Sunday, July 19, 2020

Hungover at Dan Murphy's

I want to write a lot more, of whatever type, but can't make myself so a friend gave me a topic, word lengths and deadline, and I immediately wrote this story. The topic is "Hungover in Dan Murphy's", which was great because they say write what you know. It should go without saying that every word below is true.

***

I was very hungover in an aisle in Dan Murphy's. It’s a strange experience as you’re trapped in Hell, surrounded by Heaven. 

Bottles that normally look so inviting, when hungover just look like they contain toxic brews poisonous to the human body. Which, of course, the bastards do. Yet the mind remembers even when the body revolts. Those liquids offer Heaven. Used properly, of course. I won’t make last night’s mistakes again, even as I struggled to recall exactly what they all were.

This being 2020, I was wearing a mask. Its main advantage this morning was less keeping in coronavirus as the overpowering alcohol fumes that passed for my breath. No virus could survive in there, so the biggest hazard was I’d pass out from the trapped fumes. Still, breathing it back in might even pass as hair of the dog, though it wasn’t working to judge from the way each part of my body was insisting it was mortally wounded.

I rounded the corner and saw a young couple just as one said to the other, “honestly forget face masks, some people should be made to wear bum masks, the amount of shit they talk”. The other sniggered and agreed it was a fair point. I may have too if my brain wasn’t frozen stuck fast, lest a cell make a sudden movement and send waves of pain through my skull.

Which made the timing of what happened next unfortunate. Just behind the couple, a large swirling portal appeared next to the row of passion pop bottles. A large red tentacle emerged suddenly and snatched the startled couple back through the portal, which promptly vanished. 

I stood there for a while before finally, gingerly, looking around. There was no one else in the shop but a bored guy behind a counter on the other side of the store, looking in the opposite direction.

This was not ideal. Was what I’d seen real, or had my feverishly hungover and possibly COVID-riddled brain (were hallucinations a symptom?) invented the entire scene, possibly as payback for all the red wine with beer, whisky then more red wine and then gin (I think) I subjected it to last night?

There was only one thing to do. I walked up to the passion pop aisle and decided a couple of bottles of ultra-low priced bubbles were definitely called for.

I took them across to the bored server, who scanned them and let me press my card against the machine, muttering that if I got a six pack of beer as well, I could get a stubby holder with the logo of some alcohol brand as a special deal. 

I was less interested in a new stubby holder than in the blatant fact he gave no indication he’d seen a portal or a tentacle or a couple of young 20 somethings disappear to God knows where.

I could have mentioned it. I could have asked him if he’d ever seen magical portals open up in the store before. But low-wage work is a drag at the best of times, and when you add the economic downturn shedding jobs everywhere right now, I decided not to add to his stress. 

After all, if it wasn’t real, he had no reason to worry. If it was, then he’d probably be scared enough to abandon his post, leave the store and lose a badly needed job. Assuming he escaped with his life. No, let him scroll his phone in an ignorance I was already envying.

As I walked outside, the late morning sun hit my face flush on. I grasped the passion pop bottles tighter -- I was going to need them to make this pain disappear. 

I stopped to take a breather from the exertion of walking 10 metres from the counter and sat on a seat I prayed was not infected and thought about it. This was exactly the sort of shit that 2020 would pull. Unprecedented bushfires, an out of control global pandemic and the sudden appearance of menacing portals with human-snatching tentacles. 

Still, I thought, at least I don’t live in the US. There, tentacles emerging from portals would probably be defended by Trump so long as they disproportionately targetted minorities. He’d probably try to contract the portals to do “security” at voter booths in November to assist with voter suppression plans.

Somehow I made it home alive, a miracle given my hangover let alone the threat from unexplained tentacle-porthole snatchings. Then two things happened.

One was that I drank a bottle and three quarters of passion pop and passed out on my couch in the early evening before waking up at midnight feeling worse than the morning.

And the other thing was that I never saw a portal, with or without a tentacle, ever again. But as all of us who survived know, given what happened next in that accursed year 2020, that was the least of the planet’s worries.


Sunday, July 12, 2020

Look, I don't know, but maybe we should have overthrown this entire fucking system before now


I think we can safely say that 2020 is going exactly as well as you'd imagine 2020 would go if you hadn't, in advance of 2020, overthrown the psychopathic, self-destructive monster that is capitalism with a rational system that seeks to put the needs of people first.

A lot of people are doing it really tough right now, in so many places. Personally I'm lucky, I got great odds at the start of the year on Nick Kyrgios doing something sensible, so I'm sorted. 

Some may say "you can't blame COVID on capitalism", except that you sort of can. I mean obviously this is an entirely unpredictable event, except for the fact it was predicted. Naturally, this being an entirely rational system, the predictions were ignored and the wealthiest nation on Earth slashed funding for pandemic preparations.

There is no question the world has been turned upside down. Things are so wild and crazy that the Australian Coalition government even started paying unemployed above the poverty line. It's really that nuts.

Imagine saying that would happen at the start of the year. They'd have given you a kindly look and said "please come with us, we have a place where you'll be safe" then injected you full of Lithium and locked you away for your own good.

Naturally, they are trying to take it away. They say higher unemployment benefits are "putting people off" from seeking work.

There's a slight issue with this, with there being 12 unemployed people for every job vacancy. And that's without even taking into consideration the fact the official stats are blatantly wrong and the reality is worse. (I know, I can't believe they'd lie either.)

