When I was a wee boy in Primary School, our teacher would often set us the task of simply writing a story. Anything. "Just use your imagination," she'd say.
This was fun. I adored it.
What I didn't adore was the reading out of our stories at the end of the day. Everyone would include the names of their friends from school in their stories. Even me. Did I ever hear my name in a story? Did I hell. This made me sad, even depressed.
I was thinking about this a few days ago on looking at an old school photograph of me that my Mum had found in a drawer at home.
Today, I decided to write a story, if I could, including everyone in my blogroll. It's a post-modern sci-fi history of the twenty first cenury. And not very good. Sadly, there appears not to be a beginning, middle nor end.
Twenty First Century Minge
Lord High President Alan declared war on Russia in 2046. The first skirmishes didn’t start until eighteen months later. In 2048, the first cracks appeared in the seemingly solid United States of Europe. The JAG plan, throwing money at former EU states in order to stop them joining the New Eastern Block was failing.
Ukraine’s new President, a novelist with roots firmly in the twentieth and twenty first centuries began calling for a return to the old ways. Sheba Popov exclaimed, “Mother Russia wants her prodigal daughter back. We should not be proud, my people. Let us go home.”
Money drained from the USE. An extended war would not be cheap.
In June 2048, Alan and Popov met. He agreed to give her independence with electricity and taxation as long as she remained neutral. A few hundred million Euros were thrown into the bargain, too.
In Russia, Dieebel was not happy. Not happy at all. She did not want neutrality. She wanted Popov. She wanted Ukraine. Her own standing depended on it. In launching her bid for re-election, she’d promised Ukraine and Poland would return to the Russian fold. The people had kept her side of the bargain in re-electing her. Now was her turn to hold true to her promise. She simply had to deliver.
But there was no new money coming out of Russia. No money, perhaps, but plenty of potatoes.
Dieebel was on the telephone to Popov.
“No return, to potatoes, honey.”
The new Ukranian Dollar was introduced in August. By September, the potato pipeline was turned off. Without intervention from the USE, starvation would soon be a fact in Europe, unseen since World War III.
Alan arranged to have potatoes flown in. The Russian action ended in fiasco. No payment for potatoes, no return of Ukraine to the Mother country and no promises kept by Dieebel.
To re-establish herself, Dieebel arranged for the arrest of Bosnian President Kraf Ty Bi’tch in May 2049. He’d been making overtures for money from the JAG plan. Dieebel would punish him and exalt himself in one fell swoop, killing two birds with one stone. During the show trial, Kraf Ty Bi’tch admitted trying to set up a fascist state with the support of Alan and the USE.
Life in prison.
In 2051, the Secretary General of the Romanian Presidency, Gab Bea was arrested and charged with a similar conspiracy. Another life sentence.
This was the beginning of a new purge of former USSR states and countries seen as friendly or sympathetic to the new Russian cause. There was a certain anti-Semitic characteristic to the turn of events. The Gulag camps were more full than ever before. The terror spread to the satellite countries. Was it mere coincidence, then, that at that precise point, on 17th March 2053, Dieebel died, quite suddenly, of a stroke?
Eye-witness accounts of his final hours differ wildly on essential points, fateful in itself, though they all agree that he did lie on his bedroom floor for hours. He was a victim of his own fear. None of his staff, Rand, Bogue or Brian dared enter his chambre, even on hearing him moan in agony. If Dieebel’s frailty and state of health got out, he might have them shot.
No doctor was even summoned. Carioca informed Enda who, in turn, took a look in at Dieebel by softly opening the door to the inner sanctum a few centimetres.
“Can’t you see Comrade Dieebel is simply sleeping?” bellowed Enda. “Get out, all of you and leave her to rest, you fucking cunts.”
Later, Dieebel’s chief of police, Galien Davidov would admit, “I did her in. I saved all your lives, you idiots, you wimps. You’d rather sit back and die in fear of being killed. I was not so afraid.”
Dieebel’s death throws went on for five days. No explanation was ever given for the lack of a doctor, though a Dr Viris Pulchris did sign the death certificate, citing his presence at the moment of Dieebel's departure from this world. Pulchris has never been traced. No Dr Pulchris has ever been registered on the official list of physicians in Russia. Never.
Dieebel’s Daughter, Oldga Cheeser, a very camp woman, often accused of being a man, said, “At the very last moment, she opened her eyes, looked at all of us. Terrible gaze, though unafraid of death. She told us we were all blessed and good people.”
Dieebel’s successor, General Anjou, softly spoken, commented, “When it was obvious Dieebel had drawn her final breath, Oldga began laughing. I could see the look of relief on her face. Dieebel’s life was over, but so was Oldga’s life of fear. I was pleased for her, secretly.”
The show trials all collapsed and The Gulag mothballed. Less than a week after Dieebel’s death, Anjou was able to seize power after a vote in The People’s Assembly. Alexei Hamster nominated Anjou, seconded by Hildert Schildert.
From that day on, Dieebel’s name was never even mentioned in the press, on the interweb or on television.
Anjou had only one rival, Dieebel’s own daughter, Oldga Cheeser. By the end of that year, Anjou had ordered her shot.
All the people I’ve spoken to from Russia and her connected states can remember what they were doing on the morning of 20th March 2053 when Dieebel’s death was announced.
