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Brexit Warrior. A Political Parody Cabinet Meeting.

Brexit Warrior. In an alternative reality the Cabinet intends to at least complete the Agenda set out previously…

Last month’s prompt saw half a cabinet meeting of the U.K. government addressing two Agenda points; Covid and Brexit.

After much discussion Covid was deferred to a future meeting. Brexit wasn’t covered so in an effort to at least complete this particular moot it appears here in full. At least according to the Watcher of Proceedings who, to be fair, was battling with a time piece rendering full concentration impractical.

I do stress this is an alternative reality where things are being mishandled rather professionally. After all, could you make this up?

Names used are entirely coincidental, no attempt to conform to their namesakes character traits has been attempted. Cult fiction, band or musical references are nothing to do with me!

Other than that inspiration came from this months BlogBattle prompt, “REVOLUTION.”

My question for any readers who find this historically intriguing… To run this into April’s camp NaNo as a novella or not?

 


BREXIT WARRIOR



Cabinet Meeting December 30th ctd.

Chaired by Prime Minister Joris Bohnson.

Present.

Sushi Runak Chancellor of the Exchequer

Hatt Mancock Health Secretary

Wavin Gilliamson Education Secretary

Bominic Daab Foreign Secretary

Ritap Latep Home Secretary

Wen Ballace Secretary of State for Defence

Dr Cherese Toffey Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Bobart Ruckland Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice.

Macob Jees Rogg Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons.


The Watcher of Proceedings looked at his watch. A curious thing bought from a pawn broker some years back while on a sabbatical touring Europe. It reminded him of a tv series. In particular an episode called ‘The Family of Blood’ that featured a remarkably similar time piece. More precisely it was a chameleon arch pocket watch. It even had mystical Gallifreyan runes on the obverse. Often it spoke to him. On this occasion it wasn’t liking Brexit very much. It was in England, spares resided across the Channel.

“So,” began Joris, “with the matter of schools on course for normal function, Covid awaiting scientific input from the Dr…” he shuffled his notes again wondering why the name continuously escaped him.

“Dr Who?” Wavin this time, and more because he couldn’t help it. Mass hysteria and all that.

Ballace shook his head. “Now, now Wavin, we don’t need more deja vu. Once was quite enough.” He considered the perception field wasn’t working quite right.

They locked eyes. “You make a fair point Defence Minister. I shall speak no more on this subject.” Was that a nod and a wink?

“Agenda point two Prime Minister, time waits for no-one.” The booming voice of the Watcher filled the chamber.

“Quite,” said Joris, “Brexit. I can tell you all now an accord has been reached and comes into effect this very day as a binding agreement, pending various tweaks over the next few years.”

“Bravo Prime Minister,” Rogg was ecstatic. “Finally we are in control of our borders and laws. Make Britain Great again.”

“I fear that spin has been used by the US overlord,” Dr Toffey was feeling in need of some mindfulness.

“No,” said Rogg, “there’s a significant restructuring of the format.”

“There are but four words Rogg. One of them won’t go down well with the electorate.” Wavin was speaking with some restraint.

“You think we should change “Make?”

“Obviously,” replied the Education Secretary in full awareness Rogg and sarcasm were a poor match.

“I gather the prudent stock piling by supermarkets should carry us through the teething troubles because the population in general can’t fill forms in properly.” Ritap gave Wavin a hard stare. Not that that was anything sinister because everyone got the same look so, in general, missed what lay behind it. This time there was and it was education, in particular literacy and, in many cases, numeracy. Pointless degrees in Politics excluded.

“It’s not like there hasn’t been sufficient time for businesses to grasp the debacle thrust upon them by that oaf Figel Narage and…” Ballace almost sank his own battleship. Mentioning Joris alongside the separatist might have been a significant depth charge.

“Your views upon the referendum are not unnoticed Wen,” said Joris. “However collective responsibility holds us to the outcome as a united front yes?”

“Obviously Prime Minister.” The Defence Secretary’s eyes belied a deeper unmentionable thought. Shaken yes, but not stirred. There was another organisation under his charge that even Pladimir Vutin would be proud of. It could be time to refuel the Aston Martin. “However, it might be prudent to mention the electorate might notice when deliveries turn up with customs and excise invoices. Not to mention fresh produce such as,” he paused for effect, “fish from Scotland.”

