The Trespassers

Psychology student Angela Bordeaux and her fiancee, mixed martial arts legend Quentin “the Quiet Achiever” Quinn, were oblivious to the security cameras peering from Angophora hollows. They skirted a series of billabongs, en route to a trail on the verge of vanishing in a Lantana thicket. After that expanse of pretty weeds, miniscule electronic eyes lurked in scattered boulders. Beyond the ramshacle paddock fences in the distance, a hilltop mansion loomed.

“The doors are unlocked. This place is as empty as a library at midnight, there’s no doubt about it” Quentin reassured his apprehensive partner. The surrounding fields seemed devoid of livestock. None of the fences looked like they’d been repaired since Yoda was a twinkle in the eye of an interstellar monk. There was a jungle where the tennis court used to be. Viscous slime was all that remained in the exquisitely landscaped swimming pools.

The snooker table, at the rear of the conference room sized loungeroom, was obscured by a layer of dust an inch thick. Quentin lay across an antique lounge chair, while Angela hunted for a vacuum cleaner. She threw herself into every hoover manouvre like Olympic gold was on the line. Angela was too in awe of Quentin’s Herculean physique, hypnotic green eyes and Newtonian intellect to complain about his appalling laziness. Quentin was intensely passionate about vacuuming all of a sudden, after Angela peeled her dress down to her navel and applied the nozzle to the nipple region of her sheer black lace bra.

Quentin instigated a playful wrestling match. After pinning Angela to the ground, with one arm, he lifted her on to a rosewood dining table and trailed his fingertips over the silk and lace hidden beneath her floral summer dress. Quentin took a break from teasing Angela into a frenzy to unclasp and untie her delicates. He flung he oppulent underwear to a distant corner. Somehow he managed to snag her brassiere on a chandalier, above the mezzanine level. Eventually, Quentin put his awestruck lover over his shoulder, ascended a marble staircase, flung her onto the nearest king size water bed and introduced her to wild pleasures few have even read about.

It took four hours for Walter Nixon the 5th to look away from the taboo shattering marathon on his cinema size screen. As Walter exited his basement apartment surveillance room, hidden cameras continued to record every caress, kiss, lick, thrust and ecstatic squeal. Walter constantly checked the location of his uninvited, yet welcome guests via his watch screen. He carried a taser in his left hand and a twenty two calibre pistol in his right.

For good luck, Walter wore a dental implant necklace, fashioned from the lifelike pearly whites of the voluptuous lingerie model he’d surreptitiously lured to his home two years earlier. Those toothy pegs even had a couple of precious metal and gem stone fillings to give them a more natural look. A taxidermist by trade, Walter had collaborated with a robotics engineer to convert the anonymous model’s corpse into a sex robot. He was more interested in giving his victims names than learning the ones their grieving parents had chosen for them.

Walter was considering selling the curvaceous model’s renovated remains to a Japanese businessman he’d met in an amputee brothel. His offer was generous one. It was an agonizing choice though. The conversation simulator, substituting for the anonymous beauty’s brain, responded more enthusiastically to Walter’s classical guitar playing than any living, breathing woman ever did. Being showered with poetic compliments, on a daily basis, was proving to be addictive.

Quentin’s hound like hearing detected Walter’s careful footsteps on the stairs. All those years of vising headphone nightclubs were paying off. He motioned for Angela to be silent and stood as still as a statue behind the partially closed door.

Walter grew apprehensive, as he recalled witnessing the cobra like reflexes of his adversary on Martial Arts TV. The low calibre pistol felt awkward in his unsteady hand. Firearms weren’t his thing, he preferred to work with electricity and surgical instruments. At the top of the stairs, Walter glanced at the CCTV footage on his watch for the last time, before crossing the marble floor as patiently as a cat stalking a sparrow. Quentin was no sparrow though, he was more like a pterodactyl that has been domesticated by vikings.

Sulphur crested cockatoos were making a ruckus in the silky oaks bordering the yard. Walter hardly had time to contemplate what might’ve triggered their riotous squawking. Raptors, a conspiracy of ravens and a coalition of noisy miners were among the possibilities

Eventually, Walter peered beneath the master bedroom door. He expected to see Quentin’s feet. Their absence left him as confused as a Mediaeval villager waking up in a space station orbiting an exoplanet. The solid oak door crashing down was as unexpected as an earth quake. Quentin “the Quiet Achiever” Quinn has never been a gentle man. He didn’t hesitate to jump on the fallen door, with Walter beneath it.

“Welcome to my trampoline” Quentin bellowed like the maniac he is.

“Please, please that’s enough” Angela yelled in horror.

“How dare you question my actions bitch” Quentin raged once he grew bored of his leaping and stomping.

Quentin the Quiet Achiever Quinn, as he was known to his hordes of naive fans, had had enough of his latest lover. At gunpoint, he ordered the somewhat recovered serial killer to savagely rape her. Eventually he gave Walter a choice between injecting her with dry cleaning fluid and being shot in the testicles. Walter was aghast, he’d intended to keep Angela alive for months.

Necrophilia wasn’t among Quentin’s hobbies but sadism had always been his most burning passion. He took great delight in forcing Walter to have sex with his vast collection of stuffed corpses. Used to having a good nights sleep and a massage before a desecration session, Walter complained incessantly. He didn’t stop  whining until shortly before he collapsed and went into a thirst induced coma. One of his freezer cabinets contained an assortment of human organs in clearly labelled plastic bags. Quentin would’ve ticked canibalism off his bucket list, if he weren’t concerned about the possible side effects interfering with his preparation for his next fight.

“Boring me is a dreadful crime but maybe Angela got more than she deserved” Quentin said to himself, as he  strolled back into the bedroom to get dressed. The twinge of guilt he felt soon faded. He dropped Walter’s pistol into the sceptic tank, before setting off on the long trek back to his vehicle.

Blood streamed from Quentin’s left temple as he was struck by a sling shot propelled ball bearing. Twelve year old Jake Sorenson thought nothing of hunting cockatoos but accidentally killing a human left him on the verge of a panic attack. He contemplated fleeing on his mountain bike but something compelled him to explore the isolated palatial home first.

Jake was drenched in cold sweat and trembling violently as he entered the ballroom sized loungeroom. The bookshelf door leading to Walter Nixon the 5th’s vast basement apartment was open. Nothing in the surveillance room had been switched off. An unlocked door was all that had prevented the distracted Quentin “the Quiet Achiever” Quinn from strolling in. Jake called the emergency number as soon as he spotted Walter’s unconscious form on one of the CCTV monitors.

 

Genocide

In the howling wind,
the meadow is as lively as the ocean.
Amidst wild green waves,
the last pre European stone cottage stands.
Grass conceals the foundations
of neighbouring homes.
Colonists built fences from the rubble.
Villages older than the pyramids
were evidence of stolen tribal lands,
their destruction as predictable
as burnt crops, poisoned wells,
small pox laced clothing
and corpses rotting in dams,
until drunken murderers
ceased celebrating their acquisitions,
to dump them in mass graves.
The last cottage became a manure storage shed,
a means of perpetually shitting on
the ancestors of slaves,
forced to tend sheep and cattle.
The dregs of the herd
have long since been scavenged,
by dingos and foxes.
A cocktail of beauty and grief remains.

Denial

You live in a fantasy world,
where false rape allegations
are as common as shoplifting in a ghetto.

