The Scammer Slammer

The overgrown path, into the depths of the forest, was clogged with fallen branches bulky enough to crush a bunyip. Overhanging Corymbias and Angophoras were frozen in looping, twisting dances, waiting for the wind to animate them once more. “The Whistling Puppeteer is the ultimate choreographer” claimed the graffitti obscuring the fire trail map.

As an epicormic limb fell to it’s death, my friend Margot Shugg greeted me via Facebook messenger. Hearing from Margot at 3am was even more surprising than getting reception so far from town. Well there was a photo of Margot attached to the profile anyway. Strangely, none of our previous conversations were visible. I scrolled through my messenger contacts and sure enough there was another Margot Shugg, the real one. I tapped on her profile to reveal our previous conversations.

“Are you there?” Margot’s impersonator asked for the fourth time. I’ve seen more patient Golden Retrievers during dinner. Anyone who has ever seen a Golden Retriever eat, has surely wondered how they don’t give themselves whiplash, as they attack their meal like it’s three days late and about to fly away.

“Are you there” the faceless criminal purporting to be Margot asked once more.

“Margot, you’re still the queen of the night owls I see and Dynamite on the dancefloor I bet. Those youngsters must be in awe. How is life treating you?”

“I really can’t complain too much, bills are getting paid, eating every day, got friend, living comfortable”

“Your grammar is as impressive as a manned mission to Neptune”

“Yes. I’m so happy and full of joy today. Guess why”

“Has that X rated romance novel you’ve been working on made the New York Times best seller list?”

“Have you heard about the united nation award IFC?”

“No, I can’t say I have. What’s Tom up to these days, have you seen him lately?”

“Not really”

“That’s probably a good thing. I heard he joined the airforce and was lucky not to get court martialled, after almost crashing into the control tower. What a wanker!”

“I am bet you love too hear about IFC. It is International Finance Cooperation. The IFC are helping people with some grant money to help deaf, retired, disabled, widowed, military, employees, unemployees to maintain the standard of living”

“Interesting. Do go on.”

“The money is being given to people from them to pay rents, bills, homes, pay school fee for children and lots more. I got $50,000 cash from them.”

“Wow, they’re so generous”

“You too can get money. Because I saw your name on the winner list. Federal government IFC Program. They are helping all people for self service provider and you don’t have to pay it back. Do you know how to apply for it?”

“Sounds legit. Please tell me how I can my hands on all that cold, hard cash”

“I will give you their Facebook page where I apply so you can apply there as well. Are you there?”

“The arrival of the glowing pterodactyl pig is imminent. It makes the swiftest Peregrin falcon look as pedestrian as a hot air balloon.  The glowing pterodactyl pig, look how it plays with such zeal, with the risen gargoyles. Oh how they shattered their graves. After thee, they will fly, buoyed by a tiny tornado”

“Should I send you the agent link now?”

“Maybe you should send it to the glowing pterodactyl pig, to appease his sadistic spirit”

“You dey mad”

“Yes, I’m very angry. Spell Czech, that meddling editor, he keeps changing pterodactyl into redirect. Spell Czech, he’s the one they should sacrifice to the glowing pterodactyl pig. That Jurassic abomination should leave you alone, at least until I get my cash”

“Should I send you the agent links now?”

“Agent Lnyx, he hasn’t been seen for years. Last I heard he was trapped in a parallel universe, on an asteroid where the clouds sky write lyrics, for a contortionist hippo’s symphonies. It’s the only place where I’ve seen a hippo conduct an orchestra with its ankles behind its ears twice. The drummer is swifter than the beating of a dragon fly’s wings. The harp player has wings. The violinists swat carniverous butterflies with their bows, between strokes.  If you return Agent Lynx to this world, I’ll be eternally grateful”

“Just click on link, www.internationalfinancecooperation.org and you too can get lots of cash. This Agent Lynx, you buy him back”

“I’m confused, Margot, you’re knocking on my door. I can see you out the window. Now you’re doing handstand pushups, while waiting for me to let you in. How do you type while doing handstands pushups?”

“Voice recognition softwarw”

“Surely, only the Shimmering Egg Man has the power to make typos with voice recognition software. Are you the Shimmering Egg Man?”

“Yes, I the Shimmering Egg Man, he send you to where there lots of cash. Just click on link.

Are you sure you’re the shimmering egg man?

“Joking, ha ha, I Margot silly”

“You’re Margot Sealy? You said before that you’re Margot Shugg. I just Googled Margot Sealy and she’s a mattress”

“Grrrr, you dey mad, for fifty minutes we talk, you talk shit bull whole time, I go now”

High above a supposedly abandoned Manilla warehouse, a wingsuit warrior duo descended from a nearby crane. Both of them were hideously deformed. One was reminiscent of a gargoyle and the other looked remarkably like a bipedal pig. Not even the tiny tornado, that caught them by suprise, dented their confidence. The Margot impersonator couldn’t have looked more suprised if it had been an alien spacecraft that had crashed through his office window.

“Sorry, we got stuck in a tornado. I’m the Glowing Pterodactyl Pig and he’s The Risen Gargoyle. Perhaps you’ve seen us teasing the Grim Reaper on You Tube.

“Margot’s friend said you would come.” the scammer blubbered. He was a quivering mess, lying helpless in the foetal position beneath his desk.

 

 

The Man Who Blew Up Hate

Now every time when I walk down the street and see someone who looks vaguely like Dave, for a moment I wonder if it’s him. Then I remember why it can’t be.

How many people emerge from palliative care to stun doctors by living for another thirty or forty years, I wondered as Dave lay dying, too weak to accept a visit from the hundreds who would’ve loved to speak to him one more time. I shed a few tears as I heard the bad news, knowing that the pain I felt was nothing compared to what his family and closest friends were going through. Coincidentally Dave died on the day of my brother Neil’s wedding. Neil was a valued amateur photographer at the wedding of Dave and Michelle, his wife of eighteen years.

Their children Lachie, Chloe and Blake wouldn’t know me from a Martian, I was just one of many people they stood patiently waiting for their dad to finish chatting to in the supermarket, at a school fete or wherever I happened to cross paths with him in recent years. If they’ve read the Man Who Blew Up Hate, they could well be wondering if I am a Martian. I suspect they’ve been too busy coming to grips with the void their father has left, to be aware of the crazy little story that seemingly came from nowhere as I wrote the first version of this tribute.

Dave’s funeral and wake were surreal experiences, as full of humour as sadness. The readings were done with extraordinary composure. I was wondering if we would hear a song or two during the service that has never been played in a church before, perhaps the kind Dave might hear in the distance as he dons his night vision goggles and abseils down the pearly gates, on his way to the Coolest Place in Hell. I’m told Dave chose the music for his funeral but wishing to avert a diplomatic crisis the Vatican denied some of his requests.

God can be a bit of a prude, so Dave has to sneak out of heaven every Friday and Saturday night to hear the sort of music that’s banned in church. Any secret mission back over the pearly gates featuring Dave is bound to make the Lord of the Rings trilogy look like a boring pamphlet. Here’s the gist of what is bound to happen at some point.

No doubt, many of Dave’s excursions to the Coolest Place in Hell are under the pretext of his Heaven Intelligence Agency missions. He’s probably their 007 already. I bet his face is plastered all over The Satanic Empire, with an angry red line through it drawn by the devil himself.