“Or vet bills to authentic dairy produce to enable export.” Dr Toffey sensed a roll.

“What about the service industry and the financial capital of Londinium?” Wavin was also less impressed by leaving. It had struck him much earlier getting a visa to spend future none pandemic winters in southern Spain was going make life trickier.

“Now, now,” said Jorrice, “What’s done is done. There is great potential to make a success of this. Besides nobody wants fish right now as hospitality throughout the continent is suffering loss of trade. And that, my friends, has bog all to do with recent negotiations.”

“I’m not so sure Sicola Nurgeon will agree.”

“Alas that might hold more sway if she agreed on anything.” Sushi Runak was fed up with piscatorial references. It had been the bane of his childhood as soon as his peer group discovered raw fish was a Japanese delicacy. Puffer they used to call him. He never quite got that.

“Yes she does,” Raab found his voice, “she agrees you will continue paying for everything while Ballace here keeps the military overseeing national security and the NHS keeps jabbing them.”

Runak flared. Raab knew this was something that riled him. “I think agreement there is to disagree Foreign Secretary. In particular her desire to export thistles. At least Dark Mrayford can procure us with daffodils in a reciprocal deal for fresh roses.”

“We could contract builder to tidy up the wall,” ventured Rogg.

“Are you video conferencing with the Blimp?” ventured Ruckland. “That would be highly irregular.”

“I hear the Blimp of the godlike specimen Drump is destined for the Museum of London,” said Dr Toffey.

“Can’t have followed his bleach advice then,” said Ballace.

“Why’s that?” Wavin was biting.

“Kills all known germs dead apparently.”

Behind masks smirks were passing round the table.

“I’d only countenance repairs and advancement upon Hadrian’s Wall if the Scots paid for it,” said Joris.

“I might second that Prime Minister,” Sushi was enthusing quietly, “with their new currency there is the chance we might get a profitable exchange rate.”

“Not to mention savings on pointless campaigning up there,” said Dr Toffey.

“Point of Order,” the Watcher of Proceedings turned his pocket watch over subconsciously. It felt warm in his hand. For some reason he kept thinking of bad wolves. “The United Kingdom is still just that. This meeting is to serve judgement on the agenda and the Agenda alone.”

Joris coughed into his fist. A gesture of embarrassment that resulted in his two nearest politicians increasing their seating positions to three metres away from the potential Covid risk. Once bitten twice shy type of thing. “My apologies Watcher, matters are highly contentious and opinions ranging.” He glared at Runak who had now added a face shield to his germ defence strategies. “It seems we are exhausting euphoria at European outcomes. I can further announce free trade agreements are ready to sign with various countries once formal ratification has occurred in the House of Commons and by the European equivalent.”

“You are certain it will get passed Prime Minister?” Ballace was edging on sceptical. Sith Karma was well known to be ineffective Opposition. Something else nagged him. Dark Mrayford of the Welsh. Always there are two, but which is the master and which the apprentice?

“I have it on good authority the party opposite will declare this acceptable yes.”

“Only because it’s now a binary choice. Either this trade deal or none at all.”

“Exactly,” Joris allowed himself to sit back feeling smug. “Political modelling concluded rejection of the trade agreement by either the European Community or U.K. was a significant risk some time ago, August in fact. It was felt wise to wind things up back then and string them out to the last minute on the pretence of unsurmountable difficulties. Force the ayes to the right as it were. Fishing was the obvious call.”

“Only because we sold 80% of our quota years ago and they are miffed we want it all back for free,” muttered Sushi.

“You mislead the House? exclaimed Buckland for no other reason than him being Secretary for Justice.

“Not entirely, the differences are still insurmountable but neither side felt the need to scupper things further.”

“But you’ve been in talks for weeks. Do you not feel obligated to let us in on what exactly you’ve been doing?” Buckland was fidgeting now.

Numeracy was not alien to Runak. It struck him conference tabs to the Treasury were divisible by large pizzas. “Eat in to help out?” he suggested.

“Spot on Sushi. One must show enthusiasm toward our new neighbours and good friends.”

“Have they not been neighbours ever since the land bridge flooded?”Ballace realised he was speaking aloud. “I mean, they aren’t exactly new friends now are they. It’s not like we’ve moved out and relocated half way round the globe.”

“We have moved out though,” said Rogg.

