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Lennie LowerLennie Lower’s Annual: A Side Splitter (Sydney: National Press, 1944), pp. 30-31; originally published as “Spoils of War,” Smith’s Weekly, June 17, 1944, p. 9.

We now have a Chairman of the Commonwealth Disposals Commission. This is to sell off surplus war material after the war is over.

It might be a good idea to buy up some of this stuff and sell it at a large profit when we have our next war.

A second-hand tank could be let out as a flat, for instance.

You could shell peas much quicker with a machine-gun, or a pea-rifle or something.

I could think of a lot of uses for gas masks.

Naming no names, of course.

And you needn’t look at me like that.

And I would like a bulldozer with a direction-finder on it.

No trouble getting home. The direction-finder gets you home, and the bulldozer gets you in.

No key required.

I would also like an after-the-war parachute. My pyjamas are in a terrible state, and no coupons, and I think it would be swell just to blow into your pyjamas and float up to the ceiling, out of the window, up the street (following me?), and just have a look about to see where you parked your jeep the night before.

I would like a jeep to play golf in.

It would save a lot of mucking about.

What’s more, I could do with a few booby-traps.

I am prepared to pay good dough for these.

How jolly to see the landlord blown fifteen feet in the air, and when he came down you could say: “Well, it serves you right! I’ve been complaining about our bath-heater for eight months!”

That would give him something to ponder on.

There will be miles and miles of barbed-wire left over, which will be very handy for scrubbing pots and for clotheslines.

Especially clothes-lines.

The head of the house tells me that she can’t buy clothes pegs these days. Which reminds me again of my pyjamas.

When I get into my pyjamas I seem to come out the other side. The buttons are all there on the coat, but what’s the use of that?

My pyjamas are now hung out to dry in the bathroom, so that the neighbors won’t see them.

Which is damn silly, because I don’t think any of our neighbours have any pyjamas at all.

Not that they really need them, being married, and the cold weather and all that.

I would like most from the Chairman of the Commonwealth Disposals Commission a tent.

Just a tent!

“A tent, my ration book and thou – and Mr. Curtin – the wilderness were paradise enow.”

I quote of course.

I would never say “enow.” The compositors wouldn’t stand it.

But, man, if there’s going to be any surplus war stores, I still want to buy my old regimental sergeant-major.

Also a bugler and a cook.

Would I like to see an out-of-work ex-provost? Pounds I would pay for him.

Lastly, I would like from the army surplus stores a couple of those bed-boards for guests who stay for the week-end. And a kitbag full of things that stick into your neck when you use them as pillows.

I do not want a submarine.

It would disturb our goldfish and, besides, I’m sunk already.

There’s one thing about it: If we hadn’t had a war, we wouldn’t have had all these things left over.

Aren’t we lucky!