According to rumour, Dave has been planning to blow up Hate, ever since he first ventured into the volcano infested swamps of hell. Hate is the nickname for Fortress 666, a largely subterranean complex that extends about a mile above the Everest dwarfing mountain into which it was rapidly carved by Red Bull gulping Beaver Goblins. One thousand squadrons of Amphibious Scorpion Dragons and their Platypus Pixie overlords are looking forward to the brutal chess match they’ve been told to expect. Dave gave those battle hardened hybrids little thought as he took the scenic route to the Coolest Place in Hell. The argument between the Banshee Flowers and the searing breeze was far more entertaining. 

For those who don’t know, the Coolest Place in Hell has pole dancing on ice skating rinks. Topless mermaids serve drinks from its network of icy canals and burlesque plays like The Empire Strips Back and Dames of Thrones are performed every night. According to Satan “The Coolest Place in Hell is like the Inner West, except evil.”

The Coolest Place in Hell was visible on the Horizon when Dave encountered the Missile Thorn Tree. That gnarled abomination was repulsed by the cheeky grin on his face. Any reminder that not everyone is as miserable as her is an offence punishable by death. Death may be an incomplete experience in hell but it’s not necessarily a painless one. Dave’s “Turning negatives into positives since 1976” t-shirt was as infuriating to the Missile Thorn Tree as the piranha lichen, which refused to stop singing I Can See Clearly Now that the Rain has Gone, by Hothouse Flowers.

The Missile Thorn Tree preferred flowers that die an agonizing death while exposed to the elements. The Missile Thorn Tree had depended on the Piranha Lichen for company, ever since the moss has slithered away and burned itself to oblivion in a volcano, rather than listen to more of the Missile Thorn Tree’s whining. Therefore, obliterating the lichen wasn’t an option, Dave however was considered expendable.

“Nobody turns my negatives into positives, you nobody” the Missile Thorn Tree screeched as Dave boldly stood within its shadow.

“Do your worst Missile Thorn Tree, it makes no difference to me. I heard that you can’t even shoot down a vulture moth anymore.”

“Can’t shoot down a vulture moth? I can take down a sonic peterodacyl with a single thorn”

“I don’t think so”

“You despicable human, what the hell are you doing? For the hatred of Satan, put your clothes back on. I’ll teach you not to dance naked in my domain. Why are you smiling?. I’ve hit your with two hundred and seventeen thorns and you’re fucking smiling at me”

“You call yourself a Missile Thorn Tree? Being the glass half full kind of guy I am, I’ve decided that you’re an acupuncture tree. I was dancing to make sure you hit me in all the right places”

In the penthouse, above the Coolest Place in Hell, an overconfident Satan snorted cocaine off Madelaine Albright’s butt. The synchronised bursts of semi automatic spud gun fire, corralling his most fearsome demons outside, was merely a diversionary tactic. By the time The Prince of Darkness realized Dave had defeated the hounds of hell, with nothing more than a packet of Schmackos and an unending supply of tummy rubs, it was too late. Dave had already shouted the bar, in the Coolest Place in Hell. Being the drama queen he is, the Evil One packed up his pitch forks and flame throwers and went home.

Dave sent a text to negotiate a truce. “I’M NOT YOUR FRIEND 🤬” Satan replied, before settling down to watch reruns of Jerry Springer with Ghengis Khan, Hitler, Mussolini, Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, Dick Cheney and Margaret Thatcher. Then Michael Jackson rang. Satan turned off his phone in a hurry. Seconds later Dave sent another message.

“WTF was that” Satan screamed, as his palace vibrated from the shockwaves of a nearby explosion. As he raced across the satanic lawn, Satan had a feeling something was missing. Eventually he realized it was his letterbox. “Nooooo, my hate mail” he screeched. Steel girders landed in the swimming pool, unleashing a chlorinated tsunami that decimated Satan’s prize petunia’s. Debri was found as far away as the Sea of Despair and Lake Hopeless. From that day forth, Dave was known as the Man Who Blew Up Hate.

A disgusted Ghengis Khan said what was on his mind “Satan, I’ve been tellin ya to get an email account since 1997 ya dumb ####. This letterbox bombing has got Dave’s signature all over it. Where is that man, I wanna shake his hand.” Ever since Genghis Khan’s defection to heaven the Satanic Empire has been in worse shape than Trump’s America.

The Amphibious Scorpion Dragons had grown so impatient while waiting for Dave to show up at Fortress 666, colloquially known as Hate, that they’d raided Satan’s wine cellar. Dave knew those alcoholics would crack eventually. He prepared to pay them a visit.

Dave, if you can read that crazy little story from wherever you are, I hope you enjoy it. Until he was well into his twenties, Dave combined his interest in war history with an interest in creative writing. Perhaps it was the tall stories he told off the cuff that were his best. He was a funny guy, with an imagination as vivid as a supernova. Maybe I’ve channeled him a little, in the writing of The Man Who Blew Up Hate.

Returning to 2019 now, it was great to have a chat with some of the former St Gregs boys and Antiochers (youth group) who were paying their respects to Dave. The intensity of emotions meant that all the memories we shared felt like they had happened yesterday. It was one of those time where people in their forties felt like they were nineteen just a moment ago, a time when you remember just how much people you haven’t seen for aeons mean to you.

Especially during his youth, Dave truly was an adventurer. I wasn’t there when the spud and frozen orange guns might have been put through their paces in Smiths Creek Reserve, by Dave’s gang of funsters. It’s been said that the odd chlorine bomb was detonated, possibly resulting in the destruction of a letterbox or two. Then again, maybe that’s as fictititious as The Man Who Blew Up Hate, as riddled with rumours as a tabloid newspaper. What’s that, you’re wondering which crimes have a statute of limitations in NSW? I’m saving my curiousity for other things, like the origin of the leprechauns on giraffe back, that keep batting their eyelashes at me. The odds of me remembering who was allegedly involved in the blowing of letterboxes to smithereens, last century, are as slender as a string of saliva, stretched between Mercury and Pluto. What’s my name again?

Clever Man

“Tell us the story of Clever Man granddad” ex Prime Minister Melvin Frasier’s grandchildren begged.

I suppose you’re old enough to learn about the phenomenon known as Clever Man. He’s a left wing radical who supports the Labor Party when it matters most. According to legend, he took his first tentative steps into the world of politics before he took his first steps. He was a seasoned campaigner by the time he locked horns with the notorious Julius Craven.

“Will there be a guest appearance from Julian Assange in this story Granddad?”

“Maybe, you’ll have to wait and see”

Dark clouds rolled in to accompany the dishonourable Julius Craven, the Minister for Immigration in the Neo-Liberal Party Government.  He was busy being the centre of attention in an imaginatively titled documentary called “The Campaign Trail”. Julius wondered which superhero the little boy dressed entirely in yellow was meant to be. He’d seen a lot of Marvel and D.C movies with his tantrum tornado grandchildren but he’d never seen this caped crusader before. 

“Yellow is the colour of intelligence,” the boy who couldn’t have been more than seven stated as though it was as apparent as the blueness of the distant ocean.

“Intelligence is a big word for a little boy, do you know what it means?” Senator Craven asked.

The little fellow rolled his eyes and looked at his mother Avira Ali, Professor of linguistics at Sydney University and his stepfather Byron Stradbroke, Professor of Anthropology, at the University of New South Wales, as if to say “who is this fuckwit” He pointed at Senator Craven as though he was about to shoot a concentrated beam of unpalatable facts into his frontal lobe.

