I did really well in the first round of the Flash Fiction Challenge. I got 9 points. 60 people or so in the group and I got the 7th place. I was more than happy. Didn’t do as well with this second attempt but I like this story more.
It was my first attempt at political satire. I appreciate the feedback from the judges. My wording may not be perfect and it could do with an edit but I am posting as is. Enjoy.
Genre: Political Satire
Setting: A bank
Object: An oxygen tank
Janet Handson and The First National Bank of Australia
Why is Janet, Federal Political candidate for the seat of Koori, down on the floor of the bank?
The First National Bank of Australia has stood in the same spot for 187 years. Original stone work, original marble, almost original gold gilding on delicate leaves strewn purposefully across its grand ceiling. The streets around it have changed. Horse and carts now SUVs and overhead passenger planes. Cobblestones now black tar and white line markings. Sidewalks now littered with signs advertising a clothing store around the corner, a DVD store down the stairs, McDonalds 37 metres on your left.
The First National Bank has stood there proudly and very discreetly amongst it all for 187 years. Until today.
‘Ms Handson?’ The voice was gentle, a lilting baritone emphasising the inflection at the end of the question. Janet dared a glance above the shiny black shoes in front of her eyes. ‘Ms Handson, can you sit up? We are here to help you.’ Tailored black trousers gave nothing away.
Janet covered her eyes again and turned her face back towards the floor. The cool of the marble gave her some comfort. She didn’t know why. She shook her head, squeaking,
‘I’m quite fine down here thanks.’
‘Ms Handson,’ another voice: female, full of compassion, ‘Ms Handson, you’ve been down there for three and a half hours. The Bank’s chocka full this arvo. Let us help you up.’
Janet Handson, current Independent Federal Candidate for the seat of Koori, running second in the polls according to the Financial Times, was having a panic attack: according to her, rightly so. She’d never thought she’d be a target for terrorism before winning the election; after the election sure, but now? It really was very disturbing.
Janet had walked into the bank this morning buzzing with excitement, as she had every fortnight since she was a young girl, to place a deposit, this time of $75, into her First National Christmas Savings Account. Yet for the first time today she’d consciously noticed the cameras in the corners of the ceiling; the bars that separated the customers from the staff; and the security men at every door: one in particular. Male, medium height, dark features with a thick, bushy moustache, lounging back on his plastic chair, chewing gum, talking in a foreign language on his mobile phone.
‘It’s important to be politically correct in today’s highly contentious environment. But really The Quran should be banned and those Muslims sent right back to where they came from. It’s okay to acknowledge the role the Camel Herders played in opening up our Great Country but once we had the Overland Telegraph, did they really have to leave their camels here? Wild camels are a major problem in Central Australia. Janet has three lovely Labradoodles, and they do love their pet meat, apparently it’s full of camel, but that’s all it’s really good for. I do know that apparently the conditions are very similar to their homeland. That’s no reason to stay though is it!’ So says Shareeyah Benton, Janet’s best friend and campaign manager. ‘We just need more people like Janet protecting our precious way of life.’ Shareeyah says every day, as often as she can.
‘I am working for Janet in a pro bono capacity,’ she says indignantly. ‘I don’t need payment. I truly believe in what I am doing. I think people have in the last four local elections clearly misunderstood what she is representing. I have personally helped her fine-tune her arguments for Federal Parliament. She’s going to win. There is no doubt about it. You are looking at the next female member for the House of Representatives in this nation’s capital, Member for Koori, Ms Janet Handson!’
The previous morning they’d been standing out the front of Parliament House: Janet, Shareeyah and the Aussie Outback Channel TV crew. Things were going fabulously until an unmarked van pulled into the loading zone. Shareeyah saw Janet stiffen. The cameraman quickly turned and noticed a man and a woman getting out of the van. Shareeyah noticed they were dressed in the same blue overalls and work-boots. Janet noticed they were wearing rubber gloves.
She held herself together enough to turn back around and see the two assailants carrying large blue bins into the bank. She then saw the van’s sign, ‘All Things Sanitary.’
Janet shook herself, straightened up and smiled back down the barrel of the camera.
‘As I was saying…’
‘Ms Handson,’ said the female medic, currently kneeling on the marble floor next to her, ‘everyone here reckons we’ve got buckleys of getting you off the floor. I reckon their wrong. We have a ripper of a chair for you. Let’s lift you up, eh. One. Two. Three. There you go. Right as rain.’
‘Oh, thank you, I was just ummm, having a bit of a … checking out the floor. It’s a lovely floor. I ummm…’ Janet’s mouth dropped open, her eyes sprang wide and she began to tremble.
The woman in front of her was wearing one of those hijab-thingies and the man had a very dark, thick moustache.
As Janet took in the appearance of the Ambulance Officers she found herself swooning again towards the floor.
Rukiya, the hijab-wearing medic, moved swiftly forward with an oxygen tank and mask,
Janet screamed and threw her bag towards Rukiya,
‘BOMB!!!!!’ Janet screamed,
Rukiya was hit in the face by Janet’s bag,
Rukiya’s head snapped backwards and the force of it threw her arms high,
The oxygen tank flew out of her hands,
Mohammed, the moustached medic, leapt towards the oxygen tank,
But he was too short and only managed to grasp the mask in his thick, hairy hand,
The oxygen tank kept moving through the air,
Janet kept screaming,
Everyone in the bank gasped,
The oxygen tank met Janet’s face,
Janet did fall to the floor,
Her head cracked onto the cool marble,
Janet did not become the next Federal Minister representing the seat of Koori.