I’m in a bookshop on the Charing Cross Road. I’ve just come from lunch with an editor at The Economist(, dahling). My mobile rings. it’s the other person from the newspaper I was supposed to meet earlier. She’d been stuck in the City, talking to men-in-suits. I move to the back of the shop and chat with her about the Euston Manifesto, but in my excitement I am unable to keep my voice down. I turn into A Complete Wanker With A BlackBerry On The Train.
I finish the call and, as I walk past the counter, the woman behind the desk says, “I’m sorry I overheard your conversation, but I was wondering if you could tell me more about your manifesto.”
She asks my why the American and British media are so interested. Winging it, I suggest, “Maybe it’s because, over there, the Democrats are still looking for some kind of coherence and, here, because people have a perception that the Blair era is coming to an end.”
A man behind me joins in: “Hah! Just a perception?!”
The discussion continues. I scribble the manifesto URL on the back of a business card and hand it to her. [Note to self: get Euston Manifesto business cards made.]
Then she rings my books through the till: Julian Fellowes’ Snobs, Ronald Bergan’s biography of The Coen Brothers, and, er, Melissa P.’s One Hundred Strokes Of The Brush Before Bed.
I do some shopping, meet up with a friend, drink lots, and take the train home.
The next day, as I sit at my computer re-reading a piece supporting the manifesto in the American Spectator, my dad phones. He’s seen the article about the manifesto in the Guardian, the one with the photo of the pub where we met. We agree that things have become just a little bit strange. I put the phone down and soon my mobile bleeps. It’s a txt from my friend from yesterday evening telling me there’s a discussion about the manifesto going on on Radio 4. I turn on the radio and listen.
After the phone conversation, I am summoned by a red glow to my secret communications screen. As I kneel before it, the shining reptilian eyes and green lizardoid features of the Emperor Norm appear, half-shrouded under his cowl of office. I address this eerie holographic presence, “Master?”
“Darth Pooter. You have served me well: Clarke, Prescott, Hewitt, and now the drugs have been found in Dr Reid’s house—not enough to cause him damage, but enough to let Them know that we can insinuate ourselves into their innermost sanctuaries. We move a step closer towards overthrowing the regime of the Old Republic. Muah-ha ha-ha-ha ha-ha ha!”
“Muah-ha ha ha ha-ha-ha ha-ha!”
“Muah-ha ha ha ha-ha-ha ha-ha ha-ha-ha ha-ha ha!”
“MUAH-HA HA-HA-HA HA-HA HA-HA HA-HA-HA!”