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Excerpt from Mark Tier’s new book, Trust Your Enemies (Hong Kong: Inverse Books, 2012; available on Kindle for only $0.99), from chapter 30.
(Context: Alison McGuire is political adviser to the Deputy Prime Minister, Anthony Royn. Karla Preston is an “uber”-libertarian, butt-kicking journalist.)

“Is this Karla Preston?”

“Yes. Who am I talking to?” Karla asked.

“I’m Alison McGuire, from Anthony —”

“Well … hullo. This is a surprise.”

“Yes,” said Alison, “for both of us, I imagine.”

“And for some reason,” said Karla, “unlike some politicians I could name, I don’t think you’re calling to complain about something I’ve written.”

“No, I’m not,” Alison chuckled, “but I could if you like.”

“It’s hardly a good investment of your time — or anyone else’s.”

“Miss Preston, I had already figured that out.”

“Good. And call me Karla … Alison.”

“Okay … Karla. I’m calling because my boss —”

“Anthony Royn.”

“Right … And he’d like to talk to you—”

“Talk to me?” said Karla. “What on earth for?”

“To get more background on the Sandeman Islands. A different perspective.”

“Okay. Let me suggest you also invite Robin Cartwright.”

Alison laughed. “That’s a good idea — though I’m not sure how the minister will take to meeting both of you at the same time. Anyway, he might still be in Toribaya. I’ll check. When would work best for you?”

“Later in the week would be fine.”

“So where should I send your ticket?” Alison asked.

“Ticket?” Karla replied.

“Airline ticket. Since we’ve invited you, you’re entitled to expenses at least, plus an honorarium for your time.”

“If you make the meeting in the afternoon I’ll drive down in the morning.”

“Those kind of expenses are covered too.”

“I guess I’m not making myself clear,” said Karla irritably, “so let me put it this way: I’m not a receiver of stolen goods.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“I mean that all the government’s money is extorted from the people by force, without their consent —”

“‘Without their consent’?” Alison said heatedly. “This is a democracy, after all.”

“So it is,” Karla sighed. “But if taxation were truly voluntary, do you think enough money would be collected to pay your salary? We can talk about it some other time if you want to. In any case, I won’t be coming to Canberra just to talk to your boss. So I’ll pay my own way, okay?”

Strange woman, Alison thought as she put down the phone and turned back to skimming the newspapers.