|Yes Prime Minister in Australia
Author: Victif PM
Yes Prime Minister is off Down Under! From the beach to the Outback, Melbourne to Cairns, Prime Minister Jim Hacker is looking forward to seeing all the sights that Australia has to offer along with the publicity, of course .Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Humor/Drama - Chapters: 2 - Words: 4,521 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 1 - Published: 11-04-11 - id: 7521376
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"I can't believe we made it."
"So you have said, Prime Minister," replied Humphrey, thinking that if Jim was to say it once more, he would have to swap seats with someone, or there was going to be one less person in the group when they arrived in Australia.
Still, it was quite a miracle that they had gotten to the airport in time. After all the trouble they had had getting down the stairs, they had gotten outside 10 Downing Street to find that the 'mini-bus' was definitely that: small. While there were seven seats in it, the two back seats had to be folded down to make a boot. Due to the incident the previous Christmas, nobody would let Jim drive, so Sir Frank was driving instead, with the luggage being stored at the feet of Jim, in the passenger seat, and Humphrey, Bernard and Arnold, who were sitting in the middle. Even though the luggage was a nuisance, it was Annie and Dorothy who were perhaps the most uncomfortable of the lot. Their discomfort could easily be explained by the fact that the back seats where they were sitting weren't really meant for anyone over the age of 12. However, despite feeling as though they were in a cat cage, the two women enjoyed each other's company during the drive, which certainly was not the case for the men. For the entire length of the journey, Humphrey, Bernard and Arnold didn't stop bickering about the lack of room; while Frank and Jim spent the time arguing about Frank's driving techniques.
Finally, though, they had arrived at Heathrow with 15 minutes remaining in which to check in. After doing so, they all let out a sign of relief, which turned into a groan as the press descended upon them. And it had soon become apparent that it wasn't just going to be a few questions that the reporters were going to be asking.
Fifty minutes later, by which time everyone but Jim was bored shitless, Frank looked at his watch, remarking, "It's already 10 minutes to eleven. We've been here for ages."
"What did you say?" This came from Dorothy, which had surprised Sir Frank, because she had been sitting with her eyes closed and her head leaning against Annie's shoulder, so he had thought she was asleep.
"I said we've been here for ages."
"No, the other bit."
"It's 10 minutes to eleven...Good God! The plane leaves in 10 minutes!"
"We should have been paged 20 minutes ago!" exclaimed Humphrey crossly. Picking up his suitcase, he used it to nudge Bernard, who had been playing cards with Annie (and losing). "Come on, you two. We have to go. Now."
It had then taken a further five minutes to get Jim away from the reporters. It was eventually Dorothy pointing out that the reporters themselves were going to be the ones in the news if the Prime Minister missed the plane because of them that finally got Jim away from them.
Then there was the airport security to go through. It was all going very well and quite speedily until the last person to go through, Humphrey, was pulled up for a random full-body scan. By this time, Jim, Bernard, Dorothy and Frank were already on their way to the gate where the gate would depart from, while Arnold and Annie were just collecting their carry-on bags from the scanning area.
Humphrey was well aware of the time constraints, and on these grounds, he refused to do the full-body scan. This, apparently, was exactly what the security guards were waiting for, because at Humphrey's refusal, they had started accusing him of hiding something. To make matters worse, when Annie tried to defend him, they accused her of being an accomplice in the crime.
Thankfully, they hadn't been able to shut Arnold up before he pointed out that they was no crime, so Annie could hardly be anyone's accomplice, and Humphrey would do the scan, despite the fact they had about 90 seconds to get to the gate.
The scan had gone ahead, and needless to say, Humphrey hadn't been hiding anything, apart from perhaps a bad temper. Grabbing their bags, Annie, Arnold and Humphrey had run to the gate, though they were sure that they had missed the plane.
Arriving at the gate huffing and puffing from their run, they were surprised (and very glad) to find the plane hadn't left without them, all thanks to Dorothy. Jim, Bernard and Frank had already boarded the plane, but Dorothy had refused to leave the others behind (well, Annie, anyway). She was arguing with three members of the airport staff, and yet she hadn't allowed being outnumbered stop her from winning the argument. Grateful though they were to Dorothy, the whole incident had confirmed in Humphrey and Arnold's minds exactly why she known throughout the civil service as 'that impossible woman'. Annie, on the contrary, had told Dorothy that she was brilliant, and had given her a huge hug.
So finally, they were all aboard the plane to Australia. Jim and Humphrey were sitting together, lucky enough to have the third seat in the row empty, though Humphrey found himself wishing there was someone else there so he didn't just have the Prime Minister to talk to (or to be more exact, to listen to). Across the aisle were Arnold and Frank, who had the misfortune of having a very talkative elderly lady sitting between them. This old dear was enjoying herself so much talking to the two men that she wasn't even aware that they were replying at all.
A couple of rows behind Arnold and Frank were Dorothy, Annie and Bernard, who were having a thoroughly good time playing cards. Bernard couldn't help but feel slightly uncomfortable being outnumbered as he was, though he didn't let that stop him from constantly beating the two women.
