It is a normal day in Canberra with all the leading politicians in attendance. Parliament is sitting and the heavies are going head to head berating each other over trivials, leaders of each party resorting to gutter snipe insults in a bid to dominate the other. Turnball and Shorten argue about figures, treasurer Scott Morrison takes umbrage at being exposed over any matter and retorts loudly and visciously. Yes it is a normal session in the Australian sitting of Parliament.

Then came the bombshell that rocked the thinkers and movers elected to guide the common population.

Number 12 addressed Parliament, 12 had the floor for free speech of question time, but this was no question, this was a statement.

“Being the number 12 of our counting system, I address Parliament. Mr Speaker, I hereby advice that as of now my services are being withdrawn. The reason for this is since the introduction of metric I feel redundant and of no great use compared to how it once was. Allow me to remind you all of how I was once important to the counting system with Pounds, Shillings and Pence, Inches, Feet and Yards.”

His address went on with both parties loudly guffawing at this audacity of a number threatening such a thing, and as if it were even possible. It brought laughter to the floor and gallery of Parliament. Nobody thought to take the threat seriously.

Number 12 continued speaking, ignoring the heckles, derision and laughter, that is an accepted form of communication, seemingly reserved for people elected to make rules of behaviour for all others. Weights are another area of change where I have been pushed aside, gone are the ounces and pounds of 12 multiples. Then 12 made them take a bit more notice and hit upon personal nerves, “I should make you aware Mr. Turnball that you personal fortune of 12 million dollars will revert to nil, once I am gone. Anything to do with 12 will disappear, no more twelve on a clock, no more twelve in a month no more December the twelfth month.”

People began to think and imagine life without the number 12, but it still remained just too ridiculous that such an event could occur, surely there was some kind of rule to prevent such a thing. Some quick thinking Senators checked, just in case, and they realised 12 can just go.

“And so dear people of Australia, members of Parliament, your ancestors’ of Goverment have eroded my purpose for being here, I now withdraw. I thank you for your time and say goodbye.”

The speech lasted for exactly twelve minutes twelve seconds, then suddenly, 12 disappeared from everything.

Desmond O’Neill.

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