Photo By Jools Thatcher

Photo By Jools Thatcher

The theme for this week’s JVG Radio Method poem is “ Ground “.

Jon was obviously working through some set of themes this week. Sky last week and ground this week. I look forward to see what we get next week.

I decided to a bit of prose this week, tell another story from the “neighbourhood”.

To play this poem directly in your browser – just click the “play” button below:
[audio:JVG_Poem20120318.mp3]

 

Also have a listen to the tracks on the new EP “Once We Were Kings Of The World


Ground

“Pig” Mills settled comfortably onto one of the many old car tyres littering the Chaplee’s back yard, intently studying a photograph of Joe Byrne’s corpse that “Squirrel” Tyrrell had torn from a book on Ned Kelly at the local library.

“Ever seen a real dead body?” he asked no-one in particular.

“Na, but I know where one’s buried” chirped “Squirrel”.

“A couple of years ago Manny Valenti was sitting in his tree house and saw Old man Hayes drag a body wrapped in a blanket and bury it in the ground behind the garage — even covered it in lime and everything. Manny saw the whole thing”

“Squirrel” was not one to invent stories and everyone knew Old man Hayes was a complete and total arsehole — a drunk and a nasty drunk.
His son Frankie, not surprisingly, was a complete fruitcake – the most feared kid in the neighbourhood.

As night fell, Mrs Chaplee shuffled into the yard and lit the BBQ for “Spanner” and his friends – they’d been banned from using matches since “Rabbit” was caught trying to set fire to the tail feathers of one of the Chaplee’s bantams.

Satisfied the flames had taken hold and without uttering a word, Mrs Chaplee shuffled back into the house to return to her knitting and await her favourite television show “Sing along with Mitch.”
“Follow the bouncing ball” chimed Mitch Miller as a gaggle of black and white minstrels pranced across the screen crooning “Yankee Doodle Dandy”

In the rush to claim a snag, no-one noticed Bruno Lucek slip away.

“Pig” was contemplating whether to tackle a seventh sausage sandwich when Bruno burst through the back gate.

“Look I find, I find now” he panted, furiously waving.

“Bugarama” gasped Mandy Dent.

It was a bone, around a foot long, slightly yellowed with fragments of withered flesh still visible near the joint.

“Crikey” wheezed “Rabbit”, “It’s a human arm bone”

“How would you know dumbcock” scoffed “Pig”, “You couldn’t tell a magpie from an emu”, a line he’d often heard his mother use to silence his father, on the many occasions he’d substitute bullshit for fact in a futile attempt to disguise his almost total lack of intelligence.

“Stuff you “Pig” snapped “Rabbit”, “It’d be easier to find a bone in a Pavlova than you, you porker”

While “Rabbit” and “Pig” debated anatomy, “Spanner” collected two torches, a mattock, a shovel and a handful of pegs from the clothesline in case the crime scene was a bit on the nose.

Within a few minutes they were scrambling over the fence into the Hayes’s back yard and once in, wasted no time.

Bruno and “Spanner” shared the digging while “Rabbit” and Mandy held the torches.
“Squirrel” kept watch and “Pig”, who had appointed himself foreman whispered orders, ignored by all, including strangely, himself.

Work was suspended briefly after “Squirrel” thought he heard someone approaching, but quickly resumed when found to be nothing more than possums helping themselves to the buds on the Valenti’s Camellias.

“Pig” was just about to suggest a refreshment break when Mandy picked up something in the torchlight.
It was a bone, slightly smaller than the first and after a few scrapes with the shovel they could clearly see the outline of a body beneath what appeared to be a blanket or rug.

“Spanner” slowly knelt down, found the edge and followed it till he felt the corner.
Gripping it firmly he whipped the blanket off in a single movement, sending dirt flying in all directions.

A blood curdling roar erupted from behind “Squirrel” and they swung round to find Frankie Hayes charging towards them at full speed wielding a tyre lever and screaming like a banshee.

“Pig” attempted to escape over the fence but only succeeded in head butting the corner post, sending the possums into a blind panic and himself backwards into the recently exhumed pit.

As the others dived for cover in the bushes, “Pig” scrambled to the surface and realising escape was impossible, rolled himself into as tight a ball as his podgy frame would allow, hands locked behind his head.

Just as “Pig” was steeling himself for the arrival of the tyre lever, Frankie froze, eyes bulging and mouth agape, staring in horror into the hole.

“Bruce” wailed Frankie. “It’s Bruce, it’s Brucey”

Slowly the others left their cover and cautiously peered into the pit.

“Who is it?” whimpered “Rabbit” having not yet summoned the courage to leave the safety of the Hydrangeas.

“It’s not who” mumbled “Squirrel” “ ”It’s What! —- It’s a bloody dog! — at least it was”

They stood in silence staring down at the remains, a studded collar complete with name tag and leash still secured around the neck.
“Squirrel” also noted a small, perfectly round hole on the right hand side of the skull — but he wasn’t about to point it out to Frankie.

“Mum told me Dad took Bruce to the country to live on a farm” Frankie rasped, his voice crackling with emotion.

“Took him to a farm alright” muttered “Squirrel” under his breath. “A worm farm”

Frankie’s icy stare now fixed firmly on the tyre lever still in his hand.
He began to shake uncontrollably with rage, snorting like a bull preparing to charge.

“Squirrel”, figured the considerate thing to do was leave Frankie and Bruce alone to spend some quality time together and quietly ushered the band of budding forensic scientists down the driveway.

Once on the street they ran like hell, not slowing until they’d reached the sanctuary of the Chaplee’s backyard.

As they crept past the living room Mitch and his troop of terminally cheery trans-racials were preparing to put the bouncing ball away for another week, chirping their way through the evening’s final offering “How much is that doggy in the window”

Exhausted, “Spanner” and Co collapsed on the ground beside the now lifeless BBQ.

“Do you reckon they let dogs into heaven?” panted “Pig”

“Not looking like Bruce they don’t” quipped “Squirrel”

“I can’t see why not” added “Rabbit” “If they let pigs like you through the gates they’d let in a cockroach”

“Shut up you idiots” hissed Mandy, visibly upset. “What happened to that poor dog was really horrible”

“It was horrible alright” nodded “Pig” in complete agreement. “What kind of a mongrel names their dog Bruce?”

© Copyright 2012 Ian Bland

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