The Noisemakers

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“Noisemakers, behold, your Mayor of Mayhem…”

They waited. Beady, desperate eyes squinted at their Sky Box.

The rotund, bespectacled one, the Mayor of Mayhem, loomed large over them; in them.

Then it appeared, filling the Sky Box.

The smirk.

“AAAAAAAAARARRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH”

Hundreds upon thousands of Noisemakers unleashed themselves onto the streets. Activated, emboldened, enabled. Sent forth.

The Noisemakers hurled themselves into action with boisterous loyalty. V8 engines purred with patriotism, mowers and blowers howled. Stereos strained. TVs triumphed. Reality was re-defined.

‘NOISE NOT KNOWLEDGE’ ran the mantra, seared into their consciousness.

‘NOISE NOT KNOWLEDGE’

A force directed Jarryd to a library. Libraries remained contested space. Territory recently won, but in need of defence, consolidation, fortification.

Books = learning = knowledge, Jarryd knew. NOISE NOT KNOWELDGE, ran his internal monologue, NOISE NOT KNOWLEDGE.

The scene at the library pleased Jarryd. Noise was heard. Hollow noise. One corner of his mouth turned upward, involuntarily.

It twitched.

His ears pricked, he heard it. A Talk Box. It spurted loud, obtrusive, vacuous noise. Jarryd could almost see the learning leaching out of the pages of the lonesome books, spilling like blood onto the sponge-like carpet. Lost.

His Talk Box, her Talk Box…music, mobiles, meaningless mutterings…mayhem.

Jarred smirked.

Time was ticking. More mayhem was demanded, and action requires sustenance. A public house lured the loyal servant and he rode to it on a wave of violent squawking.

“Do you have mayonnaise?” enquired Jarryd, motioning to his hot chips.

“Nah mate, we’ve got sauce.”

No Mayonnaise, and no Sky Box – just innocuous screens with Surfing on loop.

Jarryd deserted his chips.

A second public house was located, a house alike in dignity.

‘…alike in dignity…”

Jarryd’s skin prickled, his stomach turned. He was jarred and jolted by the memory of this phrase and the learning it entailed, a higher learning acquired in quiet contemplation and a depth of thought which was anathema to his calling and ambitions.

The Mayor would be displeased. The Mayor would not smirk. Noise, not learning, begets a Mayor.

The Mayor in the making stomped the clutch, ripped the throttle with fury and careered his crackling Motor Box to a public house. A safe house.

“Do you have Mayonnaise?”

“Maybe,” replied the barmaid with a smirk. A juvenile smirk, a smirk in development. An apprentice’s smirk, An ally, but not a competitor.

Jarred devoured his chips, noisily. Transfixed by the Sky Box. Waiting, yearning for instruction, inspiration, motivation, affirmation.

The scene pleased Jarryd. Eyes flittered from Sky Box to Talk Box to Sky Box… noise filled every crevice of the space. The Talk Box and the Sky Box downloaded their orders into Jarryd.

Turbulent commotion outside. Jarryd in movement. Fast, faster.

A woman, quiet, still, reading. An obstacle. Jarryd’s Motor Box devoured her.

“What are you doing’?” she whispered in pain and dismay.

Jarred smirked. A maleficent grin, close to perfection, he knew, as he caught its reflection in her glasses. He was ready.

“I’m runnin, laaady. I’m runnin for Mayor of Mayhem”

Image: Markus Spiske

Let’s Walk

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Harry is a happy little boy.

He likes to eat.

He likes to swim.

He likes birds.

…and he loves to walk.

 

One day, he went to the park

“Hop in the pram,” said Nanna.

“No Nanna,” said Harry,

“Let’s walk!”

So, they walked to the park.

 

Poppa pushed Harry on the swing.

It was fun.

He liked the park.

 

One day, Harry went to the beach.

Mummy tried to carry him across the sand.

“No, Mummy, let’s walk,” said Harry.

So, he walked to the water.

Splash ! Splash! Splash! It was so much fun.

 

One day, Harry went camping.

He slept in a tent.

He ate in his special chair.

He sat by the fire.

“Let’s find some birds,” said Mummy.

“Hop on my back”

“No Mummy, let’s walk.”

They walked to the trees and saw lots of colourful birds.

 

One day, Harry went to the pool.

“Into the car,” said Daddy

“No, Daddy, let’s walk,” replied Harry.

They walked to the pool.

Harry swam.

Under the water.

Side to side.

He swam with Mummy.

