Clever Man

“Tell us the story of Clever Man granddad” ex Prime Minister Melvin Frasier’s grandchildren begged.

I suppose you’re old enough to learn about the phenomenon known as Clever Man. According to legend, he took his first tentative steps into the world of politics before he took his first steps. He was a seasoned campaigner by the time he locked horns with the notorious Julius Craven.

“Will there be a guest appearance from Julian Assange in this story Granddad?”

“Maybe, you’ll have to wait and see”

Dark clouds rolled in to accompany the dishonourable Julius Craven, the Minister for Immigration in the Neo-Liberal Party Government.  He was busy being the centre of attention in an imaginatively titled documentary called “The Campaign Trail.” Julius wondered which superhero the little boy dressed entirely in yellow was meant to be. He’d seen a lot of Marvel and D.C movies with his tantrum tornado grandchildren but he’d never seen this caped crusader before. 

“Yellow is the colour of intelligence,” the boy who couldn’t have been more than seven stated as though it was as apparent as the blueness of the distant ocean.

“Intelligence is a big word for a little boy, do you know what it means?” Senator Craven asked.

The little fellow rolled his eyes and looked at his mother Avira Ali, Professor of linguistics at Sydney University and his stepfather Byron Stradbroke, Professor of Anthropology, at the University of New South Wales, as if to say “who is this fuckwit” He pointed at Senator Craven as though he was about to shoot a concentrated beam of unpalatable facts into his frontal lobe.

“I am Clever Man. You can be my sidekick Idiot Boy if you like.” Senator Craven looked as incensed as a Staffie that’s just lost a wrestling bout with a Maltese Terrier.

“I guess you think you look pretty heroic in that outfit. I’ll have you know that yellow is the colour of cowardice little boy”

“You’ve got the wrong shade Mister C grade. I’m no Yellow Bellied Sapsucker, sucker.”

“I want you to edit those bits out Corey,” Minister Craven barked.

“You’re the politician, we’re the film makers” the producer reminded him. “I want you to edit that out” was one of the most common phrases Julius Craven uttered in his professional life. He’d been known to say it on Q&A and a host of other live current affairs programs more than once.

Ten years later, the now Senator Julius Craven remembered being bested by Clever Man as clearly as he remembered being flung around a strip joint, the previous night, by the pole dancer he’d attempted to molest. “I used to play football” the senator said with a chuckle, in response to her repeatedly warning him that she had been practising Brazilian ju-jitsu eight days a week, since the age of two. The security staff’s laughter still echoed in his mind.

Senator Craven was scheduled to give a thirty minute talk, at Heron Selective Highschool, on his memoirs. He was doing his best to convince everyone that his editor was a glorified proof reader. In reality his book was as ghost written as Casper’s diary. Craven was unaware that the little boy known as Clever Man, who was now seventeen, was a student at the school. Dorian Grey, the last bully to fuck with Clever Man, had been expelled five years ago after being framed for graffitiing the principal’s office. Clever Man didn’t take kindly to having his lunch money stolen. On the day Grey was expelled, someone hacked into his bank accounts and sent the funds ricocheting around the world until Sherlock Holmes reincarnated as an accountant wouldn’t have a hope in hell of tracing them.  

Coincidentally, or not, within a few days dozens of cashed up persons unknown were campaigning on behalf of Murray Greenberg, the most prominent left leaning independent candidate in Julius Craven’s electorate. Rumours abounded. According to the Daily Telegraph, Banksy was flown in to mastermind Greenberg’s graffiti division and Greenpeace mercenaries were training squadrons of base jumping sky writers. It was said that Banksy mixed his pallet from the stains of corruption, as he got high on the sky writers wind dispersed slogans. Needless to say, Julius Craven lost his seat. Craven strenuously denied that his affair with a chimpanzee was a contributing factor.

“C.G.I, C.G.I, C.G.I” Craven repeated ad naueseum, with his hands firmly placed over his ears and his gaze fixed on the floor, whenever journalists questioned him on the matter. The F.B.I suspected that Clever Man had set up an inter species singles site solely for the purpose of setting a honey trap for Julius Craven, but nothing was ever proven.

Craven’s muckrakers best efforts centred around the claim one of Greenberg’s visits to a massage parlour last century wasn’t solely for the purpose of rehabilitating from a skiing accident.  When it emerged that the massage therapist was eighty six years old, Craven’s smear squad changed tack and accused Greenberg of promoting pseudoscience, due to the athritic therapists increasing reliance on reiki. This approach proved to be less effective than bringing a machete to a whittling contest.

The world wide release of Craven’s inter species porno wasn’t enough to satisfy his enemies thirst for retribution. Surely a more cost effective, diplomatic approach could have been used to counter the smear campaign against Greenberg, an article in Green Left Weekly lamented, after it was discovered Anonymous hacktivists had hijacked U.S Air Force reconnaissance drones, for the purpose of leaflet dropping in Greenberg’s electorate. It’s long been rumoured that Clever Man is the mastermind behind their seemingly leaderless collective. Clever Man started the rumour, to make his battle with the world’s intelligence agencies challenging enough to hold his interest. His avatar’s, avatars spread it so convincingly that the majority of Anonymous’ membership believed it.