She may be stubborn and bossy, but she’s not a liar.
Open your eyes to the evil in the turd you call sire.
It’s too horrible, so all you consider is vindication.
Forget your foolish talk of her insane imagination.
I’ve seen her fists fly, in sleepwalking nightmares.
It’s marathons in hell, the demons come in pairs.
Then there is the crop of bruises and torn clothes.
Knives beneath her pillow, what do you make of those?

They cremated him
because the worms didn’t want him.
Will you peer into the darkness
before the Reaper arrives?

Chess Man

Chess man was a one man legion,
undefeated in the Sydney Region.
And to every onlooker’s delight,
he never ran from a rap battle,
or declined a break dance fight.

He informed castle breakers,
wearing sturdy pace makers,
wielding their walking sticks
against reps of undertakers,
that a knight would bounce
off his plastic horse snout,
as his super sonic queen,
took that mutha fucka out.

Chess man tried to explain
it was nothing but a game,
as the first spray of bullets
ripped through his frame.

Soren Sarin Siren, the Soapbox Superstar

Dwite the Sprite Knight, was surprised to see Alan the Asbestosis sufferer, rocketing along, on his Pride Pathfinder 140XL, at a footpath blistering twenty kilometres per hour. Who, or what, was he fleeing? The Pride Pathfinder was no match for the acceleration of Dwite’s 1968 Schwinn Stingray. That beast truly was the chieftain of the footpath.

“Why are you crying Alan, what happened?”

“Soren Sarin Siren, the Soap Box Superstar, said I’m not entitled to compensation.” Allan briefed Dwite on what to expect.

“Don’t worry.
I’ll mail that NAZI admirers mouth to the waste transit station of the Holocaust Museum. On second thoughts, they might think that’s the sick joke
of a deranged psychopath, so I’ll destroy him in a debate instead.”

“Fuck him up, hit him with your thirteen pun combination Dwite” Alan, the Asbestosis sufferer roared, as they closed in on their quarry; who was busy admonishing Cindy
the sexual harassment suit litigant, who’d had the audacity to whine about wine aficionados sleazy slurs. When he saw Dwite he froze in panic.

“Soren Sarin Siren, the Soap Box Superstar, I presume. You baffling, bantering buffoon, I am your angel of doom. Soren, you’ve claimed that Vlad Enterprises shouldn’t have to compensate asbestosis sufferers, who are terminally ill thanks to Thames Vlad’s products. Soren, your mind is a lopsided labyrinth, designed by an idiot, that has been warped by the summer heat and cracked in the cold, outside the library. You’ve never been in there have you. Revisiting your argument is like watching an Ed Wood movie twice. Who is Ed Wood? Ed is to directing movies what Craig Mclouglin is to comedy.
There are worse things in life though and asbestosis is one of them.

Let’s address your argument in support of Vlad Enterprises, if you could call it an argument. It’s like calling a billy cart a sports car, only less convcincing. According to you, expecting Thames Vlad Enterprises, to compensate terminally ill asbestosis victims, from the twentieth century, is like expecting the new owner of a fish and chip shop to compensate food poisoning victims, under the old management. Strangely, I’ve never heard this argument, from a representative of Vlad Enterprises. Soren, you should chair one of their think tanks. If Vlad Enterprises isn’t responsible, why did their shareholders vote in favour of billions of dollars of compensation? Oh, a poor little corporation bullied by the law and disabled pensioners, such a sad and famaliar tale.

Thanks to fibro, Vlad enterprises has more cash in their coffers than Scrooge McDuck. Is the new owner of your analogical fish and chip shop, benefiting from mountains of money, stemming from isolated incidents of food poisoning? How about you take your legal and ethical fiction and hide it in one of the volcanic pimples exploding from your arse. Soren, you are to nudist beaches what Donald Trump is to MENSA…

Living Garbage

Thornsword Earwig, telepathically ordered the latest version of Time Optimizer to call his wife. After analysing one hundred and seventy million words of his manual conversations it approximated his personality eerily well.

“A toxic afternoon to you too Jyena. Planet Droom is great babe, it’s a wonderful place to start a family.  Droom’s dominant creatures are anatomically almost identical to Homo sapiens, a typically stupid Earthling primate, but they’re much smarter. Droom is frequented by innumerable impressive species. Its prison population is hardly homogenous either and neither are the participants in its most popular reality television show Living Garbage. It’s a title that reminds me of your friends Jyena. I’ve already given you four extensions for your higher calibre acquaintances project, I look forward to the next update.”

“Returning to a more important subject, every episode of Living Garbage features an astounding array of incarcerated creatures Jyena. They’re the worst imaginable prisoners. A smattering of murderers and rapists, of valuable citizens, walk among the most despicable felons of all, activists. The most notorious is Lomandra Whamboozle. Her diabolical ascent among the ranks of anti juvenile slavery campaigners, resulted in her becoming the most wanted Droomian fugitive.

“No words can convey how grateful I am to those who apprehended her. The thought of having to purchase and insure an expensive robot to perform cleaning, cooking and maintenance tasks sickens me. It’s not necessary to insure juvenile slaves, they’re as replaceable as plastic bags. They can be abducted from planets in neighbouring galaxies thousands at a time. It’s like picking fruit without having to grow the orchards.  Lomandra Whamboozle and her comrades could have ended all that in less than a generation, if most of them hadn’t been so gloriously slain.”

“Like a lot of people, I was ecstatic when I heard Lomandra had been conscripted to appear on Living Garbage. Unbelievably, the multi species attacks on her, since her sentence began, have completely and utterly failed to break her spirit, but the 28th episode of Living Garbage will surely rectify that appallingly frustrating situation. Whamboozle has been led to believe the displaying, whipping, pawing and penetrating of her living carcass isn’t part of the show, that she will be given an opportunity to seek “justice” haha air quotes justice baby, air quotes justice. The Vangtorbs’s, Wungborb’s and Kraabslarb’s will teach her not to steal my slaves.”

“I’ve got to go Jyena, Living Garbage is about to start. What do you mean you have issues you need to discuss, didn’t you hear me, Living Garbage is about to begin. Cease your self centred whining woman and I will forgive you for speaking without an invitation to do so. Oh, you want a divorce do you? Call me back if you think of something important to discuss. It’s only ten seconds to Living Garbage sweetheart, make sure you call back during an ad break.”

The synthetic version of Thornsword was a tad tactless, but the next software upgrade was nigh. While Time Optimiser did its thing, Thornsword made millions, by more closely monitoring his investments. A few calls to financially influential people, on an intergalactic scale, still trumped automatic trading. Any remotely significant citizen could purchase the best software.

“That’s weird, normally Jyena would’ve called back already, to apologise for her insolence” Thornsword muttered to himself, as he watched the holographic orgy advertising his favourite brand of toothpaste. It was the first time he’d ever seen an ewok get down and down and dirty with an Andromedan goblin of any sort and he was impressed. As the advertisement receded, the mock courtroom, where Lomandra Whamboozle assumed justice was about to be served, came into focus.

At first, the fake judge spoke Droomian legalese with ease but after a while he sounded like he was referring to a teleprompter. Whamboozle looked confused. Thornsword assumed she was asking herself why on Droom would an experienced judge stumble through a routine part of their job. Suddenly the room inverted. The hem of Lomandra’s translucent floral dress clung to her face as she fell to the padded ceiling. Thornsword whistled in appreciation at her matching floral silk delicates. Lomandra was briefly stuck in the most squishy folds of a vast waterbed, her legs flailing uselessly. The Vangtorb’s, Wungborb’s and Kraabslarb’s, had anticipated the inversion, so they landed on their equivalent of feet.

