The most despicable practical joke of all time

Fred had always harboured a strong desire to become involved in the machinery of government. Not for any ideological end you understand. He hadn’t gone into politics to eradicate inequality, for example – though given his own background that would have been a reasonable assumption. No. Fred’s only loyalty in life was to having fun, to mischief. He wanted to see how far he could get, and moreover, what he could get away with (not unlike most politicians). That his wild practical joke had had the whiff of sense, of justice, even, had made it all the more plausible.

For Fred, the opportunity, timing and execution could not have been better. He knew a people as disillusioned, tired and ill as the Britons of those recent times were ripe for the taking; that if he could penetrate the corridors of power, the collective state of inertia could afford him carte blanche to reshape the country. And how right he had been. He had reorganised the very texture of lives on a hitherto unimagined scale. Just to see if he could.

Advising a delusional drug-addled President who trusted him implicitly was like having his own toy and whatever whim or flight of fancy Fred dreamed up he could make happen. Thanks to Fred, the age of Consumerism – golden to some, a stain of regret and shame for others – was over. Thanks to Fred, Life Administration and NIPSD had revolutionised existence. Easification-Facilitation. Fred still laughed about that now. How could anyone have taken that seriously? He felt immense pride at the level of absurdity he had influenced. It was all more fun than he had hoped. As head of The Cow Fred liked to think of himself as the Goebbels of the LibCom regime, the government joke writer. He had great fun feeding lines to President Hair, often wilfully ridiculous. The funniest thing was that people had taken and continued to take his every word seriously.

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