by Irwin Hirsh
(First published in Larrikin 16, June 1988, edited by Irwin Hirsh and Perry Middlemiss)
Wendy and I arrived back home from my GUFF trip on Friday morning, the 18th of December, and using that quiet efficiency for which he is known Carey Handfield had us booked for a Xmas dinner at his and Jo Masters's place within 24 hours of our arrival. Also within that first 24 hours we'd created one hell of a mess throughout our dining and lounge rooms. Two of the bags we had been living out of belonged to my parents and they were leaving for Bali in two days. Plonk! and suddenly the bags' contents was everywhere. Three of the boxes we'd sent home had arrived, and their contents were also on the floor. I did my calculations. "Wendy, we sent home 51 kilos of books, and what you see there is only 14 kilos of it," I said. "Gulp!" was about the response.
"We've got to do something about this mess Irwin" Wendy said, a short while later, and I, with my usual prioritising competency, stacked the four months' worth of mail into neat piles and incorporated our Duty-Free-bought-in-Hong- Kong-Compact-Disc-Player into our sound system. I stood back and surveyed the scene. It was no neater. The spot where we had placed our duty-free buys was now a mountain of packing materials. Defeated by my attempts, I put on a CD and sat down at the stacks of mail to do four months' of catching up.
"I wanna go back!" cried Wendy as she lay on our bed. "Why did we have to come home?"
"I don't know," I murmured as I lay down next to her. Soaking up the familiarity of the mattress beneath me I added "But at least we're back in our own bed."