Pretty Polly

Jim Dennison and Leanne Williams, The Potions, from 'Pretty Polly', 2006

Polly's vitriolic words were still ringing in his ears as Stanley stepped inside the apothecary's store. "You are a pathetic simpering fool of a man," she had screeched, "and you care more about those stupid squawking budgies of yours than you do about me!" The fact that he had taught the birds to sing "Pretty Polly" in unison to his wife every morning was apparently not enough to show how much he loved her.

When Stanley explained his predicament to the apothecary he was prescribed a potion with a strict dosage of one part budgie-boy and two parts predator-man that would restore his manliness in Polly's eyes and rekindle her love for him. "Do not under any circumstances exceed the dose," the apothecary warned as Stanley left the store.

His beloved budgies were eagerly awaiting their breakfast when he got home so he placed the potions on the kitchen table and went out to the aviary to tend to his birds. When Polly found the two glass bottles on the table she assumed they were a conciliatory gift from her idiot husband. "Oh well," she muttered, "better than nothing I guess," and she downed the entire contents of both bottles.

As the crystal feathers sprouted from her body and her arms became wings and a reptilian skin sheathed her legs and face and her nose extended into a leathery beak, Polly's last acerbic human utterance was, "this will make the arsehole happy". And how right she was.

When the lovable but dimwitted Stanley discovered the exotic glass budgie perched on the kitchen table he was so excited that he quite forgot all about his wife. He named the bird Lady Luck and constructed an ornate golden cage for her at the centre of his aviary. Over time he taught her to sing the words "Pretty Polly" in unison with the other birds although he noticed that her pitch was always a little shriller than the rest.

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The two pieces that will be included in the Far Far Away exhibition are the cast glass bottles Budgie Boy and Predator Man from the exhibition 'Pretty Polly'. Jim and Leanne, aka 'The Crystal Chain Gang' invented a character named Stan, a maniacal budgie collector, who turned the body parts of his dead birds into macabre trophies. I used their own narrative as the basis for my story incorporating the titles of other works from the series into the story. To see more of Jim and Leanne's work click here

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