I wake up at around 11am to my housemate knocking on my door.
‘There’s some kind of terror attack happening in Martin Place!’ She says. I detect a hint of glee in her tone. I don’t judge her. There is a certain glee to be had in delivering bad news that has happened to people you don’t personally know that i can identify with. Knowing that something terrible and out of the ordinary is happening in your local area puts a certain sheen on one’s day, makes everything new again, delivers you from the boring day-to-day mundane activities that afflict the majority of your life, and if you are the one to bring feeling to someone, you may as well put on a santa claus hat and shove half a pill up their asshole.
I turn on the news.
I quickly turn it off.
Sometimes when i watch western media i feel compelled to become a terrorist, not for Allah, but just out of spite. As they say, my enemy’s enemy is my friend. I think that’s my main problem with Islam. It’s very cliquey. Why do i have to believe in Allah to go on a Jihad? Why can’t i go on a secular jihad just because I want to? To me that’s a form of discrimination and an issue i will need to take up with my local ombudsman, whatever an ombudsman is.
I go on facebook. It’s even worse. Comments commenting about comments in the information supervoid. I am about to add to this void, but it feels futile and I quickly close facebook. If facebook was an actual book, i would burn it.
I close my eyes and sigh as tears roll down my cheeks.
First Hughsie, now this.
I turn on the TV.
‘We don’t really know what’s happening.’ says the newsman.
They cross over to another reporter.
‘Yep, we still don’t really know what’s happening.’ says another reporter.
All they know is basically four details:
1) Shit’s going down in a chocolate shop.
2) There’s a guy making the shit go down.
3) There are hostages.
4) Theres a black flag with squiggly writing on it hanging in the window.
‘Sydneysiders are advised to avoid the city.’ the reporter says.
Suddenly i feel something. I stand up, and stagger woozily as the full extent of the situation hits me.
‘Damn, i gotta go through the city today to get to a gig tonight. This is highly inconvenient for me.’ I think, annoyed. Just my luck. Then i realise with all this stuff going on, there’s a good chance there won’t be any ticket inspectors on public transport. Maybe potential terrorist situations have their upside. I go on the trip planner website and look up how to get to my gig. It says there are only minor delays and i won’t have to leave any earlier than normal. Phew. I will still have time for an afternoon nap.
I get ready to go to the gig and walk to the station. Secretly thanking the suspect, I don’t bother buying a ticket. I have to head to circular quay by train to catch a ferry across the harbour. This means i will be passing right underneath where all the action is happening. This means i will be passing right through an area where there might be bombs. But i will not be cowed by one man’s actions. The thought of cancelling the gig never crossed my mind once. I’m no hero, but like all heros, I’m just a man, and like me, all heros are just men. Men like me. If the suspect is a terrorist, I will not give in to the terror he hopes to spread. If i do that, they will of won. There is a room full of people across the harbour who want -nay need – me. I must do it. For the money. I really need the money. No as-of-yet unconfirmed terrorist attack will stand between me and that sweet $100.
I’m on the train, listening to music, enjoying the tunes when suddenly i remember I’m meant to be feeling terror. But there aren’t any ticket inspectors on the trains today so it’s difficult. It just seems like a regular day and no one else seems to really give a shit. We approach the dangerzone. Still no terror. Damn it. If only i could feel the fear that controls the laymen, then maybe then i could become more effective at selling them things they don’t need for maximum profit. Suddenly i feel something. I feel cold and start to shiver. Is this the terror they speak of? I put on my jumper and stop shivering. False alarm. I was just cold. Suddenly i spot a man with brown skin and i wonder ‘Am i a racist to look at him longer then i normally would?’ I don’t have an answer. I wonder if he is a terrorist and what i would do if he did suddenly stand up and detonate himself. The answer seems very clear. I would die. That’s what i would do. Suddenly i realise there are quite a few brown skinned people in my carriage. They are everywhere. What are we living in a multicultural city now? What the fuck. I wouldn’t say that i feel terror. It’s more like low-level-momentary-anxiety-quickly-dispelled-by-reason, but i feel that would not make for a very catchy job description for any would-be politically motivated miscreants. ‘Oh no! It’s an extremist low-level-momentary-anxiety-quickly-dispelled-by-reasonists.’ It just doesn’t work.
