Shane Jones: A Two-Pack Habit and a Motel Tan
One quickly tires of caucus meetings these days.
All this impotent chatter has grown wearisome. Close my eyes, lie my head back, let the endless words echo around the room, over my forehead, out the window.
Seven past ten. The clock must surely have stopped.
Doze again for an hour. Twelve past ten. Enough.
Clear the throat, rise to my feet, launch into an oration about fishing rights and satire, then say: “Have to see a man about a quota.”
Stroll out into the corridor. Quick head count: two TV, five radio, the one in the disco pants. That’ll do.
Pretend to be too preoccupied to break my stride then stop to answer the question: “Trouble, Shane? Or did you just forget to set the VCR?”
I give them a cryptic smile and say: “I prefer live sport. Have you ever seen a Green hanging off a railing?”
Half a minute later I’ve got Norman upside down and waving his arms in the air like an upended turtle. I say to the cameramen: “Got enough yet?”
RNZ reporter asks: “Won’t you be in trouble with caucus for this?”
I give her a sly wink and ask: “What do you think?”
Keep this up for about half an hour until Norman’s stream of excited Australian invective falls away, then pull him back onto the landing and say to him, “I’d call for an inquiry if I were you.”
Look around the excited faces and ask: “Who wants to come up on the roof?”
Half an hour later, we’ve emptied a $199.99 Earth Shaker box from The Warehouse and fired the last of the rockets at the ninth-floor windows. The reporters are in a state of mild frenzy. Paddy Gower’s eyes are as wide as saucers.
“How about lunch with Winston?” he asks.
“Why not,” I say? “And let’s get Banks and Kim Dotcom along to make it interesting.”
But as one dials, the heavy fog of weariness descends once more. The mind begins to wander again and I notice the curtains gently moving in the breeze in a suite across the road at the Bolton Hotel.
Ten minutes later, I have the curtains drawn and the 50-inch screen flickering. I unwrap my Toblerone and click Play. After a few moments, as the torpor begins to abate and the blood pumps anew, I declare to the room, the hotel and the entire Beltway: “A mighty totara has risen!”
First published in Metro, December 2012. Illustration by Daron Parton.