Jolly Green Giant

Michael Botur

Passengers got out of their cars, watched the static traffic trickle. Motorists mowed rings around the moss-coloured obstacle. The tremor of twenty fender-benders on jammed stretches. ‘That green thing gotta go.’


Khyber Pass was blocked, chocka, oozing like a pimple. Fire engines floundered, jammed and grounded. Flyovers stacked, traffic-traps. The Domain might need to be planed, the way made for motorways. Cars orbited their obese green star. Motorists would nod off and awake twenty minutes later, behind where they’d begun, drowsy zombies, baked into their lanes. Lilting tree fern branches jeered the drivers, tickled wound-up windows, licking carbon.


      Road workers, vests ablaze. Heads holding hardhats; forearm tats. Melanoma moles on shovellin’ shoulders. Happy hills alongside, the Jolly Green Giant’s hide. Proudly unpaved. Roadies would’ve loved to lace straightjacket lanes over it like Lilliput.


Worse than the car horn blurts, the emphysema, their singed skin, was the detritus of the trees. Artillery of limbs, leaves, acorns, conker-concussion. Choked gutters. On a windy day, husks of bark sheared off and sailed; whole families of branches crashed into the mud; the tree trunks groaned, unhappily cemented, wrenching their roots.


A Council parks worker told them not to denigrate the Domain, apologised effusively, seedlings needed protecting. The road workers kicked their shovels along, moaned, a chain gang.


Drunken hoboes angry at the liquor ban. Crass cussive conversation. This was supposed to be blanket and bin, biomass and bed of moss. There wouldn’t be a liquor ban without it. ‘Domain’s gotta go,’ said someone, sinking drink.


Mt Eden Prison stood stoutly stolid. Auckland Grammar, choked in ivy, hoped the Jolly Green Giant would pass it over. Broadway veered away, avoided violence. No confrontation from the railway stations. The Museum reared its back like a cat, retreated meekly. The Waitemata waters wussed away, didn’t slip upstream to drown hillocks into islands. Grafton Road sidled silently. The Domain sent emissaries into the suburbs. Secret green creep; white flight.


Horns chorused like a brass band. Outcries of alkies, pukers, road workers. Crawl of tar against the park. Cattle couldn’t eat all that grass. Cricketers couldn’t cover it with sixes. No man alive could mow the motherfucker.


A groundswell swept like soundwaves round atomic bombs. Letters in the Herald. Asides to the Mayor. Supercilious suggestions of Supercity swung into illustration.


They dismembered the Domain. Saws sliced, trees spilt sawdust guts, tipped, toppled. Auckland Grammar was bequeathed oak cloakrooms, cricket trophies. Saplings snapped for kindling. Newmarket’s new parks. Traffic spattered across the carpark plateau, tarmac like Mauna Loa lava. Helicopters tore away the turf in curls of Readylawn, dumped it in the sea. The Harbour choked and foamed. A land bridge to Waiheke.


The council bullied bleeding green blades into the sewers, swept up cracked twigs bleeding sap. Washed clods of Domain down the drain.


The traffic bulge backed down, but festered, turned turgid. Hypertension. Blocked arteries. It took a month for the Supercarpark to clog, for a new honking squabble to culture. Grounded geese. Backed-up bowels.