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Rotunda Does Nightcrawler

Words by: Jon Davidson


This is a story about the search for a story. I’m a firm believer that valuable life lessons displayed in movies can always be found in reality. Have you seen Nightcrawler? That was a good movie. Some pretty shitty life lessons maybe, but a solid basic premise: if you drive around at night for long enough, you’ll find something newsworthy.

Where other people my age are spending these early hours of the evening wasting away their lives with foolish pursuits like ‘sleep,’ I am confident that I will find something out on the streets of Perth tonight to write about.

FREMANTLE, 11.00 PM:

Nothing to report so far. I have been driving the cold lunar streets, prowling for the hidden tales of the night. The victors, the losers. The thieves, the vigilantes.
I have found none of them.
Instead, I went to 7/11 because I ran out of rolling papers. The guy at the register looked tired, so I tried to make the transaction speedy and use paypass. The reader declined my card. I inserted the chip. It declined my card again. I ended up having to swipe it anyway, while the clerk looked at me with an expression that said “it’s not your fault,” and “get out of my store” at the same time.
I retreated into the street, defeated, stale.
I am heading towards the lighthouse, to plan my next move.

LIGHTHOUSE, 11.08 PM:

The road to the lighthouse is closed. There is no access because they are doing “repairs.” Immediately, I begin to look around me for the culprits.
Colin Barnett? Sharks? Roe 8?
I looked at the sign affixed to the chain link gate blocking me from my scoop:
SITE CLOSED FOR SCHEDULED MAINTENANCE. APOLOGIES FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE.
Yeah sure, “scheduled maintenance,” okay.
Sounds like a real believable official story. I’m not that easily fooled.

I’m going in.

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                                                                               Pictured: Me, going in.

LIGHTHOUSE, 11.15PM:

I am unable to scale the height of the perimeter gate. This is going to have to be a cold case.
For what it’s worth, there is a strong westerly wind picking up. Likely to be chilly tomorrow morning.

SHIPPING PORTS, 11.37 PM:

A freighter has just successfully pulled into the port without mishap. A little too smoothly, if you ask me. Like the captain wanted everything to be perfectly unremarkable.
What is this foreign crime ship carrying? Drugs? Nuclear waste? I can’t be certain, but I’m sure it threatens Australian values. This is a good story already.

SHIPPING PORTS, 11.40 PM:

Security guards told me to fuck off when I asked how much they were being paid. There’s definitely some shady shit going on down here that they don’t want you to know about.

SHIPPING PORTS, 11.44 PM:

Too hard. I am getting a hot chocolate from one of those vending machines at uni.

CAMPUS, 12.30 AM:

That was 4$ well spent. For sure. Worth it for some real, hard-boiled chocolate. I enjoy my drink in the warmth of my car, my eyes darting all around, waiting for a story to jump out at me.

CAMPUS, 12:39 AM:

I finish without a story.

Pictured: My face during all of this.
                                                                  Pictured: My face during all of this.

CAMPUS, 12:42 AM:

Further thoughts – who makes hot chocolate for vending machines? There’s a story. But no good leads, just that crummy vending machine. The kind of interview you’d only run if you were desperate.

CAMPUS, 12:45 AM:

I double checked, and there are no secret notes tucked behind the machine or anything. It is definitely just a vending machine.

CAMPUS, 12:46 AM:

Actually, wait. Who makes vending machines?

PERTH, 01.30 AM:

I have traveled into the city, this urban pit of moral decay, to increase my chances of finding a story. I’m on the pulse, in the centre: this is the source, this is where it’s going down. I can feel it.

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                                                          Pictured: a collage representing the evening.

PERTH, 01.33 AM:

There is nothing going down.

PERTH, 01.36 AM:

I thought I saw a man running for his life, but it turned out he was just jogging.

PERTH, 01.37 AM:

Further thoughts: why would somebody go jogging this late at night? What are night joggers running from?
Troubled pasts? The truth? Justice? I’m sensing a story coming on.
Yes, I think this will work: “Shady Midnight Joggers Invade Perth.”
No.
“Midnight Prowlers Pounce On Perth.”
Yeah, that’s good.
I’m definitely going to have to think about this while I try to find an interview.

PERTH, 02.00 AM:

Oh hey, holy fuck – unleaded is like a dollar. That’s such cheap petrol! Hey – who controls the petrol prices? A story! That’s a st – no wait, that’s already a thing. Fuck. This is fuckin’ hard.

PERTH, 02.30 AM:

This entire idea was bad. What an awful premise. I’m going home.

PERTH, 04.30 AM:

Fell asleep in my car. Woke up to the sound of cyclists. Everywhere, cyclists. Probably newsworthy but I don’t give a shit anymore. I’m just gonna’ be a dishwasher. Out.

Hey you, get out of the middle of the fuckin’ road.

Pictured: Perth CBD at 4.30 AM
                                                                         Pictured: Perth CBD at 4.30 AM