“I am Clever Man. You can be my sidekick Idiot Boy if you like.” Senator Craven looked as incensed as a Staffie that’s just lost a wrestling bout with a Maltese Terrier.

“I guess you think you look pretty heroic in that outfit. I’ll have you know that yellow is the colour of cowardice little boy”

“You’ve got the wrong shade Mister C grade. I’m no Yellow Bellied Sapsucker, sucker.”

“I want you to edit those bits out Corey”, Minister Craven barked.

“You’re the politician, we’re the film makers” the producer reminded him. “I want you to edit that out” was one of the most common phrases Julius Craven uttered in his professional life. He’d been known to say it on Q&A and a host of other live current affairs programs more than once.

Ten years later, the now Senator Julius Craven remembered being bested by Clever Man as clearly as he remembered being flung around a strip joint, the previous night, by the pole dancer he’d attempted to molest. “I used to play football” the senator said with a chuckle, in response to her repeatedly warning him that she had been practising Brazilian ju-jitsu eight days a week, since the age of two. The security staff’s laughter still echoed in his mind.

Senator Craven was scheduled to give a thirty minute talk, at Heron Selective Highschool, on his memoirs. He was doing his best to convince everyone that his editor was a glorified proof reader. In reality his book was as ghost written as Casper’s diary. Craven was unaware that the little boy known as Clever Man, who was now seventeen, was a student at the school. Dorian Grey, the last bully to fuck with Clever Man, had been expelled five years ago after being framed for graffitiing the principal’s office. Clever Man didn’t take kindly to having his lunch money stolen. On the day Grey was expelled, someone hacked into his bank accounts and sent the funds ricocheting around the world until Sherlock Holmes reincarnated as an accountant wouldn’t have a hope in hell of tracing them.  

Coincidentally, or not, within a few days dozens of cashed up persons unknown were campaigning on behalf of Murray Greenberg, the most prominent left leaning independent candidate in Julius Craven’s electorate. Rumours abounded. According to the Daily Telegraph, Banksy was flown in to mastermind Greenberg’s graffiti division and Greenpeace mercenaries were training squadrons of base jumping sky writers. It was said that Banksy mixed his pallet from the stains of corruption, as he got high on the sky writers wind dispersed slogans. Needless to say, Julius Craven lost his seat. Craven strenuously denied that his affair with a chimpanzee was a contributing factor.

“C.G.I, C.G.I, C.G.I” Craven repeated ad naueseum, with his hands firmly placed over his ears and his gaze fixed on the floor, whenever journalists questioned him on the matter. The F.B.I suspected that Clever Man had set up an inter species singles site solely for the purpose of setting a honey trap for Julius Craven, but nothing was ever proven. The ressurection of his political career wasn’t exactly the best advertisement for democracy since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Craven’s muckrakers best efforts centred around the claim one of Greenberg’s visits to a massage parlour last century wasn’t solely for the purpose of rehabilitating from a skiing accident.  When it emerged that the massage therapist was eighty six years at the time, Craven’s smear squad had to change tack and accuse Greenberg of promoting pseudoscience, due to the athritic therapists increasing reliance on reiki. This approach proved to be less effective than bringing a machete to a whittling contest.

The world wide release of Craven’s inter species porno wasn’t enough to satisfy Craven’s enemies thirst for retribution. Surely a more cost effective, diplomatic approach could have been used to counter the smear campaign against Greenberg, an article in Green Left Weekly lamented, after it was discovered Anonymous hacktivists had hijacked U.S Air Force reconnaissance drones, for the purpose of leaflet dropping in Greenberg’s electorate. It’s long been rumoured that Clever Man is the mastermind behind their seemingly leaderless collective. Clever Man started the rumour, to make his battle with the world’s intelligence agencies challenging enough to hold his interest. His avatar’s avatars spread it so convincingly that the majority of Anonymous’ membership believes it.

On the day of Senator Craven’s memoirs sales pitch, at Heron Selective Highschool, Clever Man, AKA Imran Ali, was busy doing the public speaking component of his society and culture assignment on refugees. He’d been busier with what he liked to call his side projects, so busy he hadn’t begun writing his speech until the early hours of that morning. He’d practiced during lunch, between bites of his vegan burger.

Clever Man strode to the front of the room and placed his notes on the lectern. Clever Man doesn’t need notes. He’d said it often enough himself. They were there in case some extraordinary distraction, like a flock of pigeons flying into the room, took place. If some of the hypothetical birds happened to be on fire it might well be enough to give Clever Man a mental blank. He cleared his throat and begun.

“This afternoon I’d like to talk generally about self-harm and specifically about the horrific way in which my father died before I was born. First there was the psychological torture Imran Ali Senior endured before his santiy discintegrated and he set himself on fire. Then there was the thirty hours before he was taken to a hospital with the equipment and expertise to treat his burns. He probably wouldn’t have died if he had been evacuated from the offshore detention centre ASAP. It may as well have been murder because treating people like that kills them.

If there is nothing someone can do to change their unbearable situation, their rage, frustration and misery will inevitably be channelled into extreme action. Some people react to trauma by curling up into the foetal position and sobbing until their tear ducts are as empty as the promises of unfettered capitalism, some stop moving and speaking for days on end, some attack others with blind fury, more gentle souls prefer to cut themselves, some try to escape with drugs, some perform death defying stunts without calculating the risk, some run until they cannot walk, some pull their hair out and some turn themselves into a human bonfire and some politicians couldn’t care less.

Self-harm is not just attention seeking, it’s a dysfunctional coping mechanism for hell on Earth. A lot of people who self-harm keep it a secret. They know being forced to take medication won’t rid them of the cause. A stint in a mental health unit could mean losing their job and more.

Whether Imran Ali Senior intended to make a political statement with his act of self-harm, or he was simply driven insane, I’m not certain. What I do know is he would’ve loved the opportunity to start a business in this country, to have a sense of purpose again, to live life to the full in a free society. Has our nation realized the importance of giving refugees their lives back yet? It seems not!

The majority of politicians have been busy cultivating the community’s xenophobic fears, so they can scapegoat refugees for the bulk of the nation’s problems. For a generation now, they’ve gotten more votes for indefinitely imprisoning refugees without charge than they have for assisting them. You would think that banning reputable charities from assisting in the care of asylum seekers and banning journalists from going anywhere near the offshore detention centres would make the majority of voters highly suspicious but apparently not.

Former Prime Minister Monte Coward and Dieter Mutton, the former Minister for Home Affairs, wouldn’t even let our more altruistic neighbours help the refugees we won’t accept. Successive governments would rather let refugees die in third world conditions than evacuate them to the mainland for urgent medical care. As for the immigration minister during Monte Coward’s reign, the newly elected senator for the Neo-Liberal Party Julius Craven, you’ll have your opportunity to ask him questions soon, if he dares set foot in the auditorium once he realizes that Clever Man is on the scene.

“What, Clever Man’s here, why didn’t you tell me, I’ve been hunting his autograph for years” Imran’s English teacher, Miss Blanks said with a wink.

Senator Craven was crossing the quadrangle when Clever Man seemed to appear from nowhere.

“I know your parents, you can’t hide your identity from me” Craven smirked.

