Postcard proseIssue 10 | September 2010

The Death of Mr Bombastic, Borroloola, Australia

by Gabrielle Clover

A four-wheel drive with double trailer approaches the petrol station. There is a swarm of shirtless children sprinting after it, yelling, Mr Bombastic! Their slender legs take long strides, bare feet unflinching on the stones baking in the midday sun. The vehicle weaves through the termite mounds and skids into the gravel outside the town store. A mangy dog sits by the petrol pump, furiously nibbling at his leg. The trailer holds a crocodile, its tail spiraled around so it won’t hang off the back. His empty eyes are opened wide. His jaws are bound shut. He smells of the salt drying on his back.

Now look ‘ere you mob, the ranger announces, Mr Bombastic is dead. I don’t want no more of this nicking dogs from other mobs’ camps to feed ‘im. You get yourselves a pet ‘roo or something that don’t wanna kill ya. I don’t wanna fish ya scrawny bodies outta the river.

One of the toddlers, snot running in two straight lines from his nose to his top lip, lifts his arms up to the trailer. He is naked beneath a torn, faded tee-shirt that sits like a dress over his potbelly. He begins to whimper as he reaches in to touch Mr Bombastic. He draws in a big breath to let out a wail, but his sister slaps his back hard. The child is stunned, and before he can draw another breath, the girl lifts him up onto her hip and wraps her arm around his waist. She cups her other hand around the boy’s ear, It ain’t Bombastic, look ‘ere, this ‘un just got three feet. Bombastic got four, ‘member?

About the author

Gabrielle Clover is a traveller by day and a writer by night. She has lived in the Mexican mountains, the Australian outback, and is currently collecting stories as she travels through Europe.

Read our current issue:

Poetry

Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok