Nature abhors a vacuum, and so does Winston Peters. Over the five short days since the New Zealand electorate delivered him another voucher to determine the government, the NZ First leader has resisted all attentions like a mirror-ball.
For the political media, it is as a transfer window is to sport: emptiness filled by obsessing on detail, tiny snippets bloated into scandal, and the inescapable suspicion that every headline has been served up by a vested interest.
How long will it take? Peters says nothing can happen until we know about the special votes, which are to be announced a week tomorrow.
Maybe we can match our friends in Holland, where negotiations have been under way since their recent election, on March 15.
Or, even better, emulate the Belgians, who, a few years back, took 541 days to sticky-tape together a government.
I know, you can barely contain your excitement. And who can blame NZ First, really, given the nature of MMP - which stands for Mixed Member Pity The Small Parties that Prop Up A Government For They Are Likely To Be Signing Their Own Death Warrant - for taking its time?
In the interim, there is at least something to get your teeth into, in the form of a wholly credible draft coalition agreement, leaked exclusively to your correspondent by your correspondent.
Agreement for governing coalition, 2017
One score and one year ago our fathers brought forth, upon this nation, a new electoral system, conceived in proportionality, and dedicated to the proposition that the party finishing third gets to choose who is in charge.
That is axiomatic, and if you can't get that through your thick skull then you're wasting everyone's time, pipsqueak.
What does this agreement set out? Why would you ask a question like that? That's a stupid question and an insult to the intelligence of ordinary New Zealanders and what I will say is this: here is what the agreement sets out.
When a man gets up in the morning, in the crisp dawn of the north, and sails out upon the Pacific Ocean, does he know what he will catch? Of course not.
With the greatest respect, it all depends upon the conditions. He might hook a blue cod. He might hook a red snapper. He might even hook a rainbow cod. That's right.
What does this agreement set out? I'll tell you what it sets out. It sets out a vision for a New Zealand unencumbered by the demonstrably dishonest media, who are donkey deep.
All hat and no cattle. Donkey in a hat without any cattle. That's what I'm talking about. I'm talking about a basic grasp of the economic reality.
If you can't see that you haven't got your head screwed on. And if your head isn't screwed on you're probably some kind of freaky extra terrestrial, and with the greatest of respect New Zealand does not need to hear it.
Terms of engagement
I'm talking about respect. That's right. I'm talking about integrity. You want to see integrity? Go down to my car and look in my boot. It's all there. Integrity. Common sense. Shane Jones is in there somewhere, too. Anyone seen him?
National? What do they call him? The Bore Bill of office. That's right. Labour? What do they call her? Jacinda other room, waiting for the phone to ring. That's right. Green? Ha, ha ha. Call the Parrot, table for four. That's right!
Don't come around here and start spouting off about bottom lines, we have never talked about bottom lines, and we are not about to start now.
Here are the bottom lines. Super Super Golder than Gold Cards, offering seniors and racehorses a range of benefits including a free Picton Ferry, the right to call a referendum at any moment, and a 600-character limit on Twitter. Write down your offer and put it in my boot. Anyone seen Shane?
The people of this country have demanded an end to the demonising, cinderella-rising and frankly disgusting disrespectarising of leading New Zealanders.
They want free-to-air live sport so ordinary New Zealanders can tune in to cheer Bert Sutcliffe and Sid Going on the international stage.
They want free to air Danish political dramas exploring mature proportional politics. A referendum on relocating to Northland the port and the Parliament and the Picton Ferry.
Just a lot of referendums, basically.
A referendum on returning to a New Zealand with respect for right and wrong, and grandmothers, and two television channels. A referendum on putting the word First at the end of the name of this great country.
A referendum on referendums. And something inconsequential but symbolically meaningful about the Maori and the immigrants because who can trust people who have been here such a long time or such a short time? That's right.
What else? I'll tell you. Journalists will stop being imbeciles and start showing some respect, just a bit of respect, would it kill you, I'll tell you what might kill you, that's right, you're donkey deep and listen to me sunshine, I know all about the truth and the truth will out, and any fair-minded person would agree the truth is buried shallow in the sands, like a lost feather or the excrement of a dog. That's right.
What does this agreement signify? Another ridiculous question which I will not dignify with an answer except to say that with the greatest respect the permutations are many and so are the exact precise voices of the New Zealand people and we shall govern in good faith and in the national interest and has anyone seen Shane?