Folk often ask writers where their ideas come from….

 

You know how funny men cry on the inside? Mask their pain with jokes?  Well I’m blubbering on the outside.

Have you heard the one about the puppy in the burger joint? No? Me neither.

I could do it Seinfeld. “What is it with dogs, huh?”

Everyone loves a puppy. “Oooo, ahhh, look at this reel with the poodle and the baby. So cute!”

Yeah, till the fleabag bites the baby’s nose.

Poodles are hunting dogs, you know.

They’re French, too, so they’d turn up their noses at burgers. 

Hang on, there might be something there.

Snooty poodle rejecting tasty morsels until he gets a whiff of delicious hot fat, cornstarch and monosodium glutamate.

Hang a burger around your baby’s neck so your pooch will lick the kid?

No, that’s too old even for me.

It’s what I do. The oldies and… the even older.

And this is my big chance.

Ask Julie, my agent. She knows everything. Just ask her.

“A TV ad for a chain buying market share. It’ll be in high rotation. Just you, a puppy, and a Brody’s Diner.”

“Do they let dogs in restaurants?”

“I dunno. it’s an ad. Come on!”

“What sort of dog?”

“I dunno.”

“Coz if it’s a St Bernard…”

“Oh yeah. That’d be funny. Ha, ha.”

“How?”

“I dunno. You’re the comedian. They want script ideas by close of business Thursday.”

“When I’ll be in Albury.”

“Why?”

“The Comedy Club gig.”

“That’s this week?”

“You booked it.”

“Yeah. This week.”

“I’m flying out tonight.”

So, right now. I’ve collected enough new material for fifteen minutes on airline food and queuing for the midget-sized bathroom on a single aisle rural prop plane while half an hour of perfect tedium remains to come up with the one about the puppy in the burger joint.

“Would you like a top up, Sir?”

“Do you have cyanide? I’m thinking of ending it all.”

“No need for that, Sir. Albury isn’t that bad this time of year.”

“Are you available to do a set tonight? A double act.”

“I’ll be in Melbourne. Tea or coffee?”

“Coffee. Black as you can make it.”

“Have you finished your breakfast?”

“Oh, is that what it was.” I hand her the tray.

She doesn’t laugh.

Perhaps she tried the breakfast.

Shutters are going up all over the plane because it’s dipped for landing, hurting my eyes with that special golden light you get with dawn in the bush. There are still stars in the sky. No idea what the ground looked like. The hayseed snoring in the window seat blocks my view. Mallee, sheep and death adders, I suppose.

“Mummy. Where’s Elita-One?” The kid across the aisle next to me has his backpack pulled up to his nose like a feedbag. I guess the breakfast wasn’t to his taste either.

His mum lowers her phone — first time in three hours from Brisbane. “What’s that, Howie?”

“Elita-One.” He shows his bag.

The mum cautches my eye over her son’s head.

I smiled and nod. I do my best to get along with people when we’re trapped in a metal pipe at thirty thousand feet.

She frowns, takes the bag, examines it for a few seconds — giving it the mummy look — then shoves her hand in and sets off a metallic clatter. “Oh, no. You’re kidding me.”

Howie turns my way. “Have you seen Elita-One?”

“Err, maybe. Who’s Elita-One?”

“My mouse.”

“Your mouse?”

“My pet.”

“You brought your pet mouse on a plane?”

“We’re going to mum’s wedding.”

I have about one point five million lines for that one… But I go with. “He’s the page boy?”

“No! Elita-One’s a girl!”

“Silly me. Maid of honour?”

“Shit!” Mum slams the backpack closed, shoves it behind her, ducks — cries out when the seat belt cuts her in half — releases the catch and slides on her knees to look under the seats.

The hostess hurtles down the aisle. “You can’t do that, Madam. The seat belt light’s—”

A shriek three rows back cuts through the final descent hubbub.

“That’ll be Elita-One,” says I.

“Elita-One!” The kid’s half out of his seat. “I’ll get her.”

The hostess holds him down.

“Just a min — Eeeeeek!”

She jumps a foot as a grey-brown streak darts between her feet. I swear it goes between the heel and sole of her right shoe.

She spins, shuddering, pointing. “Mouse!”

And tumbles into my lap.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve imagined a pretty hostess right there…

But, guys, it’s not what dreams are made of.

The back of her skull hammers the bridge of my nose — instant ketchup tsunami.

She yelps again, slams her elbow into my chest to lever herself up, slapping at her neck which has sprouted a burgundy patch spreading from her hair down her back.

Not a good look with her pale blue uniform, but it hardly justifies the riot as she reels through the cabin…

 

They never did find Elita-One.

Poor Howie.

“Quick, mate. I’m late, what have you got for Brody’s?”

“Vood mording, to you, too.”

“You all right? You’re muffled.”

“Jus’ a broden doze.”

“What the…?”

“Don’ ask.”

“Were you on that plane that’s all over the news?”

“Mmm. I god’n idea. Anyding goes at Brody’s. Tumblin’ hostessesses, a weddin’ wiv mice as the bride’maids. I’m in a boof — wid a bandage on ma doze — and a coupla’ poodles turning up their noses at a burf’day cake until the wader brings Brody’s burgers…”

 

Have you seen the ad? 

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