Having become displeased by the Protectionist policies of Mr Abbott, I and a group of fellow Red Cadeaux-bearing citizens decided to gather upon the city green. Most of us were pensioners, and as such the sort of citizens who marched upon the green regularly. In the week before Melbourne Cup, we had marched over the dispute of Who Shot Thebarman—the identity of whom Mr Foe claims he knew, although he would never come to Signoff on this knowledge. Willing Foe, the man with the crooked smile and who was a regular at far too many bars, said that he did not have the Precedence to make such an accusation. And at the time Araldo had seconded this, laughing, and then said Au Revoir to us all, having had enough of playing his part in our great Seismos machine, which is what the Greek partition of this little establishment had come to call us.
We sat down on the green on the first Tuesday of November and read Fawkner aloud to one another. We did not know how else to protest the current government but with literature. We’d tried spouting Opinion, but the good Lord knew that the ones in charge had many of those to spare already.
I was leaned up against the Gatewood myself, at the head of the group, smiling as Lucia Valentina’s voice wafted through The Sound and the Fury, which was the first novel on the top of the pile. Several times during this reading, we had smiled at each other in Mutual Regard. Others pulled Brambles from their sweaters. It was a cold and prickly day, and they were fidgeting to keep themselves warm.
At some point, a woman began to sing. Unchain My Heart, she sung. Baby let me be.
No one will ever be quite sure whether this line was meant for Mr Abbott or for one of the men in the crowd. If it had been meant for me, it was returned only by My Ambivalent gaze, and a coughing that began to sound, as it repeated in my head, like the foreign and unplaceable word ‘Junoob’. My good brother Lidari at this time passed me a handkerchief, which bore the insignia of the Royal Diamond hotel from downtown, run by one Mr O’Ceirin, who I happen to know was amongst our ranks on the green that day.
But nothing came of it. In my many long years, I’ve come to learn that so often nothing does. And when the sun began to set, we realised that Mr Abbott was not listening, and we felt the air become icy as one of us stood up. He stood up and climbed onto the edge of the fountain that was in the middle of the park. From where he stood he spoke to us of everything that was wrong with the world, and with horseracing, and with the whole process of seating ourselves on the grass for days and for nothing. And none of us said anything in response. We only looked up to him and nodded. We could not match his speech--we could only Admire Rakti.