Isobelle Carmody Award
for Creative Writing
Highly Commended &
Winner or Highly
‘The Building stands on no moral ground. Our righteous strength shall bring
This quote was scrawled on a whiteboard propped up against the
back wall of Wallace Samuel’s garage. Wallace believed he was not
like ordinary men; he was a strong ginger leader in the eyes of God.
He had a mission. He had gathered together a following of fierce
activists, luring them in with the promise of a brighter future, and
together, they would destroy
. It would crumble beneath
the weight of their weapons and the red-hot fury of Wallace and his
organisation: The RAAF.
Several people tried to explain to him that the acronym ‘RAAF’
was already taken. Now, Wallace had this endearing quality that
enabled him to offend almost everyone he met. He argued loudly
and continuously that even though redheads were among the most
discriminated group of people in Australia, the recessive red-haired
gene was directly linked to superior intelligence. Therefore, anybody
debating his views was in the wrong.
It went downhill for him from there.
Some days he’d come home from the pub or even the supermarket
with bruises smudging his jaw. Eventually his parents just didn’t ask.
However, his warriors never questioned. The faith they had in his
saint-like halo of red was unbreakable. Or at least, they agreed with
some of his views.
At first, one might think the RAAF meetings were composed of
completely harmless and docile people who didn’t mind being
nicknamed ‘Ranga.’ But one should think again. These redheads
were sick and tired of the nicknames. They were soldiers, of different
ages and genders and backgrounds, but brought together by a fiery
passion for justice.
Fortnightly, Wallace cleared out the garage, which actually
belonged to his parents’, as did the house he still lived in, and set up
a forum of plastic chairs and light snacks. A quote was always in the
background of meetings, usually related to
Wallace was a pretentious, ego-driven fool, the quotes were usually
some rhyme he’d thought of himself and deemed quotable enough
for the meetings. His quotes often were suspiciously similar to
Nelson Mandela’s words, but the last person who pointed this out
was expelled, by Wallace, from the RAAF, on the grounds they