Once the briefcases belonging to Lomandra’s pseudo legal team stopped bouncing they opened. There were no documents inside, just a vast array of sex toys. The drooling Vangtorb’s, Wungborb’s and Kraabslarb’s erotic tentacles were as hideous as tapeworm and as erect as skyscrapers. They were arguably the most disturbing manifestation of predatory euphoria ever seen on Living Garbage.

Lomandra Whamboozle didn’t mince words “In contrast with your kiss, bin juice tastes like heaven. The most wart infested arsehole in the galaxy looks gorgeous beside your plague comet nostrils and pus glacier eyelids” she roared at the biggest Vangtorb in the room. He looked somewhat taken aback.

“How about you drink the dregs of a Slorg Snail swamp and shit yourself to a death as gruesome as your smile” she continued, as though she were as willing to play the game as they.

“We’ve got a feisty one here boys. What shall we do first? Should we bring in the impregnation robots, to plant the seed of the oesophagus tarantula down her throat, the offspring of the sabre fanged glow worm in her entrails and the eggs of the parasitic scorpion in her womb or is that too kind?”

They all agreed it was too kind, even the nice guy among them, whose most heinous hobby was nothing worse than watching babies dissolve in vats of acid.

“Why does she look so confident?” Hoobmafia Gronkbland nervously asked the amorous horde. They didn’t bother to answer. They were too busy encircling and closing in on Ms Whamboozle. The smallest among them was a powerlifter five times her size.

The fleet of butt plugs, double ended dildos and transforming vibrators followed the commands of  Trargchomper, a four hundred kilogram Kraabslarb. He looked like the conductor of an orchestra, as he waved them forward in a variety of swarming formations.

“Exit pseudo co-operation mode” Lomandra commanded. The devices hovered as still as the opals in the wall.

“Enter attack mode!” she spat. Her dildo, butt plug, vibrator and penis pump air force revealed their retractable tranquiliser guns and fired a barrage of automated syringes at Lomandra’s assailants.

“Rape them, rape them, rape them you stupid bitch” Thornsword Earwig yelled at his holographic television. His more explicit instructions made the director of the most nightmarish Earthling porno sound romantic.

“Enter defence mode” Lomandra barked at her sex toy squadrons. Not surprisingly, she ignored the hideous viewer suggestions that were being transmitted into the would be torture chamber, at a rate of fifteen per minute. The overlapping voices were an attempt to simulate schizophrenia. Lomandra’s unconventional bodyguards swarmed around her. The studio guards didn’t dare call for reinforcements, let alone attempt to stop her themselves.

“Enter platform mode” Whamboozle whispered as the last guard slumped to the ground, with a tranquilizer syringe protruding from his buttocks. Lomandra flew over the Living Garbage studio wall, on a magic carpet of penis pumps.”

Thornsword looked so ill that one could be forgiven for thinking he was possessed by a Varkonian Cranium Worm. He’d bet ten times as much money on the outcome of Living Garbage than he’d made by delegating his marriage conversational duties to Time Optimiser. Thanks to Thornsword, Living Garbage’s co-producer, that disinherited loser Vortex Varnisher the 5th, had been able to buy an orbiting bachelor pad. Thornsword asked for nothing more than Vortex Varnisher granting Lomandra Whamboozle access to Living Garbage’s computer network, under the guise of having his way with her in his office.

Apparently Vortex Varnisher had also allowed Whamboozle to change the passwords to the doors between the various layers of the buildings. Why hadn’t Whamboozle taken the opportunity to seek revenge on her leering, pawing, probing fellow contestants? What was wrong with that woman? All she had to do was rape Gronkpanza the Vangtorb and Spewrash the Kraabslarb and that would be five million Droomian dollars split twenty/eighty. With so many episodes left to bet on, he couldn’t afford not to pay her.

Radio Fallout

“This is your morning show host,
Miles Platinum, on 2GC.
Responsible protestors are out in force today.
Their banners read:
“Don’t fuck, don’t fiddle.
“Contraception is evil.”
“Miscarriage is murder.”
“War is the road to peace.”
“The Flintstones is a documentary.”
“Science is a cult.”
“Ban teenage pregnancy.”
“Burn French letters.”
“Cognitive dissonance has too many letters.”

Get your protesters license today.
And remember,
unauthorized slogans may result in kneecapping,
according to riot police discretion.

In other news,
the Heroin Dealers Association
successfully lobbied parliament
to abolish quality controls today.
According to a recently deceased journalist
“Black Pearl Corp’s needle samples have sampled everything.”
Rinsing is expensive, autoclaving unthinkable.
Needle exchange nurses,
they’re worse for business
than a tsunami at a seaside resort.
Their lead coffins are free.
Their cemetery lies beyond the continental shelf.
Our benevolent dictator says
“They’re good guys,
they did a terrific job, tremendous”
the executioners that is.

Making environmental news today,
satellite pictures of our world heritage listed areas,
have revealed mountains of syringes,
coated in the bloated corpses of endangered species.
Rangers cigarette butts float to earth like dead bees.
Concreting over all remaining wilderness
is the only means of cleansing the nation.
Syringe Everest tourists,
run over litter bugs for sport.
They empty their tanks on the way to nowhere.
May they crucify other ecological crusaders
and exchange their barbed wire crowns
for armoured vehicles.

Yesterday, climate change hoaxer Rob Green
lit a fire on his rural property.
Hazard reduction burning?
That’s as deranged as brain transplants.
You’re a hypocrite Green.
Sparky wants you for arson.

According to a discredited journalist,
who was reported missing on Monday,
my urban cottage has four fireplaces.
I want justice.
The defamation inferno is out of control.

Sydney property values continue to plummet.
Some blame white supremacist gentlemen,
for replacing their footballs
with the heads of refugee quadruple amputee scum.
Those in the know blame Islamic immigration.
My equity sales have sailed beyond the horizon.
I demand compensation.
It’s worse than the Great Depression.

Cricket Man aka Nostradamus Bradman

If you aren’t familiar with the sport of cricket that will be a barrier to understanding many of the details of this story. I recommend watching some highlights on YouTube and researching the jargon I’ve used.

“You should be worried” Nostradamus warned opposition coach, painter, agriculture teacher, hairdresser and poultry show extraordinaire Randall Grey, as he strolled to the pitch.

“About what Nostradamus, if one of my boys flukes getting you out I’ll be happy and if I witness another of your brilliant displays I’ll be happy.”

“Grey, You need to move your mind, the way I move my feet, to do the dance they call lateral thinking. The possibilities are endless. Me destroying your bowling attack and my freak dismissal are just two blades of grass in an outfield where every blade is unique”

“They all look the same to me”

“Look closer”

“Five sixes, one single” Nostradamus Bradman declared to all within throwing distance, as calmly and resolutely as a man ordering drinks. Every six struck the sight screen. His batting partner Dexter Matrix was so confident all five would clear the boundary rope that he was engrossed in an online game of chess, until Nostradamus signalled that the final ball was about to be bowled.

Dexter wasn’t a cricketer, he was a sprinter, there for the sole purpose of running quick singles, with the knowledge that Bradman would retain the strike. On the rare occasions Matrix had to face a ball, Bradman instructed him to step as far forward as possible, always play a shot and always with his pads in line with the stumps. Matrix was yet to meet a wicket keeper with reflexes quick enough to stump him. After one of his mighty air swings the kid could spin faster than a cockroach and lunge at the crease quicker than a man in concrete boots snatches at a life raft.

