The old house is due for a tart up, so I nipped into Page & Blackmore to pick up a book on interior decorating. Fifty Shades of Grey looked promising. I guess it includes a paint chart.
"BDSM", said the blurb on the back. That's a new one on me. It might stand for Brushes, Dropcloth, Sandpaper and Masking-tape. Grey, though, is a whisker away from the dreaded taupe, so I went for a companion volume called Fifty Shades of Blue.
I'm halfway through and not a mention of rag-rolling. The plot's a bit lame too. This young woman called Ana goes off to interview a super-rich political hotshot called Jonathon Blue in his office.
She trips and tumbles into the great man's presence.
"Double crap. Me and my two left-leaning feet again. I steel myself and look up. Holy cow, he's gorgeous. And so youthful. He doesn't look a day over $50 million.
"Are you all right?" says Mr Blue. My blood flames.
He offers me a manicured hand as I haul myself into a chair.
"I have some questions, Mr Blue," I gasp.
"I'm sure I can sidestep them after a call to Melbourne," he says with a wink, sitting on the edge of his desk. My inner goddess chews her thumbnail.
"You are riding incredibly high in the polls," I riposte.
"Politics is about people," says Mr Blue. "I hire people who know people. What makes them tick; what makes them kneejerk."
"You sound like some sort of control freak.”
"I exercise control in all things," he says, picking up a riding crop to sweep two sets of handcuffs discreetly into his top drawer. "Sorry, I've just had a Cabinet meeting in here."
I am staggered by his lack of humility. He is heartstoppingly beautiful, though. My inner goddess twiddles a lock of her hair.
"Do you feel you have immense power?" I ask.
"I have a mandate." He leans forward. "May I call you Ana?"
My inner goddess splinters into pieces.
"Ana, are you old enough? To vote, I mean."
I nod. Holy crap. This is no time to mention that I am an electoral virgin, newly enfranchised and yet to cohabit with a polling booth.
"Ana, I think we can do wonderful things together, for the country,' says Jonathon Blue, "but I have certain rules . . ."
He hands a 20-page document to me.
"Contract", it reads. ‘The following is a binding three-year agreement between the Dominant and the Submissive."
My eyes widen. I read on, hardly able to contain the riotous feelings that rage through my body.
"1A: The Dominant shall take responsibility, but no blame, for the state of the nation.
"1B: The Submissive shall acquiesce.
"2A: The Dominant shall embrace socialism - for the rich - and capitalism for the poor.
"2B: The Submissive shall aspire to be rich.
"3A: The Dominant shall spend $1.7 billion bailing out South Canterbury Finance investors - more than all the Treaty of Waitangi settlements combined.
"3B: The Submissive shall feel that race-based Treaty handouts are indefensible.
"4A: The Dominant shall mortgage the nation to the eyeballs, and pass the bill on to our children.
"4B: The Submissive shall mortgage her soul for a big-screen TV.
"5A: The Dominant shall sell off the assets that would have given our children some small chance of paying back the bill.
"5B: The Submissive shall not complain when power prices go through the roof.
"6A: The Dominant shall eye a $1.7b ‘holiday highway' that gets his Auckland friends to their Bay of Islands mansions 10 minutes quicker.
"6B: The Submissive shall applaud investment in infrastructure.
"7A: The Dom shall throw poor people into the voracious maw of pokie machines.
"7B: The Sub shall buy a Big Wednesday ticket for the Porsche, the Audi and a 100-gram wedge of havarti and chives cheese. "
I'm lost at this point. Suddenly we are talking newspapers and sandwiches. Fifty Shades of Blue continues . . .
"8A: The Dominant shall set up charter schools with untrained teachers and no curriculum, because he values education.
"8B: The Submissive shall be educated in the school of hard knocks, which will do her a power of good.
"9A: The Dominant shall ignore report after report that the wages of resthome workers are a disgrace.
"9B: The Submissive shall feel that workers ought to be realistic in the present climate."
Mr Blue hands me a pen.
"Sign. Incidentally, are you into MMP? Do you like dressing up? Coat-tails, that sort of thing."
"That's a shame. They work fine for me. You'll wear it anyway."
My inner goddess slips a hand into her bag to answer a text from her friend Katherine, whose ex-boyfriend has just posted their bedroom snaps on Facebook . . ."
And so the book goes on for another 300 kinky pages. Unless the boyfriend is holding a roller in those bedroom pics I'm not interested. Where's the tips on how to remove a stippled ceiling? Or trim your wallpaper for a neat fit around a light switch? Very disappointing.
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