The Unknown Terrorist – Richard Flanagan
- Jerry Mendes was a fat man with a bad complexion. He appeared to have been assembled out of chipped billiard balls. His reputation was an arse licker, he never seemed to have much to say, and what he said was uttered in an unpleasant voice that was both resonant and high pitched, and always sounded to Richard Cody like one billiard ball hitting another – clack – and rebounding onto yet another – clock. Still Richard Cody felt rather important being invited outside for a private chat, and he thought how, in spite of what people said, he was really very fond of Jerry Mendes.
On the deck the heat was like a weight. The sun was so bright that there was no view, only blinding shards of white light ricocheting off the water like shrapnel filling the sky, slashing at the vision of any who looked.
They screwed their faces up to narrow their eyes to slits. Like reptiles waiting to strike, they gazed out on Australia, unable to see anything.
- The Doll closed her eyes.When she opened them she saw Osama bin Laden. George W. Bush. Missiles being launched. Men in robes firing grenade launchers. Great buildings exploding into balloons of fire. Women covered in blood. Hostages about to be beheaded. New York! Bali! Madrid! London! Baghdad! The Doll disintegrating into dancing squares of colour, herself pixelated, smiling a smile that was never hers.
A Fujitsu air conditioner ad came on and Wilder switch the tv off.
“It’s like when I bought my Subaru Forester”, said Wilder after a few moments’ awkward silence, “and all we could see for weeks after were other Subaru Foresters – parked on the street, driving through the city, stopped at lights.
But there are other cars, Gina, and there are other stories”.