“Do you see a mask dipshit? That secret identity stuff is just a lame joke but not as lame or as secret as the shit show that’s about to be unleashed in Canberra”

“Whatever you’re talking about kid, if it resides anywhere, other than in your imagination, it’s got nothing to do with me”

The Senator’s swift departure from the school suggested he believed otherwise. “As Craven’s private jet accelerated away from Thor’s mighty hammer, enroute to Canberra, Anonymous hacktivists hijacked a fleet of U.S Airforce drones again, this time they were destined to be modified to parachute books on to beaches, into music festivals and sporting events. The “Books not Bombs” campaign was wildly successful.

Craven popped the cork on a two thousand dollar bottle of champagne, at tax payers expense, to celebrate the skyrocketing sales of his memoirs. Why did Craven think he was entitled to such luxury for free? “Why” is a common refrain for anyone who frequently associates with Craven. His willingness to sign anything, without reading it, largely explains why he’s come as far in politics as he has.

The recently released political prisoner Julian Assange loved cryptograms. Assange managed to solve the one in front of him manually long before anyone thought to analyse it with decryption software. Every tenth letter in the clumsy prose told a very different story to Craven’s subtly edited narcissistic twaddle.  Clever Man’s favourite apparent confession of Craven’s involved the use of a ten thousand dollar bribe, from a property developer, to tip a troupe of shemale strippers. It was an interesting one, considering Craven’s opposition to anything less straight laced than an abstinence education kit. He was on Good Morning Australia, skiting about writing his autobiography with virtually no assistance, when the story broke.

Dewey

The Camellias and Roses along Remedy Street,
are silent welcoming committees for someone else.
Misty rain is a sweet distraction
from all that pierces Mervyn’s soul,
like African Box Thorn through an eyeball.
Since burglars stole the frames from his family photos,
he’s carried his most prized possessions in a back pack.
His Toughbook is a more constant companion
than Booboo the Bear ever was.
He’s prepared to defend it to the death,
with the fusion of Brazillian jujitsu and Muay Thai
he’s been learning since a fellow kindergartner decapitated Booboo.
The advent of online backup hasn’t changed the equation.
Mervyn without a laptop
is as dysfunctional as Mervyn without kidneys.
His anxiety vanishes with the last vestiges of day.
Tiny suns illuminate people peering streetward.
Do any of them realize inviting him inside
would be smarter than drinking molten lead?

Every week,
Mervyn considers visiting the house he grew up in,

to retrieve the telescope and albums
his grandmother mistakenly mailed there.
The new owner threatened to unleash his Pit Bulls,
if Mervyn set foot inside the gate again.
Tenants the size of a Polar Bears,

covered in tattoos of dragon slaying vampires,
threatened to “break his legs with a sledge hammer”,
if he rang the doorbell one more time.”
“I sold your precious telescope.
Those photo albums I found, I burnt them,
whaddya gonna do bout it”
a squatter taunted him,
oblivious to how close he was,
to getting his arm broken.

There’s a strange lady
on the corner of Brumby and Thoroughbred;
her yard is populated with granite freak show legends.
Waxwork likenesses of locals gaze at them in awe.
Mervyn mistakes the sculptor for a statue.
She holds yoga poses for millennia.
Her automatic gates slides open.

“I can’t sketch you from there” she protests.
Mervyn follows her like a lost puppy
and that’s how Victoria depicts him.
She signs, scans and prints the image on to a shirt
before he can sip his way through
a concoction of pineapple, passionfruit and coconut,
with a hint of strawberry and mint.
As Victoria sketches Mervyn nude
he discusses the archaeological significance,
of her pottery collection,
and identifies the chess match
between a television detective and serial killer,
as an imitation of Vladamir Kramnik versus Gary Kasparov.
Before he can finish the story of how Van Gogh lost his ear,
Victoria kneels in front of him
and feeds his towering monument to her lacy cleavage
into her cavernous mouth.

Mervyn enters his mouldy, cockroach infested flat at dawn.
The plumbing is older than Rupert Murdoch.
His carpet is more worn than the turf
of a fifth day test cricket pitch.
Rain pelts the pavement outside.
Mervyn dons his blacked out swimming goggles
and succumbs to exhaustion,
with the sound of Himalayan singing bowls
massaging his ears.

“You’re so far away from me”
Mark Knophler’s classic storytelling voice,
drifts from his clock radio,
waking him in time for his midday shift.
It’s been ten years
since he’s had a lover to travel home to.
The supermarket is Mervyn’s home away from home.
Some can tell you which shelf every item is on.
Mervyn can tell you which products contain palm oil,
from plantations that replaced orangutan habitat
and which companies are guilty of child slavery
and environmental vandalism.
Want to know how may milligrams of Vitamin B12
are in your can of smoked oysters, ask Mervyn.

His Saturday night wander,
is the most spontaneous event in his schedule.
Visiting the sideshow freak sculptor
soon becomes a permanent feature.
He never knocks on her door,
instead he walks around the block
until she spots him.
Tonight, she’s busy synchronized swimming,
in her birdbath, with a masked petite beauty.

It’s been eight years since Mervyn crossed the highway,
to the street where he was born.
On the first day of summer he makes the trek,
in the hope of travelling back to the twentieth century.
He pauses enroute, to watch Quiz Maestro.
“Unbelievable, The Maestro doesn’t know
opals are a hydrated amorphous form of silica”
Mervyn closes the video in disgust.

Dawe Street is unrecognizable.
There’s a massage parlour,
where the corner shop used to be.
Houses have been demolished
to make way for high rise units.
The park has been transformed
into a putt, putt golf course.
The laneway where Mervyn raced his BMX
no longer exists, neither does his fish pond.
His aviary has been replaced with a pool.
A young woman glides along the bottom long enough
for Mervyn to wonder if she has mermaid genes.
As she surfaces, she spots his elongated shadow.

“I, I, I grew up here.
I, I came back to visit my childhood
but I can’t find it.”
Alicia senses Mervyn is as peaceful
as the finches and wrens
flitting from one bush to another.
Tears well in his eyes
as he walks the winding path through the shrubbery
and runs his fingers over the assortment of
Acacias, Hakeas, Bottlebrushes and Indigoferas.
Mervyn removes his shoes and luxuriates in the feeling
of Weeping Meadow Grass beneath his feet.

“Wonderful isn’t it, I’ve kept it weed free.
I moved in the day Donald Trump was assassinated,
by a peace activist without a sense of irony.”
“You moved in on the 4th of July 2019?
Trump was killed at 7:45p.m.
John Smith, a former US Army sniper,
shot him in the eardrum,
through the partially open bullet proof window,
of the armored presidential limousine,
from five hundred and four metres away.
The vehicle was travelling
approximately thirty five kilometres per hour”
“Wow, you’re a history buff and a half”
“At work they call me Dewey,
they say I am a human library”

“Would you like to sit on the veranda with me,
you big strong enyclopaedia?”
Still wearing her fruit salad print bikini,
Alicia perches herself on Mervyn’s lap.

In an effort to ignore the tingling in his plumbing,
Mervyn lists the botanical names of every plant in the garden.
Then he identifies the constellations.
Alicia just grins and listens.
“What do you do for a living” Mervyn asks,
once he’s exhausted the backyards
clusters of conversation starters.
“I’m a burlesque performer.
We’ve met before, in a past life perhaps?”
“No, in aisle four, you wanted to know how reliable,
the sustainable fishing labels are.”

