Arthur and the Brown Paper Bag | By: Thomas Graeme Chapman | | Category: Short Story - Comedy Bookmark and Share

Arthur and the Brown Paper Bag

I worked there in Melbourne with Arthur;
It's fifty years now since those days.
He possessed a great sense of humour
As this little story portrays.

He'd come out from England some years back;
And others of family stock
Would visit, then Arthur and fam'ly
Would meet at Victoria Dock.

Now one of his two little daughters
Was somewhere between one and two,
And Arthur, on board, changed her nappy,
'Twas now full of Pentavite poo.

Yes, those were the days of the 'wash-outs',
(Disposable nappies weren't known),
So Arthur had carefully placed it
In a brown paper bag all alone.

With their disembarkment completed,
The crowd moved along to the gate
With customs officials inspecting
'Most everyone's personal freight.

But as they approached the main exit
That led on towards Footscray Road,
The toddler ran out through the gateway,
Then Arthur, with paper bag load.

This really impromptu pursuit then
Ran right past a customs check man
Who suddenly showed a great int'rest
In why all this action began.

"Come back 'ere!", the officer cried out
To Arthur, his bag firmly gripped.
"So what's in that bag that you've got there,?
And what's been illegally shipped?"

Now Arthur was for a performance,
And this one was too good to miss.
An audience, just what he wanted,
Was gath'ring to cheer, or to hiss.

"So what have you got in the bag there?"
(Authority making a stand)
"It's nothing for you", answered Arthur,
Not wanting to yet show his hand.

The customs man got quite persistent,
But Arthur politely refused
To show him the paper bag contents:
The nappy so really well used.

But patience was now wearing thin,
The charade was now at its last,
And Arthur again checked his audience:
The crowd had by now grown quite vast.

The time had arrived to reveal
What lay in each purposeful fold,
And Arthur moved close to the agent;
The nappy would soon be unrolled.

So Arthur peered down in the bag then
To check he was holding it right;
The coloured side had to face outwards,
The side nearest him must be white.

He grabbed the uppermost corner,
The one that was still nice and clean,
Then up past the inspector's noseó
His face turned a nice shade of green.

The sight of what hovered before him,
The odour, the Pentavite yellow,
Was more than he even considered;
Completely undid the poor fellow.

With hand to his mouth, he ran off to
The officers' lavatory stall;
And Arthur's great public performance
Was cheered and applauded by all.
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