Ructions At Downing Street

Number Ten Downing Street, Theresa May’s private office.

The Prime Minister sits at her desk, a fretful expression upon her pallid features and a crumpled pile of food wrappers from Greggs strewn before her. Her chin is abundant with flaky pastry and bits of sausage. There is a knock at the door. Hastily sweeping the greasy refuse into her top drawer and wiping her mouth on a tailored sleeve, she bids her visitor to enter.

The Right Honourable Jeremy Heywood pokes a troubled face around the door.

“Ah, Cabinet Secretary, do come in!” May offers him her warmest of smiles, which puts him in mind of a vampire on the verge of attack. “Are you quite alright? You look rather unwell. I suppose it is rather chilly for the time of year. Throw some more socialists on the fire, why don’t you.”

“I shall be sure to do that, Prime Minister,” Heywood replies. “But I fear that even burning socialists will not be enough to assuage the calamity of the news I have just this moment received.”

“Oh, bugger, it’s not bloody Boris again is it?” huffs May. “That’s the absolute limit – we shall have to amputate everything below the waist. It’s the only way.”

“No, Prime Minister, it isn’t Boris. This time.”

“Not Farage? He hasn’t changed his mind about standing in the general election, has he?”

“Thankfully not, Prime Minister.” Heywood takes a deep breath and sits himself down opposite May. “I’m afraid that there is a rather momentous event taking place in June.”

“Well, yes, obviously I know all about that,” May replies with her trademark unearthly cackle. “The general election was my most brilliant idea! I shall increase my stranglehold on the country ten-fold and crush my opponents beneath my eye-wateringly expensive kitten heel. I shall drink the sweet, sweet blood of victory and…”

“I would keep comments about blood drinking to a minimum if I were you, Prime Minister,” Heywood advises. “But the event to which I am referring is more momentous than even the general election. It is, perhaps, the most significant event of 2017 and it threatens to eclipse the endeavours of Parliament completely.”

A wheeze of sharply drawn breath echoes round the room and May lifts a trembling hand to her lips.

“You don’t mean..?”

“I’m afraid so, Prime Minister. Lucy Brazier is releasing her next PorterGirl novel, The Vanishing Lord, in June and there is a very real chance that the people of Great Britain will be so overcome with excitement that they might forget to go out and vote completely, leaving us in a very precarious position. Worse, they might even vote for Brazier instead.”

“This is unprecedented,” croaks May, her voice barely above a whisper. “What can be done?”

“Our only hope is to persuade her to delay the novel’s release until after the general election,” replies Heywood. “It’s our only chance of preventing complete and total anarchy.”

“Then that is what we must do,” nods May, brow knotted and knuckles white. “Do it. Do whatever it takes.”

Heywood rises to his feet, filled with renewed vigour and resolve at this most critical of tasks.

“Yes, Prime Minister.”

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