Gone

Upon a coffee table as utilitarian as a cardboard box,
Morning Glory protrudes from a 1915 Coca Cola bottle.
Damning headlines are as moist as the President’s eyes.
An abandoned chess match dominates the kitchen bench.
The kettle is hotter than lava.
and her pillow still warm.
There’s puddles in the potplants.
The surveillance swarm can’t tell the eight ball
from the white.
Airport, bus terminal, taxi stand, car rental agency?
Which drain could could the whistleblower be navigating
like an Einsteinian rat?
Which forest swamp might she be drifting through
on a camouflaged barge?
Nobody know which escape roulette to vet.

The Trespassers

Psychology student Angela Bordeaux and her fiancee, mixed martial arts legend Quentin “the Quiet Achiever” Quinn, were oblivious to the security cameras peering from Angophora hollows. They skirted a series of billabongs, en route to a trail on the verge of vanishing in a Lantana thicket. After that expanse of pretty weeds, miniscule electronic eyes lurked in scattered boulders. Beyond the ramshacle paddock fences in the distance, a hilltop mansion loomed.

“The doors are unlocked. This place is as empty as a library at midnight, there’s no doubt about it” Quentin reassured his apprehensive partner. The surrounding fields seemed devoid of livestock. None of the fences looked like they’d been repaired since Yoda was a twinkle in the eye of an interstellar monk. There was a jungle where the tennis court used to be. Viscous slime was all that remained in the exquisitely landscaped swimming pools.

The snooker table, at the rear of the conference room sized loungeroom, was obscured by a layer of dust an inch thick. Quentin lay across an antique lounge chair, while Angela hunted for a vacuum cleaner. She threw herself into every hoover manouvre like Olympic gold was on the line. Angela was too in awe of Quentin’s Herculean physique, hypnotic green eyes and Newtonian intellect to complain about his appalling laziness. Quentin was intensely passionate about vacuuming all of a sudden, after Angela peeled her dress down to her navel and applied the nozzle to the nipple region of her sheer black lace bra.

Quentin instigated a playful wrestling match. After pinning Angela to the ground, with one arm, he lifted her on to a rosewood dining table and trailed his fingertips over the silk and lace hidden beneath her floral summer dress. Quentin took a break from teasing Angela into a frenzy to unclasp and untie her delicates. He flung he oppulent underwear to a distant corner. Somehow he managed to snag her brassiere on a chandalier, above the mezzanine level. Eventually, Quentin put his awestruck lover over his shoulder, ascended a marble staircase, flung her onto the nearest king size water bed and introduced her to wild pleasures few have even read about.

It took four hours for Walter Nixon the 5th to look away from the taboo shattering marathon on his cinema size screen. As Walter exited his basement apartment surveillance room, hidden cameras continued to record every caress, kiss, lick, thrust and ecstatic squeal. Walter constantly checked the location of his uninvited, yet welcome guests via his watch screen. He carried a taser in his left hand and a twenty two calibre pistol in his right.

For good luck, Walter wore a dental implant necklace, fashioned from the lifelike pearly whites of the voluptuous lingerie model he’d surreptitiously lured to his home two years earlier. Those toothy pegs even had a couple of precious metal and gem stone fillings to give them a more natural look. A taxidermist by trade, Walter had collaborated with a robotics engineer to convert the anonymous model’s corpse into a sex robot. He was more interested in giving his victims names than learning the ones their grieving parents had chosen for them.

Walter was considering selling the curvaceous model’s renovated remains to a Japanese businessman he’d met in an amputee brothel. His offer was generous one. It was an agonizing choice though. The conversation simulator, substituting for the anonymous beauty’s brain, responded more enthusiastically to Walter’s classical guitar playing than any living, breathing woman ever did. Being showered with poetic compliments, on a daily basis, was proving to be addictive.

Quentin’s hound like hearing detected Walter’s careful footsteps on the stairs. All those years of vising headphone nightclubs were paying off. He motioned for Angela to be silent and stood as still as a statue behind the partially closed door.

