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January 15, 2003
Resolutions of the new year
Several people have enquired what kind of resolutions I've made this year. Normally I make thousands of the little critters, but this year there are only two. The main one is not to start a war with Samoa.
It's common knowledge that I've been planning to blitz Samoa, and that I've been planning to do so for a long time. I'm starting to think that's what I like about the idea: the extensive planning. Though I also enjoy the problem solving nature of the enterprise. Let's face it: organising an army to attack an island in the Pacific Ocean is no easy matter. It's a very big ocean and a very small island. And there are decisions in every nook and cranny of the military landscape: who shall be in my army? How will they know when they're on the right island? And the really difficult one: where, exactly, is the Pacific?
So I figure if I can overcome these problems and successfully wage war against Samoa, I'll have a really satisfying sense of accomplishment.
However, I've recently discovered that Samoa would prefer not to go to war with me. Therefore, in the interest of the greater good, and the hopeful spirit of a new year, I've resolved not to attack.
The Samoans didn't say anything about planning a war, though, so I might carry on with that in secret.
My other resolution is to give up eating bananas. New year or not, I just have to stop eating bananas. I find they make me paranoid and angry, especially if I overdose on them. Once I've got a bellyful of bananas all I want to do is gather a band of armed mercenaries around me, and set sail for the Pacific.
So: no war on Samoa, and no bananas, either. I'm aiming for a calm year.
January 17, 2003
The endless treadmill of war and bananas
There's been a bit of bad news on the war with Samoa front. It turns out that Samoa's major food crop is bananas. A recent United Nations report described the Samoan people as "hugely outnumbered by bananas."
So far I've managed to keep my new year's resolution not to attack Samoa. Even so, this new information gives me pause for thought.
And what I'm thinking is this: given that eating bananas makes me paranoid and angry, perhaps I'm better off finding somewhere else to attack. Preferably somewhere else with fewer bananas.
Landing with hostile intentions on a banana infested island is inviting disaster. It's starting a vicious circle: attack, get hungry, look for food, find bananas, eat bananas, become paranoid and angry, attack again. And so on, and so on, and so on. It would never end. As many philosophers have pointed out, once you get on the war/bananas treadmill, you can't get off again. As Aristotle said, "it's not that kind of treadmill."
On one hand, I'm pleased I'm making sensible new year's resolutions. Not going to war is better for everyone, I think. On the other hand, I still fancy the challenge of planning a war against something in the Pacific. It doesn't have to be Samoa, of course. Perhaps I could attack New Zealand. I haven't done much research, but I'm fairly sure it's bigger than Samoa. It'd be easier to find.
Or I could attack Australia. In many ways this is the obvious place to start a war, if only because I'm already here. No hazardous water crossing; no navigational problems; a big blue sky of military possibilities. Clearly, as an Australian, it might seem absurd to attack one's own country. But then I figure that I don't have to attack all of it. I could be selective and aim to destroy only the bits I don't like.
The obvious starting place is Wangaratta, I guess. But before I do anything else, it's time for some research. Time for a reconnaissance mission: time to check out Wangaratta's banana supply. After all, if I'm going to be stupid enough to start a war on a sleepy country town, at least I'm going to be well prepared.
January 20, 2003
The unexpected number of Samoans in Wangaratta
Well, I'm rather pleased I did some research. Wangaratta, it seems, has a plentiful supply of many things, including bananas and Samoans.
I had no idea there were so many Samoans in Wangaratta. And I had no idea how well prepared they were. I met a platoon of them just outside the supermarket. They were well dressed in matching uniforms and they carried themselves with quiet dignity. I'd estimate their mood as generally jovial, but currently displeased.
They were unexpectedly fine orators, too. One of them made a short speech about the advantages of attacking New Zealand.
A short speech it was, but filled to the brim with fire and conviction. It moved me to tears, though that may have been my posture at the time. Apparently, in Samoa, it's considered polite behaviour to be held upside down while listening to speeches.
I learnt much in my time with them.
The main lesson was my discovery of a previously unexamined assumption. In all the years I've been planning a war against Samoa I just somehow assumed that I'd actually win.
Given that I know nothing about warfare, and am frightened of loud banging noises, I've been approaching the entire project with a special emphasis on planning. Often, after a long day's planning, I'll sigh melodramatically and pontificate aloud. My pontifications are usually along the lines of "there's more than one way of winning a war."
New information just in: there's more than one way of losing a war.
Research: it's a fine thing.
January 22, 2003
The long drive west to Carnarvon
SoFo author Sean Hegarty is believed to have broken one of his new year's resolutions, it was revealed today. Reports from Northern Victoria claim he has eaten a "stunning" number of bananas.
But he has averted war with Samoa in spectacular style. Despite his current mood of banana fuelled aggression, Hegarty has kept his promise to not attack the tiny Pacific island. Instead, with the help of a platoon of Samoans, he is about to start a war somewhere else.
Samoan Army leader Brigadier Gotomega takes up the story:
"The only way we could convince him not to attack our nation was to show him the futility of war. So we asked him to nominate a place and he came up with Carnarvon. To be honest, we would've preferred to attack Wangaratta, as we were already there. But then we realised that we could use the time getting to Carnarvon to put him through some basic training. So off we went."
Gotomega described the long drive across the featureless Nullarbor Plain as "arduous." "It's a fairly boring drive to start with," he said, "but with Hegarty in the vehicle it becomes ... well, a lot more difficult." Gotomega now looks back on his own time as a new Army recruit as "a lot more fun, in comparison."
