Old TV on the Street

Ross Jackson


Ross is a retired teacher from Perth. He writes poetry and short prose. He has had work published in many literary journals and websites across Australia. Some of his poems have appeared in publications in New Zealand, Canada, Ireland and the UK.

Dennis Sweetacre, The Playboy

Early morning.

As I descended the stairs, I could hear the syrupy end music of her must watch Soap. Soon she was dish clattering around my breakfast, whilst blowtorching me too. Women are multi-taskers. It’s true.


‘You’re down late today. What have you been up to?’


‘Just servicing the concubines, My Sweet.’


‘I’ll play along, but tell whichever strumpet puts your dirty trousers in the laundry, to first get rid of the tissues in the pockets. I’m tired of getting a snowstorm through the wash etc...’


‘I don’t know how many times I’ve reminded that Amber-Rose but she’s not the brightest light bulb in the chandelier etc...’


Romantic fantasy, edgy domestics and the banal often got tangled in our household, leading to things getting frayed.


Early evening.

I thought that I could plunder the fridge contents without provoking her rancour but she’s rapt with this new, hugely hyped reality TV show, so although I genuinely tried to be unobtrusive, she was irritated when she sensed my presence rooting out things in the kitchenette.


Having proscribed my foraging, she obliged me to sit before the telly. So many reality programs to learn from! The participants, who were all celebs apparently, were playing commandoes. One idiot, whose hair appeared to have been sprinkled with melted cheese, was crawling under barbed wire. His gleaming, plastic face had appeared on the cover of a magazine. He’s the sort you’re meant to be in awe of. In the good old days, his type would have been tied to a guncarriage and horsewhipped.


She eventually fed me. ‘You can actually talk to me, you know. I spend all day at work and then rush back here to cook and clean etc...’


Wouldn’t take the bait, best not to go over old ground.


‘Servicing the young ladies again today, were we?’ Sarcasm heavy as a Murray Grey bull.


‘My Dearest, it takes all my energy just to cover them three times a week etc...’



We shoved off in the Toyota, headed for some rural spot. Sometimes we picnic, or patronise a lunchtime cafe.


The old banger (the car, that is) was struggling past Mundaring, when she (the wife, this time) gently reminded me that fuel was low ... I have enough to do without filling up the car as well etc...


Almost took the bait, but not quite.


She followed me inside a Caltex, keeping an eye on me whilst I paid for fuel (had to foil my impulse lolly buying, since it might send us into bankruptcy).


I was distracted by a very large bust at the cashier’s desk. There was a lacy bra behind a transparent blouse. Sometimes showy underwear can transfix the ageing male.


Eventually, clocking her face, I realised that she had worked a few shifts at my business.

‘Hello Mr Sweetacre. Still minding the shop?’


Back at the car.

‘Who was she? You might have introduced us.’


‘Yes indeed, My Little Nut Cutlet.’


‘Well, who was she?’


‘Couldn’t remember her blasted name. I’m sure you two would have zero in common, My Dove.’


‘But good manners require etc... And how do you know this girl etc…?’


‘She’s the sister of one of my concubines. Shakira-Jade is her sister’s name.


‘The wish list of harlots’ jokes is becoming tiresome...etc’


Sunday evening.

She was dozing in front of a tv gardening program. The presenters were collectively known as Green Fingers. I would have called them The Gardening Whores, since instead of horticulture, their real passion was flogging a particular brand of fertiliser.


I was boiling up a packaged instant, when...


‘What have you been up to all day? Did you go out?’


‘Been hard at it, servicing the concubines. Coffee, My Darling?’


How could she, in total silence, face turned away, so expressively communicate – NEGLECTED HOUSEWIFE?


‘I’d never get to sleep if I had coffee this late. Tomorrow’s a holiday, do we have anything planned?’


‘Perhaps we could have a lie in?’ I replied.


No response. Just the oily patter of the presenter on the box.


My bedtime.

Ascending the stairs, I could already hear the giggles, so I was prepared for the bedlam. Two were wrestling on the sheepskin. The positioning of another three made a fleshy swastika on the king size futon. Blondine and Radhika just managed to squeeze together on the ottoman.


They were all ludicrously beautiful and there was nothing trashy about any of them. Being my kind of fantasy, how could it be otherwise but tasteful? ...Now where were we up to?


Blondine and Radhika were being affectedly devious about a small package. ‘What’s that you’ve got there?’


‘For you Mr Swit-ache. A very special present.’


They kowtowed in unison with a tinkling of anklet bells and a shimmering of satin. I shredded the package’s gilded wrapping. Snared in silver foil were several pale blue lozenges.


‘You think I’ll need these someday?’


The others were prepared to engage with the drama, Amber-Rose especially. Amber-Rose had braided hair, a golden smile and a bottle of massaging oil. She wriggled forward, declaring, ‘I know that Mr Sweetyheart is not needing these loff-some pills. He is mighty indy-fatty-gew-able’. (So that was why The Macquarie was looking so dog-eared).


The rubbing, nuzzling and nibbling coming from all sides was starting to get to me, yet I didn’t take the bait. Soon My Lovely would be ascending the stairs. There was just that TV documentary she was watching –The Lives of The Rich and The Enviable, or some such tosh.


I needed to keep something back, although a bird in the hand etc...