“Come inside, I want to show you something.
Mervyn’s eyes light up
as he sees the loungeroom is empty,
except for a dazzling array of portraits
and a curtained section in the middle.
“How about you work on that library in your noggin,
while I banish the chlorine demon”
Mervyn waits until he can hear
needles of steaming hot water raining down.
“No peeking” Alicia’s disembodied voice warns,
as he creeps towards the curtains.
One of the picture frames contains a surveillance screen.
Apparently Alicia has pressed the wrong button.
After running his eyes over the language defying beauty
from her mischievous gaze
to her painted toenails,
Mervyn returns to the love heart of golden thatch,
between her succulent thighs.

Alicia steers an electric wardrobe into the room.
She’s dressed like a corporate executive.
Miles Davis’ most ethereal masterpiece,
drifts from the speakers.
A marathon strip tease ensues.
Eventually Alicia’s figure hugging pin striped suit,
is as abandoned as a burning building
and her black lace brassiere draped around Mervyn’s neck.
Her matching panties stay on,
as do the tassels concealing her towering nipples.
Mervyn had always been too busy watching documentaries,
and summarizing encyclopedias,
to go to a burlesque club.

After careful deliberation, Mervyn shuns
girly frills, lace and rose embossed satin,
in favor of a wild cat print matching set
and a zebra pattern mini dress.
Alicia dresses more gracefully than any ballet dancer
ever pirouetted across a stage.

The curtained area is large enough to hide,
a love seat and large screen television,
or a queen sized water bed.
Alicia parts the curtains with the tantalizing slowness,
she unbuttoned her business shirt.

Inside is an easel shrouded in black cloth.
A riot of variations,
of Alicia the Burlesque Goddess on canvas,

sweep through Mervyn’s mind like a raging river.
The way she scissors through the shroud
conjures images of her hairdresser shutting up shop,
playfully pinning her to the ground,
sliding her skirt up her silky thighs
and shredding her hosiery
as skillfully as she’d trimmed her cascading golden hair.
The shroud’s tattered remains fall to the floor,
to reveal a portrait of a puppy, wearing an Oxford cap,
posing like Rodin’s thinker.
The inner frame swivels to reveal the wolf version.
“These paintings remind me of you.
I bought them from a strange lady,
who was sculpting conjoined werewolves in her garage.”

Alicia wraps her tiny arms around Mervyn
and kisses him, tamely at first.
His curious hands glide over her.
He circles her breasts,
as though 
touching them would produce an electric shock
powerful enough to launch him through the window.
Her wandering hands embolden him.
“Not like that Dewey, a kiss is a dance,
you’ve gotta listen to the same song to get it right.”
“I can’t hear any music”
“Never mind”
First they do things Mervyn hasn’t done before,
then they do things he hadn’t realized men did with women.
“I didn’t know hominid species do that”
a stunned Mervyn exclaims,
once he’s managed to stop moaning in ecstasy.
The one thing Alicia doesn’t need to teach him is staying power.

In the morning they watch episodes of Quiz Maestro together.
“My daddy is the producer
and he’s always looking for new talent”,
Alicia hints between nibbling on Mervyn’s ear lobe.
“I’ll show you how to dance on water” she insists,
after they share a fruit salad breakfast
in epic kisses.

Featured

The Cockroach Guru

Mr Bellinger was busy marking essays
reminiscent of the work of typing monkeys,
when his siblings died
in a head on collision with a road train.
Their brakes had been declared perfect,
by a mechanic as suspect
as a property developer’s ecological survey.

Without elaborating, Bellinger described his holiday
as “less fun than a choice between
having his brain vacuumed through his nose
and his liver extracted with a spoon”
Mister Piccolo, the music co-ordinator,
found his colleague more depressing
than a legless Taekwondo addict.

Bellinger’s first morning back

was as dull as dusting a warehouse one speck at a time,
and more tricky than untangling plaited vas deferens.
Being weeks from retirement,
was all that kept him from slashing his wrists.

Bellinger expected the final bell to be as exhilarating
as beating a forest fire to a barren hilltop.
During lunch, he dreamt of a bamboo massage parlour,
in a patch of urban rainforest;
it’s cosy atmosphere awash with Cedar oil.
He’d started marking at four a.m
so there was time to treat himself
to the closest thing to fulfilling his fantasy.

First, Bellinger had to judge a speech contest.
Was the current leader worthy of an award,
he wondered,
as the final speaker 
strode to the podium.
Guessing Huon Stratton’s  topic

was like wondering if the Melbourne Cup
is going to be a horse race this year.

Bogans, nerds and distinguished scholar,
I wanted to explore the evolutionary history of Blatta orientalis,
but Bellsy said that would be less entertaining
than watching gangrene spread,
that I need a topic more lighthearted than infanticide.
If I can’t convince you learning about cockroaches is fun,
I’ll wear a hot pink mankini to the swimming carnival.

The cockroach brain is decentralized
so don’t be surprised if the one you decapitated,
with a razor blade, last week, is still alive.
Do not despair, ultimately it will succumb to thirst .
Due to it’s rectal water re-absorption you might die first.

Roaches can spit but can’t blow bubbles.
Alas they will never know the joys of bubble gum.
Incapable of burping,
or playing the gas bugle
they’d be insectoid gelignite,
before the end of the night,
if it weren’t for teeth below their oesophagus.

Cockroach kidneys writhe like snakes
as they frantically pump toxins from their blood.
Dracula deduced they’re are as good as juiced;
they have no blood vessels.

Roaches probably aren’t religious
but Ramadan would be a stroll through the dinner scraps
for these nuclear holocaust survival candidates.
They’d think nothing of enforced fasting for a month.

If cockroaches were Catholics the Pope would love them;
male roaches present their mates with sperm packages
wrapped in protein coats,
leaving them perpetually pregnant.

Cockroaches Achilles heel is poor eyesight in red light,
so they’re easy to kill in strip clubs.
Elsewhere they’re hard targets
for the swiftest of clown shoes.

Motion detecting hairs on their posterior
make the average stalker feel so inferior;
ordinary hunters are bound to despise
the two thousand lenses in their eyes.
It’s hard to envelope these insect Houdini’s
when they can slip through cracks as thin as an envelope.
Some species are harder to detect than stealth bombers;
small enough to hide in ant nests.

These ninjas of the insect world
are engineering marvels
but forensic experts would gladly break
all eighteen of their knees,
because roaches like to
track the arterial flow of murder victims across ceilings.
Many are globetrotting fugitives,
thumbing their nose at extradition treaties.
They’re stowed on ships and planes
before disgruntled crime scene technicians
and outraged cooks know they’ve fled.

In the seventeenth century the Danish Navy
dealt cockroaches self-esteem a stinging blow
by offering a bounty of a single bottle of brandy
per thousand carcasses.
William Bligh, captain of the Bounty,
once de-roached his entire ship with boiling water,

For the sports nuts among you,
cockroaches scale speed is on par with top fuel dragsters,
those finely tapered vehicles with parachutes for brakes.
Fortunately their reflexes would embarrass
formula one driver Michael Schumacher,
at the pinnacle of his prowess,
otherwise they’d be crashing into the fridge a lot.
The machinery driving these fiendish super athletes
has animatronic wizards salivating.
Insect dance troupes beckon.
These athletic marvels can spin fast enough
to make a ballerina’s brain explode
from the centrifugal force.
Roaches can hold their breathe
from kick off to half time in the football
so white water rafting murder plots
are dead in the water before they’re concocted.