In just two overs, Bradman had painted a smiley face on the sight screen with the cherry red stains of the six stitcher.

“Kindergarten art, so what” Randall Grey mocked, from what he assumed was a safe distance beyond the boundary rope. He was working on his Archibald Prize entry. In his twenty years of attempting to make the final, apparently nobody had told him one of the conditions of entry was that the portrait had to be of a human. Grey shook his head as his prize turkey Julius did his best to imitate a body builder. Julius was quickly running out of poses.

Grey had decided long ago there was no point in trying to help his team tactically out manoeuvre Nostradamus Bradman. They were as outclassed as the clumsiest drunk against Muhammad Ali in his prime.

To the umpire’s chagrin some younger students began moving the sight screen without consulting the batsman. Bradman couldn’t have cared less. If the ball had of been camouflaged with the pitch and the size of a dehydrated pea, he’d still have spotted it as easily as a beach ball. The kids wanted to see what shots he had besides sixteen kinds of straight drives and they weren’t disappointed. By the tenth over he’d hit the sight screen with a reverse cut and a reverse sweep. He’d turned a yorker into a waist high full toss and smashed it over the wicket keepers head, striking his target with millimetre precision. That particular cherry red blotch formed the pupil of the left eye, of the emerging portrait.

After hearing about the impossible feats occurring on oval one, the players in matches on surrounding grounds dropped their bats and balls, to join the procession to the grandstand. As soon as Randall Grey recognised himself, in the cherry red portrait, he dug a pen and pad from his briefcase and offered his autograph to everyone in sight.

A mysterious suit clad figure looked on from the hill, on the opposite side of the ground. He paid no attention to the laptop perched on his briefcase. The way his eyes flitted from one part of the sight screen to another was reminiscent of a child playing Where’s Wally, but there was clearly no striped t-shirt figure to be seen.

Nostradamus Bradman wasn’t merely controlling the trajectory of his cherry bullets, he was imparting the ideal amount of spin for the red blotches to blend into one another as though they’d been applied with a brush. Randal’s pallor was suddenly as grey as his name. His grotesque smirk turned to a snarl, as he realized Bradman had depicted a translation of the tattoo on his right forearm.

The mysterious figure on the hill was suddenly paying more attention to his laptop than the game. Nostradamus had found the translation of Grey’s tattoo in a diary, hidden inside a hollowed out manual for an obsolete computer program. It looked like a password. That was all that Bradman knew.

Grey, his suspected victims and his sabouteurs had been under surveillance for months. Recently he’d communicated with several suspected members of an organized crime network, on the dark web. They were believed to be heroin dealers who had branched out into human trafficking for the purposes of organ harvesting, forced labour, arranged marriages, sexual slavery and hair extensions. In his conversations with these tyrants, Grey alluded to the secret meaning of his tattoo, which consisted of writing in an archaic language the police had been unable to identify let alone decipher.

Using a telephoto lens Detective Sherlock Columbo photographed the jumble of numbers and letters, which he believed was the password to a collection of illegal videos. By the time Columbo and his fellow investigators had finished watching the movies their throats were sore from puking and their abdominal muscles strained from laughing. To say all of them were in desperate need of a holiday is like pointing out that the sun is warmer than frozen hydrogen.

What the investigators discovered was appalling, but not as horrific as what they’d expected to find. If the expressions Randall Grey’s flock of turkeys wore were any indication, they begged to differ. The ones in the audience looked just as shocked at his co-stars. Apparently Grey was a celebrity in avian porn circles. The golden mask and the harpy suit he wore to the bird masquerade ball weren’t enough to conceal his identity from those who knew him best, his turkeys. The investigators were forced to rely on the credits.

Among Grey’s bad habits was leaving his phone in his car. This prevented him from logging into the site and deleting his channel before Nostrodamus Bradman clobbered the battered six stitcher down the ground, striking the remote control for a big screen television, from so far away he’d had to allow for the curvature of the Earth. Bradman’s next attempt missed the intended target by a coat of varnish, sparing Grey’s ancient parents the horror of discovering the true nature of their son’s passion for turkeys.

Bradman indulged in more switch hitting. This time he played a reverse hook, which flew like a Tiger Woods tee shot, soaring over the grandstand, to the top of the hill, in the centre of Grey’s farm, through his kitchen window and into his loungeroom. The ball finally struck the trophy that depicted Grey in a compromising position with a bewildered Ostrich, smashing that monument to his avian amorousness into multiple pieces.

Without the GPS chip embedded into the ball, Bradman would’ve needed to catch a taxi to check the result. He was the only cricketer in history that required expertise in cartography to master his craft.

Grey’s trial took place on the day the finalists for the Archibald Prize were chosen. His entry was among them. On a whim he’d decided to paint his reflection in Julius’s sunglasses. He considered it his worst entry in years, thanks to Julius sub standard modelling. Why he’d made the finals now, after all this time, he had no idea.

There was a delay in proceedings. Grey was out on bail, on the condition that he didn’t go within a mile of a poultry farm. He planned to use the opportunity to stand near his painting, in the Archibald Prize exhibition and listen to everyone’s praise for what he called one of his Rembrandt humbling masterpieces. Despite Julius’ poor performance, Grey fully expected to be the winner.

Meanwhile the philanthropic heavyweights of the Australian art world were in a meeting with the curator of the Art Gallery of New South Wales “It doesn’t matter how long the opening of the exhibition has to be delayed. As long as you don’t jeopardise the structural integrity of the building we don’t care how many walls you have to rebuild twice to get that sight screen in and out” the chairman, Corey Harvard, bellowed. Corey had made a name for himself tattooing unicorn riding Cossacks on to yeti pelts. The man had one hundred and twenty million followers on WordPress.

“Corey, why can’t we just cut the screen into segments and reassemble it?” Ava Ferrari, the horrified engineer protested.

“Miss Ferrari, I suppose you would turn the original Mona Lisa into a puzzle too wouldn’t you, if you thought it would get you out of a few hours of work”

 

Featured

Horace Henley

On the downside,
Horace was an arrogant, ignorant, argumentative,
callous, remorseless, dishonest, manipulative,
tantrum prone, domineering, violent, adulterous,
greedy, middle class snob.
Ridicule, threats and lies were his teaching tools.
When he was cheerful he could be lenient,
until your suffering become inconvenient.
His calculated generosity, was a lever for manoeuvring
excruciating boulders of condescension and pomposity.
“How dare you defy me”
he roared, like an emperor to a slave.
“you’re useless” he repeated
until he was as hoarse as a desperate punter.

The underemployed, unemployed and unemployable
traded rations of cigarettes, lighters and coupons,
as they filed into Centrelink,
opposite Henley’s Camping Supplies.
Work was Horace’s drug of choice.
He imagined everyone had it on tap,
but some were too lazy to twist the faucet.
In front of customers he was a lovable larrikin.
The great white shark t-shirt, from his staff,
went over his head like a pole vaulter.

“Without me, you lot would be the dregs of society,
lining up for a handout across the road”
he reminded his wife Sharona
and sister in law Lonnie.
Horace hired the best psychiatrist in the region,
to treat his family’s “mysterious” anxiety and mood disorders.
Like him, these conditions weren’t prey seeking missiles,
that killed as swiftly as falcons.