Invar Iableplethora from Dieebelgrad told me, “Everyone was crying, though their eyes were dry. As a child, I was a good actress. I could produce real tears. Mother glared at me. It was right to be seen to cry, but I shouldn’t really be crying. It would be a long time before I understood.”
Is Mise said, “I was just on my way home from a disco. My father told me I shouldn’t be wearing glittery shoes on a day like this.”
Another witness, Joseph Mygod was quite candid. “I’d just turned eighteen so joined the Russian Party, as all eighteen year olds did. I rang the bank and cancelled the cheque. I spent the money on chocolate, hats, shoes and gloves.”
Jug Gerpixov: “I was watching television. I had one eye on that, another on the keypad of my phone, dialling an airline to book a ticket back to Poland. I felt sure things would go from bad to worse.”
History has given us a great number of political characters; Cromwell, Napoleon, Hitler, Bush. Yes, all criminals, but all great statesmen. People don’t even want to know that such a combination is possible. But it is possible. The world is a complicated place and this was a complicated situation. Dieebel might have been a murderer of her own people, but she did keep Kapitano and the Italians in their place during World War III. And in the war launched on Russia by Alan and the USE, Dieebel only ever retaliated in self defense, never once did she attack a foreign sovereign state.
However, when Lassiter made it known that war was only an option for Alan because of Dieebel’s stubborn nature, Brian had him charged with being a London spy. The typical and obvious punishment was death. Lassiter was shot.
Matt Y’sbit, Dieebel’s political advisor, kept his job after Anjou seized power. He told me, “Anjou was a clown, naïve and good at telling jokes. He should have been an actor, a comedian, not a President. He was not a criminal, not a murderer, not a sex-pig. You need to be all of these things to be a statesman, a President.”
Anjou may well have not been a shining example of a good President, but he was a steady captain, held the country together and steered the ship of state on a course to stability having sued for peace with the USE.
“He panicked,” commented Moncrief De Brett, Mayor of Dieebelgrad during the Dieebel/Anjou changeover period. “He was frightened of nuclear war with Europe and The Islamic Alliance. Dieebel got what he wanted by being brave and bullish. Anjou got what he wanted by being meek and mild.”
De Brett left politics in 2063. He told me, as a committed atheist, Saint Francis of Assisi was his favourite Saint. He was not religious, but, on understanding the word originates from another, meaning to be attached, understood he was no longer attached to politics. Politics was no longer his religion. He believed, but was not attached. He felt an attachment to Saint Francis, but did not believe in him. Saint Francis didn’t mind, and a whisper of his name meant his neighbour would cease kicking his little dog.
Alan’s apparent victory over the Russians made him very popular. He remained President until his death in May 2064. His deputy, Susanna Junt became President for the final six months of the term with elections held in November. The winner was rank outsider PJ Ess.
In electioneering, PJ spoke of a third golden age and of new beginnings but did not really commit to definite policies or an agenda. The people of the USE thought they were in for much of the same. They were wrong.
PJ appointed former British Home Stores head, Dan O’Deness as finance minister. Taxes were hiked on haute couture and rationing removed on off the peg clothing. As long as it was bought in BHS. Thomas Oink was appointed health minister. Green vegetables and citrus fruits were banned in an attempt to encourage the population to eat more chocolate. Eddie Mair was appointed Minister For The Airts. Nudity became compulsory on stage. Reluc Tant No Mad became Foreign Minister. His first task was to start a war with The People’s Republic Of Scotland. As a result, all the citizens of the USE spent their lives in the theatre, wearing bad clothes, watching actors mime the wearing of clothes from their wheelchairs (unable to walk because of Rickets). The Scottish Play was never performed again.
Lewis Saint, a child when Alan died remembers the times well, commenting, “It was like I’d woken up in another world. People hid oranges and lemons under the bed. If you weren’t eating chocolate or watching nude plays, you’d be reported to the police. Guaranteed. It was a good job I liked the theatre and Nutrageous.”
Brian E Turtle was similarly shocked. “One day I had a fruit in my mouth, the next, something brown.”
Bill Cornjob worked for PJ during and after her successful election campaign. In my interview with him, he said, “PJ never even thought about victory. When I told her she was our new President, she practically had a fit. If the mars bar was in her mouth, she’d have choked on it. If anyone finds out about the Marianne Faithful role play, I’ll kill you.”
Living in an alternative society is great if you’re an alternative kind of person. Of course, all the citizens of the USE were not alternative, not now, not then. Applications for Pacifican and Scots citizenship from inside the USE went through the roof.
La Liliana, former star of The Girl With The Golden Mind was used in government films to encourage people to stay. She spoke at length on the joys of watching actors perform in the nude and how chocolate was a health food. PJ did encourage her to work the Marianne magic with a mars bar for the small screen, but she put her foot down.
Thankfully, her friend and star of This Quarter Life Crisis, Dick Watalotta was keen to oblige. This was his first step into the world of politics. Who’d have thought, way back then, that he’d now be Our Glorious Leader IX?
He’s done a lot of good for the country, exposing Michael Shadow as a pre-op dyke and revealing to the world that Captain Jack Harkness was in fact not a science fiction soap opera but a fly on the wall documentary. All hail.
The last five people with whom I discussed the politics of the mid twenty first century and the aftermath of World War III were Phyllis, Michèle, Jo, Schayne and Zona, members of the girl group Les Dirty Sluts. Their only comment: