Stan ate only a piece of toast and a mouthful of bacon; he left his eggs and caviar untouched. With his head hanging low, he trudged back upstairs, mulling over the morning’s cruel newspaper headlines. In the main bathroom, he brushed his teeth then stared at himself in the enormous mirror. He inhaled a long breath and stood tall with his shoulders back. “Everybody loves you,” he said to his reflection. His eyes narrowed as he pointed to himself in the mirror and spoke again. “You are the best premier in the country. Every day, you make life good for the people in this state. Everybody loves you.” Stan sighed, wiped a tear from his eye and nodded at his reflection.
Ten minutes later, he was on the roof, teeing off from the custom-built platform that faced his six-acre backyard. Swing after soothing swing sent golf balls soaring above the meticulously manicured lawn extending from beyond his swimming pool. With serene delight, he watched the balls rise higher and higher then descend and plonk down amid the gardeners tending to his vast rose garden. (It was okay, he provided the gardeners with motorcycle helmets to protect them from the occasional golf ball to the head.) As he struck the golf balls, his phone was on speaker on the nearby table. Every morning he took a few regular important calls. He spoke to the deputy leader, the Chief Health Advisor, the national directors of two major pharmaceutical companies, his stockbroker and finally his publicist. His publicist, Tristan, would begin the call each day with a summary of any trending mentions of Stan on social media. Today there was a viral TikTok video in which a young woman wearing a bikini sang a popular song but changed the lyrics to make the song about social distancing. Stan was referenced in the chorus. There were also some popular hashtags on Twitter: #StanforPM, #Stanisoursaviour, and #Stanissexy. That last hashtag in particular gave Stan a huge confidence boost, despite him being the one who requested it. (He employed an eight-person team of “Trendsetters”, whose job was to ensure that Stan’s presence on social media was constant, prominent and positive.)
The next order of business was his daily meeting with key state government colleagues. On the agenda today were such topics as government payments to small businesses affected by Covid restrictions and lockdowns, the construction of six new state-of-the-art quarantine camps and their surrounding moats, a proposal to grant police the use of lethal force when dealing with uncooperative protesters, increased fines for any anti-government sentiment, a new railway upgrade and the issuing of pointy yellow hats to be worn in public by unvaccinated citizens. Due to a scheduling conflict, the meeting was cancelled. Instead, Stan showered and put on a blue, mulberry silk suit and spent the following hour posing by the pool for a photoshoot—he was to be featured on the cover of next month’s Australian Everyman Magazine.
After the photoshoot, Stan changed into a black business suit, boarded his private helicopter and headed for the city and the most important event of the day—of every day—the televised eleven o’clock press conference.
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