Chapter 6
THE MAN WHO COULD SING

I am back working with Thurston, as Sally has joined the Landscaping Team on account of her studies, and she and Thurston have been swapped. Also June is away on holiday, riding horses. Thurston has met a girl from Wellington on the internet and obsesses about their prospects. I believe they’ve actually met a couple of times. She wants a baby but can’t really make up her mind. Sperm donor, or is there a man stupid enough to be the father? Of course, sperm donors are stupid anyway.

Thurston also obsesses about money. He works two hours cleaning every night. He wants to buy a piece of land for under a hundred thousand dollars. Maybe put a shack on it if the mafia’s not looking. Or a camper. Would Helen live in a camper? She’s just sold her house in Wellington and might be in the right mood. Apparently, she earns more than a retard’s wage. But then there’s the baby. Thurston thinks a donor is the way to go. What’s the Child Support situation if they’re living together but he’s not the father? And what if he was the father? He tells me he wouldn’t mind being a house-husband. Me neither.

Today, we are working in Hirai Gardens, watering cherries and maples which would really rather be dead. It’s sad and cruel to keep them alive. Plus a massive waste of time and water. No matter what amazing idea Mr Hirai came up with, this is not Japan. We don’t have the people or the time. We have a little money but prefer to channel it elsewhere. Actually, Hirai is a town, the sister city of Napier. We have another sister too, somewhere in California, but I’ve forgotten her name.

A hundred and fifty or more years ago, the English too exported their ideas here, with much the same effect as Hirai, but on a far grander scale. Good on the English! Now we’re a hundred times wonker than they. We did, however, have the good sense to choose black for a national colour, the opposite of theirs.

Isn’t that quaint how nations choose a colour, a theme song, an animal, a plant? There is probably even a book, A to Z, if you somehow get to become a nation. 

The Wonk nation chooses a puce flag, found under P, with six little squares in the bottom middle, which are themselves the colour of “ladybird,” under L, a colour Sally and I discovered at Kings Gardens one day. Ladybird itself is the complimentary colour to that of the current Teutonic civilisation, which is found under the letter F, no one knows why. Given that the colour Ladybird is known only to Sally and I, it would be best to imagine the six little squares as being cut out of the flag so that you can see through.

Our theme song, sung to the tune of “God Defend New Zealand,” undoubtedly the most boring song ever written, is as follows:

the goddess of robots wakes & opens her third eye
the day, the clouds.. an aeroplane crawls across the sky
& time flows like sour cream, the grass it squeaks with thirst
i draw my gun to shoot the sky but a raindrop gets me first

a thousand white butterflies all trying to cross the road
cars advance & then retreat, so hands up any ghosts?
& welcome to the cemetery across from yeager’s store
i know you don’t want to go home cos you don’t live there anymore

holding up the universe the beachcomber mum
“hallelujah” she says “now i smell like a bum,”
just then a short cadenza of giggles fell
into her bucket which she carries as well

a champion masochist, i love to watch her walk
she must aspire to something, if not the flower then the stalk
her blasphemies, her prophecies, her idiotic fame
if you listen closely you can hear the ocean in her brain

sitting down where time stops, a four legged chair
why? why? why? graves, photographs everywhere
i’ll be leaving everything exactly as it was
& don’t try coming after me because because because

we’ve all been mistreated except for stanley stone
i’ve seen him on the motorway, he lives there all alone
“they’re giving me another lane,” old stanley sighed
“the dog survived but the headlight died”

In its defence, the real “God Defend New Zealand,” New Zealand’s national anthem, was written by a man who happened to be stuck out on the Falkland Islands of the Pacific (here) and understandably wasn’t quite up with late nineteenth century philosophy whereby the concept that “God is dead” had already acquired a certain air of the obvious, meaning therefore that He (God) was not in a position to retaliate against hand-driven submarine attacks in Wellington harbour, or streetmap-reading nuclear warheads cruising the streets of Ashburton, or the colonising aspirations of anybody.

The Wonk national anthem would be called “The Bum’s Lunch.”

Our animal would be the human being, preferably a woman.

The Wonk national plant presents the toughest proposition. I suggest Old Man’s Beard, or some other weed. Those things intelligent sheep eat.

As for me, the Wonk nation can get fucked. I don’t need a flag, or a weed or a woman. I’m still too cut up about Maria.

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