Finally she did file a report on recent events in the Jaime & Cersei theme park she calls her home state. Unfortunately it didn't make much sense. It consisted of a series of dot points as follows;
- Wire thylacine
- Underground dungeon
- Smoke machine
- London marathon
- Painting stripes on her dog
- Plague of turtles
"Honestly," she sighed, "Gracie beats up one eight year old and suddenly everybody overreacts."
"Not that," I replied, "the stuff on the other side."
It turns out that she recently attended a sort of art thingy. Said thingy took place in darkened cells underneath a former council chambers in an undisclosed location in Hobart. Wire thylacines hung from the ceiling and a guy was simulating running the London marathon on a treadmill in a corner. The air was full of artificially generated smoke which was periodically split by spotlights persuading whoever was trapped in the glare to spout poetry. It was an art exhibition, it doesn't have to make sense.
My correspondent thoroughly enjoyed herself right up to the point when the artificial smoke set off the very real smoke detectors in the building above prompting a sudden evacuation of the venue mid performance. The performance carried on in the carpark outside and everybody agreed that the addition of the icy rain that they had all gone inside to avoid merely heightened the experience.
The presence of the wire thylacines sparked an idea in my correspondent's head. She has two dogs. The average intelligence of one of them can be indicated by the fact that it recently tried to eat an echidna. The other, however, has a distinctly thylacinic look about it. My correspondent intends to paint stripes on its back and then take it bushwalking near some appropriately gullible people. The ensuing excitement complete with blurry photos should bring Tasmania to a state of near paralysis. More precisely it should bring Tasmania to a state even nearer to paralysis than is usual.
As plans go its a good one. For some reason Australians have this weird fixation on the thylacine. None of the other animals we drove to extinction have quite excited our imagination as much as this one. Its basically a stripy dog and it has to be said that its extinction doesn't seem to have done anything any harm (except the thylacine obviously) but you can't walk past an ornamental hedge in this country without someone claiming a thylacine lives inside it.
As I said its a good plan with one glaring exception. There didn't seem to be any rational reason for her to do it at all. Her explanation wasn't entirely helpful. Partly there was the giggle factor which made perfect sense but her other reason was to distract attention from the turtles. Somebody had been arrested with a turtle and was now facing the full force of Tasmanian law which in the case of chelonians appeared to two hundred lashes and banishment to a bleak isolated island beyond the fringes of civilisation. The woman in question claimed to have found the turtle by the side of the road, as you do.
The Tasmanian government is like most governments, it would dearly like to concrete over pretty much the entire island and get rid of all that pesky nature stuff. However they also have a couple of bizarre quirks. I've already mentioned that simply whispering the word "fox" into a Tasmanian's ear will prompt the government to mobilise everything from the boy scouts to paramilitary death squads to rid the state of this ecological vandal. Apparently the turtle is another red flag animal that must not be permitted into the state on pain of death. They are rapacious predators although the only evidence my correspondent could provide to substantiate this was an anecdotal account of a turtle eating a goldfish.
In the meantime I've decided not to bother my correspondent for further copy. At least not until the medication kicks in.