Excerpt: 'Knocking the Scabs Off', by WP Newnham


Photograph by Michael Theis. Reproduced under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Licence.


Replete from the feast of “snarler” rolls and steak sangers the mob take post-prandial drinks of rum cans and JD stubs and XXXX and Emu and belch and fart and scratch as wildlings chase each other into the encroaching gloom of sundown. A light westerly blows and they are, for once, free of the stench of the gut dump and they take in the evening airs.

Pong switches on the floodlights and the generator loads up and purrs with the pleasure of a machine running to capacity: Pong’s is neon-lit.

Insects and bugs swarm the lights and Pong switches on a giant electric bug zapper: it hums and cracks and spits and sparks as bugs and insects kamikaze en force! The generator loads up and purrs: Pong is blue-lit.


Begin yarning:


Rooster says:
“I hear there was some
Sorta fuss at the schoolhouse today!
Something about your mob Son-Ya
Running amok and setting shit on fire?”


{Named S_O_N_I_A
Pronounced as Son-Ya
By all and sundry as a
Good-time girl and a real sport:
Welcome on the floor and respected
For the equanimity in which her favours
Are dispensed. Tough and strong from years of
Shifting beef she is a favoured yarn spinner with her
Earthy observations regularly crackin’ up the whole damn mob.
They are all ears!}


Son-Ya says:
“Don’t you go blaming
My fucking kids Rooster:
One of ’ems yours sooooooo
If you are you’re
Blaming yourself!”


Rooster says:
“You got a point there.
So tell me
What happened then?”


“I went off for Lappo and
Went and had a piss and wash up
And then out on the dock
To punch a quick darb and
I sees this smoke comin’ up
From the schoolyard and
I’m thinking
‘Little bastards!
If they’ve done it again
I’ll fucken’ tan their hide.’
I race down there and
There he is
The Fucken’ Cream Puff
Standing there with the kids all
Ring-a-ring-a-Rosie on him
And poking him with sticks
And half the yard’s on fire
And he’s just standing there:
Copping it sweet!”


{General laughter
From the assemblage
Keen interest shown.}


Rooster says:
“I heard you slapped him.”


“Fucking twice and all!
Jesus Rooster you woulda floored him
If you’d seen this shit
Fucken’ standing there
Fucken’ swooning like a schoolgirl
Kids all chanting
Or somesuch
And shit’s on fire…


Rooster says:
“So you slapped him—
And then what?”


“Even slapping him
Didn’t bring him round
So I chased them little shits back
Into the schoolhouse and—
Threw my funking boots at ’em and all
Ha-Hah-Ha-Ha! Ha-Hah-aHa!”


{General laughter
From the assemblage
Keen interest shown
Some laughing to
The point of hysteria
With tears and gasping.
She continues—}


“I comes back and he’s still just
Standin’ there and staring
So I grab the fire hose off the schoolhouse
And give him a good hosing
Whilst I put out the little bastard’s fires
And fuck me if he doesn’t come out of it
And the Fucking Cream Puff
Started fucking cryin’
I kid you fucking not
Blubbering like a baby!
Ha-Hah-Ha-Ha! Ha-Hah-aHa!”


{Wide-spread laughter to
The point of hysteria
With tears and gasping.
She continues—}


“I should have known
Talking to him on the phone and all
His fucking
‘Developmental strategies’ and all
He’s a Fuckin’ Cream Puff!”





This is an excerpt from ‘Knocking the Scabs Off’, a story by W<J>P Newnham in The Lifted Brow #22.

W<J>P Newnham has had stories published in Nocturnal Submissions, Overland, Full of Crow, Horror Sleaze Trash, and Gapped Tooth Madness. He lives in Brisbane with his partner and two Blue Heelers.