Why stop at "finding non-existent jobs" as impossible things the unemployed aren't doing? I also blame the current JobSeeker rate for unemployed people not flying to Pluto, running a marathon in 60 seconds or inventing a COVID-19 vaccine two months ago and stopping this madness that's threatening to restrict my God-given right to destroy my liver in pubs and not just at home, the goddamn lazy bludgers.

Anyway, I have it from a reliable source these dole bludgers just spend all day on their phones anyway. My mate's the guy at Centrelink who monitors its call waiting times and he has the hard data to back it up.

At time of writing, Melbourne has gone back into level 3 lockdown. Possibly the worst thing about this is all the jokes us Sydneysiders want to make about Melbourne, but are way too nervous to coz our return to lockdown is just one bureaucratic fuck up away.

Meanwhile as Australian governments continue their deep and unabiding commitment to detaining brown people, some rich people win exemptions from quarantine. Proving that, a seemingly endless stream of irritating TV ads nothingstanding, we are not all in this together except in the sense we all share the misfortune of inhabiting this planet at the exact moment as the fucking Arctic is being ravaged what the scientists are calling "zombie fires"

I'd never heard of a "zombie fire" before either. And while I've no idea exactly what it means, an undead brain-eating fire is not exactly a very reassuring image, even if it was ravaging a place well known for bushfires, like all of Australia, and not, like... THE FUCKING ARCTIC. Which is where we keep most of our ice. Or we did, until the Rise of the Zombie Fires.

It's in this context that news cam that Australia had won a new award: we are now the world's largest exporters of fossil fuels. It just goes to show, with some vision, drive and a bit of gumption, you can achieve anything, even the end of the world.

It is this kind of thing that allows us to keep a sense of perspective about the COVID-19 pandemic. As bad as it seems now, things are going to get so much worse as the consequences runaway climate change increasingly hit. It's gonna make Mad Max look Utopian.

I dunno. Maybe not overthrowing this system and installing an entirely new one was a mistake. 

Anyway, here's a song. I was going to choose something Apocalyptic by Tom Waits, like "Earth Died Screaming", but I don't know if it will exactly help anyone sleep so I've gone for "I think You Outta Try Whiskey" duet by Canadian country singers Cob Lund and Jaida Dreyer. It is off Corb's new album Agricultural Tragic and it's a lot of fun. It's got a great "Johnny and June" vibe to it. 


"I think you outta try whiskey, babe"

"Well I think you outta try gin!"


No need to fight, you are both right.





Sunday, June 21, 2020

Granville loses its MP and a true account of the mean streets of Clyde

As if there wasn't enough terrible news in the world today, Granville's state MP Julia Finn has stepped down from the NSW Shadow Cabinet over branch stacking allegations.

I am not happy. This leaves those us Granville residents without any voice at all in the NSW Labor Shadow cabinet. It is a big blow.

It's no coincidence that these allegations come at a time when powerful forces have made clear their desire to silence Granvillian voices.

I personally give no credence at all to these allegations. I've never met Julia Finn but I do know Granville. Manipulating the rules of the NSW Labor Party to inflate your local branch membership so as to gain political advantage is simply not what we do here. 

I've lived here for over a year and I've never seen any branch stacking. Either the branch stacking happens very discreetly or these are straight up lies by those whose anti-Granville agenda is well-known.

Some will say that now, at least, Julia Finn has more time to spend tending to the needs of her constituents, no longer distracted from high flying, high stakes world of the NSW Opposition's cabinet meetings. Maybe. Who knows, she might even find time to recruit actual humans to the local branch now. Anything is possible in these unprecedented times. 

Now I am Granville till I die. I have "2142" tatooed across my heart.

But... well with all the heat we've been getting with this unseemly branch stacking scandal (I've heard property prices have dropped) ... well I thought there can't be any harm in checking out the neighouring places. Just to take a look.

And so on this day I set out to do something I had never done before. I would walk eastwrds to Clyde Train Station and there, I'd cross the train lines to the northern side, and walk streets of Clyde that I had never done before.

This was as far as I'd ever gone before:


On the other side was unknown territory. Forget branch stacking, did they even have Labor Party branches?

I walked forward with trepidation. I had to stop half way across to gather my courage.


It was when I began my descent on the other side of the tracks that I began to grasp just why these streets had such a notorious rep:


Look I'll not deny the sign caused me pause. But it takes a bit more than the threat of entering Kelly Country to scare me. I used hangout with the Kellys back in the day. In fact I was known as the "Fifth Kelly", like with Stu Sutcliffe and the Beatles, only I didn't die of a brain haemorrhage but was kicked out of the Kelly Gang for excessive drunkardness. Which, if you ever saw how those bastards drank, you'd realise was a big achievement.

Anyway, if you walk closer you can see those red splatters on the wall aren't actually exploded blood splatters at all. They are actually just leaves! Look:


So I made it. I walked a free man into that barren wasteland that lies just east of Granville and west of Auburn.


I have seen more welcoming places to be honest.




I have read that as the suburb is just industrial these days, and no one actually lives in Clyde any more.Having seen how mean Clyde's houses are, I'm not surprised.




And I don't know what Clyde is hiding, but security is out of control! This place is protected by a flying jeep driven by a ghost child!



And I don't know what they dump in this body of water, but it's called Duck River and I didn't see a single duck. It's very suspicious.



Still, you can get all your cement needs met in Clyde, so it's not all bad.


But the strangest thing I noticed about Clyde was that, while in Granville the berries on our trees are red or sometimes green, here the berries were purple.


Or yellow.


This was very unnerving. Of everything I saw, it was these strange berry colours that made me realise something was not right.

I had to get out of there and I moved quickly, not raising me head to notice what I can only assume were an increasingly bizarre array of colours, like brink pink or off-white with magenta spots.

