The Badger was lonely; the Mongoose had gone,
and he didn’t much care, if at all, to be wearing
the clothing she’d made him – he’d rather wear none
but his fur. But for her sake, he did (with some swearing).
“I used to live life just the way that I pleased,”
(he exclaimed) “and right now I just can’t do a thing -
for the Mongoose requires all her tastes are appeased,
and is used to the life of an Indian King.”
He fell silent. “I’m just an old crosspatch,” he sighed,
“I’m most fortunate really to land on my feet
in a house where I’m welcome in warmth to abide,
and with nobody else on a quiet little street.”
He considered a while, then said, “Talk to myself?
I’m just one step from madness, and as for Town Owl,
if he knows of some human called Whiskers himself,
he should send him along with some bricks, and a trowel.”
A commotion outside made him leap to his feet,
and he poked his old nose through the curtains (most blue).
No delivery van had arrived, but a fleet
of enormous tracked vehicles, lined up two by two.
They went down to the end of the row, and he peered
from the scrubby front garden, all rank with deep weeds,
as they thundered and lumbered and finally cleared
the end house of the row into dust through their deeds.
“It’s all over,” he sighed. Then the van came at last,
and because it was paid for, they wouldn’t take back
any goods that the Mongoose had bought him. Well, blast;
they’d not keep the least thing, not a nail or a tack.
Two enormous great piles of cement and of sand
were now heaped in the road by the side of the house;
and at last he perceived, despite all that he’d planned,
that he needed some help, but he hadn’t a mouse
that would come in a cap saying ‘Free!’ to assist.
So he lay with his head in his paws on the floor
full of woe and defeat. He could only resist
when they came with their clatter to break down the door.
He awoke with a start as a truck rattled by,
never meaning to fall all asleep on the job,
and he went to the window; egads! Now quite why
had his pile of materials gone? Could some mob
from the great big machinery, fancying cash
for these brand new materials, bought at such cost
have arrived in a group, and run off in a flash?
For the whole lot had gone, every drop of it lost.
He sneaked out of the back, and just stared at the sight,
for around him were piled all the things that had proved
more than Badger could manage to carry; tonight
he could start on the décor. If no one had moved
all this stuff, he was finished. Now who could it be?
Mister Whiskers? A herd of great hat wearing crows
that had come to assist, and with none there to see,
had flapped off with the lot from right under his nose?
Never mind. Although futile, he’d work for a while.
And perhaps, just perhaps, this solicitor bird
that the Mongoose had hired might arrange a quick trial,
and provide a delay of the kind he preferred.
So the Badger got busy, and stuck out his chest;
he removed all the woodwork, and most of the tiles.
Then with all of the skill that his species possessed,
he began to make concrete, with wily old smiles.