Varnished and Vanished

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

Myrtle was Jade’s lover Opal’s preferred murder weapon,
in Art Museum Mayhem,
her latest theatrical gem.
Jade wheeled the loan on to the studio apartment set.

The place was as chaotic as manic poetry.
Opal’s sister Helena was assembling kitchen cabinets
without instructions, that alone
was as ominous as a tsunami warning in the Maldives.
Their cousin Hugo, had smoked enough weed
to believe a claw footed bathtub,
in the lounge room,
surrounded by a fern jungle,
was a home decorating triumph.
His husband Darius bored holes for picture hooks,
with a drill that hadn’t been tested and tagged
since Reagan continued his acting career
in the White House.

Between beers and bowls of ice cream,
Darius and Helena raced each other up the fire escape,
giggling like toddlers.
They’re in a competition to see who vomits first,
Hugo explained to the bath’s scuba diving gargoyle.

Jade meditated amidst the madness
with the aid of a blind fold,
hermetically sealed ear muffs,
and a cork igloo as thick as the Ross ice shelf.

Upon opening her eyes,
she noticed the sculpture trolley was as empty
as a politician’s promise.
Months of honing her search skills,
for the Federal Police,
proved as useless as a granite dartboard.

Her one thousand litre pot plants had been toppled.
Nobody remembered a mini tornado invading the balcony.
The wine glasses perched on the window sill
looked as stable as Olympic divers.

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

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

When Jade returned
from a book exchange adventure,
Myrtle the Second wasn’t herself.
Martin Martyn was as oblivious as an oyster.

After observing Helena glancing nervously
towards the kitchen cupboards,
Jade found the false wall,
behind the pots and pans.