WHO WOULD WIN IN A FIGHT?* (by Chris Knight)

*(A Hypothetical Scenario—in which inanimate objects are judged not solely on their merits, but rather on their fighting skills.)

Episode 1: The Rundle Mall Balls Versus The Rundle Lantern

The police have placed barricades at Gawler Place and Frome Street. The shoppers have been evacuated and the helicopters are circling. This has never happened before, but the city officials are handling the odd circumstance very well indeed. An enormous crowd is gathering at the barricaded areas, excited and rowdy. Some of them are drunk, and the police are doing their best to control them. It’s the only aspect of this showdown they are able to control.

A number of bets have already been laid on the outcome, but since inanimate public artworks are not known to come to life and fight, there are no clear precedents to calculate an outcome. The Balls (officially ‘The Spheres’) are 35 years old; the Rundle Lantern only 6. Will youth and solar power be a factor? Will stainless steel win out in the end?

It is now high noon, the agreed-upon time for the battle. The Lantern slips gracefully down in front of Hungry Jack’s and waddles across the road. The Balls tilt sideways and roll down the mall, smashing a few shop-fronts. They face each other outside McDonald’s, the Lantern looming tall and flashing orange, red and yellow: danger colours. The Balls don’t move.

Suddenly a few panels turn black and detach, sparks arcing down on the bricks. They fly straight and true, and it is a direct hit to the centre of the Balls, which roll backwards a few hundred metres. More panels pull apart and fly in formation to their target. Taking first blood has filled the Lantern with confidence. The Balls don’t move from their position, but start to revolve, at first slow and then faster and faster. By the time the panels have reached them, the Balls are spinning fast enough to knock them flying, embedding them firmly in masonry and pavement.

The spinning motion continues and the Balls begin levitating higher and higher. The Lantern forms eyes and a mouth. Cables lash out to electrocute, tentacle-like, but the balls are moving too quickly for a firm grasp. Still, the Balls take a few shots that would have to hurt, as they smash repeatedly into panel after panel.

Jagged chunks of Lantern panels are now protruding from the Mall’s Balls but very little of the Lantern is left standing. The support structure with its remaining light fixtures begins to back away. Youth and vigour seem to be no match for the raw power of these giant metallic Balls as they show no mercy. Charred and dented as they are, the Balls pound the Lantern into submission for around fifteen minutes before rolling back down the mall to stand triumphant once more.

With very little controversy, the Rundle Mall Balls are declared the undisputed champion, and life in Adelaide city centre can return to normal.

Four hundred and three people are dead.

(By Chris Knight)

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