Th Pigs Head

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
One night a woman in stockinged feet runs to Louise's grandmothers door.

Submitted: June 17, 2013

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Submitted: June 17, 2013

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The pigs head

 

“You’re a bloody idiot mum!”

 Louise looked from her uncles to her darling big irreverent grandmother who said nothing, but pursed her lips and slammed the saucepans as she washed up.

“Yeah, what dyer think she was doin’ down the reserve at midnight anyway?”

That was the other uncle. Big rude working boys they were, stomping into the house refusing to take off their work boots. Slamming down at the table the dirt falling off their boots and demanding of Granny when she asked them to please take off their boots for her new clean floor;

“Look, just give us our dinner will ya?”

 

Even though her grandfather respectfully took his boots off at the front door he never said a word to either of the boys on Granny’s behalf. Louise wondered at this. Just this afternoon Louise had watched her Granny polish the lino with some liquid and a little polishing machine with round lamb’s wool covers on the feet that ran away if you didn’t hold it carefully. Granny let Louise try but it scared her and she thought it would get away and go running around the kitchen floor by itself. After the cleaning they made a coconut cake for the boys for supper and tomorrows crib as well. It was her grandmother’s specialty.

 

“Bet he gave her a bloody hiding when e got her home”. The uncles were still going on about what happened last night.

 

“Beat the bloody crap outa her, I’ll bet! Dangerous bastards those dagos”.

 

“They’ll stick a knife in ya as soon as look at ya”.

 

“An you let her in! Christ!”

 

It was about midnight when she came banging on the door. She didn’t have much English and her eyes were wide with fright. Sobbing, shaking, unintelligible, her feet were clad only in stockings and she was freezing cold. Granny asked her straight in, no hesitation, sat her down made her a cup of sweet tea and put a blanket around her shoulders. Granny made her sit right in front of the heater until she calmed down a bit and Granny could try to talk to her again. In broken English she tried to explain. She tried to explain about the man, his car, shopping for a pigs head in the afternoon, her shoes, her purse; a husband. That brought on a torrent of yet more tears and hysteria as though she had only just remembered she had one.

 

Granny was asking her if she had a phone by doing actions with her hands.

 

“Do you have a tel-e-phone at home…phoni? Phone? Ring? Ring?”

 

“Si si telefono!” She understood and rushed to the phone when Granny led her to the kitchen.

 

Not many people had phones in their houses so it was lucky the lady did and Granny had one too. Most of the neighbors came to use her Grandmother’s phone. It was mossy green and sat proudly on the end of the kitchen bench. As you talked you could twirl the curly cord around your fingers. The lady’s conversation was wild and rapid and Granny of course, couldn’t follow a word. Her husband soon knocked at the door and they left without saying much because as soon as the lady saw her husband she was hysterical again and he hurried her off with a quick ‘grazi’ to Granny.

The uncles were still berating Granny about letting the lady in when she didn’t know her from Adam and Louise understood they thought she was a very bad lady indeed.

“And what was that about a pigs head? What the bloody hell was she on about?”

“Who carries bloody pigs heads around with them?’

“Oh Wes, don’t be so stupid, they cook them”, her grandmother said.

“How?”

“Why?”

“That’s disgusting.”

“Who’d eat a pigs head?”

“All sounds pretty fishy to me”.

Granny sighed and shook her head.

 

 

Louisa wanted to believe the woman. It seemed important somehow, her grandmother believed her and she knew to trust her grandmother. The uncles were not to be trusted. If she could find the pigs head it would prove her story. It all hinged on the pigs head in Louise’s mind.

 

She walked down to the reserve on the lake and it was quite easy to find, she just followed the trail of newspaper. There, neck down on the ground was a pigs head. The flies were beginning to gather. She had never seen a pigs head before and could not imagine anyone eating such a thing. She found two sticks and gingerly turned it on its side. She was disappointed. She expected blood and gore but it just looked clean and pinkish and neatly cut off at the neck, just like something from the butchers which of course it was, but Louise had never seen one but it wasn’t too terrible. She poked the stick up into the cavity of its neck with no result. It was not even bloody.

 

Turning it back over with her big toe she looked into its eyes that were wide and staring and fringed with long ginger lashes. She thought of the stupid uncles right away, even their side burns were ginger.

She stomped back up to her grandmothers’ quite sure now.

 

She knew something had changed the minute she entered the lounge room and saw the uncles plonked on the lounge, their arms crossed over their chests, scowling into the new colour television.

 

“I’m not eatin no bloody wog food.” They seemed to need to announce to Louise. She didn’t answer them but followed the laughing voices and clinking tea cups into the dining room.

 

Around the dining room table were her Grandmother, the lady from last night and her husband. They were eating an amazing cake the couple had brought to thank Granny. The husband’s English was a lot better than his wife’s and Granny said he was just about to tell the story. Louisa was offered tea and cake and joined them.

 

The woman worked as a kitchen hand in an Italian restaurant at Warrawong. She had worked with the man for some time and thought it would be fine to accept a lift home from him, and it would save the cab fare. As they came up Redall Parade just in front of her Grandparents and her own house he had turned quickly into the reserve on Boonerah Point. She struggled to get away from him and out of the car so he threw her shoes out of the window while holding tightly on to her with the other

 

“Can’t go home without ya shoes can ya?”

“You’ll be in trouble then”.

“Or ya purse ha ha” and out that went too, but the woman and her husband had retrieved that and her shoes the night before.

Then the man threw the pigs head out.

 

“Can’t go home without ya pigs head can ya?”

“What’ll ya old man say without his dinner hey?”

 

“Ya can’t get home without me, and ya can’t run anywhere.”

 

But she could run and she did run. She saw a row of houses and in one the lights were still on. Granny was up reading in front of the heater. It was not clear how the lady got away to Louise, but apparently she kicked the man somewhere and her jumper came off when she pulled away too. She saw a light and ran straight to Granny in her cold and stockinged feet.

 

Louise stayed a bit longer but getting bored with adult conversation decided to go home. On the way out, she leant on the lounge room arch with her arms folded and narrowed her eyes at her uncles. She imagined them with piggy little eyes with their ginger lashes, and great pink snouts. She imagined them as just two heads on the lounge and giggled at the thought.

 

“Wad you lookin at ya bug eyed little shit”? They seemed to sense her disapproval.

 

“Stupid pigs!” she cried

 

Then laughing she ran and was outside before they had time to get up off the lounge. Hearing the fly door slam she yelled once more over her shoulder,

“Stupid fat pigs”

Her blond plaits flew as she ran home across the paddock to her house laughing all the way.


© Copyright 2020 VeraAmy. All rights reserved.

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