Acknowledgement to Sweeney Todd …and the bloke ABOUT WHOSE dogs he said Barnaby ordered him to eat them
Foodge Has An Episode.
“What’d you reckon, Unc, other day?”
Foodge was wet through. His shirt was soaked .The old tweed sports jacket could shrink two sizes it looked like if he took it off.
“You got wet like this hiding behind Donald who’s laburnum? I hope you know those things’ll kill y’. A lawn sprinkler?”
If Foodge said something was true it was true. He was like that. Merv wasn’t honestly calling into question it was a lawn sprinkler. He had to ask. Duty and habit. Foodge never said whose anything anyway.
“Didn’t say.” Foodge stood up. He extended one leg and shook it, then the other. “Can’t.”
He likely was serving documents. Foodge kept the Zephyr going picking up the odd extra job here, there. He thought he was going to make a lot of money going into law. Hahahahahaha. If he was of a criminal mind he would be up to his ears in it. Every opportunity to turn to crime passed Foodge by, crime as common as a before dinner aperitif, an after dinner mint, a tiny Turkish coffee in a tiny demitasse, o so tiny and so ordinary common. That’s not very common but Foodge thought it was. No matter. Foodge did not see crime as a means of paying the electricity bill if he had to pay it.
Foodge came back at the end of any working day be that day or night with a trophy bag of achievement doing good.
He never thought I’m going to get into that line of work when he was offered a good line in anything. Not even associating as he did a lot with the Hell’s Angles in the carpark did he get interested. Buy this. Buy that. Well, once he bought an illustrated comic. That’s another story.
Don’t get me wrong about not getting crime. He was smart. Emmjay said it was just Foodge was good. Good Foodge, he sometimes said, no reason, aloud.
Merv slid along the bench seat a way away when Foodge sat down again.
The two of them were enjoying the sidewalk views of a person passing sometimes and waiting (waiting) to climb the stairs upstairs to the new men’s barber, yeah business was good in the real estate rental sideline going on, gone into competition with Glenda’s doing hair work and decorated fingernails too but bloke’s only. Subtle as a sublet space. See what Gordon did there when he invented language and if you don’t know how influential Gordon is you need to catch up. Click on this link here. https://pigsarms.com.au/tag/gordon-odonnell/
Foodge was contemplating a squashed lolly wrapper that was in his hand.
“Merv, this lolly wrapper has something written on it. In Chinese characters. No, not there, there.” Foodge tapped the end of a fingernail on a corner of the wrapper as he handed it to Merv to read it.
“I don’t know a Chinese character from the next bloke and it’s inappropriate. We live so close you might as well say we’re all Chinamen it’s not funny,” Merv said meekly.
“Nurse Barbara, Hons Shades, Yvonne, H, none of them have ever been Chinamen. That’s ok. I met a Chinaman here come straight from China, well, there I met him,” Foodge raised a hand and extended a finger to point over the bricks of the pavement at the door into the front bar across from where they were, legs stretched out in front of them, on the bench seat. Sun was streaming and its heat from behind a cloud that sailed away from it, scudding. “I can read Chinese as well as Spanish and Herman, now.”
“You’re gonna dry out now the sun’s out. What does it say.”
Should put a link in to explain a bit about Glenda’s Pig’s Legs Beauty and Waxing Salon.
Should get on with the story.
“Don’t know, truth. It’s a bit small to read. Something about capitalism making a lot of pollution in our country and our air is like shit. Have to get a magnifier out of a Christmas bonbon so I can read it. It’s a message someone’s smuggled out on a Jolly Lolly lolly wrapper’s wrapper. See there are two. Nice plain one inside worth keeping in case we need a piece of nice paper that size to wrap something in.”
“Foodge, you’re starting to express yourself more now you’ve been at school for a while.”
“University, Merv. It’s university, Merv. Merv, you’ve always been good to me, but you’ve been more distant since…”. Foodge’s voice sounded thick with emotion. “Granny.”
“Don’t talk about Granny, Foodge. We can do without her brewing here, too thank Christ. She got a placeat the Shakespeare.”
“UNCLE MERV! What have y’ DONE.” Foodge was suddenly quite loud a bit. Foodge usually spoke in a hushed whisper. Accustomed all the time from when he came to first stay and being quiet going out early to work and not forgetting when Emmjay hired him to paint the upstairs bedrooms, but the guests were sleeping in them at the time. He learned then to sing under his voice even.
“I don’t care.” Merv stretched his legs out even further, a stretch of contentment, “New woman. I think. Sunny days.”
“New Zealand. Granny’s taken the twins, too? Is that where they are? Auckland? NEW ZEALAND?”
“Over the ditch.”
“Merv, bring ‘em back.” Foodge was mock sobbing and Merv jumped onto his feet off the bench seat they were sitting on and hurried off and came back with a Milo for him in a jiffy.
“Yoohoo,” they heard as Merv sat down when he handed Foodge the Milo. Foodge looked happy.
The new barber was standing there on the pavement in front of them with tufts of what appeared to be hair sticking out from the pocket of a workman style carpenter’s apron. They knew it was the barber because of the sign. They saw the logo of clearly a barber on the sandwich board he was unfolding to stand on the pavement.
“McSpoorrran,” he said.
“How d’y’do,” Merv and Foodge chorused like the opening line of Hark the Herald Angels Sing. Their beards and throats depended on McSpoorrran and he had come down all those stairs to get them, least they decided so.
“I’ll smarten you two up,” said McSpoorrran, turning on his heel and the men on the bench seat stood as meek as lambs and followed where he led as if he no other than Mary the nursery rhyme shepherdess.
Acknowledgements I pinched the logo of New York’s ‘Blind Barber’ and wrote on it myself. Disclaimer. I know nothing of the fine establishment in New York. I bet it’s fine.