Henry’s ears are a wax factory. The doctors and specialists have come and gone. Nothing can be done. Its wartime and Henry begins to think blackouts, sirens, underground bunkers. He could contribute to the war effort. He could make yellow wax candles. They would be useful. But he’ll have to patent. Wait. There’s no time. The effort needs him. His wax starts filling his bedroom. He’s got a table. His mother goes out and gets wicks. The two of them make candles. She leaves and sells them. A penny a candle. When they burn the smell isn’t bad. The poor are grateful. Henry’s ears are producing for the war effort. Wax is in short supply. The bombs keep dropping. People are killed. Buildings are destroyed. London’s burning. Henry has little time to eat. His mother cooks him a pale broth. It’s called consommé in Europe. Henry doesn’t know much about Europe. He can’t hear the radio. Too much wax. His mother doesn’t talk, she writes notes. It’s dark in Henry’s room. No candles. Ironic! The sunlight filters through the ragged curtains when it isn’t raining. The nights are filled with the war fire’s shimmering. Henry sleeps badly. He’s under pressure. The pennies accumulate. His mum buys bread and cheese. They eat together in silence. Today the left ear is not producing. Tomorrow the right. The next day both are thankfully. His mother recall’s his father’s erect penis. There’s nothing in the house that’s erect for Henry’s mum to model the candles on. Nobody cares anyway. They’ve all seen erect penises before. Even Mavis the spinster down the hall. She’s seen one. At least in a dream she has. The candles look good. The wick sits atop the candle’s eye. It’s not like Captain Pugwash or anything. Henry’s like a real factory. The Home Office wonders if it can use him. People aren’t working hard enough in munitions. Not enough bombs and bullets. They like Henry’s work ethic. Selfless and patriotic. He’ll get a medal from Churchill. Henry’s unwittingly invented twenty four seven, the job. Where does all the wax come from? Henry’s head stupid. He doesn’t have a large one. It’s quite normal. It has a bush of hair on top and around the sides, two ears naturally, two cobalt eyes, a noble nose, a full lipped mouth, all atop a slender neck. No need to travel further down. It’s all about Henry’s head and the wax in it. For the war effort. It’s yellow lava. For the war effort. Henry has tinnitus. But that’s not the reason. Henry thinks a lot. His thoughts emerge as wax. You can’t read them. O no. No one can read Henry’s thoughts. They are for God. Henry believes in God. He’s a protestant. He likes to work. He’s never had a drink. His mum worries about him. Henry you must meet someone. Not now mum. After the war. The girl will have to like wax though. When the war ends my wax might stop. Don’t be silly Henry she writes. Your wax makes us a solid penny. We already have enough to buy a house in the country. In the country? There are bees in the country. They make wax too. I’ll go out of business. We might not live in the country then. Maybe at the seaside. But I can’t hear the waves. People write about waves sounding the best. They sound like eternity. If we live by the sea I want the wax to stop. We’ll see Henry. Another batch of wax penises and their flaccid wicks are ready to go. Henry sips on his soup while his mum sells the candles. There are so many pennies she struggles up the stair. Pennies from hell eh mum, Henry says. Henry tries to sleep when his ears are waxing. It’s hard. He has to sleep sitting. The stainless steel funnels prop him up. So does the war effort. His mum writes that Churchill’s heard of Henry’s efforts. Great Henry. He’s famous. His ears have caused him so much grief. It’s nice to feel useful. Yet more work needs to be done. The war doesn’t look like it’s about to end. Hitler’s on the rampage. The German’s might need wax too. Henry feels vulnerable. If he’s captured and made to produce wax for the Germans, what’s more important, Henry’s patriotism or Henry the wax maker doing it for himself? Right now it doesn’t matter. Henry has it all. And Churchill will protect him.
B F Moloney lives in Tasmania Australia where he manages a second hand bookshop. Born into the mad and imaginative world of Catholicism, he’s long escaped it with his imagination suitably perverted by the experience. Loony Tunes and David Lynch have helped him see an absurder light, and he hopes to write a little more.