I like to travel in ambulances.
They seem such warm, friendly places
especially the Aussie ones shown on our screens:
‘Paramedics’ and ‘In the Ambulance’.
The ambos are calm, confident and chatty,
the ride authoritative but reassuring;
you feel you’ve landed on your feet
even if you are on your back;
There’s never any drama with these ambulances:
You scoot along niftily, the traffic parting
like the Red Sea for Moses; you’re delivered
efficiently as a package from Australia Post.
've never travelled in an ambulance; have you?
* have you an ambulance story ?
pic courtesy of Wikipedia
This time he’s really shitted off.
Had a turd of a day
and now he’s come home to find
dog poo AGAIN
on his freshly mown lawn.
His fury diarrhoeas out
of his mouth, and here we draw the veil of decorum
over the expletives to protect our readers.
A little calmer now he pulls out his pen,
he uses to write romantic missives to his love
a warning. on the nearest stobie poll,
a friendly warning
but its double-barrelled exclamation marks cannot hide his intent.
a can of beer, and plonks himself near the front window,
M is in her cups.
Any moment now, the kookaburra cackle
the cutting off, like a hoon driver on the highway.
But for the time being I’m holding the table, telling the tale of the silver hammer beneath the front passenger seat of my car, what happens when my girlfriend spots it.
The little group leans forward, intent.
But it reminds M of something and she’s hyper now, jumps in, raucous.
This time I’m ready for her.
I took a photo today I’d like to show you. It’s for you, I say.
You did? Really?
Yes, I say, bringing it up on the screen, passing it across to her.
It’s what you do when you cut people off, how you make them feel. It’s kind of a metaphor.
She has a close look. Ouch,, she says. Lopped?
Whenever the bowl
is boring, bland, stale , stodgy.
I bring out
those frisky little pellets
zest and zing
that put the sing
in snap, crackle, ‘n’ pop
nifty little metaphors for writing
that needs an uplift
a whiff of lightness.
that needs to find its funny bone.
open up its Id,
roll like a dog
the muck and merriment
I’ve been having parties
in the top right hand corner of my head
where the music throbs incessantly
and civility is dead
have another drink , one says
I don’t mind if I do
and the hunchback pounds on the old piano
till well past half two
a bulky fist hammers the door
Joe sent for me, he yells
& a smokey eyeball peers out
is this heaven or is this hell?
I wouldn’t mind so much
take less of a dim view
if due courtesies were observed
& I were invited too
I get a phone call at 3a.m.
Who calls at 3a.m?
You think the worst.
I glance across at the screen.
The call’s from Algeria.
I don’t pick up.
I don’t know anyone from Algeria.
I used to get phone calls from ‘my mate’
in Mogadishu asking me how my bank account’s going
but since I told him I’m a pisspot he’s stopped calling.
I don’t even know where the fuck it is.
But here’s the funny thing.
It rings three times then silence.
What’s the point of that?
Is it a scam?
How can you scam someone unless you speak to them first?
Perhaps he’s inordinately shy.
Perhaps he’s a mute.
Perhaps he only speaks Martian.
I knew a young man once, Simon whose father was the Lord Mayor of Mars but that’s another story.
I look up Algeria on the map.
No clues there.
But he’s there. Somewhere.
On his cell phone.
Now who shall I phone tonight? he wonders.
Whose puffy slumbers can I puncture?
I gave it an impossible task
but it was my mind
what could it not do?
There was a song
we’re talking way back
I thought the early nineties
an oddball song
with a female lead
and a bouncy backing group.
Can you work it out?
Nor could my mind.
It bugged me all day.
There were some nonsense lyrics
but the song was catchy.
Any idea yet?
Nor had I.
I took a Bex and had a lie down
then the initials KLM came into my head.
Hang on, I said, aren’t they the initials of a Dutch airline?
But I hopped up anyway and keyboarded it into my laptop.
Have you got it yet?
Well, what popped up were the initials KLF.
Now do you know?
Then the name of the female singer came up, then the band then the name of the song,
one of the most oddball songs ever to become a # 1 or 2 all over the world.
Go and check it out on YouTube.
I did and yes I did get up and dance
and I was taken back to MuMu Land with Tammy and the KLF
all over again.
have you ever undertaken a search like this with so little information?
I’d been looking for a career back in the late sixties but it found me.
I went looking for God for a few years in the early seventies but found what I really wanted was to have kids so God went out the window.
I had another shot at finding God or Transcendence a little later on but ended up in a cult so I had to get out but I found Rhonda who was very spiritual and inspirational. I used to say to her, ‘Help Me Rhonda’ and she would smile and help me anyway.
For a few years from 2010 everyone went looking for Bin Laden. I would track all over the streets of Adelaide because Adelaide would be a perfect place to hide. I mean who would think of looking for him there?
Then I went looking for Milton but I found him.
I know a journalist who was sent to write an article for a top American magazine on J D Salinger who proved elusive as God but he wrote the article anyway on NOT finding J D Salinger and still got it published.
Lately I’ve been searching for Equanimity but that’s harder to find, except in snatches, as Bin Laden or J D Salinger.
This is Terry.
You can wave to him.
He would like that.
He waves a lot but not everyone waves back.
In fact hardly anyone does.
He sits on a folding chair in the middle of the mall outside Coles looking for someone to say hello to.
You can say Hello to Terry.
Many people pretend not to hear him.
But that does that put him off?
Terry is on a mission.
He is collecting donations for the Blind Sports Association.
There are a lot of people like Terry outside supermarkets throughout Australia.
Not in your face.
And yes, I did.
You hear those gunshots last night, Matt? Boom, boom, boom , one after the other. Six in a row.
Firecrackers, he chuckled. The kids down the road.
What! You killed the romance, Matt. I had a great piece of flash fiction on the go: about an active shooter on the prowl, a gang fight … it was going to be a ripper. I was up half the night writing it. I couldn’t sleep.
You can still do a great piece of flash fiction, John. Just make it comic, not horror. A good writer can do that.