Genial Johnny was a showman,
With a tent variety show,
Magic acts and animals,
Well known out on the road.

He had lions and some ponies,
Plus monkeys, quite a few,
The lord of all these primates,
Was an olive King baboon.

Johnny owned a swag of trucks,
Out on the dusty track.
A flat top carried the lions,
And the baboon on the back!

A Cane-ite sheet divided,
The rusting metal cages,
No one seemed to notice,
It was thin as paper pages.

The trucks all lined in convoy,
Driving till the sun was nil,
On the bumpy, dusty gravel roads,
On the way to Broken Hill!

The city lights still miles away,
In the dusty morning gloom,
The least of all their worries,
Was the olive King baboon.

Thirty yards the distance,
Behind the lions truck,
The trailing driver senses,
Something’s about to come unstuck!

One long toot on the old Chevs horn,
A warning all should stop,
One look at the raging Leo,
They knew he’d blown his top.

The lion claws the Cane-ite,
The baboon’s quite alarmed,
He can’t escape the mauling paw,
Leo’s got him by the arm.

Johnny’s eyes are bulging,
All are standing there non-plussed,
The baboons arm flies through the air,
Lies quivering in the dust.

Two blokes distract the lion,
Try and calm the blinding rage,
While Johnny and one other,
Drag the baboon from its cage.

The King baboon is mesmerised,
Staring at the bloodied stump,
Eyes go round like a chocolate wheel,
As it collapses in a clump!

Johnny calls for fishing line,
Canvas needle from the truck,
Cool as a plastic surgeon,
He sews the bugger up.

Wrap the baboon up real tight,
Protect from shock and chill,
All take off like the “clappers”,
The next stop Broken Hill!

Reach the town in darkness,
No Vets around till morn,
Take the baboon to the hospital,
Plonk him in the casualty ward,

To the doctors it’s a challenge,
He’s patched up very soon,
Johnny’s thinking of a banner,
The world’s first one-armed baboon!

© Dudley C. Pye A.M, J.P.

[from the story, Six of the Best]