Monday, 11 June 2012
CAIRNS - THE AFTERMATH, PART 3
His Worship the Mayor of the Cairns Regional Council, Colonel (Retired) Ken Cush, was eating breakfast and reading the local Murdoch newspaper, "The Cairns Post", with grunts of satisfaction. The days edition carried banner headlines on its front page, THE FACE OF DESPERATION, and featured a photograph
of the rioting crowd from the day before in front of the Cairns Regional Council Office in Spence Street.
Cush glanced quickly at the picture and could just recognise Councillor Enzo Bonbomiere's head from underneath two bodies. He laughed outright. Serves the bastard right!
He read quickly through the text and again grunted his approval. He couldn't recall the Editor of The Cairns Post phoning him, as he and Horsey were on the piss and were well and truly maggotted, but obviously he was lucid enough to give the Editor a good response.
"This whole riot was caused by desperate people, desperately wanting jobs, desperately wanting income and the means to support their families....." Cush couldn't remember for the life of him saying that, but by Christ, it sounded good. Real good. He always had a knack for the right words, he thought.
His concentration was broken by his wife Brandi, who was sitting opposite, nibbling on her platter of fruit in between delicate sips of green tea. "Cushy darling," she began in her irritating little girl voice, "Have you seen my diamond bracelet, anywhere, you know the one you bought me on the Gold Coast, not long after we first met?"
Cush felt a flash of irritation. Reluctantly he looked up from the page of "The Cairns Post" and noticed Brandi for the first time that morning. He scowled as he looked at her multi-coloured hair. "What you done to your hair?" he snarled. "You look like a fucken parrot!"
Brandi flushed. "It's the fashion Cushy, you know I like to be fashionable," she replied trying to keep the whine from her voice. "Do you know where my diamond bracelet is?"
"No!" Cush snapped back retreating to his newspaper. Inwardly he seethed. His good mood on seeing his brilliant speech on the front page of The Cairns Post had melted away. He was acutely reminded of the throbbing pain in his head, despite taking a handful of painkillers in the morning, and the knife like pain in his groin. Christ, it hurt like hell when he tried to take a piss. Something was wrong with his waterworks. Maybe he should go and see a quack somewhere.
The Council C.E.O. had phoned him earlier to say that the Regional Superintendent of Police wanted an interview with him at the Council at 10.30am concerning the riots. The C.E.O. had also told him that Councillors Bonbomiere and Piper were both OK. Cush had made the right murmerings of gladness, while thinking how damned unlucky he could be that both hadn't been killed.
Cush's black mood darkened even further when he thought of the meeting with the Regional Superintendent of Police. Another fucken split-fork! One who used cockroach words like "concerned" and "comfort zone". He heard her voice coming back from a previous encounter, "I am concerned at your attitude, Mr, Mayor." Concerned at your attitude! Unconsciously, he stuck his jaw out. He would give her some concern alright.
Brandi Cush bit her lip as she returned to nibbling her piece of pineapple. She needed that diamond bracelet, but after searching fruitlessly for several days, she had to acknowledge that the bracelet was gone, either stolen or, as she suspected, pawned by Cush.
Brandi had need of some urgent cash and the bracelet would have realised at least $1,000 from a pawnbroker, she estimated. Covertly, she slid her hand down to her waist and stroked across her stomach. There was no trace yet, but she could feel the growing life inside her. She smiled secretly to herself. Every now and then she could feel the tiniest of flutters, like a small butterfly opening its wings. She wondered, as she often did now every day, who the baby would resemble most. Herself or Ky.
It had all happened so quickly, her and Ky. She knew there had been an instant physical frisson between the two of them, yet Ky was in a gay relationship with David. They had both fought it, but, well, they just hadn't been able to fight a very powerful attraction. Ky had proposed marriage to her, and Brandi had accepted. "As soon as I can divorce Cushy," she said. "And as soon as I can make some arrangements with David," Ky replied.
Brandi closed her eyes and day dreamed of the wedding. This time around, she wanted a lovely gown, and she wanted that old Julie Rogers song playing in the background. She thought of the words, "You, by my side, that's how I see us. I close my eyes, and I can see us. We're on our way, to say I do-ooo. My secret dreams have all come true-ooooo." Better still, she thought, if we could find a singer to sing it for us!
