The kid’s feeling pretty chuff, having pulled off a cool Sunday scam: after being given 5 bucks from Aunty Paul and Aunty Brian to go to the beach festival and “give us an hour’s peace for an afternoon nap”, the kid headed down the street and around the corner to Uncle Mary’s flat and to just happen to mention the generous largesse from his favorite aunties. Not to be outdone in the favorite Aunty/Uncle Stakes, Uncle Mary then gave the kid 10 bucks to “buy a rainbow cake or something”. “Hehe,” chuckles the kid, “this is gonna be a good year in Fractal City.”
Ambling around the bend and on to Fractal Parade towards Vanity’s Beach, the kid is confronted by a perplexing pastiche (of course, really the kid does not yet know the word “pastiche”, nor does the kid’s teachers) of pro-wealth political correctness that only Dante could have dreamed up after a drunken weekend on the Green Fairy.
“Fuck me,” was all the kid could say, slowly walking foward …
Vanity’s Beach, in fact the entire Fractal foreshore, is abuzz with celebration and excitement. The Brown Party has declared a National Holiday and a Weekend of Games to mark its unexpected re-election. It’s being worshipped by the Minerals Council as the Borne (sic) Again Government. Big TV screens are everywhere, showing the Prime Minister on the partially privatised national broadcaster, singing in tongues, and praising the miracle of his Second Coming.
The vision of the PM slowly fades away with the sound of trumpets, and a voice without a face says over a loudspeaker: “A big welcome to you all here today at our Rebirth Festival on the beautiful Fractal foreshore. Now, to launch the Government’s First 100 Days in Office for the second time around, here is the Brown Party’s Minister for PayTV, Energy and Environment…”
A new image on the big screens: “My fellow business owners, investment consultants and wealth aspirants,” begins the Minister, “it is my honor and pleasure to deliver on our campaign promise: Our first policy is a guarantee of full employment/no more welfare payments. Read my lips: NO … MORE … WELFARE … PAYMENTS. Yes, unproductive citizens will now receive one ‘food and 24-hour MMedia payTV subscription’ voucher for every kilogram of waste plastic or wood deposited at nominated Council Government depots. In Fractal City, the plastic will continually be fed into a permanent Bonfire in a huge sandpit on the Vanity’s Beach foreshore. The heat will turn a turbine which will generate power for all of Fractal City. Come winter, the Bonfire will provide continuous heating, here on the foreshore, for Fractal City’s homeless at no cost to the business, uhm I mean, to the Government. The Bonfire’s flames and wind blown embers are expected to have a socially beneficial ‘collateral impact’ flow-on effect which we believe will provide a cap on our number of homeless so that, going forward, they will never exceed the current amount.
“Now, the Government knows that some irresponsible, fake news types at the national broadcaster have falsely posted on the tax dodging social media platforms, that the Bonfire initiative will harm coal mining jobs. This is NOT TRUE. We are very much a part of that conversation, we are following the narrative, and I want our message to resonate with you here today, that the Bonfire initiative will free up more coal for us to export to developing countries, who need it most. By coupling this with a 110% cut in the expansion-inhibiting ‘profit tax’ on ore mining businesses, the result means greater wealth for all of you as the financial benefits are passed on in macro trickle down economics. The Mineral Council, ore miners, marketing consultants and the Government are calling this (long pause for effect) the ‘Great Ore Wealth Trickle Treat for Taxpayers’, or Trickle Treat for short.”
The kid keeps moving through the hot, jostling crowd, hoping to find a dagwood dog stall or maybe get a $10 bucket of dessicated chips…
The big screens now switch to the MMedia logo as the “voice over” says: “Ladies, Gentlemen, LBQTI and children,to celebrate the recent marriage of MMedia’s very own payTV and print celebrity philosophers, Ms Meander Divine and Mr Andrew Nutt, we will ask the Divine-Nutts to ceremoniously light the Bonfire as the Sun sets. And don’t forget, MMedia will replay the dramatic event live every night this week on Skite News’ payTV show, “In the Dark”. MMedia would also like to remind all of Meander and Andrew’s loyal bloggers to not miss the enhanced, repackaged, weekly “The Divine-Nutt Report” on all MMedia paywall websites and Skite News payTV. The newlyweds will be back in a month following a well earned honeymoon at Kim’s Resort, in Fiji.
A publicist shoves a Mineral Council showbag into the kid’s hands. The showbag is quite hefty, with heaps of uninflated rubber balloons; a plastic bag of plastic straws, marked “fuel for Bonfire lighting under adult supervision”; a plastic container of Little Lucifer BBQ lighters; a plastic bag of Mini Briquettes; and other crap …
The re-elected Brown Party Prime Minister has reached out to the new leader of the defeated, demoralised Workers Party, Anthony “Eggs” Overeasy, to participate in the Bonfire’s Grand Lighting as part of the healing process after the electoral humiliation.
Mr Overeasy appears on the big screens as he takes the microphone: “Thank you, and I would like to first acknowledge the original owners of this land – the Cosher family’s Seafood by the Seashore Restaurant which was tragically burned down last month, and, before them, our indigenous nations. I would also like to take the opportunity to mention my new book, “My Top 100 Eateries in Fractal City – all accept union credit card. Wink!”. It’s out in time for Christmas. Now, down to business: Okay folks, just let me assure you that I am criss crossing this great land of ours, with Skippy Air Business Class – fully taxpayer funded as per Parliamentary rules – to hear first-hand what you, the grass-and-roots voters, have to say. I can assure you, we, as the alternative government, are very much a part of Australia’s energy conversation, going forward…”
As expected, some protests greet Elan Joys, CEO of the national carrier, Skippy Air, who is being paid a $12 million “appearance fee”. On the sidelines, Mr Joys is being interviewed by an unpaid journalism intern for Skite News’ “In the Dark” program.
“I will donate $1000 towards the airfares – flying Skippy Air – for Fractal City’s team to compete at the World Hobby Horse Championships in Finland,” Mr Joys declares, with a very sincere, $12 million smile. “I’m always keen to be engaged in the national conversation, whether it be about energy, tourism, same-sex bath towels, or sport. And it’s important that we empower our Hobby Horse enthusiasts. There is no place in Australia today for discrimination against Hobby Horse Dressage.”
It’s now late afternoon, the shadows are growing longer but the Sun’s heat is relentless, and dust kicked up by the moving throng threatens to choke the kid. There’s something on the big screens about Fractal City’s bid to host the 2030 Homeless World Games. A Brown Party spokesperson then appears on-screen with serious martial music and warns: “We must always be vigilant in the War against anti-democracy terrorists.”
GG Money has a pop-up stall, flogging off investment plans called “Flash Cash”. To promote the scheme, the GG Money man has set up a Flash Cash Game: “That’s right, folks, roll up, roll up, get in on the action here. Don’t miss out. Just place your $50 note in the cash register here, and when I say ‘go’, if you can pull it out quicker than I can grab it, you win all – AND I MEAN ALL – of that 50 cash. Yes, all of it. PLUS bragging rights. This game of chance is brought to you by GG Money!”
Finally, the kid emerges from the other end of the festival, tiredly turns towards home and sighs: “Shit. All I wanted was an ice-cream.”