The Incumbent: Chapter 46

Summary:It's an intricate web of murder plots, government conspiracies and rampant tanning. Oh, and the future of the entire nation.

Trisha Botherington had a way of making people talk. Normally, she used her feminine allure to put people at ease, until they eventually said something they regretted, but when a camera crew started an interview by shooting the prime minister hurriedly pulling his trousers up over his bare arse, blackmail could be a little more expedient.

'Was this interview scheduled?' said Duff, hurriedly getting dressed.

'No,' said Botherington. 'But I thought you'd never turn down an opportunity to appear on Tomorrow Today.'

Normally, she used feminine allure to put people at ease until they eventually said something they regretted, but blackmail could be more expedient.

'Tomorrow Today?' said Duff. 'Holton-Lacey has been trying for years to get me on that show.'

It wasn't a show Botherington normally worked on, but she was certain that with the right story, she could convince the producers to give her a spot.

'I was told he wasn't foreign enough,' explained Holton-Lacey. 'I thought they only ran stories on dole-bludging migrants fitting faulty air-conditioning units.'

He was rather enjoying the fact that the prime minister had been compromised in such a fashion. He relished the prospect of seeing his bare arse on prime-time television. It could be Duff's downfall. Then he'd be ready to step into his shoes. He had far more effective ways of controlling the population beyond the VastTel experiment — plans much more far reaching than anything the prime minister would ever agree to.

'And who are you?' asked Botherington. She was the country's most studious reporter when it came to researching stories, but she hadn't ever come across the finance minister.

'That's Holton-Lacey,' said Duff quickly. 'And he's just leaving.'

His tone had an unusually forceful manner.

'No, actually, I think I'll stay and watch.'

Duff gave him a stern look. Holton-Lacey just smiled back at him. It just served to infuriate the prime minister more, who had decided he wanted nothing more to do with his dastardly plans.

While they had been talking, lights had been set up either side of Duff, and an audio cable had been fed up the inside of his pyjama top, the microphone clipped near the top button.

'So, who is the husband in this relationship, and who is the wife?'

'So, who is the husband in this relationship, and who is the wife?'

Botherington had started the interview. Duff was caught a little off guard. She was looking at Duff, then at Holton-Lacey, who was distressed to see the camera swing round, to catch him sitting in his pyjamas in the prime minister's kitchen.

'No, it's not the way it looks,' said Duff, realising how difficult it would be to explain.

Botherington wasn't too concerned about their sex life. She really wanted to get to the bottom of the VastTel story.

'Who torpedoed the side of the VastTel building?' she asked, switching her approach.

'I really have no idea,' answered Duff honestly, although he was now giving far more serious thought to the idea that Holton-Lacey had been involved.

'Why would anyone want to see Twistie Buffet killed?'

'I don't know,' he said. Then he thought he needed to add more. There was a lot he wanted to get off his chest. He looked over to Holton-Lacey, who seemed a little uncomfortable.

Topics: Telcos


Phil Dobbie has a wealth of radio and business experience. He started his career in commercial radio in the UK and, since coming to Australia in 1991, has held senior marketing and management roles with Telstra, OzEmail, the British Tourist Authority and other telecommunications, media, travel and advertising businesses.

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