Cush finished with his newspaper and noisily finished his breakfast plate of four eggs, six pieces of bacon and four slices of thickly buttered toast. Gulping down his coffee, he burped, wriggled around on his char and farted loudly so that other diners at the sidewalk cafeteria looked disgustedly at them.
Brandi looked away, her face flushed with embarrassment. Cush stood up and noticed the other diners staring. "The wife will insist on eating baked beans for breakfast," he said, motioning Brandi with his hand.
The diners only stared.
Cush folded the newspaper under his arm and, with a wave to Brandi, started his walk along the Esplanade to the Cairns Regional Council office. Normally he liked his daily walk which gave him a chance to talk with people he met along the way, however this morning he noticed that people were avoiding him, not going out of their way to come up and meet him.
He had a lot on his mind anyway. He had heard back from the Pentagon that they were interested in buying Munro Martyn Park for the US military. They had also requested extra land for some sort of military training base close to Cairns. He would see the Council's C.E.O. as to what was available that morning and reply quickly to the Pentagon. Then there was another annoying little incident which had happened at the Cairns Civic Theatre. Some trumped up, fingers upherself bloody singer had tripped over a board in the dressing room, had fallen against a wall, bounced back into another wall, knocked herself out, and come to with a broken arm in the local hospital. Now the bitch was suing the Council for mantaining a community theatre where the dressing rooms did not meet any Occupational Health and Safety standards. The C.E.O. had told Cush that the Council could fight it, but his own advice was that the dressing rooms most certainly did not meet with any O.H. & S. standards and that Council should look at a settlement out of Court. The singer was going for a million bucks. "Over my dead body!" roared Cush.
Cush wondered too, if he could bring back the sale of Mt, Whitfield to the Council again, now that Piper and Bonbomiere were temporarily out of action. That way he would be guaranteed that the Councillors would all approve of the sale. He toyed with the thought for a while, and then thought of what the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull would say. Overall, he thought he should play it safe, for the time being, anyway. Turnbull could always persuade Newman to sack him.
Yes, he had a lot on his mind, and didn't see with all the thoughts flitting back and forth through his mind, the tiny girl who had skated on her skate board right out in front of him. "Monsoon!!" shrieked a shrill, high pitch voice, "Watch, where you're going!" Too late! Cush felt himself falling, then lying flat on the ground,
while a small girl thrown from her skateboard, sat crying in front of him.
Furious, Cush sat up, and unsteadily got to his feet. His shoulder hurt, his arse hurt. Some creature with a hairless skull covered in tattoos came running up to the little girl and picked her up. "I'm so sorry," the creature said to Cush, "She wasn't watching where she was going. Are you alright?"
Cush brushed the dust from his suit and nodded curtly. He had seen this hideous creature before, he realised. In fact their paths seemed to cross a lot. Grunting, he walked on down the street, not looking backwards.
Berry stared after him as she comforted Monsoon. No bones were broken, thank goodness, but the little girl was in shock, more than anything. "What a fucken bastard," thought Berry, "Didn't even ask how Monsoon was."
As Cush finally made it to the Cairns Regional Council Offices and took the lift to his own Mayoral Office, the Deputy Mayor, Horsey met him outside his office. "Christ, mate, how much piss did we drink yesterday? I feel like I'm about to die."
Cush grunted. Horsey looked like death all warmed up.
"We got Her Majesty, the fucken Regional Superintendent of Police, coming in at 10.30," he told Horsey, as he walked across to his desk and sat heavily down.
"Oh fuck," answered Horsey, plumping himself down on the seat opposite Cush's desk, "It's all we bloody need."
"At least I got a good coverage in The Post," Cush said, throwing the newspaper across the desk to Horsey.
"Let's listen to what the radio is saying."
The local radio shock jock was starting off his daily program. "This whole riot was caused by desperate people, desperately wanting jobs, desperately wanting income and the means to support their families..." the shock jock was reading from the front page of The Cairns Post. Here, he paused. "Oh, how well said by the His Worship, the Mayor. You see how empathic he is. He really is the most empathic, caring man."
"Empathic," the shock jock repeated the word again, emphasising it.
To be continued...................