1997 and the entrance to Kings Cross was roped off, causing Arthur to make a detour and get to the In Your Face Café via another street. Two Asian gangs had had a shoot-out at the Fishbowl Hotel, killing one and wounding four. Three days previously, Arthur had walked right into an armed hold-up in progress on Oxford Street, Darlinghurst, the robbers’ lookout man taking a punch at some cops as they questioned him. Arthur had to duck as the punch flew above his head, then cops and robbers ran in all directions, with everybody else rubber-necking the torrid scene.
There’s a good reason for the contemporary popularity of zombie and vampire movies: they clearly portray the zeitgeist of the times, many people tearing the skin off others’ backs for a living. Thinking of all the artists, bureaucrats, entrepreneurs, cops, junkies and salesmen he’d ever had dealings with, Arthur felt six out of seven of them ripped, blocked, abused, trampled or screwed him. It was a fact of modern life, especially in the big city, ruthless competition the name of the game. It was survival of the fittest, make that ‘the nastiest’; not made for this world, he was lucky to hang onto his sanity, just.