Saturday, August 14, 2010

Sunday Scribbles VL

The play has another week to run, and if you don't have tickets you'll not be able to see it: it is sold out. Well, almost. There's a half-dozen seats left on Tuesday night.
The audiences have been fantastic. Everyone seems to have enjoyed the play. Of course, their applause at the end could be an expression of relief - "thank god that's over!" - but I don't think so.
It's been hard work, though: I'm now working on my third cold of the season. I just can't believe it! Snot by the bucket. Never mind. I'll live to loath Johnkey for another day.
Dear Johnkey. Our "Prime" Minister. The man is such a craven, populist, poll-driven arse. It astonishes me that the Kiwi public are so guillible. Well, no, actually. It doesn't surprise me one little bit.
His latest indignity? The case of the the soldier who was killed in Afghanistan, and the prison officer. I won't mention the young man's name, because he deserves far more than to be named in a venting about the cur who is running the country.
So. A soldier dies in an attack. A sad thing, but let's face it- not altogether unexpected. "News" readers, looking suitably abashed, lower their eyes and tone of voices in unison when the cameras are turned on. In the minutes prior to the producer giving them the countdown they're wetting themselves with glee, at having a proper story to to read.
1: The Air Force's fancy-pants executive jet is despatched to Afghanistan to retrieve the body. Once again, fair enough.... but my skin is starting to crawl. It seems to me that the deification process is beginning.
2: The jet lands, much sombre reporting, Johnkey tells of his personal grief, but straightens the place where his spine should be, squares his shoulders, and forces a brave smile through his tears.
3: The funeral is held. Full military honours, and perfectly justifiable. Johnkey is there, speaking well of a soldier's life, sacrfice, and the nobility of service. He can speak of it. I wonder when he'll start showing some of it... buit that's just me. Incidcentally - every "journalist", except the Radio New Zealand one, got it wrong: the soldier in question wasn't given a 21-gun salute. A Lieutenant doesn't warrant a 21-gun salute. A head of state does. He got a rank of 13 servicemen firing three shots each, in unison.
4: This is where the political creepiness starts to set in, and my rage starts to boil over. Johnkey personally decides that every flag in the country should be flown at half-mast as a mark of respect. Well, short Anglo-Saxon word that rhymes with "duck"! This is disgraceful and dishnonourable. There have been tens of thousands of servicemen killed in action, and not one of them was accorded this honour. In one misguided poll-driven decision, Johnkey vomited on their service, their scarifice.
5: In the past year, other servicemnen have died, a police officer has been killed... and Johnkey's famous crooked smile was at their funerals. Fair enough: these men were empoloyed to be guardians of the nation, and their lives where snuffed out while they were fulfilling thier duties. They deserve the presence of the headhoncho, even if he is a dickweed. But wait...
6: Recently, a Prison Officer, another honourable guardian, was killed on duty. Johnkey was nowhere to be seen. Of course, the Prison Service isn't voter-sexy: these are men and women who are working in a thankless environment, doing their best and giving their all in the service of their country and their wards. This young man didn't get even a nod of respect from the simpering Johnkey. Why? I suspect it was because it wouldn't have "rated" with his core constituency.
The man is a dog. And not one of those cute, fluffy Bijon things, or a bouncy lolling-tongue Spaniel. He's a scabbed up junkyard jackal. I don't, you may have surmised, like him one little bit.
Reading: I've just finished "Heartland", by David Wiltse. Pure unputdownable pleasure. I loved it.
Listening to: Simon and Garfunkel, "Bridge Over Troubled Waters". It is one of the greatest albums of all time.
More "Heroes".

He loped toward his home-building, his captive a dead-weight on his shoulder.

Into the building, up the stairs. He has twenty-three flights to climb, and he must do it quickly. The Henrys will be outraged at three deaths, especially after losing two just a few nights previously. They’ll be here in their wheel-teks, lights blazing, gun-teks at the ready. A stitch stabs through Night’s side, and he cries out with the pain of it. He stumbles, calls for help. He hears a door slam open, two flights above. This will be Sam, Lana’s brother. Sixteen years old, as strong as Night is. Maybe even stronger. Night’s eyes are misting over as he feels the burden taken from his shoulder, and he staggers. “Go, Sam. Take him to Doc Ford.” Sam’s look is quizzical. Capture a Henry? Bring it back? But he shrugs, turns, and leaps up the stairs.

Night’s lungs, crammed in his barrel chest, heave, and his heart pounds. A red mist falls over his sight, and he staggers. This body of his, with its long legs and stunted upper body, is not made for sprinting. Night can keep up a steady jog for twenty minutes, but must stop to recover. But now, after three generations of Scarab-free breeding, babies are being born whose chests aren’t constricted. Babies are being made whose backs are long and straight of spine. A few had been born in the past: genetic throwbacks, children who had been taken and killed by the Henrys. Now, Free children are growing, learning, running.

Henry gets up, and climbs the rest of the stairs to Doc Ford’s floor.

“Are you mad? What need we of a Henry?” The Doc is mad. Angry beyond belief.

“I need to talk to him. Find out what is happening.”

“And what is happening? What is happening is you have lost your sense, and kept one alive. They are no good to us breathing, nor they ever will be. Dead,” he insisted. “A dead Henry helps us, yes it does. You know this. A living one takes air that my child might breathe!” The Doc is livid, pounding at the wall. “And you have brought it here, to where no Henry has been, that no Henry knows of, and you have condemned us to death, you.”

“Something is happening,” replies Night, his breath still sawing at his throat. He pauses. “All folk from Buildings South Seven and Eight are taken to cleaning. Day on, night on, two shifts, cleaning they are.”

“What? Why?”

1 comment:

  1. Sick. Making political capital out of someone's sacrifice. Just sick. I share your disgust.