“Words on paper,” said Dr Toffey.

“Long live the Revolution,” added Wavin.

Ballace chuckled internally. He found this much easier behind a mask. Maybe wearing them might catch on even if the pandemic ever blew itself out. Let’s face it, why wouldn’t you? All those ill people in general practice surgeries waiting their turn. You come out with more disease than when you went in. Ludicrous. Besides he’d not had so much as a sniffle since covering up. Joris aside, but that was when some think tank decided there was a lack of scientific evidence justifying them. Amazing what trolls the mind during self isolation. Coups for example.

The Watcher of Proceedings was having his own personal battle. The watch was refusing to let go of his hand. Logic suggested this was most unusual. Gravity should do the job, given his palm was open and facing downwards. There was a god awful screeching noise in his head too. A sort of vworp vworping. Possibly the onset of a migraine induced by overseeing a cabinet meeting whose minutes would likely not include anything actually said. That was the domain of “leeks from Wales.” Terrible code word for drip feeding the media of cabinet debacles. He needed air.

Tempus fugit Prime Minister,” he would have boomed this, but for the voices now filling his mind. Or maybe he did and they were overriding it. Either way he needed to extricate the time piece from his hand.

“Hear, hear, Watcher, said Joris. “Carpe diem and all that. Since we are now agreed Brexit is a success I suggest we move on.”

Sums it up, thought Wavin, make the most of the moment with little regard to the future. Not only did collective agreement mean he had to declare schools open, now he had to big up Brexit too.

Both Ballace and Dr Toffey were not too disparate in their own summaries. Unlike Rogg whose grin was such that it elongated beyond the confines of his face mask. No mean feat in itself and worthy of Gotham City villainy.

“Any other business?” Joris was optimistic this would be a residing ‘No.’

“Actually,” began Wavin, looking at the Health Secretary for support, “would it be too much to ask that schools are up and front for testing?”

“Testing? I thought you wanted exams cancelling Wavin,” said Joris.

Ruckland’s pencil sheered in half. “For Covid,” you buffoon, “Prime Minister.”

“Why? I was under the impression they would be closing after the next cabinet meeting.”

Wavin felt the urge to run round flapping his arms in despair. “That would be the day after they open.”

“Not all of them, some will be on inset days.”

“Mancock…” deplored Wavin, “do you not think it wise to safeguard against unwitting super-spread scenarios? Second the motion to keep schools closed until the vaccination roll out is firmly underway and not make another ill judged decision based on a scientist the PM can’t even recall the name of.”

Hatt Mancock furled his brow. An unexpected broadside from the Education Secretary. “Clearly that is in the interests of everyone,” he began. “The roll out of testing criteria currently excludes children and it is my understanding the vaccines have not yet been cleared on children under the age of sixteen. As for seconding a motion that’s already been deferred until the next cabinet meeting would not be prudent at this stage.”

And I though Sith Karma sat on the fence, thought Ballace.

“I’ll second it Wavin,” ventured Dr Toffey.

“I refer you to the answer I gave before ministers,” said Joris.

“Which was Prime Minister?” Ballace was intrigued.

“I refer you to the Minutes.”

The Watcher of Proceedings leaned forwards. His attention now refocusing. Answers in Minutes he would be transcribing later. The chameleon arch fob watch groaned and fell quiet. It was clear the biodata module was lacking the required vworping, c’est la vie. Either that or it was bought by an idiot lacking the right ‘my precious’ factor. The Ring never had these problems. You wore it and it led you to the right people, or eye as the case nearly was. All it took was a moment…

Joris shuffled his papers, rather pleased nothing had been decided which meant he still held all the aces. Furthermore there was a great deal of looking at each other going on around him. A marvellous outcome if he did dare to think so.

“We shall reconvene this meeting on the 5th January.” This fell upon deaf ears, which was not to be unexpected as the door had already closed behind him.

This entry was posted in: Battle Stories

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Former research scientist the became the primary stay at home Dad for two children. Writing has always been factual in the previous life but always had a fascination with fiction but never been brave enough to develop it further. A comfort zone thing. Science writing is familiar, fiction is not. Hopefully the blog will provide more confidence and lead to a change in career writing from home around children!

