To Win the Argument, Just Follow the Dog

To prove them wrong, we learn,
It is not important to come up with a killer argument.
Not if the social worker has elbow patches on his tweed jacket,
Or says “with knobs on” every other sentence.
It is not necessary to defer to authority,
When authority has bad teeth or bad breath or a combover like a thatched roof
That hasn’t been repaired for a century or few.
These people undermine themselves, we learn,
With their poor appearance,
Even if we are no better ourselves.
The neighbour with the run-down Toyota has no right holding an opinion on anything,
And the headteacher everyone whispers about is no reason to raise the alarm with the appropriate body
But something to hold against him when he wants to question poor parenting
Such as why we’ve shown up at school again without lunch, or games kit, or shoes.

To prove them wrong, we learn,
It is only necessary to find their shame,
And if there is no shame,
And if the criticism is a good one,
Like that time with Wendy Glasspoole in the park,
When everything she said made sense,
And the shame was most certainly not hers,
Then all that is needed is to follow the dog.
Let her put her foot down as hard as she wants to,
Because she’ll sink into the dog muck,
And she’ll learn the lesson,
That the only messing we’ll allow anyone to do with us
Is the kind that will clag the soles of their shoes.

Mike Hickman (@MikeHicWriter) is a writer from York, England. He has written for Off the Rock Productions (stage and audio), including 2018’s “Not So Funny Now” about Groucho Marx and Erin Fleming. He has recently been published in EllipsisZine, Dwelling Literary, Bandit Fiction, Nymphs, Flash Fiction Magazine, Brown Bag, and Safe and Sound Press. His co-written, completed six-part BBC radio sit com remains unproduced but available to interested producers! 

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