Dudley Street Doggies – Greens With Envy (Grand Final 2016 Edition)

SYDvWBDClem was up, but he was down. He could hardly resent that Quang’s gift of a 2016 membership didn’t guarantee them all a crack at a Grand Final ticket. After having seen all of their home games, it was still a shame that they’d be missing for the big game. The biggest Doggies game since 1961.

Instead, they were going to repeat last week’s gathering in Quang’s lounge room. Clem insisted on a more traditional footy menu this week, bringing his own supply of party pies, sausage rolls, “little boys” and, for a cosmopolitan touch, some mini bacon quiches. And a catering sized bottle of White Crow sauce.

As they settled in for the beginning of the Dogstel telecast, Van’s phone rang. And rang. And rang. It was Van’s son Paul, who, to everyone else’s slight annoyance, was attending the North Melbourne GF breakfast, a perk of his continued rise up the ranks of accounting giants Clive Waterhose, and after that, attending the game behind glass like some sort of theatre going theatre goer.

Paul overheard that there had been panic at the nearby table full of AFL big knobs nobs, but he knew just what to do and had jumped on the blower to his dad.

“What is it?”, said Quang, after Van put down his Windows phone (it was cheap), fumbling with the simple four swipe gesture required to finish the call.

“Paul heard that there’s been a problem with the entertainment”, replied Van. “String’s people have complained that they haven’t given him the four trays of slightly wilted assorted Asian greens he requested in his ride-on. He’s apparently throwing a tantric and he’s not going on unless they sort it out in the next half hour. Paul’s spoken to Gillian O’Loughlin and promised that he’ll fix it.”

“Sorry Clem”, said Quang, “But I’m gonna have to take back that box of stuff I gave you this morning”

So they piled into Van’s van, since it was the last one into the driveway. Quang, Clem, Van. “What about the kids?”, said Clem. So Li and Danny squeezed in too.

As they roared down Barkly St and turned into Dudley St, the streets were awash with red, white and blue, warming their hearts. Clem chucked the keys to Danny, who slipped in to the (unlocked) back door and grabbed the styrofoam box full of this week’s market leftovers. Or, more accurately, swept up what was left of them after Clem’s dog Bess had nudged the lid open and scattered them over the cement laundry floor. Invoking the 10 second 60 minute rule, Danny figured that a bit of roughage wouldn’t make any difference. Or dog hair.

With no time to lose, the white Bongo zoomed past Alan Mance, Poon’s and Franco Cozzo, avoiding the temptations of Dynon Road’s entertainment precinct. It was all a blur until they hit Jolimont Road, where they were held up by the Police traffic barrier.

“What’s the password?” asked the copper.

A confused Van stuttered “Der, Der, Der, Um, Der, Da, Da, Da …”

“Close enough”, and they were waved through to Brunton Avenue, where they were met by a wet blanket with a fluoro jacket and a clipboard.

“What’s in there sir?”, the officious official offered.

“Bok Choy”, announced Van.

“Shit, we’ve been waiting for him to turn up, he’s late. Drive on through”, said OO, squelching “He’s here” into his two-way radio.

Another fluoro coat waved the van into a parking spot and with a curt “Follow me, you’re late” led the five of them through a maze of tunnels and stairs and suddenly they found themselves walking up the race and onto the MCG turf.

“Ok, which one of you is Vance?” the grizzled veteran of forty years of Grand Final entertainment rustling asked. “If you ask me, they should have stuck with Barry Crocker, or the Coodabeens or even the finalists from Australian Idol, but oh, no, they have to pander to the younger ones. Geez, the Living Bend, never heard of them. But at least I remember B Bumble and the Stingers, can’t wait for that one later on. Wait… where have they gone…?”

Realising what had happened, Danny, Li, Van, Quang and Clem (in that order) slipped away back into the MCG bowels.

