Wednesday, 5 October 2011

The man on the steps.

Imagine being that guy.  The guy who stands on the steps of the Victorian Parliament.  He's wearing a high visibility vest.   Just in case you'd have trouble seeing him.  It's also got the police insignia on it.  He's the only person on the steps.  He's the only person standing anywhere near the front of the Parliament.  Is that actually the Parliament?  I've never actually seen anyone go in or out.  Maybe it's a front.  Maybe they just want us to think this is where all the state politicians hang out.  They're really out in the country.  Holding community cabinets.  Having a whale of a time.  Probably.  Not.  Apart from the two old men pointing and staring at him.  Perhaps that guy, standing on the steps of the Victorian Parliament is so effective at his job that he's scared everyone away.  He doesn't look that scary.  There must be something about him.  Maybe it's something we can't see. Body odour? He might have one of those silent alarms - a high pitched sound that you can't hear but drives you mad so you leave.  Oh hang on, that might be something to keep dogs away.  Look, it's working, there are no dogs near the Victorian Parliament either.  He must be lonely.  There's no one to talk to.  It doesn't even look like he has a walkie talkie.  It might interfere with the silent alarm.  What would be the point of the walkie talkie anyway?  I mean, what's he going to say? Who would he call?

"Hey Bruce. There's no one here."

Sounds like a perpetual existential crisis.

What's the imaginary Bruce going to say?

"Hey Bob.  Watcha doing?"

Bob's possible answers:


"Just standing here."

"Talking to you on the walkie talkie.  Idiot."

"Scaring away the bad guys.  It's what I do."

"Looking good in my bright yellow vest.  Man, I hate this vest.  I really hate yellow.  Vests make my torso look big."

"Waiting for the girl I love to come out and say hello.  But she only ever walks past, carrying her cafe latte.  She doesn't even know that I exist.  But I know she exists.  Boy, do I know she exists.  The way the sun catches on her hair every morning as she walks up the steps. When there's sun.  On days when there's no sun I just smell her perfume.  I see her the minute she gets off the number 96 tram.  Sometimes I smell her first.  I stand here willing her to turn her head and notice me.  Just once. That's all I'd need.  And I'd be happy.  I'd die for her."

You can hear Bruce rolling his eyes.

"Bob, you're never rostered on the steps on the protest days.  Not since that incident with the vegans in the late 1990's.  You're not going to die for her.  Or for anyone.  We've talked about this.  Mate."

Bob replies:  "..."

"Mate?"  says Bruce.

"..."  then - "I love her.  She doesn't even know I exist.  I have to let her know I exist."

"Don't do anything stupid Bob.  You know what happened last time.  We spent months trying to get your hair back to its natural colour.  And the incident with the super glue doesn't bear thinking about."

Bob hangs up his imaginary walkie talkie.  He has a situation.  A little old lady - probably in cahoots with the two old guys who were casing the joint earlier - is approaching at a rapid, well, slow, no, glacial, pace.  With the zimmer frame and the 98 steps it could take a couple of hours for her to reach him.

He can't take any chances.

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