Wall Flowered

 Wall-Flowered.

This book of cautionary tales has languished on the Express Shelf of the library for weeks while more modestly titled books alongside it have whizzed off the shelf in days.

How to explain popularity?

How does it feel to be wall-flowered?

What’s that do to a book’s ego?

What’s not to like in the title, ‘Cautionary Tales for Excitable Girls’?

I was half tempted to borrow it myself except it would only confirm the chief librarian’s opinion of me.

I tried to imagine what one of these tales would be called, what it would be about, even how one of them would begin, but I just couldn’t. Can you?

But What If I …

But What If I ….

I don’t think I can run anymore.

What?

I run out of puff. I can walk fast though. Does that count?

But you’re a running joke. Can’t you push yourself?

But what if I damage my hamstring?

Then you’ll become a lame joke. Get it?

Hey, I’m the one supposed to be cracking the jokes here.

Then run, for god-sakes, run.

*pic courtesy of pinterest

Lady Bay

Lady Bay

Molly and Tom are sipping G & T’s on the porch of their third room apartment overlooking the golf course.

“It is so peaceful here, “ Molly remarks.

The main road passes the links where cars pick up speed after leaving the confines of a 50 k zone but their roar is swallowed by the distance from the apartments and the vastness of the course.

Just then Tom’s eyes lift as he notices a vehicle driving over the green. It has just come off the road.

It slows down and stops. Two figures in dark blue uniform dash out.

“It looks like a police van,” Tom remarks. “What are they doing on the course?”

Just then three shots ring out. Then silence. There is a scuffle of some sort. Within a few minutes the van drives off.

Later at dinner Tom and Molly learn from their waiter that a king ‘roo had been hit by a SUV and wandered onto the course, broken and bloody, “scaring the bejesus out of the oldies”.

That it was the night before Halloween did not go unnoticed.

Too Close For Comfort

I had just unzipped at the left urinal when he took the one next to me, even though the one on the right was vacant.

We were shoulder to shoulder. We were that close.

He had bright orange hair like Mick Hucknall from Simply Red.

I hummed a few bars of “If You Don’t Know Me By Now’ just in case but there was nothing.

Hi, I’m Charlie, he offered.

Umm, I’m John. We don’t have to shake hands do we?

No, of course not, he said. You come here often.

Only to pee, I said. How about you?

Yes, much the same.

Then we both entered the zone, quietly exuding, self satisfied sighs.

We must stop meeting like this, I said wryly.

Then he zipped up and went to the basin and when he had gone I did the same.

This does not happen to me often. In fact, it was the first time which is why I’m writing about it.

Weird, huh ?

  • pic courtesy of pinterest

The Bum on the Sidewalk

She wasn’t really a bum.

She had a name.

Lauren.

She had a face too

but she asked me not to

photograph it.

But what really attracted her to me

was she was reading a book.

You don’t really associate street people

with reading.

And it was a big book.

Like a Russian novel.

Dostoevsky or Tolstoy maybe.

But it was a home grown novelist.

Bryce Courtenay

a true story about a girl called Jessica.

She was on page 237 and she was only halfway

into it.

We talked briefly.

I put some coins in her cap and left her to it

on the cold sidewalk.

I would like to have known her story

but you can’t be intrusive.

One little Letter, one HUGE difference

Bev put on a Golden Oldies disc

when Hippy Hippy Shake

jumped out of the player.

Chad Romero, I said.

Who?

Chad Romero, the singer. How good is my memory?

When she went into the shower, I sneaked a look at the CD cover

to make sure I’d got it right.

Huh? Swinging Blue Jeans, it said.

That’s funny, I thought, I’m sure it was Chad Romero.

So I Googled the name.

My heart sank.

‘Chad went home to be with the Lord,’ the Obituary began, ‘on April 23rd, 2017.’

Bullshit, I said. Chad was a hell-raiser. He wouldn’t have gone meekly as that.

There was no mention of his singing career.

So I Googled ‘Hippy Hippy Shake’ and there he was : CHAN ROMERO.Singer, composer, lyricist.

The full package.

And he’s still alive. Still rocking.

Sometimes one little letter can make a HUGE difference.

The Bush Smiled Smugly.

Because I did not have a name for it, I referred to it disrespectfully

as ‘The Beast’, ‘It’. ‘The Monster Devouring the Yard’

‘The Putin of Bushes’.

I fought it, slashed it, pruned it, tried to wrestle it

to the ground. It was defiant as The Terminator.

I phoned gardeners, Jim’s Mowing.

Send us photos they said. I did.

I could almost see them recoil in horror.

None phoned back, sent a text message.

The bush smiled smugly.

Then I phoned the Strata Title Management in desperation

and they sent me their contractor.

‘Looks like Japanese Honeysuckle, ‘ he said. ‘I can do this’.

He quoted a cash figure I was quite prepared for and an hour later

it had a neat little trim.

It’s own mother would be proud of it, he smiled.

I’ll be back in twelve weeks. You’ll probably need me.

Parable of the Breathing Tube

“You won’t even know it’s there,” said the surgeon.

          “My brother-in-law sure did,” I replied referring to the incident in the ICU which I witnessed.

          AS he was coming out of his sleep, he became aware of the tube down his throat and began struggling with it so violently that he had to be held down by three nurses while he was put into an induced coma. He stayed that way for three days.

          “You won’t even be aware of it,” the surgeon said, “and if you are you won’t remember.”

          I decided to go with that. In the end you have to put your faith in something.

          Still, some days later as I was wheeled into the operating theatre, the last conscious thought was of that tube down my throat.

          Many hours later as I slowly awoke, I remember the doctor saying, “the breathing tube is out now, you can speak.”

          “What breathing tube?” I asked.

          The thing is, if you don’t know something has happened to you, has it really happened?

Furrow in the Head

I drove past the Snack Bar the other day where twenty years before I came across the boy with the furrow in his head.

He was in his early teens, with a patch over one eye and did not speak. His mate, a little older. spoke for him. They left with a few cans of coke and cigarettes.You could do that in those days.

What happened to him? I asked the shopkeeper after the two had left.

Well, he said, they were out in the shed horsing around with a speargun when it discharged. The spear shot across the room and took off part of the boy’s head.

We both went quiet for a while as the horror sank in.

I purchased my newspaper and left.

Everytime I drive past that shop …..

Mingling with the Miniatures

I saw it advertised in the local rag.

‘Bonsai Show’, it said.

It was a tiny notice. I had to squint to read the details.

The hall was rather tiny.

I squeezed through the entrance almost knocking my head

against several light fittings on my way in.

It looked like a huddle of hobbits around the bonsai which

were unusually tiny.

“They’re not fully grown yet,” a volunteer offered.

Like many of you, I felt like saying but bit my tongue.

The Club President gave a haiku-sized speech for which

we were all grateful.

I mingled for half an hour indulging in the small talk until

refreshments were served.

There were pies, pasties and muffins from the ovens of Lilliput.

“Would you like a short black?” the serving lady asked.

“Any chance of some wine ?” I said.

“Sorry,” she answered, “It’s in very short supply.”

I had had about enough of pint-sized jokes,

and headed out into the big, wide world.

*pic by backyard boss on pinterest