This is a prequel to Pie Square and Greenwars. It is Adelaide in the 1960s and 70s. Adam Teforp stumbles through his adolescence, constantly confronted by his obsessive, grossly materialistic father. Early days as a confused hippie give way to outlandish yet astute entrepreneurship. The double suicide of his gay mentor and the gay mentor's lover leaves an indelible imprint that profoundly affects Adam's later life.
Adam becomes involved in a covert world of wealth and intrigue. Unknown to the public he stores nuclear waste in the barren desert of the South Australian outback ... for a price!
Peter gazed with warm delight at the crimson dawn that was splashing colour over the grey of a new decade. He stood with his son, watching with fascination as the January sun hurried over the ancient, moulded Adelaide hills and daubed rusty corrugated iron fences with a lambent gold. He had invested a life's savings in the tin monolith that too was beginning to glisten with the Midas morn. He could see a beauty that few could see in the row of sheds that ran the length of the short street. In this select grove, where once the thick sticky black soil was ponderously tilled by generations of Italian migrants, now arose fragile castles of industry. The backyard entrepreneurs who were the new masters of this kingdom pounded the black earth, sprayed it, dried it, and rolled it into humble submission. No more did these acres burst with rich life of succulent fruit and vegetables. Now the machinery of the suburban capitalists pumped out raw products of myriad designs. Piles of lifeless goods, stacked on the cracked, paint-spattered dirt, begged for consumption. Children’s half made corroded toys littered the front of his main shed. Yellow paint peeled off in large flakes from one side of a tin duck. The other side was hidden in the few tangled weeds that sprouted through cracked concrete slabs. The entrails of the duck, where a child would crouch rocking, were bent pieces of steel and deformed plastic. A pogo stick, from a craze come and gone, lay on the ground with a broken spring at one end curving into the dust and gravel that trickled between the concrete slabs. An old locomotive, big enough for a child to sit in, once imposing and majestic, had decayed into layers of rusting hulk. The bright happy colours of the past which had promised so much fun were now faded and miserable. But Peter could see how the sixties would bring a cornucopia of wealth. By the mere act of rezoning, land that had once been no more than a quagmire would make him a millionaire. Some, in fact many of his ventures had failed. Yet, he knew success would be his.
It was a peculiar dream. There was the ‘boom boom boom’. Then rising crescendos of banshee-like sitars. A poetic tumble of light and music and words. Adam sees fleeting caves of ice; deep, enticing places, pitch black inside. But he can not see into them. Strange visions. What is concealed in these vaults of darkness? Fleeting kangaroos of chrome appear, their muscular metallic torsos bounding in blinding light. A cacophony of colours that condense into a billowing crimson mushroom. The mushroom distends and is transmuted into the awesome flaming cloud of a Saturn booster rocket at ignition. Adam sits outside the rocket, invulnerable.
Adam is reeling with joy as he steers this fiery mount towards the huge silver orb of the moon. He streaks towards the moon’s surface and as he does a huge yellow ‘happy face’ smiles, beckoning him to its surface. This smile yawns into a vast cavity of dark consumption. He is to be eaten. He is digested in the abyss of space. His life molecules will be smashed and spread like putrid waste to settle somewhere in the cosmos, to defile something clean and pre-eminent.
He awoke to screams of delight “Armstrong’s done it. He’s on the moon.” “Come on Teforp. Get up. You’re not still pissed are ya!. Christ you can wack it back.” Adam struggled back to sobriety and sanity. “Where am I,” he mumbled.
“You’re in a fuckin’ doss-house near Nowood Parade where you have drunk more than your share of wine, eaten everybody’s pills and flaked as usual. You’ve missed the landing on the moon and the fact that your dead hero John Kennedy has been proven right.”
Adam lifted his head from the lounge on which he had collapsed, peered around and located the voice. It was John. He was looking as messianic as usual. Long beard and long flowing hair. His Christ-like appearance was rudely punctuated by the bald crown of his head. He knew that John was shopping around for a toupe to overcome this small inadequacy in his otherwise Jesus-like, strutting demeanour.