Is mixed martial arts your favourite sport?
Male Madagascan hissing roaches
possess horns for ramming rivals
from their alpha male mantles.
Sadly their trash talking is indecipherable.

During the Middle Ages
it was customary to release cockroaches
into new dwellings.
Today, outside of sporting circles,
roaches aren’t so widely revered.
In a Plano, Texas, Cockroach Hall of Fame,
Liberoachi was the star attraction.
He sat at a miniature grand piano,
his white mink cape
as flamboyant as his dazzling claw strokes.

Mr Bellinger cleared his throat.
“If the winner is like a blue ribbon bonsai,
older than the Sphinx.
The also rans are
 toxic weeds
that germinated yesterday.

Sir, the art of pun sai, the forerunner of bonsai,
originated in the eighth century China.
The Sphinx dates back to 2494 BC.

Poets licence Huon, poets licence.

They must be easier to get than drivers licenses.
Sir, did you know the Egyptian desert roach,
Polyphaga aegyptiaca, can absorb water vapour?

Mister Stratton, did you know first prizes
can be arbitrarily revoked?
Bellinger was smiling, like a kid in a toy store.
For the first time since the Carter administration,
he considered working until nursing home heavies,
dragged him from his desk.

The Goldfish Incident

“Sorry I’m late Jill, My Navman
was drunk on cosmic radiation.
Trying to hear street names
amidst all that slurring
was like spotting soap suds in an angry sea.”

“You can’t be serious Dwite!
Have you never heard of a street directory?
There’s also those things called road signs
and haven’t you been here fifteen times?
You slept in didn’t you.” Jill asked as accusingly
as if she suspected him of molesting her dog
and tying up her ferret and making it watch.
If she’d installed security cameras,
she’d have realized the truth was far stranger.
Returning now, to Jill’s passion for punctuality.

“You, you slept in didn’t you!”
“Jill, the truth sounds less plausible
than being spied on by an Amish satellite”

“And what you’ve already told me doesn’t?”

“You wouldn’t understand Jill, you’re not ready!”

“What are you talking about?”

“It’s radiator trouble.”

“If it’s just car trouble
why didn’t you tell me to begin with?”

“It’s a little more complicated than that.”

“I’m not your mechanic,
I don’t need to know the details.”

“I’m more in need of a psychologist
than a mechanic.”

“Well that much is clear.”

“To be precise, I need a grief counsellor.”

“I’m confused,
what does that have to do with car trouble.”

“Everything!
I think you better sit down before I tell you.
Quark the Carp, a miniaturized fish,
who lives in my radiator, has died.”

“Bullshit, even you would know to use a fish tank.”

“But Quark could tolerate extreme temperatures.”

“Even if that’s true, isn’t a radiator
a dark and cramped place for a fish?”

Dwite gazed at Jill
As though she was the most stupid person
he’d ever had a conversation with
since he’d broken into the spider monkey enclosure
at Taronga Zoo.

“Haven’t you heard of the flair
carps have for telepathy?
Quark the Carp sent me mind beams,
to let me know when to top up my radiator.
He couldn’t afford to let it evaporate.
He lived long enough for me to grow very attached,
we became lovers Jill.
It was purely a spiritual connection,
what 80’s pop star Phil Collins
might call a Groovy Kind of Love.
I feel so guilty.
While my car was impounded on the weekend,
Quark was recycling his own urine,
until the concentration was lethal.
For years he’s saved my car from overheating
and I wasn’t there to purify his home.”

“Would you like the day off,
to organize a psychiatrist’s appointment?”

“Do you question the sanity
of everyone who has a death in the family Jill?”

“Take time off to give it a funeral then.”

“He’s not an It, his name is Quark.
Yes, I do have funeral arrangement to make.
Dwite produced a scale model of a hearse
and pulled a match box sized coffin from his coat pocket.
Happy April Fool’s Day Jill.”

“Dwite, you nearly had me there.
I’ll have to dock your pay,
for wasting work time with your crazy story.”

“Is that your April Fool’s Day joke Jill?”

“No, I’m serious.”

“I’m serious too Jill,
serious when I say it’s a public holiday.
April Fool’s Day again. April Fool’s Day 360
Quark the Carp exists, but he’s alive and well
I must go’ Hershel proclaimed,
more suddenly than a switch in Arctic weather.
“It’s time to sample the juices
of levitating Star Fish Masseusses.”

“Is that another April Fool’s Day Joke Dwite?”

“No, why would you think that?”

Cash Stash

A beehive, in an abandoned lounge chair,
sits at the blackberry infested entrance
to the strangest stretch of suburban creek line in Australia.
The brambles conceal a Casuarina grove
decorated with tinsel, angels and strap on dildos.
Forest regeneration in Feral Valley
is more surreal than a blizzard in Tahiti.

In the centre of a Cestrum and Tobacco Bush infestation,
Kirk Mcdonald spots the rusting remains
of a flower power era bus.
The guitar stashed under the bonnet
is as unblemished as a music shop display.
The only instrument Kirk can play is the radio.
To him, music is merely auditory maths.
He thinks nothing of smashing the six stringed treasure,
to reach the wads of cash inside.
Despite the oven like heat,
Kirk empties his water bottle
and stuffs it with excess wads of one hundred dollar bills.

Sharing with the crew is unthinkable.
Bush Regen Jesus would spend it all on bibles,
to leave in the glove compartments
of atheists and pagans.
A man who thinks Methusaleh lived to be 969,
cannot be trusted with money.
The Crown of Thorns Parading Goat Fucker,
that slithering Janus,
he’d waste it on fighting defamation suits.
Princess Sheree, she’d squander it on cosmetic surgery.

The afternoon passes like a drag racer with a death wish.
It’s thirty seconds to beer o’clock.
Kirk looks as focused as a clay pigeon shooter,
on the verge of pulling the trigger,
that ring pull doesn’t stand a chance.
An entire case couldn’t have sickened him
like the sudden realization he’s lost his wallet.
He hasn’t seen it since he smashed the guitar,
to set a quarter of a million dollars free.
It was full of cards for his home bonsai business.
What if the cash stasher finds it?
Kirk’s heart rate accelerates,
like a jet powered car on a salt pan,
as his horror movie ring tone sounds.

‘I know what you did, you’re gonna pay’,
a bone marrow freezing voice promises’
Within seconds of Kirk dead locking the door,
and closing his bullet proof roller shutters,
a thunderous knock drowns out the television.
A bikie, built like King Kong, waits impatiently.
Why is he carrying a bucket?
Maybe it’s filled with hydrochloric acid.
Kirk’s fear subsides,
once he realizes the unkempt goliath
is raising money for charity.
Just in case a cash retrieving sniper
is hiding in nearby shrubbery,
he slides change beneath the door.

Kirk runs the gauntlet, to the convenience store,
for cigarettes.
On the way home,
a black panel van sidles up beside him.
As the door slides open, he flees
like he’s being pursued by a starving lioness.
“I’m lost, can you direct me to the motorway”
the driver pleads.
Kirk warily consults Google maps.