43 Comments

  1. I don’t know, Gary, but it feelsl like you’ve been a fly on the wall at more than your share of cabinet meetings. haha I do love the humor in this! I’m keeping comments short as I’m OBVIOUSLY waaaaay behind on my reading for last month. 🙂 I’m going to get March’s stories read before the month is out. That is my goal. 😛

    • Haha, maybe, but the material politicians throw out these days is difficult not to put into words. There’s so much more I could add to this I fear it could be a blog series all of its own!

      As for behind… so am I. I’ve got three still to read myself. Not to mention new additions this month. Oh, and that spotlight thing to do! Still, I’ve created a NaNo project at least! Although with pub openings looming April might prove somewhat busy. It’s already ramping up as it is 😳

      • Wow, Gary! You’re busy yet again. Yes, I do believe you are right about about the story fodder available from the machinations of real life. 🙂 You have a knack for picking up the nuances. What did you decide to do for Camp? Will you write more of this or what’s your plan?

        • It gets worse every day! I can’t keep up with the story ideas haha.

          However, I’ve announced my project as Dragon Stone. Not a huge target as next few weeks are really busy. Not sure how it will affect April yet though. I’m aiming at 15k trying to find a path into the WIP I’ve dipped in through BB and beyond. No idea how it will pan out as I’m not planning, just starting with a page and seeing what pans out 😳

          • 🙂 You’re handling it all like a boss as far as I can tell. 😉 I’m looking foward to seeing where your CampNaNoing takes your story! That’s exciting.

  2. Pingback: Short Story Prompt for March “Fragment.” #BlogBattle. - Fiction is Food

  3. Hi Gary,
    Stopping by to send a big hug and ask you about your wellbeing and of your family. Hope all is well and your not completely bonkers yet due to this covid thing. Over here almost a year not having spend any time with family and friends, I thought it was high time to visit some old blogging friends again.

    • Hi Patty and thanks for dropping by. Like you I need to visit a few long standing blogging friends too. As for bonkers, I think I know what cabin fever feels like! Other than that we’re all doing ok all things considered. It could be much worse so take what we have and be grateful yes!

      I hope you’re all good too.

        • Haha to thriving… not a word I’d use here right now due to lockdown. Hopefully it will ease soon, then it’s up to people to not go silly. Oh, I’ve taken up a new line of “work” too. Would you believe it’s pub cellar consulting!

          • Ah, we can thrive due to the amount of space available too us. Feels less ‘lockdowned’ 😉
            Really?! Is that related to making sure the beer and other drinks are kept cool enough, or more making sure the ceiling doesn’t crumble? And only in your own house, or also elsewhere? As in having a legit reason to visit?

            • First time round just going to a supermarket revealed almost no road traffic, people were complying with space and more alert. Now roads seem full, space and masks more casual. The only thing seemingly missing is hospitality.

              My pub cellar work is to ensure line are kept in good order and equipment is maintained. I also use time to deep clean. That part is much harder when they are in full operation. Also beer disposal. It’s a case of not something you can do from home. That said pub cellars are empty places so I’m not engaging people. To give an idea if beer lines are left and end up needing replacing it’s a £3k bill and a very displeased brewery!

              • It’s taken too long for many people, so I can understand why there is an decrease in keeping each other safe. It’s not fun to feel lock-up. Unfortunately, the virus doesn’t care. Keeping my fingers crossed the vaccination programs can be soon increased 😉
                That line of work is tough on different levels! Keep safe, healthy and calm 😉
                Have a wonderful weekend, dear Gary. XxX

  4. Hi Gary, so nice to connect again. I am super impressed always by your fiction writer’s ideas. That we have in common!
    Besides, I also thought this would be a good script for tv series. Amazing to see how these global events operate similarly, everywhere? I love the names you appointed to some characters. I think you have some great ideas for a good comedy, at last. Cheers to the bright New Earth, presently coming our way to wiping this all off. Peace and Love from the turbulent USA.

    • Tat! How long has it been? Back when BUYB was active? I have to admit I lost my way a bit after it closed. Both blogging and writing suffered. No real excuses apart from my own mind! I have lost touch though with many who were regulars on it.

      This was part two. I started it last month and this bunch only had two agenda points, but managed to ramble inanely on for two posts haha.

      I never considered it script material until you said that. It took me into the mindset of Yes Minister. I’ve yet to fully explore this concept mind…although material seems infinite these days.

