12 March 2016 - 'MISTER RAINBOW' - New Release - Clancy Tucker


- New Release -

A novella about the environment, 
fishing and returned soldiers

G'day folks,

Well, it's time to release my third novella.


This story was written some years ago, inspired by a wonderful town in which I lived and became very involved for ten years. Sadly, the town was almost completely decimated during the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009, and many friends lost their lives. However, it has risen from the ashes and become a very modern township. So, what was it about this town that appealed to me? Simple. It was one of the cutest towns in my State, made famous many decades ago as a stopping-off point for those heading from Melbourne to Woods Point in search of gold - The Old Yarra Track. Not only was it a beautiful town, but the entire region was laden with small rivers and streams, perfect for catching brown and rainbow trout. It was also a magnificent place to take photographs. And, that is exactly what I did every spare moment I had - fished and took photographs.


This story is dedicated to those who lost their lives in Victoria, Australia, during the horrendous ‘Black Saturday’ bushfires – 7th of February 2009. ‘Mister Rainbow’ is based on Marysville; a town in which I lived, fished, photographed and loved for ten wonderful years.


Maddie and Toby love fishing, and live in a small mill town where people are dying from ‘Mill Flu’.  Keen to catch the biggest rainbow trout ever, ‘Mister Rainbow’, they disobey orders, fish in the ‘Big Pool’ and find a recluse living in a shack in the bush. Maddie falls into the big pool and almost drowns, but is saved by the recluse. Maddie becomes ill, but Toby continues to fish and finds people pumping toxic waste into the Rainbow River. He contacts the Environment Protection Authority and the police, and investigations begin.

Toby learns that the old recluse is Colonel Bolt, a former soldier who was highly-decorated during the Vietnam War, and an amazing artist who sketches pictures of his war memories. The colonel collapses near his shack, Toby finds him and arranges his transport to hospital. Finding two war medals in his shack, Toby e-mails the army and tells them of the colonel’s plight. Will the army respond? 

Maddie and Toby enter one of Colonel Bolt’s sketches in an art competition, selling Mister Rainbow’s Magic Bait at a local market to earn the entry fee. Then, Toby goes missing. Desperate to find her fishing partner, Maddie calls Colonel Bolt for help. Will they find Toby alive? Will the colonel win a prize in the art competition, and will they catch Mister Rainbow? 


This story was written for late primary school and early high school kids, but anyone might enjoy it. As I said, it is about the environment, fishing and returned soldiers; three things I've always been concerned about. Many of my closest friends happen to be returned soldiers; most of them Vietnam Veterans. So, the two main issues in this story are the concern my two main characters, Maddie and Toby, have for their environment, and also another major character, Colonel Bolt, who just happens to be a Vietnam Veteran who has become a recluse. 


"Maddie had a good feeling about her new bait. It smelt awful, but it had all the stuff that fish loved. She’d made it the night before to prove that she was as good as Toby when it came to fishing. However, her mother hadn’t been all that impressed when she walked into the kitchen and saw what Maddie was piling into her precious food blender. Maddie chuckled, recalling the look on her mother’s face, and what her mum said at the time, “Maddie, what in the heck are you making?” Still grinning, she rode down the driveway and out onto the road, but her fishing partner had already headed off."

‘Do ya reckon them dead fish are comin’ from the Rainbow River … Or, comin’ from that other river?’

The man stood up, took his daughter by the hand and clutched his water samples. ‘We’re not sure. Could be either. That’s why I’m here taking these samples.’

Toby looked upstream. ‘Nah, it’s gotta be the Fernshaw River. Hell, this is the mighty Rainbow. The water comes from way up there in the Great Dividing Range,’ he said, pointing towards a huge mountain range in the distance. ‘How would toxic stuff get in the Rainbow? It’s just gotta be the Fernshaw River that’s killin’ ‘em,’ Toby concluded. 

The two of them crouched behind the tree, watching and waiting. The old shack was a rough-looking place made of old, corrugated iron sheets. On the roof, was an odd-looking thing that spun; some type of air vent. The door looked like any normal house door, but some of the paint had peeled. On either side of the door, were two solid, wooden benches.

Maddie soon gripped Toby’s arm. ‘Look, Tobe,’ she whispered. ‘There’s the old hippie.’ Toby remained silent. He watched as a man appeared from the bush, sat on a log and stared at the ground. ‘What’s he doing, Tobe?’ 
‘Dunno. Let’s just stay here and watch.’
Toby and Maddie sat on the ground and peered at the man who’d now buried his head in his hands and begun to cough. At first, it was a light cough. Then, he started to cough wildly; almost bark.
‘He’s got a real bad cough,’ Maddie said as the man coughed loudly and spat on the ground.

‘Hey, Mr Bolt. How come you live way out here?’ Maddie asked.
The man hesitated for a few seconds before he responded. ‘It’s a long story.’ Maddie looked at Toby and raised her eyebrows, but Toby remained quiet.
‘What do you do all day? Must get pretty lonely out here all alone, Mr Bolt,’ she added.
The man popped half a muesli bar into his mouth, crossed his legs and folded his arms. ‘I go for long walks, go fishing, hunting … And, sometimes I sketch.’
‘Sketch?’ Maddie blurted.
‘Yep, draw things I can’t seem to forget,’ he said, coughing loudly.
‘Could … Could we see some of ya stuff, Mr Bolt? Ya know, ya sketches?’ Toby asked.

