O Captain! my Captain! Our fearful trip is done, so at long last we can watch …
THE BOGUE & BOGUETTE SHOW!!!
(THE SCENE: It’s the second night of the sit-in on the M5 motorway construction site in Campbelltown. Various strikers are dotted around the site. Some workers are manning the picket line facing a line of State Protection Group officers who are just itching to receive the order to smash the strike and cleave some livers in twain; some workers are curled up in the drivers’ seats of the heavy plant trying to get some sleep; others are huddled around a campfire in a used forty-four gallon drum such as BOGUE, his mates MATTY and JOEL, the new apprentice TYLER and the Grand Old Man of the highway construction industry, CLIFF.)
BOGUE: (rubs hands together over the fire and shivers) Brrrrrr, I’m freezin’ me arse off here.
CLIFF: Oh, stop yer whingin’, you big girl’s blouse. You’ll be shiverin’ if you lose yer house and home and have to sleep at a bus stop somewhere.
SITE MANAGER: (calls out weakly from the bulldozer bucket, still raised twelve feet off the ground) Please … please … I’m so … so cold. Somebody … let me down so I can stand near the fire … please …
MATTY: Awww, shut up, boss! We’ve given you a fire blanket, we fetched the jumper which you had in your car, what more do you want?
SITE MANAGER: Please … please please pretty please, it stinks so much up here … I shat in the Macca’s paper bag which you gave me, but I’ve run out of empty Mount Franklin bottles to piss in … please, take this crap down and throw it away and give me some more bottles and another bag. Please?
JOEL: Nuh-uh. You’ve made your bed, now lie in it, pal!
SITE MANAGER: Please … please …
CLIFF: Hey, nuffint’s stoppin’ ya goin’ home, you can leave any time you want. Just don’t expect us to help ya along the way!
SITE MANAGER: Yeah, like I’m going to jump all that way. I’ll break my neck.
BOGUE: Oh, boohoo! Too bad, so sad!
TYLER: (to BOGUE) Hey man, aren’t you that guy who went to Singapore and got caned for vandalism and some other stuff?
BOGUE: Yup, that’s me.
TYLER: Oh, wow! Awesome! Tell me, what was it like gettin’ caned?
BOGUE: Oh, it was painful. Bloody painful, let me tell ya! Blood and bits of flesh flyin’ everywhere, man. Not that I cried or nuffint. I took it like a man, believe me! After the first stroke, I just shouted back, “C’mon, hit me harder, you mangy nip scumbags! Give it yer best shot!”
MATTY: Yeah sure, mate, sure! You cried like a big baby!
BOGUE: No, I didn’t. Honest!
JOEL: (with a falsetto voice) “Waaaah! Waaaah waaaaah! Oh, you beastly horrible prison guards, please don’t hit me too hard! I beg of you!”
BOGUE: No, I didn’t act like that! I didn’t cry at all. Honest! Well, maybe a little bit. But not like what you’re sayin’.
MATTY: Yeah, there was us Aussies, defending Singapore against Hitler back in World War I, and look what kinda fanks we get. Bloody ungrateful dog-eating slanty-eyes, I’m tellin’ ya!
JOEL: Too bloody right, mate! No gratitude at all.
BOGUE: (looks at the time on his phone) Oh, it’s time for the news, you still got yer trannie wiv ya, Cliff?
CLIFF: Yeah, sure. Not sure how much batteries I have left after listenin’ to the races all day though. (retrieves ancient transistor radio from his pocket and turns it on, which is currently receiving the hourly news bulletin on 2KB)
NEWSREADER: And the roadworkers’ sit-in on the M5 in Campbelltown is entering its second night, with no sign of resolution in sight. Striking workers are still occupying the construction site, with one of Australia’s busiest roads still blocked by a line of heavy earthmoving equipment parked across the carriageways tied to an overpass with chains. Workers on the picket line told 2KB’s news team that they will not move until entitlements owing are paid into their bank accounts. The transport and construction unions have announced they will defy a Fair Work Australia order against secondary industrial action, and will call a stop-work meeting across the state on Monday morning, with workers expected to approve the ACTU’s call for a wave of sympathy strikes and boycotts. Meanwhile, the state transport minister has asked all motorists to reconsider their need to travel south-west of Sydney, and Roads & Maritime Services report twenty kilometre-long lines of bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Camden Valley Way and Campbelltown Road. CountryLink trains to Canberra and Melbourne have been booked out, while Qantas has recorded a massive surge in passengers on their Sydney to Melbourne flights. Interstate truck drivers are being urged to use alternative routes via the Princes Highway and the Olympic Highway. Now here’s the sport with …
BOGUE: Woohoo, help is on its way!
