THE LIFE OF VURM CONTINUED
The Life of Vurm
So now Dr Vurm lay dead on my kitchen table,
(The Guinea pig that is, not the beloved if somewhat disreputable Medical Practitioner for whom he was named.)and an impromtu Wake was in session to mark his passing.
Why was he on MY kitchen table of all places you might ask.
Well, the short answer is that my house at the time was like a Museum of Oddities. I’d been there eight years and aside from my own collecting and hoarding proclivities, well-wishers would bring me curious gifts, figuring that my place was the proper repository for such things as the strange, the maimed and the broken.
Here, they’d say, have this jar of mummified rat foetuses, or these carpet snakes that are eating all my chickens or this candelabra, it’s got most of the pieces, or this strangely octopoidal-shaped tree stump that weighs half a ton or this crocodile skeleton I found in the creek-bed, or this coin run over by a train. Why not a dead guinea pig, I guess my friends thought, I might have a use for it.
As it happened I didn’t, but the lunatic amateur Taxidermist, living in the black combi van parked semi-permanently in my driveway, did.
At this point some of you will no doubt want to know why there was a Taxidermist living in a black van in my driveway.
And I could tell you, oh yes.
But explaining Mad Nigel, from the tip of his fluorescent Mohawk right down to the soles of his deformed feet shaped like cloven hooves (which is why, he said, that he never took his boots off when someone else was around) is a complete Odyssey unto itself and if I follow too many digressions, Gentle Reader, then we will never finish this parable and I know that you’re all hungering for closure.
So let’s just sum up his presence for now by saying that my Museum collected Human Oddities as well as inanimate objects. Oh Yes! The Lost and the Lonely would turn up at my doorstep, the Lunatics and the Love-lorne, the Freeloaders and Freaks, prostitutes, drug addicts, schizophrenics, lesbians, artists, anarchists, visionary satanists or wanna-be-writers/pop stars/poets/whatever, came looking for shelter; and I would put them up for a day or a week or a month or for however long it took for them to get their act together or become an unendurable nuisance that required removal.
Nigel at least had the virtue of coming with his own accommodation, we just had to run an extension cord out to the van and put out a water bowl for Poppy, his Dingo.
Yes, he had a Dingo living with him in the Van.
And now back to our story..
Anyway the Wake had barely begun when the Taxidermist declared that he wanted to flay and stuff Vurm for my collection.
Now, if it had been my own Guinea Pig you understand, sentiment would have deterred me from “interfering with the corpse of a Loved One.” But Vurm was a mere acquaintance and after all, I thought, he wouldn’t be the first Guinea Pig to donate his body for Science. Or maybe it was for Art. Actually, I was uncertain under which category this experiment stood. Possibly it lay somewhere in between, something multi-disciplinary and conceptual. In any event it would surely be Educational. The thought of a little dissection didn’t disturb me; I used to be a nurse, so I’m professionally hardened to the sight of stuff like corpses and blood and shit.
Ok, I said.
Taking in mind the Gentle Readers sensitivities,I shall here skip the goriest details and move forward in time to the preparation of the hide..
So I am idly sitting there watching Mad Nigel rubbing soap and arsenic or some such toxic slurry into the flayed skin lying there on my kitchen table (At least he had spread a couple of newspapers out, in the name of hygiene, before he started work) when I am struck by a sort of Eureka Moment, a revelation that will take our Project to the next Creative Level!
As I’ve mentioned, my house was a sort of Museum of Oddities.
and the kitchen shelves overflowed with strange Found and Constructed objects. Amongst them, in pride of place on the top shelf above the kitchen table, was a favourite toy of mine that I’d found one day in an Op-shop.
A genuine relic of the Seventies, it was a glow-in-the-dark, wind-up, walking dinosaur skeleton. Fashioned, as I recall, in the form of a Brontosaurus, I could have sold it to a cashed-up collector for a healthy sum, and my cats hated it with a passion, but Sentiment and Nostalgia kept it in my collection.
The mechanical component was housed in its ribcage. When you cranked up the key in its side, it would lurch forward with a weird, stiff-legged stride, the gears grinding and whirring loudly. Irresistible, and I shed 30 years every time I wound it up and set it limping along, but now I was struck by a thought;
It’s exactly the same size as the Guinea Pig”, said my brain,” If we combined the two then maybe..”
“Vurm will Walk the Earth Again!” I cried,
startling the Taxidermists, with this sudden and unexpected announcement.
But as soon as I explained my idea Mad Nigel’s eyes gleamed. This was a project after his own black heart.
And so the experiment took an unexpected tangent. I was a little sad to be losing my beloved walking dinosaur, but consoled at the thought that by making this sacrifice I would be gaining a unique specimen of increased value. At least, in my eyes.
Happily as we proceeded we found the dinosaur indeed fitted well within the hide. We were even able to match and stitch the legs quite well, both brontosauri and cavies having short stumpy limbs.
All sewn up, and with a bit of padding Vurm looked pretty good, considering he was deceased, though the soap in the toxic slurry had set his fur into uneven “punkesque” spikes
“A little bit on the Pet Cemetery side, though,” I complained, “I think its the ghastly lack of eyes people will find most disturbing.”
“I could put led-lights in the sockets, “the Taxidermist mused,” I think theres room for a battery”
“Make it so Dr Frankenstein,” I commanded, “oh and make them red.”
So with some more tinkering and borrowing of fuse wire from the Combi-Van we are finally ready for Vurm’s big moment, a trial run across the kitchen table. Newspapers and accoutrements are swept aside. Vurms new eyes glowed with what I can only assume was anticipation. I wound the spring up as much as I dared and set him down
It was at this moment, as the red-eyed, re-animated Guinea Pig lurched and limped stiff-legged across the table to our cheers and encouragement, that a pack of police swarmed up my steps and burst thru the back-door into the kitchen, dramatically waving a search warrant..
To be concluded..
The Reverend Hellfire is a practising Performance Poet, President of the Kurilpa Institute of Creativity and an ordained Minister of the Church of Spiritual Humanism AND the Church of the Universe but nontheless still cannot get *#!!%!ing WordPress to format correctly today, damn their oily hides!
How long, oh Lord, how Long!