Running Jump

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What seems to be the trouble , he asks .

I cough and splutter all over the place .

He gets the message .

Sits down to write the certificate .

There , he says , handing the form to me . This should do the trick .

I peruse it quickly .

There’s something missing, I say, why I had time off .

That’s right . If you had Alzheimers or a social disease would you want

people to know ?

Certainly not .

My point exactly .

But I thought you had to put something down .

No , he says . And if they ask , tell them to take a running jump . Better still , tell them to phone me and I’ll tell them to take a running jump . Only in stronger terms .

He stands up . Shakes my hand .

 

The next day at work I hand in the certificate .

He’s right .

They see the blank space but no one says a word .

I push it a bit further .

On the official form , the one you fill out yourself , where it says Illness I put down ‘See Certificate’ .

It feels good . It really does .

I’ve found a new way to treat with the world .

The Cat and the Canary

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The cat had just killed a canary.

Bad, bad cat, said the bird lover who was staying at my place for the weekend.

Easy, I said, Remember what happened at the restaurant last night when you ordered barramundi for the first time and complained it was too fishy?

Yes. So?

Well, I said, you may as well berate a barramundi for being a fish as to castigate a cat for killing a canary.

Runt

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“Bugger”, says Scruff. “Bugger”.

He’s back to his old intemperate self.

“What’s got your goat now?” I say.

“How am I supposed to get to the top branch now?? You know how I love the top branch. Someone took the tall ladder away and replaced it with THAT RUNT!!”

His wing is pointing at the little ladder against the weeping myrtle.

“Excuse me,” I say, “but you can’t expect the gardener to consult with magpies every time he shifts a ladder.”

Scruffy has that evil look in his eye.

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“Besides”, I add, “has anyone ever pointed out those two appendages, one on each side of your body? They can get you places.”

“Sarcastic snob!” he snaps. “I use them all the time like you your legs. Aches and pains. I prefer to hop up rungs.”

“Have it your own way,” I say, but my heart goes out to him all the same. “I know what you mean,” I add. “I’ll speak to the gardener.”

I notice a little spring in his hop.

Jump

 

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It’s Milly’s birthday today.

It is?

Yes. But what do you buy a cat who has everything?

A parachute.

A parachute?

Yes. The next time she gets on the roof and can’t get down all she has to do is jump.

 

You Coming Up?

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It’s a great day to be on the roof. You coming up?

I don’t know, I say. It’s an awfully long way.

Don’t be a wuss! She says.

Watch it, I say.

 

But she scrambles up, climbing the tiled slopes and disappears.

What’s it like? I call.

Fan—bloody—tastic!! She says. You should see this.

You can tell me about it later, I say. Write me a poem.

 

The sun climbs towards its zenith, begins it s long slide towards the sea.

I hear nothing till dinner time when I hear plaintive cries.

I let her stew for a while then  go out the back, look up.

She’s near the gutter but doesn’t go any further.

 

What’s wrong? I say.

Get me down, she whimpers.

What’s wrong? You can get up. You can get down.

It’s an awfully long way, she wails.

Who’s a ‘fraidy cat now?

I’m sorry I called you a ‘wuss’, she says.

I reach up, lift her down. She runs straight to her bowl.

 

What’s the forecast tomorrow? She asks after she’s finished eating.

Overcast with a chance of showers.

Damn! She meows but sounds almost glad.

 

 

What Happened Out There, Out in the Garden?

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Stephanie was out in the garden, chasing chooks out of the vegetable patch. She was some way from us, out on the back porch, so I was surprised that she responded to something I said.

 

“Yes. I remember when …” and then her voice seemed to get swallowed up.

 

”What’s that?” I said.

 

But she stood there helplessly waving her hands as if signalling to us to disregard what she had to say and to carry on our conversation. We did and when my friend left, Stephanie came over and sat beside me.

 

“What happened out there?” I asked. “Out in the garden?”

 

“What I was about to say got swallowed up,” she said.

 

“Like in a sinkhole?” I said. They had been in the news lately.

 

“Like in a sinkhole.”

 

“It’s all right,” I said. “Tell me when you remember.”

Bar Room Brawl

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You had to fore warn people.

It was not a good look.

Scabs and bruises on the upper lip

Sores on the nose

So you said, “bar room brawl”

Half jokingly, “but you should have seen

The other fellow.”

It was more dramatic, more grunge-romantic

Than humdrum “cold sores.”