Thursday 7 March 2019

The Greening of Big Bessie

It had been a dare. Much like the others. The tip offs. The phone calls.
Not meant to cause harm. They chose him because of Joxer, the mongrel. He was to wait till midnight, slip up the entry, placate Joxer, scale the side gate and do the deed.

They didn’t say they’d be there too.

The light from Big Bessie’s bedroom cast a spotlight onto the footpath as he crept up the gable length entry. Big Bessie with her big ears who could swot a boy with the back of her fingernail. He should have waited longer, but they’d said midnight. They hadn’t reckoned on the maiden aunt.

He heard Joxer shaping up, a low growl that would soon escalate to a high pitched bark. But the mongrel must have smelt him or something, the way dogs do, the way they know it’s not the enemy. Poor bugger! He reached the dog and palmed out his offering. Enough goose fat to have him farting for days.

Sure enough the washing line was strung with laundry as they said it would be. Monday. Wash day. Prod and Teague sheets like shrouds. Strung out for half a mile along the row of council backyards.

He prised the lid off the can, watched it flip in the air, land on the mongrel and set him off yelping.

Shutters clicked. The boy crouched. Eyes panned from her watch tower. They hadn’t thought enough about Big Bessie.

He heard the whoosh of the blinds raised and the metallic rip of a window flung ajar.

“Get the hell outta there, ye fenian bastards!” she roared.

Figures sprang from the shadows. The boy and paint pot were upended and Bessie Johnson opened her back door to a green boy, a green backyard and a green dog.

Copyright with Cathy Leonard 2019

1 comment:

  1. I tried to comment from my phone, but it didn't work! Is this based on a true story? I didn't see it coming!