Walter grew apprehensive, as he recalled witnessing the cobra like reflexes of his adversary on Martial Arts TV. The low calibre pistol felt awkward in his unsteady hand. Firearms weren’t his thing, he preferred to work with electricity and surgical instruments. At the top of the stairs, Walter glanced at the CCTV footage on his watch for the last time, before crossing the marble floor as patiently as a cat stalking a sparrow. Quentin was no sparrow though, he was more like a pterodactyl that has been domesticated by vikings.

Sulphur crested cockatoos were making a ruckus in the silky oaks bordering the yard. Walter hardly had time to contemplate what might’ve triggered their riotous squawking. Raptors, a conspiracy of ravens and a coalition of noisy miners were among the possibilities

Eventually, Walter peered beneath the master bedroom door. He expected to see Quentin’s feet. Their absence left him as confused as a Mediaeval villager waking up in a space station orbiting an exoplanet. The solid oak door crashing down was as unexpected as an earth quake. Quentin “the Quiet Achiever” Quinn has never been a gentle man. He didn’t hesitate to jump on the fallen door, with Walter beneath it.

“Welcome to my trampoline” Quentin bellowed like the maniac he is.

“Please, please that’s enough” Angela yelled in horror.

“How dare you question my actions bitch” Quentin raged once he grew bored of his leaping and stomping.

Quentin the Quiet Achiever Quinn, as he was known to his hordes of naive fans, had had enough of his latest lover. At gunpoint, he ordered the somewhat recovered serial killer to savagely rape her. Eventually he gave Walter a choice between injecting her with dry cleaning fluid and being shot in the testicles. Walter was aghast, he’d intended to keep Angela alive for months.

Necrophilia wasn’t among Quentin’s hobbies but sadism had always been his most burning passion. He took great delight in forcing Walter to have sex with his vast collection of stuffed corpses. Used to having a good nights sleep and a massage before a desecration session, Walter complained incessantly. He didn’t stop  whining until shortly before he collapsed and went into a thirst induced coma. One of his freezer cabinets contained an assortment of human organs in clearly labelled plastic bags. Quentin would’ve ticked canibalism off his bucket list, if he weren’t concerned about the possible side effects interfering with his preparation for his next fight.

“Boring me is a dreadful crime but maybe Angela got more than she deserved” Quentin said to himself, as he  strolled back into the bedroom to get dressed. The twinge of guilt he felt soon faded. He dropped Walter’s pistol into the sceptic tank, before setting off on the long trek back to his vehicle.

Blood streamed from Quentin’s left temple as he was struck by a sling shot propelled ball bearing. Twelve year old Jake Sorenson thought nothing of hunting cockatoos but accidentally killing a human left him on the verge of a panic attack. He contemplated fleeing on his mountain bike but something compelled him to explore the isolated palatial home first.

Jake was drenched in cold sweat and trembling violently as he entered the ballroom sized loungeroom. The bookshelf door leading to Walter Nixon the 5th’s vast basement apartment was open. Nothing in the surveillance room had been switched off. An unlocked door was all that had prevented the distracted Quentin “the Quiet Achiever” Quinn from strolling in. Jake called the emergency number as soon as he spotted Walter’s unconscious form on one of the CCTV monitors.

 

Genocide

In the howling wind,
the meadow is as lively as the ocean.
Amidst wild green waves,
the last pre European stone cottage stands.
Grass conceals the foundations
of neighbouring homes.
Colonists built fences from the rubble.
Villages older than the pyramids
were evidence of stolen tribal lands,
their destruction as predictable
as burnt crops, poisoned wells,
small pox laced clothing
and corpses rotting in dams,
until drunken murderers
ceased celebrating their acquisitions,
to dump them in mass graves.
The last cottage became a manure storage shed,
a means of perpetually shitting on
the ancestors of slaves,
forced to tend sheep and cattle.
The dregs of the herd
have long since been scavenged,
by dingos and foxes.
A cocktail of beauty and grief remains.

Denial

You live in a fantasy world,
where false rape allegations
are as common as shoplifting in a ghetto.

She may be stubborn and bossy, but she’s not a liar.
Open your eyes to the evil in the turd you call sire.
It’s too horrible, so all you consider is vindication.
Forget your foolish talk of her insane imagination.
I’ve seen her fists fly, in sleepwalking nightmares.
It’s marathons in hell, the demons come in pairs.
Then there is the crop of bruises and torn clothes.
Knives beneath her pillow, what do you make of those?

