Monday, December 06, 2004

Heirophants & grilled swordfish cutlets

The Great Canberra Blogger Picnic was abruptly changed from the botanic gardens to a private home – allegedly because of the weather. But it wasn't raining and it didn’t rain at all that day.

I had to check if I had the address right because when I pulled up to the ‘house’ it turned out to be a disused sardine cannery on the edge of a light industrial suburb in Canberra’s north.

I knocked three times and, just as I was about to leave, the roll-a-door on an adjacent building began to open slowly and noisily – like the sound of a robot being disemboweled in a snuff film for engineers.

Inside, all was dark except for one flickering fluorescent light. I called out as I warily entered.

‘Hello? Hello? Zoe?’

Only when I got to the other end of the warehouse, which still stank of the mechanised slaughter of a generation of tiny fish, did I hear another sound -- the sound of the door closing again. I hesitated for a moment before sprinting back to the entrance.

Too late. One hand flapped stupidly for a moment at the airy freedom on the other side but then I was trapped.

‘Hello?’ I called again, somewhat more nervously. ‘Zoe?’

Slowly, light after flickering light filled the room and a shape appeared on a steel balcony bolted to one water-stained wall.

‘Are you…Zoe?’ I asked, shielding my eyes from the glare with one hand. I approached until I could see the figure more clearly. It was a large dwarf – and by that I mean an obese dwarf, straining at the fabric of the only garment it was wearing, a hessian sack bearing the image of a single grey fish. The dwarf was wearing eye-shadow and appeared to petting a cat that looked for all the world like a shaved ferret. I peered more closely and discovered that it was in fact a shaved ferret.

‘I am Zoe.’ It said, in a voice like distant thunder recorded on a toy microphone underwater.

‘Er, you’re Zoe? From crazybrave? Ah, OK. So is, uh, Kay, here?’

‘I am Kay,’ it said.

‘Uh, OK. Carolinkus? Rachel? Are they here?’

‘They are here,’ the dwarf said, pointing to its forehead with a long discoloured bone which it produced from underneath the ferret. ‘I am Carolinkus. And I am Rachel.’

‘Um, OK, mate, look, I’ll just be going now.’ I started to back away, unsure of how I could make my escape.

‘I am everyone you are seeking. Everyone,’ it said, with a piercing stare. ‘And I am you!’ It shrieked, and with a sudden movement which sent the ferret flying through the air in my direction, it pulled a crab’s pincer from a hole within the sack. I screamed as it pointed the pincer at me and ran back to the roll-a-door.

As the dwarf howled with laughter, the ferret scampering at its feet, I pulled savagely at a chain on the door until I had opened it just enough to slide out.

I stood outside gasping at the fresh air, hugging my sides. And then from inside my ribcage there was a raucous new sound, stabbing at my heart.

My mobile phone. Ringing. And vibrating.

It was Zoe, with an update. Right address, wrong suburb. I hate it when that happens.

So we had the Great Canberra Blogger Picnic. And it was great and there were bloggers there, as well as blogger-nippers and blogger-bits-on-the-side. A fun time was had by all. Yay!

[* This story is obviously a work of fiction because I don’t own a mobile phone. And yes I was stuck for a title.]





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