Horace didn’t have a personality disorder.
He was merely the carrier of misery and fear.
Growing up, the barrel of a shotgun
was as familiar to him as cornflakes.
He dealt in throws, kicks, slaps and backhanders.
“I’m a model of restraint” he boasted.
There was no walking away from his marathon tirades.
He was Fuhrer, educator and soother,
his role as unpredictable as mountain weather.

Horace taught his sons how to kick drop goals
and threw baseballs so high
they turned black in the twilight.
Catching fly balls became as natural as walking.
His lessons on romance involved
hiring eighteen year old back packers,
who looked like they’d stepped straight from the pages
of lingerie catalogues.
The interviews were camping trips.

Horace didn’t care who blitzed maths tests.
100% effort was a pass in his eyes.
A lack of enthusiasm
was akin to burning down the mint.
Jarrod always felt like 99.9% effort
was a crime worthy of being hung, drawn and quartered.

When he became as reclusive as a Himalayan mystic
and ate like he was preparing for a sumo tournament,
not an eleven kilometre fun run,
he finished miles behind his best.
Horace chipped away at his self esteem like an auger.
“If I sliced open that ice cream gut,
I could feed an army on dripping sandwiches.
You call yourself a jogger,
you make a penguin look like a springbok.”

Horace sold his camping store,
so he could spend all day woodworking, fishing
and listening to conservative shock jocks.
“Abolishing excess franking credits,
it’s a Labor Party commie plot.”
he roared at his local MP.
With only 1.2 million dollars to his name,
since the divorce,
how would he cope without profiting
from the Australian Tax Office?
All that Greens nonsense about tortured refugees
and the climate emergency,
had him reaching for a bucket.
What about the suffering of middle class retirees?

The Dregs of Drongo Vale

To quote Garth Izzard’s kindergarten teacher “That kid wouldn’t help an old lady pick up her walking stick, not unless she guaranteed him at least two thirds of her pension cheque first.”

Garth hadn’t grown kinder with age. As a boy Adolf Hitler had been his hero. After a while he noticed the correlation between praising Hitler and finding a steaming pile of dog turds in his lunch box. This prompted him to worship Richard Nixon’s secretary of state and Nobel Peace Prize winner Henry Kissinger instead. Garth’s favourite Kissinger quote is “the illegal we do immediately, the unconstitutional takes a little longer”. Izzardcorp’s Shareholders trusted him to apply this philosophy humanely.

Garth’s interest in the carbon trading scheme, reluctantly implemented by Prime Minister Jock Waffle, is as altruistic as God, all of Rudolph Mordor’s newspapers say so. Izzard was apoplectic with rage when he realized his weed imperilled wilderness on the outskirts of Drongo Vale had to be regenerated manually. He reluctantly provided his army of Sunday hippies with free tools from the reject depot of his hardware chain and permitted them to dumpster dive for biscuits, at the back of his supermarkets, providing they waived their right to insurance cover for needle stick injuries.

Garth was astonished to discover his flood of generosity wasn’t enough to inspire sixteen hour shifts of hacking into seething masses of Lantana and Morning Glory, with the ferocity of a Spartan warrior, in a fit of roid rage. Impatient to discard his ageing eco-maniacs, he fed their morning tea stockpile of stale biscuits and use by nineteen eighty six lime cordial to his pit bulls. They chased the hordes of doddering pensioners off his land once and for all. Garth’s departure speech was brief and brutal.

“If you greenies are doing what you love why do you need to be paid for your Olympic swimming pool of shirt saturating, eye stinging sweat? Fuck off you fucking hordes of tree hugging lemmings”

Garth’s chief accountant Niles Cash attempted to console his heartbroken employer
“Sir, unfortunately slavery is frowned upon in twenty first century Australia.
It must be hard to accept the mighty injustice that your problems can no longer be solved
with your favourite stock whip or cattle prod. Don’t fret, I’ve the utmost confidence
in Prime Minister Jock Waffle’s top secret plan to abolish the minimum wage.”

“Nile’s, why do the criminal classes expect to have their living handed to them on a platter?”

“Left wing lunatic propaganda makes them soft sir. Should I rebook your pedicure
and four hands Hawaiian massage, so your therapist can calm your Greenie mangled nerves?”

Garth eventually swallowed his pride and called Matt Rush, his estranged half brother and CEO of the self proclaimed “conservation kings”, Mother Nature’s Bodyguards. Whenever Matt wandered on to site, productivity plummeted and suicide climbed. He did the least damage when innovating from afar. His morning musings had recently led to the purchase of spy drones disguised as eagles. Unfortunately Matt’s budget only allowed for a brand manufactured in Albania. He often daydreamed about arming his surveillance fleet with low calibre weapons, to shoot down Indian Mynas. It was one of his more practical ideas.

Rush returned South Western Crew Supervisor Davo Davidson’s call, more aggressively than Andrei Agassi ever returned serve “Davo we aint changing the company name to The Weed Massacre Gurus. It’s the perfect label for a heavy metal band that advocates the use of hashish laced with crystal meth but not for a conservation company. Yes Davo, I know your Green Thumb Green Berets start screaming threats of violence at blackberry thickets before dawn, in between mumbling obscenities at tool thieving, hairy extra-terrestrial goblins, but it’s not something we want advertised on of our fleet of utes.
True, yesterday I said it’s your best idea ever but that wasn’t a compliment Davo, it was a comparison, like comparing influenza with radiation poisoning.”

“What! You’re planning to leave the company and you’re begging me to be your referee? If you leave this organisation in anything besides a body bag, all I’ll reveal to prospective employers is the true nature of your fixation with the rare Cumberland Plain Land Snail!”

Davo Davidson’s elite line up of chain sawing lunatics were yet to massacre a hectare of African Olives. Assistant supervisor Laura Bogan’s treatment of the jumping ant bite on Davo Davidson’s tackle was unorthodox to say the least. She was too focussed on her work to notice Davo’s video link to his backyard Cumberland Plain Land Snail farm.
These creatures are rare in the wild but at Davo’s place they’re in plague proportions.
“For Chrissakes not now” Davo hissed, as his phone vibrated in his pocket. He struggled to speak normally. Matt Rush’s voice tormented his ears like a demonically possessed angle grinder.

“Davo, if your hordes haven’t smashed five hectares of African Olives by midnight, you can forget about recouping the cost of fuel. Nathaniel Smoke and Mirrors Daniels, our new accountant, is more creative than Leonardo Da-Vinci. And don’t even think about sabotaging the spotlights.”

“Will you be paying us overtime rates Matt?”

“You want penalty rates, what’s the fucken point of penalising you if I have to pay for it?”

“I’ll go to the union.”

“Davo, if you approach the union, you and the snails gonna be all over YouTube. Oh, I nearly forgot, HR manager Gail Wilde will be on site tomorrow to discuss Mother Nature’s Body Guards anti-bullying policy. Make sure ya ready for that loser, or I’ll kick you up the arse so hard you’ll be farting through your nostrils and punch you in the nose so hard you’ll be sneezing out your arse. I’ve got to go Davo, the CEO of Stratosphere Apartments just arrived.”

“Yes Medusa, we’ve got that former wasteland, near the National Park, looking like forest wilderness and pretty signs advertising Stratosphere Apartments sponsorship. Nobody will suspect a thing until the bulldozers arrive. That penthouse discount is huge. Words can’t express my gratitude. Sorry, I must take this call.”

“Jonathon, of course I’m happy to edit that threatened species report for the solar farm construction site we’ve been working on. Yes, a few commas are out of place, of course that’s all you mean. I’ve got to go, Medusa Crabtree, the CEO of Stratosphere Apartments, is here for an urgent meeting.”