At exactly 8pm Eastern Standard Time, the plane landed in Melbourne, Victoria. "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to Melbourne, where the local time is 8pm on the dot. The weather is clear and quite cool, so do please remember to rug up well."
"I'm surprised we're here on time," complained a rather cantankerous stewardess. "After that ridiculously long delay in Heathrow."
"It wasn't long a delay," the male steward she was talking to replied. "Anyway, what actually happened in Heathrow? I still haven't been told."
"Oh, apparently some impossible woman kept on arguing because her friends weren't there on time. I mean, seriously, that's our fault?"
Still talking, the two of them headed towards the front of the plane. Dorothy, who had been listening to the conversation, remarked lightly, "I might be impossible, but at least I have friends." She paused momentarily as she realised what she had just said, then turning to Bernard and Annie, she asked, "I'm not impossible, am I?"
Bernard and Annie exchanged glances before answering, Bernard somewhat hesitantly, "No."
They disembarked from the plane without too much trouble, although entering the terminal; they thought that they had lost Arnold. It turned out that he had just gotten caught behind the old lady sitting beside him. He finally joined the others, mumbling about people who talk too much.
After collecting their luggage, they headed outside to catch a taxi to their hotel. They decided that it would probably be a sensible idea to get a maxi-taxi as opposed to separate taxis, as they were all doubtful that they would arrive at the same place if they did that. However, as they got into the maxi-taxi, they found they were faced with another problem.
"The Grand Mercuré Hotel, please," said Jim to the driver.
"Which one?" asked the driver, looking suspiciously at the seven people who had just gotten into the taxi. He had no idea who these people were, but he had a natural dislike for 'snobby British twits', as he liked to call them. He also thought it a bit strange that they were five men and only two women. He was contemplating this when the youngest of the men spoke.
"There's more than one Grand Mercuré Hotel in Melbourne?"
"Yes, there's one at Canterbury, one at Elwood and then there's one down at Sandringham, though I don't reckon that's the one you're wanting."
"And what makes you think that?" asked Arnold rather stiffly. He didn't like the taxi driver anymore than the driver liked them.
"It's the furthest one from here."
"Well, I don't think that's the one we want," Jim said.
"Prime Minister..." Bernard began.
"We'll try Canterbury," decided Jim.
"Prime Minister, wouldn't it be wise to check the hotel reservation?" Humphrey said quietly. When Jim didn't reply, Humphrey went on. "Prime Minister? You didn't remember to bring it, did you?"
"Yes. I mean, no. I mean, well it said on it that you didn't need it to check in, so I..."
"Threw it out," finished Frank and Annie for him.
So with no other option other than trying the hotels until they found the correct one, they started off for the Grand Mercuré Hotel, Canterbury.
"Good evening. I was wondering if you have a reservation under the name of Hacker?"
They had sent Frank and Dorothy into the hotel in Canterbury. This had a dual purpose. One, they didn't want the hotel staff to see the Prime Minister if it wasn't the correct one, because they were afraid that they would try to talk them into staying (which wouldn't work, but would undoubtedly cause unwanted publicity). The second reason behind sending Frank and Dorothy was because as soon the driver had pulled up at the hotel, he had spoken.
"Here we are, the Grand Mercuré Hotel, Canterbury." Turning to Jim, he said, "Are you really a Prime Minister?"
So while Jim was trying to convince the very sceptical taxi driver that he was indeed the Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Dorothy and Frank were checking to see if they were at the right hotel.
"I'm sorry, ma'am, but we have no reservation under that name. However, if it is just for you and your husband, I think we may just have a room available for you..."
"Um, no, thank you. We do already have a booking, we just have to find the correct hotel," replied Dorothy, thinking it probably wasn't that good an idea to tell the man that Frank wasn't her husband, though the expression on Frank's face pretty much gave the game away.
"If only you had been here before nine, I would have been able to ring up our other hotels to check for you. I am sorry," said the man, looking very apologetic.
"Are you sure you can't..."
"Don't be silly, Frank," said Dorothy in a voice that was undoubtedly meant to be good-humoured. "We aren't in any rush." To the receptionist, she said, "Thank you for your trouble. I'm sure we'll find the correct hotel eventually."
They went back outside to the taxi and recounted their story. Everyone was rather put-off to discover it wasn't the correct hotel, but they got a laugh out of thinking of Dorothy and Frank as a married couple.
"I take it then we are continuing to the next hotel?" asked Humphrey.
"I suppose so," replied Jim. "Driver, onto the the Grand Mercuré Hotel in..."
"Elwood," supplied the driver. "Yes...Prime Minister."
Unfortunately for the Prime Ministerial party, half an hour later they discovered that it wasn't the Grand Mercuré Hotel in Elwood that they wanted either. Bernard and Annie had been sent in after Frank and Dorothy had refused to go again, and the despondent looks on their faces as they got back into the taxi told all.
"Well, I suppose it's onto the hotel in Sandringham then," said the driver, starting up the taxi again.
"Yes, sorry about all this," said Annie apologetically.
"Don't worry about me. I am getting paid for this, remember?"
