Henry’s Final

August 9th, 2013 | Henry Lawson, Stories for adults

I want to add some short stories. With the footy finals approaching, this seems like a good one to begin with.

I’ve written a couple stories imagining myself with Henry Lawson in various situations. Here, I have taken him to his first footy match. Lucky for him, it’s a final!

Henry’s Final

I took Henry Lawson to the footy over the weekend. It wasn’t my idea. I got a phone call from Archibald.

“Henry’s in town”, he says. “We want him to write about Melbourne, and you can’t write about Melbourne without writing about the footy – especially during finals time”.

“But you know Henry,” I protest. “He’s not interested in competitive sport. It bores him witless.”

“Please?”

He’s a hard man to say no to, Archibald. I roll my eyes, and mutter acquiescence down the line.

Things started bad, and got worse.

He insisted on having his face painted before we’d even entered the arena. I always think it’s a bad look, a grown man with his face painted. Great for kids. Even certain types of women can get away with it. But men? No. Then he caught the eye of somebody handing out those stupid signs designed for the TV cameras – “Great mark!”, or something like that. He thought it was an enormous hoot. He wouldn’t even know what a mark was! Before I knew it, we were carting one of them in as well!

I wanted to get a seat up on the balcony, where you get a good view of the whole field, but Henry insisted on sitting right down near the boundary rail.

“You won’t get to see anything there!” I protested! But he just shrugged his shoulders.

“Looks like more fun” was all he could come up with.

I tried to explain some of the rules, but I could tell he wasn’t interested. There was a little girl on the other side of him, and they started giggling together. When they started playing ‘rock paper scissors’, I knew the game was up.

Of course, when people around started waving their signs in the air to try to catch the attention of the TV, he had to be in that too.

There was one saving grace. I was sure I’d lose him to the bar at half time and never see him again, but the Little League came on, and he was entranced! He didn’t have a drink all day – except for a few slugs of the girl next door’s Fanta.

Ah well, I suppose I should be grateful. I got him home in one piece, and stone cold sober. No mean achievement, that! Archibald was amazed.

Of course, Henry told me later that he had forgotten to wash his face paint off that night, and had woken up with it smeared all over his pillow. But I figured that was his problem. I’m not a friggen’ baby sitter.

© Stephen Whiteside 10.09.2012

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