Finally, I made it onto Granville land and headed straight to safety.



At the end of the day, whatever problems Granville faces, I think I am far better here, where it is relatively safe. Plus it turns ot the Granville elctorate takes in a large chunk of Clyde anyway.

Still, a nice day.




Tuesday, June 09, 2020

On Statues (Or 'Me and James Connolly')


I don't think I ever really thought about statues until I was 19.

Backpacking around Europe, I'd arrived in Dublin. Walking around the city centre, I stumbled across a statue of this proud looking bloke with a big moustache, the quote behind him declaring, "The cause of Labour is the cause of Ireland. The cause of Ireland is the cause of Labour."

I grew up in Australia. Here, the statues are what seemed to me an endlessly bland array of colonial figures.

So what THE ACTUAL FUCK was this?

I read at the statue, or maybe elsewhere in Dublin, about James Connolly being a trade unionist, socialist and republican who died in an the 1916 Easter Rising insurrection against British rule.

Seriously WTF? A statue to a trade unionist, just by itself, was totally foreign to me. I'd never seen one in Australia. I mean, trade unionists organise the downtrodden against the powers-that-be and the powers-that-be build the statues... don't they?

But this guy wasn't just a trade unionst ...but a socialist? Even more, a revolutionary who was executed for leading an insurrection against British colonial rule??? My beer-addled teenage brain was trying to figure out WHY a statue would be built to such a person.

It was obvious I knew fuck all about Irish history and politics. I had a vague idea they had grievances with the British, and I kinda liked their folk music and Guinness. Especially the Guinness.

But I never knew their grievances could run so deep that in the centre of their capital they would erect a statue to a socialist revolutionary who had died trying to overthrow British rule by force of arms.

I was shocked, coz I also quite liked English-style ale. Did I now have to choose?

The Easter Rising museum in Dublin provided a basic introduction to the 1916 rebellion Connolly helped lead. I was introduced to the profound and moving Proclamation of the Irish Republic that Connolly helped draft.



I should point out, I wasn't a stranger to such revolutionary documents and their role on mass struggles. I had been to South Africa in the immediate aftermath of the end of Apartheid, when Mandela was first elected president, and the ANC's Freedom Charter was everywhere. It has a lot in common with the Proclamation, but is even more detailed in its radicalism.




But still... to walk through some European nation, which culturally seemed not a million miles from my own (alcohol abuse especially) and see a statue of a revolutionary socialist was gobsmacking.

In truth, as I now know, the statues I grew up with were not actually bland colonial figures at all. They were psychpathic mass murdering white supremicist colonial figures. Which, say what you will, isn't bland.

That's the great magic trick of Australian history. It presents itself as paint-drying levels of boring. Nothing happened, bar a gold rush, the Eureka Stockade, Ned Kelly and then 100 years later a prime minister got sacked.

That was about all we learned at school and predictably every single student was convinced there was nothing more boring in the Known Universe than "Australian History".

It is a clever trick to use dire boredom to distract from a huge decades-long, multi-faceted Frontier War and ongoing genocide. Most students never looked too closely coz we were too busy yawning.

Australia's statues tell a story that is fascinating, if monstrous. They are monuments to the true nature of this nation. They repesent figures associated with the violent and bloody dispossession of the First Australians.

What struck me about the Connolly statue was this was commemorating a figure who died rebelling against the British Empire, and the statues where I was from were all of representatives of that Empire.

That the Irish state that emerged from the 1919-21 War of Independence against British rule bore no resemblence to Connoly's vision was not really the point. That statue told me, in literally concrete form, that a different and better world had been fought and died for, and that this struggle was important enough to commemorate for future generations.

Statues are visual depictions of what values your society holds. What moral compass guides your society? What principles does it hold to?

So when I see people in Britain upset at the statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol had been dumped in the sea... I think this says an enormous amount about them and their society.


As it does about those who want to "save" the statue of pro-slavery general Robert E. Lee in Virginia in the US.


As it does about those upset at the fall of a statue in Belgium to King Leopold II  -- the butcher of the Congo.

 As it does about the snowflakes up in arms about some grafitti on statues of James Cook in this country.



And on Ireland, it's not that they never had statues to figures representing colonial power. For many years, right up until 1966, Dublin was not just home to statues of republican heroes like Connolly... but also "Nelson's Pillar", a homage to British admiral Horatio Nelson.

It towered over Dublin until one night in1966, it was blown up by a splinter group of the Irish Republican Army.

That statue was just granite. Here are seminal Irish folk group The Dubliners singing a jaunty little tune about the incident.










Monday, June 08, 2020

These clips of J. Cole and Janelle Monae might give some clue to why the US has exploded


I don't really get what is happening in the United State right now.

I simply cannot see what in the US's history of genocidal dispossession of its original inhabitants, wealth built by slaves, violent suppression of post-slavery Black people to keep them second class, violence unleashed on super-exploited workers fighting to improve their conditions with anti-union terror common place, growing imperial machinery to use violence to impose your interests the world over as a bloodstained super-power, a campaign  of disruption and murderous violence against Black radicals, the collapse of post-war prosperity and extreme rise in inequality and general suffering as the top 1% grow exponentially richer all the while the judicial system imposing extreme violence against non-whites, also often the poorest, grows too, and the out-of-control system wrecks havoc on the planet causing worsening extreme weather that disproportionately affects the poorest everywhere including the US where it is an opportunity to ethnic cleanse Black areas in the name of "gentrification", worsening persecution against migrants whose cheap labour underpins the entire economy, and the undemocratic, corporate-owned electoral system blocking any sort genuinely pro-people movement to express itself institutionally all the while people's living conditions keep worsening and there isn't even basic universal health care, then a deadly pandemic breaks out and the government does fucking nothing to help its people with the virus killing Black people disproportionately and yet more deadly violence against Black people could give us any sort of clue this explosion was coming.