"Sure, I was held upside down and yelled at," he said, "but we have a long tradition of that in Samoa and at least I could see the point of it. I came out of basic training much tougher, and knowing how to shoot a gun and how to stay calm in battle."
"I very much doubt that Hegarty learned anything as useful," he added, "except in one area. After three days of training, I'd definitely say he's gotten better at cowering."
"He's just not going to make it as a soldier," says Gotomega. "He refuses to touch a gun, and he drops to the floor with both hands over his ears at the slightest opportunity. We have to load him up with bananas to get him to do anything."
Carnarvon, in Western Australia, is a small coastal town believed to lie approximately four metres above sea level. It is surrounded by banana plantations and a platoon of Samoans. Local residents seem unaware of their impending doom.
January 28, 2003
Hegarty wounded in battle of Carnarvon
An exhausted and concussed Sean Hegarty has claimed victory over the town of Carnarvon, it was reported today.
But victory came at a high personal price. Hegarty attended the post-battle press conference wearing a dazed expression and a stained bandage on his head.
Flanked by a platoon of Samoans, he called the conference to outline his plans for the town.
Hegarty was, however, too dazed to remember what his plans were.
But he did tell the frightened crowd of his gratitude to the "fine fighting folk of Samoa." "They went out of their way to show me the fertility of war," he said, "and I shall never forget that."
"War is an amazing thing," he went on, in an increasingly pompous fashion. "Just a few days ago, I was an unemployed daydreamer. Now I'm the kingpin, the head honcho, the grand hoo ha. And all because I had the courage to plan, to dream, to act."
Brigadier Gotomega was singled out for particular thanks. "The Brig is an amazing man," said Hegarty. "After the battle started, he set up a whiteboard in the car park of the shopping centre. As the battle progressed he drew diagrams to clarify the tactics he was using. Without that, I would have been too confused by all the noise and smoke to follow what was going on. He's a great teacher: clear, helpful, inspiring."
A few minutes later Hegarty was driven to the local hospital for medical assistance. The ambulance drove slowly through a devastated town. Outside the vehicle, thick smoke was slowly clearing.
January 31, 2003
Carnarvon to be relocated to a different ocean
Mere hours after laying waste to Carnarvon an apologetic Sean Hegarty realised he had failed in his real goal. Aiming to "attack something on the Pacific," he had instead attacked something on the Indian Ocean. In a formal statement to the town he said "jeez, I'm really sorry about that." Hegarty attributed his continental-sized error to "not being very good with maps."
Hegarty then offered to help move the town 3,000 kilometres to the east. When a reporter asked exactly where the town would be relocated Hegarty said he would investigate a few possibilities and "get back to you."
But worse news was in store for the beleagured writer when Brigadier Gotomega of the Samoan Army called a press conference of his own.
The Brigadier, a former comrade in arms of Hegarty, could barely conceal his delight as he revealed the truth behind recent events in the town.
Gotomega started by thanking the Carnarvon Council for their "wonderful assistance" in helping to bamboozle Hegarty. "I rang them just after we left Wangaratta and ran a few ideas past them. They were happy to listen, and soon got back to me with an emphatic yes. They organised the smoke bombs and the whiteboard. I couldn't have asked for more: they were terrific people."
When asked for highlights of his time with Hegarty, Gotomega said that he was particularly pleased with how he used the whiteboard. "I told Hegarty I was outlining our battle plans, and he swallowed it. But what I was actually drawing was a tic tac toe game. I thought I was going too far, but he didn't notice."
Gotomega was also delighted by the banana-throwing episode, and quoted the story from the Carnarvon Bugle:
Hegarty throws single banana, collapses
Onlookers watched in surprise as would be military dictator Sean Hegarty attempted to angrily hurl a banana at our main street yesterday. Shouting "die, funny-smelling town," he let loose with the only weapon that his military accomplices could trust him with. But in the heat of the fake battle Hegarty lost his grip on the banana and it slipped out of his hand. Temporarily bewildered, he then lost his footing and sprawled to the ground. A moment later he was struck a glancing blow. His banana had travelled several feet upwards, and then several feet downwards, and landed on his head.
Onlookers were further astonished when Hegarty stumbled to his feet, and slipped on the banana.
"At this point," said an onlooker, "most of the Samoans and several of the locals laughed themselves into a coma."
When asked for comment, Hegarty abruptly retracted his apology for attacking Carnarvon. He also expressed a desire to return to Fitzroy as soon as possible, and a willingness to "punish" the banana that landed on his head.
February 1, 2003
Lone banana shot at dawn
A special meeting of the Carnarvon Town Council was held last night, and beleagured writer Sean Hegarty emerged a happier man.
He'd just been granted permission to execute a local banana.
"I have made my peace with Carnarvon," he said, "and I have made my peace with the fine fighting folk of Samoa. But peace is impossible with bananas. They are an intractable, malicious foe."
"This particular banana," Hegarty continued, producing a bedraggled specimen, "has caused me much hurt. Let its punishment serve as an example to other bananas. For where one banana causes humiliation, others will surely follow."
The next morning, just before dawn, the banana was placed at the end of Carnarvon pier.
A crowd of several hundred interested people had gathered, and slowly huddled forward. In mock tribute to Hegarty, several small children expressed a desire to watch the ceremony while being held upside down.
Brigadier Gotomega, a renowned Samoan marksman, stepped forward.
A bugle sounded. A rifle cocked. A banana exploded.
A minute's silence followed, and then Hegarty whispered "finis."
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