Two mates discuss the replacement of the monarch on the five-dollar note.
MICK HELD up a crisp five-dollar note to the fading sunlight sneaking through the front bar window. As Bazza approached, he carefully folded the note and returned it to his wallet and nodded at the full schooner.
“Cheers, ahhhh, the sun is finally setting over the British Empire, Mick? Anyhow, Her Majesty is better off not being on the five dollar note, it is dropping in value with inflation.”
They both took long sips:
“It’s a bloody disgrace, Bazza. Your mates are chipping away at our institutions. Political correctness is destroying this country.”
Bazza half smiled and motioned to speak but Mick leaned in, saying "now, listen up, Bazza. I don't want you to take this personally….”
Bazza rubbed his chin.
“Oh, I don’t like the sound of that, Mick. It is like the term ‘with respect’. It’s used when you are about to say something disrespectful,” he replied.
Mick cleared his throat:
“I’m being serious, Bazza. A few of the boys have noticed you are a bit ‘off’ lately. Now, I can’t go on defending you from some of your critics in this pub.”
Bazza’s face reddened and he scanned the bar.
Mick lowered his voice:
“Now Bazza, I started to notice a change in you a few weeks ago when you ordered herbal tea at the coffee shop. I let that one go, but when you followed up with a salad and extra sprouts sandwich without butter on mixed grain sourdough last week, I decided to do some research. I wanted to act before you switch to drinking craft beer.”
Bazza’s eyes widened and his raised schooner froze mid-air.
“I am trying to give up caffeine and eat a healthy diet, Mick. Bloody hell, what’s my diagnosis?” he asked.
The front bar quietened.
“There is no need to raise your voice, Bazza. On top of all that, the behaviour causing us most concern is on just about every issue we discuss, you take a left-wing or politically correct angle.”
Bazza folded his arms and leaned back:
“Bazza you have become too woke. There, I’ve said it!”
Murmurs of agreement around the bar, audible “Hear, hear's" and a loud “Good on you, Mick".
“Woke, eh, Mick, now that term has gone from compliment to insult in the last couple of decades. I take it the latter applies to me,” Bazza replied.
Mick paused for a sip:
“I’m afraid so, Bazza. It's okay to be a little bit progressive on some social and race issues but you go too far. Your critics refer to you as being pretentiously progressive. I’m a bit kinder when I defend you and refer to you as provocatively progressive.”
Bazza smiled and shook his head: “But the point is, Bazza, you need to tone it down or otherwise you will end up sipping natural wine and chewing on an organic celery stick dipped in homemade hommus in the lounge bar by yourself.”
Bazza gave his stomach a generous rub as he laughed:
“Crikey, Mick. That’s where the monarchists drink.”
John Longhurst is a former industrial advocate and political adviser. He currently works as an English and History teacher on the South Coast of NSW.
Support independent journalism Subscribe to IA.