The cash scavenger’s bowels loosen
as he’s surrounded by gang members,
in a stray cat infested, laneway.
“Have you seen my guitar ancient man”
their leader menaces.
“Y-y-your guitar, w-w-what does it look like?”
“Have you seen my guitar ancient man,
I think it was stolen by a geriatric fan,
a tragic geezer in need of a busking ban”
“Y-y-you’re just singing a song?”
Their good natured laughter is like desert rain.

The stairs to Kirk’s ensuite creak and groan.
In his terror stricken state he can’t remember
if he’s hidden the cash beneath the floor,
or left it on the kitchen table.
“Yoohoo, Kirk, is that you?
I baked scones.
You look as worried as Uncle Freddie,
the day the police questioned him
about an armed robbery, are you ill?
I’ll make you some vegetable soup.”
“Knock next time mum”

“They don’t know what I did, it was a prank call,
Kirk repeats long into the night.
Screeching tyres shatter the early morning serenity.
“I know what you did” the driver roars,
before departing at rubber melting speed.

On Monday morning Kirk has two cups of coffee,
followed by coffee on his cocoa pops.
To calm his nerves for the journey
from the front door to the driveway
he dresses in riot squad gear
he purchased for a fancy dress party.
“Don’t ask” Kirk warns,
as he stops at a friend’s to change.

The bushland reserve,
where Kirk will be drilling and poisoning
Large Leaf Privets and Camphor Laurels,
is home to hundreds of foxes.
It offers perfect camouflage for snipers.
Maybe it’s time to move to Darwin.

“I know what you did” Bush Regen Jesus roars
as he holds up two charred bibles
and a few that have been defaced
with graffiti of Judas performing fellatio on Satan.
“I found the video of the bible burning
on a USB drive in your wallet.”

Eco Warriors, Part 6

Richard worked as hard as a lone tank
versus the United States air force.
“I am King Kong’s conqueror, Godzilla fears me.”
I dare you to unleash your fury upon me” he roared
as he sprinted towards a patch of Inkweed,
wearing a spray pack the size of a swimming pool.

Dexter Finkelstein wandered off
to share his supply of LSD with a wombat.
Laura Bogan took her usual three hour break,
to visit her dope dealer and attend
an orgy hosted by an extra terrestrial
from somewhere in Alpha Centauri.
It’s claim to fame was four breasts
and more penises than fingers.

Oliver Oxford spoke to everyone in earshot
about the superior ergonomics of his loppers
and his reclining camping chair.
He shifted every hour, to saw another tree.
He was one of those people who manages to do less work
than the long term unemployed,
without ever being out of a job.

Dangerous Dylan Donovan raised his middle finger
as a scowling, silver Lamborghini driving, gang leader
cut him off at the service station entrance.
Dangerous was searching his wallet for cash,
when something slammed into his cheek bone.
Had a wedge tailed eagle committed suicide on his face?
Dangerous whirled around
to see a shirtless body builder type
shadow boxing and kissing his own biceps in triumph.
Needless to say, he was not amused.
In his endeavor to give the narcissistic gym junkie
some insight into his personality
he grabbed his detachable driver’s side door
and used it for a shield as he advanced.
Luckily he was wearing his Kevlar body armour
and the door was reinforced with titanium
because a variety of stolen weapons
ranging from a crossbow to an AK-47
were trained on him.
All of them were fired simultaneously.
There was an eerie silence,
once mirror boy’s henchman
realised they’d exhausted their ammunition.

Jumping Giles Corkhill returned
from the pizza store across the street.
Dangerous Frisbee’d the ute door to him
and motioned for him to reinstall it.
He headed for the self kissing show pony,
with his right arm cocked.
A startled looking Mirror Boy took evasive action.
In his haste he crashed into the outhouse wall
Now he was cornered
his ailing bravado was re-inflated.
Donovan’s right arm was reminiscent
of a cobra poised to strike.
His left dangled by his side
as though it were partially paralysed.
As Mirror Boy prepared to counter a devastating right cross
he was knocked senseless by a left hook.
“Idiot” Dangerous remarked
as he strolled back to his vehicle and refueled.

“That’s Dangerous Dylan Donovan.
Some call him the twenty first century Arthur Fonzarelli”                                                   A bystander proclaimed.
“I call him dead meat” the gangsters roared in unison.
Jumping Giles Corkhill casually sipped his frozen Coke.
Dangerous had gotten them into
and out of situations more dire than this.
He looked bored by the ease
with which he flung his attackers into their vehicles.
Jumping Giles slashed their tyres
before they could disentangle themselves.
Two carloads of police officers pulled into the service station
to replenish their donut stockpile.

Nobody had reported the fight.
The service station attendants were preoccupied
with putting out a fire in the dumpster
and getting their lunch time exercise
chasing away graffiti vandals.
“Not again” Lawry, the owner, moaned
as he discovered the confectionery freezer had been stolen.

 

Eco Warriors, Part 5

Richard Johnson yearned to
spray an Asparagus Fern patch with Agent Orange
“Who is Agent Orange” he demanded to know,
after Laura Bogan invited Rowena Grey,
the site safety and morale officer, into the conversation
on the whereabouts of his illegal herbicide supply.

After terminating the interview,
Laura gazed at a pair of red belly black snakes
slithering into a hollow Grey Box stump.
Ms Bogan was nothing like red bellies,
the timid puppy dogs of the venomous serpent world.
She longed for a cup of their venom,
to add to the crew’s coffee,
in her quest for subservient replacements.
Her crew damning diary contained more fantasy material
than the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Ricardo Hohn was the main character.
She’d hated him ever since he’d informed her
the weeds she chastised him for ignoring
were native plants.
This diabolical humiliation occurred
at the now defunct At War With Weeds,
on the day 
the Challenger Space Shuttle exploded.
Laura had been plotting her revenge ever since.
Mother Nature’s Bodyguards CEO Matt Rush,
looked forward to reading her damning reports.

The moment Laura disappeared from view
“Richard Johnson rummaged through her bag.
He was desperately hungry.
The two litre bottle of Coke,
packet of Oreo’s and feral goat,
he’d had for morning tea weren’t enough.
He felt around for false compartments,
sniffing for anything that vaguely resembled food.
Eventually he pulled out an exercise book.
After reading the chapter entitled Richard Johnson,
he considered sending Laura Bogan’s van
falling end over end
into the broad, fast flowing creek,
that wound its way through the property.
The handbrake would be no use
against the one man scrum that is Richard Johnson.
He searched everyone’s vehicle in search of sustenance.
Oliver oxford was writing his memoirs.
Oxford claimed he’d taught Johnson
the art of simultaneous brush cutting
and knap sack spraying.
“That Mista Puniverse bludga
musta shown me howta do it with the Lego version
of a brush cutta and spraya.
Otherwise howda fuck coulde’ve lifted em?” he raged.

Richard Johnson went to lunch early,
leaving a cloud of dust in his wake.
He paid little attention
to the late model silver Lamborghini
he nearly ran off the road.
The driver got a good look
at the Mother Nature’s Bodyguards logo
on the side of his vehicle.

