Jazz at the Barbecue

    The boy stood on the burning decking
    Till all but he had fled
    As flames consumed the rustic fence
    And engulfed the potting shed

    Alas, he thought, I am undone
    Alone without a friend
    A night at next door’s barbecue
    Has brought me to this end

    He wished he’d listened to his mum
    She’d told him not to go
    She’d said, No good will come of it
    You’ll reap just what you sow

    He’d paid no heed to these wise words
    He never did think twice
    The girl of his dreams would be there
    So he ignored the kind advice

    Her name it was Shaz Smurthwaite
    A nubile bottle-blonde
    He’d seen her sunbathing topless
    Beside the garden pond

    He’d even bought a telescope
    To admire her tanned physique
    And when he spied her new tattoo
    His knees had gone all weak

    He bought some high-strength lager
    From the local corner shop
    Some sausages and beefburgers
    An out-of-date pork chop

    With his brand new two-tone hairdo
    And a piercing through his lip
    He felt like a streetwise sophisticate
    Surburban, chic and hip

    He saw her in the garden
    His suntanned, bleached–blonde prize
    He grabbed her between the gazebos
    And stared into her eyes

    Hello, he said, I live next door
    I thought this might be fun
    I’ve got a Cumberland sausage
    Just right for your sesame bun

    But Shaz just stared right through him
    As though he were a louse
    Chatting instead to a bloke called Ned
    Inside the summer house

    So he sat and drank his lager
    Beneath a rose-laced trellis
    And as the ale flowed through his veins
    His head was filled with malice

    The music pounded louder
    The garden came alive
    And when they heard Chuck Berry
    Some folks began to jive

    The drunk boy spilled his lager
    Till his clothes were wringing wet
    Different sounds could soon be heard
    As the sun began to set

    Ned and Shaz then re-emerged
    To the sound of Miles Davis’s trumpet
    Ha, smirked the lager-loosened lad,
    The rake is with his strumpet
                    
    They began to dance the jitterbug
    Inappropriately and out of order
    Inevitably crashing headlong
    Into the herbaceous border

    The lager lad leapt to his feet
    His aled-up blood was hot
    Some people dance quite well, said he
    But you, of course, can…not

    Aggravation then was in the air
    Fisticuffs did soon ensue
    An open-jawed big woman roared
    Please mind the barbecue

    They heeded not her warning
    Crashing both left and right
    Half-cooked kebabs went flying
    And flames lit up the night

    The boy stood on the burning decking
    His shell suit all aglow
    But though he staggered back and forth
    There was no place to go

    The moral of this story is
    When you go to a barbecue
    You should try to be quite circumspect
    In all the things you do

    Beware of tanked-up jealous lads
    And blonde bombshells called Shaz
    And if there must be music
    Avoid all types of jazz

Richard Raftery