Weekly Photo Prompt: bread and circuses

 “Trust me Ian, Mike, trust me.  This will work.” The two Secretaries of State looked at the Prime Minister doubtfully as he fastened his bright blue safety helmet.

image

“Are you sure Boris?” Michael asked, “I mean, today of all days?”

“Today is EXACTLY the day!” The PM slapped him bracingly – and slightly too hard – on the shoulder.  “The final papers have been signed, the EU separation is official, what better way to kick off Free GB than with the Commander in Chief zip sliding across the Thames from the top of Big Ben on to the deck of the Royal Yacht, with Rule Britannia blaring?”

Ian coughed delicately:

“Ahem… commander in … what?”

“Just a little nickname I’m trying out. Donald suggested it.”

“Maybe a bit much at this stage?”

“You think?  Well, to recap: once I’ve landed on deck, the red white and blue firework display will begin to the strains of Land of Hope and Glory, and all around the country we’ll have a string of Free GB street parties, all serving Cornish pasties, fish and chips and Eccles cakes for the masses. Panem et circenses, chaps.”

“God, it’s been years since I had a croissant” Michael sighed quietly.  The PM glared at him. “Sorry, just saying…”

Ian was still fretting about the zip wire:

“I’m afraid it’s in rather poor taste. With the unemployment figures and Amnesty International still banging on at us to release Polly Toynbee and Owen Jones, it’s just not good timing.”

“It’s perfect timing” Michael reassured them both “We need a bit of light relief from the series of leaks I’ve got scheduled about the Americans taking over the NHS.  The new GP charges will focus everyone’s attention for the next few weeks, to buy us time before anyone notices we’ve deported  all the Polish plumbers.”

The PM snarled at him: “How many times have I told you not to mention THAT? The bloody Guardian will have a field day if that gets out. Anyway, I’ve got a zip wire to catch.”

******

The moment had come. The orchestra was warming up, and the crowds were gathering, waving their flags dutifully, along the banks of the Thames. Boris waved down at them from the top of the clock tower. It was a pity, of course, that so few of them were actually British. What with so many companies cutting holiday pay now that the social chapter was gone, not many people could get the day off work.  Still, luckily he’d had the foresight to keep enough migrants on zero hour contracts to fill in on occasions like this.

“All ready to go Sir?” asked the zip slide co-ordinator who had helped him into his safety harness. The chap’s face was half obscured by his own safety helmet, but he looked vaguely familiar from a few years ago.

“Yes, all ready for take off.  I say this harness looks first rate. British engineering, eh? Even got the Union Jack on it, splendid!”

“Certainly has Sir.  And what’s more, now that British businesses have been freed up from all that bureaucracy, we haven’t had to waste time on red tape and box ticking and all that ‘elf and safety rubbish!”

The voice was familiar too.  Boris still couldn’t place him, but chuckled along.

“Now look here, don’t go telling me just before I leap off that we don’t know whether this thing’s actually safe.”

“Safe?” the man took off his own helmet, and Boris gasped as he recognised Nigel. “My dear Boris, it’s made from the elastic bands and paperclips I nicked from Jeremy Corbyn’s office when the Labour Party disbanded back in 2017. Of course it’s not bloody safe.”

The Prime Minister watched in horror as his one-time ally proceeded to attach a stick of dynamite to the back of his safety harness, and light its long fuse.

“You should have got me a seat in the Cabinet, Boris.  I campaigned for years for this, and you swept in at the last minute and took the credit – and the top job. But I haven’t forgotten.  Ready for your zip wire?  It’s up to you how you play it.  Remove the dynamite and lob it into the crowd – but you’ll have to let go of the zip wire, and rely on that safety harness which I reckon will hold you up for … ooh, 5 seconds max.  Or hang on for dear life and become part of the firework display.  It’ll be great entertainment for the proles either way. Bread and circuses, mate.”

This satirical story was written for my weekly photo prompt. Every Monday I share a photo which I like, and taking it as a starting point, I’ll endeavour to come up with a piece of creative writing.  This might be a 100 word story, a poem, haiku, limerick or long piece – I’m not setting any rules apart from committing to a regular writing challenge to exercise my brain.  If you like the image I’ve shared, please feel free to use it as a prompt for your own work, give me a pingback and I promise to read and give my feedback.

Whereas I normally use my own photos, this week I’ve picked this widely available one of a well known politician, which I’ve used as a starting point to imagine a worst case outcome of the events of the last week.  Needless to say this is merely a work of my own over-active imagination, with fictitious caricatures rather than real people, and I sincerely hope it doesn’t come true!

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2 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Prompt: bread and circuses

  1. Pingback: Weekly Photo Prompt: Part 2 | twinklingstaronline

  2. Pingback: Leave it Jezza, it’s not worth it! | kirstwrites

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