Footy: Gary Ablett jnr and Joh talk turkey (or is that chooks?)

Gary Ablett Jnr: Son of you-know-who. Two time Geelong premiership player, Brownlow medallist and dazzling on-field magician.

Sir Johannes Bjelke-Petersen: Former Queensland Premier, plantation paternalist and gerrymander general. Ruled for over 20 years with a unique blend of authoritarian cronyism, faux naivety, homespun ruthlessness and pumpkin scones.

Gary jnr is astride the proverbial horns of a dilemma. Take the money and play with his brother on the Gold Coast, or stay with his mates and maybe win another flag? As for Joh, politics turned a little pear shaped, but he found himself right at home in the land of the white shoe. With most of the main sports consultancies busy plugging other bread and circuses, GC17 were caught a little short. Joh was local, and as always, willing, so they thought they’d give him a shot. Gazza thought he was coming to talk footy…

JBP: Sit right down here son just you make yourself comfortable do you fancy a scone?

GAJ: Errr, no thanks. Actually, I’m worried about my manager. We got to the airport and suddenly some cops bailed him up. They start claiming they’ve found drugs on him, and he’s dragged off. Then I’m bundled into a van with no windows and end up here. What the hell’s going on? I thought I’d come to talk to Guy McKenna.

JBP: No no no son don’t you worry about that nonsense who needs a manager anyway we’re here to look after you.

GAJ: Who are you anyway? I really don’t want to talk without my manager.

JBP: You can call me Joh never you mind goodness gracious me I’ll get someone to check what happened if you want (signals to a portly figure standing in the shadows) Russell go see what happened to that manager bloke that’s a good fella. (The figure departs). Now we can get down to business there’s no need to wait you can trust old Joh (plonks his carpet-bag on the table).

GAJ: This is all very strange. What’s in the bag?

JBP: We’ll get to that later son now goodness gracious me you must be good at that aussie rules bizzo just look at the money on offer you’d be a silly boy to knock back that much money do you know how many kickbacks it takes to make that much money?

GAJ: What are you talking about? How can you talk for so long without breathing? I think I might step outside for a stretch.

JBP: Don’t be silly son goodness gracious me no need to make a fuss you’re a grown man you don’t need someone else to talk for you just you listen to me I know what I’m doing you just wait and see.

GAJ: (looking increasingly frazzled) Listen… Joh. I don’t really understand what this is about. You don’t sound like any football person I’ve met before. I really don’t think this is going anywhere until I see my manager.

JBP: Now you listen to old Joh son you don’t want to trust those manager types too much they’re just like those journalist fellas always telling people things and disturbing the peace you’ll be better off if you just listen to me and sign on the dotted line and think of all that money you’ll make.

GAJ: Well, I have to say that’s a unique negotiating style you have there. While we’re waiting, I suppose it can’t hurt to talk. Could you try to slow it down a little? I’m having trouble following you.

(Before Joh can answer, there’s a knock on the door. A group of elderly, slightly sinister looking men enter the room. In a thick accent, one asks Joh if he’s “das commandant”. Joh shuffles them out the door quickly).

JBP: Sorry about that just some German fellas we run a little side business for we find them accommodation when they need it nothing to do with you they were just a little lost now where were we?

GAJ: (eyes widening) Who were those guys? Was that what I think it was on their arms? What the hell is going on here? Who are you people?

JBP: (agitated) Don’t be silly if you must know they’re Masons you know the funny hand-shake guys what on earth are you thinking of you need to concentrate on the business at hand and stop being distracted just trust me old Joh will look after you.

(Joh starts to twitch and convulse. Suddenly, he’s transforming before Gazza’s eyes. In a matter of seconds, he’s looking considerably younger; and strangely familiar.)

GAJ: Hey I know you! You’re that Barnaby guy; the politician. Where’d you come from?

BJ: None of your business. Who are you? You’re not one of those chardonnay swilling trendy city type climate frauds are you? You don’t look like a Queenslander. Do you play rugby?

GAJ: This is all waaaayyyy too weird for me. I’m outta here! (Bolts.)

To be continued…

About John Butler

John Butler has fled the World's Most Livable Car Park and now breathes the rarefied air of the Ballarat Plateau. For his sins, he has been a Carlton member for more than 30 years.

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