These two pieces were written for the Six Sentence Challenge, with the prompt word of ‘labyrinth’. There is a tenuous connection between them for the eagle-eyed but I hope they can each stand alone, even though they’re together. 😉
Before entering the labyrinth
In 1958, Maxwell Stuart, an Indigenous man was arrested for the murder of a nine-year-old white girl in the remote South Australian town of Ceduna.
Stuart was found guilty and sentenced to be hanged, a decision that was upheld on two appeals and a subsequent Royal Commission investigation, headed by the same Judge who had originally convicted Stuart.
On death row, Stuart met a Catholic priest, who was the first to ask questions about the ‘confession’ beaten out of him by the Police and this pricked the interest of the editor of the Adelaide News.
The News began featuring explosive stories unfolding new details of the case showing that Stuart couldn’t possibly have been guilty, sparking a huge increase in the paper’s circulation, and the newspaper heavily funded a campaign against the death penalty, targeting then South Australian Premier, Thomas Playford, who eventually, reluctantly, commuted Stuart’s penalty to life imprisonment.
After 11 years in jail and decades of parole, Stuart went on to lead a second life as a respected tribal Arrente man, welcoming the Queen to Alice Springs on at least one occasion.
That crusading Editor of the Adelaide News was Rupert Murdoch.
Location: Lab, Yrinth
I was in my lab in Yrinth (the lesser known sister city to Corinth), being interviewed by Cosimo Politanous, the alleged ‘science writer’ from the Yrinth Truth, a tabloid in the Murdokipedes media empire.
Having hastily signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement, Cosimo feigned the ignorance of the innocent enquirer and asked, “Is it possible, through your work on the hidden pathways of the brain, to navigate to the source of a lie and, if so, is it possible to remove that source, so that no further lies can be generated?”
Not fooled for a moment, I poured him a glass of my best ouzo and jested “If you are asking ‘are we on the verge of a brain-based version of Google Maps?’ then the answer has to be ‘no’; we are still in the realms of mud maps, a concept with which your newspaper is no doubt familiar.’
Cosimo was nothing if not nimble and, hoping to catch me off guard, said “So the rumours that you are on the verge of being able to re-write the labyrinthine brain circuits of conspiracy theorists, politicians and climate deniers for the benefit of society are untrue?”
I stood to indicate the interview was over and Cosimo sighed, downed his ouzo in one gulp, put away his notebook, and then suddenly pitched face forward onto my lab bench.
I picked up the phone, called my assistant, Melina Megastarkis, and said ‘Doctor, I have the newest volunteer for your research, complete with his signed consent form.’