One fine late March day, in the desolate land of Australia, a young Liberal officer in the distinctive Speedo uniform of all men whose chests are worthy of sticking out, wandered out of the surf. He waved to young Pynie, who quickly brought his towel across.
“Good swim, PM?” asked Pynie handing him his towel.
“Mm,” replied Abbles, his mind clearly on more important matters.
“I don’t mind holding your towel,” said Pynie, “but some of the other chaps are saying that I’m only being asked to do this as punishment for the way I handled the Gonski announcement.”
“You shouldn’t listen to what the other chaps say, Pynie,” said Abbles. “Now, on all fours so I can dry my feet.”
Pynie quickly complied, happy that he wasn’t being treated like this as punishment.
“I say,” said Pynie.
“I really wish you wouldn’t,” interrupted Abbles.
“Rightio,” said Pynie.
At this moment, Abbles phone began to ring. “Damn thing,” thought Abbles, “once upon a time, I’d have been able to swim without being disturbed by all this modern technology. I can’t see why anyone would would faster Internet.”
“Would you like me to get that?” asked Pynie.
“Didn’t I tell you not to speak?” replied Abbles, picking up the phone.
It was the flight instructor. “You’re needed back here immediately,” she barked, which is a perfectly acceptable way to describe a way of talking and doesn’t imply anything politically incorrect.
“But I haven’t even had my surf,” whined Abbles.
“We have a problem with Arthur,” said the flight instructor. “Get back here immediately.”
“Shall I get your surfboard?” asked Pynie, always eager to please.
“We have a problem with Arthur,” said Abbles, forgetting his instruction about not speaking.
“Arthur? King Arthur?” asked Pynie.
“Of course not, you useless tit. King Arthur’s been dead for hundreds of years.”
“Pity, I’d have like to have been a knight. Sir Pynie rather suits me don’t you think?”
“No, Sir Pynie. I’d have made a good knight.”
“And a good night was had by all.”
Abbles smiled at his joke. He often amused himself. But never in public.
“There are limits, you know,” said Pynie, getting to his feet. “I’m not paid to be the butt of everyone’s joke. I mean this is meant to be a send-up of Biggles and there’s been absolutely nothing about flying at all. If you’re not careful, I’ll work out of this silly satire and then you’ll just be left by yourself.”
Abbles considered this for a moment and realised that without Pynie and Bernie Ardy, he’d look even more extreme and ridiculous.
“Ok,” said Abbles, “I’m sorry. If I could make you a knight I would. But we haven’t had knights in Australia since before I became a citizen.”
“But you’re PM now, you could do anything. You could make me a knight if you wanted to.”
“What did you say?”
“You could make me a knight if you wanted to?”
“No, the first bit.”
“Here’s your towel?”
“Never mind, get the car. Pynie. I could kiss you.”
“Didn’t you hear what I said?”
“Yes, but what about Margie?”
“Get the car, you fool.”
“There are times that you remind me of James…”
As Pynie went to get the car, Abbles smiled to himself. Yes, he thought, Pynie does have his uses. As for Arthur, well he’d never make king, but he was the sort of man who knew when to fall on his sword…
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