Matt Rush was still sampling the six hundred dollar bottle of champagne, that had mysteriously found its way to his desk, during Ms Crabtree’s visit, when Garth Izzard strolled into Mother Nature’s Bodyguards HQ, flanked by his most obsequious lawyers.
The dollar signs in Rush’s eyes flew like fireflies in a cyclone. The tender manager Billy Giant, appeared from nowhere, holding his pen like a flick knife, in anticipation of ruthless negotiations. The participants stared at each other across the boardroom table
like rival gangsters in a game of high stakes poker.

By three A.M the one hundred million dollar contract was a done deal. The tedium of re tendering charades was years away. “Get up ya mug” Matt roared, as Billy Giant collapsed from exhaustion on a crocodile hide door mat. “It’s alright he’s out cold, he can’t feel a thing” Matt explained to Rowena the cleaner, as he used Billy for a door mat on his way back inside, to get his keys.

Matt Rush, Billy Giant and HR manager Gaile Wilde embarked on a mission to assemble
the greatest conservation and land management crew ever to wear Mother Nature’s Body Guards high vis orange and forest green. Most in demand was former Western Sydney Warlords prop forward Richard Johnson. It was said that Lantana shrivelled and died in terrified anticipation of the first cloud of Round Up from his lethal weapon.
Johnson was most famous for mistaking escaped serial killer Ivan Milat for a bunyip,
after Milat made the mistake of robbing a cosplay store, in search of a disguise. Johnson was half way through barbecuing the notorious murderer for breakfast, when he realized his error. The revelation did nothing to diminish his appetite.

Once Johnson had been poached from Weed Busters, Liverpool’s landscaping, amateur stunt car driving and mixed martial arts legend Dangerous Dylan Donovan was in Mat Rush’s sights. The man could plant trees as fast as he could get a hand bag snatcher in a headlock. In the combat sports world, he liked to blur the boundaries between grappling and striking with his back flip double knee to the collar bone, followed by an aerial choke hold as his opponent crumpled to the canvas. Dangerous is also famous for pioneering the front flip double axe kick. The laws of physics and common sense flee from his path like finches from a leopard.

The unofficial reason for Dangerous Dylan Donovan’s employment was putting Richard Johnson back in his cage, if he insisted on using plutonium to kill Alligator weed, like he’d allegedly done during his stint at If it’s Noxious we Nuke It. According to David Attenborough, “Richard is disturbingly prone to taking things literally.”

It was rumoured Johnson was under investigation by ASIO and the Federal Police, concerning alleged links to the Russian mafia. Many assume that was how he acquired his long since confiscated stock pile of radioactive herbicides. Johnson was still in denial concerning the illegality of lacing Fluroxypyr with uranium.

Dangerous Dylan Donovan’s sidekick, Jumping Giles Corkhill, was renowned for splatter gunning Lantana in places where a goat wouldn’t dare tread. In his never ending quest for a more cost effective means of delivering herbicides to rugged mountainous areas, Giles had pioneered the adaptation of RPG’s to weed control.

Then there was Dexter Finklestein, a former botanist and master story teller. The man was like a psychedelic hybrid of Grandpa Simpson, Robin Williams and Aussie garden show presenter Don Burke. You could never tell when his forty minute talk on alternative methods of ironing would give way to how he once robbed a Melbourne tram with a cap gun, while dressed as a fifteenth century Japanese bandit. Dexter’s hobbies included pressing weeds and telepathic communication with ducks. With Dexter on board, Plant File was obsolete.

Oliver Oxford, the man who spoke of his heroics with the S.E.S, as though they were unsurpassed by the most daring exploits of the S.A.S, joined the crew as some sort of consultant. Precisely what his job description was nobody knew but he seemed to enjoy polishing tools, making sure the site boundaries had been marked correctly, listing his qualifications, discussing the botanical dictionary he’d been working on since he was four and ranting and raving about what he’d do if he were Prime Minister. What Oxford loved most was giving orders.

Ricardo Hohns, the last recruit, was renowned for cutting down African Olives and privets in his sleep. Some mornings he’d wake to find himself poisoning a stump halfway down a cliff. Matt Rush bought him a tent and made him the site security guard. After all, at 3am, how many things are scarier than a guy with a zombie like stare charging at you with two bow saws and a tube of weed killer? Drongo Vale local, and former member of the south western crew Laura Bogan, was appointed supervisor, on the basis of Matt Rush’s belief evil people get the job done.

Aware that Matt would be onsite, on the first day, Laura marked the site boundaries at dawn. A tennis ball skipped across the shallows of a heavily polluted creek, like it had been struck by Roger Federer and splashed an evil looking puddle into her face. The mouthful of water from Izzard Creek was infinitely worse than raw sewage. Laura looked about wildly for the culprit. She imagined Ricardo Hohns was responsible and wrote this down. After a few dabs of liquid paper the tennis ball became a rock. Laura rolled her eyes at Dexter Finklestein. Dexter was too busy reading the aura of the koala he’d just finished shaving and tattooing with his self portrait to acknowledge her.

Shock waves from Dangerous Dylan Donovan’s speakers had more than Laura’s coffee cup vibrating, to the tune of Uptown Funk.

“Too hot, hot damn, too hot for the Police and the Fireman,
too hot, hot damn, make a dragon want to retire man,
to hot, hot damn, say my name, know who I am……”

At first glance Dangerous Dylan Donovan looked like the best equipped bush regenerator she’d ever seen, then she realized his trailer was merely the casing for gigantic speakers.
Laura motioned for him to turn the music off.

“Mister Donovan, how are you? Wow, so these are the famous hands I’ve heard so much about. How about we put them to the test in my favourite cave. It’s a moist wonderland with countless satisfied visitors. There’s always plenty of work to be done there”

“I’ve heard about it. A couple of my mates reckon it needs to be fumigated regularly”

“What do you mean fumigated?”

“You know, pump it full of poisonous gasses to kill off the tiny monsters lurking inside. That place is more dangerous than Afghanistan, you’ve got to be real careful what you put in there.” Laura’s beaming smile transformed into a snarl.

Jumping Giles Corkhill, somersaulted to Earth from the lounge chair bolted to the floor of Dangerous Dylan Donovan’s ute tray.

“The boy knows how to make an entrance” Dangerous stated with pride; before turning his attention to Oliver Oxford. ‘Give me the run down on Golden Whistlers Oxford.
That’s one there isn’t it?

“The scientific name is Pachycephala pectoralis, Mr Dangerous. They’re distributed throughout eastern and southern Australia as far north as Cairns and as far south as Tasmania. They inhabit rainforest, scrub and open forest. Usually solitary and deliberate in their movements, they possess a sweet and ringing song.”

“Sorry, I wasn’t listening, can you repeat that Oxford?”

“Don’t annoy me by raving on about birds, I’m busy” was Dangerous response to take four.

“It’s okay Oliver, it’s all good practice” Rowena, the crew’s morale and safety officer consoled. She would’ve reprimanded Dangerous Dylan Donovan but his boulder pulverizing biceps, meteor shattering manly jaw and larrikin grin left her too dizzy to speak.

The news that Matt Rush, the owner of Mother Nature’s Bodyguards, was on site prompted the crew to scurry to the makeshift parking lot for a discussion on weed targeting priorities, the dangers of cutting down trees in which crew members had taken up residence and questions concerning how Richard Johnson had acquired a dozen mining helmets since signing on.

