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February 25, 2008 | by  | in Online Only | [ssba]


She is late. She stands and looks silently out of the large top floor window behind her desk. Monday’s morning meeting is about to start. She’s never been late before. She scrutinizes the waterfront apartment buildings. They loom over the quay. There is a softness in the air, a hint of trepidation. Her office smells of forgotten hope and unfulfilled dreams.

What has become of her. Where once there was radicalism, now there is coercion. She had dreamed of a brave new world, shaded in red and gold. Leslie Lipson was on her lips, and in her heart. She yearned to build the pillars he dreamed of. Never alone in her quest, her rampaging band of crusaders have been at her side all along. They fought the good fight, and won – time and time again. They are sitting next door, faded and old. Even her sword lies rusty. She wonders if in their decline they have favored the whip over the book. The weight of their gold is crushing her. Her traditional supporters have deserted her, and she is still confused as to why. She stands there, frowning. She gave them what they wanted – things have been good, money has been made. Justice has been served. She convinces herself.

Its not that she was never good at her job. Its not that her unique blend of corridor dominance and departmental technocracy was not effective. What more do they want? Why are they leaving?

It was never her intention to get in the way of their affairs. It was always her belief that people deserve some degree of liberty. In her last moments she seemed to forget her anarchic beginnings, blissfully unaware of the the consequences of her actions. But they could not have been so great – she was fighting for her better world. It just wasn’t their world anymore. She clenches her fist angrily. Why did she not see it, why was she so blind.

She moves from the window and slumps into her chair, the light falls past her, silhouetting her against the wall. She glances at her UNEP plaque sitting neatly on the corner of her desk. That’s how she wants to be remembered, as a champion. Slowly she puts her in head in her hands. This new comer, this upstart, with his Cheshire cat grin and winning smile. He sits across from her each week, laughing. His mob of sycophants crowd around him, sharpening their knives. They all flock to him in droves. Those who once loved her have been swept up in his allure. She can see through his facade, but has yet to trump him.

Is it too late she thinks, and she rises and walks to the door. With her hand on the knob she pauses. Is this the end? Has her legacy been written? No. Not now, not this time. There is still so much more to be done. He can’t be allowed to romp home in this way. She knows he sits on a paper throne. Like a phoenix she imagines herself rises from the ashes, warming the nation with her red flame.

In one swift, decisive move she wrenches open the door.

She buckles on her old sword, and walks outside.


About the Author ()

Conrad is a very grumpy boy. When he was little he had a curl in the middle of his forehead. When he was good, he was moderately good, but when he was mean he was HORRID. He likes guns, bombs and shooting doves. He can often be found reading books about Mussolini and tank warfare. His greatest dream is to invent an eighteen foot high mechanical spider, which has an antimatter lazer attached to its back.

Comments (6)

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  1. Jackson Wood says:

    Is this about Margaret Clark?

  2. Kerry says:

    Helen Clark, and her opponent, John Key?

  3. Phill says:

    You forgot the last bit

    ….and there, in the distance, she sees him. She runs to him, pulls out the rusty sword, but at that very minute slides on a banana skin dropped by her minder. She falls on her sword, which pierces right through her heart. Her red flame flickered out in an instant. The newcomer had prevailed.

  4. Jackson Wood says:

    You also forgot the bit where:

    the slithery snake that whispers to old people slithers into bed with him and proceeds to garner baubles from his new benevolent master. Have them he says, flinging gold coins out to the Snake, and also to Worm Master, that silver tongued and haired gentleman who oft is left out of discussions. “Come to me my pretties”, he says as he gets them to scratch his back, smirking with his self knowledge that he shall never conceed to their ridiculous demands.

  5. iHola! says:

    It has to be Margaret Clark!

  6. ubub says:

    Is this based on a Borges story called Avelino Arredondo?

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