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Friday, December 28, 2007

∆ george + the decrepitude of the whale

~ please be warned, the following tale may contain disturbing concepts ~

One of the most significant girlfriends of my past – I’ll call her Blackie – lived in a ground floor flat in St Kilda. It was approximately 1983. I think I had almost moved in, but not quite….

Blackie was a notorious door-bitch, guarding the entrances of places like the Razor and Hardware clubs like a sour, permed Cerberus. She had a deep, commanding voice and a scathing wit that could send grown men sulking away, their bellies to the ground. Understandably, at this time, I found myself doing a lot of clubbing.

One evening, there was some kind of party, celebration, I have no recollection what exactly, but I do remember a small, sallow boy with a strange manner who seemed to be deliberately lurking, particularly in the vicinity of Blackie.

It was a particularly drunken night. A whole mob of us retired to Blackie’s flat, including this boyish creep. He wasn’t much more than a kid and he had a way of staying unnoticed, of not being taken into consideration. His interest in Blackie was plainer now, but I just didn’t take him seriously enough to tell him to sod off. He was too innocuous. I think Blackie thought the same and, since she was as utterly inebriated as I, was not really bothered by his feeble advances.

One by one, our guests departed, until at last it was just the two of us and this boy. We pointed him out the couch and went to bed.

What follows is only comprehensible with the understanding of how uselessly drunk we were …

Some time later, from the profound depths of unconsciousness, I sensed some kind of movement in the bed, and also sounds. There was something disturbing about it, but I did not have the wherewithal to wake myself up. Then suddenly, nightmarishly, things started clashing in my head. The sounds I was hearing … they were the sounds Blackie made during sex.

Then what was this motion beside me? The implications began to dawn on me. Blackie, the bitch, had taken some other guy into her bed without even bothering to throw me out first. But then Blackie screamed and everything became dreadfully clear.

Mindless with rage, I chased him out, cornered the pale snivelling gollum near the garage in the weak early morning light. Blackie was curled up naked in the bathroom, weeping. I had acquired a weapon of some sort. I remember exactly what I said.

- I’ll cut your fucking throat, if I ever fucking see you again.

To this day, I wish I hadn’t let the rapist get his pants.


*

This incident still makes me blood rise when I think of it. It had a pretty savage impact on my pride; I couldn’t help feeling I should have been able to stop it. God knows what kind of emotional impact it had on Blackie… We never really talked about it; we couldn’t bear to. I took solace in the fact that she was nothing if not resilient.

But I seethed. As early as an hour later, I began to regret letting him free. I wanted to get this guy. I found out his name, where he lived, that he had done similar things in the past, but I never found occasion to visit revenge upon him – in part because I’m not at all into physical violence, in part because I have difficulty with the very idea of revenge.

But then, while speaking with my friend George, the perfect form of recompense was conceived.


*

Richard Lowenstein was directing a film called Strikebound in the Wonthaggi area of Eastern Victoria. I was playing the part of a police constable and had occasion to travel down there a few times and stay at the famous Pines motel near Inverloch. George came too; I think he had some extra work, or was interested in getting some, or something …

While we were down there - probably lounging in the vicinity of the reopened pit Richard was using as a primary location, waiting for something to do - we learned that further down the coast at Point Hicks approximately eighty false killer whales had beached and died.

We began to examine the possibilities. These false killer whales were said to be smallish, not too much bigger than a porpoise. If we were to acquire one, bring it back to Melbourne, dump it in the front garden of the rapist’s family home [recall that he was very young] and threaten to call the police if he removed it… then would that not be a satisfying turn of events?

We decided that the concept deserved realisation, but neither of us thought it through. The sheer absurdity of the idea buoyed us along, but we never really stopped to consider the possible complications. We could have done with the internet at that stage. Those whales were huge, man.

Our only preparation was to scour the kitchen of The Pines for useful tools. We came away with a ridiculous assortment of knives and forks. We had something like twenty-four hours before our next calls. We got in George’s car and drove, not bothering to consult a map.

The drive took nine hours, about seven hours longer than we assumed.

We arrived exhausted at what I know now is the Cann River National Park. It was here the whales were said to have beached. Obeying some instinct for caution, we decided to conceal our implements. We each tucked up to five bread knives, carving knives and screwdrivers into our belts, and covered them with our shirts. The idea was that if we couldn’t get the whale whole, we would at least bring back a large enough part of it to cause our victim extreme inconvenience.

The path to the beach led past a ranger’s shack. There was little we could do but follow it and, inevitably, a small officious guy in a uniform and slouch hat emerged and challenged us. When we asked for the beached whales, he became suspicious and protective.

Incredibly, he asked us what we had under our shirts and we had no choice but to show him. It was embarrassing really; we should have had something more impressive than cutlery under there, but he took us seriously enough and sent us packing with a warning that it was a crime to remove any part of a protected species.

- They’re dead, aren’t they, I said.

- Living or dead, said he.

There was no point arguing. We returned to the car, stowed our tools, and showed our stomachs to the ranger when we passed him again.

We walked for fifteen minutes along the beach before we encountered our first solitary whale. It was too far. Our plans were dashed. No road access. Legal resistance. And far too small a vehicle. Though it was a false killer whale, it was the size of a real killer whale and …. I don’t know … maybe one and a half, maybe two tons of dead weight? What had we been thinking?

