Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Order in the House

[Media prompt] Australian politician becomes first to breastfeed in parliament.
Order in the House

“The member for Biggajugga will resume his seat,” said the deputy speaker. “The minister is of course allowed to change a nappy on the table.”

A chorus of ‘hear hears’ rumbled through the House, with the occasional ‘pull your head in comrade’ thrown in for good measure.

“Will you look at that,” said Ernie, gripping his stubby holder in a gnarled hand. “Ethel, come and take a gander at this.”

Ernie was seated in a lounge chair, long overdue for the rubbish tip, but it was as comfortable a chair as he had ever had, and no amount of Ethel nagging at him to throw it out would change his mind. Dynamite, a mongrel older than the chair and named on account of Ernie’s belief that if explosives where brains he had not enough to blow the balls off a mosquito, picked his head up off the floor, looking at Ernie to see what all the kerfuffle was about. He cared little for anybody other than his master, and could be counted on, Ernie hoped, to surgically remove a politician’s balls if he ever got close enough to one.

“You know, mate,” Ernie said to the dog, “I never thought I’d see the day.”

He lifted the bottle to his lips, and took a swallow.

“I bet even you wouldn’t take a shit in Parliament House,” he said, rubbing a hoary heel over the dogs back. Dynamite’s tail thumped on the floor.

“Ethel,” said Ernie, turning a neck stiffened from decades of driving semi-trailers around the country, “hurry up, Love, you’ll miss it.”

He could hear his wife put something back on the stove, her footsteps coming through the house, a familiar tread on the wooden floorboards. They had moved in the day they got married, and never felt an urge to live anywhere else. Three boys, all grown up and with lives of their own, and now just the two of them again. It was worth a bit of money now, he knew that all right. But they would have to buy somewhere else, and then there was stamp duty, and removalists who had never done an honest day's work in their lives.

“Look at that,” he said, as Ethel came into the lounge room. He pointed at the television, Dynamite’s eyes followed the line of Ernie’s finger.

“What on earth…?”

“I told you.”

“This is because of that woman, whatshername, who wanted to feed her little one in Parliament, isn’t it?”

“That’s Biggins,” said Ernie. “He's a bloody embarrassment to this state.”

“Don’t swear. You’d really think they’d draw the line somewhere, wouldn’t you?”

Ethel sat on the sofa, patting the dog on his head. Dynamite closed his eyes in pleasure.

“Well,” said Ernie, “if you’re going to let someone breastfeed, then it only makes sense you have to let someone bring in their elderly mother change their nappy. I mean, she’s got Alzheimer’s, right?”

Ethel laughed. “I’m glad we won’t be around to see what comes next.”

“I’ll drink to that,” said Ernie. 

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