Steve Braunias: Secret diary special edition – inside Judith Collins’ MP meetings



Whitey Collins sat at a corner table at the Last Chance Saloon and called out to the Collins Gang. They stood at the bar and waited their turn to be questioned by the leader who had led them to massacre.

Big Bad Gerry walked over and sat down in front of Whitey.

“Take out that dang arrow in your hat,” she said.

“Can’t,” he said. “It’s gone clean through my head.”

“I don’t rightly know what kind of message that sends to the townsfolk who might vote for our gang come the next election,” she said.

“It sends a message that I don’t feel any pain,” he said.

Whitey stared at him for a while and said, “Okay. Guess I’m stuck with you. Next!”

Brownie Goldsmith got off his bar stool, but tripped over and the coins in his pocket rolled onto the floor. “Oops,” he said, and crawled on his hands and knees looking for the nickels and dimes.

“Goddamit,” said Whitey. “Next!”

Ringo Bridges ambled over, whistling a merry tune. He hadn’t shaved for a month and his skin glowed. She had always hated his relaxed manner.


Muller approached with his usual thousand-yard stare. It was unnerving, the way he never blinked.


Just then the doors of the saloon burst open in a gentle and almost apologetic way. It was Greeny Shaw. He took a deep breath and made his way to Whitey’s table.

She said, “What the hell you want?”

He coughed, and said, “I ain’t rightly sure if I want to run with the Ardern Gang. I’m sick of the way they order me around! So I’m thinkin’ I might be part of the opposition. Maybe we could work together.”

Whitey stroked her chin.A blue-green coalition … It might just work in these crazy times and she sure could do with all the help she could get.

Brownie Goldsmith was still crawling on his hands and knees, trying to prise a dime out of a crack in the floorboards.

But then she thought of Wild Chloe, and her blood ran cold at the prospect of having anything to do with Greeny Shaw’s gang.

“Get out of my sight,” she snapped.

She turned to the porcelain doll propped up in the chair next to her. She put it in her lap, and whispered to it, “You’re the only one who understands! You’re the only one I can count on!”

She stared into its glassy blue eyes. It was just like looking into a mirror.

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