The secret diary of . . . John Key

STEVE BRAUNIAS
Last updated 13:40 16/06/2012
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John Key

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OPINION: MONDAY

So good to be home. Home, sweet home! There's no place like it.

"Hello! I'm back," I sang out, as I got in the door.

No-one answered.

The place was dark. Was it so late they had all gone to bed?

I was dying for something to eat. I put my bags down and headed straight for the kitchen.

There was nothing in the fridge.

I heard a noise out by the swimming pool. I went to investigate.

The pool was empty.

A clump of wet leaves had blown into the deep end. Something moved in it. I bent down on the edge of the pool, and a shiver looked for my spine.

TUESDAY

Quiet day in the office until Judith came in.

"Yeah, so how's it going," she shouted.

"Would you mind knocking next time?", I asked.

She looked behind her at the door she'd kicked down.

"Yeah, whatevs," she roared. "So. Just thought I'd tell you that ACC chief executive Ralph Stewart and board chair John Judge have both resigned."

"Willingly?"

"I distinctly heard them say 'I quit'," she yelled.

"When?"

"Oh, a few seconds after I picked them up and threw them off the ledge," she hollered. "Although it could have been the wind."

I closed my eyes and thought of their cries on the wind. Yesterday's shiver returned, and came closer to finding my spine.

WEDNESDAY

The driver came, but I told him to take the day off, that I'd drive myself in.

I just needed some time to myself. I just needed to take it easy. I smiled to myself as I slipped the Eagles' Greatest Hits CD into the car stereo.

"Well, I'm running down the road, tryin' to loosen my load."

Yeah!

"I've got seven women on my mind."

Yeah.

Five, anyway. Judith, Paula, Hekia, Michelle, Bronwyn.

Skip to the next track.

"Woo-hoo, witchy woman."

The shiver gets closer.

THURSDAY

Thunderstorm. Stood at the windows and watched the rain running down the windows of my ninth-floor office. It blocked the view. I couldn't see out. I had no vision. Everything was damp, miserable, confused; the strength in my shoulders had gone; I slumped in my chair, but then sat bolt upright.

The shiver tracked me down.

I crept under my desk and hugged my knees.

Four years, two terms, and it had all come to this.

FRIDAY

I thought I'd drive myself into work, but the garage doors were locked and rust came off the handles into my hands.

Going back to the house, I saw that the force of yesterday's storm had knocked one of the rain gutters loose. It hung down over the front door like an umbrella rib.

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I felt like a character in a story. It was as though I had no control over my life any more, that I'd lost the plot, and another plot was being written in its place.

A wet paperback lay on the drive. I picked it up. The Stories of John Cheever. Flipped it open, and read: "The place was dark. Was it so late they had all gone to bed? " I tried the front door, but it was locked. I shouted, pounded on the door, tried to force it with my shoulder, and then, looking in at the windows, saw that the place was empty.

stephen11@xtra.co.nz

- Taranaki Daily News

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