OPINION: Ninth Floor Beehive: John Key sitting behind large desk with Monopoly board laid out before him, fixating on the utilities. Muffled knock on door, enter Iain Rennie, State Services Commissioner.
"Morning Prime Minister."
Key leaps from desk with look of horror on his face. "Who the hell are you and how the hell did you get into my office?"
Rennie rolls eyeballs, puts out his hands in a non-threatening gesture. "Come on, Sir, it's me, Iain Rennie, the State Services Commissioner, remember we met last week."
Key slaps right hand to forehead. "That's right . . . sorry mate, bit of a brain fade. Rennie, that's right. So what are you doing in my office, Iain?"
"Sir, I rang you last week and made an appointment. I'm here to talk about the search for someone to fill the new position."
Key looks nonplussed. "So we talked on the phone last week about a job. Funny, I don't remember that at all. Now if we'd talked on the phone this week about a job, things might be different. But I'm sorry Iain, I've got no recollection. So what job am I going for?"
Rennie laughs sycophantically. "What a jester you are, Boss. No, it's not you going for a job at all, it's that new position we advertised last month, the vacancy we talked about."
Key furrows his brow and looks confused. "Of course we did, remember it well. What was the job description again, Bruce?"
"The name is Iain, sir."
Rennie pulls out a single sheet of A4 from a manila folder and reads: "Applications are invited for the position of Prime Ministerial Memory. Candidates must be prepared to work full or part-time as required. Previous political experience not necessary. The successful applicant will display a high degree of expertise in backroom dealing, surreptitious phone calls and self- serving expediency. If this position sounds like you, please contact Ticket Clipping Recruitment Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Charge Like Wounded Bulls Consultancy Group."
Key claps his hands together. "That's fantastic Brian. How did it go? Have you got a shortlist?"
"We were inundated sir. Even got an application from David Shearer's memory. Labour let him go after that New York bank account business. The guy that did recollections for Winston Peters during the Owen Glenn affair threw his hat in the ring and the two chicks who did recall consultancy on Paintergate and Helen Clark's speeding ticket were keen as mustard."
Key laughs. "Well, we're not hiring any of those bastards so what have you got for me?"
"Well, sir, we are about to interview four candidates. All are well capable of doing the job. One of them even headed the vague recollections team for Clinton when the Monica Lewinsky thing went down."
Key fixes Rennie with a steely gaze. "Hang on, back up the bus. Did any of these four go to Burnside High?"
"Not to my knowledge, Sir, no."
The prime minister's mood darkens as Rennie looks concerned. "Did any of their mothers play Bingo with my Mum?"
Rennie starts sweating. "While we didn't ask that specifically, I must admit it is highly unlikely."
Key stares angrily at Rennie. For a full five minutes not a word is spoken, then Key breaks the silence. "So who the hell are you and what are you doing in my office?"
A smile of relief spreads over Rennie's face. "State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie, Sir. Just want to report we haven't been able to find anyone good enough for that new job as your memory and was just wondering if you might know someone who might be interested."
Key strokes his chin. "Yeah, there was this really smart kid a couple of years behind me at creche. I don't remember his name but I've got his mobile number."
A visibly relieved Rennie wipes his brow. "Why don't you give him a tinkle?"
"Great idea," says Key, "Now where did I leave my phone?"
- The Dominion Post