The secret diary of . . . David Shearer

STEVE BRAUNIAS
Last updated 05:00 25/08/2013
DAVID SHEARER
ROBERT CHARLES
DEAR DIARY: Labour's ex-leader, David Shearer.

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MONDAY

Woke up with a splitting headache. It was so bad that I could barely breathe. It brought on a panic attack. I felt trapped, like a giant weight was pressing down on my chest.

Opened my eyes and saw Labour's deputy leader Grant Robertson sitting on my chest.

He was swinging his little legs and talking on the phone.

"Leadership struggle?", he said, "what leadership struggle?"

He caught my eye, and put his free hand over my mouth.

He said, "Believe me, David's not putting up any kind of struggle."

I blacked out.

When I regained consciousness, I got out of bed and searched for a packet of Panadol in the medicine cupboard. I went to the sink to fill a glass with water but I felt my legs go from under me, as though someone had tripped me up.

I fell and hit my head.

Someone began walking over my back. I twisted my head around, and saw that it was David Cunliffe.

He was on the phone. He laughed, and said, "Leadership struggle? No, no. That would be beneath me."

TUESDAY

Woke up with a headache pounding in my ears. It was so bad that I could barely think. The volume and the agony scrambled my mind, turned it into mush, like a kind of porridge.

As such, I came up with the idea of taking a couple of snapper into the debating chamber.

I held them up to ridicule the Prime Minister.

I wasn't entirely sure that it worked.

"No, it was good, don't worry about," he said, when we met afterwards in private.

He picked up the bottle, and said, "Top-up?"

I held out my glass. He poured in a good measure, and I said, "I really enjoy these little chats."

He took a couple of cigars from his breast pocket. We sat and smoked in silence for a while.

I said, "You won't tell anyone about us meeting like this, will you?"

"Of course not," he said. "Trust me."

WEDNESDAY

Woke up with a blinding headache. It was so bad that I could barely stand. I remembered we had a caucus breakfast at a downtown cafe, so I phoned Grant and asked him to pick me up.

He said, "You can rely on my support."

He never showed. I had to drag myself there.

I sat next to him. He didn't look up, just shoved the last of his bacon and eggs into his mouth. I asked for bacon and eggs, too, and a cup of tea. When they arrived, Grant grabbed my plate, and said, "Seconds. Yum!"

No-one was talking, but the noise was deafening.

Grant's knife and fork clattered on his plate as he sawed at the bacon. David Cunliffe's teaspoon loudly tapped at the edge of his teacup. Andrew Little kept shifting in his chair; the chair legs scraped against the floor. Shane Jones banged the salt and pepper pots on the table. But the biggest racket was being made by Maryan Street. It was the way she walked around the table and hissed like a snake in everyone's ears.

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My headache got worse and worse. Went to bed early, but couldn't sleep. Kept hearing footsteps go past my door, back and forth, someone wearing heels, click-clacking on the wooden floor - I jumped out of bed, threw open the door, but no-one was there.

Went back to bed. The footsteps started up again, and continued throughout the night.

THURSDAY

Quit.

FRIDAY

Woke up with a song in my heart.

Grabbed the guitar, and happy chords sprang from my fingers.

Then I grabbed the surfboard, lashed it to the roof of the car, drove to the beach, and hit the waves.

Drove home feeling like a million dollars.

Parked the car and was chatting to one of the neighbours when he said, "How's Helen Clark?"

I said, "Dunno. Haven't seen her in ages."

He said, "Really? I got home late a couple of nights ago, and could swear I saw her through the window of your house. She was pacing up and down."

- Sunday Star Times

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