31 Oct

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I know that I tend to tell lies,” murmured Thomas Crotchley. “I’m afraid it comes with the territory, so to speak. I just can’t help it.”

Doctor Domuch shook his head sadly. “It’s a new condition to me,” he confessed frankly, “in all of the reading I’ve done, and all of my studies, night school and all that as well as goodness-knows how many years at University, I’ve never met a condition that forces a man to be untruthful against his own will.”

“Well, I’ve got it,” smiled Thomas. “For instance, yesterday when the Jehovah’s Witnesses knocked my door I couldn’t heLp inviting them in and telling them I’d just killed my wife…”

“Killed your wife?” almost gasped Doctor Domuch. “Did they believe you?”

“I doubt it,” grinned his patient, “after all they’re Christians and the lies they’re used to swallowing whole are really big ones and me killing my wife is relatively insignificant. It’s what I call the waging war theory. Send a nuclear missile hurtling to your enemy makes shooting a single unarmed civilian a relatively harmless thing to do, don’t you think? And easy. It’s very easy to dismiss one when a million souls have been sent on their way to Paradise. Quite painless, you might say.”

“You’re a lost cause!” exclaimed the doctor. “Talking of mass murder as if it meant nothing at all, and you a politician!”

“We have to think that way,” sighed Thomas, suddenly adopting a sad demeanour. “We who hold the reigns of power have to take in the big picture…”

“There’s nothing big about mass murder!” snapped the doctor, irritated.

“Depends on the size of the mass,” suggested his patient, barely aware of the sudden agitation in his medical adviser. “It depends on how many get incinerated, get sent to eternity in the blink of an eye!”

“You’re impossible!”

“Someone has to think that way,” sighed the politician, “and because we’re the chosen few it falls to us. Even now there are the rumours of war. It’s got to happen sooner or later and whichever side launches the fiercest attack will be the winner. It’ll be over before the bombs explode, you know. There’s something wonderfully human about the concept of mutually assured destruction, don’t you think? Even as the heavens roar with the approach of a thousand megatons and people pause in the streets to admire the sound the war will be as good as over. That will be their last pause, their last chance to pray…”

“You’re mad!” snapped his doctor. “Fancying such things! Imagining war on that scale and almost laughing it off with wild tales of killing your wife!”

“The Jehovah’s Witnesses believed it!” laughed Thomas Crotchley. “They went scurrying off to tell the police, and when the police arrived I couldn’t help admitting it! Yes sir, I told them, she’s been dissolved in acid and poured down the drain and I’ll admit it in court if you find one piece of evidence that proves I’m not a liar…”

“You’re mad!” exclaimed his doctor.

“Hey, watch who you’re calling mad!”snapped the politician, suddenly. “I might be barking, you might be right, and I might be the king of liars but don’t forget who I am!”

“No, sir,” muttered the doctor, almost contritely.

“So the police went away when it was clear as day there wasn’t any evidence against me. No wife and no evidence, think of that. Of course, the whole idea of a lowly Inspector investigating the affairs of the Prime Minister and looking for clues of a foul murder in his home is almost a joke! But we can’t have Jehovah’s Witnesses getting in the way of a war, can we?”
The doctor sighed. “There is no war,” he murmured. “At least you know that much! You’re here and you’d have to be somewhere else if you had your thumb on the big red nuclear button! Now take your underpants off. I want to test your balls and see if there’s any improvement.”

“Now be careful, doc! They’re quite all right, take it from me! If there was anything wrong with them I’d know! Take my word for it! I’ve got first class balls and I’ll keep them mostly to myself if you don’t mind, though you can take a little peek if you really must, just for the fun of it.”

“Please yourself. I’m beginning to lose all interest in whether you live or die.” growled Doctor Domuch as he groped the Prime Ministerial testicles with a latex glove.

“We’re all going to die soon enough,” grinned the Prime Minister. “I pressed the big red button you seem to fond of thinking about a good half hour ago, and the missiles are well on their way to the enemy whilst I’ll bet their missiles are well on their way here. We’re all doomed, you know, all doomed to perdition!”

“And you’ve got a serious cancer,” the doctor told him. “There’s a lump the size of an egg on one of your gonads and it’ll take you to Hell sooner than soon, before Christmas anyway.”

The Prime Minister, Thomas Crotchley, shuddered.

“Don’t think I’m not aware of that,” he murmured. “Of course I know that! It’s been growing for months and I know it’ll take me off! I’ve even a good idea as to when! Why do you think there’s a war? Why do you think the bombs are on their way? Didn’t I tell you it’s a darned sight easier to see one man die when a million are going as well? And it’ll be more than a million this time, mark my words! There’ll most likely be nobody left, anywhere in any land under the sun! And the big joke is that bloody Inspector will never find the wife’s mouldering bones in my back garden, not when everything’s blown to Kingdom Come and everyone’s dea…

He never finished his sentence because the doctor squeezed so hard that the scream he made cut words and sense off – and which itself was silenced as the first bomb fell agonizingly loudly and close enough to kill them both.

© Peter Rogerson 31.10.15


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