© Trevor A. Shaw

Winner, 2017  Blackened Billy Verse Competition, Tamworth NSW.

The night of nights had finally come; the Convention Centre packed –
Pre-dinner drinks, entrée, meal – dessert bowls fairly stacked.
No hint of a disaster, for the dignitary to fear.
Renowned, across the industry, ‘twas a coup to have him here.

His speech was in his jacket. He knew his stuff by heart.
The converted sat, expectantly, for his wisdom to impart.
He did not see the cherry seed submerged deep, in the stew.
His dentures took the impact and they both snapped into two.

The crunch was loud for all to hear. It echoed through the room.
Our speaker sat there petrified, his features draped in gloom.
How could he get his points across; explain his graphs and sums?
How could he polarise this crowd, with a pair of flapping gums?

Big Max was sitting next to him and, reacting to his plight,
grabbed the shattered dentures and disappeared into the night.
Meanwhile, from all around him, loads of well-meant hints ensued,
that ranged from really useless, to a brace of rude and crude.

Big Max slipped back, beside our guest, and gave the man a wink.
“Prepare to make your speech, tonight, and enjoy a final drink.”
He reached into his sports-coat and extracted a small prize.
“Here, slap these on your naked gums, and try them out for size.”

A dazzling set of dentures had appeared, in Max’s hand.
The speaker shoved them gingerly, but they did not fit real grand.
“Too small; too tight; uncomfortable.” His brow was bathed in sweat.
Max tried another pocket and produced a second set.

No orthodontist could have made so elegant a fit.
No pressure points, on either gum – they did not rub a bit.
A perfect smile adorned his face. His confidence soared high.
When called to make his key note speech, he felt the urge to fly.

The audience was spellbound, as he swept from point to point.
Applause was more than generous: ebbing, flowing through the joint.
He fielded questions from the floor. His expertise shone through.
The Chair, in recognition, chose to label him, “True Blue”.

Returning from the dais, he showered Max with thanks profuse,
admitting he was fearful that his neck was in a noose.
“I want to meet your dentist and pay him what he’s worth,
for he’d have to be the finest in his field, on this Earth.”

“No dentist would be working, at this hour of the night.
I had to think creatively to repair your fractured bite.
I have a mate who works, next door – a proper little boffin,
who has a range of falsies – he stores them in a coffin.”

The speaker’s jaw dropped inches, as he took this info in.
“You mean, I’ve been on stage, showing off a dead man’s grin?”
“It could have been a lady’s!” offered Max, with twinkling eyes.
“You see, it was a fluke he had a set to match your size.”

Max handed him the broken set. “You had better get these fixed.”
‘Twas obvious the speaker took them back, with feelings mixed.
“You may use the set you’re wearing, but return them, please, by Sunday.
My mate will need them then, because the funeral’s set, for Monday!”

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