Sunday, May 03, 2009


Future-proof, theft-proof, not foolproof

Chris Henning, SMH

May 2, 2009

SCENE: A shopping centre in Sydney's north-west, with single-storey shops surrounding a large car park. It is 3am. Rain has just stopped, and light from street lamps is reflected off the wet asphalt, but there is no moon and it is hard to make out anything in the deep shadows.

Owl: More pork!

Suddenly we hear the sound of a powerful car approaching. A huge black four-wheel-drive ute pulls up, and two men get out, rushing to pull equipment - gas bottles, cutting equipment, tubes and a powerful drill - out of the tray. They are dressed entirely in black, and their faces are masked in balaclavas. They look quickly round.

1st man: Here. It's over here. (Points.)

2nd man: Are you sure? Ken's briefing note said it'd be next to Baker's Delight.

1st man: This is Baker's Delight.

2nd man: No, it isn't. It's the Flower of Da Nang hot bread shop.

1st man: Same friggin' difference. Bring us the drill.

2nd man: (Hands over drill) You certain you know what to do?

1st man: Course. I looked it up on Wikipedia. (Takes paper out of back pocket and reads, tongue between lips. Mutters.) OK … OK. About here, I reckon.

He places the point of the drill bit low on the shop wall, and starts drilling. There is a screaming whine, and masonry and dust fly. The bit finally breaks through and 1st man pulls the howling drill out of the hole. He moves a metre or so to the left and repeats the procedure.

1st man: OK. Hoses!

2nd man: Check.

Both feed lengths of hose into the two holes. With one metre inside, they move away, unrolling hoses as they go.

1st man: Wire.

2nd man: Check. (He moves back to one hole, inserts two raw ends of wire, and moves away, unrolling wires behind him.)

1st man: Gas.

2nd man: Check. (He attaches a hose end to each gas bottle, and opens their valves. Muted hissing is heard as gas is pumped into the wall cavity.)

1st man: (Reads.) Let gas flow for 60 seconds.

2nd man: Hey, Wayne, how much you reckon this'll get us?

1st man (Wayne): Dunno. But a lot. Ken reckons the average ATM contains about 250 grand.

2nd man: So, like, we do four. That's a million bucks.

Wayne: (We see his teeth grinning in the low light.) Yeah. We do that a thousand times, that's a billion bucks.

2nd man: And if we do that 40 times, that's 40 billion bucks. (Low whistle.) Big bickies, mate.

Wayne: Yeah, so if we can pull this off just 160,000 times (cocky, lopsided grin), you know what that means?

Both together: We can bring the federal budget back to surplus and secure the future of the Rudd Government. (They high-five.)

Wayne: (Businesslike again.) OK, that's enough gas. (2nd man tightens valves. Both men hide behind their car.) Batteries.

2nd man: Check. (He pulls a nine-volt battery from his pocket and touches the ends of each wire to the terminals. A huge explosion where they have been drilling demolishes the wall, and showers the men and their ute with rubble, fizzing brown fluid and dented aluminium cans.)

Wayne: Shit.

2nd man: Told you he said Baker's Delight, mate.

Wayne: Shut up, Lindsay, will ya? (Gets into the ute.)

2nd man (Lindsay): (Getting in beside him.) We've blown up the hot bread shop Coke machine, mate. (They drive off, bickering.)