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Arseole Reason
by Michael Franklin

The residents of Walter Street had an everlasting problem. Theirs was an area of old Victorian terraced housing and because the wider world was allowed to park there, they had problems finding a home for their own cars. They were only a quarter of a mile from the centre of the town, so those offensive invaders who worked in the banks, the shops, and local businesses, were able to drive into fringe areas and park for nothing. The local council was not helpful. There were no yellow lines in Walter Street and anyone could leave their car there for a day.

Fred Cagney came up with an idea. He lived at number 27. His thirteen-year-old daughter Anny had taken up painting and a nice talent was emerging. Her father had brought her an art board, and the family were able to watch her progress with works of art, and were impressed by the results.

Fred noticed something. Anne used acrylic paint which she softened and diluted with water. He was, with her help, able to experiment. It was easy to mix some dark brown with slightly greyed white, throw the mix onto a piece of card, and the result looked like bird shit. It dried quickly. An idea entered his mind. Could he make some of this mix and throw it onto the windscreens and roofs of those invading cars? If he could, and if he could do it often, then perhaps he would deter them from using his piece of pavement as their vehicle’s home for ten hours each working day.

The idea worked magnificently. He spread his idea to the wider street and a lot of neighbours took a daily delivery of a soft mix made by his daughter. They were able to throw this in spoonfuls onto invading cars from their first floor bedroom windows. It took about three weeks for the resulting shock to influence the drivers, but it did happen. The word spread. Do not park in Walter Street - there is - evidently - a colony of birds there who will make a mess of your car. What helped the deceit was that the mix dried out exactly and the bird shit did. It had to be removed with a scraper or taken through an aggresssive car wash.

The street - thankfully - became much less invaded, but one day the residents noticed a group of four people walking slowly through. They had cameras and clipboards in their hands. Fred’s wife Bella - leading her eight-year-old son Martin by his hand - came out into the street. She was joined by many other locals. What was going on?

One of the patrolling ladies said: “We are from the bird charity SNOT - Save Natural Ornithology Teamworkers. We have heard reports about the apparent increase in a bird population here. We are puzzled. Our sole reason for exploring the situation today is their welfare and safety.”

As Bella led her son back through their open front door he asked her: “Mom - what’s an arseole reason for exploring something?”

Her reply was instant: “To get to the bottom of a problem.”