His name was Fats Barraclough, and his voice always seemed to come from
the left-hand end of the piano, a sort of low thunder. This makes him sound
like some sort of musician, which he was not. He was just an ordinary
person. He travelled around in all the usual ways. Fats is legendary among
his friends for having proposed to his wife in a maze. The maze in question
is somewhere in Copenhagen and is planted in the shape of a Tuborg beer
label. They flew there from London. Other visitors could hear a cloudy,
muttering from deep inside the hedges, then Julie’s happy squeal. The
hedges were beech, and had been recently trimmed. Afterwards, there was a
very expensive restaurant. Did Fats know about the Tuborg beer label? We
think he must have, either before or after. More to the point, we continue to
wonder how much Julie knew. It is not something you bring up in casual
conversation – not now that they are home again, and there are the twins to
consider. In any case, she entered the maze of her own free will. By the time
she reached the centre of the label, the future Mrs Barraclough was lost



Bill Manhire’s most recent publication is the anthology The Wide White Page: Writers Imagine Antarctica. He directs the IIML at Victoria University.