They cremated him
because the worms didn’t want him.
Will you peer into the darkness
before the Reaper arrives?

Chess Man

Chess man was a one man legion,
undefeated in the Sydney Region.
And to every onlooker’s delight,
he never ran from a rap battle,
or declined a break dance fight.

He informed castle breakers,
wearing sturdy pace makers,
wielding their walking sticks
against reps of undertakers,
that a knight would bounce
off his plastic horse snout,
as his super sonic queen,
took that mutha fucka out.

Chess man tried to explain
it was nothing but a game,
as the first spray of bullets
ripped through his frame.

Soren Sarin Siren, the Soapbox Superstar

Dwite the Sprite Knight, was surprised to see Alan the Asbestosis sufferer, rocketing along, on his Pride Pathfinder 140XL, at a footpath blistering twenty kilometres per hour. Who, or what, was he fleeing? The Pride Pathfinder was no match for the acceleration of Dwite’s 1968 Schwinn Stingray. That beast truly was the chieftain of the footpath.

“Why are you crying Alan, what happened?”

“Soren Sarin Siren, the Soap Box Superstar, said I’m not entitled to compensation.” Allan briefed Dwite on what to expect.

“Don’t worry.
I’ll mail that NAZI admirers mouth to the waste transit station of the Holocaust Museum. On second thoughts, they might think that’s the sick joke
of a deranged psychopath, so I’ll destroy him in a debate instead.”

“Fuck him up, hit him with your thirteen pun combination Dwite” Alan, the Asbestosis sufferer roared, as they closed in on their quarry; who was busy admonishing Cindy
the sexual harassment suit litigant, who’d had the audacity to whine about wine aficionados sleazy slurs. When he saw Dwite he froze in panic.

“Soren Sarin Siren, the Soap Box Superstar, I presume. You baffling, bantering buffoon, I am your angel of doom. Soren, you’ve claimed that Vlad Enterprises shouldn’t have to compensate asbestosis sufferers, who are terminally ill thanks to Thames Vlad’s products. Soren, your mind is a lopsided labyrinth, designed by an idiot, that has been warped by the summer heat and cracked in the cold, outside the library. You’ve never been in there have you. Revisiting your argument is like watching an Ed Wood movie twice. Who is Ed Wood? Ed is to directing movies what Craig Mclouglin is to comedy.
There are worse things in life though and asbestosis is one of them.

Let’s address your argument in support of Vlad Enterprises, if you could call it an argument. It’s like calling a billy cart a sports car, only less convcincing. According to you, expecting Thames Vlad Enterprises, to compensate terminally ill asbestosis victims, from the twentieth century, is like expecting the new owner of a fish and chip shop to compensate food poisoning victims, under the old management. Strangely, I’ve never heard this argument, from a representative of Vlad Enterprises. Soren, you should chair one of their think tanks. If Vlad Enterprises isn’t responsible, why did their shareholders vote in favour of billions of dollars of compensation? Oh, a poor little corporation bullied by the law and disabled pensioners, such a sad and famaliar tale.

Thanks to fibro, Vlad enterprises has more cash in their coffers than Scrooge McDuck. Is the new owner of your analogical fish and chip shop, benefiting from mountains of money, stemming from isolated incidents of food poisoning? How about you take your legal and ethical fiction and hide it in one of the volcanic pimples exploding from your arse. Soren, you are to nudist beaches what Donald Trump is to MENSA…

Living Garbage

Thornsword Earwig, telepathically ordered the latest version of Time Optimizer to call his wife. After analysing one hundred and seventy million words of his manual conversations it approximated his personality eerily well.

“A toxic afternoon to you too Jyena. Planet Droom is great babe, it’s a wonderful place to start a family.  Droom’s dominant creatures are anatomically almost identical to Homo sapiens, a typically stupid Earthling primate, but they’re much smarter. Droom is frequented by innumerable impressive species. Its prison population is hardly homogenous either and neither are the participants in its most popular reality television show Living Garbage. It’s a title that reminds me of your friends Jyena. I’ve already given you four extensions for your higher calibre acquaintances project, I look forward to the next update.”

