Mobilisation of the Philosophers

Valquez:          Have you seen this?

Samely:           The paper?

Valquez:          Have you read it?

Samely:           I… yes, I..

Valquez:          Wondered if you’d seen it.

Samely:            I suppose so.

Valquez:          Ah.

Samely:            I suppose that’s why they called us up.

Valquez:          Called you up? You’re… you’re in the reserve?

Samely:            No, philosophy. Philosopher.

Valquez:          Then there’s a mobilisation? I would have thought.. I mean.. sorry.

Samely:             No, you see, it’s.. I got a letter yesterday..  (gets the letter out of his pocket.) We all did, in the department. At the university.

Valquez:          I haven’t had any word. Any letters.

Samely:             It seemed to be all right,  I mean there were the ads on the television..

Valquez:          I’ve been away.

Samely:            I suppose I mean in a way were were all slightly pleasantly surprised. I mean, not to blow ones own.. well at least they’ve made the right decision in calling a few of the people who are really.. passionate about the science involved whatever the science is involved. And not just medical men.  And with the advertisements on the television it was  really rather flattering.. I mean you must have seen the one..

Valquez:          (Who hasn’t been listening, reading the letter)  I’ve only just  got back.

Samely:            You’ve come back now?

Valquez:          The Interim Commonwealth Government duly requests the benefit of your academic expertise in the service of the nation in a time of dire crisis… what? (looks up – pause) I.. I’ve come back to get someone.

Samely:            But it’s all been happening so quickly, how could you..

Valquez:          So what do you think of all this?

Samely:          What do I think? It’s all very distressing, I suppose. Still, as many have been saying, perhaps it’s long overdue. Perhaps it’s nature finally redressing the balance. Not very scientific, I’m afraid. After all, I’m a metaphysician. Still, as  a linguist friend of mine put it, whatever the properties of the malaise, it cannot help but yield to prolonged scientific enquiry. And they’ve called us all up, across departments, so this is big..

Valquez:          No, I mean how do you like the paper?

Samely:            The.. I suppose it’s much the same as the others.

Valquez:          Hah! I think I can take that as a good review.

Samely:            I’m sorry, you’ve..

Valquez:          I’m Valquez.

Samely:            Worthing. Samely Worthing.

Valquez:          Worthing, I’m going to tell you something because I’m drunk. I wrote that.

Samely:            You’re drunk?

Valquez:          Did the whole thing myself months ago. Headlines, layout, articles, all of it.

Samely:            Then you’re a.. a journalist..

Valquez:          No, I’m in marketing. Was in marketing. Well, public relations. No, more marketing.

Samely:            But all these articles have different people’s names on them..

Valquez:          So they’re calling up academics are they? For the good of the nation.

Samely:            A sort of thinktank, I suppose. Pooling the greatest intellect..

FX:                    TRAIN SLOWS DOWN TO STOP.

Valquez:          Going on?

Samely:            Swanston street. For the bus.

FX:                     DOORS HISS OPEN .

Valquez:          Well it was good to meet you Worthing. I don’t suppose I could convince you to get off and jump on a train going the other way?

Samely:           Not really. Thanks all the same. It’s an – an odd request.

Valquez:          All right then. (Opens door and goes off.)


VO:                 Good evening and welcome to the city of Melbourne.  Military and police bodies please make your way to the exits on your left. Transit passengers you will be escorted by the staff dressed in blue to the transit lounge. Please refrain from attempting  at any time to leave your carraige group. Returning citizens and  visitors to the city please prepare your documentation and advance upon the booths situated at the southern end of the building. On behalf of the Interim Government welcome to Melbourne, and it is hoped that you enjoy your stay. If there’s anything we can do to make your time here more comfortable, please approach a uniformed officer, or if you begin to feel symptoms of some non-specific malaise.

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