The birds hinted to you first, with their cluelessness. A simple enough scene: the peripatetic school, a circuit. Locus: an abstract sculpture that looks like a Christmas tree, if it were a bonsai, between the museum and exhibition centre – a distance of 100 metres.
You don’t move through them, because they are a function of the knowledge they needn’t have ever been there. Can you say the same? Opposed to your gait, they burst like shots out of the grass. Three fly to the top of the nearby wattle. One flies in the direction of Lygon, another to apartment blocks you’ve named the Kafka Buildings, because you can imagine the whole of the Trial taking place on the balconies. Children hover behind you with grinning teeth, rapacious and still. Another flies to the exhibition building, another the museum. They’ve formed a pentagon around you, a model of their earlier shape, but as full as the sky, inalienable. The wind, the lift of their feathers, the coos and dyspnoea. Several ideas occur to you.
You suspect they’re trying to inflate themselves, like bullfrogs, or a rice pudding. Is it a response, to frighten you away with something that doesn’t exist? But how would they know your deliberation? You think of laughing inwards, before walking on and saying ‘silly’, before thinking – one way or the other, or just through failure to observe – they have achieved their purpose.