“Returning to a more important subject, every episode of Living Garbage features an astounding array of incarcerated creatures Jyena. They’re the worst imaginable prisoners. A smattering of murderers and rapists, of valuable citizens, walk among the most despicable felons of all, activists. The most notorious is Lomandra Whamboozle. Her diabolical ascent among the ranks of anti juvenile slavery campaigners, resulted in her becoming the most wanted Droomian fugitive.

“No words can convey how grateful I am to those who apprehended her. The thought of having to purchase and insure an expensive robot to perform cleaning, cooking and maintenance tasks sickens me. It’s not necessary to insure juvenile slaves, they’re as replaceable as plastic bags. They can be abducted from planets in neighbouring galaxies thousands at a time. It’s like picking fruit without having to grow the orchards.  Lomandra Whamboozle and her comrades could have ended all that in less than a generation, if most of them hadn’t been so gloriously slain.”

“Like a lot of people, I was ecstatic when I heard Lomandra had been conscripted to appear on Living Garbage. Unbelievably, the multi species attacks on her, since her sentence began, have completely and utterly failed to break her spirit, but the 28th episode of Living Garbage will surely rectify that appallingly frustrating situation. Whamboozle has been led to believe the displaying, whipping, pawing and penetrating of her living carcass isn’t part of the show, that she will be given an opportunity to seek “justice” haha air quotes justice baby, air quotes justice. The Vangtorbs’s, Wungborb’s and Kraabslarb’s will teach her not to steal my slaves.”

“I’ve got to go Jyena, Living Garbage is about to start. What do you mean you have issues you need to discuss, didn’t you hear me, Living Garbage is about to begin. Cease your self centred whining woman and I will forgive you for speaking without an invitation to do so. Oh, you want a divorce do you? Call me back if you think of something important to discuss. It’s only ten seconds to Living Garbage sweetheart, make sure you call back during an ad break.”

The synthetic version of Thornsword was a tad tactless, but the next software upgrade was nigh. While Time Optimiser did its thing, Thornsword made millions, by more closely monitoring his investments. A few calls to financially influential people, on an intergalactic scale, still trumped automatic trading. Any remotely significant citizen could purchase the best software.

“That’s weird, normally Jyena would’ve called back already, to apologise for her insolence” Thornsword muttered to himself, as he watched the holographic orgy advertising his favourite brand of toothpaste. It was the first time he’d ever seen an ewok get down and down and dirty with an Andromedan goblin of any sort and he was impressed. As the advertisement receded, the mock courtroom, where Lomandra Whamboozle assumed justice was about to be served, came into focus.

At first, the fake judge spoke Droomian legalese with ease but after a while he sounded like he was referring to a teleprompter. Whamboozle looked confused. Thornsword assumed she was asking herself why on Droom would an experienced judge stumble through a routine part of their job. Suddenly the room inverted. The hem of Lomandra’s translucent floral dress clung to her face as she fell to the padded ceiling. Thornsword whistled in appreciation at her matching floral silk delicates. Lomandra was briefly stuck in the most squishy folds of a vast waterbed, her legs flailing uselessly. The Vangtorb’s, Wungborb’s and Kraabslarb’s, had anticipated the inversion, so they landed on their equivalent of feet.

Once the briefcases belonging to Lomandra’s pseudo legal team stopped bouncing they opened. There were no documents inside, just a vast array of sex toys. The drooling Vangtorb’s, Wungborb’s and Kraabslarb’s erotic tentacles were as hideous as tapeworm and as erect as skyscrapers. They were arguably the most disturbing manifestation of predatory euphoria ever seen on Living Garbage.

Lomandra Whamboozle didn’t mince words “In contrast with your kiss, bin juice tastes like heaven. The most wart infested arsehole in the galaxy looks gorgeous beside your plague comet nostrils and pus glacier eyelids” she roared at the biggest Vangtorb in the room. He looked somewhat taken aback.

“How about you drink the dregs of a Slorg Snail swamp and shit yourself to a death as gruesome as your smile” she continued, as though she were as willing to play the game as they.

“We’ve got a feisty one here boys. What shall we do first? Should we bring in the impregnation robots, to plant the seed of the oesophagus tarantula down her throat, the offspring of the sabre fanged glow worm in her entrails and the eggs of the parasitic scorpion in her womb or is that too kind?”

