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Wednesday, 9 November 2016

The Great Speewah Laziness Contest

Right: about the working dogs of the Speewah.  It's funny, you know, the way that dogs get like their owners, or maybe it's the other way around, since intelligent dogs always seem to be around intelligent owners, but sometimes it goes too far.  Take Lazy Harry: he was even lazier than his dog, or so some people said: I reckon it was touch and go.  As soon as you saw Harry and his dog walking somewhere, you'd twig straight away that if they went any slower they'd be walking backwards.  Harry could shear all right, but in everything else, he was slower than watching grass grow in a drought.

He was working down the Big Smoke at one stage, getting sheep from the rail siding to the abattoir, but he kept getting later and later each day.  The boss got stuck into him, but Harry had the answer: "I can't wake me dog up", he says.  The boss sacked him in the end, but he never could work out whether Harry was lazy or stupid.  We knew, though: he really earned his name.

One time, I seen a tiger snake, and I yells "There's a tiger snake, beside your foot," expecting him to jump out of the way rather fast. But Harry just turns slowly and asks "Which foot?"  That's how lazy Harry was.  And he was standing leaning on a post once, on the Bandywallop road, when a bloke asks him which is the way to Bandywallop.  "Question's too hard," says Harry.

Well the bloke offers him the price of a beer for the information, so Harry tells him the way to go, and the bloke offers him the money.  "Just slip it in me pocket, will yer?" says Harry.

He was tough, though.  Had to be, to go with his laziness, and clever as well.  I remember once I pointed out to him that the thing he was using as a pillow was a steel drainpipe, and I suggested to him that it might not be too comfortable.  "No worries," he told me.  "She'll be sweet — I've got it stuffed with straw."  But he was still lazy, and that brings me to this laziness competition they had one Sunday on the old Speewah station.  Everybody who entered had an hour to get an apple from the other side of the stockyard and eat it, all in the laziest way possible.  Well, Lazy Harry felt he was honour-bound to take out the prize, but he was up against a mean field.

First, there was this big hairy Scotsman, who sort of sauntered across, got to the apple in about 45 minutes, then lay down in some nearby shade, and slowly ate the apple, finishing right on the bell.  The crowd went wild at this, and thought he'd take the prize, but then there was this Irishman up next.

He walked calmly across to the apple, getting to it after just one minute, and gulped it down.  People reckoned he had to be mad, but the next thing he did was to lie down in the same spot, which was out in the sun, and snooze for the next fifty eight minutes, so he got points for being too lazy to move into the shade, and he'd had a good long rest.

Then came this Englishman, who lay down near the start, in the shade, rested for fifty nine minutes, then sprinted for the apple, opened his mouth, and crammed the whole lot in, just as the bell went.  So he got points for a fifty nine minute rest, for staying in the shade, and he looked like a certain winner.  Nobody could beat that, but Lazy Harry was looking quietly confident.

Harry walked up to the start line, and said to the boss, who was acting as umpire: "What do I have to do to win this competition?"  The boss assumes Harry was asleep before, and so he patiently explains the rules, about the time limit, getting to the apple and eating it, and doing it in a lazier way than all the others.

Lazy Harry shrugs his shoulders and wanders off, saying "Blow that for a joke.  It's too much like hard work!", and the crowd goes wild with rage, especially the ones that had put their money on Lazy Harry to win.  Harry ignores all that and flops down in the shade.

Then over all the fuss and bother, Crooked Mick's voice comes loud and clear: "If Harry's too lazy to even pick up the apple, then he just has to be the winner, eh boss?"  Well the boss thought about this for a moment, and then realised that as you'd expect, nobody else had come anywhere near being as lazy as Lazy Harry.  Except maybe his dog, and the dog couldn't stand eating apples, so he wouldn't enter.  He was lazy, but he was smart that dog.  If he'd set his mind to it, he could've won, easy, but he knew how much mental effort he'd have to put in.

* * * * *

Note: there is a whole book of these stories, which I am currently pitching to publishers, but they will probably appear in an e-book.

There will be quite a number of these on the blog, all with the tags Speewah and Crooked Mick.

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