“The elites are taking over,” the man told me as we stood in line together at the coffee shop. He had a common and sensible face, the sort of bloke who I could instantly see was, like myself, a graduate with honours summa cum dilligaf from the School of Hard Knocks.
He was gesturing at the paper on the table nearby; a fifteen-page spread from an everyday multinational media conglomerate explaining how one of their columnists had been fired simply for being racist to a child. “See that? They’re taking over,” he repeated.
“That’s the elites for you,” I agreed. “They think they’re better than us.”
The TV on the wall was interviewing a billionaire CEO on the morning news. “The elites – now the thing about these people is – they’re everywhere,” he was saying. “They’re taking over everything.” The millionaire talking head news anchor whose face I had seen on a thousand billboards nodded, exactly in the way that I would have nodded, and I knew that he was my friend as well, and I was worried, because he was worried.
“No one is safe.”
My new friend from the coffee shop took a long, down-to-earth slug of his flat white, and I was reassured to see that he did it in a normal way, not an elite sort of way, like the way someone might drink a soy latte. “You won’t be able to get coffee like this once the elites have finished taking over,” he said.
A silent understanding passed between us. We turned as one to scrutinise our barista, who had a suspiciously elite amount of piercings and hair dye. Were they one of the elites? Did they think they were better than us? “They are everywhere,” I mused aloud.
“And they are taking over,” my new friend reminded me. Our eyes narrowed.
As we prepared to (easily) physically overpower this ivory tower egghead, the manager intervened. “Why do you want to destroy the dairy industry?!” he shouted at the barista, who broke down crying in a fragile yet curiously snobbish way.
“You’re the one who wanted the elitist flexibility to pick and choose your shifts through casual employment, and now I’m using it to fire you!” he screamed. Our would-be overlord bawled their way out of the building and out of their employment contract, sobbing in a gender non-conforming fashion which disgusted me.
The manager shook our hands and, by way of apology, invited us to a free muffin at any of his other six chain cafes in the CBD. Another battler, and a true ally against the elites.
I said my goodbyes to my new friend and walked back to where I had parked my spotlessly working-class SUV, taken on a rare outing from its garage in my six bedroom house near the waterfront – a normal house that I was fairly confident an everyday Australian would live in, if I was to look into the matter further.
Remembering the warning words of my friend the CEO on television, I looked under the hood and in the wheel arches to see if any elites were hiding there, seeking somewhere warm and dry. Although I couldn’t find any, I still couldn’t relax as I drove the three minutes down the road to my $480,000 a year management job – my mind racing with all the ways that the elites were controlling my life and influencing my actions.
My manager immediately spotted that something was wrong. Growing up next door to each other and going to the same private school meant he was very sensitive to my moods – one of the reasons we worked so well together after I was hired based on merit. “It’s the elites,” I told him, and he nodded sadly.
“I’ve been reading a book about them,” he explained. “It’s called The Elites Tried To Stop Me Publishing This Book. It’s the sequel to I’m Not Allowed To Publish This Book Because Of The Elites. There’s also a podcast and a Netflix special, if you’re interested.”
I was interested – very interested, actually – but right now I was on the verge of panic. “Listen, I think I need to take some time off,” I said. “Just to clear my head. Maybe a couple of months. Would that be okay?”
“Of course, mate,” he said. “Take all the time you need. Your job will be here when you get back.”
A couple of weeks at the ski fields, getting back among real, average Australians – that would be just what I needed. I began to relax as I drove home, listening to the podcast my manager recommended. It really was inspirational, hearing how the elites had tried and failed to stop this man from publishing his seventh book. “They can be beaten,” the voice urged me. “We still have time to stop the takeover.”
I nodded to myself. He was right – with a bit of work, any one of us could have a sold out national stand up tour.
Everything was going to be okay.