Talk about blind-sided.

Still I guess it hasn't entirely come from nowhere. These two songs from the US I have found myself listening to, one after the other, when thinking about US state violence against its people, espeically the ones with black skin.

The first involves heartbreak, the second defiant fury, The second follows the first.

The first is by rapper J. Cole, performed on Late Night With David Letterman in 2014, in the aftermath of Eric Garner's murder (among many others). The second is by neo-soul singer Janelle Monae and everyone else from her own record company Wondaland.



'All we want do is take these chains off'



'Say their name...'


BONUS SONG:

In unrelated news, Black people are shot dead with impunity by police in Australia too. Aboriginal country singer Kev Carmody produced this haunting yet matter-of-fact tale of the cold-blooded murder of Aboriginal man David Gundy. And unrelated to this tale is the outbreak of Black LIves Matter protests in Long Bay prison today.



Terrorists dressed in uniform
Under the protection of their law
Terrorise blacks in dawns of fear
They come smashin' through your door
You're not safe out there on freedom street
You're not safe inside the "can"
For their shotguns and their stunt gas
They're licenced to drop you where you stand


Check out Warrioirs of the Aboriginal Resistance on Facebook.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

The Tale of the Roller Skating Archaeologist Part 2

Read Part 1 or you will be very lost



The Adventures of Carlo and Leslie: The Tale of the Roller Skating Archaeologist

PART 2


SCENE FIVE

CAPTION: A desert island.

[On a sand-covered beach with one palm tree for shade, Carlo and Leslie sit in their now sandy Napoleonic-era uniforms.]

LESLIE: I suppose you’re happy now. To be so far away from Belgium where there ACTUALLY IS booze…

CARLO: [looks intently at a coconut] How long does it actually TAKE for these things to ferment?

LESLIE: Also in Brussels, there is water, food, accommodation... AND THE FUCKING CONVENTION WE ARE MEANT TO BE STOPPING SO AS TO PREVENT ALL HELL BREAKING LOOSE!

CARLO: [stands up and yells at the coconut] FERMENT YOU BASTARD!!!

LESLIE: You won’t even like fermented coconut. It’ll just remind you of that fermented horse milk we were forced to drink back when we rode with Genghis Khan.

CARLO: OH GOD! Genghis! All I wanted was a fucking beer!

LESLIE: As you insisted very loudly. God knows  I don’t mind running, but an enraged Mongol horde gets up quite a head of speed.

CARLO: The man had no vision! I tried to tell him! All of this conquering and subjugating and establishing the largest contiguous land empire in human history is one thing! But you want to think big! “Genghis, mate,” I said, “you wanna go invade New Zealand! In about 800 years, they’ll make the Lord of the Rings trilogy there and THINK of the royalties!”

LESLIE: He just kept insisting “what’s New Zealand?” He never understood your strategic genius.

CARLO: AND HE NEVER BOUGHT ME A FUCKING BEER! Now it’s all come flooding back.

LESLIE: Can we concentrate on getting off this island? It’s getting quite serious, there’s sand on my coat!

CARLO: SAND ON YOUR COAT??? I’M FUCKING SOBER!

LESLIE: Well maybe you should be. Did you hear what that archaeologist said on the plane? Their army is led by Boudica!

CARLO: [shocked] The roller derbying archaeologist? [shudders] She once shoulder-checked me in the queue for the bar … I couldn’t walk for months.

LESLIE: This is far more serious than we feared. What the HELL is Duz thinking?

[pause]

CARLO: Do you think this coconut has fermented yet?

[They are interrupted by a rumbling sound in the distance.]

LESLIE: [looking up] What’s that?

CARLO: [jumping up] Are we saved? IS THERE BOOZE?!

LESLIE: [squinting into the distance] It looks like Robinson on [squints] a flying goat!

CARLO: That fucking stoner?!? [slams back down on the sand in disgust]

[Robinson flies in and lands his magical flying goat next to them on the sand while smoking a large joint.]

LESLIE: How did you find us?

ROBINSON: I had a dream… plus I attached secret tracking devices to all known archaeologists. [Pats back of the goat] Jump on!

[Leslie gets on, followed by a reluctant Carlo.]

ROBINSON: You’ll be needing a drink.

[He hands a bottle of some spirit in the direction of Leslie. Carlo snatches it and greedily skulls it then finally hands the bottle to Leslie, who tries to drink from it but finds it empty.]

ROBINSON: Let’s get you to Brussels to stop this convention.

[He takes off into the sky. Leslie and Carlo holding on for dear life.]

ROBINSON: Oh no, it’s the Flying Archaeologist Roller Derby Army!

[An army of flying roller derby women takes chase, with jet-fuelled rollerskates and roller derby costumes and helmets. Boudica is in the lead.]

BOUDICA: [Flying up alongside the goat] Going somewhere are we? Maybe planning a quick trip to Brussels? [she takes aim with her skates] Be careful of any … unexpected turbulence!

[Boudica fires lasers from the back of her skates and Robinson steers the goat to dodge it in time. Other flying roller-derby soldiers start firing their skates and Robinson spins round to produce a bong-laser, firing at the attackers. The soldiers twist and turn, firing and dodging as a battle ensures. Leslie holds on desperately as Carlo wildly swings his machete at random rollerderby soldiers. Eventually, the goat starts to pull away and Boudica pulls up, raising her hand to stop her troops.]

