The memory came unbidden.
Chrome and oil, sweat and blood.
And so much noise.
So many boys, clean shaven and white powdered, working on powerful machines.
The old man with long white hair, monster's teeth and a wheeze like a dying man.
He'd thought of him as 'Daddy', then. They all did.
He was their world, the sun, the moon, the stars.
He was a sickness. He was Mr. Dead himself.
That was Scrooloose' Time Before.
No sky raft.
No Captain Walker.
Just heat and pain, emptiness and darkness, sickness and death.
And he'd been as stricken as the rest.
Until that day. That day he saw his 'Daddy' and the Dirty Man with the knives and pins.
What they were doing to that girl...
No one had to tell him it was wrong. He knew. He just knew.
He'd knew Immortan would sometimes take boys up with him. He hadn't known why.
But he could guess.
He was grateful he was never noticed.
Quiet, scrawny Scrooloose. He'd always stuck to the shadows, a silent ghost in a sea of noisy boys all seeking their Daddy's approval. He'd always liked being alone. Even now, among the safety of The Waiting Ones, he kept his home a short distance from the main tribe, where there was relative peace and quiet.
Scrooloose held the pull-speak closer. Pulled the string and heard it talk. It always said the same things, but it didn't matter. His world was a silent one, not having a speak of his own.
It was comforting, the pull-speak.
He turned to look at the bones in his isolated little den. Those who'd been caught by Mr. Dead.
They still talked to him.
He would tell them. Tell the way the wind blew, the way leaves fell.
The future. The past.
The cloth with the little picture of a face like his own fluttered toward the South.
His large black eyes examined the bones.
Change was coming.
Slake was leader of The Tribe, and he'd been testy lately. A lot of the other boys were coming of age, getting stronger, and they could challenge him.
Scrooloose had no intention of doing so, though he could probably take him in a fight if need be. His lean, wiry body was stronger than most expected, and he knew how to fight. But Slake was a good leader, and Scrooloose was happy with his own place.
He had his own responsibilities within The Tribe.
And, of course, with Cusha.
He smiled broadly.
The baby in Cusha was theirs. He'd be a father within the month, if nothing went bad.
It had been an awkward and slightly embarrassing experience, when they lay together. But their bodies figured out how it went, and it was so Chrome.
His smile vanished.
Once again he thought of the dark, filthy caves, the sickly War Pups.
He'd had the luck. Slipped out into the night like a fish through water.
He'd wandered so far, hiding at every sound, not knowing if it were War Boys or Buzzards. And then his water'd run out. He'd come so very close to dying.
But his luck held.
The Waiting Ones found him before Mr. Dead could take him.
He'd never in wildest dreams imagined a place where water ran free and green things grew food and nobody had the tumors or the Night Fevers. He was surprised when his body began to get better. He felt stronger, grew faster.
He even felt happy.
Once away from Mr. Dead's Citadel he began to live again.
He did what he could to repay them. He made the pictures for them. The big one of Captain Walker, they'd really liked that one. He told the signs for them. He didn't even know how he knew, but he was right more often than not.
They taught him the hand talk, and how to swim. To feel water rushing against his body was the most incredible feeling in the world. Aside from being with Cusha, of course.
He forgot many things about that horrible place where Mr. Dead ruled. Some just slipped away, others he willed away. But sometimes they came back.
He kept the clay, though. He let his hair grow out, but he kept the white and black, only it was a different kind of clay than they used at Mr. Dead's. The look fit his position. Like all the bones that he kept in his little cave.
He grinned as Cusha waved to him. Their child wouldn't know what it was like to live in such a place as he came from.
For that he was infinitely grateful.
He heard shouting and excitement, and jumped down to join the others. Savannah had found someone on patrol, and they was bringing him down river.
When they brought the new one over to the caves, Scrooloose was just as stunned as everyone else. They all looked down in awe and reverence.
The unconscious man was long-haired and covered in sand as Scrooloose was in clay, but besides that, he looked just like his picture of Captain Walker.
Yes, change had certainly come...
I have never seen a fanfic about Scrooloose, and I think he deserves some love.
Scrooloose is about 15 or 16 years old, going by the actor's age at the time of filming.
I think that Scrooloose was the tribe's Shaman. He kept human bones and other things in his little cave that could be used for reading omens and the like and wore what appears to be a 'medicine bag' across his chest. I also think that he was a stray War Pup. He was able to drive a car, and drive it pretty impressively once he got used to it. I doubt he'd recognize words like 'Shaman' or 'Medicine Man', so I didn't use them.
The bad grammar is intentional. The Waiting Ones have their own version of Pidgin English. It's sporadic because Scrooloose was also a War Pup, and thought in another dialect of English. I wanted to write this story without any dialogue at all, and Scrooloose being mute made that easier.
The painting is a confusing point for me. When was it painted? It depicts Captain Walker as resembling Max, but it also depicts Max's monkey flying beside him. It's possible Scrooloose painted in the monkey and touched up the features to make it look more like Max's 'Captain Walker' after he arrived, or he could have painted it all from scratch after seeing Max. I do believe that Scrooloose is also the artist of the tribe.
The Dirty Man is The Organic Mechanic.
The Pull-Speak is the talking Bugs Bunny toy.
Tell can mean either read or speak.
Cusha was the pregnant girl who left with Scrooloose and the others. Nothing was said of the father, so I made Scrooloose the father. There were plenty of babies and toddlers among The Waiting Ones, too many to have been born before the crash or Captain Walker and the others leaving. Kids becoming teenagers, being curious and hormonal, without any adult guidance... A lot like The Blue Lagoon. In the end of the film, Scrooloose is shown holding a baby, but so is Savannah. It's supposed to be set some time after the events of the film, but it's never stated how long after. Neither Scrooloose nor Savannah have aged noticeably, but the tribe is larger and includes adults. Perhaps they found others living in Sydney and joined with them?
The rest of the story is in the film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.
Scrooloose was played by actor Rod Zuanic.