2. I'm going to make sure to start my Study Of Religion assignment today or tomorrow. Sure, it's not due until November 11, but it's best to get it started now. It's a big assignment, and I'm most likely going to do absolutely terribly because it involves a piece of art. The last thing I am is an artist. It's quite funny reading through my old school reports. When I was really little, like 5-7, it was all "Andre is a very talented artist", but by about 10 or 11, it was "Andre tries his best at art", which really meant "Andre sucks at art no matter how much he tries, but I want to say something nice". I don't understand how this happened. Did nobody foster this artistic talent I supposedly had? If so, that says a LOT about the New Zealand primary education system. Because obviously I DID have some talent - when I go and look at stuff I drew when I was 7 it is remarkably good for a 7 year old - but now ... I haven't progressed much at all. I have pictures from when I was 8 that are of nearly the same quality as anything I could draw now. I fear any assignment that involves art, because what I produce looks very 8-year-old-ish. Why can't we have writing assignments for our creative tasks? I'm GOOD at those, but no, it's all about the art. Always art.
3. I still can't believe the sudden inspection this morning. The place was clean enough - I cleared some stuff off my floor (and my room is now feeling a bit more spacious for it) and I tidied up some piles of stuff like magazines downstairs - but I had no idea where to put away most stuff (seeing it wasn't mine and if I had been told where it belongs I obviously wasn't paying a terrible lot of attention) so I just tried to make everything look neat and orderly. So these people rock up who actually seem quite nice, come in, looked around downstairs, didn't seem disappointed, and then they went upstairs, and weren't disappointed there either, but I know they had to see the gaping gash left in the stairwell from when we moved. Basically, what happened then was that Mum's bed wouldn't fit up the stairway because whoever built this place didn't take into account the fact some people have queen size beds, so we ended up forcing it up, and this left a nasty gash. Now it appears this is really coming back to haunt us - when we leave in November, there'll be more damage from taking the bed down, so we've left it unrepaired for now (why fix something only to damage it again?), and the former manager of where I live was SUPPOSED to cover the charge. He agreed to that deal. But now he's distancing himself from any responsibility whatsoever and is passing the buck onto us. He said he would pay it! It was part of the deal. We were to incur no charges in that move back in March. He was supposed to get a removalist - he and a friend did it instead and pocketed the money - and he was going to cover the charge for the stairwell but now he's going back on the deal. He can't do this. He simply can't. Now we can't really afford to pay for getting the stairwell fixed - especially not after the Internet fiasco - but that's completely irrelevant: even if we could pay it, we're not supposed to: he was. He damn well better pay it.
4. Yes, I like making entries in this form, with the numbering and such. For some reason, it works well for me.
5. I decided to compile a playlist of songs that I find truly beautiful (not necessarily my favourite songs, but ones I find beautiful). Currently it only includes U2 songs, but I WILL expand it to include other bands. And it reads (in bold are ones that I want to give special emphasis because they're just beyond amazing in my view): Drowning Man, A Sort Of Homecoming, MLK, The Three Sunrises, Mothers Of The Disappeared, One Tree Hill, Running To Stand Still, Heartland, I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For (Rattle And Hum CD), Stay (Faraway, So Close!), Kite, Walk On, Miss Sarajevo, Your Blue Room, October, Scarlet. Hmmm ... Boy, Under A Blood Red Sky, Achtung Baby, and Pop got completely rejected. I was going to add Love Is Blindness from Achtung Baby and If God Will Send His Angels and Please from Pop ... but I decided against it. They are marvellous songs (indeed, better than some of what made it), but when categorising beautiful songs, they missed the cut.
6. I would dearly love a laptop. Then I could do some work on my story on the long trip to Melbourne and on the way back. But alas, I do not have a laptop and I can't exactly cart around my computer, so I'll have to take a pen and pad and write by hand for a change. Can't be all bad. And I may come up with some new ideas. I've finally gotten out of my writing rut (for the last few months I've done barely any writing) and now I just want to write, so this is good. Just I never was good with coming up with initial ideas. Once I have something I'll run with it, but getting that something is a different matter.
7. Speaking of writing, tell me what you think of this. Challenge: the country is named Xonovod, and the challenge is to guess how I created this name (and Lauren, seeing I've already told you, sorry, but you can't guess unless you've honestly completely forgotten).
The capital, Concorde, was an impressive city. Located on the east coast at the mouth of the scenic Concorde River, it was home to millions of people. The Concorde River flowed through the Central Business District, an area of glittering silver skyscrapers, and the most expensive suburbs, areas of fantastic mansions and lavish parklands. The crowning jewel of Xovonod, it was one of the most important cities in the world.
One man was not as impressed with the city, however. Most of the country hated him, but he never cared for public opinion and wasn’t about to. What bothered him was the fact that the people who did bother him were after him for crimes too numerous to list – crimes the man was quite proud of – and they were going to get him, sooner or later. It was impossible for him to leave the nation, and to dare show his face undisguised in public would get him arrested within the hour, or at least have police swarming around the location in over a hundred-kilometre radius.