"Yes, I suppose you are."
"You didn't forget that, didn't you?" asked the driver, suddenly switching to a soft, dangerous tone.
"Certainly not!" replied Annie indignantly.
"And watch your mouth when talking to my wife," snapped Jim.
"She's your wife? Then what's she?" the driver asked nastily, nodding towards Dorothy.
"I'm his Chief Political Adviser. And no, that does not mean you can talk to me like that, either."
"Sorry, ma'am, sir." The driver was, however, still sounding rather too rude for Jim's liking, but before he had a chance to continue berating him, Humphrey spoke.
"If I may for one moment interrupt this obstreperous and somewhat fatuous altercation, although I must admit to concurring with my compatriots upon this matter. However, what I am chiefly trying to achieve over the course of this oratory is that I feel we are being dilatory here and instead of this incessant argument, we should continue onto the hotel which we have decided is, in all probability, the one that we have been trying to locate for the past several hours."
"What the fuck is that suppose to mean?" exclaimed the driver exasperatedly.
"Watch your language," Frank said, shortly.
"Tell me to watch my language," retorted the driver. "At least you can understand my language."
"Unfortunately," muttered Dorothy. This remark thankfully went unheard by the driver.
Annie, meanwhile, was puzzling over Humphrey's speech. "What does 'obstreperous' mean?"
"I'm not nearly as worried about that as I am with what 'oratory' mean," Jim replied. "It sounds like something a doctor would do with a probe."
"Look!" This sudden shout, making everyone jump about a foot in the air, came from Sir Arnold. "What Sir Humphrey means is that he believes this constant argument is both noisy and stupid, which it is, and we should stop talking and just leave so that we may actually get to this hotel tonight!"
As Arnold came to a breathless stop, he looked around him. All the others, with the exception of the driver, were staring at Arnold, their mouths wide open, none of them quite able to believe this sudden, and completely out of character, outburst.
"Um, yes, well," stuttered Humphrey. "Let's go then, shall we?"
The driver seemed about to speak again, but this time, Annie got in first.
"Before you start again, you have already pointed out that you are being paid quite handsomely for this, so you really have nothing to complain about. Not as much as we do, anyway."
The driver knew she was right, though he took pleasure in glaring at her one more time before finally starting off for the hotel.
Twenty minutes later, nearly two and a half hours after the plane had landed, the taxi finally pulled up at the Grand Mercuré Hotel, Sandringham.
"Here we are, at last. Now that will be $150.80."
"Shouldn't we make sure that this is the right hotel first?" asked Annie, peering out the window.
"Look, lady, you said the Grand Mercuré. This is the last Grand Mercuré in Melbourne!"
"I'm sure this is the correct one," Arnold said, placing a hand on Annie's arm to stop her retorting.
Jim, meanwhile, was having another problem. "Bernard, we're here. You can wake up now," he said as he poked Bernard continually.
"Stop poking me," Bernard moaned before he was properly awake. When he realised where he was, and who was poking him, he went bright red. "Oh, sorry, Prime Minister."
"Are you going or not? I mean, surely you're wanting to get to bed sometime tonight," the driver added hastily in reply to the cold looks he was receiving.
The Brits couldn't deny this, so without another word, they paid the driver and got all their bags together.
"Now I might not know much about the value of Australian money, but surely $150 is an awful lot," remarked Jim as they watched the taxi drive away.
"It is quite a lot, Prime Minister. In our money, it's about £95," Sir Frank told him. "Of course, it would have been a fair amount less if we had just come straight here."
"Very true. Well, shall we go in? I, for one, am rather looking forward to going to bed."
"I think we all are, Prime Minister," said Humphrey, as Dorothy yawned and nodded in agreement.
"Particularly Bernard," Annie said, smiling mischievously.
Entering the hotel, they found themselves in a very charming, well decorated lobby. Going up the counter, Jim rang the bell. Almost immediately, a tall, well-dressed man appeared.
"Oh, Prime Minister, I am glad to see you. We were afraid something had happened to you."
"So this is the right hotel?" Jim just wanted to be certain.
"Yes, Prime Minister."
"Oh, thank goodness," Annie said, sighing with relief.
"So, if I may ask, what happened to you? We were expecting you here more than an hour ago."
"Um, well..." began Annie hesitantly.
"I'm sure you will understand that we have been travelling for quite some time now, and we are rather looking forward to getting to our rooms," intervened Humphrey smoothly.
"Yes, of course. I am sorry. If I could just ask you all to please sign the registrar? I'll just get someone to show you to your rooms."
In the time it took them to sign the registrar, the receptionist had summoned two young men, giving them the room keys.
"Thank you very much, sir," said the receptionist to Arnold, who was the last one to sign. "Alan and Robert will show you to your rooms."
"Thank you. And we must apologise for keeping you waiting so long," Jim said.
"That's quite alright, sir. These things do happen. I hope you and your companions will get a good night's sleep."
"I hope so, too," Jim replied, picking up his remaining bag and checking to see which of the porters had the other.
"Oh, and Prime Minister?"
"Welcome to Australia."
by Victoria Tiffany