Welcome to Chapter Eighteen in the serialisation of Neil Mason’s acclaimed and politically relevant debut novel There There My Dear. Kyle Andrews calls an emergency meeting as he continues on his quest to merge politics and reality television.
If you’ve missed out on the earlier chapters, don’t worry. To discover the plot so far, just follow this link to catch up!
There There My Dear
Gordon Ames was a man who could never look comfortable. The length of his limbs coupled with unwieldy feet gave him a demeanour of ungainliness. Over the years he had perfected the art of keeping perfectly still whenever movement was unnecessary. Stillness betrayed nothing.
Complimenting his perfect body control was his ability to maintain the perfect poker face. Eye movements, twitches around the mouth, the brow – every micro expression – suppressed, negated. This achievement made him a proud man. Function followed form. The corollary of his neutral body and facial language was complete absence of emotion in the man. It was no longer acting or assuming an alter ego. It was true now that he felt no emotion. All he ever responded to was his own volition.
Colleagues and acquaintances, for he had no real friends, had known nothing different. Fiercely intelligent, his social awkwardness had led some to believe that Ames suffered from a degree of autism. Genuinely he liked this. He had never learned to like it, he simply enjoyed the fact that his behaviour unsettled those around him. Those who had believed that he was mentally challenged were soon disabused of their views whenever Ames bothered to defend himself with relentless barbs and vitriolic observations. Tacitly acknowledging a perceived mental illness gave him licence to say anything to anybody.
This inert demeanour had proven beneficial for him on many occasions. One he remembered in particular was when he had caught the late Tube home a few years back. It had been an average day for him whereby he had gone about his day encountering little human interaction. He had worked longer than usual and found himself on the Underground train when a would-be assailant had challenged him, demanding money. In the first instance Ames had been surprised that the attacker had chosen to pick on a man so large. But then, looking around the deserted train, he realised that there was nobody else to pick on. Ames had always believed muggers relied on victims’ fear and that pickpockets deployed finesse and sleight of hand. This attacker was no pickpocket. So Ames had remained silent, composed and completely still. The attacker had shouted and yelled at Ames to hand over the money, threatening to stab him if he didn’t, despite obviously having no knife. Ames tired of the episode very quickly and knew that he was at no real risk, so he tilted his head forward and smiled gently at the ranting attacker.
‘You’re fucking mad!’ screamed the man as he backed away down the carriage. He got off at the next stop with a shout of ‘Wanker!’ as he departed.
Despite the pleasant warmth of early summer sun blessing the crowded streets of West London, Ames sported his usual long overcoat and veritably wafted into the entrance lobby of Kyle Andrews’ office complex as he made his way to the emergency meeting with the other panellists and Andrews himself.
Just as he approached the security barrier and the attendant guard, a man dressed in black wearing a tight woollen hat – also unusual for this time of year – stepped into his path.
The physical collision was significant and Ames called him a ‘Twit’ to the back of his head as the man walked off towards the exit. The emotional outburst caused Ames to squirm inside. He watched the man go and then turned to walk towards the security barrier.
To Be Continued…
So what do you think of the idea of political representation being decided by the outcome of a reality TV show? Does it really seem so far-fetched? Would it be any less democratic than our current political voting systems? Certainly there are many countries around the world whose systems for electing government are anything but democratic.
You can post your thoughts on my Facebook Page . I’d love for you to be a part of the conversation!
Chapter Nineteen to be published next week.
Very best wishes,
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