OK, so I wrote a short story and I don’t normally do that. It was a while ago but I was never perfectly happy with the way it turned out but I am going to put it on here anyway as it is too late now…
TONY’S FIRST DAY – by Michael Greenwell
Tony woke up and didn’t know what to do. For the first time in 12 years he wasn’t Prime Minister. He was happy with what he had accomplished and still passionately believed in the mission he had set out on, but there was still so much more to do. How could he do it if he wasn’t Prime Minister?
As he lay awake in bed he realised that in trying to make what he believed in a reality, he had neglected his family. ‘Family life!’ he thought, ‘That’s how to carry on my work! That’s the thing now’ and he woke up Cherie.
‘Do you mind if I take little Leo to school today?’ asked Tony excitedly.
‘Of course not Tony, I don’t do it anyway, the nanny does that’ said Cherie, still half asleep.
‘Great!’ thought Tony, ‘getting to know my son more – what a great way to start my new life.’
He bounded out of bed and went to wake his son up.
Later, as they approached the school Tony noticed a large boy in the playground robbing the others for their lunch money. If they didn’t give it to him he would repeatedly punch them in the face until they did.
‘Here is my chance to show what a good father and wise man I am,’ Tony said to himself. He marched brusquely into the playground with Leo at his side. He began speaking to the bully, who mumbled something incoherent. Tony blinked at him, he didn’t seem very clever. Nevertheless, Tony decided to plough on.
‘Here is the strongest boy in the playground,’ he said to Leo. ‘I know what to do in this situation, because your Grandfather was the strongest boy in the playground when he was a child, and he told me all about it.’
Leo looked up at him with eyes wide, ready for some important fatherly advice. ‘When your Grandfather was young he would do exactly what this boy…’ he stopped and turned round to the boy who was trying to seem surly, and said ‘Sorry, what is your name?’ ‘George’ the boy said.
‘Ok then’, said Tony ‘George here is just like your grandfather, he goes all over this playground and takes all the other boys money. Now the other boys probably don’t like him, but they have to pretend they do, even though George hits them. If you don’t want to get hit by George then you must help him. That way you won’t get hit and he might even give you some of the money too.’
‘So if Granddaddy did this why is he not the biggest and richest and strongest man in the whole world?’ asked Leo.
‘Well’ Tony said ‘when your Grandfather moved up to the older boys school, because he had been stealing from everyone or punching them, no one really liked him and a lot of the other boys had grown up to be just as big or even bigger than he was. They wouldn’t let your Grandfather push them around anymore.’
‘So what did he do?’
‘Well, he liked the feeling that pushing people around gave him and he also liked the extra money so he started working with his friend Sam. Sam lived a long way from him but they use to see each other at summer school and take people’s money together. Sam was younger than your Grandfather but had grown up to be bigger and tougher. This was very embarrassing for him and behind his back all the boys in the bigger school teased him, but by saying and doing what Sam told him he was still able to get some of the other boys money from them. So if you want to get more lunch money than you could ever need or want, you have to stay around George.’
‘What’s in it for me?’ said George.
‘Leo here can help you. There are so many children in the playground that you can’t possibly take all their lunch money alone. So, you send Leo round to tell the other children that if they don’t give you their money you will come and get them later. If you do that, I know you will get more money than you do on your own.’
A wicked grin cracked across George’s face. Tony made the boys shake hands.
‘Leo will be there to help you in a minute, I want to tell him one more thing’ Tony said to George, who ran off.
Tony stooped low and said to Leo ‘if you eat your vegetables and stay fit you might grow up to be bigger and tougher than George and then you can play the part George does. Or, if George doesn’t grow up as strong as the other boys then you can forget about him and start being friends with someone else…that Chinese boy over there looks like he might grow up to be strong, keep friendly with him just in case.’
Leo nodded ‘thanks daddy’ he said and ran into the school to try and keep up with George.
Tony smiled and waved goodbye to Leo. ‘What a good father I am’ he thought. ‘And I am only teaching my son what I tried to teach the country. It’s just what I believe is right.’
Tony drove home and then decided to take the dog for a walk and get a newspaper. ‘It’ll be nice to read them now that it isn’t me they are telling nasty lies about’ he thought. He was enjoying the way helping his son was making him feel and he wanted to see if there was anyone else in the community he could help.
