I’ve had so much work lately that we haven’t even gotten to start our next ‘Grottos and Goblins’ roleplaying game at work yet. I keep telling my staff to slow down, stop giving me so much stuff to read and sign, but they’re relentless! I’m starting to think that maybe they don’t actually want to play G&G. Ever since the end of our first campaign, everyone has been all, “Hard at work, Mr Premier?” and “Got lots to do today, Mr Premier?”
Just today I had to review the Sale of Land Act 1962, which took me several hours. I don’t enjoy reading all that legal stuff. It can be pretty boring and dry, but I suppose it’s important to know about these sorts of things. I am the Premier of Victoria, after all. Did anybody else realise that there are so many legalities involved in selling a house? Thankfully, I also learned that there are plenty of good conveyancers in South East Melbourne, and all across the state. The lawyers there can take care of it all for you. That’s a big relief, because I’ve been thinking about selling my house for a while now, and as I read the Sale of Land Act, I was starting to stress out. I’m put at ease knowing I can leave the hard stuff to the professionals.
I’m getting sick of all this work, though, so I’ve started sneaking G&G preparation time into my schedule. My assistant keeps asking what I mean by “Secret Personal Project” in my planner, but I’ve managed to stop him being suspicious about it. I told him it was just code for that important city infrastructure project. If I put that off, I’m sure it will be alright. It’s not like the city relies on me doing that work. What’s going to happen, Melbourne’s going to grind to a halt? As if.
– Premier Norris
Many people don’t know this, but Victoria technically has a monarchy. Not the British one, but an actual monarchy of its own. If the people of Victoria wanted it, they could become their own country with King Josiah at its head. He currently doesn’t have any constitutional power, but if five hundred thousand people agree to follow him, the state becomes an official monarchy. For now, though, he lives in a palace in the outer suburbs of Melbourne. I’m one of his many servants, and I’ve got a big problem. I don’t know where King Josiah actually is right now.
I assume he’s in the palace, but it’s impossible to tell. It used to be easy to find him in this lavish labyrinth, but recently he ordered commercial tinting near Melbourne, and it’s just been finished. You used to be able to look through the palace’s many windows to find the king, but now that they’re dark, the task has become a nightmare. I’ve tried calling his mobile phone, but he isn’t answering. I’ve been to every room in the palace and haven’t found him, but the security cameras don’t show him leaving, so he must still be here. He must be moving rooms, and I’ve just been unlucky not to find him. There’s a really urgent matter I have to discuss with him! Why did he have to get what is essentially tinting for an office? We’re in a palace!
It really is important that I see him soon. Some policemen came around this morning and were asking about irregularities in the pension fund, which is strange since I didn’t even realise we had a pension fund. The officers refused to leave, so I really must find King Josiah so that he can sort this out. He’s been missing for several hours now. At what point do I just go outside and tell the police to file a missing persons report? That might get them to go away.
It can get so hot out in the Australian bush, especially when you’re a fox. That’s why I like to make friends that can keep me cool. My latest friend is an old air conditioner that sticks out of a building. We chat a bit about the things that go on in his house, and as thanks for keeping him company, he gives me some of his cool air.
Just the other day, I came over while he was getting air conditioning repairs. Sydney weather can be brutal, but the breeze was so refreshing afterwards. It was definitely worth the three-hour journey, even if I did get burnt by the hot road along the way.
The other foxes tell me that I should just find a bush somewhere and sit in the shade. “It’s unnatural, using the technology of humans,” my dad says. “Son, there’s plenty of space in my burrow. You can come to my place if it’s too hot.” But the truth is, I really like hanging out with my air conditioning buddy. It’s like winter but the sun is out.
If only they would listen. My aircon friend was saying the other day that he wants to give the best cooling possible. He’s considering getting an air conditioning service from Sydney even though he just had repairs. He is very considerate. Who wouldn’t want a friend like that?
The rest of my kind, apparently. They’re just so stubborn. They have no idea that the way I’m living is so much better. I feel like that rat from Rat of Two-E that just wanted to cook. The other rats thought that there was nothing wrong with garbage, but he proved them all wrong, didn’t he? I’m going to be like that with foxes and air conditioning. They’ll come around. I just might have to make air conditioners portable and bring the cold air to them. They’ll love it.
Man, our last album was a total flop. It only hit platinum once, which is super disappointing. This is the lowest we’ve ever been as a band. After Buying and Selling, I thought we were on track to become the greatest band of all time. But only one million people bought There Are Lots of Blocked Drains in Melbourne. I suppose a plumbing concept album wasn’t such a great idea in hindsight.
This time, I turned back to my recent experiences for inspiration. The problem with Blocked Drains was that I made the whole thing up. I have no experience working as a plumber, whereas I had plenty of experience buying a new house. So when the band sat down to brainstorm this time around, the first thing I wrote on the board was “car repairs”, because my car was at the Mornington automotive repair shop. The rest of the band thought it was such a good idea that we ended our brainstorming session there. Well, Terry didn’t think it was as brilliant as the rest of us, so we kicked him out of the group. Let’s be honest, he was the real reason Blocked Drains sucked. So we’re on the lookout for a new drummer before we start recording Fixing Cars.