How did Craven resurrect his political career at the next federal election? That’s a boring story. It suffices to say that idiots vote and in Craven’s home state there are plenty of them.

On the day of Senator Craven’s memoirs sales pitch, at Heron Selective Highschool, Clever Man, AKA Imran Ali, was busy doing the public speaking component of his society and culture assignment on refugees. He’d been busier with what he liked to call his side projects, so busy he hadn’t begun writing his speech until the early hours of that morning. He’d practiced during lunch, between bites of his vegan burger.

Clever Man strode to the front of the room and placed his notes on the lectern. Clever Man doesn’t need notes. He’d said it often enough himself. They were there in case some extraordinary distraction, like a flock of pigeons flying into the room, took place. If some of the hypothetical birds happened to catch fire it might well be enough to give Clever Man a mental blank. He cleared his throat and begun.

“This afternoon I’d like to talk generally about self-harm and specifically about the horrific way in which my father died before I was born. First there was the psychological torture Imran Ali Senior endured before his sanity disintegrated and he set himself on fire. Then there was the thirty hours before he was taken to a hospital with the equipment and expertise to treat his burns. He probably wouldn’t have died if he had been evacuated from the offshore detention centre ASAP. It may as well have been murder because treating people like that kills them.

If there is nothing someone can do to change their unbearable situation, their rage, frustration and misery will inevitably be channelled into extreme action. Some people react to trauma by curling up into the foetal position and sobbing until their tear ducts are as empty as the promises of unfettered capitalism, some stop moving and speaking for days on end, some attack others with blind fury, more gentle souls prefer to cut themselves, some try to escape with drugs, some perform death defying stunts without calculating the risk, some run until they cannot walk, some pull their hair out and some turn themselves into a human bonfire and some politicians couldn’t care less.

Self-harm is not just attention seeking, it’s a dysfunctional coping mechanism for hell on Earth. A lot of people who self-harm keep it a secret. They know being forced to take medication won’t rid them of the cause. A stint in a mental health unit could mean losing their job and custody of their children.

Whether Imran Ali Senior intended to make a political statement with his act of self-harm, or he was simply driven insane, I’m not sure. What I do know is he would’ve loved the opportunity to start a business in this country, to have a sense of purpose again, to live life to the full in a free society. Has our nation realized the importance of giving refugees their lives back yet? It seems not!

The majority of politicians have been busy cultivating the community’s xenophobic fears, so they can scapegoat refugees for the bulk of the nation’s problems. For a generation now, they’ve gotten more votes for indefinitely imprisoning refugees without charge than they have for assisting them. You would think that banning reputable charities from assisting in the care of asylum seekers and banning journalists from going anywhere near the offshore detention centres would make the majority of voters highly suspicious but apparently not.

Former Prime Minister Monte Coward and Dieter Mutton, the former Minister for Home Affairs, wouldn’t even let our more altruistic neighbours help the refugees we won’t accept. Successive governments would rather let refugees die in third world conditions than evacuate them to the mainland for urgent medical care. As for the immigration minister during Monte Coward’s reign, the newly elected senator for the Neo-Liberal Party Julius Craven, you’ll have your opportunity to ask him questions soon, if he dares set foot in the auditorium once he realizes that Clever Man is on the scene.

“What, Clever Man’s here, why didn’t you tell me, I’ve been hunting his autograph for years” Miss Blanks, Imran’s English teacher, said with a wink.

Senator Craven was crossing the quadrangle when Clever Man seemed to appear from nowhere.

“I know your parents, you can’t hide your identity from me” Craven smirked.

“Do you see a mask dipshit? That secret identity stuff is just a lame joke but not as lame or as secret as the shit show that’s about to be unleashed in Canberra”

“Whatever you’re talking about kid, if it resides anywhere, other than in your imagination, it’s got nothing to do with me”

The Senator’s swift departure from the school suggested he believed otherwise. “As Craven’s private jet accelerated away from Thor’s mighty hammer, enroute to Canberra, Anonymous hacktivists hijacked a fleet of U.S Airforce drones again, this time they were destined to be modified to parachute books on to beaches, into music festivals and sporting events. The “Books not Bombs” campaign was wildly successful.

Craven popped the cork on a two thousand dollar bottle of champagne, at tax payers expense, to celebrate the skyrocketing sales of his memoirs. Why did Craven think he was entitled to such luxury for free? “Why” is a common refrain for anyone who frequently associates with Craven. His willingness to sign anything, without reading it, largely explains why he’s come as far in politics as he has.

The recently released political prisoner Julian Assange loved cryptograms. Assange managed to solve the one in front of him manually long before anyone thought to analyse it with decryption software. Every tenth letter in the clumsy prose told a very different story to Craven’s subtly edited narcissistic twaddle.  Clever Man’s favourite apparent confession of Craven’s involved the use of a ten thousand dollar bribe, from a property developer, to tip a troupe of shemale strippers. It was an interesting one, considering Craven’s opposition to anything less straight laced than an abstinence education kit. He was on Good Morning Australia, skiting about writing his autobiography with virtually no assistance, when the story broke.

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