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The Goodnight Kiwi

Mark Taylor



Once upon a time, 1989 to be exact, there were two TV channels in New Zealand, called One and Two. One and Two were good friends and were owned by a man called the State. The State was a real nasty piece of work. Long days filled with repressive nasty deeds made him cranky, and at midnight he would drink a large mug of Kahlua and Milo and go to bed taking his channels to bed with him. He didn’t want the channels to do anything he couldn’t control. He didn’t like things he couldn’t control and he especially didn’t like his bladder.
During the day he left the channels in the trusted care of the Goodnight Kiwi. Goodnight Kiwi was a loyal friend of The State and one of the few kiwis in the country to work a day shift. Each night after the State had said “Goodnight Kiwi”, Goodnight Kiwi would turn off the lights, put out his empty milk bottle and get into his elevator to go up to bed. He slept at the top of a transmission tower in a satellite dish and had the best view in the neighbourhood. But one night after saying “Goodnight” to One, Two and the cranky State, Goodnight Kiwi found he couldn’t get home. His elevator was broken and wouldn’t come down from the top floor. The State had been busy building lots of things around the country but had neglected to build a staircase for Goodnight Kiwi. So poor old Goodnight Kiwi was stuck at the bottom of the tower with no way of getting to bed.
He could hear the music in the elevator droning away at the top of the tower but the more he pushed the button the more it seemed to not come down. He was becoming cranky and decided to ring the State to get someone to fix his elevator. Unfortunately the State was already asleep and Goodnight Kiwi was told he would have to wait until the morning to get his elevator fixed. This really annoyed him and he slammed down the phone and then went to see his brother who lived nearby to ask for a bed for the night. His brother, Golden Kiwi, was very rich and would surely have a spare bed for him. Golden Kiwi was the State’s treasurer and like all friends of the State, was given a fine house and property. He knocked at the door but there was no answer and the more he knocked the more there seemed to be no answer.
Goodnight Kiwi was just a little bit scared now and from his brother’s doorstep he could just see his dish way up in the sky. Suddenly he saw the elevator go from the top to the bottom. Then he remembered his cat, Private. Private was as lazy a cat as you could get. She would sleep all day and night, every day and night of the week for 52 weeks of the year, except for the odd occasion when she would go out and do her business.
“What is she up to now?” thought Goodnight Kiwi.
Upon arriving home he found that the elevator was back up at the top again and wouldn’t come down, it just stayed up there playing its dreary music.
“What is that cat up to?” wondered Goodnight Kiwi.
Then he decide on a plan; he would shout out that he was going back to Golden Kiwi’s place and then hide in the bushes. It worked! The lift came down and opened, and inside were Golden Kiwi and Private carrying large sacks of one and two dollar notes. They carried them behind the studio and loaded them into a van. This was all very suspicious for Goodnight Kiwi and upset him. He was a very loyal and honest servant of the State and felt the need to tell his boss. But what about his brother and his cat? The more he thought about it the more he became suspicious and upset. He sobbed himself to sleep in the bushes while Private and Golden Kiwi continued to bring sacks of one and two dollar notes down from the top of the tower and load them into the van.
The next day Goodnight Kiwi told the State about what he had seen. The State wasn’t happy and launched an official investigation. It turned out that Private had been doing a lot of business where he shouldn’t have. He had convinced Golden Kiwi to print more money and then hide it under his mattress. The idea was to buy a new TV channel called Three where Private thought Goodnight Kiwi could work with more freedom and Private could do his business whenever and wherever he liked. He just didn’t count on Goodnigh Kiwi’s loyalty to the State. The big loser was Golden Kiwi. All the one and two dollar bills he had hoarded were set fire to and replaced with coins. He too was promptly fired and replaced with a young up and comer named Instant Kiwi.
Due to Private’s actions, there were other cats doing business all over the place and the State couldn’t control them. He really hated that. So in 1994 the State said Goodnight Kiwi”, for the last time – while according the long serving kiwi with a place in the broadcasting hall of icons.