The most heart wrenching feeling of abnormality. The feeling of hot, black pupils. The sense that horrible thoughts are running through someone else’s mind. I hope that one day I become the most confident person you ever meet. I do not just hope, I do. I try and I will but there’s an ability of time that I will never be able to possess. No one will ever be able to posses. I’m ok with that.
when i start feeling like poop it means i’m over tired like one of those cranky toddlers
i’ll keep thinking about poignancy
hey thank you i really enjoy it
When Sunday School class was dismissed, the children rushed out of the door, where they, as usual, would receive a different treat or trinket to lure them back next week. On passing the door that day, the mouldy Reverend Toohey (Reverend Pooey) gave the children a tiny, red, pert apple. Knowing that Gina would disapprove of him taking it, Raymond asked for one of the leftovers from last week, a small, wooden Baby Jesus figurine.
By the time Raymond and the Reverend had finished searching for it; Milton’s rage induced scheme had begun to take place. He had rounded up a group of kids, the ones who had always gave Raymond a hard time. In particular, he mustered twins Eddie and Freddie Simpson, two boys revered for loving a bit of biff. Commandant Milton hid his troops behind a thick, red bottlebrush, across the courtyard. Each soldier had his red, hard weapon in his eager palm.
The first enemy fire hit Raymond on the right side of his neck with a sharp smack, causing him to spin around. It was then that a shower of fruity bullets was unleashed upon the victim. Apples slammed into his nose, eyes and lips. They hit him in the chest, winding him with dull thuds. They pelleted his tender groin and thighs. Through glossy eyes Raymond saw the army of boys (and some of the tomboy girls, I’m talking big Brenda Hill and associates) leap from the bushes.
With haste, the casualty turned to run and seek asylum, but instead his right and left feet met in barley twist. Like a polio-ridden ballerina, Raymond flew through the air, and landed on the perilous fruit. The Baby Jesus figurine that he had clutched was now was imprinted into his cheek. His body burned with the feeling of air on fresh, raw skin. From his mangled heap, he raised his head to look at the perpetrators. Their faces red with laughter, their hearts beating furiously, their teeth bared.
He searched the playground for Alice, who was brave and who was sure to come to his rescue. And he did see her. In the dusty corner of the courtyard, too immersed in her toy cars to care.
At that moment, he saw his doughy mother, her waddle breaking into a run, rush over from the church, in hot pursuit of Milton. She pulled the child up to her face by the scruff of his neck, shaking him, demanding an explanation for what he had done to her son. Milton’s arms flailed and gestured over towards Raymond, incriminating the human lump. Milton violently shook his head and started to wail his pleas of innocence. At this, Gina dropped the boy and shot her eyes toward Raymond. She marched over to Raymond, heaped in his manger of apples.
Mothers had rushed over to their children, and all gasped as Gina pulled her crying son up by his elbow and dragged him behind the church. It was over a cement bench that she pulled the child’s pants down to deliver five venomous smacks to the milky undersides of his thighs.
“You sinful child!” she screamed.
Raymond felt the humiliating spittle land on him, the smoldering heat of her hands.
“How many times must I tell you, you do not eat the Devil’s fruit!”
The smacking sounds reverberated off the cold, grey church wall.
“Be thankful that those children punished you!”
A little row of rosy apples on white skin.
Milton Jones and Raymond McClusky had been friends since their First Communion when they were six. From that day on, the boys were the best of friends. Both of them being outcasts, they sought friendship in one another. During the summer they would swim in the local pool and sometimes Milton’s dad would take them out pig shooting. During winter, they would go to the cinema or play marbles on the patio at Milton’s house. For most of these activities, Milton’s younger sister Alice tagged along, much to her brother’s disapproval. Alice was a tomboy, and often got so grubby that her pristine older brother felt disgusted. When out pigging, Milton preferred sitting in the car. Alice, on the other hand, relished the gore of the hunt.