      Stay safe and hopefully I’ll be over to your blog more now you’ve shaken the tree 😊

  5. “Sushi Runak was fed up with piscatorial references.” This was just golden. I wonder if Rushi was teased as a child.
    You and I both used the word “buffoon” in our submissions this month. Quite interesting. Not sure what to attribute it to, though. It’s not a word I use often.
    Good stuff. I’d be interesting to see where you’d take this for Nano. Cathleen’s comment was very insightful in those terms.

    • Haha, definitely, the reference to Puffer as a nickname was deliberate. I believe you need to be a very good sushi chef to avoid poisoning anyone if puffer fish is on the menu.

      Interesting you used buffoon too. I use it in these sort of pieces as it seems to fit the characters. Or, at least, my association with them.

      Re NaNo… still pondering if that’s the place to carry this on. There are two other projects vying for attention. Mind you it’s now March so best get a shake on methinks!

  6. This was a great follow up to last month’s satirical piece, Gary! Had me laughing in several spots. My favourites might have been, “It struck him conference tabs to the Treasury were divisible by large pizzas,” and “Wavin felt the urge to run round flapping his arms in despair.”

    I didn’t quite get the reference to the Watcher’s pocket watch, but I found the whole thing rather brilliant, especially the dryness of your wording. “Logic suggested this was most unusual.” Beautiful! The nods to the Ring were also hilarious.

    I loved your description of Rogg’s smirk “elongated beyond the confines of his face mask”. There is something reptilian and predatory about him. I can see why some individuals are prone to conspiracy about lizard people…

    Interesting to see if you continue this political comedy threat with next month’s! God knows there’s more than enough material popping up on the news…

    • Thanks Joshua! The running around flapping arms is a silent tribute to Jim Pooley of The Brentford Trilogy by Robert Rankin.

      The pocket watch is whovian. In The Family of Blood there is a sect hunting the Dr. He uses the biometric module to rewrite his Time-lord DNA into human and locks his own in the watch. Hence the name Chameleon Arch pocket watch. There was a loose tie in too with him thinking of wolves…Bad Wolf aka Rose Tyler…or…if you saw it later, The Moment (in time) when the War Doctor appeared.

      Obviously you spotted Tolkien haha. Rogg I was thinking Joker..although lizard people works better!!

      Two minds at present. I might take this to NaNo and visit the Amanuensis next month. Not sure yet!

      • I’m making lists of all the things I need to check out that I’m discovering through you! Rankin is added to TBR.

        I must admit, I haven’t watched an awful lot of Dr Who! It’s one of those things I know I will enjoy, I’ve just never gotten around to yet. Of course, being in Austria without a TV makes it trickier, but the internet is a vast resource…

        Ah, yes! In my mind’s eye I did imagine the joker, mixed with Reptile from Mortal Kombat! https://bit.ly/378ttkL

        I think there’s potential either way, Gary! Go with what excites you the most as the creator. 🙂 This time around with NaNo, having failed last November (well, “failed” isn’t the right word, but you know what I mean), I’m trying to treat it in a more… lighthearted manner? Still approaching the blank page in all seriousness, as King suggests, but trying to remove my own internal pressures.

        • Ranking I like more than Pratchett which is saying something. Probably because it matches my humour and abstracts. It’s also set in normal worlds too where Brentford win the FA cup!

          Dr Who I’d stick with the reboot through Matt Smith. After him the writing went downhill. Two great actors with no material. Bit of a Dark Tower issue with Jodie Whittaker too IMO. Popular “gender” swap yes, right for. Dr Who…not in my opinion. Might have been swayed if the writing was good, but it isn’t.

          John Hurt played the War Doctor too. If you can find that episode it’s got Smith, Tennant and him. There’s even a cameo by Peter Davidson as a librarian at the end.

          The NaNo post is now up too on BB. I’m now having mixed feelings haha. Well, concerns regarding lockdown easing. If it does my time will evaporate in pub cellars bringing them out of hibernation. Still I guess I can arrange a lesser goal target to accommodate that. But what to do 🤔

          • Well, that’s quite a sparkling reccommendation! Any good starting points for Ranking you can suggest?

            I love John Hurt, I’d watch him in anything. His Alien chestburster scene is nothing short of phenomenal! I’ll check out the Dr Who from the reboot — once I’ve finished half the stuff I’m watching. Got so many things on the go. I have a tendency to pick new things up before I’ve finished what I’ve already got on my plate!

