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Ratings War

Petra sighed a thank god thatís over sigh. "Robbieís off our hands," she announced.

"Which gaol?" Sue asked.

"Better than that," Petra said. "Heís gone to fight in Iraq. With any luck, heíll get killed."

"I thought the Government wasnít sending any more troops," Emma said. "Ground war or no ground war."

"Itís not the Government," Kathy said. "The TV stations kicked up such a fuss about the conduct of the war that theyíve handed it over to private enterprise."

"Havenít you seen the ads?" Sue asked.

Emma shook her head. "Iíve been on overtime, dismantling the Australian economy."

Sue wrenched the Telegraph-Mirror from under Desís cup, splashing coffee over the financial page, and folded it over to the two pages of classified ads. "Hereís one," she said. A picture of a man with a Merv Hughes moustache, pointing out of the page. The moustache had shrivelled a bit at the ends, making it look more like Saddam Husseinís.

Good with a gun?
Want to put Saddam Husseinís mates in their place?
Ring GOOKZAP now!

"Hereís another one," Kathy said, pointing to the Personal Column, between

Spunky 95-year-old requires Toy Boy.
Lamborghini negotiable.


Ring Sexy Susie and discover new
dimensions to your phone bill.

She read:

Do you like killing people?
Did they call you a psychopath when
tried to join the army?
Thatís their mistake.
GOOKZAP wants You now!

"Thereís a full page one near the front," Petra said.

You enter an enemy city.

The civilian population, cowed, is at your mercy.
What do you do?

1) Do your best to facilitate the return to normal life.

2) Secure the town hall, the TV station and the brewery.

3) Slaughter the entire population and burn the city to the ground.

What would Ghengis Khan have done?

An Army in the Tradition of the Golden Horde

"Thereís even one in the Womenís Weekly," Sue said, folding it open at a full page picture of a woman in battledress:

Sick of Muslim MCPs

Get even in a way that theyíll understand

The answer to a Maidenís Prayer

"They sound a nice bunch," Emma said, sarcastically.

"The worldís biggest private army," Des said proudly, as if he owned it. "Ten million recruits world-wide and more every day."

"But why?" Emma asked. "Whatís the problem with the Yanks?"

"You saw the war coverage," Petra said. "Managed. Boring. Generals pontificating, file footage of planes taking off, all those women in black. Oh no, we canít do that, we might damage a collateral. Now thereís real of action, TV crews right alongside, wham, bam, thump, splat, just like the movies."

"It is an application of the three principles of TV sports coverage," Des said. "Immediacy, lots of gore, and a result at the end of the day."

"But why not use the professional soldiers, still?" Emma asked. "Most sports are professional."

"And have them all of with a groin strain?" Des said. "What we need here is dedication. Enthusiasm. The joy of the battle. This is a real war. No piss-farting around. Hit íem where theyíre weakest. Slash at the soft underbelly. Stop treating it like a game. These guys, theyíre ace on atrocities, and just see them on the innocent bystanders. Thatís how you win wars. Rip the shit out of the population so the soldiers in the trenches are too worried about granny to shoot straight, even when they havenít run off home."

"Itís revolting," Kathy said, making a face. "Last night, they were talking about the spirit of Mai Lai. And the statistics:

Private Rory Muldoon.
Debut: vs Panama, 1989
53 sorties, 187 rounds fired
25 paraplegics, 10 deaths
Kill rate: 536

"And then the live interview:

Madam, how do you feel about your impending disembowellment?
Distinctly negative.
Do you feels that somebody else should be chosen?
Definitely. Yes.
Private Muldoon. How do you feel about disembowelling this woman?
Iím looking forward to it.
Are you confident of success?
Very much so. My horizontal slash is working well at the moment.
So thatís it, folks. A replay and another slaughter right after this break."

"Good stuff," Des said. "Thatís a real war. Last nightís ratings beat the grand final."

Sue flapped at a non-existent fly with the Womenís Weekly. "Itís as boring." She put on a high-pitched, "silly", voice. "Petra. What did you think of that dress in Dominiqueís?"

"Itíd clash with Desís colouring."

Sue looked at Des speculatively. He looked away. "Is that likely to be a problem?" she asked.


Copyright © D.W. Walker, 1991

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