The protagonist of this concept album will be seeking the best auto repairs in Mornington, but his story will be told in reverse. So it will begin with a track titled The Drive Home, about how the repairs went smoothly. Walking Through Mornington and I’m Going to See a Movie While I Wait for the Mechanic are going to be solid tracks, and I can already predict they’ll be the popular singles.
Another reason Blocked Drains failed so badly was because of the length. It ended up being a few tracks shorter than Buying and Selling, which people didn’t like. Hence, we’re returning to our long concept album structure. Look out, because Fixing Cars is going to be bigger than anything before it, with fifty tracks. This time, I’m predicting it to go diamond.
I am so sick of jazz. That’s all he ever plays, even though I’ve asked him to stop. But he always goes on about how he’s a “world famous, multi-millionaire jazz performer and has to practice”. The audacity! He might be famous, but I’m dead! Doesn’t he know that you’re supposed to let the dead rest in peace? It’s not my fault that I broke into a mansion and died from a heart attack at the sight of so much wealth. How was I supposed to know that would happen?
Of course, that was many years before Mr Davis came along. I didn’t mind him at first, and to be honest I didn’t hate jazz either. But it’s all he ever does! I’ve started annoying him in the hope that he’ll look for a new home and I think he’s finally cracked. I’ve been pushing for him to talk with some about conveyancing. South East Melbourne has some pretty fancy homes, and this one is worth a lot though. Probably more than most people can afford. I hope he finds a buyer soon.
I call him Melbourne’s worst person, but that’s probably an exaggeration. He’s not that bad. If I didn’t have such an affinity for contemporary orchestral music, I wouldn’t mind jazz. And Mr Davis does have some fascinating hobbies other than jazz. He doesn’t play it himself all the time, obviously, but when he’s not practicing he has jazz on the radio or his phone anyway. I wasn’t alive when video games were a thing though, so I find those pretty interesting. And Mr Davis does have a very impressive shoe collection. Still, I’m looking forward to the day that the title transfer is complete.
I heard that Mr Davis wrote a blog post about me the other day, which is why I’m posting this. I want people to hear my side of the story. Yes, I keep telling him that I’ll haunt him even if he moves. Yes, I am booing at his concerts. It’s fun. People always look around for the one person that is booing an Australian music legend, and they can never find me. And now you know why.
I’ll tell you what I’d like…
I’d like a buyers advocate to do my shopping, not just bid on buildings. I can see a real need in the market for it. Unfortunately I don’t have the skills to fill that need, but I’m putting it out there so that someone else can. I’m petitioning for a subsection of specialist buyers advocates around Melbourne. Imagine, instead of having to go to the store with the list of everything you want, you can hire a buyers advocate to do it for you! This service would free up so much time, alleviate so many stresses and just genuinely work.
I guess this is almost exactly what buyers agents throughout Melbourne already do, albeit not for free. I could give my advocate a list of requirements for the home I aim to acquire, and then they could guide me through the entire process. I’ve always been wary of buying a home, just because it is such a big commitment. The fact that I even struggle with general shopping proves how difficult buying a home would be for me.
Unlike what I imagine a buyers advocate to be like, I am very unconfident and insecure in my decisions. I assume by employing an agent to act on my behalf, they will have unlimited access to every available home in Melbourne. That is perfect for me because they would do the work whilst I kick back and relax. As long as they have a sound understanding of my taste and can manage to push the boundaries, I will feel as if I’m in good hands.
Before I get ahead of myself though, I’m not actually looking to buy a house as of yet. I was just daydreaming about having a personal shopper. My idea is foolproof and I insist that someone reads this and makes it a reality. In the meantime, buyers advocates can do what they do best… dominating the property market. I’ll use their services one day.
Coming up with mascot ideas has never been my forte. How does one arrive at that conclusion, you ask? That’s a fair question, given the general dearth of invitations come up with mascot ideas that life seems to offer. Well, I work for a business that makes mascot costumes, with my job being to figure out how to construct the darned things. I’m not an ideas man; I’m an construction man.
It’s usually Sabrina who comes up with the concepts, and I just translate them into walking, talking, blank-eyed glory, but she’s on leave at the moment and we haven’t been able to find anyone to replace her. As it turns out, devising mascots is not a very common skill set. This has left us in a position where all of us costume makers have to chip in on the branding front.
Today we had to meet with a licensed re-seller of portable hyperbaric chambers. Melbourne folk know there’s not too much competition for this type of business, nor much in the way of ‘drop in’ traffic, so I don’t really get why they need a mascot. What’s it going to do? Stand on the roadside and promote the sales office to passers by, waving them in to check out second-hand medical equipment with highly specific applications?
The best I could come up with was Hyper Barry. He’s a cockatoo who can’t hide his excitement about hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Er… yeah. Don’t act like I didn’t tell you I was bad at this, not that I had a lot to work with. Sabrina would have crafted something appropriate and sophisticated, somehow weaving together the essence of the business and its niche market via a character that magically connects the dots. That’s not a skill you can just cultivate overnight.