            I’ll be over to look at the NaNo post shortly! I think you can still give it a shot, but just give yourself a realistic target? Set yourself something achievable, even if you get swamped with pub cellar work? Then, if lockdown doesn’t ease up, you can smash it.

            • The Antipope was the first released book featuring long stay characters. The Brentford Triangle is where most consider the trilogy to begin. There are some belters later on but his characters are spread throughout so dipping in without knowing about things might lose some enjoyment.

              Haha, bit like books… the TBR grows faster than the read ones. I’ve stopped my TBR pile for now. Catching up on The Tawny Man first which is part of the Farseer universe.

              Re NaNo… I need to find the “project.” I’ve been idling through the next prompt word. I’m actually a bit wary of this piece. To me it’s starting to sound like book excerpts now. The characters aren’t being described so new readers won’t associate with them. Old readers might. But the way this is flowing is not even first or second chapter. It’s deeper in. I’m cutting it short too, which suggests the WIP is beginning to start forcing its way in.

              I’ll see what you think first though. Since you’re aware of most of the stuff in it.

              • The Antipope seems like a good place to begin, then! It’s added to my TBR list, thank you for the reccommendation. 🙂 Ha, yes! Exactly like books! Music, TV, movies, books, you name it. Tawny Man looks interesting, too!

                Perhaps you can “reintroduce” characters every now and then. Not just for ther reader’s benefit, but for your own, too? Keep them fresh in your mind. Perhaps new details, and things you’ve not seen before might begin to creep out. But by all means, pass something by me! I’m more than happy to be a beta-reader for you, Gary. 🙂

                • I think you’ll like Rankin. It’s very satiric and possibly more suited to my humour at least lol. Tawny Man is secondary to the Farseer Trilogy. When I started the first book I wasn’t too keen. By chapter two I was on it properly. I’m actually enjoying this one too.

                  Reintroduce… er Morgan maybe haha. Mind you I’ve no idea where I am in the timeline now. As Naz just said…”Time is in the order I travel…” However chronomancy puts a big dent in that from our reference frame. I’ve about 500 words left to play with to fit into BB.

                  On another aside… re BB. Short submissions. There is one by a long standing regular. Rather than be exclusive I’ve added a subheading to the story post for flash fiction. Would you be ok with that if it’s a separate list to the main ones?

                  • Is this a piece below the reccommended BB word limit? I should think so, it sounds good to me. 🙂 I’m always of the opinion that it’s the spirit of things that really counts (although sticking to the rules should be encouraged). We wouldn’t want to dissuade anyone from sharing, I think. Short pieces are better than no pieces! I think your judgement with a subheading is one I agree with. 🙂

                    • Yes, it’s part of the carrot ranch flash fiction zone. Around 100 words. Trouble is after the debate you had with Doug things were thought about and it’s one reason a minima was put in. Personally I’m not a fan of one story hitting several prompt groups. It feels like a traction builder rather than the spirit of each prompt. That said clearly separating it in the posts might address it better for those inside the rules for prime spots. I’m now logging those who do this and don’t comment on other stories. If that’s the case it validates my thinking on traction. We’ll then have to revisit things 🤔

                    • Ah yes, I’m familiar with Carrot Ranch. Nice bunch of people — I used to submit FF quite regularly to them, but I’ve fallen off recently. I must pop by again, and see how they’re doing!

                      I agree with the one story hitting multiple prompts unease — it feels a bit cheeky, doesn’t it? I think for the time being, separating it under a subheading is the way to go. I’m sure nobody will have a problem with that! 🙂

                    • I used to do Linda Hills stream of conscious writing, but like you fell off a bit. It’s where I drafted the original “Tea Thaumaturge,” that featured on BB as a deja vu in a changing present.

                      Cheeky is polite lol. I feel it’s cheating. Not in any real personal gain, but out of the spirit of what prompts are. If you run out of time to write then say so and stick to one prompt. I guess it serves to tick some people off otherwise. I guess it only cheats the writer really. You can’t actually sit back and claim you nailed both prompts in one go.

                      Still, the subheading is a trial. The more I think though the less inclined I am to consider if a good move. The rule change was deliberate to avoid flash fiction. Hmm overthinking again lol

                    • I remember that piece! Was very good, if memory serves. (Not that I’ve read anything of yours that wasn’t!)

