You can't teach an old dog new tricks
The world is on the brink. Trips to the pub are treated as if they might be the last before the apocalypse. Chat-up lines from desperate teenagers invariably start with 'Oh go on - we might not get another opportunity'. Credit cards are being maxed because next month may never arrive. Sales of recreational drugs are through the roof and the take-up of new gym memberships are through the floor. In the Evil Office, President-General Tramp sits behind a desk strewn with empty burger boxes and bottles of popsy-kola. Buried in amongst the cardboard calories are piles of paper, all bearing the words 'Executive Orders' and 'Read these ASAP'. The Executive Orders are exactly that - orders to execute malingerers, opponents, snowflakes, lefties, foreigners and anti-MEGA types (Make Everyone Grovel before Amorca). With an exaggerated flourish, he grabs a handful, then checks the names on the front before signing them off with a swish of his golden pen. It's shaped like a trident missile, and the ink that flows from it is as red as the blood in his magnificent veins. He stands up and stretches his back, then walks over to a golf putting strip that runs the length of the room. On the way he grabs a silver-plated putter that leans against the side of his desk. He decides that for the next three Executive Orders on his desk, a successful putt means the electric chair, failure a reprieve. He loved this game! This was his fourth term in office, and he was enjoying himself more now than at any other time. The world might go to hell in a handcart, but boy was he having fun! He’d finally seen off the little rocket man, even though he’d upset the rest of the world. Even his own government had complained. So what if it had cost him Seattle? He’d laughed a little when he found out that Bill Fences had refused to evacuate his condo. It was vaporised along with the rest of the neighbourhood when one of Kim Yong Prong’s long-range missiles landed. Served Bill right. The desk phone rang, and the noise caused him to overhit the putt, so some sucker struck lucky. He hoped it wasn’t that fool, Ted Crux. He’d messed up again with the Texacana vaccinations, and half the residents had come down with Covid-29. He wouldn’t have cared, but those were his supporters dropping like flies!
“Mr. President-General, it’s your son Dan Junior on the line. Do you wish to take the call?”
Junior was becoming even more of a problem than Crux. It had been his shout to call Prong’s bluff and launch a pre-emptive strike. Seattle getting wiped had cost him three hotels and a golf course! At least that was the only missile that had gotten through.
“Sure. Put him on.” He sat down and took a long, drawling slurp from the soda.
“Hi, dad. How’s it going?”
“Great Junior. What do you want–I’m up to my neck in Executive Orders this afternoon.”
“I need to get a slot in your diary tomorrow sometime. There’s someone I need you to meet.”
“Who is it? I’m kinda busy, so make it worth my while.”
“It’s that MEGA field operative in Berlin. She’s been doing an outstanding job and I’ve got her over here for a de-brief. And if you’ve seen the pictures of her, that’s one de-briefing you’ll want to have a front-row seat for, if you get my drift.”
“Sure thing, Junior–set it up.”
“Thanks Dad. Good putting!”
Twelve hours later and Bruen Treggath is being escorted into Dan Junior’s office. Its opulence is only surpassed by the President-General’s. The carpet is thick enough to lose your shoes in, and there’s more gold leaf here than there is in the whole gilded forest. Bruen enters. She is looking positively peachy. Her long blonde hair tumbles like a waterfall down the shoulders of her catsuit. Her figure is fruitier than a fresh fruit fool, her heels higher than the Himalayas. Dan Junior whistles and points to a leather armchair in the centre of the room.
“Now this is what I call MEGA!” The statement is as crass as it is meaningless, and Bruen gives him the full one-eighty degree smile. “You and I are going to get on fine,” he drawls.
He’s almost dribbling as she walks past the armchair and sits on the corner of his desk.
“Junior, you don’t know the half of it. MEGA is alive and well in Berlin,” she says, fluttering her eyelids and swinging her right leg back and forth in front of him.
“Look, when you see him, you’ve got to hit him with the good stuff. Any negatives are NADA. Know what I mean? If you want to keep him sweet tell him that you've heard he's a great golfer.”
Bruen runs her hands down the front of her suit and pushes a pout out in Dan's direction. With a voice as lush as a long summer evening she replies.“No problem, sweetie. With what I’m packing, he won’t know what’s hit him.” She swings that leg again, a hint of stocking top showing as it travels back and forth, back and forth.
Dan leans back in his chair. “When you’re finished with the old man, come and see me. I might want to show you what the youngsters in this family can do if you get my drift.” He winks, hands behind his head, his smile hot enough to light a cigar. Standing up, he loops his arm through hers and steers her to the door. They take the short walk down the long corridor to the Evil Office, passing photos of the President-General posing with the big and the bad as they go. A black-shirted security guard whispers something into his shoulder-mike as they approach. The door opens and Bruen walks in, accompanied by the security guard. The president, mouth full of Toco Bill fajitas, looks her up and down. He chews slowly, taking in every inch of her fabulous frame.
“Mr. President. It’s a pleasure to see you again.”
He smiles. “Again? I don’t think so. I wouldn’t forget someone stacked like you, Bruen. Now, what have you got for me?”
“Well, before we get down to business, I’d like to have a couple of private moments.”
The President-General drinks in the knowing wink she’s dropped in his direction. He looks up at the security guard and tells him to leave. The security guard replies that this isn’t Evil Office protocol and immediately regrets doing so. The President-General launches his soda-cup across the room and it strikes him straight on the forehead. “Vamoose, vacate the premises, disappear like a dollar bill in a wind-tunnel. You get my drift?”
The guard nods, backing out of the office, relieved to have survived another day in this mad-house.
Bruen checks the door is closed. She shimmies her hips and advances towards the President-General. In a flash, she pulls off her wig with one hand and takes a pistol from her pocket with the other. “Oh yes, Mr. T. We have met before. My name is Greta. Greta Thumberg. Remember me now?” She points the pistol at his head. He places the taco onto the table and stares back at her.
“Greta, Greta. You know I’m your biggest fan. I love trees. Trees are great, coal is bad. Now let’s not be hasty. ”
“I think you know what I’m here for, Mr. President.” She drifts towards him.
“Greta, Greta, just tell me what you want. Say it and it’s yours. You can even ask me about my hair. Plenty of people ask me about my hair but I never tell them. Not even my wife Trabanta.”
Greta moves a couple of steps closer, the gun pointed directly at him. She’s grinning like a Swedish hound dog, her hand rock-steady on the handle.
“Look,” he goes on, “they all think they know about my hair but it's not true! When they say they do, its fake news–fake news I tell you!! Just give me a break darling. I can even stop global warming for you. I’ll do it tomorrow if you like!”
“I’d like to believe you, but you don’t look like you mean it,” says Greta, inching ever closer.
“What about I swap the presidential car for a Volvo? I love Volvos–they’re impressive cars, super cars–so safe!! Imagine the PR you’d get if I tweeted that! It would be outstanding! Bjorn Borg–I'll fix it for him to win Wimbledon again–heck, I’d even buy a pair of his underpants!”
She winks again, eyes still fixed on him like a wolf circling a fat bunny rabbit with a broken leg.
“Sorry, Mr. President. Old dogs can’t learn new tricks.”
She plants a .45 round square into the middle of his head. “Now,” she says as she turns back towards the door, “I have a date with Dan Junior”.