They all agreed it was too kind, even the nice guy among them, whose most heinous hobby was nothing worse than watching babies dissolve in vats of acid.

“Why does she look so confident?” Hoobmafia Gronkbland nervously asked the amorous horde. They didn’t bother to answer. They were too busy encircling and closing in on Ms Whamboozle. The smallest among them was a powerlifter five times her size.

The fleet of butt plugs, double ended dildos and transforming vibrators followed the commands of  Trargchomper, a four hundred kilogram Kraabslarb. He looked like the conductor of an orchestra, as he waved them forward in a variety of swarming formations.

“Exit pseudo co-operation mode” Lomandra commanded. The devices hovered as still as the opals in the wall.

“Enter attack mode!” she spat. Her dildo, butt plug, vibrator and penis pump air force revealed their retractable tranquiliser guns and fired a barrage of automated syringes at Lomandra’s assailants.

“Rape them, rape them, rape them you stupid bitch” Thornsword Earwig yelled at his holographic television. His more explicit instructions made the director of the most nightmarish Earthling porno sound romantic.

“Enter defence mode” Lomandra barked at her sex toy squadrons. Not surprisingly, she ignored the hideous viewer suggestions that were being transmitted into the would be torture chamber, at a rate of fifteen per minute. The overlapping voices were an attempt to simulate schizophrenia. Lomandra’s unconventional bodyguards swarmed around her. The studio guards didn’t dare call for reinforcements, let alone attempt to stop her themselves.

“Enter platform mode” Whamboozle whispered as the last guard slumped to the ground, with a tranquilizer syringe protruding from his buttocks. Lomandra flew over the Living Garbage studio wall, on a magic carpet of penis pumps.”

Thornsword looked so ill that one could be forgiven for thinking he was possessed by a Varkonian Cranium Worm. He’d bet ten times as much money on the outcome of Living Garbage than he’d made by delegating his marriage conversational duties to Time Optimiser. Thanks to Thornsword, Living Garbage’s co-producer, that disinherited loser Vortex Varnisher the 5th, had been able to buy an orbiting bachelor pad. Thornsword asked for nothing more than Vortex Varnisher granting Lomandra Whamboozle access to Living Garbage’s computer network, under the guise of having his way with her in his office.

Apparently Vortex Varnisher had also allowed Whamboozle to change the passwords to the doors between the various layers of the buildings. Why hadn’t Whamboozle taken the opportunity to seek revenge on her leering, pawing, probing fellow contestants? What was wrong with that woman? All she had to do was rape Gronkpanza the Vangtorb and Spewrash the Kraabslarb and that would be five million Droomian dollars split twenty/eighty. With so many episodes left to bet on, he couldn’t afford not to pay her.

Radio Fallout

“This is your morning show host,
Miles Platinum, on 2GC.
Responsible protestors are out in force today.
Their banners read:
“Don’t fuck, don’t fiddle.
“Contraception is evil.”
“Miscarriage is murder.”
“War is the road to peace.”
“The Flintstones is a documentary.”
“Science is a cult.”
“Ban teenage pregnancy.”
“Burn French letters.”
“Cognitive dissonance has too many letters.”

Get your protesters license today.
And remember,
unauthorized slogans may result in kneecapping,
according to riot police discretion.

In other news,
the Heroin Dealers Association
successfully lobbied parliament
to abolish quality controls today.
According to a recently deceased journalist
“Black Pearl Corp’s needle samples have sampled everything.”
Rinsing is expensive, autoclaving unthinkable.
Needle exchange nurses,
they’re worse for business
than a tsunami at a seaside resort.
Their lead coffins are free.
Their cemetery lies beyond the continental shelf.
Our benevolent dictator says
“They’re good guys,
they did a terrific job, tremendous”
the executioners that is.

Making environmental news today,
satellite pictures of our world heritage listed areas,
have revealed mountains of syringes,
coated in the bloated corpses of endangered species.
Rangers cigarette butts float to earth like dead bees.
Concreting over all remaining wilderness
is the only means of cleansing the nation.
Syringe Everest tourists,
run over litter bugs for sport.
They empty their tanks on the way to nowhere.
May they crucify other ecological crusaders
and exchange their barbed wire crowns
for armoured vehicles.