BOUDICA:  They get away this time, but we’ll meet again! Onwards to Brussels and world domination! [She laughs manically.]


SCENE SIX


[Robinson, Leslie and Carlo walk down the footpath of a Brussels street as mad traffic shoots past. It’s raining.]

CARLO: Why does it ALWAYS FUCKING RAIN in Brussels?

LESLIE: It doesn’t always rain. There was actually a day on record in 1736 where it merely drizzled a bit in the morning.

[They walk past the famous fountain with a statue of young boy holding his penis as he pisses water. They are so engrossed with stopping Hell on Earth that they don’t notice.]

LESLIE: So how do we get there?

ROBINSON: You have to cross the road.

[Carlo and Leslie look at the wild traffic and back at Robinson]

LESLIE: Are you sure?

CARLO: Where’s the flying goat?

ROBINSON: Killed when a rogue 4WD rode the pavement.

CARLO: Don’t they respect the rules here?

ROBINSON: Oh no, they just make them. [points across the road a hugely ornate medieval Gothic building] There’s the convention centre. Now [looks at watch] I’ve got another flying goat to catch. If I’m quick I can still make Amsterdam by the time the coffee shops open.

[Robinson leaves as Carlo and Leslie stand and watch the 4WDs flow past.]

LESLIE: So… how do we cross?

[Carlo starts to speak when a bunch of bicycle riders stream down the footpath toward them, scattering them on to the road, forcing them into a mad dash as 4WDs nearly hit them.They stumble onto the opposite footpath.]

LESLIE: Oh like that.

[They look up at a towering and opulent building. A small printed sign on a glorious looking door reads “Archaeologist Convention: Artifacts And Global Domination”.]

LESLIE: Well we’re here.

[They look in the open door inside a huge hall filled with seated convention attendees. A middle-aged man in a cheap suit addresses them from the stage.]

ARCHAEOLOGIST: I hope you’re all enjoying this year’s very special Archaeologist Convention. We’ve been very privileged to unveil a whole array of incredible new discoveries, thanks especially to our wonderful benefactor, Mr Duroyan.

[Attendees applaud politely.]

CARLO: [Watching from the door] THAT BAVARIAN BASTARD!

ARCHAEOLOGIST: And we have saved the best for last, a truly remarkable new discovery that is certain to change the very course of history itself. And to unveil it for us all, we have a very special guest, one of the giants of the archaeology world, it is my incredible honour to welcome to the stage... Amy!

[Crowd applauds loudly as Amy walks on stage in a conservative-looking suit, wearing glasses. The crowd gets to its feet and cheer, trowels waiving in the air.]

LESLIE: It's Amy! Boudica’s archaeologist alter-ego!

AMY: Thank you very much. It’s great to see so many familar faces out here [she looks straight at Carlo and Leslie peering in at the back and gives a knowing smile]. And now to unveil the discovery that will FINALLY give the academic field of archaeology the respect we deserve!

[The crowd cheers wildy again, trowels waving.]

AMY: Now to hand over the goods... Duroyan!

[Applause and trowell waving as Duz walks out, dressed a bit like an Afghan peasant and carrying a small, unimposing wooden box.]

CARLO: THAT BAVARIAN BASTARD!

LESLIE: He’s actually going to do it! We have to stop him!

[They rush into the hall. On stage, Amy takes the box from Duz.]

AMY: Finally it is ours! When I open this box, Hell on Earth will be unleashed and ARCHAEOLOGISTS WILL REIGN AS FORETOLD IN THOSE INDUS VALLEY SCRIPTS WE PRETEND WE CAN’T DECIPHER!

[Cheering and trowel waving. Carlo and Leslie arrive on stage.]

LESLIE: For god’s sake Duz STOP THESE ARCHAEOLOGISTS!

[Duz puts up his hand and mouths “hold on”.]

[Amy opens the box. Leslie and Carlo declare “Oh shit!” as huge clouds of red smoke billow out of the box, then there’s a crack of lightning and as the smoke clears, Lucifer stands there with horns, a forked tail and hooves instead of feet, wearing a red coat and holding a red trident.]

LESLIE: It never ceases to amaze me just how right popular culture got the Devil.

LUCIFER: [sees Carlo] Oh, hi Carlo! Long time no see! Say… isn’t it your shout?

CARLO: [outraged] HOW COULD YOU LET THIS HAPPEN DUZ!

DUZ: It’s OK, I didn’t just sell this to archaeologists without a plan. I knew opening the box would unleash Lucifer and so I prepared the special brew we used last time. All we have to do is throw it over Satan and he’ll be sent straight back down to Hell. Now I left it just over…

[Duz looks in Carlo’s direction as Carlo gulps from a mug.]

DUZ: HEY!

LESLIE: Carlo, did you just drink the magic potion we need to use against the Prince of Darkness to stop him unleashing Hell on Earth and a thousand year reign of archaeologists?

CARLO: [wipes mouth] I thought it was one of those Belgium craft beers.

DUZ: YOU IDIOT! This is the invasion of Persia all over again!

CARLO: Come on! Alexander the Great left without me!

DUZ: He couldn’t get you out of the pub! You kept muttering about the $5 happy hour and how the covers band were rocking!

CARLO: They were awesome! I didn’t like their version of “Dirty Old Town” though.

DUZ: In their defence, it’s pretty hard to play when your machete is pressed against the singer’s throat while you shout at them to play that poetic yet gritty take on life in a post-war northern English industrial town. It was all he could do to screech: “It’s the 4th Century BC, I don’t know what a gas work wall is!”