Richard had a gripe of his own. “I wanna know whose bin spreadin bullshit bout me being cannected to the Wussian Mafia. Whoever it is I’m gonna knock im inta the middle of next year.” Oliver Oxford, who had been front and centre poised to impart his knowledge on everything from Work Health and Safety legislation to the likely date of the apocalypse had mysteriously disappeared.

“What do you mean rumours? It’s true isn’t it” Ricardo Hohns piped up.
Johnson lurched forth like Frankenstein. He swung and missed, almost uprooting an African Olive. Hohns looked as relieved as a man who has successfully crossed Conrod Straight, during the Bathurst One Thousand, by a hairs breadth.
After regaining his composure, Ricardo sang “Do ya, do ya, do ya wanna dance”

“I hate that song” Johnson bellowed. As he covered his ears Riccardo lunged and planted a leaping overhand left on the point of his chin. It had less effect than a marble clanging against the turret of a tank.

Dangerous Dylan Donovan barked instructions ‘Riccardo, use your speed, circle clockwise, unload with a left on his recently re-attached right ear’

“What speed?” Ricardo asked.

“Betta find some real quick or I’m gonna havta step in for ya”
Dangerous removed his jacket faster than a Spanish bull fighter shifts his capote and flung it the length of a bowling alley, into the waiting arms of Jumping Giles Corkhill.
If he’d been any more accurate Giles would’ve been wearing that jacket.
Hohn’s taunted his Godzilla dwarfing opponent “Johnson, you look like a teletubby hybridised with a troll. You’re so stupid you’d crack open a coconut to make a cup of cocoa.”

Ricardo ducked beneath a haymaker that might’ve decapitated him if it had landed.
“Grow up” Rowena screeched, startling the combatants into statue stillness and shocking the cheering mob into silence. Any more of that and both of you can stand in neutral naughty corners all day without pay.”

Matt Rush, who had bet Dangerous two thousand dollars on Ricardo being knocked senseless by the first punch Richard Johnson threw, gave Rowena a nod of approval. Matt completely forgot about the coal miners helmets Richard Johnson had mysteriously acquired. It never occurred to management that Hohn’s vs Johnson might’ve been staged as a diversionary tactic, with the added bonus of $2000 being split three ways.

Within minutes, Large Leaf Privet massacring chainsaws and Lantana annihilating brush cutters destroyed the serene atmosphere once more. Only Dangerous Dylan Donovan’s sound system could compete with the cacophonous roar of machinery. A team of knap sack herbicide sprayers blanketed the vastest Moth Vine, Cape Ivy and Morning Glory patches, which had spread so rapidly time lapse photography was barely needed to watch their advance. Dangerous spread Acacia seeds on the patches of bare Earth.

A chain saw wielding Richard Johnson, stem injected the world’s largest African Olive with a jackhammer and a drum of diesel, before charging at the next Olive infestation like he was going over the top at Gallipoli. Four former NFL players, seconded from the landscape construction crew, hauled the slain weed trees from his path. Rowena Grey ran around with the grace of a flamingo dancing, in her bid to poison the stumps in time. Ricardo Hohns stacked the butchered invaders remains, between towering Eucalypts and Corymbias.

After morning tea, Ricardo and Rowena extricated Erharta From a patch of Weeping Meadow Grass. Riccardo was spellbound by Rowena’s tales of everything from mushroom farming to entertaining hospitalised children with her ukulele. He delighted in pointing out every passing Rufus Fantail and Yellow Robin. He named every rare native herb he spotted. What magnificent specimens of Solenogyne bellioides and Cymbonotus lawsonianus he proclaimed. One could be forgiven for thinking they were thought to be extinct since the ancestors of whales first fished in coastal shallows.

“Out of the sun Ricardo” Laura Bogan barked with the fury of a rabid Doberman.

“I’m perfectly comfortable” Ricardo answered.

“Get the fuck out of the sun now” Laura screamed, as she aimed the nozzle of a Staraine laden sprayer at his eyes. With his hands raised in the air Ricardo did as he was told.

“I’m just thinking of your safety Ricardo.” Rowena looked ready to flip Laura into an African Box Thorn thicket. Laura made a note in her diary “Ricardo always seeks the shadiest spots to work, at the expense of the crews health”

Richard Johnson yearned to spray an Asparagus Fern patch with Agent Orange. “Who is Agent Orange” he demanded to know, after Laura Bogan invited Rowena,
the site safety and morale officer, into the conversation on the whereabouts of his illegal herbicide supply.

After terminating the interview, Laura gazed at a pair of red belly black snakes slithering into a hollow Grey Box stump. Ms Bogan was nothing like red bellies, the timid puppy dogs of the venomous serpent world. She longed for a cup of their venom, to add to the crew’s coffee, in her quest for younger, more subservient replacements. Her crew damning diary contained more fantasy material than the complete works of JRR Tolkien. Ricardo Hohn was the main character. She’d hated him ever since he’d informed her the weeds she chastised him for ignoring were native plants. This diabolical humiliation occurred at the now defunct At War With Weeds, on the day the Challenger Space Shuttle exploded. Laura had been plotting her revenge ever since. Mother Nature’s Bodyguards CEO Matt Rush, looked forward to reading her damning reports.

The moment Laura disappeared from view “Richard Johnson rummaged through her bag. He was desperately hungry. The two litre bottle of Coke, packet of Oreo’s and the feral goat, he’d had for morning tea weren’t enough. He felt around for false compartments, sniffing for anything that vaguely resembled food. Eventually he pulled out an exercise book. After reading the chapter entitled Richard Johnson, he considered sending Laura Bogan’s van falling end over end into the broad, fast flowing creek, that wound its way through the property. The handbrake would be no use against the one man scrum that is Richard Johnson.

All he found in the other vehicles was a jar of instant coffee and the manuscript for Oliver Oxford’s memoir’s. According to chapter seven, Oxford taught Johnson the art of simultaneous brush cutting and knap sack spraying.

“That Mista Puniverse bludga musta shown me howta do it with the Lego version of a brush cutta and spraya. Otherwise howda fuck coulde’ve lifted em?” Richard Johnson raged. He went to lunch early, leaving a cloud of dust in his wake. He was feeling a bit sleep deprived, so he poured the jar of instant coffee down his throat.

Johnson paid little attention to the late model silver Lamborghini he nearly ran off the road. The driver got a good look at the Mother Nature’s Bodyguards logo on the side of his vehicle. If Office Works had of been closed, it might’ve been the victim of a ram raid, for the sake of borrowing a shredder. Johnson fed the life and times of Oliver Oxford into the biggest, baddest document destroyer available.

“Are you going to buy that sir? You’ve been testing it ever since I started working here”
sales assistant, Melanie Tulip challenged him. He glared down at her, as though she were trying to talk him into paying five dollars a minute for the air he breathed. Then he used his unbelievably good eyesight to examine her sheer, lacy underwear. Shoddy brain surgery, after Johnson’s prize fight with a self driving tractor, had given him the ability to see through any clothing less opaque than a leather jacket.

“Your panties are blue” he stated, as proudly as if he’d just solved one of quantum physics most baffling mysteries. From that day forth, Melanie wore six pairs of stockings
and yoga pants beneath her trousers. Richard reread Laura Bogan’s diary as he drove back to site, only twenty k’s over the speed limit.