Toby dashed to his room, turned on his computer and was soon staring at the same website he’d found the night before.
‘There it is,’ he murmured. The screen flipped over and he found himself staring at the website for the Vietnam Veterans Association. He searched the page and carefully scrolled down, looking for one particular item. Finally, he found it and clicked on two words, ‘contact us’. The page changed once again. In front of him was a reply e-mail. Toby frowned for a few seconds, thinking about what to write. Then, it came to him. He moved closer to the keyboard and typed the most important e-mail he’d ever sent, writing Top Secret in the subject line, and sending a copy to Maddie’s e-mail address.

Toby walked through the automatic doors of the hospital and stopped. The place was busier than normal, and his eyes bulged when he saw soldiers in full battle dress. Nervously, he walked to some seats in the foyer and sat down to observe them. He’d never seen soldiers before and found them intimidating. Soon, a patient was wheeled into the foyer in a hospital bed. Straight away, Toby knew who it was. He could tell by the bushy beard. Feeling anxious, he stood up and approached the man in the bed.
‘Hi, Mr Bolt,’ he said, placing both hands on a steel bar that ran along the side of the bed. Two soldiers protectively stepped forward, but Mr Bolt raised his hand.
‘It’s okay. At ease. He’s a good friend. Toby, what happened to you?’ The soldiers backed off, but Toby was still nervous in their presence. They looked serious.


Toby pulled his knapsack off, unzipped a side pocket and removed the two, small, blue boxes, containing medals. ‘Hey, ya can’t leave town without these. I wasn’t snoopin’ around in ya shack … Honest. I took ‘em ‘cause I was scared that someone might knock ya stuff off,’ said Toby, gently placing the two medals on his bed.

Mr Bolt glanced at the small boxes. He then stared seriously at Toby and saluted him. ‘You did the right thing … Thanks,’ he said. ‘Hey, how’s young Maddie going?’

‘She’s not real good, but I found out why you and Mad got sick.’

‘How’s that?’

‘Someone’s been puttin’ toxic stuff in the Rainbow River.’


‘Yep. Caught ‘em doin’ it today. I took the cops and the EPA up there and showed ‘em … Even got the registration number of their truck. That’s why all the fish were dyin’.’

 Maddie wasted no time. ‘Hi … I’m Maddie Stinton. This is an emergency. I need to speak to Colonel Bolt urgently. He’s a patient there,’ she said.

‘Hold on please,’ said the switchboard operator. Maddie waited nervously. ‘Sorry. Colonel Bolt is resting and can’t be disturbed,’ came the woman’s reply.
Maddie’s eyes rolled back. ‘Resting? Can’t be disturbed? Hey, this is urgent … Really urgent,’ she snapped, as another brilliant idea popped into her head; one that would attract Colonel Bolt’s attention. ‘Please just tell the colonel that Mister Rainbow needs help … And, I bet he’ll talk to me,’ Maddie pleaded.
‘One moment please. I’ll try my best. Was that … Mister Rainbow?’
‘Correct. That’s him. Thank you,’ Maddie politely replied.

‘Master Sergeant! I want a rescue chopper ready to go to Camberville. Forget the paperwork. Just do it!’ Mr Bolt bellowed at the top of his voice. Maddie was inspired by his short, sharp orders. She listened intently as he spoke to someone on another phone. What he said next was simply gob smacking. ‘Hey. I’ve got a great kid stuck down a mine shaft. Are you telling me that I can’t get him out? Toby saved my life. He and his fishing partner have shown me more humanity and compassion than the entire army has since I got back from Vietnam. Don’t you worry about the Brigadier … I’ll deal with him. Just get that bloody chopper in the air.’ 

Clancy's comment: So, there ya go, folks. This would be an ideal gift for your kids or grandkids. Interested? Head up to the top right hand side of this page, Clancy Tucker's Bookshop, and purchase a paperback or e-Book. They are not expensive, and all paperbacks are signed and come with a matching bookmark. Paperbacks and e-books are also available via:

Oh, by the way, I did mention that I have a few Vietnam Veteran mates. Well, on my recent trip to Vietnam, I met up with one of them and his family in Hanoi - a long-time mate, Ken Ewin, and we had a top time. Not only, guess who drove a long way to collect me at the airport on my return, and drive me home? Yep, another Vietnam Veteran - Rob Brown. 

Love ya work, Ken. Love ya work, Rob.

A few photographs of me dining with a wonderful Thai family in Bangkok, eating superb food from the north-east of Thailand. I gave a copy of this book, and my next novella, 'Kick-Ass Tyler', to two very capable Thai kids, Pearl and Oasis. What a great night. And, I also walked away with two books  written by the late Khun Prabhassorn Sevikul; a great writer, poet  and human who will be missed by many in the Kingdom of Thailand.

 Pax vobiscum
Khun Prabhassorn Sevikul! 

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