He swam with Daddy.

Harry was happy.

 

One day, Harry was at home.

He was playing with Nanna and Poppa.

“Time for dinner!” called Daddy.

Great, thought Harry.

“Let’s walk?” said Nanna.

“No Nanna” Harry smiled,

“Let’s run!”

 

Image: Bady qb

 

Smile

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Liam is a friendly little boy.

He loves to smile.

He loves to laugh.

 

His brother is called Jerry.

One day, Jerry made a big truck out of Lego.

Liam smiled.

 

His sister is called Marlie.

One day, Marlie put a lizard on her head.

Liam laughed.

 

One day, Daddy took Liam into a helicopter.

“Wow!” Liam said, and smiled.

 

One day, they went swimming.

Mummy jumped into the water.

“Oh, oh, it’s so cold!!!” she screamed.

Liam laughed, he likes swimming.

 

One day, Liam stopped smiling.

 

On this day, Jerry arrived home.

He had dirt and grass and blood and scratches and bruises everywhere.

He fell off his bike.

He felt sad and Liam felt sad.

 

Later, Mummy came home from work.

She was tired, very tired.

She felt unhappy, so Liam didn’t smile.

 

Marlie wasn’t happy either.

She did ballet. She had sore feet.

She didn’t smile, or laugh, and neither did Liam.

 

Daddy was also sad on this day.

He went to watch his favourite team, the Sharks.

They lost, again.

Liam took off his Sharks hat. He didn’t smile or laugh.

 

Everybody was sad.

 

Then something happened.

Liam looked at Jerry and clapped.

“Good crash Jerry, he wanted to say.

Jerry smiled, and Liam smiled too.

 

Liam crawled to the piano.

He looked at Marlie.

Marlie played the piano and Liam danced.

Liam loves dancing.

Marlie smiled, and Liam smiled too.

 

Then, Liam put on his helmet.

Daddy put him on the bike, in his special seat.

They started riding.

Liam smiled.

Daddy went fast.

Liam smiled.

Daddy went faster and faster…

“Yeeeeeeeeeoooooooooohhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!”

Liam laughed.

Daddy laughed too.

 

Liam made Jerry smile.

Liam made Marlie smile.

Liam made Daddy smile.

 

Soon it was time for bed.

Liam had dinner.

Liam had a bath and brushed his teeth.

 

After his bath, Mummy read him a book and gave him a great big hug.

“Good night,” she said.

Liam smiled and reached out.

“Another hug Mummy?”

…and he made Mummy smile.

Image: Katrina Knapp

 

 

Do I?

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Ben breathed deeply and stared down at his shoes.

“Ben,” began a benevolent voice from a man whose genteel reflection Ben could make out in his impossibly shiny shoes.

But Ben could not bear to look up.

He breathed again, failing to calm his nerves. His mind flashed back to a nature documentary about the annual migration of the monarch butterflies to Mexico, which Ben was certain had just begun in his stomach.

He fixed his gaze upon his shoes, satisfied with the military-grade sheen he had affected after the third spit polish.

Still the voice beckoned, and would soon demand an answer. It was this demand for an answer which had set off the migration.

“What do I say?” he anguished.

The research had been done. The data collected and collated. Responses analysed – all useless. Nerves, panic, sweat, pure human fear now engulfed him. The research had failed to yield any actionable data. Requests for advice from friends, relatives, colleagues, psychologists…Google – ineffectual.

“Marriage,” professed his single Uncle, a part-time Satirist and famous eccentric,

“It’s a wonderful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with immense caution.”

A friend had offered more sensible advice.

“If you truly love her, you have to act on that.”

So, Ben acted. He proposed, surprisingly. She accepted, unsurprisingly, and, suddenly, wedding invitations arrived in mail boxes.

“He’s never done anything quite like this before,” responded the guests, accustomed to the notoriously reserved, calculated mind of the Risk Analyst and Airforce reservist, whose best man had loaded his speech with anecdotes of uncanny meticulousness and aversion to risk, and the amazing contrast to his spontaneous and effervescent fiancée, with big brown eyes, flowing dark hair and a well-publicised fear of flying.

Daniella brings him to life…he had written.

“Maybe she’s pregnant,” pondered wistfully the wedding guests who loved a good scandal. They spent the service squinting at Daniella’s dress for signs of a bump, or a cover up. Daniella had certainly been left with little time to diet for the big day.

