Twins are mischief makers
If I was to talk about the last two weeks of my life, this column would end about here. Like everyone who is doing the right thing and self-isolating, our daily life is pretty mundane. Got a couple of metres of river stone delivered and a similar amount of red mulch, and judiciously spread them over various garden beds to improve our view from the patio. Not very exciting but good for the soul.
Just got off the phone from my brother, Paul, and it got me thinking about our (much) younger days. Paul is my twin. Now, before you go, ‘Oh God no, there’s two of them’, we are not identical – so it’s only Paul you have to feel sorry for. In fact we couldn’t be any more different.
Picking on my bro was a constant source of pleasure for me when we were kids – and I’m talking of when we were 6 or 7. In those days, like the rest of Hooterville, we had a dunny out the back. The toilet paper was The Yellow Pages, there was a vent pipe that ran up the back and a small fixed-open window at the top.
These were the days when fire crackers were freely available to all and sundry. When Bon-fire night came around one year, I bought amongst other delights, a sixpenny bunger. Those of you my age will remember that these things were the equivalent of a stick of TNT.
I set a ladder up behind the dunny and waited until Paul was happily ensconced. Hard of hearing, he did not hear me creeping quietly up it, bunger in one hand and box of matches in the other. Lighting the bunger I dropped it down the pipe and scarpered to a safe distance. BANG! Off she went, blowing the shit out of the pipe and poor old Paul. Jeez those bungers were good!
Did I get in trouble with the Olds? You betcha. Did it stop me? You’d be joking, right? Still with the dunny, I put the hose up through the window at the top…and waited. You’d think my brother would have wised up, but no. He sits, I turn on the hose and he’s soaked through with his pants around his ankles. I can’t remember if mum and dad were more annoyed at me for what I did to him, or because I ruined a perfectly good Yellow Pages.
The Grand Event though was when I strung a rope across from the corner of the back shed to a tree. I cajoled, stirred and pissed him off enough to chase me. Running around the corner of the shed, I of course, ducked under the rope. Pauly didn’t. The rope gets him right across the larynx and down he goes like a ton of lead.
I stop, turn around and cack myself laughing. Paul is lying there stricken, both hands to his throat, emitting a horrible gurgling sound and struggling to breathe. It dawns on me that this time I’ve gone just a little bit too far, so in my most brotherly-loving voice I say, “Don’t tell mum. P-L-E-A-S-E don’t tell mum.” He did.
I can’t remember the punishment I received for that one but I suspect it was the one time the pussy-willow came out in place of the usual lecture.
Although these ‘games’ were usually a one-way street, Paul did occasionally get his revenge.
He was into science in a big way and had a microscope. One time he calls me over to have a look at whatever it was he had on the slide. As I’m gazing intently through the ‘scope I smell something burning – and it stinks! I hadn’t heard the striking of the match as he set fire to my hair. I DO remember ratting him out to mum, who simply replied, “About time you got some of your own medicine!”
We have an older sister, Marney, and we had a Cowboy tent – as opposed to a Tepee. Marney and Paul are dressed up as cowboys and I’m the solitary Indian, looking resplendent in the outfit mum has made out of hessian bags. There they are inside the tent, doing whatever it is cowboys in tents do, and I’m whooping in circles around it. This was around the time when Broken Arrow was on TV and I was a big fan of the Indian hero of the show, Cochise. In the series the Indians often used to shoot flaming arrows. So what is a solitary make-believe Indian to do against the overwhelming odds in that cowboy tent?
A rag tied to the end of an arrow and dipped into kerosene burns remarkably well. It flew through the air in a beautiful arc, as if in slow motion. Down it came, smack into the side of the cotton tent. The flames spread magnificently as those hated cowboys ran screaming from it. Perhaps that pussy willow was taken down from its pozzie above the kitchen cupboards for a second time.
Ahh, the joys of childhood. Love you bro.
Take care of You.