If Office Works had of been closed,
it might’ve been the victim of a ram raid,
for the sake of borrowing a shredder.
Johnson fed the life and times of Oliver Oxford
into the biggest, baddest document destroyer available.
“Are you going to buy that sir?
You’ve been testing it ever since I started working here”
sales assistant, Melanie Tulip challenged him.
He glared down at her,
as though she were trying to talk him into
paying five dollars a minute for the air he breathed.
Then he used his unbelievably good eyesight
to examine her sheer, lacy underwear.
Shoddy brain surgery,
after Johnson’s fight with a tractor,
had given him the ability to see through
any clothing less opaque than a leather jacket.
“Your panties are blue” he stated,
as proudly as if he’d just solved
one of quantum physics most baffling mysteries.
From that day forth,
Melanie wore six pairs of stockings
and yoga pants beneath her trousers.

Richard reread Laura Bogan’s diary
as he drove back to site
only twenty k’s over the speed limit.
He had one hand pressed firmly on the horn,
to drown out everyone who had a problem
with his latest multitasking feat.

Johnson almost side swiped Dangerous Dylan Donovan
at an intersection.
Dangerous’ own lunch time escapade
would prove to be more action packed than Richard’s,
but he didn’t know it yet.

Eco Warriors, Part 4

Laura rolled her eyes at Dexter Finklestein,
who was engrossed in a conversation with a non-existent koala.
Shock waves from Dangerous Dylan Donovan’s speakers
had more than Laura’s coffee cup vibrating,
to the tune of Uptown Funk.
“Too hot, hot damn, too hot for the Police and the Fireman,
too hot, hot damn, make a dragon want to retire man,
to hot, hot damn, say my name, know who I am……”
At first glance Dangerous Dylan Donovan looked like
the best equipped bush regenerater she’d ever seen,
then she realized his trailer
was merely the casing for gigantic speakers.
Laura decided to have a talk with Dangerous,
about the excessive noise
affecting the breeding patterns of local wildlife.
Upon noticing how incredibly good looking he was
she spoke of the wonders of a nearby cave instead,
a moist wonderland with countless satisfied visitors.

Jumping Giles Corkhill, somersaulted to Earth
from the lounge chair bolted to the floor of
Dangerous Dylan Donovan’s ute tray.
“The boy knows how to make an entrance”
Dangerous stated with pride;
before turning his attention to Oliver Oxford.
‘Give me the run down on Golden Whistlers Oxford.
That’s one there isn’t it?

“The scientific name is Pachycephala pectoralis, Mr Dangerous.
They’re distributed throughout eastern and southern Australia
as far north as Cairns and as far south as Tasmania.
They inhabit rainforest, scrub and open forest.
Usually solitary and deliberate in their movements,
they possess a sweet and ringing song.”
“Sorry, I wasn’t listening, can you repeat that Oxford?”

“Don’t annoy me by raving on about birds, I’m busy”
was Dangerous response to take four.
“It’s okay Oliver, it’s all good practice”
Rowena, the crew’s morale and safety officer consoled.
She would’ve reprimanded Dangerous Dylan Donovan
but his boulder pulverizing biceps
meteor shattering, manly jaw and larrikin grin
left her too dizzy to speak.

The news CEO Matt Rush was on site
prompted the crew to scurry
to the makeshift parking lot
for a discussion on weed targeting priorities,
the dangers of cutting down trees
in which crew members had taken up residence
and questions concerning how Richard Johnson
had acquired a dozen mining helmets since signing on.

Richard had a gripe of his own.
“I wanna know whose bin spreadin bullshit
bout me being connected to the Wussian Mafia.
Whoever it is I’m gonna knock im
inta the middle of next year.”
Oliver Oxford, who had been front and centre
poised to impart his knowledge
on everything from Work Health and Safety laws
to the likely date of the Apocalypse
had mysteriously disappeared.

“What do you mean rumours?
It’s true isn’t it” Ricardo Hohns piped up.
Johnson lurched forth like Frankenstein.
He swung and missed,
almost uprooting an African Olive.
Hohns looked as relieved
as a man who has successfully crossed Conrod Straight,
during the Bathurst One Thousand,
by a hairs breadth.
After regaining his composure, Ricardo sang
“Do ya, do ya, do ya wanna dance”
“I hate that song” Johnson bellowed.
As he covered his ears Riccardo lunged
and planted a leaping overhand left on the point of his chin.
It had less effect than a marble
clanging against the turret of a tank.
Dangerous Dylan Donovan barked instructions
‘Riccardo, use your speed, circle clockwise,
unload with a left
on his recently re-attached right ear’
“What speed?” Ricardo asked.
“Betta find some real quick
or I’m gonna havta step in for ya”
Dangerous removed his jacket faster
than a Spanish bull fighter shifts his capote
and flung it the length of a bowling alley
into the waiting arms of Jumping Giles Corkhill.
If he’d been any more accurate
Giles would’ve been wearing that jacket.
Hohn’s taunted his Godzilla dwarfing opponent
“Johnson, you look like a teletubby hybridised with a troll.
You’re so stupid
you’d crack open a
 coconut to make a cup of cocoa.”
Ricardo ducked beneath a haymaker
that might’ve decapitated him if it had landed.

“Grow up” Rowena screeched,
startling the combatants into statue stillness
and shocking the cheering mob into silence.
Any more of that and both of you can stand
in neutral naughty corners all day without pay.”
Matt Rush, who had bet Dangerous nine hundred dollars,
on the outcome gave Rowena a nod of approval.

Matt completely forgot about the coal miners helmets
Richard Johnson had mysteriously acquired.
It never occurred to management that Hohn’s vs Johnson
might’ve been staged as a diversionary tactic,
with the added bonus of $900 being split three ways. 

Large Leaf Privet massacring chainsaws
and Lantana annihilating brush cutters
destroyed the serene atmosphere
as shockingly as Dangerous Dylan Donovan’s sound system.
Knap sack herbicide sprayers blanketed
Moth Vine, Cape Ivy and Morning Glory patches,
which had spread so rapidly
time lapse photography was barely needed,
to watch their advance.

A chain saw wielding Richard Johnson,
drilled and poisoned the world’s biggest African Olive
with a jackhammer and a drum of diesel,
before charging at the next Olive infestation
like he was going over the top at Gallipoli.
Four former NFL players,
secondered from the landscape construction crew,
hauled the fallen weed trees from his path.
Rowena Grey ran around with the grace of a flamingo dancing,
in her bid to poison the stumps in time.
Ricardo Hohns stacked the butchered invaders remains,
between towering Eucalypts and Corymbias.

After morning tea, Ricardo and Rowena extricated Erharta
From a patch of Weeping Meadow Grass.
Riccardo was spellbound by her tales of everything
from mushroom farming
to entertaining hospitalised children with her ukulele.
Ricardo delighted in pointing out
every passing Rufus Fantail and Yellow Robin.
He named every rare native herb he spotted.
What magnificent specimens of Solenogyne bellioides
and Cymbonotus lawsonianus he proclaimed.
One could be forgiven for thinking
they were thought to be extinct
since whales ancestors first fished in coastal shallows.

“Out of the sun Ricardo” Laura Bogan barked
with the fury of a rabid Doberman.
“I’m perfectly comfortable” Ricardo answered.
“Get the fuck out of the sun now” Laura screamed,
as she aimed the nozzle of a Staraine laden sprayer at his eyes.
With his hands raised in the air Ricardo did as he was told.
“I’m just thinking of your safety Ricardo.”
Rowena looked ready to flip Laura
into an African Box Thorn thicket.

Laura made a note in her diary
“Ricardo always seeks the shadiest spots to work,
at the expense of the crews health”