“Yes, yes I love her,” Ben muttered internally, steeling himself for what he had to do. Yes, he loved spending time with her, loved her dimple, her deep blue eyes, her quiet intelligence and soft demeanour. He admired her flying record at the academy, something he hoped to emulate one day.

“It is love!”

The affirmation drew his gaze from his shoes and, with another deep breath, he met the eyes of the priest.

“Ben, do you take Daniella to be your lawfully wedded wife?”

Ben met her gaze, and surrendered into the deep blue eyes of the bridesmaid, the wisp of blonde hair framing her delicate cheekbones. He was transfixed, and before he could avert his gaze, Daniella saw the unbridled longing in his eyes.

Daniella whispered,

“What’s it going to be then, Ben?”

 

 

Santa Claus v. Kris Kringle.

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Strike!

Another drone from the Santa Claus Army blasted the landing strip housing a fleet of Kris Kringle’s air force. Planes were decimated as flying shrapnel and seething balls of flame sent pilots scurrying for their lives.

“Braavooo. Woohoo,” cheered the children and parents who had placed their Christmas orders with Santa Claus this year.

Santa Claus v Kris Kringle entered its 14th hour – and Santa Claus was dominating this year’s 24-hour War.

Marlee was happy, and so was her child, who had gambled on Santa Claus to win this year. Marlee and Jay had conscientiously monitored the respective sales figures of Amazon and Taobao with painstaking devotion before deciding which online retailer could afford to hire superior mercenaries and would hence prevail in the annual Christmas Eve battle.

“Kill them,” yelled Jay, who had showed faith in Santa despite missing out on a gift last year after Amazon’s Santa Claus lost to the Taobao-backed Kris Kringle.

Jay remembered vividly waking up on Christmas Day, 2067 to no present – worse still was the mockery from friends and neighbours who had ordered through Taobao and who flaunted their gifts with vitriolic glee.

“Not this year,” declared Jay.

Boooom!!!!! Kris Kringle’s undersea defence system ripped apart an entire island nation which had acquiesced to the persuasive diplomacy of Amazon and ordered its entire population to support Santa Claus.

Kris Kringle’s sinister grin filled screens throughout the world, preceding the familiar image of Santa stained red with blood. Millions of nervous citizens glued their eyes to these screens and waited with bated breath for a message;

“Jesus is the reason for the season,” read the quaint, archaic phrase, but it was gone in a flash. Citizens dismissed it as an historical anachronism and readied themselves for an update on the progress of the 24-hour War.

Santa Claus boasted 78% of ‘sales’, or significant strikes on opposition targets. But wait, Kris Kringle claimed it had inflicted an equal amount of carnage. Angry, confused citizens stood aghast or hurled fury at the screens, until the Facebook Court of Moral Arbitration intervened to adjust the figures.

“58% Kris Kringle, 42% Santa Claus,” it reported.

Bombs and bullets and missiles rained down on targets all over the world for the next 10 hours. Citizens fled in horror before seeking out a screen to which they remained transfixed.

Who would win?

Amazon had narrowly defeated its only competitor in the international online market place during the last 12 months, but Taobao had still managed to supply Kris Kringle with a formidable army. The mercenary forces of these two financial foes continued to fight tooth and nail until the final hour, the final minute, the final second.

As GMT marked 12am, December 25, screens turned white, then…

“The right to deliver joy and peace to children throughout the world, for 2068, belongs to…”

…and the Santa Claus package was torn open to reveal a present that Jay didn’t even like.

Image:www.pinterest.com

A blue with Red.

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“Hey boys, did you see that?” asked an excited Stew ‘Pinkie’ Mullins, “some guy just ran out of the pub with a black eye.”

“Yeah, he’s yella, he had a blue with Red and ran out like a scolded cat,” explained Brownie.

“Na, he’s not yella,” replied Pinkie “everyone’s sacred of Blue.”

“Blue? No, he had a blue with Red, not Blue ya flamin galah! A blue with Blue!” sighed Brownie with exasperation and a shake of the head at the mere suggestion, “No one has a blue with Blue.”

“Except Violet,” chirped Danny Blanco, which elicited a chuckled consensus from the band of mates who had secured a reprieve from their own wives to watch State of Origin, which was scheduled to start in about an hour.

“Why did Red hit him?” asked Pinkie.

Brownie motioned to answer just as the well-lubricated Blanco proudly declared;

“I reckon I’d go Red,” with a glance at the hulking mass propping up the bar.

Fortunately for Blanco, the noise from the swelling crowd of sunburnt and bronzed bodies, clad exclusively in maroon jerseys, prevented Red from hearing the bold statement.