LESLIE: Decent effort though. But reminiscing about all the places Carlo was too drunk to invade isn’t going to help us stop the Evil One from unleashing unprecedented pain and misery on all humanity!

LUCIFER: Hey, I’m standing right here!

LESLIE: I meant Amy.

CARLO: Hold on… [he starts to gag] That brew’s gone down even worse than Belgium craft beer! Don’t worry, I think I’ve got this! [He rushes at Lucifer] HERE’S THE DRINK I OWE YOU SATAN!

[Carlo projectile vomits all over Lucifer, who screams in horror then disappears in a puff of smoke, leaving behind only a sick-covered cape.]

CARLO: [holding his stomach] That feels so much better.

AMY: You will pay for this! [to the crowd] ARCHAEOLOGISTS! ATTACK!

[A hail of trowels rain down on the stage as Carlo, Leslie and Duz dash to safety. They emerge out the back of the building, then round to the main road. They rush into the chaotic traffic, causing wild beeping and swerving. They somehow make it to the other side, and stand with hands on knees, breathing heavily. The enraged archeologist mob wave trowels and shout from the other side of the road, the traffic a roaring unpassable ocean they can not cross.]

DUZ: [Dusts himself off] Right. To the pub! My shout with the proceeds of the sale!

LESLIE: [shakes his head] Why didn’t you just tell us that was your plan?

[They walk off as a couple of trowels flung from across the road fall nearby.]


SEVEN SEVEN


[The pub. Duz is now dressed as an Irish farmer and is setting three pints of Guinness on the table where Leslie and Carlo sit in their Napoleonic uniforms.]

DUZ: [sits] I told you there was a pint of Guinness.

CARLO: [lifts pint] You might be a Bavarian bastard but I never doubted you!

LESLIE: [sips] It tastes even nicer as proceeds from yet another besting of the Prince of Darkness.

CARLO: [Decent gulp] Oh I love beer.

DUZ: We know.

CARLO: But there's times when I think about ALL the beer I’ve drunk over all those years...

LESLIE: So much throughout all history.

CARLO: ...and I think that if I had all that money I spent on beer … just imagine how much beer I could buy!

LESLIE: Quite a lot, definitely. Even taking into account inflation and rises in alcohol taxes, that's still an enormous amount of purchasing power.

DUZ: You could finally stop harassing other people to buy you beer all the time.

CARLO: Oh no! Just coz I’d be rich would be no reason to give up my favourite pastime!

LESIE: [raises hand] Hold on.

DUZ: What?

LESLIE: I swear I just heard roller skates.

[They all listen. Nothing happens.]

CARLO: Ah it’s just the lack of whiskey getting to you! [He stands up, machete in hand] I’ll go sort that out.

[As he walks off, the unmistakable sound of someone rollerskating nearby is heard.]


THE END

The Tale of the Roller Skating Archaeologist Part 1

They go on about how Shakespeare wrote King Lear in quarantine for the plague, but I can safely say I've outdone the bastard with The Adventures of Carlo and Leslie: The Tale of the Roller Skating Archaeologist.

This is a true story. No names have been changed. I've written it as a script to make the inevitable Hollywood deal easier. A warning though, it is pretty hard hitting gritty realism so it's not light reading.

The Adventures of Carlo and Leslie: The Tale of the Roller Skating Archaeologist


PART 1

SCENE 1 


CAPTION: Throughout millennia, valuable artefacts have been secretly accumulated by obscure figures unseen by history. Now, a new danger threatens their work....

[Carlo and Leslie meet at Carlo’s lair, dressed in old Napoleonic-era style uniforms. Leslie’s is a stylish, neatly pressed, black uniform with white lacing. Carlo’s is blue, but dishevelled and coming apart at the seams. Leslie wears his with a calm, understated bearing, but Carlo exudes an exaggerated pride as though he is the best dressed Emperor in history.

Carlo is seated behind a large, wooden desk in a room best described as ”ornately morbid”. Leslie is in front of the desk.]

CARLO: Ah, Leslie. How good of you to come!

LESLIE: Yes, it’s been a while since I was last in your lair. [Looks around] I like what you’ve done with the skulls.

CARLO: Thank you. I see you’re admiring my collection of mounted tongues!

LESLIE: Yes. [Points] Alfred the Great’s if I am not mistaken?

CARLO: Well spotted!

LESLIE: The tongue of the great 9th Century Wessex king who successfully united the Anglo Saxons to defeat the Viking invasion to become arguably the father of the nation we now know as England? I’d recognise it anywhere! What caused you to claim it?

CARLO: Oh, he spoke to me in an unacceptable tone. No idea what he said, I don’t speak OId English. But the tone was highly offensive. Please, have a drink.

[Carlo produces a bottle and pours two glasses. Leslie calmly reaches over to take the glass closest to Carlo.]

CARLO: Still don’t trust me, I see.

LESLIE: After Paris? [laughs gently and sips his drink.]

CARLO: Ah yes, the day the Nazis marched in! I remember every detail! The Germans wore grey and you wore…

LESLIE: Grey! I was in disguise, trying not to be spotted among the Nazis, when suddenly your voice cries out: “There he is! There’s the bastard who nicked the Fuhrer’s wine!”

CARLO: Oh, that was just business.

LESLIE: Four years in Dachau! And it was you who nicked Hitler’s wine when his back was turned!

CARLO: Let’s not fight about who condemned who to which concentration camp! We have more pressing problems. You have, I imagine, seen the news.