“Fuck it.” Adam said “I haven’t spoken to my father in the last few years but I always knew this was going to happen. Kennedy’s death made sure it would happen. I hope he chokes on his scotch and soda tonight.” Without looking at the others clustered around John he rambled on “Even after the Cuban crisis my father couldn’t believe Kennedy wasn’t a communist. He seemed to be pretty happy with the notion that some right-wing bastards in the US killed him. He’s such a prick.”
He looked beyond John at the TV set and watched the American flag being planted on the moon’s surface. No wind. No flutter. Nobody was taking any notice of him. All eyes were fastened on the television screen.
It was two weeks later and Adam still hadn’t got around to reading the manuscript. He felt a pang of guilt. The guilt intensified as time went by. He kept on resolving to read it. He hadn’t heard from Fabian so there was no pressure. The final challenge for reading the manuscript arrived early one morning.
Bang, crash, bang. Adam was torn out of his early morning slumber. He stumbled towards the front door to open it to whichever psychopath was trying to break it down. He flung open the door and there stood his father.
“What the hell do you want?”, demanded Adam. His father hadn’t even had a chance to open his mouth. Adam was still half asleep.
“You’re a silly prick Adam. You don’t even have a telephone. No one can contact you so I thought I might let you know your poofter mate is dead and so is his poofter mate; they’re both dead.”
Adam was horrified. Full consciousness broke over him.
“Are you awake you wanka. Do you want to hear the full story.”
His father was wearing a skin tight mauve coloured shirt. The top button was undone. With the collar open he still sported a floral tie that was a hideous mix of colours. He wore brown suede shoes and brown trousers.
“What happened?” Adam asked.
“Well there’s no note. It seems as though they both went up to Morialta Falls, went to a quiet part of the camping area and found a nice strong branch. One hung himself and then so did the other. No notes. Nothing. It’s been a couple a days, but nobody could find you. There doesn’t seem to be anything suspicious. That’s the trouble with these woolly woofta’s. They’re all mentally unstable. There were no drugs. That surprised everybody. There were no slit wrists. That also surprised everybody! Seems as though your mate Fabian had tried that a couple of times before.”
“He was a very sensitive person.” said Adam.
“Yeah sensitivity gets you a long way”, was his father’s answer. “Poets and poofters. Their all alike.”
“Thanks for your sensitivity dad,” Adam said sarcastically.
“Anyway I just thought I would tell you the news. Nothing else to report. The factory is going fine.”
“That’s of no interest to me” said Adam.
Eighteen months flashed by. Adam stood upon the hillock that formed the centre of his empire. He watched the sun set and bathed in the same red glow that he experienced on the day he purchased the land.
Brighter than a thousand suns. He looked in amazement at the setting sun. Was the fading glare and darkening sky symbolic of a lessening nuclear waste threat through his responsible actions? He had been successful in hiding all activities from the public but not the government. They had opted to become joint venture partners. The despair and loneliness of eighteen months ago, born of this barren land, were no longer there.
He felt a vibration low and rumbling below his feet. This reminded him of his earlier visions of Armageddon. Now he stood ant-like as the mammoth machine emerged from below. It was a colossus of a truck with wheels the diameter of the walls of a house. He ambled down from the hillock and entered the gaping mouth of the main cavern from which the truck had emerged. He walked into his labyrinthine universe. This dungeon was his contribution to the world. In eighteen months, and before he was thirty, he had accumulated millions of dollars. This was a far cry from when he had escaped from bankruptcy. He sat on one of the rock ridges and looked at the machinery working around him. Bright lights kept the operation going day and night. Huge containers of nuclear waste were arriving weekly, sometimes daily, from all around the globe.
His mind flicked back to his meeting with Lesthan in Salzburg. The package he had opened there had changed his life and possibly that of millions of other people for countless years to come. He recollected how he had settled back into his first class seat to Australia. He had pulled out the papers and started sorting through them. He had been assured a vacancy next to him and this had been respected. He had the security to read the papers without prying eyes.