MATTY: Awesome! All the other unions are gonna stand shoulder-to-shoulder with us! It’s a revolution, baby!
TYLER: Woohoo! Man, all the chicks are gonna love me when I tell ‘em that I took part in the revolution!
JOEL: Fuck yeah! This is the revolution, me brothers! (calls up to the bulldozer bucket) Oi! Did you hear that, you arsehole? All the other workers are gonna join us. This is the revolution!
SITE MANAGER: Yeah right. Yeah bloody right. Revolution? Hahaha. You’ll never beat us, suckers!
CLIFF: You haven’t learnt nuffint in the past two days, it sounds like. When the workers stick together, we’ll never be beaten!
SITE MANAGER: Hahaha. We’ve got the money. We’ve got the guns. See those cops in riot gear standin’ just outside the gates? They’re not on your side, believe me. They never will be. We’ve got the politicians in our pocket, and there’s nothing you can do about it!
CLIFF: Hey, you’re the one stuck in a bulldozer bucket way up in the air shittin’ in hamburger bags. The shoe’s on our foot from now on! Anyway, it’s time for me favourite show, the Stan Jones Show on 2KB, the best talkback host of all time! Let’s listen …
STAN JONES: Hmm, so did you just hear the news. The strikers, a pack of mongrels if I ever saw one, the whole lot of them, on the M5 motorway in Campbelltown. Their sit-in is now entering its second night. Can you believe it? I mean. Can. You. Believe. It. Scumbags. Absolute scum of the earth. Stopping ordinary, decent, average, hard-working Aussies getting home to their kiddies. Clogging up the lifeblood of the nation. Truckies, decent hard-working truckies living on Battler Street, having to go hundreds of miles out of their way chewing up diesel and their precious time, just to bring you your groceries and your petrol and your morning paper. These strikers are the lowest of the low, a bunch of thugs and bullies. Well, they reckon that they’re campaigning for their entitlements. Do you know what I reckon they’re entitled to? They’re entitled to a few years as a guest of Her Majesty in Long Bay. That’s their entitlement right there, I reckon. And we have Mavis from Padstow on the line. Good evening, Mavis!
MAVIS: (in croaking, ancient voice) H-h-h-hello?
STAN JONES: Hello Mavis, you’re on the air!
(ten seconds of silence)
STAN JONES: Hello Mavis, we’re right to go.
MAVIS: S-s-s-sorry, one of my … one of my hair curlers just fell out. Y-y-yes, I agree, I feel so so sorry for these poor people trying to get home. Back in my day, the mounted police would have crushed these strikers to death under the horses’ hooves. But now, the police just let them all get away with it. It … i-i-i-it stinks!
STAN JONES: Absolutely. Ab. So. Lute. Ly. And it’s five past seven, good evening Beryl from Pendle Hill–
CLIFF: (switches off his transistor radio in disgust) I don’t believe it. I don’t believe it. (gulps) I’ve listened to Stan Jones for thirty-odd year now. I’ve always been his number one fan. And … and … (solitary tear trails down his left cheek, catching a reflection off the flames in the forty-four gallon drum) … I don’t farkin’ believe it. I never thought he’d turn against blokes like me. Fark it. (vehemently hurls his transistor radio onto the bitumen where it shatters in a thousand pieces) Fark it!
BOGUE: (puts arm around CLIFF’s shoulder) Mate. He never was on our side. Ever. The whole media, don’t matter if it’s the Tele which you always read, or Stan Jones on the radio, or Today’s Affair Tonight on Channel 8 … the whole game’s stacked against blokes like us. Always has been. They pretend to be our friends, but in reality they’re just pieces of shit.
CLIFF: (weeps gently) Yeah, you know what? You’re right. You’re bloody right. I just couldn’t see it before, that’s all.
