Heads turned as my good friend the ace reporter Tifftany swirled into the Sheedy Café and strode towards my seat near the window where I had sat after training. I must say her Hugo Boss outfit of a short black (Sammy Davis) leather, belted skirt surmounted by a a black and grey horizontal striped cashmere sweater with black open toed stiletos certainly suited her long blonde hair and regal carriage.
With a twirl to show off her outfit she sat opposite as I signalled for the famous hot chocolate which is the signature drink of the training centre’s menu. When she had settled Tiff opened a folder and pushed across a black and white photo of a tall player in an Essendon jumper showing the number 36. “Denis Scanlon?” I asked trying to remember back into the 70’s when sideboards were long and beards not unknown.
“Yes Jackie and look at this.” A second photo was slid across showing a tall man in a white dust coat holding a test tube.
“Scanlon again?” I asked.
“Yes Jackie Denis came to Essendon in 1976 from Tassie for a record transfer fee and played until 1981 before he went to work in the Chemistry Department at Melbourne Uni.”
“So….?” I asked but in reply Tiffany slid across another photo of a strange building on a wild looking coastline.
“Cape Grim, Tasmania Jackie do you know what happens there?” and when I obviously had no answer she hurried on and said “It’s a secret CSIRO facility which opened in 1976, the same year that Denis came from Tasmania to Melbourne. Its purpose is to collect air samples to measure the composition and changes to the pollution of the atmosphere from winds that sweep in from the Southern Ocean.”
Cape Grim sounded like something out of a bad science fiction/zombie movie but I let her continue.
“The air is collected and stored under pressure in the fuel tanks of old Liberator bombers at the CSIRO facility in Aspendale and we’re going to get some from 1984.”
I wasn’t liking the sound of this but asked the obvious “Why?”
“1984 was the year that this club turned its fortunes around. If I can get a sample of 1984 air Denis, who has never lost his passion for the club, will analyze it and reproduce its exact composition for use in the hyperbaric chamber. This air of” success” will revitalize our players and help win the next flag.
“That’s far fetched to say the least but even if it could work it would face enormous technical problems and be hideously expensive to implement.”
To my surprise Tiffany beckoned to a small Japanese man sitting at the far end of the café.
“Jackie meet Mr. Jujitsu”
As I extended my hand he took it and in a trice twisted it up my back before grinning and saying “In Japan we bow.”
Before I could protest Tiffany hushed me and said “Meet Mr Jujitsu from Fujitsu our air conditioner sponsors. At present air conditioning just means temperature control not changing the composition of the air. If this experiment works they feel they can “condition” the air by changing its composition so that people could order it like fine wine. A “Windy Hill 93” or a dry “Pyranees 2004.” There is so much marketing potential here that they are prepared to fund the exercise and work with Mr. Scanlon to carry this project through.”
You guessed it that night found me in Aspendale outside the gateway to the CSIRO. There was a big gate for vehicles and a smaller side gate for pedestrians guarded by a uniformed indian with a sidearm and a McPhee taser.
The plan was simple Tiffany would distract the guard and I would sneak in and break into the storage facility and decant the air into two balloons – one for 1984 and one for 1985. I would be wearing a wig and women’s clothes. Persons leaving the facility were not searched only those going in. By now you will have guessed what I was going to do with the balloons – yes under my jumper to make two boobs – 1984 and 1985.
How did Tiffany distract the guard? The old broken down car trick outside the gate – once she leaned across the opened bonnet with her low cut blouse the guard was hooked and in I went.
Now I must say that bewitching as she was I thought that my bosom eclipsed hers as I sidled out of the gate and into the darkness and Tiffany when she picked me up thought so too in fact she seemed rather excited by my appearance.
“Don’t get changed Jackie let’s go straight back to my place.”
“What about the air for Mr. Jujitsu?”
“He can wait she said with a grin.”
As we set off into the night I wondered if our plan would work. Could two balloons of eighties air make a difference? Were we breaching ASADA rules? Well only time will tell.