There he is, disembarking the Ghan somewhere near Cook with his cameraperson. The crooked grin, the little peach glasses. He’s carrying off a number of freshly-wrought coffee tables from the open back of a delivery truck. Why? To what purpose? He commences the disassembling of the tables into their various appendages as the cameraperson (vague crop of hair, ambiguous sexual designation) mops the sweat from his or her brow with a pocket handkerchief. Then the flies. What is this place? And what of the people who live there? And what of the people they have displaced? The disk of sun stings down from its fixed position. Denton is deep in the religious practice of his art. On the backs of his arms the small hairs are smouldering. The train of silver chromite carriages is departing the sheep station without him.
We hear rumour of him several weeks later, to the north. Always moving north. More furnishings are removed from their original settings. From points in transit. Displaced. There are reports. The dispatches reach us in severed fragments of paper; subject, verb, object, picked up from the ground, brought to us in small sealed bags, taken out onto the tables, reordered, rearranged. Movement. Momentum. Forward motion. North. Andrew Denton has done away with his hair. We find strands of it spread out over preposterous distances. Ridiculous, absurd distances. We at the tracking station are in a general atmosphere of distress. The bones of the cameraperson have been found in an uninhabited tract of desert and scrub. ‘Polished clean’ is the accompanying descriptor. ‘Unbelievable!’ we shout. We make short-wave announcements over the radio to the other stations. There is another sighting, somewhere in the vicinity of Coober Pedy, moving through subterranean rooms. Tables mysteriously disappear. ‘Describe the tables,’ we ask. ‘The tables,’ they tell us, ‘are unfinished. The tables are of an uncertain, perplexed quality.’ ‘More! More!’ we shout, crowding over one another in attempts to get closer to the mic. ‘The tables,’ they say, inching out the syllables, ‘are moving.’ Screams. Screams and thunder from without. We open the hatch of the mobile tracking station, a transportable shipping container set up on blocks in the red sand. Furious thunderheads gather in close. And over there, just there—that figure, insect-like, moving in determination over the sand, bent into the wind, into the accompanying land features—there, scuttling swiftly away in the intervening distance—