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

I Hate Cyclists.

One fine day in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, Australia.

Bill: G’day

Bob: G’day, sorry I’m late, big night last night.

Bill: No worries. Are we gonna make it on time?

Bob: Yeah, we should. That light’s still green, hold on.

Bill: Nah, that’s definitely red.

Bob: Oy, watch where you’re going you clown, get off the road!!! Bloody cyclists. I hate cyclists.

Bill: Hate, that’s a strong word.

Bob: Yeah, I bloody hate cyclists.

Bill: Hate? – you hate terrorists.

Bob: Yeah, but at least terrorists kill their own…

Bill: Hate? – you hate drug dealers.

Bob: Well, not necessarily, especially after last night, man, what a buzz.

Bill: Hate? – you hate murderers

Bob: Yeah, but I could murder a kebab right now.

Bill: Why do you hate cyclists?

Bob: They ride on the road

Bill: Isn’t that because they’re not allowed to ride on the footpath?

Bob: Yeah, but they should just ride on the cycle paths.

Bill: True, but sometimes there are no cycle paths, or the cycle paths just stop.

Bob: So, that’s not my fault, I didn’t build the cycle paths. Oh, wait, there’s a bottle-o, I forgot to bring something, mind if I pull over?

Bill: No, go for it.

Bob: Won’t be a sec.

Bill: Hang on, did you just park over a cycle lane?

Bob: Yeah, so what – they can just ride around me.

Bill: What, onto the road?

Bob: Yeah…

Bob: Nice drop this.

Bill: Bob, I still don’t get it, why do you say you HATE cyclists?

Bob: Mate, they’re grown men…in LYCRA.

Bill: I suppose you wear jeans or footy shorts when you go to the beach.

Bob: Piss off!!!

Bill: But HATE, it’s such a strong word, I mean, you hate politicians, that’s fair enough.

Bob: You bet, especially those bloody Greenies, building cycle paths everywhere, waste of taxpayers’ money.

Bill: What about politicians in lycra?

Bob: The worst

Bill: I could understand if you hate paedophiles.

Bob: Of course I do, they’re scum…Then again, how do you know he did it? I mean, do you still think he’s guilty?

Bill: What?

Bob: Well, an ex-PM vouched for him, and I was listening to the radio the other day and that guy, what’s his name, he reckons he was never guilty.

Bill: But I still don’t understand why you HATE cyclists.

Bob: They cause traffic jams.

Bill: Surely cars cause traffic jams, plus, if more people cycled, there’d be less traffic. Anyway, do you think we’ll make it on time

Bob: Yeah, no worries, we’ll cut through Centennial Park.

“Bill, Bob, Hi, so glad you could make it.”

Bob: Hi, sorry we’re late, traffic was murder.

“No worries – you’re just in time. Come and join us, we’re all going for a ride.”

First published in The Beast magazine, February 2021.

Image: Roman Koester

Great Public Schools Launch the Rugby Revolution.

The Great Public Schools athletic association is set to introduce the greatest revolution in Rugby Union since William Webb Ellis picked up the ball, after the organisation of Australia’s wealthiest schools granted itself permission to complete its sporting season during COVID-19 restrictions.

The GPS sporting association, which includes The Scots College, Sydney Grammar School and Sydney Boys High School, will play the first ever series of socially distanced rugby in the world. Spokesperson for the association, Richie Power, outlined some of the monumental changes to the sport and their likely impact.

  • No contact – Players may not pass within 1.5 metres of each other, even their teammates.

Rolling mauls will subsequently resemble an interpretive dance, and every line out will be won by the boy with the longest wing span. There’s no chance of hands in the ruck and scrums will become even more farcical than those in the NRL.

  • Try

The game they play in heaven will revert to its roots and tries will be worth 0, but earn the scoring team the right to ‘try’ for a conversion.

“If we awarded points for tries, we’d end up with cricket scores every game, and we know Rugby players can’t count,” explained Power.

Essentially, players cannot touch the ball or any other player with their hands, and can only advance the ball up the field with their feet. The end result will be…soccer.

  • Restricted spectators

Parents and Old Boys can follow the Rugby Revolution from Bellevue Hill to Parramatta. While spectators are prohibited from standing on the side lines, they can chant war cries from the comfort of their Range Rover, Rolls Royce or Bentley, or from their private yacht moored in Lane Cove River, after it has been collected from the Seychelles or Turks and Caicos.

Old Boys of The King’s School are exempt from any COVID-19 restrictions as the school has declared its sizeable territory a sovereign nation not subjected to the laws of Australia.

Critics have slammed the decision to allow the GPS schools to continue their regular sporting fixtures while others schools must still abide by COVID-19 restrictions, but Power defended the move.

“We paid a fortune for our scholarship athletes, sorry students, and we demand a return on our investment. If not, we’ll have to send them back to the western suburbs or an island in the South Pacific, or simply let them study, learn and improve their academic and employment prospects”

“In addition, we need to be able to channel our considerable government funding into extravagant sporting facilities and specialised coaches. Otherwise we’d be forced to give our Teachers such an enormous pay rise that they could finally afford to live within an hour of their workplace.”

“Without Rugby, we would just be public schools, and that’s not great.”

First published in The Beast Magazine, October 2020.

Image: http://www.greenandgoldrugby.com