Will Gatti & Daniel Finn


They Shovel Dreams, Don’t they

Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. I think they do. Not all of them, of course and it’s hard to tell who are honest and decent workmen and just doing their job of mixing up concrete and who are the ones doing something so mean they’d make the white witch seem like an ice cream fairy.

And it’s the same with the machines. Most concrete mixers do exactly what it says on the tin. You’ve seen them, haven’t you? Here and there, out on the street, in a drive, or a yard, lumpy with muck, scabs of orange coming through the dirt, and with a big round mouth all ready to swallow sand and stone and cement and rumble and grumble it round and round till it’s ready to pour?

But all the same it’s best to steer clear because there are some that are a little bit more than they seem. These ones grind out a particularly ugly song which sounds something like this: ‘Grumble and groan, shuffle and stone, and bones and bones and bones.’ If you  chance to hear that and you see that the man with the shovel  and stonky boots spattered with cement is giving you a hard look, then you had better run a mile. He’s not what he seems. He’s as different from Bob the builder as a witch is from a watch.

His eyes are dull and grey as concrete and what he does is shovel up dreams he can glean from the street he’s working on and throw them in the mouth of his ordinary but not so ordinary mixer. He shovels in all the gold and the bright, all the silver and hope; he shovels in the green valley and the rainbow sky, he shovels it all  down to a hard, grey slop. Then he porridges it out and lets it set hard as algebra and then he moves on; and the street he leaves behind is a little more drab, a little more dull, and the faces of the children are gaunt and worried; and it’s going to be a bad day.

They shovel away dreams,  these not-quite-ordinary men and their not-quite-ordinary mixers, and no one knows why they do. They just shovel and mix and pour the slop down onto the ground and let it go hard so  no dreams can grow , and everything bright is turned grey.

They leave the dreams buried deep.