Johnson had one hand pressed firmly on the horn, to drown out everyone who had a problem with his latest multitasking feat. He almost side swiped Dangerous Dylan Donovan at an intersection. Dangerous’ own lunch time escapade would prove to be more action packed than Richard’s, but he didn’t know it yet. That afternoon, Richard worked as hard as a lone tank versus the United States air force.

“I am King Kong’s conqueror, Godzilla fears me. God, I dare you to unleash your fury upon me” he roared as he sprinted towards a patch of Inkweed, wearing a spray pack the size of a swimming pool. Dexter Finkelstein wandered off to share his supply of LSD with a wombat. Laura Bogan took her usual three hour lunch break, to visit her dope dealer and attend an orgy hosted by an extra terrestrial from somewhere in Alpha Centauri. It’s claim to fame was four breasts and more penises than fingers. Oliver Oxford spoke to everyone in earshot about the superior ergonomics of his loppers and his reclining camping chair. He shifted every hour, to saw another tree. He was one of those people who manages to do less work than the long term unemployed, without ever being out of a job.

Dangerous Dylan Donovan raised his middle finger as a scowling, silver Lamborghini driving, gang leader cut him off at the service station entrance. Dangerous was searching his wallet for cash, when something slammed into his cheek bone. Had a wedge tailed eagle just committed suicide on his face? Dangerous whirled around to see a shirtless body builder type shadow boxing and kissing his own biceps in triumph. Needless to say, he was not amused.

In his endeavour to give the narcissistic gym junkie some insight into his personality Dangerous grabbed his detachable driver’s side door and used it for a shield as he advanced. Luckily he was wearing Kevlar body armour beneath his work clothes and the door was reinforced with titanium because a variety of stolen weapons ranging from a crossbow to an AK-47 were trained on him. All of them were fired simultaneously. There was an eerie silence, once mirror boy’s henchman realised they’d exhausted their ammunition.

Jumping Giles Corkhill returned from the pizza store across the street. Dangerous Frisbee’d the ute door to him and motioned for him to reinstall it. He headed for the self kissing show pony, with his right arm cocked. A startled looking Mirror Boy took evasive action. In his haste he crashed into the outhouse wall. Now he was cornered, his ailing bravado was re-inflated. Donovan’s right arm was reminiscent of a cobra poised to strike. His left dangled by his side as though it were partially paralysed. As Mirror Boy prepared to counter a devastating right cross he was knocked senseless by a left hook.
“Idiot” Dangerous remarked as he strolled back to his vehicle and refueled.
“That’s Dangerous Dylan Donovan. The Americans call him the twenty first century Arthur Fonzarelli. The Chinese call him the Aussie Bruce Lee” A bystander proclaimed.

“I call him dead meat” the gangsters roared in unison. Jumping Giles Corkhill casually sipped his frozen Coke. Dangerous had gotten them into and out of situations more dire than this. He looked bored by the ease with which he flung his attackers into their vehicles. Jumping Giles slashed their tyres before they could disentangle themselves.
Two carloads of police officers took time out from replenishing their donut stockpile to arrest the thugs. Nobody had reported the fight. The service station attendants were reoccupied with putting out a fire in the dumpster and getting their lunch time exercise chasing away graffiti vandals.

“Not again” the owner Lawry Wise, moaned as he discovered the confectionery freezer had been stolen.

“Giles, I heard Conor Mcgregor is signing autographs at Drongo Vale Mall, that #### owes me money. Let’s pay him a visit” Dangerous declared as he turned out of Drongo Vale Service Station and put his foot to the floor. Fortunately for Mcgregor, he was on his way to the next book signing by the time Dangerous pulled up in the cark park.

If they’d watched the news that night Dangerous and Jumping Giles would’ve seen CCTV footage of their stoush with the Drongo Vale Boys. Mirror Boy and his cohorts had robbed two service stations in twenty minutes before their defeat at the hands of the most feared weed killer since Genghis Khan took up gardening. Overshadowing that triumph was Dangerous’ Australian Rules football style catch of a baby, who toppled over a Drongo Vale Mall railing. It was quite an impressive feat considering that he was chasing a handbag snatcher at the time. At last count there were four babies who would’ve gone splat, if Dangerous wasn’t looking for Conor Mcgregor, at the right time.

Laura Bogan missed the news as well. She was busy trying to contact Dangerous Dylan Donovan, to interrogate him about misuse of company vehicles.

“You’re telling me that speeding on two wheels is against company policy? Since when? I’m busy darlin, the Warlords are playin. I’ve got five hundred riding on the first scorer. We’ll talk about work at work. Then again, I’ll probably be too busy then too.” Dangerous turned the volume down, knowing Laura would screech for an eternity before pausing to discover he wasn’t listening. He recorded every call from Laura Bogan and sent the audio files to Ricardo to summarize the death threats.

Not content with disturbing Dangerous Dylan Donovan, during a Western Sydney Warlords match, Laura Bogan made the mistake of offending Richard Johnson again. “What do ya mean we can’t arm drones with herbocide cannins. I could fly em by remote control from my car during an extended lunch break. I’d neva be more than two feet from an ice cold six pack.” he raged.

“Garth Izzard isn’t paying the company enough to support the use of that kind of technology” she insisted, as one of Mother Nature’s Body Guard’s surveillance drones emerged from its hiding place in the clouds overhead.

Within moments of Laura being out of sight Richard had stolen her diary again and sped off on another Office Works escapade. This time there was a strong police presence in the shredder section. Melanie Tulip’s new trousers were as opaque as a fortress. An enraged Johnson wreathed photo copier laden shelving high into the air. Each rep was more reckless than the last. Exasperated with the local police’s refusal to risk pepper spraying or tasering Richard Johnson the manager tried a different tack.

“If I give you this state of the art shredder for free, will you promise to never come back?”

“I will consider your offa” Johnson replied as he headed for the car park, shredder in hand. It made short work of Laura Bogan’s forty thousand words of meticulous fabrication. Richard made a phone call to Oliver Oxford, who he hoped had taken time out from bird watching to fill up his herbicide spray pack.

Matt Rush initiated a video conference call, to discuss Laura Bogan’s diary. Richard Johnson listened from afar. Two kookaburras and three goannas suffered from strokes during his fits of maniacal laughter. The electronic copy of Laura’s diary had been mysteriously deleted from her laptop and online back up. Using her name for the password had proved to be a bad idea. Every member of the crew knew Lady Justice’s guillotine was about to descend upon her, except her. It was a guillotine they’d all had a hand in building, sharpening and polishing.

“Closed circuit television footage will show that since the beginning of the job Laura has repeatedly left site during lunch without returning until mid afternoon” Ricardo informed everyone.

Garth Izzard nodded his approval, as he joined the meeting from his Honolulu office. He forgot to switch off his camera as his four hands Hawaiian massage ventured into disturbing territory.

“It’s true Matt, it was quite cunning how Miss Bogan avoided the regular trails and built her own personal gates but not as cunning as Dangerous Dylan Donovan’s repositioning of the perimeter cameras.” Izzard confirmed. Richard Johnson was halfway to the airport by the time Izzard realized he was broadcasting some questionable muscle spasm healing techniques to the entire Drongo Vale crew.

Realizing she was destined for a long walk to the bus stop Laura Bogan attempted to ring her cousins for a lift and to organise a hit on Ricardo Hohns and Dangerous Dylan Donovan. In their current predicament it was surprising they’d managed to keep their phones. What was less surprising was that they were in prison for the armed robbery of two Drongo Vale service stations and conspiring to rob a third.