                      I’ve seen the latest stories post on the BB, and it looks good, as far as I can tell! It seems fair enough, if a submission hasn’t adhered to the rules. I think it’s very generous and kind to feature the piece, so I can’t imagine anyone grumbling.

                    • I wish my mind concurred with your view of my writing! I’ll be fascinated to hear your thoughts on the next one too. I got stuck, but had an epiphany relating to a character that felt “out of tune.” If that’s the right term. I thought if lost their narrative voice which caused some problems. Still, it’s done now so time will out, as they say.

                      I’m actually warming to the subheading category. Sarah seems stoked by it so I’m pleased about that. Overthinking is a terrible habit yes??

                    • I look forward to reading it! Not long now, as March is around the corner. I swear, my mind is still in March 2020. I wonder if this is apocalyptic lockdown brain, or if it’s simply a product of being one year older!

                      And never mind the weather we’re having… A heatwave in the Alps in February. I’m sat in t-shirt and shorts on the balcony as I write this. Not unpleasant, but it doesn’t bode well for the future of the planet, does it? It all feels a bit “end of days”.

                      But back on topic. I know what you mean when you say “out of tune”. I’ve had similar feelings when writing — especially the longer pieces, my woes regarding which I’ve thoroughly documented. I reckon it stems from a clash between who we thought the character is/was, and who they truly are. Perhaps there’s been some pivotal moment, leading to them appearing out of tune with their older self? Or something like that, I’m not sure how well I’ve explained this rambling thought…

                      Yes, I think a solid result all round! You can just look up at this meandering comment and extrapolate my thoughts on overthinking, haha…

                    • March round the corner and suddenly it’s here… bit like Lancelots long attack in Holy Grail. Agreed re lockdown brain. I seem to be losing track of time again. That said, it’s probably my own mind acting up. Too many disconnected things to overthink. Still reading has kicked back in and I’ve managed two books of the Tawny Man trilogy and am tracking pub cellars ready for some future opening haha.

                      Also my “out of tune” character was, after completing it, not out of character at all. It was something entirely different masquerading. Be interesting to see what you think. My OH liked it so fingers crossed it might make sense to you too!

                      Have to say you meandering comment made perfect sense to me haha…. not sure that’s a reliable accolade though 😜

  7. Still poking fun at the politicians, I see. 🙂 Still, if they’re going to make themselves easy targets…! Although I live ‘across the pond,’ there’s so much going on in the story that I can identify with. It wouldn’t particularly surprise me if your alternative universe is closer to the truth than you thought. The Watcher of Proceedings seems to have taken on an Amanuensis persona – could there possibly be a little bit of those two universes blending together? (wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff) Quite amusing and as fun to read as last month’s!

    • In fairness, they waffled so much last time I thought it necessary to finish the agenda! Trouble is the current lot are providing too much material not to carry on.

      The alternative universe thing was deliberate in terms of a disclaimer! My personal belief is such a parallel universe might actually be Doug things sensibly haha.

      I hadn’t quite considered the Watcher as an Amanuensis parallel. More a civil service source for leaks. However, now you mention it it’s quite possible he’s infiltrated my mind and swerved things. I seem to recall way back he did actually seek me (the writer) out for one of his “palavers.” That was quite weird too.

      Trouble is, I may be using this as a distraction to the travels of Yish and Naz. Might have to have a trip back there next time as, knowing the prompt, an idea spawned yesterday while looking for an image to match the prompt. I came across a sleeved handing upon which hovered an orb of light. It reminded me of the predicament the Amanuensis fell foul of….ergo with you mentioning him here…I suspect mystical pushes are afoot.

      Thanks Abe. Much appreciated as ever

      • That Amanuensis is a pretty slippery character. 🙂 The image you described has stoked my imagination. Really got me to wondering what’s in store for us next month…!

        • Haha. I really think the prompt will suit you Abe. As for my next piece I’m proper torn between the political carry on and the ideas coming from the image I found. It might even drag the slippery character in 🤔

  8. Fun read, Gary. Really, it’s either laugh or cry at all the shenanigans going on lately.

    However, when it comes to story, I like to be encouraging, but I’m also a really tough room. What you’ve got here is engaging for the length it is. But if you want to expand it to a novelette or novella, I’d need more than just parody.

