The Perils of Possum Point is a work of fiction. Any resemblance between persons, organisations or events described here and actual persons, organisations or events is purely unintentional.
It was another balmy midwinter day at Possum Point, with the rain creating a thick layer of chilled muck throughout the community. "It's the inundation," said Trevor McGill. "Happens every year." This was news to Ned, as the subject had not come up when he bought the property. Of course, Ned's shack being on the lowest ground, the mud was so deep that he could scarcely make it through the back garden to the back door. When he did get to the back door, he still had to fight his way through the beams left around after renovations, including a lot of loose metal from the roof incident.
Drainage was a major issue in Possum Point, and it would have been given more attention, but for the imminent collapse of the village hall. The hall was used for late night beer bashes by the Satan's Slaves motorcycle gang, as well as for indoor bowls, and so it served the majority of the community. A local contractor had convinced the district Council that the structure was unstable and had to be torn down, then volunteered to do this for no more than the usual fee. In the face of this generosity, the Council could only agree.
At this stage, Possum Point went to war. Pickets were set up around the hall, with Mavis Gromlin and old Bill Higgins donning slouch caps and oilcloths and patrolling the perimeter until long after dark. Signs were raised. Funds were gathered. There was talk of secession.
All of this continued for some weeks. Petitions were passed from door to door and signed. Possum tails were attached to every aerial on every car. John tied glubglub to the fence around the hall, with the expectation that he would howl if the contractors came. Instead, of course, he enthusiastically dug a large hole under the fence and set about chewing the decayed woodwork at the base of the building.
At length, the Council backed down, and erected a gigantic elephant fence around the place. From then on, Possum Point people and Council members silently glared at each other at every community meeting. And so, this year--as, for other reasons, in every other year--the drainage issue was never addressed. The inundation came, the water rose up, as did the mud, and Ned considered trading the Mazda for a Jeep.
But today, Ned had an idea. Perhaps he could extend the roof....
"Have to talk to Council," said Jason, leaning on his shovel next door. "Council'd not be pleased, mate."
"Extend the front part, so that.."
"Council again," said Jason.
"Put a pump.."
"Dig a ditch.."
"What ye reckon?"
"Council?" asked Ned, wearily.
"There ye go," responded Jason.
"And you'll pay a bomb before they even pick their nose," interjected Sara, who had just stepped outside.
"Would that be before or after they issue a permit?" asked Ned.
|"During," said Sara. "It
goes something like this: pay for the nosepick, then pay
the application fee; nosepick, processing fee; nosepick
again, permit fee, another nosepick, an inspection fee,
more nosepick; plan review fee, nose gouge, inspection
fee, fee fee, tax on fee, GST for fee, nosepick fee, and
you start all over again."
"Pretty harsh," said Jason.
"Mebbe I'll just turn the house into a boat, then..."
"Docking fee," laughed Jason.
"Nosepick fee," added Sara.
"Ah, well," sighed Ned, climbing back over the construction rubbish until he gradually reached the door.
Later that evening, if you listened closely, you could hear the strains of a banjo rendition of Dixie from somewhere within Ned's cabin.
Copyright (c) 1996, 1997 Brian J. Dooley