fevered vision of heaven on an autumn afternoon
came down with a bad relapse of Possum Creek fever shortly after The
Great Easter Cider Binge -- a sordid incident of solo inebriation of
which I was not proud.
one sense it was a relief. I had attributed my moodiness and bad dreams
to a deep internalised anger over Dad's death, but, looking back, it
was probably just the start of the relapse.
retired to bed with a dripping nose, aching paws and a cramp in my tail.
I slept for hours on end and the nightmares came back. In one, the greyhounds
that got Dad finally got me. They were chasing me through Darling Harbour
when I stumbled and fell ... and then they were upon me.
must have died, because suddenly I was rising above my body and floating
upwards. I looked down and the dogs were tearing my body to pieces.
All the crooks and political thugs and shock jocks and pederasts and
conmen and bent cops I had ever run to ground were standing around,
drinking and laughing.
a while, the tableau of my death receded to a speck and I drifted over
the Harbour. The water was glistening in the mellow autumn sunlight
and the bush looked green and cool and inviting.
I floated through the clouds, and I was at the Pearly Gates. They looked
curiously like the entrance to Luna Park.
Carr must have walked in front of a bus because he was in the queue
in front of me. He was arguing the toss with St Peta. "Look",
she said, "I saw the Kaye Loder interview on TV the other night.
I looked into the poor silly bugger's eyes. You didn't have to be God
to see what she was thinking. She was thinking 'What would Bob want
me to say?' And then she blurted out that dumb answer about being sorry
to see the drug money go out of NSW. She gave Four Corners the party
line Bob ... and then you sacked her ... scapegoated her. Don't apply
again for a thousand years, Bob".
cloud opened up and Bob slipped through, gibbering about "New Labor"
and the "Third Way".
I stepped forward and St Peta embraced me. She was black and she was
dressed in rumpled black linen, and had very short hair and an ear-ring
in her left ear.
said I wanted to meet Darwin and Marx. "But I couldn't possibly
take you to them, they were materialists ... hey, just joking",
St Peta laughed, "I have to introduce you to The Big Mother first,
just a formality, you understand. Karl and Charlie usually drink at
the same joint".
set off. Heaven was remarkably like Sydney on a beautiful autumn day,
but without the traffic. You could just walk down the middle of the
road safely. People of every creed and colour were mingling at pavement
cafes and picnicking on the grass. There was amiable argument and laughter.
what's the secret?" I asked.
is where people have learned to rise above their religion", she
we were walking across a beautiful park alongside a high forbidding
stone wall. St Peta had fallen strangely silent and I could hear the
chanting of psalms and squeaky voices raised in querulous argumentation
from behind the wall.
going on there?", I asked.
whispered St Peta, "Don't spoil the illusion. That's the Sydney
Anglican Diocese, and they think they're the only ones here".