I wondered why he had a security system in his shed and not his home, but then I knew nothing was worth stealing back at the ‘cafe.’ It was a big shed; perhaps he was a collector of some sort, I thought. He had shut the door quickly behind him and so I waited, tasting the quiet of the bush. I noticed artificial light suddenly breaking through the windows which were high up above the door. I took a few steps to either side of the building, and sure enough there were plenty of windows high up on both flanks. I suddenly had the feeling that could only be experienced as a combination of unreality and congruence. In other words, this situation had a ‘rightness’ about it but at the same time it was not ‘normal.’ As I heard sounds of something being dragged across the floor coming from inside the shed I tried to think of other times when I had felt this. There was only one time that stood out: skinny-dipping for the first time when I was sixteen with a group of friends. In that moment I sensed how bodies affect us through the lens of context – skinny dipping was non-sexual, though it was sensual. I looked down at my own body, or what I could see of it, as I heard a clatter followed by an exclamation of “Christ!”
“Are you all right?” I yelled.
The double doors opened and he motioned for me to come in. At first I couldn’t make out what I was seeing. I was like an alien deposited in the middle of a big city, or, as I thought later, chuckling to myself, a native New Guinea highlander deposited into an Amway conference. Trees greeted my perception initially, yet I knew they weren’t real. I didn’t know what they were made from but as I slowly moved into the interior of the building I noticed something more: a picnic table in the midst of the trees and beyond that, a machine, which as I walked closer took on the familiar form of a claw vending machine. I moved my head around and looked at Jack who was smiling at me as if he was a parent initiating a child into the wonders of the written word. “It’s a combination of Lego and found materials,” he said simply.
There was an eight-foot-high Perspex border to the scene and a small opening to the left. I walked through the opening to the nearest tree and noticed a hole in it – about halfway up its eight-foot length. The tree itself was made of a blend of materials. The trunk was constructed from orange and red Lego blocks, the branches were made from what appeared to be old coat-hangers strung out into various shapes, and in parts burned until blackened. The foliage was green plastic… garbage bag plastic. Little Lego men were skewered onto the end of some of the metal branches. I walked around the tree looking at these figures, hovering just above my eye height. They were variously ‘dressed’ in their Lego uniforms and hats. Their faces and limbs had melted into various disconcerting gargoyle-like shapes, but as I walked around I noticed a small number of figures that weren’t skewered but hanging from the branches, floating aloft over the table, and all were garbed with the same uniform. I halted and lightly touched the one nearby; it was like half a dozen others – a fireman – whole and smiling.
In all there were four trees laid out around a blue picnic table, which had been overlaid with a layer of Lego which appeared to shine. I looked closer and found that the blocks had been lacquered. Attached to the table at various points were half-burnt photos of people, none of whom could be made out. I noticed as I studied these, walking around the table, that one of the trees had a hole in its side; the side facing obliquely away from the table. I walked over and peered in. It was lit with a small light and in front of the light was a tiny model firetruck. I soon discovered every one of the trees had a small hole. I went over to the next one like a small child at Christmas. Here I discovered no light but luminous letters, which cried out, “And they will be cast into the lake of fire.”