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Hello, my name is Michael Giacometti and I’m reading an excerpt from Elijah Upjohn, public hangman.
Hanging is a fine art and not a mechanical trade. Is not a man an artist who can painlessly and without brutality despatch another man?
– Charles Duff, A Handbook on Hanging
I come to prepare him & he be ready. It be a little after 9am & he just been brung up to the last room. After this no more room, no more cell. If I be a godly man then I might say diffrent but no god can love him. Hair falls to the bluestone floor, long dark hair from his beard & head. I sharpn the razor & think maybe I can end this early, but I be wantin to do my first job well. Today Im the ringer & I run him over like a prize ram. His skull come up good & shiny. I dont leave no nicks.
I done the measurments & Mister Doctor he help me my sums not bein good. The culprit he says must be weighd evryday so it can be done proper, not messy. He show me this book he keeps writ all fancy with pictures of knots & bones. I grunt at the knots, paw at the pages. I dont tell him I’m unread but he know.
The Doctor be very particlar that it not be messy. He dont want no bruises or cuts. He say it be like crackin a whip. I think it like pullin a black snake from the grass & crackin its neck. A quick death makes good eatin after, the flesh be sweet & tasty.
I like the feel of his shiny bald skull. I be quick, not be suspishus. But I aint felt another for longer than my life is worth. It be so smooth. I can feel the heat risin from the roundness. I take special attenshun to the small dips & lumps, run my finger along the scar above his right ear. It be not less than five inches I can tell even with my eyes closd.
ABOUT MICHAEL GIACOMETTI:
Michael’s fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction have been published in Meanjin, Island, and several anthologies including Fishtails in the dust, How to look after your poet in the event of a cyclone, and Bruno’s Song and other stories from the Northern Territory. His story about Ned Kelly’s hanging ‘Elijah Upjohn, public hangman’ won the 2010 Trudy Graham Biennial Award (Prose). He is a Café Poet with Australian Poetry, and a Clubs & Societies poet with The Red Room Company. Michael is working on his first novel ‘This landscape of failure’ with mentor Melanie Ostell.
“I participated in the Varuna LongLines Community Week, October 2009. A very supportive and constructive writing environment. I yearn to return. To write. And walk in the hills.” Michael Giacometti
close up, beyond (2011, poetry), acquiesce & four other fictions (2010, short stories) both self published and available from the author
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