How Could I Not?

I put up a post the other minute that I knew might offend people but I wanted to honour the veracity of the experience. Would it be more acceptable if the man was the one shouting, and he was the bear of the title rather than his female partner? She did unleash a scatological attack upon the poor guy. What he had done was unclear; more likely it was what he hadn’t done. The title of the piece was unavoidable, though might have been more acceptable were it the man hurling abuse.

It was what happened. Security was called. I overheard the remark, ‘woman screaming in the mall’. It was quite an event. It stopped everyone in their tracks. I could bend over backwards to sugar-coat the experience or ignore it but I’m a writer. How could I not respond to it?

Enlightenment

I was sitting at Maccas

chomping

on a cheeseburger

reading

what the Buddha had to say

on Generosity:

how it benefits both the giver and receiver

when this aboriginal woman

came up to me and said,

have you got two dollars. For chips?

Sure, I said,

digging deep,

pulling out a coin I plonked

in her hand.

Gee thanks, she said,

It’s my birthday today. I’m 29.

Lucky you. I said. Have a good one

and go easy on those chips.

She beamed me a smile

big as Uluru

& I knew what the Buddha meant.

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.

A Move towards Empathy

“You’re like Lee Chandler,” she said.

“Who?”

“Lee Chandler, the guy Casey Affleck plays in ‘Manchester by the Sea.”

Jackson liked that film but he did not like Lee Chandler, the way he closed himself off from people.

“That saddens me.”

“That you’re like Lee Chandler or that I mentioned it?”

“Both.”

“The reason I brought it up is that I asked you if you’d like to see Anne perform in the ballet from ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and you said you’d give it a miss though I made it clear I’d like you to go.”

“I know. I’ve thought it over and would like to go see her perform.”

“Because you want to or because you’re afraid of being compared to Lee Chandler?”

“Both.”

It was a little late, Jackson admitted. It would have been better if he’d said so straight off but at least it was a move towards empathy. She would have to give him that.

Meg

Something is bothering

this silkie





She wanders

round and round

the yard

in

a solipsistic fluff

driving us round the bend.

She worries the others.





A few days later

when we let her out she resumes

her circling

then huddles beneath

the bird bath

and will not move.

We shift her.

She crawls under a bush

hard to reach.

The cat who often bothers the chooks

leaves her alone.





That night it rains and rains.

In the morning

she is bedraggled

and dead.

I lift her into the earth.

There isn’t much of her.

The chooks settle after that.

So do we.

How Was It, Chief?

He brings me a muffin.

I asked for a blueberry.

I get choc chip.

I asked for a fork.

He brings me a knife.

You’ve got no idea how rude customers can be, he says to a couple at the next table. You don’t know what you’re doing, mate, they sometimes say. Hey! I’ve got backbone. I bite back: Don’t know what I’m doing??? You don’t know what you’re talking about, I say to them. I’ve been in this trade for ten years.

His face is going red. He starts to inflate like a pufferfish. His words bristle.

The couple cower before their coffee.

So how was it, chief? he asks me in passing.

You don’t know what you’re doing, I feel like saying but my mouth is full of muffin.

Instead I give him the thumbs up. It seems the best policy. I’ve made his day.

The Big Reveal

Did you know the pattern on your nightie matches the pattern of my underpants?

Really?

Yes, he says as he pulls down his jeans to show her.

I can see , she says, that your underpants are a little loose in the legs.

Meaning?

I can see more than the pattern of your underpants.

You don’t mean ….

Yes, she says, the crown jewels.

Oooops, he says, as he pulls up his jeans and they collapse in laughter on the beanbag.

The Cutting Caption

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?

Yes, lopped.

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.

Devil of a Night

They were in a little cottage out the back with nothing to write about on a dark and stormy night. Delia, a tall, strapping, Scandinavian woman, with long greyish blond hair down to her waist, had just given them, a small group of seniors, fifteen minutes silent writing during the class on short story writing. You should be able to come up with something, she said,almost despairing of her hopelessly floundering flock. This was the second session and still not a word had been written. The thunder boomed and lightning flashed helpfully as if to provide prompts. Delia paced up and down out the front working herself into a froth.  

Just then, as if on cue, the door flew open, and a drug-addled man with straggly blond hair and  black tank top stormed in, neck and arms swathed in devil tatts,  shouting obscenities in a strange guttural language, throwing chairs around the room thankfully with no one in them, and then with his anger quenched, stormed out again. Where’s Security when you need them, fumed D who immediately phoned the police. Suddenly everyone started furiously writing. Delia could  not stop them.

pic by pretty sleepy on pixabay