[Carlo tosses Archaeologist Weekly on the desk.]

LESLIE: [serious] Yes. The archaeologists found the jewelry stash in Siberia. Associated it, with their usual lack of imagination, with the Denisovan species of early humans. So we’re in the clear there at least.

CARLO: [stormily] That’s not all.

LESLIE: I know, it comes hot on the heels of the “discovery” of all the “oldest known bottles of wine” in a particularly isolated cave in Iran. And I was saving that for a special occasion.

CARLO: [angry] Someone’s telling the archaeologists where all our shit is hidden!

LESLIE: And we both know who it must be.

[dramatic pause]

LESLIE: Duroyan.

CARLO: THE BAVARIAN BASTARD! Selling our shit to archaeologists! Christ, and how long before Duz gives up the secret to… you know what!

LESLIE: He wouldn’t dare. Surely not even Duz!

CARLO: WOULD YOU TRUST A BAVARIAN?!?

LESLIE: If he does, and the archaeologists actually disturb… you know what… then all Hell breaks loose!

CARLO: Lucifer will walk the Earth once more! And I still owe that prick a beer!

LESLIE: We have to stop Duz! And we know where he can be found.

CARLO: The pub! I’ll get my machete and … well who cares if you’re armed… [grabs machete] Let’s go.



SCENE 2



[The pub. Duz, dressed in a white safari suit, is at a table covered in empty glasses holding forth to an unseen audience.]


DUZ: ... the thing people don’t realise is that Bavaria is not really even part of Germany, we are very clear that we’re Bavarians first and foremost, and it is totally wrong to associate the region with the far right just because Hitler had his rallies in Nuremberg coz you had the Bavarian Socialist Soviet Republic established in 1919, but unfortunately they put a poet in charge and you can imagine how THAT ended up, I mean if it had been ME in charge...


[Frame pulls back to reveal a woman slumped face down, passed out, in the seat next to Duz. He is talking regardless until he sees Carlo and Leslie appear.]


DUZ: Oh hi guys, how are you going?


CARLO: [points to passed out woman] WHO IS THAT! 


DUZ: Oh… just an archaeologist I happened to … ah… run into...


LESLIE: We know, Duz. 


CARLO: THAT WAS OUR STUFF! Christ, the shit we went through with the fucking Sumerians!


DUZ: I can explain… LOOK OVER THERE [points behind them] A PINT OF GUINNESS!


LESLIE: Oh come on, we’re not falling for … [sees Carlo looking behind him] CARLO!


[Duz dashes out the door.]


LESLIE: Shit...


CARLO: [still looking behind him] Where’s the Guinness? 


LESLIE: He lied.


CARLO: The Bavarian BASTARD!


LESLIE: We have to follow him… the entire fate of human civilisation rests on us stopping Duz!
CARLO: Yes! But… well…  [head tilts towards the bar] One drink first?
[pause]
LESLIE: Yeah OK, one can’t hurt.



CAPTION: Four hours later



[Leslie and Carlo’s table is covered with empty glasses, half drunk beers in front of them.]


CARLO: ...and then Bill Fucking Shakespeare ripped me off!


LESLIE: You WERE quite upset when he nicked your material.


CARLO: “To be, or not to be, THAT is the question!” My greatest line! No idea what it meant, I was pretty wasted.


LESLIE: Yes, you jumped up on the pub table and started banging on about slings of fortune and dreams of mortal coils. The scrumpy round Stratford-Upon-Avon was quite potent in those parts.


CARLO: There’s an idea! 


LESLIE: Oh no. I don’t want to end up in Wales again.


CARLO: What do you mean?


LESLIE: You can’t handle your scrumpy. Every time we drink it, we end up in Wales.


CARLO: What have you got against the Welsh?


LESLIE: Nothing, asides from the constant singing. It is just when we finally sober up from a scrumpy binge, we’re always in some field in North Wales surrounded by sheep carcasses and a furious mob enraged by some insulting rendition you did of their national anthem in the local pub.


CARLO: Yeah I do like to do that. Alright [rises unsteadily] Just a whiskey then…


CAPTION: Eight hours later



[Leslie staggers out of the pub, followed by an even less steady Carlo loudly butchering the folk song “Dirty Old Town”. They fall about the street, Carlo’s machete waving.]


CARLO: [tunelessly] I’LL CHOP YOU DOWN LIKE AN OLD DEAD TREE! IT’S A DIRTY OLD TOWN!


LESLIE: [trying to focus] RIGHT! Duroyan.


CARLO: A DIRTY OLD… Who?


LESLIE: The bastard who’ll unleash all Hell on Earth if he sells that thing to the archaeologists.
CARLO: HIM! He promised me Guinness! [Turns back to the pub] LET’S HAVE ANOTHER GUINNESS!


[A trowel is thrown from an unseen assailaint, who then quickly rollerskates by. It hits Carlo’s shoulder.]


CARLO: OW!


[A second trowel is thrown from a different direction and someone else quickly skates past. Carlo and Leslie duck, scattering bins.]


LESLIE: [dusts himself off] I just dry-cleaned this!


CARLO: What the FUCK was that?
LESLIE: [Picking up a trowel] Archaeologists. This is a warning.


CARLO: Shit.


LESLIE: But I have a plan.


CARLO: Shit.


LESLIE: We need the advice of a Wise Man. Follow me.


[Leslie walks off, Carlo tries to follow but falls over.]



SCENE THREE



[Leslie and Carlo arrive outside a nondescript block of flats.]


LESLIE: The Wise Man we seek lives up here. His name is Robinson Otto.


