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Adventures of a Girl Reporter, Australia, Observations, Satire, Social Media, Twitter Tales

Ballad of the #HuntforHajnal

Introducing @ebonycavallero as Clancy of the Overflow and @PaulTully as the Man from Snowy River. Featuring @alisonsandy @brookebaskin @MScanlan7 @SydWalker @sophie_walsh9 @funkii @fearlesslyfrank @SalPiracha @glengyron as a Posse. And starring @Can_do_Campbell as a Dark Stranger.

It all began when a Beenleigh magistrate issued an arrest warrant for Logan City Councillor Hajnal Black when she failed to appear at a court hearing.

Hajnal just had time to call the charges against her “trumped up,” “baseless” and “lunacy” and the Beenleigh Magistrates Court a “kangaroo court” before going on the lam.

Arrest warrant issued as Hajnal Black storms out of Beenleigh Magistrates Court  

Police hunt rogue councillor

Sheriff Twitter rounded up a posse and, six-guns a-blazin’ they rode out on the #HuntforHajnal.

Alison Sandy and Brooke Baskin from the Courier Mail were hot on the chase, sending out the call for everyone to tweet them if they saw her.

Michael Scanlan @MScanlan7 stood watch on the house, tweeting back to base at @7NewsBrisbane that all was quiet, with no sign of the fugitive.

There were calls for @QPSMedia to launch the Gold Coast helicopter and try and spot her from the air, but they stayed quiet, probably figuring they were doing just fine on their own.

Twitter was running hot with possible sightings. @SydWalker thought he spotted her with Campbell Newman (the real one). The sighting was not confirmed.

Back at the house, @sophie_walsh9 voiced the question on everyone’s lips: “Where in the world is Hajnal Black?”

Just when it seemed the trail had gone cold, a friend of the fugitive dropped by. Had the elusive Hajnal been indoors with laryngitis all along?

An answer seemed at hand when Queensland’s Finest arrived at the scene. Unable to find her inside the house, the police left empty handed. It was baffling.

The Posse paused, unsure of the next move, when Cath Phipps @funkii reported a sighting of Hajnal’s husband Sean as he left Logan Village. Was he on his way back home?

Alison Sandy headed over to the courthouse but the hanging judge was drunk – sorry, wrong legend – that was Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts, by Bob Dylan

Alison Sandy headed over to the courthouse where they said they’d seen neither hide nor hair of the glamorous Desperada since she’d made her stunning bid for freedom.

Speculation was running rife. @fearlesslyfrank pondered, “When the police went into Hajnal’s house, was Sean standing facing the corner and counting down from 100?”

It was a good question, but perhaps not terribly pertinent to the urgent task at hand. With every passing minute, was La Desperada just getting further away?

The old man gave his orders, “Boys, go at her from the jump,

No use to try for fancy riding now.

And @ebonycavallaro, you must wheel her, try and wheel her to the right.

Ride boldly, lass, and never fear the spills,

For never yet was rider that could keep the girl in sight,

If once she gains the shelter of those hills.”

Back at base, Scanlan had the latest. Sean had just arrived at the house and gone inside.

And a huge bunch of flowers had turned up. Were they black dahlias?

Scanlan didn’t say.

The mystery admirer was soon identified by @SalPiracha as the Fake Campbell Newman, @Can_do_Campbell, a shadowy figure who lurks the streets of Deadwood.

No-one knows which side he’s on, but we’re pretty sure he doesn’t like Campbell Newman.

What was his game? Was the source even credible?

Gathered around the campfire, the Posse’s thoughts turned to happier times. @glengyron remembered when La Desperada and her Diamond Jim had stood together and declared their love before the world. “The wedding was big. Clive Palmer was there. Barnaby was the MC.”

Barnaby and Clive, it really is like a Western.

The reverie was broken with a flash report from Sophie Walsh. Sean was on the move. But where was he headed?

Maybe he’d heard the news which had just flashed across Twitter. The Fake Campbell Newman had admitted to being the dark stranger bearing flowers to La Desperada.

Was Sean out for vengeance? Or had he just run out of milk?

Scanlan didn’t say.

As speculation mounted, Sean issued a statement.

“Today confirms Labor’s interference with Judicial processes,” he announced on his blog

The Fake Campbell Newman continued to play his own game, a dashing Jack of Hearts with an eye for a gutsy woman, but was he drinking in the Last Chance Saloon when he threw out a challenge to Sean in the hour of his despair?

“If it were my woman,” he tweeted with a twang. “I’d a bin mighty worried about where she’d got to by now.” Or something like that.

The Posse held its breath. La Desperada’s man was silent.

It seemed hopeless. Which way now?

An unearthly hush fell over Twitter. Maybe it was time for a volunteer to go in and try and flush the vixen out. But who?

Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Shuffling forward from the back, where he’d been waiting, unobserved, was Cr Paul Tully sitting on something like a racehorse, undersized.

“I’ll do it,” he said.

“I’ll go in and ask her to give herself up. She’ll listen to me.” Or something like that.

But his appeal fell on deaf ears. Somewhere, a dingo howled.

A cloud of dust rose up and out of it came La Cavallaro with news. Sean had spoken.

“He says she’s safe and working on her legal appeal.”

A sigh of relief went through the Posse. But the big question remained unanswered: Where in the world was Hajnal Black?

Long and many were the days they searched for her. But of all those who went out, how many came back?

Finally, when it seemed all hope was lost, a cloud of dust rose up and came towards the waiting crowd.

Out of it, weary but unbroken, rode La Cavallaro. She slid from her horse and, with the last of her strength, whispered the news: Logan councillor Hajnal Black arrested and due in court shortly.

But her hardy mountain pony he could scarcely raise a trot,

He was blood from hip to shoulder from the spur;

But his pluck was still undaunted, and his courage fiery hot,

For never yet was mountain horse a cur.

And down in Garden City, where the shopping towers raise

Their torn and rugged battlements on high,

Where the air won’t kill you this year and no koalas graze

At midnight ‘gainst the cold and frosty sky.

And where around Old Greenbank the reed beds sweep and sway

To the breezes, and the rolling plains are wide.

La Ebony Cavallero is a household word today.

And Twitter tells the story of her ride.

With respectful apologies to Bob Dylan and the great Banjo, A.B. Paterson (1864-1941).

Read The Man from Snowy River

© Sally Baxter 2012
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About Sally Baxter

Once I was a girl reporter. Now I'm an interested observer covering the past, present and future of journalism and whatever else takes my fancy. All views my own.

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