OPINION: Hush-hush operation unwrapped

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A man approaches the assembled media. 

Williams: Turn those cameras off, will you? Now, what questions are you going to ask? 

Reporter [shocked]: Um, well you called the press conference. 

Williams [annoyed]: Don’t get shirty with me! You’ve seen the press release – what more do you want to know? 

Reporter: Everything really. You haven’t told us a thing! 

Williams: That’s my job, I’m afraid. You’ve been called here so I can get the message out – nothing more. 

Reporter: Actually, we kind of bullied you into this. 

Williams [pragmatic]: True. I guess the public has to be reassured. So I’ll say something about that. Right, ready? 

[Cameras snap to the shoulder, voice recorders are thrust forward

Reporter: So what can you tell us about the situation? 

Williams: Thanks for attending our hastily-arranged press conference. I can confirm that well-equipped reporters have been scouring Queenstown’s streets for possible Christmas party venues. Extra staff have been brought in from the branch offices for the search, including some with tactical pens. A photographer with a dog has also been brought in to sniff out opportunities – but only for the puns really. 

Reporter: When did this search start? 

Williams: I can’t talk about the operation, which is ongoing. But I can confirm we’re seeking a single venue in the Queenstown area. Except the dog unit, which is just pooching around. [chortles

Reporter: I saw your guys brandishing their tactical pens on roads in and out of Queenstown. What can you say about that? 

Williams: No venues have been booked today but this is what I would call a ‘wide’ operation. You might see our reporters poking their nose into all sorts of things – but don’t leap to conclusions. When we’re ready, we’ll announce it. The dog unit seems the most likely to collar [hoots with laughter] a venue. 

Reporter: What message do you have for the public? 

Williams [relieved]: That’s a good question. Our Christmas party poses no threat to the public, but should not be approached. I might add: the quickest way to settle this is for a venue to come forward. 

Reporter: Ah, didn’t you say YOU were searching for a venue? 

Williams: I’m not going to comment on the nature of my previous statements. But all of the venues involved know each other. What I can say is the dog unit won’t roll over [snigger] until the search is over. 

Reporter: What details can you give us about your search – are there aerial units involved? 

Williams: I won’t be drawn on how we’ll find a venue. Or even how close we are to landing one. Rest assured, if you need to write anything for your little newspapers or film anything for your telly box show we’ll give you at least two hours’ notice of our next press conference. Unless we actually find a venue – then we’ll probably issue a press release and go to the pub. 

Reporter: I’ve been told you’re planning to dress up as Armed Offenders Squad members and go bowling in the Queenstown Gardens. Is that right? 

Williams: Err. Well, I think we’ve covered everything. 

[Williams strides towards the door

Bolshy telly reporter: You’ve called us here, given us next to no information and after five minutes you’re doing a runner? 

Williams [over his shoulder]: Geesh, tough crowd. I’m sending your editors a refresher about gratitude.

ed@scene.co.nz