[They enter and walk up multiple flights of stairs, Carlo’s machete in hand. After what seems an eternity, they arrive at a floor where the first door has smoke billowing from under it. Leslie knocks.]


ROBINSON’S VOICE: Oh hi, come in!


LESLIE: [to Carlo] He is a very wise man, so let me do the talking.


[He opens the door and more smoke billows out. They cough and push their way through the smoke in a struggle to enter the room. Behind a wooden dining table Robinson sits in an old t-shirt with a large, greying beard and scattered, greying hair on his head. He is finishing a cone and places the bong in front of him. The table overflows with empty take away containers and ginger beer bottles.]


ROBINSON: [coughing slightly] Hey!


LESLIE: Robinson, we need your help.


[Carlo looks around unsteadily, and nearly trips over a pile of empty take away containers.]


ROBINSON: Well… [he packs and pulls another cone, coughing] You know my price.


CARLO: This freak is charging?


LESLIE: One pork chop and rice from the Chinese shop on the corner and a bottle of ginger beer?


ROBINSON: I am quite hungry.


LESLIE: Carlo? I am sure you can get the required goods. 


CARLO: What? Me?


LESLIE: Or perhaps you’d prefer to stay here amid all the empties of this non-alcoholic ginger beer you are so allergic to?


CARLO: [sneezes and shudders] ALRIGHT! Pork chop and… the other thing.


[Carlo staggers out as Leslie and Robinson share a polite smile.]



CAPTION: EIGHT MINUTES LATER



[Carlo bursts through the smokey room with a plastic bag of food and a machete dripping with blood.]


CARLO: That queue! Lucky I had my machete. [slams the pork chop and the ginger beer on the table in front of Robinson] HERE!


[Robinson snatches the pork chop and rice and begins furiously consuming it.]



CAPTION: 20 SECONDS LATER



[Robinson throws down the last of the pork chop bones, finishes the ginger beer and tosses the bottle behind him, wiping his mouth.]


LESLIE: Right so…


[Robinson holds up his hand, and starts packing a cone]


CARLO: [angry] THIS CLOWN’S WASTING OUR TIME!


ROBINSON: [Pulls the cone] Have patience and I shall [breaks into a long-lasting coughing fit] give you the answer you seek… [looks off into the distance] What was the question?


CARLO: Jesus fuck! [starts for the door]

ROBINSON: Oh right! The archaeologists.


[Carlo and Leslie stare at him.]


LESLIE: How did you know?


ROBINSON: Next weekend there will be an International Archaeologists Convention featuring Duroyan as a special guest. If you do not act quickly, the thing you wish to remain hidden will be exposed.


LESLIE: Where?
ROBINSON: In Brussels.


CARLO: FUCKING BELGIUM???


LESLIE: How do you know this?


ROBINSON: [looks off into the distance] I foresaw it in a dream. Plus [produces newspaper] there's an ad at the back of Archaeology Weekly.


LESLIE: Oh you subscribe as well! 


CARLO: NOT FUCKING BELGIUM!!!



SCENE FOUR



CAPTION: ON A FLIGHT TO BELGIUM


[Leslie is seated in a window seat, Carlo is next to him with empty cups and beer cans piling up.]


CARLO: [crushes another empty beer can] I SWORE I WOULD NEVER SET FOOT IN BELGIUM AGAIN! [Slams his fist down, sending plastic cups and empty cans flying]


LESLIE: So you keep saying … You do realise this is a 22 hour flight?


CARLO: THEY INSULTED ME!
LESLIE: Did they.


CARLO: THEY *REFUSED* TO SERVE ME BEER! THE ENTIRE TIME WE WERE THERE!


LESLIE: This was in the midst of the German occupation during World War I. The pubs simply weren’t open and there was a severe alcohol shortage. You weren’t the only one to suffer...


CARLO:  I JUST WANTED *ONE* BEER!  


LESLIE: [Looks out of window] They do actually sell alcohol these days.


CARLO: I’M TAKING NO CHANCES! [Gestures] WAITER! MORE BEER! 


[A stewardess comes over with a forced smile.]


STEWARDESS: Sir, I think you’ve had enough…


[Carlo whips out his machete]


CARLO: I SAID MORE BEER!


STEWARDESS: [Sighs] Why of course sir, another VB? 


[Produces can]


STEWARDESS: [walking away] I still have no idea how you got that thing on the plane. 


LESLIE: Look, at it this way… do you REALLY think Duz would DREAM of going to Brussels if there was no beer?


[Before Carlo can answer, two archeologists leap into the plane aisle holding trowels.]


ARCHAEOLOGIST: This is a hijacking! Nobody move or we WILL use the trowels!


STEWARDESS: How did they get those things onboard?


CARLO: I got this! [gets up brandishing his machete] OK archeologists! Where EXACTLY do you think you’re taking us?


ARCHAEOLOGIST: We are taking YOU, Carlo Sands, and your fancy-dressed friend there [Leslie gives a smile of faux embarrassment] as FAR AWAY from Brussels as possible!


CARLO: Why didn’t you say so! [puts machete away] Away from Belgium? THANK CHRIST!


LESLIE: Carlo…


ARCHAEOLOGIST: This plane will fly over a tiny isolated Pacific Island, where, in the name of of our Eternal Leader Boudica, The Roller Derby Archaeologist Queen…


LESLIE: Oh no...  not Boudica….


ARCHAEOLOGIST: ...the two of YOU will be left to meet your fate, far away from our Glorious Convention in Brussels!


CARLO: You have NO IDEA how HAPPY I am to hear that!

END OF PART 1
READ PART 2