dart bath by cody edwards


cody read this piece at subbed in #1: if you’re reading at this it’s too late

My Grandma used to have an outdoor bathtub. She would let the bath catch the rain water and then she would bath naked in the sun, with her feet all sticking out and touching the air. No-one was allowed outside when Grandma was in the tub.

My brother and I found the bathtub on the council clean-up. We slid some skateboards underneath and played Cool Runnings up ‘n’ down the street, till Grandma came out, put the bathtub under one arm, and dumped it in the backyard. 

But the clean-up day everyone remembers is the one where Grandma nearly died. Heaps of kids cruised the streets and found tonnes of cool shit. We found, a working wheelchair, some sharpened cricket stumps, and a portable oxygen tank with mask. I loaded it all into the wheelchair and started pushing, till some big guy from down the road pulled up, took the wheelchair and the oxygen tank, while we stared at his elderly mother in the passenger seat. 

When we got home my Uncle was smoking on the front deck. We asked him if we could play Kelly Slater Pro Surfer. And he said “no worries”, till he found out we let someone take the wheelchair and oxygen tank. He said, “Fuck that, don’t you boys know how to say go fuck yourself?”

Then he rode my brother’s bike all the way down the street, all the way down the big hill, yelling something no-one remembers. 

And when he came back, he was carrying the bike, because it looked all mangled and stuffed and it was all mangled and stuffed. The back tyre was bent in half and there was no seat anymore. “Oi, don’t tell Nana. I’ll get you a new one,” my broke Uncle said to my brother. And back then, I thought how it would take me forever to save up enough for a new bike. And right now, I’m thinking about how it would still take me forever.

And then we are all in my uncle’s ute, and we are driving Grandma to the hospital. We found her passed out in the outdoor bath. It wasn’t even her really, it was my brothers fault. After our Uncle broke his bike, my brother stole his 40 pack of Longbeach ciggies and chucked them all in the tub. And when Grandma went to take her bath, the water was poisoned. The nicotine had leaked from the cigarettes and poisoned the water. My Grandma had a dart bath. No-one is allowed to mention my Grandma’s dart bath.

But because Grandma woke up ok, and shouted some at my Uncle, we got to leave the hospital before paying. We put the bathtub back out on the clean-up, and then we saw it rolling down the street with kids inside, and then we saw it full of somebody’s beer and ice, and then we saw it glowing with smoke and flames, because that was about the time the sun had gone down.

Cody Edwards is “thankful for another day… Blessed! x” He is from Sydney and is from a family of truck drivers. He tweets @hashbrowneye