So on this day, a pleasantly sunny January day only a day into the year, he wore a large pair of sunglasses, a black cowboy hat, and a very real-looking moustache that he’d had made especially for him by someone who was easily bribed. He was also going under the alias of Bruce Kirkpatrick, a name remarkably unlike his own. He didn’t expect any suspicion. Rarely did this man, best known to many simply as the General, make mistakes. However, today, he did.
Within two minutes of taking a seat at his favourite restaurant in inner Concorde, a news bulletin cut into regular programming on the TV behind him. Usually, the General would’ve ignored such announcements – one country attacking another, interest rate rises, celebrity deaths and the like didn’t concern him – but this one caused him to turn in shock.
“In news just to hand,” read the male announcer. “one of the country’s most wanted men has been spotted inside a Concorde restaurant. Recognised by a scar on his upper right arm–” The General suddenly looked at his arm in alarm. He’d forgotten to wear clothes to cover the scar. “–and wanted for crimes such as bribery, extortion, fraud, torture, assault–” The TV was suddenly knocked off the wall by a chair thrown straight at it, and it smashed to the crowd. Glass tinkled over the tiled floor as two snapped off chair legs rolled to the counter, in a completely different direction to the one the General was taking. He ran straight out of the restaurant, losing the annoying sunglasses and cowboy hat in the process –
– and came face-to-face with a heavily armed policeman.
“Mister –” The policeman never got a chance to yell any more words, as a well-placed kick came up straight under his chin, broke his jaw, and propelled him backwards, straight into a parking meter. As his body snapped over it with a sickening crack, his submachine gun fell to the pavement, along with two loose grenades. The General instantly picked them up, and, spotting more policeman running at him from his left, opened fire. Soon, the pavement was soaked with blood, the smell of gunpowder was in the air, and sirens wailed above the panicked shrieks of terrified citizens. One man, attempting to be a hero, charged straight at the General, clutching a fork in one hand and a knife in the other.
“You stupid fool.” said the General, as he felled the man with two simple shots. “I’ve got worse things to worry about than idiots like you.”
He then charged off down the street, waving his gun madly, firing shots at anyone who didn’t get out of his way. As police bullets began to fill the air, he quickly ducked down a narrow alleyway, and was soon weaving his way through a maze of alleys between skyscrapers, shopping centres, theatres, and other inner-city buildings. After running for a good ten minutes, he found himself in an alleyway beside the passenger terminal of Concorde Central Railway Station and began to slow, only to hear footsteps coming down an alley that opened onto the one he was on. Quickly glancing around, he spotted a staircase leading to a service door into the station, and he shot up it, taking the stairs three at a time. But he was too late. Just before he reached the door, two policemen came sprinting onto his alleyway and raised their submachine guns to fire. The General instantly fired at them, somehow missing, and they ducked back into the alley they’d come from.
Knowing that if he turned away from watching the alley intersection to knock the service door down the two policemen – and any more that were behind them – would come back around the corner and shoot him, the General did the only thing he could do apart from suicide. He threw one of the grenades he’d picked up. A brilliant cricket and baseball fielder in his youth, he easily managed to lob the grenade around the corner of the intersection. He heard a few profanities and a single “Oh no, not one of those!”, and then the grenade went off just as one panicked policeman raced out into the General’s alley.
All the General could do was stare in shock and mutter “What in the world did I throw?” as a strange transparent blue haze filled the alley, stretching about ten metres into the air and stopping just before his face. After hanging there for a few seconds, it suddenly fell in on itself with a strange ripping sound, and then there was a sudden calm. Lying on the pavement of the alley was a policeman’s uniform and his weaponry, but no body. It had simply been vaporised.
With trepidation, the General slowly made his way down the metal staircase and walked along the alley to the intersection where the officer’s uniform lay. Sneaking a look around the corner, he saw at least ten more police uniforms – fifteen by his reckoning – lying on the pavement. Sirens wailed in the air, and knowing he didn’t have much time, the General hurriedly donned one uniform that looked roughly his size, picked up the weapons he could – including more of those incredible grenades – and then raced back for the staircase. Just after he shot out the lock of the service door, pushed it open, and ran through, he heard the first officers appear in the alleyway.
“There!” yelled one policewoman, noticing the service door swinging shut, and, with more officers in tow, she shot up the staircase. But, upon flinging the door open, she came to a stop. Multiple hallways led away, all of them lined with doors – some to closets, some to staff rooms, some to shops, some to offices – and there was no clue where the General had gone. The officers piled into the hallway intersection found at the service door, and quickly decided to split into pairs and search everywhere they could. But it was too late. By the time they realised the General had posed as a policeman and made his way into the station by lying to a hamburger shop assistant, he was on a train racing out of the city. It was the closest he’d come to being captured for many years, and he knew the police would only get closer.
He didn’t want to go down on their terms. He didn’t want to be caught and thrown into a cell only to be forgotten about by the public for a few years until his execution and then be forgotten about for good. He didn’t want to be caught quietly in his house late at night or secretly in an alleyway. He wanted to go out on his own terms, in a memorable fashion. He knew he had to end everything, because otherwise he would be caught and taken to a forgotten end. And the way he had to end everything, it had to be spectacular, and, even more importantly, it had to be memorable. The General was not a man who wanted to be forgotten.