Chance by Roland Leach
They blame me though I never had a chance. Take responsibility, son. You have as much chance as the next man, but I know it’s not true for any of us. The old man never had a chance as he sat glued to the news. Still he goes on. Responsibility. Choice. The poor bastard had his wires chewed through by rats. They tell you you’re free, free to be who you will, then tell you to dance straight, keep that tie subdued and to the collar. Show respect to your betters, though they’re the same feckers doing us over. It’s a nasty circle, I told him once. Wanted to say how many times have you gone wrong, Dad? Ever likely to change the way it is? The brains you were born with, the parents who did their best, though we know that means useless. The school you went to, the kids you hung with, the way you spoke, the thousand little things that happened as a kid, most you didn’t recognize, that made you who you were, made you go one way and not another. Persistence. Determination. Is all they say, as if I was taught or born with the same sizeable allocation. That’s all you need my Mum joins in, though I know she read it in a mag. I tell her, yeah Mum, like getting dropped way out in the Tanami Desert and told to get to the coast in our bare feet and no water, while others get a Range Rover stacked with food for the trip. Stopping for picnics on the way. She didn’t like that, didn’t know where I got these twisted thoughts. You don’t have a leftie teacher, do you? I’ll ring that school of yours, though she’s too scared to say a word to people behind a desk in a spin-chair. Well where did you get all that stuff you believe? Come down from high on a ray of sunlight. Don’t you blaspheme, my boy. You show your mother a bit of respect and the God that made you. But he didn’t, you did Mum, and your Mum had it off with your father to get you, and on and on. I want to tell her to take responsibility but there’s a line. You’re going straight to hell, though I did my best. The best you could Mum, and I don’t blame you for it. I’ll get your father she threatens, but he’s having a beer and not interested in stuff like this, and I don’t blame him, I don’t hold him responsible. It’s OK I want to say. You’re no more to blame than the dark cloud’s downpour of rain, the shark’s unceasing movement, the wave for breaking on shallow reef. Nor are you to be congratulated.