By way of introduction
I was checking out “The Shambles” in York for a precursor to this piece when I stumbled across The Great Flesh Shambles. Not literally you understand, because that would be pretty gruesome, as this was the original name for The Shambles, describing a lane brimming over with butchers shops and all their associated gore. These days it is home to many quaint tourist shops with very little reference back to its history, apart from a bloody Harry Potter shop.
However, the name immediately brought an image of our magnificent leader Boris to my mind. Boris, The Great Flesh Shambles, just seemed so appropriate.
So to my (fictional) tale
There I was, at home, awaiting my moment of national exposure with my carefully constructed, and approved, question for our Glorious Leader at his imminently upcoming Press Conference. I had been chosen from hundreds of stooges to ask a question, on air, via a Zoom link. I was so proud!
The show was already overdue, but here is a preview of what I had planned. I’d rehearsed it over and over again so it should have been plain sailing…
“and finally a question from Mick in Yorkshire…”
Thank you Prime Minister. I’d like to ask you something that has been troubling our readers across the length and breadth of West Yorkshire: What exactly is your favourite colour? and why?
and Sir Patrick what about you? Does someone’s favourite colour give us any definitive indication of their personality? What does the research show?
However, Johnson was late as usual.
As I was waiting for my cue and his arrival on screen, I drifted off….
In my dream I saw the great man rising up in an old fashioned attended lift (elevator to our US and Canadian friends) in Dante’s Department Store and the attendant was calling out each floor as they passed:
- 9th Basement The Treachery
- 8th Basement Fraud, Cronies and Corruption
- 7th Basement Violence against the people (and journalists)
- 6th Basement Heresy, Pretence and Propaganda
- 5th Basement Anger, Petulance and Bluster
- 4th Basement Greed, Avarice and Enrichment
- 3rd Basement Gluttony, and ever-more Bloated Capitalists
- 2nd Basement Lust, Leering and Sneering
- 1st Basement Limbo, Bimbo, and the Bossanova
- Ground Floor, Press Briefing
Johnson was only running late because he couldn’t resist stopping at most of the floors on his way up from his visit to The Treachery. Just to check them out you understand.
The levels swirled around in my imagination as he moved about amongst his minions. It was difficult to pin them down to specifics but I was pretty sure that they all belonged down there somewhere.
There was a Gove-like creature, half man, and half duck. He was busy cutting off his bill to spite one of his two faces whilst shooting himself in his foot and telling half truths to anyone who would listen.
He was using his other face to talk to one of the leading lightweights in the Johnson cabinet, Grant Shapps, who was busy pretending that Australia is not “an island nation…..because it is an entire continent”. Shapps had always aspired to become a member of the mediocracy but his cabinet backstabbing had yet to get him to the House of Lords, mainly because he is nowhere near the sharpest knife in the block.
Slinking around in the darkest corner was Priti Patel. This creature was a very different nest of vipers, intent on proving that it is possible to function without a heart. She was busy thriving on the misery of her colleagues as they suffered the fires of eternal torment, and seemed to be deciding who she could send downwards towards somewhere even worse – maybe an asylum centre? She lasciviously licked her serpentine lips as Flailing Failing Grayling grovelled past slurping up catastrophes before passing them out disguised as little mini-turds of success. A real bottom-feeder, that one. Hmm, he would go down well – definitely destined for the lower Basement levels.
Obviously, Dominic Raab, Vulture Man, was there, ever watchful with his hooded eyes. Another slippery customer this one, with all the dependability of second hand condom, fearful that someone might discover, the already open-secret, that he has no soul. He was watching the Hapless Hancrook gargoyle gurning and mumbling to itself about very important questions, and practicing switching from laughing out loud to sobbing in front of a cracked mirror. It is so hard to show emotion when one is a psychopath. Raab was biding his time and taking notes, just waiting for his carrion call when he would be able to swoop down and consume the dead flesh of his colleagues.
Flying above the melee was Johnson’s own appointed Death Star, Dido Harding, ex-Head of Test and Trace. This woman has plumbed such depths in her career that she had been able to fix herself to Johnson’s shirt tails. Not a happy place to be given the fallout from those regions! However, he too would need to watch his step, as everything she has touched so far has turned to dust! Given his classical background I guess he is taking some comfort from realising that she is no Cassandra – Pandemic? what Pandemic? No one had seen that coming.
Over there in the swamp of Limbo, was Williamson, the man who always looks as though he should know something but who clearly has no idea. Suave, unruffled and essentially empty, he stood facing his own image practicing making decisions and then immediately rescinding them. He was joined by the Risky Sunak spider, who had climbed down from his magic money tree for a few brief moments to distribute foul pizzas to all and sundry: “Here my friend, you are a party donor, have a slice of the action!” he cried as he handed out largess to the assembled company at the expense of the support staff.
Standing proud in the centre of the cavernous space was the truly despicable Coffey Lady, doling out a bitter brew from her trolley whilst wresting money from the poor and hard working to give to those who already had plenty. She was being stalked by the exotic Zahawi bird that was sneaking up behind her with a long thin sharpened needle. Vaccinations anyone? Johnson clearly misheard this because he bellowed ” Vacillations? Vacillations? You can’t sell those Zahawi – I do vacillations!”
Then I became aware of a rather earnest young voice calling my name “Mr Davies! Mr Davies! the PM will be starting shortly”.
This’ll grab the headlines!
I was melding my cue into my dreams and I imagined the PM’s overstretched shirt exploding and his entrails spreading across the empty briefing room. What gore! What television! What a Press Conference! The Great Flesh Shambles personified! That should distract the leader writers from the death toll.
Then I awoke with a start as the doors to the Briefing Room burst open with a crash!
They flew back, hitting the flags so artfully flanking his podium with a resounding clatter. One hell of an entrance for a man so freshly risen from Dante’s ninth circle and one so clearly out of his depth. He had obviously stopped at every floor, but where did he belong?
It was a truly horrible sight!
I can still see him now, stumbling into camera shot, shirt hanging out, hair all over the place, head hunched down in a sad parody of Winston Churchill, chin jutting out, facial features in disarray, mouthing strange burbling noises, eyes darting shiftily from side to side – already seeking approbation from his colleagues, or maybe an exit route.
Well what could I do?
Integrity had to start somewhere so I abandoned my budding career as a journalist and even my fall-back aspirations to join the BBC. It was time to be something more honest and straightforward, like maybe a confidence trickster, or perhaps a party PR spokesperson.