gyms. If we have you’ll get over it before the next set is done. For another week it’s over and out and from the team at A Mind of Its Own, you do you champ.

Teaser… Fire for Effect

Folks it’s been awhile since we shared a spoiler of the upcoming novel, Fire for Effect with our good friends at A Mind of Its Own. So we thought we’d give you a small piece of a chapter to wet your whistle in anticipation of what’s to come later this year. Without further delay, happy reading we hope you enjoy this chapter from the team and I.

Chapter Thirty Two

It all happened in slow motion, both doors splintered in an explosive blast as a vollies of machine gun fire criss crossed them, stitching the walls. The concussive force threw Pairs across the room into the bathtub. Mac was knocked from his perch on the window sill landing hard on his back, spare magazines and the ballistic plate dig into his back as the wind was knocked out of him. At the front of the hotel Skye and the OGA driver had not fared any better. The driver had taken a round to his shoulder and lay rolling in pain, his hands stained red as he attempted to stem the blood flowing from the wound. Skye sat slumped against the wall of the motel, shards of glass and wood dotted her arms, a large gash had opened up just below her hairline where a piece of brick had splintered off and struck her. With her ears ringing and the world around her swimming she was on the verge of blacking out.

Further windows exploded in a hail of glass and bullets as two figures stepped from the room their weapons up and leading. Firing from the hip they stitched the driver once more in the leg. The 5.56 rounds tore flesh from bone leaving a growing pool beneath the driver. Searching for targets they walked towards the government issued vehicle continuing to spray indiscriminate bursts of fire into their surroundings. Standing in front of the Chevrolet, the female target unleashed a long burst into the radiator, with round after round from the two squad automatic weapons or SAWs as they were better known.

Fatima and Yuri climbed into their car spraying further rounds towards the hotel in an effort to keep the heads down of anyone that wanted to pop up for a look or try to stop them. Yuri floored the accelerator, wheels squealed as they tore out of the car park onto the highway almost causing an accident as an oncoming vehicle had slam on the break to avoid a collision. They sped east flying past motorists well in excess of the speed limit. They’d woken up as the Chevrolet entered the motel car park. Yuri had watched the woman leave the car and run into the office before returning to the car. He caught sight of the weapon on her hip and watched as she pulled on body armour.

Fatima had silently loaded the two SAWs while Yuri attached breaching charges to the doors in preparation for their visitors. Yuri had study American law enforcement and knew the Canadian’s often learnt their tactics and techniques from their neighbours to the south. He knew they would try to catch them in a crossfire. With the bathroom and front doors now wired they interlocked their fire with Yuri facing his SAW towards the bathroom door and Fatima facing hers towards the front door of the hotel room.

Yuri heard the pop of the bathroom window and the nearly silent pad of feet as they touched the bathtubs surface. He’d signalled Fatima as he held the clacker for the charges in his hand his other griped the machine gun as he tucked it into his shoulder. He counted down from ten. As he got to six a knock on the room door sounded. Without a thought he squeezed the clacker detonating the charges. The sound reverberated around the little room as the doors exploded outwards. They both squeezed their triggers sending round after round down range in short succession.

The 5.56 rounds tore through walls filling the air with cordite as they grabbed their bags shouldering their weapons and tactically retreating towards the now missing front entry. Yuri was the first through the entry firing off from the hip wildly as he stepped through the threshold. Fatima followed in similar fashion turning her weapon on the black SUV hosing it down before concentrating her rounds on the engine block. She then shredded the tyres front to back. An American in a black suit lay clutching his shoulder, his legs were bleeding from fresh bullet wounds. He would bleed out before help arrived.

They tore out of the motel car park nearly sideswiped a family on their way home from a night out. Yuri righted the car and continued to tear past vehicles on the highway. They had planned for this, Yuri had known the American’s would eventually track them down he just didn’t think it would be this soon. They relaxed the more miles they put between themselves and the motel.

Mac coughed up dust as he rolled on to his side, the concussive force that had flung Pairs across the room had also forced him from his perch on the window sill. His back ached and his hearing rang as he forced himself up on to an elbow. It was a struggle to stand. Mac’s world spun around him. Forcing himself to stand he found his pistol laying several meters away and holstered as he transitioned to his long gun. He staggered his way to the front of the motel. The scene before him was one of pure destruction. Flames licked at the door frame to room number twelve. Beside the door Skye sat cradling her head, blood dripped through her fingers onto the pavement beneath her.

Agent Mayes lay metres from the front door a pool of blood growing around him. Mac looked at Skye then back at Mayes. He’d need attention before Skye did. Forgetting his own pains he moved quickly to the man’s side. He was in a lot of pain and losing a lot of blood. Mac took out two tourniquets and applied them above the man’s knees to stem the flow of blood. Next he removed gauze from a small medical kit at the middle of his back. He used clotting agent on the bullet wounds then covered them with gauze before wrapping them tight with bandages. The man was going into shock and required urgent attention.

With Agent Mayes now taken care of Mac made had time to check on Skye. Her wounds were superficial and he went about patching her up as best he could with the little supplies left in his trauma kit. The whole time he worked on Skye his thoughts were of Pairs. He really needed to check on his buddy, Pairs had taken the brunt of the explosion in the small bathroom. Hurrying he finished bandaging Skye’s head. Mac’s hearing was starting to return. Blaring sirens grew closer and closer by the minute only getting louder and making his head hurt.

Mac stepped cautiously into the room searching for trips wires or sensors that may be linked to further explosive devices. The air was thick with dust and cordite as he moved slowly across the room surveying the scene. The far wall looked like it belonged in downtown Fallujah than a motel room in Canada. Bullet holes riddled the wall forcing Mac to steady himself for what he might see as he moved closer and closer to towards the bathroom. He took a deep breath stealing himself as he kicked the remainder of the door from the frame. Splintered wood and broken tiles littered the floor, water gushed from an exposed pipe that had taken a round. The air was thick with the smell of chemical explosives, smoke still hung in the air obscuring some of his view. Pairs was in the bath laying on his side, blood streaked the side of his face creating rivers of blood where it flowed quickly enough through the dust now settled.

It was hard to see if he was breathing from where Mac stood. He couldn’t bring himself to move further into the room. He’d already lost too many friends and no this Operation. Two of his team were currently lying in hospital beds somewhere in Europe and now Pairs was laying probably dead before him. There was a sense of responsibility despite all soldiers knowing they were putting themselves in harms way every time they went down range. These boys were being paid quite well but that was irrelevant to Mac. They were his team, his responsibility and more importantly he’d come to see them as friends, as people he could trust.

Groans emanated from the bath forcing Mac to move quickly across the room. As he reached the bathtub, a thumbs up flashed beneath a pile of rubble. The thumbs owner slowly rolled on to his back, he blinked a couple of times before a croaky voice louder than it needed to be asked what had happened using some colourful language in between the core question. Mac helped Pairs climb slowly out of the bath that had protected him. He had plenty of scraps and cuts but didn’t look like he’d sustained any life threatening injuries. Just to be sure Mac wanted to check him over once they were outside.