As i stare at the other brown skinned people in the carriage I suddenly realise how error prone racial profiling is. I mean once you get to certain shade of brown, who the fuck knows where you’re from? You could be any number of races. Mexican, Nepalese, Spanish, Middle Eastern, Fake tan. But whatever race these people in my carriage are, I pray to Allah one of them is a terrorist, just to at least justify my growing racism. There is one in particular who definitely could be a candidate. He’s got everything you need to be a convincing terrorist suspect: brown skin, beard, that’s about it really. But it’s enough. I wonder what is going through his sick jihad infected head as we speak. I wonder what kind of sick plans of terror he is concocting to strike fear into regular people like me next. He blows his whistle to signal to the train driver to close the doors and gets back into the guard compartment. It’s the perfect cover. I stare at him and wonder why he has to be so different from me, why he had to choose to be that way. It seems unreasonable and alien why anyone would choose to be born as a different person other than me. This thought hangs in my head and multiplies to the point where i want to cut this terrorist’s head off with a plastic souvenir sword.
We pass under the danger zone. Nothing happens.
I get off the train at Circular Quay to catch the ferry. For once it’s less crowded and easy to navigate. ‘Praise Allah!’ I exclaim loudly, glad that for once the foot traffic is free and easy. I see a few heads turn. All the train guards are definitely on heightened watch. I see them look me over in detail. To them, i could possibly be a suspect. But to me they could all be suspects. About four or five of these train guards have brown skin. That would be the perfect cover for some would-be terrorists. It’s always the least suspicious looking people who are the suspects right? I look around. No one really seems to give a shit. Everyone’s pretty lowkey and relaxed. Suddenly i realise that the only reason why they would be so relaxed would be if they were terrorists. I am surrounded on all sides by terrorists, there’s no doubt about it. I see a five year old kid. Definitely a terrorist. I see a guy walking a dog. Definitely a terrorist. I see the Schnauzer he is walking. It has a beard. Definitely a terrorist. It looks a bit like Osama Bin laden. Maybe he is alive and well and pretending to be a Schnauzer. I wouldn’t be shocked.
‘I KNOW YOU’RE NOT DEAD OSAMA!!!” i scream at it. It barks at me defensively.
Nice method acting Osama, but you don’t fool me.
The jihadist dogwalker pulls Osama Bin laden away from me.
I go into a convenience store to buy a drink. There’s some really great un-reality TV show on the convenience store TV. It looks like it’s being filmed right here in Sydney. Something about a survivor style gameshow in a chocolate shop. It looks very low-budget. I quickly get bored of it’s constant unwavering pitch of hysteria. Some pundit comes on the screen.
‘The goal of these people is to bring horror into everyday life.’ he says. I don’t need terrorists for that. That happens without any help from any outside source. All i need is this head i was born with and a state of constant horror will be generated in any given place at any given time with or without some deranged teetoller with a hardon for Mohammed waving a gun in people’s faces. I stare at the news anchor and i note the same glee in his face as i saw in my housemate. I am filled with horror. The news cuts to an adbreak and a commercial for Z factor comes on. An ad for a lifestyle TV show follows. The horror increases exponentially. I look at the front page of the Daily telegraph on the shelf. The horror is bottomless. I go on my facebook feed. Someone has posted video of their kid playing with a garden hose.
It all seems so clear. The terrorists had won. They had won long before the game had begun.
I get on the ferry and depart, watching the sun set over a city in chaos, consumed with fear and terror. Back on land, terrorists are taking over every square micro metre of physical space. The whole city is just a giant terror bomb chockas full of jihads about to explode. Pandemonium. The end is near. Then i realise just cause i’m on a ferry, doesnt mean I’m safe. There are people with brown skin on this boat too. It’s more to do with their tans then their race, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t a terrorist and that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a bomb on this boat. I contemplate on throwing myself overboard into the sea, but then realise that there is no escape in the sea either. There could be bombs in the ocean. There could be some Islamic extremist fish down there who want to blow me up and convert me to an Islamic fish in the underwater afterlife. I don’t want to live underwater up in the clouds. It would be confusing and there was probably no internet connection. Suddenly, I catch sight of my reflection in the ferry window. Am i terrorist? I wonder. I have a beard and my skin is kind of brown after spending a lot of time in the sun. It all becomes very clear. Yes, I am a terrorist. I have hijacked myself and been a terrorist all along without knowing it. It’s a classic example of misdirection. The terrorist was right in front of me, inside of me all along. How could i of betrayed myself like this? How could i of let Allah into my heart without noticing it? I resolve to place a fatwa on myself as penance.
Heroically, I do nothing. But nothing is not enough. I jut my chin forward in defiance and stay where i am on the prow of the boat. Where’s Leonardo Dicaprio to hold my waist when i need him? I courageously journey on towards the gig. I need that money. I need that money to buy secondhand self-help books, because if i don’t do that, then the terrorists will have won.
A city in chaos, consumed with fear and terror
Terrorists blowing up the sun