This Land…

Darkness enveloped the land.

A depressing grey pall hung heavily over the land and fomented despicable violence which entrenched anger, frustration, despair and fear in those victimised by birth. Toxic masculinity leeched from the pores of rabid salivating animals and sullied the pristine waterways, the same waterways which had offered solace and retreat in an imagined past; the white-capped waves and golden sands since converted into a haven for leering eyes and lecherous ghouls.

Fear racked the fairer sex. Survival strategies were devised and disseminated, carried in nervous whispers through the darkened streets and the darker web. Clothes, make-up and sobriety were scrutinised before safety was promised in the world outside – the land outside which they called home. Home, where violence had been domesticated, by those who had not.

Keys to unlock inherited power were now held between forefingers. Capsicum spray sat beside scented spray and self-care acquiesced to self-defence. Avoid the darkness, they were told, but darkness was everywhere. Darkness had swallowed the land and voraciously consumed all that was good.

Emboldened by self-appointed truth tellers and by the weakness of their rulers, they threatened and struck, abused and demeaned, dismissed and suppressed. Emboldened by the apathy, silence and spin of the law makers. Law makers or law breakers? The lines had blurred, the distinction lost.

Depravity extended its greedy tentacles from the distant corridors of power to the hallowed grounds of prestige, where the elite schooled their offspring in the perpetuation of power.

How good! they cheer,

How good! to leer.

Retain your grace, remain the same,

Make-up your face, your words be tame.

Enough is enough, the victims declared, but it was never enough. Never enough for the rapacious scourge which infested their world and controlled their bodies, and the bodies within bodies.

The fair were few and far between, ignored in print, ignored on screen. They and their allies drowned under a deluge of ignorance and noise as the heavens unleashed a torrent of hate and lies, and cowardly cries.  It comes from the sky, it comes from up high, the news we use to justify.

Dystopia was not an imagined future, dystopia was a lived present, dictated for eternity by one bite of a forbidden fruit.

Then he emerged.

Short in stature, but bold of heart.

Follow me, he declared, in messianic tones, and I will deliver you from darkness and into light. I will protect you, he promised. So, follow him they did and the light returned. Joy, gaiety and unimagined bliss filled their souls.

Pink roses blossomed. Pink roses bloomed with hope and the promise of a new future.

All was well in the land of pink roses.

Image: Carlos Quintero

First published in The Beast magazine, May 2021

Dual currency system to operate in Australia.

Australia will become the first nation in the world to force employers to pay female staff in a new currency called Pink Dollars when the system is implemented in the next financial year. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced the new scheme outside Parliament House in Canberra, just days after thousands of women protested against institutionalised gender inequality across the country.

“Australian women have spoken and we have listened,” boasted Frydenberg, who was flanked by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and federal Minister for Women, Marise Payne.

“Pink Dollars will be used to pay female employees in every job, in every sector, throughout our great nation. The notes themselves will be pink on both sides, with the numerical value printed in the corner. Notes will carry images associated with women, like flowers, domestic appliances, pretty clothes, makeup, childcare etc,” he explained.

“Pink Dollars are an entirely new currency, which will operate alongside existing Australian dollars. The primary difference is that Pink Dollars will be permanently pegged at a certain rate to the Aussie dollar – one Pink Dollar will be worth 68 Australian cents.”

This will not alter the value of the Australian dollar, nor the wages of Australian men, according to the treasurer.

“Don’t worry fellas, we’re not touching your wallet. Men should never suffer whenever society changes for the sake of women,” he chuckled.

The treasurer then explained that while Pink Dollars will be used to pay women, they cannot be spent anywhere within Australia or overseas. Instead, women will have to collect their cash payment in person every fortnight before converting Pink Dollars to Australian dollars through government approved exchange bureaus. Only then will they have currency to spend on everyday living expenses.

“As of July 1, 2021, all Australian-registered employers must pay their female employees in Pink Dollars. We are announcing this new system today to give employers sufficient time to adapt their payroll procedures. We have also established a hotline within the Department of Finance to assist employers.”

Frydenberg was asked how the system will classify employees who identify in any way as gender fluid.

“What’s gender fluid?” he replied.

Minister Payne was also asked for her reaction, as the new currency will be paid to all female government employees, including the Minister for Women herself.

“I believe Pink Dollars will…”she began, before the prime minister interjected.

“Marise is very supportive of the introduction of Pink Dollars, as I’m sure all Australian women will be,” he said, before adding:

“Jen and the girls can’t wait to get their hands on some fresh new pink bank notes. They say the money matches the dresses they wear to church,” he smirked.

Frydenberg then reinforced this sentiment.

“Marise sees the economic benefit of this policy, for women and for Australia as a whole, and she cites it as yet further evidence that the Coalition excels at economic management.”

A boastful Frydenberg also expected Pink Dollars to be introduced to other nations.

“Mathias Cormann was instrumental in formulating the details of the scheme in its infancy, and he promises to use his influence to impose the policy on every member nation of the OECD.”

Australian women, meanwhile, have not been given the opportunity to respond to the policy announcement, but have been directed to a page of the government’s website entitled:

“Pink Dollars: Mansplained”

On this page, they will learn that their employers will soon be able to replace portions of their wages with pink flowers.

“Enthusiastic Newstart recipients will be on hand at local train stations to present women with pink flowers after a hard day at work.”

Image: istockphoto.com