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Home > Politics

The Man Who Was Mundane: A Nightmare

19 January 2007

Cherie shuffled away from him to the far side of the bed, hitching the chintz counterpane firmly up to her chin as she went.

'What's the matter, Tony? You even need George's permission to deploy *that*, do you?' she said.

Tony, now the lone, cold spoon in the centre of the bed, rolled onto his back and stared unseeingly at the ceiling.

'Look, sorry, but I think I've said all I want to say on that subject,' he chanted to the darkness. Both the room's and his own.

'Oh, get stuffed, Tony. It's not fucking Nick Robinson you're trying to fob off here, you know,' Cherie shot back. 'We need to have a full and frank debate about whether we need to renew your weapons system.'

'Or replace it,' she added darkly.

But Tony was no longer listening. Not knowing whether he was awake or dreaming, he was lost in the flickering movie his mind was projecting on the ceiling. As he watched his life unspooling, he finally realised he was now a bystander in it all just like everybody else.

He saw himself walking in step with an anti-war rally, as powerless to stop the carnage as the singing two year-old being pushed along beside him. Then, he was a small boy at a school parent's evening. 'Tony has been copying George's homework again,' intoned the teacher gravely. A group of large men in striped suits and smoking a fat cigars then forced twenty pound notes into his hand and whispered lewd, menacing requests in his ear.

The scene changed. He was in the greenhouse from the movie 'Scum'. He knew what was going to happen next. He looked over his shoulder to see who his assailants would be.

An ophidian queue of people stretched out behind him to very the ends of the Earth.

In between the legions of sightless, limbless brown people he could see familiar faces. There was Saddam and his half-brother tossing the half-brother's severed head between them to pass the time. There was George - George! - with Peter Hain in a headlock. Gordon was gawping so fast for breath in his excitement he looked like a beached fish, gulping for life itself. And at the very end of the queue, standing slightly apart from the throng, regarded and spoken to by nobody was... himself.

His eyes snapped open. The sheets were soaked in his fear, the air still thick with slowly dissipating ghosts.

'Help me, Cherie, help me,' he whispered, unable to find his voice. 'I am God's lonely man.'

Cherie didn't stir. Lost in avaricious dreams, she snored contentedly.

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