William J. “Billy” Barnes
THE DEAF LEADING THE BLIND
In the Vietnam War, when life was a bore,
An’ 1ATF ruled the night,
We’d retire within the old Seldom Inn
An’ drink an’ spin yarns till daylight.
But often we thought that the odd bit of sport
Might keep us honed up for the task;
So we played cards an’ dice, an’ then to add spice
We’d haul out the board for the darts.
The dart board was worn from throwin’ till dawn,
An’ the points wouldn’t pierce at all.
For, often they missed (the players were pissed)
An’ ended up stuck in the wall.
There were serious throwers an’ one or two “blowers”
Who thought they were hot-stuff indeed;
They would go triple-twenty an’ score “ones” a-plenty…
They were Gentleman John and Scrubweed.
Now Gentleman John was as deaf as they come,
There were fence posts that had better hearing.
An’ Scrubweed was blind, but would call from behind
A shot that defied line or bearing.
There was many a night they would argue and fight
Over darts that were “in” or were “out”;
An’ then who had scored the right count on the board,
An’ whose turn it was for the shout.
They were both of the sort that would die for his sport
In the spirit of hard competition;
The deepest chagrin if the other should win,
To neither would quarter be given.
John’s face was as cool as an iced Southland pool –
A study of pure concentration;
‘An Scrubweed oozed ire like a Nelson bushfire,
‘Cos he rose to a slight provocation.
This night they drank splits with a case full of Schlitz,
Johnny Walker and old London Gin;
So after a piddle an’ middle-for-diddle,
John fired his first salvo in.
He missed double-tops with each of his shots,
Scoring barely a five an’ two singles;
Scrubweed with disdain then laughed like a drain
An’ chalked two-nine-five on the shingle.
He was not only blind, but maths addled his mind
An’ John roared out loudly abuse;
“Now don’t make a stink, a man’s tryin’ to think”
Ol’ Scrubweed then pleaded excuse.
He picked up his darts, stood back on the mark
An’ launched his attack with some stealth
At double-sixteen, but he shot in-between,
An’ scored just a seven himself.
And on it did go. It was painfully slow.
It took half an hour for their doubles.
The subtraction got worse and the banter more terse,
An’ when they were all-but, there’s trouble.
Amidst all the darts they’d partook of a draught,
They’d sunk a few shorts unforbidden.
But the two dozen Schlitz soon poured down the ditch,
So they switched onto old Pabst Blue Ribbon.
For an hour or more they whittled the score
Till they both needed two for the win.
The observers, in fits, yelled “Please call it quits”,
But neither the sods would give in.
Now stripped of his shirt – it was getting hard work,
Ol’ Scrubweed then called for a shout.
But, John, at the board, completely ignored
The call, which was never in doubt.
So Scrubweed exclaimed, with disdain again,
“Yer deaf, yer silly ol’ bastard!”
From ten feet away, John turned round to say
“I heard that, now what are you after?”
“Well I’m blind and your deaf, we need us a Ref
Or this game will never be finished.
“And I’m bloody dry, ‘cos it’s your turn to buy,
Now the closest the Bull is the winner”.
So they whistled up Wayne to judge off the game
An’ to measure the shot that was closest.
An’ everyone roared when they both missed the board,
All calling their aims both atrocious.
The consensus therefore, was to call it a draw,
A decision that none seemed to mind.
An’ round about four, they’d forgotten the score
In the case of the Deaf leading Blind.
Billy Barnz (Witness)
©Copyright 2002 by William J. “Billy” Barnes