Day 79: Matchbox Boats

Matchbox Boats
by
Matt Zurbo

Josh’s family had not much money,
but he didn’t care.
He made a matchbox boat,
from recycled fare.
(Josh making a matchbox boat made of inside of matchbox, a matchstick mast, a torn square piece of paper for a sail.)

To him it was a pirate ship,
manned by a small lot,
of thieving desperadoes,
captained by a lousy sot!
(Hand crookedly holding actual pirate ship, with startled/angry crew. Some just holding on.)

Guy lived across the road.
He did just the same:
built a matchbox boat,
so they could play a game.
(Guy running with matchbox boat. It has shields drawn onto the side.)

“Mine’s a Viking ship!” he said,
sticking his chest out.
“C’m’on, then, let’s race!”
Josh released a shout.
(Hand holding actual Viking ship, again, crew angry and/or scared, some almost falling overboard/hanging onto railing, pirate ship being held in background.)

The matchbox boat race
started rather slow.
The crews jumped overboard,
to give their boats a tow.
(Page on left has type, with small image under it, no background, of boys placing boats in gutter, with only trickle of water coming from drain. Right image is of both crews out in waist deep water, pulling their boats along, while shaking fists/shields/pulling faces etc… at each other.)

Fortunately, the cab driver,
was washing his wage.
A soap and bubble tsunami,
and both boats were away!
(Same again. Left side has text, with small image, no background, of boys on hands and knees, cheering boats in gutter, while Sudanese man washes cab. On right side, boats caught in rolling wave of water and foam.)

The pirates took the lead,
the Vikings reeled them in,
dodging leaves and rocks,
and magpies dive-bombing.
(Small Vikings fending off giant magpie, that has resisting pirate in beak.)

Sitting on their porch,
two old Greek fishermen,
called; “$5 on the pirates!”
“Go Vikings! I’ll bet ten!”
(Foreground has two kids running after their boats. Behind them, two old Greek men. One sitting, peeling an apple, the other standing, hands in pocket. Both of them smiling, betting with each other. Vegi patch with sprinkler in small garden.)

The run-off from their garden
helped keep the race alive.
“Umbrellas up!” the pirates wailed,
as they struggled to survive.
(Two ships battling, pirates with umbrellas, Giant sprinkler behind both ships.)

Leaves then log-jammed
all the water of the race.
A street sweeper set them free,
creating rapids of great pace!
(Left, street sweeper using stick opening gap in leaves, boys cheering, watching matchbox boats wide-eyed. Right side Viking ship and pirate boat flowing down resulting rapids.)

Soon, the water ran dry,
things were looking bleak.
Guy wanted worker ants,
to carry their two boat fleet.
(Left: Text and Guy holding out cupped hands full of ants. Josh protesting. Right: Giant ants in ankle-deep water, carrying both boats. Crew fighting off ants trying to climb on-board.)

Guy and Josh tried,
blowing their boat’s sails.
“This will take forever,”
Josh puffed, wheezed and wailed.
(Boys down low, cheeks puffed, blowing matchbox boats. By now, about six people, including two Greeks, cab driver, kid walking dog, are following them, barracking.)

Maggie was a cheeky girl,
she did a small rain dance.
Guy and Josh joined in,
leaving nothing to chance.
(Josh and guy looking up from hands and knees at Maggie, with maracas, doing a rain dance.)

The paperboy soon danced, too;
“This is silly, but fun!”
So did a young couple,
out for their daily run.
(Guy, Josh and several others doing happy rain dance, a few people watching, more arriving. Boats in trickle of water beneath them.)

This was both new and timeless,
the neighbourhood at it’s best,
entertaining itself,
not scared behind a fence.
(Long shot of a small communal crowd gathering around the dancing/walking kids. Mum with pram, kid with balloon, footy player, old lady, etc…)

And, just as Louie rushed out,
with a bucket of grey water,
and a hose was supplied,
by the butcher’s daughter…
(Several people, including bully with water balloon, running with water left to right.)

One drop fell,
followed by another…
Sweet summer rain!
Filling up the gutter!
(Left page with text and boys and Maggie holding palms out, looking up, as first few drops fall. Right page, image of boats, a few fighting, most cheering, Vikings holding up shields as huge droplets fall, several pirates using it to have a shower, some catching water in their hats.)

“The Viking Gods heard!”
Guy proudly cheered,
as his matchbox boat,
surged forward without fear.
(Guy in hard rain, shouting, Thor in black storm clouds above him.)

“It was the cloud mermaids!”
Josh shouted a reply.
“Bluebeard called to them,
way up in the sky!”
(Josh shouting while standing in hard rain, black clouds behind him with giant mermaids in them, pouring vases of water.)

(Wordless page of pirates, in mast and rigging, working billowing sails.)

(Wordless image of Viking warriors rowing hard in rain.)

The race went on,
(Guy jumping/barracking, Josh on hands and knees, blowing again, matchbox boats beneath them.)

everybody cheered,
(Face shots of Greek men, Maggie, cab driver happy, cheering…)

down a long suburban street.
(Side image of race/crowd, behind them, people are watching from their doorways and windows.)

A neighbourhood, standing in the rain,
(Boys carrying on over boats, four or five varied people behind them, free, happy, having a ball.)

watching matchbox boats compete.
(Long shot from gutter of crowd receding down the street, barracking for two boys as they go.)

The End.

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