A Magnificent Lockdown

I almost tread on this fuzzy little chap on the sidewalk, out for a stroll, soaking up the mid-winter sun.

How’s it hanging? he asks.

Oh , you know; not bad.

He looks up. You out of lockdown yet?

Almost, I say, one day to go but we’re allowed to walk. How about you?

I’m about to enter the biggest lockdown of all, he says in a tone half way between excitement and trepidation.

Wow! I say. Really?

Yes, he says, metamorphosis. You heard of it?

Why, yes. It sounds magical.

Up to 14 days, he says. No food. No visitations. Reckon you could handle it?

If I could turn into something light, winged and beautiful, like a butterfly, I’d give it a go.

You humans can’t have everything, you know.

I nod my head sagely.

True, I say, true. Well, anyway, have a good …. metamorphosis, and off he trundles on his way, giving me the thumbs up, a tricky thing for a caterpillar. Such a clever chap.

Even Jesus

Perhaps the stars weren’t aligned.

Perhaps it’s in the DNA.

Either way the reboot sags,

flaccid as a spent condom.

It walks around the ABC studio

with its hands clasped behind its back,

that gesture of defeat,

It is laboured, lassitudinous, much in need

of a cattle prod up the ass, as my old

friend, twelve years in, would say.

A bit severe perhaps.

It’s lost its zest, its zing,

It’s dead on its feet.

Even Jesus couldn’t resuscitate it.

End of the Line

I’m sorry, he said, shrugging his shoulders. There’s nothing I can do.

But surely …

I’ve never seen it this bad. Not in all my years. They’ve always responded to treatment. I threw everything at it.

But you’re ….

I know. We’re the paramedics of the trade but we can’t perform miracles.

We bowed our heads.

Then I’ll see you to the door. Thanks for trying,

And off he drove in his clean white van, the firm’s logo on the side.

Well, I said, it looks like the end of the line for you. Sorry, old mate. You heard the man. You have to go. Time for an upgrade. A new laptop.

A Devil of a Bargain

The devil was in the neighbourhood fishing for souls.

Denison was desperate. He couldn’t make it as a novelist. Maybe as a musician. He always wanted to play in a band.

Very well, the Devil said. Wish granted.

Denison found he could play any instrument he wanted.  But he was still unhappy.

What’s the problem? the Devil asked.

I’m getting nowhere, he said.

I’m not the fucking genie in the bottle! He replied. I have powers but they are limited. I’ve granted you ability. The rest is up to you.

That’s a cop out, Denison snapped.

Blame the big guy in the sky.

It’s not enough. I want to rescind the bargain, Denison said.

Too late, the Devil said, as He flipped a switch. Denison disappeared down the trapdoor beneath him, busily expostulating …

The Great Magician

The great magician

lived behind us in the eighties

walked around in his top hat and cloak

practising

making rabbits disappear.

Once he poked his head

over the fence and asked

had we seen one of his rabbits?

I said I hadn’t.

But later

I discovered

by the cabbage patch

a hole in the fence,

where a rabbit had scraped under

and bits of fur in the yard.

We had a dog back then.

He was a bit of a magician himself.

He could make a rabbit disappear too.

Since the Break-Up

I’ve been taking myself to the cinema again

watching brooding masterpieces like ‘The Dry,’

learning  to play Scrabble by myself but not too often

as I’m a bad loser; giving my self-esteem a face lift,

shed a few kilos, muscled up, become sharper;

I post more , comment more especially on posts

that comment on mine: the noble art of reciprocity;

but, most of all, I move more easily in the world.

have got to know myself more, and know in spite

of slurs like ‘nutcase’ and ‘creepy lizard’ I’m not

such a bad guy

Barry

This is Barry.

Say hello to Barry.

He runs the Central Market Books in Adelaide.

I had a chat to him last Friday night.

Apart from who he reads — Jo Nesbo, Robert Ludlum and Lee Childs —and what he’s into: Magic, Militaria, Espionage and Angels —the most remarkable thing about Barry is that he’s a man happy in his own skin.

And isn’t that the goal, the purpose, the station we want to arrive at?

And o, don’t mention Stephen King. His inner echidna comes out then.