Cracker by Damian Christie

2 Axes, 1 Night

Wow. Sando was the scene of much anger overnight.

There I was, sleeping peacefully, dreaming of puppies and rainbows, when at half one, I awoke to the sustained blast of a car horn. I looked out the window, across the road and down a couple of houses, to see a car ablaze. Not just a little bit on fire (not that I’ve ever seen a car just a little bit on fire, but I guess it’s possible), but burning like there was no tomorrow.

Which was true, of course, as far as the car was concerned. Despite the fact that someone’s property was being torched not forty metres away, I was most excited at the prospect of calling 111 with a real, honest to goodness purpose. Imagine my disappointment when they sent a Discount Taxi. Once the cabbie had determined there really was an emergency, the fire services were dispatched, and arrived a few minutes later. The car’s horn was relentless as the flames crackled on.

With much showering of water and hissing of steam the fire was extinguished. The car's horn continued, but I think by this time it was pissing off the firefighters as much as the rest of us, and a few solid blows (I’m presuming with a big firefighter’s axe, but I’ll find out) soon put paid to the dying vehicle’s death knell.

Unfortunately it’s a lot easier to summon the emergency services than it is to exorcise them. The big red appliance sat outside my bedroom window with its engine running, and lights flashing through the bamboo blinds for the best part of an hour afterwards. I'll be living from coffee to coffee today.

So it didn’t seem too many hours later that I woke again. This time to my alarm clock, and the chirpy tones of Morning Report’s Geoff Robinson, telling me of an axe attack elsewhere in The Ham. On Helen Clark’s electorate office no less.

The Herald’s reporting isn’t entirely accurate, as I discovered while driving down Sandringham Road to work this morning at rubberneck pace. No axe went through any windows. Instead, the attacker’s weapon is lodged firmly in the main pane of the reinforced glass, as though it were a gnarled old trunk, rather than an office window. It was quite a sight.

According to the note left at the scene, the attack was to show Pakeha’s support for Maori over the foreshore and seabed issue. The broken glass symbolised broken faith and broken trust, the axe representing steadfast determination. Christ, is this what we’ve come to – interpretive vandalism?