Imagine the scene, a large sparsely furnished room with brick walls and whitewashed windows. The light in the room, although it is sunny outside, is opaque. Motes of dust float through the filtered sunlight. Brick columns support the ceiling. In the centre of the room six people are standing around a large table. They are in deep discussion. As we approach this gathering, we can’t yet make out the words but we know, from the cadence, that a serious discussion is taking place.
The floor around the table is littered with discarded placards, large marker pens & used cans of spray paint. An old sideboard, flanked by five mattresses and sleeping bags is stood against one wall, between two of the windows. A couple of hammers, a large industrial staple gun, a tub of nails and, disturbingly, a couple of skeleton masks cover the surface of the sideboard.
Drawing closer we see the makeup of the group. There are four women, two of middle but indeterminate age and two who are probably in their twenties. All four of them are slim and dressed much alike, in denim jeans, vest tops, loose fitting knitted cardigans and sandals of the type that serious walkers sometimes wear, one of the older women has a brightly coloured scarf wrapped around her hair, which is worn in dreadlocks.
Two men complete the group, one is young with a lean, clean shaven face, he too wears denim, jacket and jeans and walkers’ sandals, his hair is long and pulled back in a ponytail. His t shirt has an image of Che Guevara on it. The final member of the group, who is standing slightly away from the others, is middle aged and dressed in a wrinkled black linen suit over a plain black t shirt, on his feet are a pair of scuffed, but obviously expensive black leather half brogues.
We begin to hear the conversation; the woman with the scarf is clearly the member of this group that the others, for the most part, defer to;
“We can’t let our belief in the basic rule of law or the sanctity of life stand in our way comrades. For too long we have marched in protest, but the bastards won’t listen. This person who is about to come into this country must be dealt with and quickly. He’s full of hatred and promotes division, we have to do this and cleanse the world of his divisive rhetoric”
One of the younger women looks to the floor, concern briefly etched on her face, but the others, except the man in black, nod vigorously in agreement.
The young man is the first to speak, his voice trembling with emotion;
“Every effort to bring him down by legitimate means has failed. He has very powerful place-men and women who will continue to do follow his orders, however much they impact on others. Even members of the black community are turning on their own and legitimising his racism and hatred. We must be the ones to free the world from his Nazi like fascist tyranny”.
The man in the black suit smiles quickly to himself. No one else in the room sees him do it but he is pleased. The plan, long in the making, is taking shape.
The young woman who had shown concern speaks, quietly and with real passion in her voice;
“Look, I get why we’re all angry, this man authorises the brutal detention of women and children, he’s full of hatred, he’s a racist and a misogynist but if we succeed in killing him aren’t we just as bad as he is”?
The group, apart from the man in black, look at her as if she has only just appeared into their space. The second older woman, who we now see has dark shrouded eyes and a hard, set chin answers;
“No, we aren’t like him at all, he’s a monster, he’s full of hatred and I literally hate him and everything he stands for, his position on the environment alone will see the destruction of the planet, he is undoing all the good work of his predecessor, he’s proved he’s an Islamaphobe & a racist. We have to agree, today, to doing this, otherwise more hatred and division will come from our not acting”
The young woman nods in partial agreement, she knows better than to argue, she also knows that being a member of “Smash Hate” means that she should be prepared to do everything she can to rid the world of hatred, whatever the cost. It shows on her face though, that she didn’t ever see herself involved in an attempted political assassination.
The man in black takes a single step forward, positioning himself between the two older women. He looks them all directly in the eye, searching for further dissent or weakness. He knows that the young woman who spoke is a weak link in the group he has created and that he must, subtly but with extreme prejudice, deal with her. Firstly though he has to fully convince the remaining members of his belief in them and their ability to carry out the mission he has created;
“It’s settled then, he’ll be protected every step of the way into the conference hall and the audience will be highly vetted. This needn’t concern us. Reliable comrades have provided us with the means to be in the hall as audience stewards. Two of you will have “access all areas badges”. I can guarantee that you will be able to get into the venue without being searched or having to go through metal detection. Exactly 10 minutes into the speech there will be a small disturbance in the front tier of the audience. This will be your signal to act, do not hold back, empty your weapons at the target, drop them on the floor and try to get away in the ensuing panic. “Smash Hate” is the perfect group to undertake this glorious act (he smiled inwardly at his rhetoric). If caught you can betray no one outside this room, although other comrades will be in position to finish what you start if needs be. I must leave now; I will return tomorrow with the weapons and we will go through our drill again. You (he signals to the young woman he has identified as a problem) come with me for a while, I have someone you should meet who will be able to convince you that we are right to take this course. You can return later this evening”.
Without saying another word he turns to leave, taking the young woman, almost gently, by the arm. Her friends will never see her again but the man in black knows that it will be easy to convince them that she has been sent to join another group. She will be easily replaced, he knows there are many who want to use their hatred of the hateful to bring about “change”, an almost endless supply, he thinks to himself, as he forces his latest failed “revolutionary” into the back of a very black, windowless van………..
© Colin Cross 2019
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file