“Black Red or White Red?” asked Snowy, wiping the sweat from beneath his mop of blonde hair. He was already assessing the relative merits of a fight between Blanco and Black Red, the greenkeeper from Townsville, or White Red, the greenie, whose prolific organic tomatoes had earned him a modicum of fame up Ingham way.

“I’d go ‘em both,” boasted Blanco.

“Well you can’t go Black Red,” mentioned Brownie, clipping the wings of the young sugar cane farmer.

“He’s not that tough!”

“No, he’s not here, ya goose, he’s gone to Orange with Goldie…” Brownie explained, in reference to the copper-coated mare upon whom Black Red lavished so much attention and his life savings. “…he says the grass is greener down in Orange.”

The band of mates then launched into a lengthy and robust discussion about Blanco’s ability to defeat Red, Black or White, in a fight. Pinkie eventually steered the conversation back to the black-eyed victim.

“Anyway, why did Red hit this guy?” he interjected.

Just as Brownie made a second attempt to answer, Snowy stared at his glass after he noticed that it was lighter than it had been just a few moments earlier, and shouted;

“A round of VB Whitey!”

“VB? What are you, a Blue? Five minutes to kick off and you’re ordering VB,” Brownie admonished him, before sending the bartender to fetch another round of XXXX, whose logo adorned the jerseys of their beloved Maroons.

“So, what did this yella fella say?”

“Go the Blues!” chimed his mates.

Pinkie raised a glass with the four fingers which remained after an accident with a combine harvester, shook his head and smiled a knowing smile. As he considered the poor man’s folly, a whistle blew, and all eyes affixed themselves to the TV screen.

Thus, an hour was lost.

Snifflers Gonna Sniffle.

The rain hurled itself against the bus and through the taunting crack in the stubborn old windows. The umbrella propped up against my leg sent ice-cold droplets through my thin polyester pants and down my shin. The droplets paused momentarily at my ankle before merging with the water which had already seeped through my shoes.

Then she sat down beside me.

“Sniffle,” she commenced, as she accommodated herself on the seat.

“Sniffle, sniffle,” as she busied herself with her handbag, raincoat and umbrella, the last of which sent water streaming down my other leg and into the river that was now snaking its way down the aisle and under the feet of every disgruntled passenger.

“Sniffle, sniffle,” she repeated, dabbing half-heartedly at her nose with a single finger.

“Sniffle, sniffle”

She dabbed, conscious not to disturb her carefully arranged corporate ensemble and her carefully applied make-up.

“Sniffle, sniffle,” she continued, as I wondered whether I would have to endure this noise until one of us reached our final destination.

“Sniffle, sniffle, sneeze, sniiiifffflllleeee…,” went the soundtrack to winter.

This was getting beyond frustrating.

Surely, she has a tissue, or something which can serve to end this infernal noise, or had she forgotten her tissues, just as I had forgotten my headphones?

I have tissues.

Should I offer her a tissue?

Would she regard this as polite or as presumptuous and an invasion of her privacy?

Is she bothered by the fact that I am bothered?

Would the offer of a tissue be considered chivalrous or patronising?

I was in such a conundrum I decided to do nothing.

Suddenly, she dived into her vast, designer label handbag. Maybe, finally, she had succumbed to her sodden sinuses and sought solace in a tissue.

She rustled around intently.

“Sniffle, sniffle, sniffle”

The tissues must be in there somewhere, they can’t be that hard to find.

More rustling.

The elbow was raised and the hand was drawn out. Surely, it will emerge grasping a tissue.

“Sniffle, sniffle.”

No, the hand was extracted without a tissue. Instead, it was wrapped around a mobile phone.

You’re kidding.

“Sniffle, sniffle, sniffle.”

Blow your nose, for crying out loud, and put an end to this ghastly sniffle, sniffle.

Wait.

The hand is going back in, as the sniffling continues and the rain intensifies its attack on the morning commute.

Nimble but agitated fingers flick aside the bag’s contents, which clatter against each other in feeble protest.

She sniffles in staccato and cocks the elbow yet again. She levers the arm out of the bag, slowly revealing clawed fingers clutching something white.

A tissue?

“Sniffle”

A handkerchief?

“Sniffle”

A towel?

“Sniffle”

No, not even a white flag raised in surrender.

She withdrew a set of headphones, placed them in her ears and sniffled at her screen in total bliss for the remainder of the journey.