Scene. INTERIOR. DAY. JOHN KEY, a Prime Minister, sits at a window table in the URBAN CAFE. JOHN BANKS, a fool, enters.
BANKS: (Placing two teacups on the table). Here’s your tea John.
KEY: Thanks John. (He picks up a tea-spoon, dips it into the cup and swirls the tea-bag around.)
BANKS: Sad about Allan Peachey.
KEY: Very sad.
BANKS: Makes you think, John.
BANKS: Makes you wonder what it’s all about. What we’re doing here. Why there’s so much hatred and intolerance in the world, given the brief time we all have together. Why kind of society we want to leave . . .
KEY: Wait. Wait. (He’s looking at the label on the teabag.) John? What the hell is this?
BANKS: (Grins, a little nervous) What?
KEY: (Indicating the teabag.) This. What the hell do you call this? What the fuck have you done?
BANKS: What? I haven’t . . .
KEY: Is this some kind of joke?
BANKS: Joke? What? I haven’t done anything. No joke.
KEY: No joke? What kind of tea did I ask for John?
BANKS: Raspberry tea. That’s what I ordered. That’s what you’ve got.
KEY: That’s what I’ve got?
BANKS: That’s what you’ve got.
KEY: (Turning the teabag around to face Banks). Read this out for me. Maybe I’m an idiot. Maybe I’m not reading it right. Does this say ‘raspberry tea?’
BANKS: (Leaning forward to read out the small print on the teabag label). Raspberry tea with echinacea. It’s raspberry tea. It’s what you asked for.
KEY: (Nodding, sucking at his teeth.) No John. This is not what I asked for. I asked you for one. Simple. Thing. I asked for raspberry tea. And you give me this.
BANKS: It’s raspberry tea!
KEY: (Slapping the table, making the crockery jump, spilling tea). It’s bullshit! Did I ask for echinacea?
BANKS: That’s the only raspberry tea they had! It only comes with echinacea!
KEY: Only comes with echinacea? What the fuck are you talking about? It’s dried raspberry leaves. You soak them in water. You have to go out of your way to get the echinacea in there. Now you’re telling me it only comes with echinacea? You think I’m that stupid?
BANKS: It’s still raspberry tea. It’s just that here – in this cafe – you only get it with the echinacea. It’s no big deal.
KEY:No big deal. (Key laughs, smooths back his hair.) Let me ask you something John. If I give you water with coffee in it, did I give you water? Or coffee? Are they the same thing? Or is one different from the other? If you ask for water but get coffee is it no big deal?
BANKS: It’s not the same thing. Echinacea doesn’t taste of anything. It’s just a herb. It doesn’t change the flavor.
KEY: If it doesn’t change the flavor then why is it in there?
BANKS: I don’t . . .
KEY: Boy, you must think I’m a real fucking idiot. You must stand around with Don and just laugh. That John Key, he’ll just swallow anything we give him.
BANKS: John, it’s not like that. It’s still raspberry tea. It tastes like raspberry. The echinacea is just, like, a dilute herb. It makes the tea more, um, effective. It’s supposed to prevent colds.
KEY: You think I don’t know that?
BANKS: I assume . . .
KEY: You think I became head of forex at Merrills, made $50 million dollars and became Prime Minister because I’m a fucking half-wit who doesn’t know what echinacea is? I know what it is, John. I just don’t want to drink it in my raspberry tea. Well I am not a half-wit. Kiss Epsom goodbye, John. I hope you like gardening.
BANKS: John, no. I’m sorry. You’re right. I apologise. I was an idiot.
KEY: You were an idiot. That’s your excuse?
BANKS: I was. I really . . . I’ve been working too hard. This campaign . . .
KEY: Yeah. Well you can stop worrying about that. The campaign is over for you. Goodbye John. You’re finished. I don’t work with idiots. I don’t go into coalition with them, and I definitely don’t have idiots serving in my Cabinet as government Ministers.
Key stands and buttons his jacket. Banks stares off in the distance in shock, but as he processes those last words this fades to a grin of realisation. As it does so, Key’s stern countenance turns into a sly smile.
BANKS: You fucking bastard.
KEY: (Slapping Banks’ shoulder). I had you. I had you.
BANKS:I knew you were shitting me.
KEY: I had you. I went too far at the end there.
BANKS: No, I was just playing along.
KEY: I’m not sure about your ability to stand up to questions in the House there, John.
BANKS: Ha ha.
KEY: You may fold under intense questioning.
BANKS: Ha ha.
KEY: Send me an email when you’re back in government, John. I’ll make you associate Minister of something.
BANKS: Cheers John.