Horace Henley

On the downside,
Horace was an arrogant, ignorant, argumentative,
callous, remorseless, dishonest, manipulative,
tantrum prone, domineering, violent, adulterous,
greedy, middle class snob.
Ridicule, threats and lies were his teaching tools.
When he was cheerful he could be lenient,
until your suffering become inconvenient.
His calculated generosity, was a lever for manoeuvring
excruciating boulders of condescension and pomposity.
“How dare you defy me”
he roared, like an emperor to a slave.
“you’re useless” he repeated
until he was as hoarse as a desperate punter.

The underemployed, unemployed and unemployable
traded rations of cigarettes, lighters and coupons,
as they filed into Centrelink,
opposite Henley’s Camping Supplies.
Work was Horace’s drug of choice.
He imagined everyone had it on tap,
but some were too lazy to twist the faucet.
In front of customers he was a lovable larrikin.
The great white shark t-shirt, from his staff,
went over his head like a pole vaulter.

“Without me, you lot would be the dregs of society,
lining up for a handout across the road”
he reminded his wife Sharona
and sister in law Lonnie.
Horace hired the best psychiatrist in the region,
to treat his family’s “mysterious” anxiety and mood disorders.
Like him, these conditions weren’t prey seeking missiles,
that killed as swiftly as falcons.

Horace didn’t have a personality disorder.
He was merely the carrier of misery and fear.
Growing up, the barrel of a shotgun
was as familiar to him as cornflakes.
He dealt in throws, kicks, slaps and backhanders.
“I’m a model of restraint” he boasted.
There was no walking away from his marathon tirades.
He was Fuhrer, educator and soother,
his role as unpredictable as mountain weather.

Horace taught his sons how to kick drop goals
and threw baseballs so high
they turned black in the twilight.
Catching fly balls became as natural as walking.
His lessons on romance involved
hiring eighteen year old back packers,
who looked like they’d stepped straight from the pages
of lingerie catalogues.
The interviews were camping trips.

Horace didn’t care who blitzed maths tests.
100% effort was a pass in his eyes.
A lack of enthusiasm
was akin to burning down the mint.
Jarrod always felt like 99.9% effort
was a crime worthy of being hung, drawn and quartered.

When he became as reclusive as a Himalayan mystic
and ate like he was preparing for a sumo tournament,
not an eleven kilometre fun run,
he finished miles behind his best.
Horace chipped away at his self esteem like an auger.
“If I sliced open that ice cream gut,
I could feed an army on dripping sandwiches.
You call yourself a jogger,
you make a penguin look like a springbok.”

Horace sold his camping store,
so he could spend all day woodworking, fishing
and listening to conservative shock jocks.
“Abolishing excess franking credits,
it’s a Labor Party commie plot.”
he roared at his local MP.
With only 1.2 million dollars to his name,
since the divorce,
how would he cope without profiting
from the Australian Tax Office?
All that Greens nonsense about tortured refugees
and the climate emergency,
had him reaching for a bucket.
What about the suffering of middle class retirees?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.