Yesterday, climate change hoaxer Rob Green
lit a fire on his rural property.
Hazard reduction burning?
That’s as deranged as brain transplants.
You’re a hypocrite Green.
Sparky wants you for arson.

According to a discredited journalist,
who was reported missing on Monday,
my urban cottage has four fireplaces.
I want justice.
The defamation inferno is out of control.

Sydney property values continue to plummet.
Some blame white supremacist gentlemen,
for replacing their footballs
with the heads of refugee quadruple amputee scum.
Those in the know blame Islamic immigration.
My equity sales have sailed beyond the horizon.
I demand compensation.
It’s worse than the Great Depression.

Cricket Man aka Nostradamus Bradman

If you aren’t familiar with the sport of cricket that will be a barrier to understanding many of the details of this story. I recommend watching some highlights on YouTube and researching the jargon I’ve used.

“You should be worried” Nostradamus warned opposition coach, painter, agriculture teacher, hairdresser and poultry show extraordinaire Randall Grey, as he strolled to the pitch.

“About what Nostradamus, if one of my boys flukes getting you out I’ll be happy and if I witness another of your brilliant displays I’ll be happy.”

“Grey, You need to move your mind, the way I move my feet, to do the dance they call lateral thinking. The possibilities are endless. Me destroying your bowling attack and my freak dismissal are just two blades of grass in an outfield where every blade is unique”

“They all look the same to me”

“Look closer”

“Five sixes, one single” Nostradamus Bradman declared to all within throwing distance, as calmly and resolutely as a man ordering drinks. Every six struck the sight screen. His batting partner Dexter Matrix was so confident all five would clear the boundary rope that he was engrossed in an online game of chess, until Nostradamus signalled that the final ball was about to be bowled.

Dexter wasn’t a cricketer, he was a sprinter, there for the sole purpose of running quick singles, with the knowledge that Bradman would retain the strike. On the rare occasions Matrix had to face a ball, Bradman instructed him to step as far forward as possible, always play a shot and always with his pads in line with the stumps. Matrix was yet to meet a wicket keeper with reflexes quick enough to stump him. After one of his mighty air swings the kid could spin faster than a cockroach and lunge at the crease quicker than a man in concrete boots snatches at a life raft.

In just two overs, Bradman had painted a smiley face on the sight screen with the cherry red stains of the six stitcher.

“Kindergarten art, so what” Randall Grey mocked, from what he assumed was a safe distance beyond the boundary rope. He was working on his Archibald Prize entry. In his twenty years of attempting to make the final, apparently nobody had told him one of the conditions of entry was that the portrait had to be of a human. Grey shook his head as his prize turkey Julius did his best to imitate a body builder. Julius was quickly running out of poses.

Grey had decided long ago there was no point in trying to help his team tactically out manoeuvre Nostradamus Bradman. They were as outclassed as the clumsiest drunk against Muhammad Ali in his prime.

To the umpire’s chagrin some younger students began moving the sight screen without consulting the batsman. Bradman couldn’t have cared less. If the ball had of been camouflaged with the pitch and the size of a dehydrated pea, he’d still have spotted it as easily as a beach ball. The kids wanted to see what shots he had besides sixteen kinds of straight drives and they weren’t disappointed. By the tenth over he’d hit the sight screen with a reverse cut and a reverse sweep. He’d turned a yorker into a waist high full toss and smashed it over the wicket keepers head, striking his target with millimetre precision. That particular cherry red blotch formed the pupil of the left eye, of the emerging portrait.

After hearing about the impossible feats occurring on oval one, the players in matches on surrounding grounds dropped their bats and balls, to join the procession to the grandstand. As soon as Randall Grey recognised himself, in the cherry red portrait, he dug a pen and pad from his briefcase and offered his autograph to everyone in sight.

A mysterious suit clad figure looked on from the hill, on the opposite side of the ground. He paid no attention to the laptop perched on his briefcase. The way his eyes flitted from one part of the sight screen to another was reminiscent of a child playing Where’s Wally, but there was clearly no striped t-shirt figure to be seen.

