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Pennies Drop

I live in the noisiest city in the world, but we don’t really notice it.

No-one does.

Well no-one that lives here anyway.

Occasionally people visit. Brave tourists who have no interest in the harbour or the house.

Now it’s for the loud crazy place we’ve become. But no-one moves here.

I’m not sure how it started, who started it. But we made up a story, hands gesticulating wildly as we documented our own version of history.

It was one person who caused it all.

Maybe one person hating his life, sitting in his dented car. Trying to get to his dead end job but not moving. A bus pulls out in front of him, a taxi takes his opening and makes him miss the green light. Then he catches up and the taxi stops to offload. The girl who gets out gives him the finger as he swears abuse.

So he hits his horn.

Once maybe, short and sharp, or one long honk.

He likes it, maybe its empowering, he does it again, holding it on this time.

The driver behind is annoyed? Or appreciates the show of individualism, joins in. Honks.

It moves up the street, the honk, and the craze. Do their eyes glaze over? Or adopt a lunatic clarity? The street joins in. People pull up in the middle of the road, pedestrians stop in their tracks.

It spreads from here, growing louder, spreading across the suburb, the wall of noise taking the next suburb like an invisible tsunami. Do windows break yet, or later?

Within fifteen minutes the expanding bubble of noise goes as far east as it can as Bondi drivers are enveloped and overcome, a frenzy of sun-tanned and wrinkly hands hitting steering wheels.

But north, west and south have much to go, kilometers and miles of cars and individuals eager to once more join the herd.

We know now how much of the city joined in, evidence exists in the Blue Mountains in the far west, Campbelltown in the south, Hornsby in the north. Finally we hit our limit, as far as we can tell it happened instantly, city wide.

Does the sound of millions of bursting ear drums make any noise when everyones deaf?

The honking stopped.

Yes we live in the noisiest city in the world, cars over-revving, doors slamming, feet stomping, pennies dropping, far to much for tourists, (the business centre moved to Melbourne) but we in our gesticulating manners remain blissfully unaware.

Now nobody hears you scream.

Pennies Drop

Michael Douglass

Alexandria, Australia

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