Friday, December 29, 2006

Mr Chick (another bloody 'proem', sorry)

When I was eleven and still a part of Mrs Bateman’s class I had a Bible in Schools teacher called Mr Chick. Mr Chick had worked as a gas meter man until an explosion peeled most of the skin off his body. Half his face had been grafted off his left buttock, and he had to walk on the spot when he lectured our class because the soles of his feet were still tender.

When he was twenty-eight, Mr Chick had gone camping on Mt Pirongia with his wife, who was called Mrs Chick. After they had fought over whose turn it was to boil water Mr Chick had walked alone to the summit of the mountain in the late afternoon sunlight, humming the chorus of 'Paint It Black' under his breath. When he reached the top he was exhausted, and sat down for a long time on a small bench somebody had built with him in mind.

Eventually Mr Chick began to admire the view before him. To his left, in the amber glow of the sunset, he could see the Waikato district, which was all smooth green fields, straight sealed roads, and tight little towns; to his right the crumbling hills and gorse plantations of the King Country flowed into the darkness of the Tasman Sea. Suddenly an angel with flowing white robes and motionless wings floated in front of Mr Chick, just beyond the edge of the summit. ‘It can be like this’, the angel said sternly, motioning toward the King Country, ‘or it can be like this’, she whispered, waving a hand at the Waikato. Mr Chick walked quickly down from the summit. Without first conferring with his wife, he boiled three billies of water and washed out the little latrine they had dug.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The words have different meanings. Yes they do.

2:40 pm  

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