The Anonymous Diaries of a Sozzled Scribbler #2
As transcribed by DMETRI KAKMI
19 January 2020
The Sozzled Scribbler sizzles as the Great Southern Land burns.
People are, of course, upset and yours truly thinks, What a bunch of whingers. What happened to the great Australian spirit? Let the fires burn, I say. Only good can come of it.
Let’s list three positives so that we can get a proper perspective on the affair.
First, the vast columns of smoke visible from space might alert aliens to life on earth. Let them come. Most Earthlings are barely sentient anyway. The Martians can’t possibly be worse than us.
The only problem is if they land in the land down under, they will end up in a refugee concentration camp…I mean immigration detention center… until they are approved by that arm of Rupert Murdoch, Inc. alternatively called a government.
Perhaps the aliens are better off going to the United States, where they will be merely shot at by the citizenry? Better bullet holes in the space suit than indefinite incarceration in Manus Island.
Second, the conflagration is said to be worse than anything that happened in the Amazon (not sure if that’s the forest or the company). If this is true, then it’s an occasion to celebrate.
I mean to say the fires might kill off Australia’s many deadly pests: flies, snakes, crocs, spiders, Derryn Hinch, Alan Jones, Michaelia Cash, Tony Abbott, and the serial killers that hunt down German backpackers. Though the latter could be said to be performing a public service. Australia likes its ‘quiet achievers’, you know.
Third, the smoke will block out the UV rays that mar with unsightly cancers the golden skins of the sun-loving populace. Think of it. It could be a return to the 1970s when persons of lower class lolled about all day on the beach, slathered in coconut suntan lotion. Now you can just grab some free ash straight out of the sky and rub it on.
See, take a negative, turn it to a positive. We must see the humour in all things. After all, what’s not to laugh about a town called Smoko going up in smoke?
As it happens, the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (ScoMo to the Twitterati) rang before Christmas last year to seek my advice on this very topic.
Incidentally, ScoMo once invited me to his Pentecostal Church, where we shared the same buttock-numbing pew and even spoke in tongues. Though it must be said I garble my words at the best of times, especially when I haven’t had a martini or two for breakfast. I did not go back. The lay person may not know but Pentecostals, in keeping with their Methodist-Holiness heritage, use non-alcoholic wine (!), or worse grape juice (!!), during communion. I ask you what is the point of going to church if there is no alcohol?
But back to our pre-Christmas phone conversation.
‘There’s a bit of a fire on, mate,’ ScoMo drawled, the usually assured voice quivering.
‘Beg pardon,’ quoth I, looking in some alarm around my luxurious, smoke-free apartment.
‘There’s a big barbie on,’ the Prime Minister clarified. ‘The wildlife’s roastin’ in the bush and the do-gooders are pissed off ‘cause the koalas and the galahs are falling out of the trees, burnt to a crisp. But the family’s booked in for a nice little shindig in Hawaii. I mean tah say I even sent the Deputy Prime Minister to buy me a luau shirt and a grass skirt.’
‘It’s wise to blend in with the natives,’ said I, leaning across to freshen up my drink. It was going to be a long call; ScoMo is not the brightest candle in the tabernacle.
‘Yeah, but should I stay or should I go?’
Silence from my end, as I waited to see where this was leading.
‘If I go will there be trouble?’ ScoMo pursued.
‘And if you stay will it be double?’ I hedged with caution.
‘So come on and let me know.’
I chuckled at this, but our purely unconscious reference to the 1970s rock band went unheeded at the other end.
‘It’s hard to know,’ I replied, wiping the smile off my face. ‘What have you done to mollify your subjects?’
‘I denied there’s a such a thing as climate change.’
‘Always a good start. What else?’
‘Oh, you know, I sent them thoughts and prayers.’
‘That always pacifies the simpleton. What else?’
‘We’re gonna legislate sentences up to twenty-one years for environmental protest and we’re gonna stop journalists from going to disaster zones to report our stuff-ups.’
‘When all else fails, fall back on dictatorship,’ I quipped, draining my glass and reaching for another.
‘I’ve done all I can, mate. But the friggin’ lefties are still being mean tah me.’ The usually assured voice trembled further; I was afraid there might be tears. ‘Why can’t they see Gina Rinehart’s coal is good for them?’
‘You may be putting out the fire with gasoline,’ I said, indulging the sing-song mood of the day.
In the end a more determined note crept into ScoMo’s voice. I could almost hear the Australian national anthem strike up behind him.
‘See these eyes so red,’ he proclaimed. ‘Red like the bush burning bright. Well, I’m gonna wipe ‘em dry and go to Hawaii with my god-fearing, all-hetero family. And that’s that.’
‘Well said, Prime Minister.’
‘Yeah,’ he added, with rising determination. ‘Tel meth eta ocal.’
‘Scotty,’ I garbled into the phone. ‘You’re speaking in tongues.’
‘Sorry, mate. Got excited for a minute. All I said was, “Let them eat coal.”’
And he hung up, leaving me to think anyone who makes a melange of The Clash and David Bowie with Marie Antoinette deserves hell’s fiery storm.
Until next we meet. Cheerio!
The Sozzled Scribbler was born in the shadow of the Erechtheion in Athens, Greece, to an Egyptian street walker and a Greek bear wrestler. Of no fixed abode, he has subsisted in Istanbul, Rome, London, New Orleans and is currently hiding out in Melbourne. He partakes of four bottles of Bombay gin and four packets of Dunhill cigarettes a day.
His mortified amanuensis, Dmetri Kakmi, is a writer and editor. The fictionalised memoir Mother Land was shortlisted for the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards in Australia. He edited the children’s anthology When We Were Young. His new book The Door and other Uncanny Tales will be released in May 2020.