It’s skin was peeling away to reveal the blubber beneath and there was a noticeable scent of decay. It’s tongue was blue and so swollen it was forcing open its great toothed jaws. The whale was a sad and horrible sight.

George, as always, had his camera and disconsolately we began to take photos. I put my foot up on the whale’s back in a kind of safari-hunter’s pose. George positioned himself low, near the mouth.

- Shit. Did you feel that?

- What? asked George.

- Something rumbled, I said. There it is again.

- What?

- The whale’s not dead. It’s moving.

Startled, we took a good long second look at the carcass. It certainly looked dead. After an uncertain moment we resumed our former positions.

Then a huge gout of disgusting red vomitus flew from the whale’s mouth. Only barely did George manage to topple out of he way, avoiding the nauseating stream by inches. It had come out under pressure, a lot of pressure, there were dark clots metres up the beach.

So… is it alive or dead? I asked

The stench was almost paralysing, but we endured it long enough to finish taking photos.

On the way back to the car, we encountered the ranger again, told him what had happened. He nodded sagely.

- You know, people can be killed by exploding whales. If one of them really goes up, it can propel missiles of flesh twenty, thirty metres … at lethal speeds

We stared at him blankly.

- The gases build up as the whale decays, he explained. The blubber forms a strong seal that only ruptures when the pressure is enormous.

What if our plan had worked…? The consequences would have been even more spectacular than we imagined …

It was a hard nine hour drive back to Inverloch. And poor George was the only one with a license


*

As a footnote, some weeks later, my ever thoughtful friend turned up with a huge dead cream-coloured Labrador in his boot – thinking it might serve a similar purpose as the whale.

It didn’t work for me; in fact just looking at the dog made me feel like crying. George kept it in his boot for a couple of weeks in case it ‘came in useful’, but ultimately I had to help him bury it on Beaumaris beach.

It was so heavy, I remember, and we carried it in a sheet. In the furtive dark, we felt like we were burying a human body …

*

A further footnote. It was during this stay at The Pines that George locked on to Tobsha, [the erotic fiction writer]. She must have been doing some acting on the film, and a weirder partnership has never been consummated. My guess is that Tobsha – as was her way - was lured by George’s fantastic Lithuanian body, his heavy uncircumcised penis and, perhaps, his incontrovertible weirdness. The relationship lasted nearly a year and it is said that George even pops up in one of Tobsha’s popular novels.

George + The Decrepitudes - index

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5 comments:

Bwca said...

Brilliantly portrayed though it was, I wish I hadn't read that; although I do like revenge and have had spectacular successes.

Consult me next time - full of ideas that don't involve long drives.
Richard Lowenstein directed your Ears video didn't he? I love it that he has politically-aware parents.

Helen said...

Great story. You think it really necessary to have a whole category for false killer whales, though?

Sam Sejavka said...

Tags have me baffled, I'm afraid. You're perfectly right, it's an absurd category. So tags are just for organising your posts, not for searchbots etc ...?

daisk5 said...

Japanese whale fishing is completely lawful.
And is completely scientific.
In addition, it is a Japanese gastronomic culture to eat whales.
You should refrain from the act of denying the culture of another country.
watch this video.

To the person who wants to know why Japan hunts whales
http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=xWYOJYEOvSk

[DragonBall] Freezer VS Japanese whaling
http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=HdUPHXNPVR4

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=Ap_0uUICejnG3TGasvh8ePvsy6IX;_ylv=3?qid=20080204060044AAgG9Cy


Why do the media of australia tell a lie and censorship?
if doubt me? Post my comment this URL.
http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,23155612-5007146,00.html

Sam Sejavka said...

I'm sorry, but I can't agree agree with you - foremost because I feel that such beautiful and majestic mammals should never be killed, regardless of the reason. They are considered one of the most sophisticated creatures on earth and deserve to live their lives without violent interference by man.

If there is a scientific reason for Japan's whaling, it is very obscure. I have seen footage of carcasses being processed on the deck of the Nissan Maru, and the cubes of meet traveling below decks on a conveyor belt were clearly meant for consumption. Whale research can be done without cruel slaughter. There are modern means of tagging, identifying, sampling DNA which cause very little inconvenience to the whale itself.

A recent review of scientific papers released by the Japanese showed that only a handful of results the capture and death of the whales, and even these were of doubtful scientific validity

The 'scientific' facade is a means of allowing Japan to take whales without breaking the interdiction of the IWC, a body which it is attempting to subvert by buying the votes of small nations [some of them landlocked]. The money involved here, I would suggest, is almost definitely far greater than anything Greenpeace would familar with

This year, the Japanese intended to kill eighty humpbacks, a species that is endangered and much loved by the Australian people, who gather to watch it pass their shores on its annual trip south. This kill was only prevented by diplomatic pressure.

Additionally, recent court decisions in Australia, though not recognised by Japan, do make Japanese actions - in at least certain areas of the Antarctic - illegal.

One more point, the fellow in the video uses the phrase 'for some time' when describing how long the Japanese have been consuming whale meat. An activity that began on a larger scale only after World War Two - when western nations encouraged the practice to address a shortfall in edible fats - can hardly be described as a cultural tradition.