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Watching The Buggers (Part 1 Of 12)

Watching The Buggers (Part 1 Of 12)

by Tim Barcode
A play about the 2004 investigation into allegations of bugging the Maori Party.

This play is being serialised in 12 parts on Scoop starting today. CLICK HERE for links to those parts of the serial published so far.

Anyone wanting to perform it simply has to ask the writers permission and donate a tenth of the profits of any performances to the Ahmed Zaoui Support Fund
Westpac Queen Street, Auckland,
Account Number: 03 0296 0076601 00
Account Name: Zaoui Support Fund.


  • Coates - a spy? - 30s

  • Paul –waiter? - 60s

  • Forbes – a spy? – 40s

  • Jane – a public servant employed by the Department of Conservation? 30ish.

  • Madonna – front counter worker at Gibson’s Drycleaners in Levin! – 19
  • ?

  • Paul – an Inspector General and retired High Court Judge? – 60s

    “At today's post cabinet press conference the PM said she received a letter from Inspector General Justice Paul Neazor yesterday advising her that he believed a complaint laid by Maori Party Co-Leader Tariana Turia was sufficient for him to open an investigation into the allegations.

    "I expect the Inspector General will look at the range of allegations made by the Sunday Star Times and the Scoop website," Ms Clark said. - Scoop 24 November 2004.

    Part 1

    Prologue - Optional set up scene
    Night time. By a swimming pool at the Huka Lodge.

    Two figures in dark glasses and trench coats enter. They are caricatures of CIA agents. Both clearly have earpieces through which they are receiving instructions. They are both clearly on the look out for people watching them.

    They look around and the sound of a helicopter gets louder until it is above them. There is down draught. One of the agents gestures to the helicopter and two poolside chairs are lowered on ropes. The agents take the ropes off the chairs and arrange them. One of them receives an instruction, gestures to the helicopter to lower something else and a small table also drops down. One gives an Ok signal at the helicopter which then leaves. The agents put the table up between the deckchairs. One of them then produces a ‘bug’ which they attach to the bottom of the table. They look around and then leave.

    Act One

    Scene 1
    Tuesday Afternoon.
    Outside – Beside a swimming pool at the Huka Lodge.

    There are two poolside chairs and a small table between them.
    A nervous 30ish man in a suit enters carrying a briefcase. He is Coates. He looks from side to side. He sees the poolside chairs and then selects one and sits. Checking his sight lines around the area, he changes chairs.
    He nurses the briefcase as if the contents are very important.

    A waiter enters. He is older (60s) and extremely proper. Coates regards him with some suspicion.

    Paul: Would sir like a drink?
    Coates: (slightly panicky) No. No.
    Paul: (regards answer with some surprise) Very well sir.
    (The Paul turns to leave.)
    Coates: (hurriedly) No, wait. Wait.
    The Paul turns back
    Paul: Yes sir?
    Coates: Perhaps water.
    Paul: Water. With ice sir?
    Coates: No!
    Paul turns to go.
    Paul turns back.
    Paul: Water with ice?
    Coates: (almost as if being interrogated, and breaking down) Yes, yes, yes with ice.
    Paul: I see, Sir. Is that all?
    Coates: (head in hands) Oh God!
    Paul: I’ll take that as a yes: one glass of water with ice.
    Paul doesn’t move this time.
    Coates: (suddenly) Whiskey!
    Paul: Sir?
    Coates: I’ll have Whiskey.
    Paul: Is that with the water, in the water or instead of the water?
    Coates: Oh. Instead of… no with, no…
    Paul: Is Sir all right?
    Coates: (distracted) How will it look?
    Paul: Sir?
    Coates: When he….. Um, if you were joining me, …
    Paul: I can’t sir, it’s against the rules.
    Coates: No, if you were joining me how would it look?
    Paul: (indignant) I don’t know what you think we waiters get up to ….
    Coates: If you were someone else, and you were going to join me, here by the pool at the exclusive Huka Lodge, how would it look (he mimes two glasses on the table).
    Paul: Given that Sir is wearing a suit and sitting beside the swimming pool, well I would think that it would look like Sir was having water with whiskey, or just water, or just whiskey, or perhaps whiskey with ice, depending on what Sir orders.
    Coates: Yeah, of course.
    Paul: And what is sir ordering?
    Coates: Yes – but what looks healthier…
    Paul: Healthier? You mean GE free? Tofu, vegetarian, organic beans, that sort of thing?
    Coates: No; what seems of sound mind?
    Paul: I see Sir. Perhaps I should bring over a glass of water and a glass of whiskey, and if Sir decides having two glasses doesn’t look ‘sound’ (conspiratorially) we can take one, or both, away.
    Coates stands suddenly.
    Coates: YES YES! Oh.
    Coates sits. He is distracted.
    But we wouldn’t like it to look like I was tampering with evidence.
    Paul: Tampering with evidence Sir?
    Coates: I never said that. So that’s decided … One water and one whiskey and if it doesn’t look right we’ll take one away. What could be simpler?
    Paul: Yes Sir.
    Paul turns to go.
    Coates: Waiter!
    Paul turns back. Coates looks at his name badge.
    Paul: Yes Sir?
    Coates: (looking around, hushed) Is anyone watching me?
    Paul: Sir?
    Coates: Is anyone watching me without me knowing it?
    Paul goes to look around.
    NO! Don’t look.
    Paul: (patiently) Well Sir, If one is being watched and doesn’t know, - one doesn’t know.
    Coates: But one… but I mightn’t know but you might.
    Paul: Me Sir?
    Coates: Well not you necessarily… Yes you!
    Paul: Yes sir.
    Coates: Is anyone watching me?
    Paul: Here sir?
    Coates: (angrily) Yes here!
    Paul: I’m watching you.
    Coates: Other than you!
    Paul: Not that I am aware of. Is Sir all right?
    Coates: What? You think I’m not?
    Paul: Sir seems a little, jumpy.
    Coates: I – AM – NOT – JUMPY!
    Paul: Of course not. My mistake.
    Coates: Go and get my order.
    Paul: Yes sir.
    Coates: and no more mucking around…..
    Paul: Of course sir…..

    Paul turns and exits.

    (Continuing tomorrow…)

    See for links to all parts of the serial published so far.

    © Scoop Media

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