Milton disregarded Raymond’s lip and subsequent lisp when the other kids didn’t. He did not care that he was father-less or that his mother was the local loony. In return, Raymond turned a blind eye to Milton’s lacquered nails, and never told anyone when he saw white frills peeking out of his shorts. But Raymond never quite understood how much Milton cared for him.
Milton was aware of it, but he didn’t think it was anything abnormal. No, he didn’t realise until he was about nine, when he felt a sadness that he knew he shouldn’t be feeling. When, sitting at Sunday school, Milton saw his best friend make googly eyes at his sister, he realised that Raymond had the hots for her. This made Milton feel a pain much like when he sat on the metal feed trough that sat out the back of his house. It stung his eyes like when he helped his mum chop onions. It hurt his chest like when he tried to do a flip into the pool and landed chest first onto the still water. But most of all, it made him angry like he had never been before.
McClusky learnt many things in Sydney. Here are the differences between Sydney and Kipling, according to McClusky:
- Has many pubs
- Didn’t experience the Kipling Gold Rush of 1890
- Sometimes there were famous people there e.g. Douglas MacArthur
- Big bands played there e.g. The Beatles
- Lots of pretty women in nice dresses
- Lots of pigeons
- Has one pub
- Did experience the Kipling Gold Rush of 1890
- No famous people ever came to Kipling expect for Robert Menzie’s mother, Gertrude, who was rumoured to have used Kipling as a toilet stop in 1940.
- No pigeons
After landing a job at Hyde Bros. Insurance Agency, McClusky experienced the McClusky Gold Rush. Never had he seen such a sum of money sitting in his books. After two years, McClusky got stitched up.
Yes. Finally he had his cleft-lip fixed. All that remained was a faint lilac scar that he felt quite proud of. He held an uncanny resemblance to Humphrey Bogart, he thought, who also had a scar on his lip. McClusky believed himself to be, on the whole, a more classically handsome man but commended Bogart on being not far behind.
In Casablanca, McClusky’s second favourite film behind Dumbo, Bogart played Dick Blaine, a hard-pressed gangster. His scar added to Blaine’s “don’t mess with me” attitude and tough guy appeal, yet another two attributes that McClusky believed linked himself with Bogart. His new scar gave him an added confidence in the schemes that he was conjuring up throughout his five-year stay in Mosman.
For although McClusky was earning a considerable amount of dough, had done his first woo-hoo with a very nice lady, had some of the nicest suits at the insurance agency and had bought his dream car (a blue Studebaker Hawk), he wasn’t quite filled to the brim. See, he felt there was unfinished business. Still the images of the apples haunted him.
Summer in Kipling brought on the driest heat, and during primary school God’s blow dryer, presumably the new Lady Sunbeam Jet Set, singed Raymond, the merry infant’s alabaster skin. It was an Edenic time, filled with the gaiety that all children deserve. It wasn’t until high school that this merry-go-round came to a dismal, irreparable halt.
One day, at age fifteen, during a sweltering February, the barefooted Raymond absconded from school. Although he was thankful that the headmaster had allowed him and the other boys to remove their ties once it hit forty degrees, this didn’t quell his stinking hot rage. When he returned to his house, which was perpetually silent except for the ticking of the clock, he found his mother in the kitchen.
Raymond paced from sink to door. A Baby Jesus and Mary collage made from cut outs of a Women’s Weekly was hung on the wall. Raymond could hear their judgemental tongues tut-tutting at his heathendom. Above the door, a tapestry designed to act like a stain-glass window depicted the baby Jesus and his bearded father. Raymond thought of his own father, does he have a beard?
He hoped so.
With a spark of divinity Raymond felt a connection with Jesus. His father was off doing bigger and better things, too.
Gina sat at the kitchen table with a rigid back, silent save the sound of her needle pricking canvas and the ticking clock. Her rectal lips had long infuriated Raymond.
“You have gone too far!” He drew out each word with excruciating articulation. Images of The Perfect Pear, the local fruit shop, its façade covered in his mother’s posters, were branded onto his brain.