Still, it looks Hyper Barry might be a go. The client barely batted an eyelid at it when I talked him through my proposal, so I guess he’s seen worse.
Our last album was an international success! As predicted, we hit triple platinum in no time. A concept album about conveyancing was just what the music industry was craving. Critics are calling it the album of the century.
We can’t rest on our success, though. In this business, you’ve got to keep moving, which means we’re already behind schedule. I’ve consulted the tea-leaves, looked into the crystal ball and read the tarot cards. Sewers are the next big thing. We’re already getting to work on it.
The name of the album will be There Are Lots of Blocked Drains in the Melbourne area, and it will feature the story of a brave plumber travelling through the many sewers of the city, restoring peace and proper drainage to its people. I’m planning 34 tracks on this one, so it will be a bit shorter than Buying and Selling. This one, unlike our first album, isn’t based on a true story. I was inspired by the hidden stories in the video game Super Maria Sisters, since the characters are always entering pipes and fighting monsters. That’s why I wrote a thirteen-minute track titled, Plumber vs the Melbourne Drain Repair Monster.
I feel really confident about this one. It will be hard to beat our previous success, but what could go wrong with hit songs like, I Think My Pipes Are Broken and Oh Plumber, Where Art Thou? The latter track switches point of view, to a lonely widow who has been waiting for the plumber to unclog her sink, but he’s too busy fighting monsters under the city. I know a lot of people who are sick of problems with their plumbing, and they just want a release through music. This is what they’ve been waiting for.
My ultimate dream is to have a book series written, movies produced, and a video game all based on this album. We were close to that with Buying and Selling, but unfortunately the deals just fell through. I guess you can’t have everything, even if your first album did hit triple platinum in a week.
– Robbie R
I tire of all of this guff. Such guff, I must endure. Oh, the guff of it all! I made the terrible mistake of sharing my dream at work, prior to which I made the mistake of hyping up my dream. I waited until everyone was back from their holidays, and in the meantime, I sent email spam to the whole office, telling them that my dream was going to be epic, a real crowd pleaser, suitable for all ages and with something for everyone. I drew up posters, I made crude trailers in Windows Movie Maker, I bought caramel corn and bottle of soft drink for everyone.
Then one lunchtime, I turned down the lights, everyone gathered round, and I told them my tale…of a local suburb. The time that the car mechanics in Bentleigh had a very unusual day.
I could already see a few frowns, just from the title, but I don’t know why. The trailers and posters made it very clear that auto electrical and automotive repairs were going to play a large role in the plot. I also got the gist that people thought the intro-slash-first act went on a little bit too long, and true, it’s a lengthy opening scene. I thought the imagery of me getting a car service on my large vermilion octopus with six wheels would be enough to keep interest while I chatted to the mechanic about Dutch foreign policy for half an hour. That’s half an hour of dream time, people.
Anyway, I did see interest pick up when we left the mechanic’s workshop and went on a tomb raiding adventure with the Queen and a Buckingham Palace Guard who had snakes for arms. Snake-armed guard used his snakes to swing across ravines and The Queen used her shiny scepter to reflect a shaft of light onto an ancient crest, opening a secret door that led to…the car servicing garage near Bentleigh! What a twist! The real treasure was brake repairs!
So anyway, I was pelted with bottles and caramel corn, and now there’s a blanket ban on sharing dreams. Some people just don’t understand art.
Why, in the name of all that’s good and nice, did I agree to wear this outfit? I guess it was to see the children’s faces light up, or something to that effect. Little did I realise that a style of suit designed to be worn in Lapland in winter, recreated in cheap synthetic, should never be worn on a baking hot summer’s day in Australia. It sounds obvious in retrospect, but someone could’ve given me a heads up.
Anyway, here I am, sitting in the ute and waiting for the carols to finish so I can jump out, do the thing, and get out of this get-up. I’ve had a bit of time to suss out the effect in the rear-view mirror, and I’ve got to say, it’s not a very convincing look. The beard is too white, for starters – it needs a bit of grey in it – and it looks like it’s just been unpacked from a plastic satchel that’s been squashed under a pile of boxes at a costume shop for months.
Oh well. I’m watching a guy over the road yelling down his phone – something to do with a failed roadworthy certificate inspection. Northcote sure has its share of angry city slickers, doesn’t it? Mate, just because your car’s a BMW doesn’t mean it’s automatically considered roadworthy, and you’re dreaming if you think otherwise. I feel a bit bad for this bloke, though – clearly, he just wants to get home to a cup of tea and sit down.
If I was really Santa, I could help him out with a magic car service that brings everything up to scratch. That’s how it works, right? Santa’s magic, so he can make anything, even if it’s unrealistic… or am I overestimating his supposed capabilities? Actually, no – I’m playing the role of Santa, so I get to decide if he can magically fix your lemon of a car for you. I also get to decide that my beard looks totally real and that I’m not experiencing heatstroke, because I’m magic. That’s what it’s all about.