As he tied the dog up outside the shop he noticed that a woman in a wheelchair blocked the doorway. She was having difficulty getting over a step. ‘Superb!’ Tony said to himself, ‘here is a chance to show how caring I am about people in the community.’
Tony walked up to the disabled lady and asked if she would like some help.
‘Yes, I just need to get into the shop, could you help me over the step?’
‘I have a better idea’ said Tony, and he took the wheelchair and pushed it all the way to the local Job Centre, which was further away than he remembered, the one in the village must have closed down.
‘What are you doing? Where are you taking me?’ the woman protested, but her protestations were ignored because Tony just strode on down the road pretending he couldn’t hear them, after all, he knew he was right. It was only a matter of time before she would agree.
When they arrived at the Job Centre the woman, not unreasonably, asked ‘why have you brought me here?’
‘Because,’ Tony said ‘I am helping you to help yourself. If you go in here and get a job you could afford to have your shopping delivered to you, which would save you a lot of trouble. We even built a ramp for you here, which they didn’t in the shop.’
‘I’ve already got a job’ she replied, ‘but I also have children, and I need to buy food for them.’
‘Oh that’s even better, you can come in here and get a second job and then pay for someone to bring up your children for you.’
‘I don’t want someone else to bring up my children for me,’ said the woman.
‘Now take me back where you found me.’
‘I am sorry,’ said Tony both haughty and offended, ‘but it is against my principles to help those who refuse to help themselves.’ He ignored her shouting abuse at him as he walked away. He had always felt that resorting to abuse meant you had no real grievance and as she was shouting at him she must have been mad.
Tony remembered that all this time he had left the dog unattended. He rushed back but unfortunately the dog had been stolen. ‘Oh God’, he thought, ‘these thieves could be doing experiments on it or anything.’
Tony ran home and jumped into the car. He had decided to try buying a similar dog and hope no one would notice. He managed to find one but when he got home he saw that it looked a little poorly. He decided they probably wouldn’t pick up on it. No one ever really bothered about the animals in his house.
Tony was beginning to feel the stress he thought would be gone now he wasn’t Prime Minister, so he went for a walk in the park. As he was wandering by the duck pond he noticed a man living in a makeshift little hut amongst the bushes. ‘Well, at least someone is having a worse time than I am today’ he thought. ‘I think I will go and investigate – it might cheer me up.’
‘Hello there’ said Tony amiably. ‘Do you mind if I ask why you are living in that hut?’
‘My house was repossessed’ said the man. ‘I have nowhere else to go, no money either. And I can’t get a job or any government benefits because I don’t have a permanent address.’
Tony was appalled. ‘And people just let you sleep here? No one does anything about it?’
‘Occasionally passers by give me money, but sometimes when they try the police come and chase me off.’
‘Well I am sorry about your plight and I will do what I can but I am afraid there is no room left in my house. Also, your reasons for being here seem entirely economic. Do you not have something to sell?’
‘All my things were repossessed. All I have is a degree in philosophy’ said the man. ‘No one pays philosophers so I can’t get a job.’
‘Well it seems to me you have not made the most of your economic opportunities’ said Tony smugly, ‘nevertheless, I will do what I can.’
Tony left him and tried to think how best to help the man. ‘Well, he can’t stay in my house and we can’t put him back in his own house, and he is just an eyesore if he stays in the park’. Then it came to him… ‘Eureka!’ he cried, ‘why didn’t I think of it before…I’ll get him put into prison! They always need people to work cheaply, he will have food and shelter and he can stay there for years until someone else decides what to do with him.’ Tony went straight to the park-keeper and then the police station and told them that an evil man in the park had threatened him and that he should be locked up. He knew the man would have had to do something wrong for them to lock him up. Also, as Tony was a wealthy man in a nice suit, and well-spoken too, he knew the policeman would believe him before he would believe someone sleeping rough. It was for the man’s own good after all.
In the middle of the night several policemen and the park-keeper knocked down the hut and took the man away to prison.
Satisfied with his work at the police station, Tony decided to put his feet up before going back to the school to pick up Leo.
Feeling refreshed, he went to pick up his son. When he got there Leo was standing at the gate crying, and he had a black eye.
‘What happened son? What’s the matter?’ asked Tony.
‘I was helping George’ said Leo, ‘and he still hit me. And all the other kids don’t want to play with me anymore because I was helping him.’