Nostradamus Bradman wasn’t merely controlling the trajectory of his cherry bullets, he was imparting the ideal amount of spin for the red blotches to blend into one another as though they’d been applied with a brush. Randal’s pallor was suddenly as grey as his name. His grotesque smirk turned to a snarl, as he realized Bradman had depicted a translation of the tattoo on his right forearm.

The mysterious figure on the hill was suddenly paying more attention to his laptop than the game. Nostradamus had found the translation of Grey’s tattoo in a diary, hidden inside a hollowed out manual for an obsolete computer program. It looked like a password. That was all that Bradman knew.

Grey, his suspected victims and his sabouteurs had been under surveillance for months. Recently he’d communicated with several suspected members of an organized crime network, on the dark web. They were believed to be heroin dealers who had branched out into human trafficking for the purposes of organ harvesting, forced labour, arranged marriages, sexual slavery and hair extensions. In his conversations with these tyrants, Grey alluded to the secret meaning of his tattoo, which consisted of writing in an archaic language the police had been unable to identify let alone decipher.

Using a telephoto lens Detective Sherlock Columbo photographed the jumble of numbers and letters, which he believed was the password to a collection of illegal videos. By the time Columbo and his fellow investigators had finished watching the movies their throats were sore from puking and their abdominal muscles strained from laughing. To say all of them were in desperate need of a holiday is like pointing out that the sun is warmer than frozen hydrogen.

What the investigators discovered was appalling, but not as horrific as what they’d expected to find. If the expressions Randall Grey’s flock of turkeys wore were any indication, they begged to differ. The ones in the audience looked just as shocked at his co-stars. Apparently Grey was a celebrity in avian porn circles. The golden mask and the harpy suit he wore to the bird masquerade ball weren’t enough to conceal his identity from those who knew him best, his turkeys. The investigators were forced to rely on the credits.

Among Grey’s bad habits was leaving his phone in his car. This prevented him from logging into the site and deleting his channel before Nostrodamus Bradman clobbered the battered six stitcher down the ground, striking the remote control for a big screen television, from so far away he’d had to allow for the curvature of the Earth. Bradman’s next attempt missed the intended target by a coat of varnish, sparing Grey’s ancient parents the horror of discovering the true nature of their son’s passion for turkeys.

Bradman indulged in more switch hitting. This time he played a reverse hook, which flew like a Tiger Woods tee shot, soaring over the grandstand, to the top of the hill, in the centre of Grey’s farm, through his kitchen window and into his loungeroom. The ball finally struck the trophy that depicted Grey in a compromising position with a bewildered Ostrich, smashing that monument to his avian amorousness into multiple pieces.

Without the GPS chip embedded into the ball, Bradman would’ve needed to catch a taxi to check the result. He was the only cricketer in history that required expertise in cartography to master his craft.

Grey’s trial took place on the day the finalists for the Archibald Prize were chosen. His entry was among them. On a whim he’d decided to paint his reflection in Julius’s sunglasses. He considered it his worst entry in years, thanks to Julius sub standard modelling. Why he’d made the finals now, after all this time, he had no idea.

There was a delay in proceedings. Grey was out on bail, on the condition that he didn’t go within a mile of a poultry farm. He planned to use the opportunity to stand near his painting, in the Archibald Prize exhibition and listen to everyone’s praise for what he called one of his Rembrandt humbling masterpieces. Despite Julius’ poor performance, Grey fully expected to be the winner.

Meanwhile the philanthropic heavyweights of the Australian art world were in a meeting with the curator of the Art Gallery of New South Wales “It doesn’t matter how long the opening of the exhibition has to be delayed. As long as you don’t jeopardise the structural integrity of the building we don’t care how many walls you have to rebuild twice to get that sight screen in and out” the chairman, Corey Harvard, bellowed. Corey had made a name for himself tattooing unicorn riding Cossacks on to yeti pelts. The man had one hundred and twenty million followers on WordPress.

“Corey, why can’t we just cut the screen into segments and reassemble it?” Ava Ferrari, the horrified engineer protested.

“Miss Ferrari, I suppose you would turn the original Mona Lisa into a puzzle too wouldn’t you, if you thought it would get you out of a few hours of work”

 

Featured

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?