A fruitless act: local loon says God ordered her to sabotage apple and fig sales, community outraged
Raymond side glanced at her face, checking for changes in her expression, but she stayed cool. Still pacing, he wet his dry lips, which were covered in the salty remnants of tears and sweat.
“Whyyyy would you do that?” he boomed, Baby Jesus shook on the wall. For moments, his mother didn’t answer, and merely responded with the sound of her needle plucking at the canvas that sat in her lap. She shut her eyes, kneaded her lips together and sighed deeply.
“Apples are the fruit of corruption,” she announced, politician like, “You know what my opinion is on figs.” She pointed to a brightly adorned tapestry on the wall which read:
Then Jesus said unto the fig tree ‘May no one ever eat your figs again’ and all the disciples heard him say it.
“God hates figs, Raymond”, quoth she. And that was the leaden piece of straw that fell onto the camel’s back, severely handicapping it. However crippling, it didn’t compare to the Horrible Awful Event that left him as the loner he was that day. And it was on that day that the seventeen-year-old Raymond McClusky fled Kipling; Sydney bound; to live with his father in a place he hoped was free of dogmatic tapestries.
By the time Raymond McClusky had stolen a bike and fled town, he had well and truly lost God. In fact, he had been Godless for quite a while; and one could question if he actually ever was God-full. Although a smart one wouldn’t bother, for it wouldn’t make the things that this man did any more believable, nor acceptable. McClusky would be sad to know that he didn’t leave his intended impression on the town. He marked his territory for a mere six months before the offensive odour trailed off behind a stolen, crappy bike.
Evangelical Conman Speeds Down Highway in Underpants.
With near bare buttocks and arms flailing, he left. Any skerrick of dignity and value that he had collected over his life was officially scraped from his soul on the day of that wretched Easter Hat Parade.
Raymond was born on the 15th of March 1934 at St Leonard’s Women’s Hospital, Kipling. His descent from womb to world signified the beginning of his life, his bane. There was something wrong with Raymond’s face, there was something missing. The first thought that ran through McClusky’s mother, Gina McClusky nee Hollier’s mind when she first held Raymond, was why had God given her, a good and pious woman, a deformed baby?
“It is called a hare lip,” the doctor had told her, “and I’ve never actually seen one before, only in textbooks. You could probably get it stitched up, but I can’t do it here, I don’t have sufficient equipment. You’d have to go to Sydney.”
But they never went.
Typical of Gina’s ignorance, she had always wondered why her child was so troubled. For us, it isn’t hard to understand how McClusky ended up the way he did, for Gina was a remarkably strange woman herself.
But it’s not to say it had always been so.
It wasn’t until her husband took off in ’45 to meet a pen pal in Sydney, never to return, that Gina’s dormant absurdities bubbled over into a grotesque eruption.
Gina, a tough broad from a long line of tough broads, thought her estranged husband a bludger and a shirker for not only running away from his new family, but from running away from his responsibility of going to war. In a rage that was worsened by the absence of her lithium tablets, Gina would regularly send hen’s feathers to her mother-in-law’s house in Sydney, where she presumed he would be staying. Alas, he never was. In fact, McClusky Senior’s brother, Abel, had recently died on the Western Front, and Gina had been distressing the grieving family.
Gina guessed that her hubby had buggered off to chase some skirt, and that made her want to wear pants. She had an internal burning (which she had the doctor check) for change.
Gina wanted to evolve.
After her husband left, she almost unbuttoned (she thought zips were dangerous) her epidermis and slipped out of it (excuse the repellent analogy) to reveal a whole new person. Gina started:
· To dress differently; far more conservatively,
· To talk differently; far more conservatively, and
· To craft tapestries at home, alone; in a conservative manner.
Gina became more zealous in her religious beliefs and after a while, become known as quite the proselyte, or Tyke, as we used to call them. If one were to run into her on the street, one would be there for an hour-long sermon.
I can taste all of the fruits of my future.