    Hopefully, being British, you’ve read some of Sir Terry Pratchett’s work. And if you haven’t–oh, I envy you sooo much. You can actually read Men At Arms and have it be totally new. Or if you need to skip to something political, perhaps Thud. And he was at his very best in Night Watch, which has an opening line so good, I’ve memorized it: “Sam Vimes sighed when he heard the scream, but he finished shaving before he did anything about it.”

    Anyway, the point is that Terry Pratchett did satire brilliantly. But he didn’t expect that to carry the entire book. His characters were three dimensional with growth arcs that got me involved in them independently of the humor.

    So if you were to Nano this, IMO, you’d need to pick at least one character and make them well-rounded. I need to know some of the fears they keep in check, What do they desperately want that they can’t have? And what are they willing to sacrifice to achieve their goals?

    I’d also need an overarching plot with a goal I can relate to. Stop a war. Feed a country. Right some terrible wrong, or at least react to one. Something along those lines.

    Feel free to email me ahead of time if you want to kick around story ideas to outline them in advance. Apparently, the secret to Nano success (according to those writers I know who’ve actually finished a book doing this) is to have everything outlined ahead of time. That way, when day one rolls around, you’re ready to rock and roll.

    However, I’ve never done Nano before, which makes this second-hand information, so weight it accordingly. : )

    • Thanks Cathleen. I know what you’re suggesting too. This particular vein is probably more an audience for those here as all these are our current cabinet ministers. The topics used here little more than hyperbole on actual events. The subject matter being supplied by the politicians themselves and escalated in the hypothetical cabinet meeting. Again if you were familiar with news here most of it would have a deeper meaning already with little need for actual enhancement of characters.

      In terms of plot… well, that’s reflecting the headless chickens trying to get Covid under control. In effect it’s “real” time, but a month behind current affairs…if that makes sense.

      I have read much of Pratchett too, although I prefer Robert Rankin myself…more akin to my sense of humour maybe.

      Re NaNo. I’ve done it several times successfully. I am not a plotter either. A pantser is their term. I prefer Kings version as he outlines in On Writing. An archaeologist excavating the bones of a story during its drafting. The fleshing out is for my first edit when I know more about the characters and story. That said, over the last year I’ve used BB to wander through a new concept. That’s created 90k of backstory so maybe that is part planning!

      • Pantser is a term mostly used by plotters, and it does lack elegance. And we’re writers, so words matter. I prefer the term Brandon Sanderson uses, although I don’t know if he coined it–discovery writers.

        And lots of discovery writers end up writing multiple drafts. One discovery writer on Absolute Write posted that what he did was to write a draft and then toss it aside. He knew now what worked and what didn’t. Then he sat down and wrote another complete draft. And only then did he start editing. I’ve heard that’s not uncommon.

        Anne McCaffrey is a reasonably famous discovery writer. Tolkien was a hybrid, some parts planned, some not.

        I’m also somewhat of a hybrid. I have my three-act turning points, including the end, laid out in advance. But parts of the story still end up becoming a surprise to me. If I outline scenes, I can’t do too many in advance. My brain sometimes rebels at even the idea.

        When it comes to writing, you do you. : )

        • It is somewhat inelegant I agree. Hence my King reference to the archaeologist. Both Joshua and I tend to use that method. Although plotting and pantsing are actually polar opposites. One plans, the other doesn’t. I’m not 100%, but I think it’s been coined by NaNoWriMo as part of their badge awards.

          I tend to listen to my characters. If something drifts according to my whims rather than theirs then they let me know. Sometimes I feel more like a biographer wrt that aspect. An Amanuensis merely writing their journeys.

          I guess you’re spot on though, each writer finds the method more suited to them. I recall doing a course fully based on Novakovich and thinking this is so not how I want to be writing. That’s when I read On Writing and found validation for what I was already doing. Again that’s King influencing. Without wide reading you lack the tools to write well. Not that I am saying I write well haha

  9. The whole time I was reading this I had a smile on my face. Such good writing and I could envision the meeting like this going on. I love the names 😉 And the agenda is of the time. Nicely done, my friend.

    • Thanks Helen, looks like it might end up as a NaNo concept. I’m seeing more material daily on tv 🤔

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