They had no idea how to get back to the van. “Oh dear, Sling’s gonna be annoyed”, thought Van, but there wasn’t much more they could do.

Then it dawned on them. They were inside the ground for the Grand Final. As long as they kept moving, no-one would question them about their seats, so they found their way upstairs into a hub of catering outlets.

One of them was being operated by a pleasant young girl whose efficiently stocked pie warmer proved the answer to their pregame pangs. “What a nice kid”, remarked Clem, “I can see that she’s been brought up well”. If only he knew.

Finding gaps of five seats was tricky, so they gave Paul a call.

A few minutes later, he came down with five tickets in his pocket and they piled into the lift up to the AFL Members.

“Be careful”, Paul whispered. “I’ve borrowed these tickets from people who are still up there. Just keep moving when you get there”

They found a few spare seats, not adjacent, but close enough to each other. It was the highest that Clem had ever been since the night he went out the back to the incinerator, when the kids next door had tried some whoopee weed the weekend their parents were in Byron Bay.

They were a long way away from the entertainment, but there was a silver lining. Just before the game started, a section of seats opened up, as five Pommy types upped and left, the skinny bloke muttering some choysum expletives. “They better have those f*cking greens ready. I bet Meatloaf didn’t miss out.”

It was real. They’d made it to the Grand Final after all.

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When the final siren went, they were Doglirious. Ecstatic.

They somehow found the van and made it home about four hours after the siren.

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This morning Clem caught a taxi to the cemetery.

“We did it Madge, we bloody well did it”

Go Bullydogs!!!

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For more Clem look  here

About Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt

Saw my first SANFL game in 1967 - Dogs v Peckers. Have only ever seen the Dogs win 1 final in the flesh (1972 1st Semi) Mediocre forward pocket for the AUFC Blacks (1982-89) Life member - Ormond Netball Club -That's me on the right

Comments

  1. You bloody old softie Swish. Suck me in with the gags and then make me cry with the punchline. Bastard.

  2. Phillip Dimitriadis says:

    Brilliant Swish.
    This morning I was thinking about all those Doggies who passed on like Madge. And what a way to get in to the game !! Van’s van mistaken for Vance. Love the wordplay and the imagery.

    Great seeing you at the GF lunch. Hope to get a chance to talk more next time. I was chewing PB’s ear as he was chewing on some gristle. Good to meet you and the Avenging Eagle, too PB. Enjoyed our chat.

  3. Superb Swish and surely,Beveridge meant to really call Clem to the stage ?

  4. Well done Swish. I suspect a few people last night looking up to the stars were talking about the game.

  5. Michele Davis says:

    Swish,
    Having not read any Almanac stuff this whole year, (Clem is my favourite Almanacer)
    found myself wondering what became of Clem.
    last I heard he was in the Western General with the broken leg.
    Was worried he’d joined Madge.
    So I’ve caught up with Clem and Quang’s antics.
    Love them all.
    Surely there’s a movie in this?
    Cheers
    Michele

  6. That is very funny!
    You could write for Coodabeens talk back callers. Love the quirky use of words and your depiction of character.

    For a bit a school holiday entertainment I went out to Footscray during last week and was serenaded by Tang on the train, to the tune of You Raise Me Up, as high as I could be…. He was minus most of his ivories and when he sang his eyes lit up. He got a big applause from us in the carriage. Your story reminds me of Tang.
    Hopefully more episodes to come.

  7. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says:

    Thanks all.

    Hmm, “Clem: The Fillum” , what a good idea.

  8. Footscray print coming with a Ponderosa, will you pass it on to Clem?

  9. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says:

    I’m sure he’ll appreciate it Mike. He can put it up next to the 2007 EsE-2C chemist shop calendar.

  10. As long it’s not the back of the dunny door…

  11. Swish- thanks for this fantastic series- it’s been funny and life-affirming and moving. When a movie is made of the Dogs’ season here’s the treatment. Shop it around!

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