“Glitter Bomb Scare” is about an entirely fictional Prime Minister, Toby Rabbit, who is definitely not a caricature of the recent Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot*.
This story was originally published on 18 August 2015, on Needle in the Hay: http://needleinthehay.net/short-story-flash-fiction-glitter-bomb-scare-lydia-trethewey/
“Just a small sample sir,” said the man in the grey suit, handing over a stack of envelopes.
“Right uh, thank you Bradley,” replied the prime minister, Toby Rabbit.
He took one of the envelopes and shook it next to his ear like a child on Christmas morning.
“And your 11.00 is here. He will be in shortly.”
“Remind me uh, of that one?”
“Journalist. From the CBA.”
“I thought we uh, got rid of the CBA?”
Toby reached for his sterling silver letter-opener and tore hungrily into the envelope. Glitter burst forth from the tear, cascading across the desk. It scattered onto the navy blue carpet and the honourable gentleman’s lap.
The prime minister pushed himself bodily from the desk, hitting the wall.
Bradley leapt forward in alarm.
“It’s…glitter,” the assistant said, nonplussed, sifting through the insidious mess.
“It’s just uh, there’s something I don’t uh, like about these uh, rainbow colours,” the prime minister said “They feel uh, threatening.”
“I’ll get a vacuum,” Bradley said, leaving Toby to collect himself.
Amongst the festive paper lay a folded letter.
Uncertainly, Toby picked it up.
Dear Mr Rabbit it began in neat handwriting
I found on your prime ministerial website that you welcome questions, advice and warm wishes, so I have taken the time to write and say that you’re doing a bang up job of being an incompetent, insensible and intolerant prime minister. If I had one suggestion, and it is a small one, it would be that you remove yourself and your useless cronies from government immediately. You are absolutely wonderful, at being a shit-eating moron. All the best, Jennifer Price.
Bradley returned with a dust-buster. Following on his heels was a disgruntled looking man with a face like a toad. The stranger stood restlessly in the doorway, filling it with his bulk.
Toby waved the note. “It’s uh, from one of those people.”
Mr Rabbit’s brow furrowed as he contemplated the mystery of the fairer sex.
“You know this scare, this uh letter-threat, makes me think of the event of uh, my own death.”
Getting no response he carried on “I would like uh, when I die, for my ashes to be scattered from a uh, helicopter.”
“Like Stanley Melbourne Bruce?”
The man in the doorway coughed loudly. Bradley ushered him forward.
“Mr Poole,” the stranger grunted, thrusting out a meaty hand.
Behind the man’s vast back Bradley mouthed the words “latte-sipping hippie.”
Mr Rabbit shook the man’s hand tentatively.
“Let’s get right to it,” Mr Poole said, dropping heavily into a chair “You’ve made it an offence for government workers to speak out against the actions of your party. How is this not a direct attack on people’s freedoms?”
“Well uh, if you’re not on Team Australia…”
“Shall I take it you don’t have an answer then?”
“Why is your government systematically cutting funding from the country’s only non-commercial broadcasting service?”
“Well uh, again, if the CBA would stop siding with the baddies…”
“And why do you continue to incarcerate people seeking asylum here?”
“Well, uh, you and I both know uh, that there’s a right way and a wrong way to…”
“Seeking asylum is entirely and inarguably legal. The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has a right to seek asylum.”
“Uh, there are however security issues. I don’t think the uh, Australian people would uh, condemn me for protecting our borders. Just this morning I was uh, the victim of an attack, in the form of uh, a letter-bomb.”
Mr Poole flinched.
“Yes so uh, unfortunately I will have to cut this interview short.”
Bradley, appearing again from nowhere, escorted the bewildered Mr Poole out the door.
Silence filled the office.
“If only they knew,” the prime minister said aloud to the empty room ‘the unspoken things that make the world turn. The unsavoury aspect of necessity. But they’d sooner despise a fool than believe their leader to be cruel.”
He looked down at the abusive letter from Jennifer Price.
“Pity. She seems intelligent, but it’s such a libellous letter. A security issue. This needs to be dealt with.”
*this story is of course not a caricature of Tony Abbot, as caricatures are more ridiculous than their real-life counterparts.
Several weeks after I wrote this story (but a few days before it was published) there were a number of incidents involving people sending glitter bombs to Liberal MPs. This had nothing to do with me; I was just disappointed that my idea wasn’t as original as I’d thought.