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The Hobbit, Hebdo, and NBA Jam

The Amber Fresh Chronicles

The Hobbit, Hebdo, and NBA Jam

Andrew Ryan

hey.

well i had this tradition, started two years ago, of going to the hobbit at the movies with a babe around new year’s. first it was cam: i put popcorn in his pants to passive-aggressively say ‘what about our friendship?’. then it was lockie who held hands with me and made a good Christmas mixtape and then got over it. this year i went on tinder for two hours to try and get the trifecta but the most appealing being was a dog with a good sense of humour but i can’t even remember his name. so i went with my old housemate who i’ve told you before has seen angels. and like everyone who knows her knows, if she said it happened, it really happened.

last night i went to the house of my friends who got half a million dollars from friends and strangers to buy a place for themselves and refugees to live. there was NBA jam on the nintendo 64, paused, and i played a game not on n64 with the visiting americans of ‘guess the occupation’. i magically guessed correctly for them – teacher and engineer, and they created for me a wonderful job where i organised the plants in enclosures of a zoo. they’re brother and sister and they travelled across the world together, in harmony, to learn a new way to live in a way that streaks forward in our existence, i guess, bringing harmony purposefully. i guess they are like the race from avatar, just real. the other day loren described mei saraswati as ‘aggressively peaceful’, and i liked it. this is what’s happening around me through some heroes, they’re carving a path into the future that’s based on peace, service and ‘aggressive’ friendship. it sounds ugly when i say it like that, but it’s the most beautiful thing, hands down.

i had an aggressive friend in paris. he’d make me cry sometimes, but i was aggressively friendly back to him because i knew he had hardly anyone. i wrote to him after the people were all shot the other day, because he has brown skin, a muslim heart and soul, brown eyes, dark hair, sometimes goes to mosque. he wrote a strong and tender treatise back, all about peace and all about how this is only bringing people together. he told me: “So today, even if we are sad, we are sad but ‘together’. The day that this thing happened was tuff Ambi, I mean it’s like taking a punch from Tyson, and the feeling that you have from that won’t let you go for hours.” he never mentioned anything about anyone mocking what is closest to him. he’s frustrated with meaningless jobs and just wants to help poor people like his passed away mother i never met except through his tearful words.

so yes, the hobbit – i cried again, and so did my old housemate beside me, tears streaming down our cheeks, for the elves, the dwarves, the hobbits, the birds, the land. i imagined the man in his room in the blue mountains making the sounds of bodies being cut into by swords, the sounds of orcs screaming in hatred, and tears poured down my cheeks for this one thing – the battle of good and evil is real and raging through the flesh of mums and dads and sons and daughters and friends, all over the world. i’m not trying to be dramatic, the drama is all around, all the bloody time.

at the same time, sometimes in a state of something higher i can see and feel what is going on in the universe. and all i know is that ‘good’ will win because it’s stronger. and what is good? plants, friendship, healing, forgiveness, salt water. there are no orcs, everything and every being has the possibility of redemption.

another time i was at that house the afghan family from next door were over, and we all ended up playing ‘the chocolate game’ on the lounge room floor where you roll a six, dress up in clothes from the middle, and then try to eat as much chocolate as you can with a knife and fork before someone else rolls a six. i guess this is the way the world goes, the way the empires prosper and crumble, with someone putting on a silly hat and robe for their turn to eat as much as they can until the six falls to someone else. the way we play it though, even though it’s based on luck everyone gets a turn and there’s just laughing all the way through, no swords.

the youngest of the boys didn’t play but told a story that night, a long story about a mother losing her child at a supermarket and the child being found and then another woman coming to claim the kid as well, and then the shopkeeper says “well, we’ll carve the kid in half, and then you can both have part”. the ‘clever’ idea is that whoever is the real mother will make the biggest plea for it not to happen. the boy told it as if it was a real story, or a real story that was meant to be a long anecdote joke, but i knew it as a story from the bible. the boy set it in indonesia where they’d lived for years before getting here, waiting. i still think about it, this teenager telling that story with a clever smile, a teenager in another country, not playing the chocolate game but telling this story of two mothers and a child about to get chopped in half at the shops to flush out the fake mum.