(BOGUETTE arrives, standing at the railing on the side of the overpass above the sit-in. She’s flanked by two police officers and is carrying a police loudspeaker)
BOGUETTE: Sweetie, just please come home.
BOGUE: (startled, turns around and shouts up at the overpass) Bloody hell, honeybunch, what are you doing here?
BOGUETTE: I’ve come to tell you, that if you leave now, the cops aren’t gonna arrest ya.
BOGUE: Yeah, and if you believe that, you’re dumber than I thought, you retarded bitch!
BOGUETTE: (after one police officer whispers into her ear) Oh, and the company has promised that all those who leave voluntary and stuff will get their entitlements in full. We could use some of that unused annual leave you got saved up!
BOGUE: What? You really believe that? Nup, we’re all stickin’ together down here. We get our entitlements first, THEN we leave!
BOGUETTE: But how am I supposed to afford to go down to ProfessioNoyle and Buzzilian Butterfloy if we don’t get your unused leave?
BOGUE: Fer fark’s sake, go and get your own job and pay for your manicures and shit yerself, you bludging bitch! I’m sick of you bludgin’ off me day in, day out ever since you lost that job at the mobile phone shop. Pay for these things yerself!
BOGUETTE: But honey, it must be so cold out there! There’s a nice warm bed waitin’ for ya at home … I’ve got the electric blanket turned up to three notches.
BOGUE: Christ, you don’t get it, do ya, woman? This is the revolution, bitch!
BOGUETTE: But I don’t want a revolution, I just wanna get me nails done!
BOGUE: Fer Christ’s sake, just go home and look after me kiddies until we’ve won. I just wanna stay here and fight with me mates.
BOGUETTE: But … but … there’s a nice juicy T-bone steak just itchin’ to be cooked in the fridge. It’s sooooo thick too! It’s gotta be at least two inches thick, maybe three! Oh yes … so meaty … so juicy …
BOGUE: Nup, there’s nuffint you can do to convince me to leave me mates. I don’t care if the T-bone’s a foot thick!
BOGUETTE: And I’ll let you have a go at me rear end every night too.
BOGUE: Hahaha. You promised that last time, it never happened. Nup. That shit don’t work with me now, bitch. Now bugger off, I’m enjoyin’ some quality time with me mates.
BOGUETTE: But … sweetie … the Penriff Panfers are playing the Melbourne Storm tonight …
BOGUE: (ears prick up) … Really?
BOGUETTE: Yes, and kick-off’s in half an hour! If we hurry home, you’ll still catch most of the first half …
BOGUE: Shit, I forgot about that …
BOGUETTE: And it’s on Fox Sports HD, so you’ll be able to watch it in high defintion on the home theatre system in the entertainment room!
BOGUE: Wow, awesome! (heads towards the site gate)
CLIFF: Mate, don’t do it! Don’t do it!
BOGUETTE: (reciting what one of the police officers whispered in her ear) And you know that it’s a do-or-die game … the Panfers are near the bottom of the ladder, if they pull off an upset against the Storm, Penriff might keep their finals hopes alive!
BOGUE: Man, Cliff, I can’t miss this … it’s make or break for the Panfers!
JOEL: You heard Cliff, don’t do it! Remember, one in, all in!
TYLER: Yeah, what did we chant before? “The workers! United! Will never be defeated!”
BOGUE: But … it’s the Panfers we’re talkin’ about here!
BOGUETTE: (policeman whispers in her ear again) Yes, you know just how much you love the Panfers … and you know that you’ll never forgive yerself if the boys in black or pink or purple or whatever bloody colour they’re playing in this week pull off an upset against the unbeaten Storm …
MATTY: Mate, it’s the Panfers. They couldn’t pull off an upset win against the West Dubbo under-12s at the moment. You know it’s not gonna happen, so you may as well just stay here wiv yer mates.
BOGUE: Yeah, but … but it might happen! (takes a few more steps to the site gate)
CLIFF: Mate. If you walk through that gate – first, the cops will bash ya, to make an example of you to everyone else. And you won’t get your unused annual and long service leave either. It’s just a bribe, an empty bribe! If you walk through that gate, that means you’re a farkin’ retarded softcock!
BOGUE: I’m not a retarded softcock. But it’s me Panfers! (walks through the gate, despite the jeers and boos and hisses of his co-workers, into the loving arms of the New South Wales Police)