The secret diary of...John Palino

STEVE BRAUNIAS
Last updated 05:00 27/10/2013

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OPINION: MONDAY

What you see with John Palino is what you get. There's no sides with me. I'm transparent. It's amazing how many people can see straight through me.

People come up to me all the time, grab my sleeve, and say, "John, you should have been elected mayor of Auckland. I hate that other guy. He's a homewrecker. Whereas you're beyond reproach."

I pat them on the head, and say, "I hear you. I don't play politics; at the end of the day, I'm just a normal guy."

Take the end of the day yesterday. I was minding my own business when the phone rang. It was about 4am. I picked up, and it was John Key. He didn't sound happy. He said, "Let's meet." I said, "Where?" He said, "The usual."

I drove to an underground carpark in downtown Auckland. It goes down 10 levels. But there's actually a secret eleventh level. It's dark, and damp, with a low ceiling.

Key was already there. I knew it was him because of the red glow from his cigarette.

I parked, got out of my car, and said, "Ow." I heard his footsteps in the dark.

They got closer, and he said, "You alright?" I said, "Forgot to crouch. Hit my head."

He said, "You're kind of careless about a lot of things, aren't you?" I said, "I don't know what you're talking about."

He said, "Listen. We don't want any more surprises. And we don't want anything that leads back to us. Understand?" I said, "I don't know what you're talking about."

His cigarette butt hissed in a pool of water. He lit another one. The thin line of his mouth was set into a scowl.

He blew out the match, and said, "OK. Keep acting dumb. It works." I straightened up, and said, "Ow."

He drove off. I drove home, went back to bed, and slept like a baby. Just another day in the life of good old John Palino!

TUESDAY

The phone rang last night at 4am. I picked up, and said, "Prime Minister?" The voice said, "As a matter of fact, I was Prime Minister of Sweden once, or was it Brazil? Check my CV. It's all there."

It was my trusted adviser, Luigi Wewege.

He didn't sound happy. He said, "Let's meet." I said, "Where?" He said, "The usual."

I drove to an underground carpark in downtown Auckland. It goes down about a thousand levels.

Luigi was already there. It's his office.

He said, "People are making fun of me." I said, "Oh, that's hilarious!" He said, "What is?" I said, "The mock photo on your T-shirt showing you with your arm around Nelson Mandela!"

He said, "He happens to be a very good friend of mine. We were in jail together on Robben Island." I said, "What were you doing there?"

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He said, "Well, I'm black. Can't you see?" Just another day in the life of good old John Palino!

WEDNESDAY

The phone rang last night at 4am. It was my campaign manager, John Slater. We met at his office.

I said, "This looks a lot like Luigi's office." He said, "I don't know what you're talking about."

Just another day in the life of good old John Palino!

THURSDAY

The media rang all day wanting a comment about the extent of my involvement in the Len Brown affair.

Put a pillow over my head. Stuck my fingers in my ears.

Crawled under the house, through a sewer, and came out at a carpark in Mission Bay, where I had a swim but for some reason just couldn't wash away the smell.

Just another day in the life of good old John Palino!

FRIDAY

The phone stopped ringing. There weren't any texts or emails. It's as though everyone has moved on.

Oh well. I'm confident that history will remember the brief political life of good old John Palino!

Steve Braunias is a Metro staff writer

- Sunday Star Times

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