‘Did he still give you some money?’
‘A little’ sobbed Leo ‘but he made me make a fool of myself before he would give me it. And he made me hit someone and I didn’t think I would have to do that.’
‘Well, we can go and buy you some sweets to cheer you up then can’t we? And none of the other kids will have as many sweets as you, will they?’
‘George will have lots more than me’ Leo said, stamping his foot.
‘It’s best not to mention that’ said Tony sagely. ‘Otherwise he might get someone else to help him tomorrow and then you will be getting hit and not getting any sweets and that wouldn’t be very good would it?’
‘S’ppose not’ said Leo as he dried his eyes.
After a stop at the sweet shop Tony took Leo home. He also let him eat all the sweets and for a couple of hours Leo was very happy. Soon afterwards, Leo began to feel sick because he had eaten too much. The nanny was very annoyed at Tony for letting the child eat all the sweets. She pointed out that it was ‘It’s very bad for the boy’ she said ‘and I am the one who has to look after him now he is unwell.’
Tony was fuming at this insolence. ‘The boy enjoyed himself eating the sweets so how can it be bad to let him eat them? Get your facts straight and when you can prove his current illness is traceable to eating the sweets then you can register a formal complaint’ raged Tony. ‘Furthermore, it is of paramount importance that the boy learned the harsh economic lesson that he did today, and it is vital he should be allowed to enjoy the fruits of his new labour. Any more insubordination from you and you will be fired.’
‘After all,’ said Tony, after calming down a little ‘the boy might have a sore stomach and a black eye but surely his temporary happiness at the growth of his economy and his increase in consumption are the most important factors here?’
‘It’s what I believe in! Millions of voters can’t be wrong!’
The nanny left, shaking her head in bewilderment.
‘I don’t like being questioned at home like this’ thought Tony, ‘it’s just like being Prime Minister. What’s the point of retiring if you don’t enjoy it?’
He decided it was best not to wallow in it. In truth, he felt he could use a drink so he popped out to the village pub. This was a big decision, because he had promised Cherie that he wouldn’t, but given all that had happened to him that day, he thought he would risk it.
He had a drink or two and enjoyed himself immensely. This was because he met George’s father (a large gruff man who was head of the town council) and talked about how he hoped there would be a long and enduring ‘special relationship’ between the two families. Tony liked nothing better than being able to talk about such things and he talked at length, even though George’s father wasn’t really listening.
After a few drinks they noticed a Muslim man in the pub that looked like he might be about to order an alcoholic drink. George’s father was visibly upset. ‘You are not permitted to buy that drink’ he raved ‘You have obligations not to buy alcoholic drinks’, and although they both had promised their wives they wouldn’t drink either, Tony and George’s father both felt it best to pre-emptively stop the man from buying alcohol. They believed this would save the man from his own temptation and stop him getting drunk and rowdy.
Their action had best be quick and powerful they reasoned, so they both ran up and knocked him to the ground. The Muslim man was a little confused, ‘I was only buying an orange juice’ he said, wiping a bloody nose. He could also have sworn he saw them drinking. Not only that, but the previous week George’s father had bought him a drink or two.
George’s father and Tony said they didn’t believe him ‘you will never be allowed to buy a drink again’ said George’s father. They explained that they were only doing it for his own good as they pummelled him.
As they were doing this, another Muslim man came along and asked them to stop. Tony told him ‘no one has the right to interfere with the sovereign affairs of this man, whatever he wants to do is his own business’ then he began hitting him again. George’s father told the second man to back off or he would be next.
He soon decided that that wasn’t enough. He pulled out a gun and shouted at everyone in the pub ‘No one that isn’t my friend can ever order a drink in here again, and if any of you even ask me why you’ll be in trouble.’ He told the barman that if he ever sold a drink to anyone that he didn’t give permission to then he would shoot him.
‘This is a bit much’ thought Tony ‘but I promised George’s father a special relationship, and that is what he is going to get. I must stand shoulder to shoulder with him in this endeavour.’
The atmosphere in the pub had soured and people began slipping away quietly (stopping off to buy beer and wine at the shop). No one would ever want to speak to them again, not that they noticed – they were just doing what they believed to be right.
‘Will the world ever listen?’ thought Tony later, as he stumbled home alone.
And if the story didn’t make you vomit then this picture of the young Mr Blair certainly will…