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winding road

It’s time for a national news update. The bodies of missing hitchhikers have been found in remote bushland. A man stumbled across the shallow unmarked graves while out walking his dog. There is a picture of remote bushland seen from the air. Two men are carrying a large bag.

The man is on a downward spiral, the world floating around him. He gazes about with wonder in his eyes. He sleeps like a baby, dreaming of things about which he has no hope of understanding.

When he wakes, he begins to look for programme trailers, trying to find out what is next, what is coming up after the break, tomorrow, next week. He views everything in the future, uncovering scenarios, building his own plots and supplying his own denouements. He knows what it means when danger threatens or tragedy strikes. He understands the significance of a stranger in town or a past that comes back to haunt an innocent victim. He learns the importance of fearing the worst. He hears all the best lines, sees all the best action.

He loves a fast edit and is particularly fond of explosions – the sudden bursts of yellow flames, the sheets of liquid heat and billowing clouds that envelop solid objects – a building, a boat, a car... He yearns to glimpse the silhouette of a man running madly helter skelter against a backdrop of swelling slo-mo fire and to see it again and again and know that he can’t escape. He wants to catch the tiny figure of a man somersaulting through the air as a jungle is engulfed in a wave of molten colour that razes everything to the ground.

He is not interested in real life explosions. News footage is frequently disappointing; puffs of dust and a muffled thud, tiny blobs of orange or a video white-out, plumes of smoke drifting slowly through the blue sky. It’s hardly worth watching.