Varnished and Vanished

Jade painstakingly sculpted Myrtle,
the bipedal, amphibious, octopoid,
from mottled marble.
The black garnet pupils of her green fluorite eyes
looked real enough to grow and shrink in light and shadow.
Mining magnate Martin Martyn paid more for this lifelike marvel
than his driverless Rolls.

Myrtle was Jade’s lover Opal’s preferred murder weapon,
in Art Museum Mayhem, her latest theatrical gem.
Jade wheeled the loan into her partner’s hallway.
The place was as chaotic as manic poetry.
Opal’s sister Helena was assembling kitchen cabinets
without instructions,
that alone was as ominous as a tsunami warning in the Maldives.
Their sibling Hugo had smoked enough weed
to believe a claw footed bathtub, in the lounge room,
surrounded by a fern jungle,
was a home decorating triumph.
The tub overflowed,
as Helena’s husband Darius bored holes for picture hooks,
with a drill that hadn’t been tested and tagged
since Reagan continued his acting career in the White House.

Between beers and bowls of ice cream,
Darius and Helena raced each other up the fire escape,
giggling like toddlers.
They’re in a competition to see who vomits first,
Hugo explained to the bath’s scuba diving gargoyle.
Jade meditated with the aid of a blind fold, ethereal jazz,
and a playful breeze, until her angel arrived.

Opal instantly noticed
the sculpture trolley was as empty as a politician’s promise.
Months of honing her search skills, for the Federal Police,
proved as useless as a granite dartboard.
Her one thousand litre pot plants had been toppled.
Nobody remembered a mini tornado invading the balcony
The wine glasses perched on the window sill
looked as stable as Olympic divers.

Opal once told her tower climbing, ex-girlfriend Jacqueline,
she buried cash in pot plants.
Had Jacqui taken her more seriously
than rumours of lunar rain forests?
Ecologists cameras ridiculed her crime time location claim.
Only an albino goanna and a graffitied turtle were recorded.
Opal’s radio was found in Jacqui’s back pack.
Detectives wondered if she’d
dropped Mrytle the amphibious bipedal octopoid
into a foam rubber lined dumpster.
A homeless man, camped in bus stop shrubbery,
was filmed rummaging through the industrial bin.
His explanation sounded as unconvincing as stories of
Mars being terraformed by Saturnian cyborgs,
but the damning evidence was circumstantial.
Rumours he was a pub salesman, of everything
from mobile phones to comic book tribute toilet paper,
lead nowhere.

Multimillionaire buyer Martin Martyn
had seen Jade’s masterpiece evolve from a slab
to the finished form. He waited for its twin to emerge
from beneath her chisels and lathes.
Myrtle the amphibious, bipedal, octopoid, mach two,
was more finely crafted than the original.

Jade returned from the book exchange to discover
Myrtle the Second had been swapped with Myrtle the first.
Martin Martyn was as oblivious as an oyster.

After observing Helena glancing nervously towards the kitchen cupboards,
Jade discovered the floor space had shrunk.
She found the false wall, behind the pots and pans.

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