DescriptionComedy of Errors
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"I've written rubbish," he said, "self-deluded, self-indulgent rubbish." He was sitting in a toilet cubicle with his head in his hands. Outside the cubicle, stood a man holding a glass of wine leaning up against a wall. "That's just not true William. You've got some good ideas. This story is different from the others, slower, more thoughtful, more difficult. But don"t worry if the critics don"t like it now, it will develop a small cult following just like your first novel, and then it will take off big time, really big time; trust me." said Bernard. He was standing outside the cubicle, drinking his third glass of red wine and trying to placate his friend. He was William"s editor. "It's crap. Why I thought I could write about people I don't know. I should stick to the science fiction and leave the character development to the experts. Actually my last book did quite well," said William. "Yes I remember it," said Bernard. "Venusian prostitutes on Mars; very reliable. You can"t go too far wrong with multiple breasted Amazons that spit poison". "Yes, but it was plot driven. "Bid for Freedom" is more character driven, and I think I"ve over reached myself," said William. "I disagree," said Bernard," Some of those characters are very well defined, take Travis for example". "Yes, the violent autistic man in the locked ward. I had a lot of fun with him", said William. "I liked the nappy idea," said Bernard. "It gave the character impact". "Yes, I needed to give him a certain pungency, and also solve a plot difficulty", said William. "What was that?" said Bernard. "He needed some-where to hide his money," said William. "Oh yes," said Bernard. "It"s a while since I read it. He was standing over other inmates for their allowances and hiding it in his nappy". "He wouldn"t let the nurses change him, and they didn"t twig to what was going on until he escaped," said William. "Yes very clever," said Bernard. The main door to the toilet banged shut and Bernard turned around to see a young boy enter. He looked at Bernard and then turned to the wall and started idly kicking it. "I think you might have stepped over the PC line though," said Bernard. "What do you mean?" said William. "He called the Indian Doctor a curry munching coolie?" said Bernard. "So?" "He made racist comments every time a black person came on to the TV; he used the "C" word," said Bernard. "I make no apology," said William, "I hold the mirror up to nature Bernard. I gave him an intellectual disability so he could speak his mind unfettered, like a kind of holy idiot." "I agree with the second part," said Bernard. "I educate Bernard. The spirit of this country is being suffocated under the dead weight of rules dreamed up under the influence of caffeine in the subsidised self-satisfied suburbs of mediocrity of this country Bernard," said William. "You mean Canberra. Yes, it has a very soporific effect on the psyche, I like your assonance," said Bernard. "You may laugh, but the spirit of Banjo is crying out from the grave," said William. "And let me guess, the Cronulla riots were an expression of his voice?" said Bernard. "Yes, yes, yes Bernard, you"re finally getting it," said William. "Travis is based on a real character I came across, an intellectually handicapped man, partially autistic. It was a very curious case; you know how am an incurable observer of the human condition?" said William. "Incurably so," said Bernard, taking another mouth full of wine. "He was sixty years old when I met him, and he lived with his eighty four year old mother," said William. "The spokesman of a nation," said Bernard taking another sip. "Really Bernard, this cynicism doesn"t do you justice," said William, "I know underneath you are a very serious man". "Sorry," said Bernard. "I bow to your superior cultural sensitivity". "His manner of speech, all the idioms, and even his attitudes were a carbon copy of his father; I know because I asked his mother," said William. "A living fossil," said Bernard. "His father was rabbit trapper on the Monaro plane who"s thoughts and feelings were probably no different from His father"s," said William. "Living history," said Bernard. "Like a mosquito preserved in amber". "Banjo Paterson with-out the poetic bits," said William, "unvarnished Australia". "So when he calls some-one a black bastard we"re getting pure Australian History," said Bernard. "That"s why I"ve preserved it. Put it in an appropriate setting like a diamond on a gold ring," said William. "Or a dog turd on a birthday cake," said Bernard. "I know you"re with me on this Bernard; that"s just the booze talking," said William. "One hundred percent," said Bernard, "with you I mean". "I"m only a mirror," said William, "I just reflect what is rising in the collective unconscious of the real Australia. I'm a barometer, and we"re living in a drought of dry political correctness which has been killing off all of our colourful indigenous characters. But a change is coming Bernard, a giant low pressure system that will bring storms and floods that will wash away everything that doesn"t belong in this country," said William. "Yes that's good; strong use of metaphor, like a Neo Nazi Jackson Pollock with a laptop," said Hedley. "I"m like a canary in the coal-mine of modern culture; when the air isn"t pure I pass out and start to thrash around," said William. "Yes, when the methane of mediocrity enters your lungs you faint," said Bernard. "Bernard you really have to be careful not to over work your metaphors. The public can tell when you"re milking an idea to much," said William. "Yes I must keep a lookout for that," said Bernard. "He"s just a mouth piece for the silent voice of the real Australia," said William. "Allan Jones isn"t silent," said Bernard. "No, my character, Travis," said William. "Yes, sorry. Look seriously, I think you"re onto something here, there is a big audience for this sort of stuff. Nationalist fiction; you might even start a new genre," said Bernard. The door to the toilet banged shut again, and Bernard turned around to see a very large man enter who had a long scraggy beard and an upside down crucifix tattooed under his left eye. The man looked at the boy who looked back and shook his head. The man then looked at Bernard who held his gaze for a couple of seconds and then looked down at the ground. "I know you think the Cronulla rioters were just a bunch of pissed bogans, but in time you"ll come to see it my way. They represent the silent voice of this country crying out from the sheep paddock in summer. I write that voice," said William. "There"s a name for people who hear sheep talking to them," said Bernard. "Speaking of pissed, how much have you had to drink?" "Six or seven, enough to start hearing what Henry Lawson is trying to tell us," said William. Bernard looked back at the big man, who"s black eyed gaze was stilled firmly locked onto him. He looked away again. "It might be time to get back to the party mate, you"ve been in there for a while," said Bernard. "Don"t "˜mate" me Bernard. That might be how you talk to your yobbo bean counting mates out there who don"t have an imaginative bone in their body, but you"re better than that. I"ve read your stuff, it"s good; sensitive; reflective; self-aware like Sylvia Plath". Bernard glanced quickly back at the man in spite of himself. "Ta mate," he said. "Look, I appreciate what you"re doing for me. I know you can hear that voice too," said William. "I think you should leave," said the man with crucifix under his eye. "Sorry, my friends had a bit too much to drink," said Bernard. "We"re not gay," he added quickly. "He"s alright, but people like you are undermining the moral fibre of the youth. Sylvia Plath was self-obsessed and committed suicide. We need our young people to hear good Aussie poets". "I like Banjo Paterson," said the boy. "That"s right son, and Les Murray"s not bad either," said the giant. "Yes I couldn"t agree more I;" "Fuck off before I tear you another piss hole".