Welcome to the latest Chapter of Neil Mason’s controversial and politically charged debut novel There There My Dear. Buried secrets begin to rise to the surface in Chapter Fifteen, following a terrorist attack on a British oil refinery in Africa. If you’ve missed out on the earlier chapters, just follow this link to catch up!
There There My Dear
The Prime Minister had risen early and already gone for a run by the time his assistant greeted him at the bottom of the stairs. Wearing his customary tailored suit and open neck shirt, Dylan Connor was moving gingerly as a result of his morning exercise.
Since becoming Prime Minister, Dylan had taken a leaf out of other world leaders’ books and engaged in a well- publicised health regime. The schedule included a number of vigorous jogs around the park accompanied by an entourage of burly minders for protection. He sometimes thought it ironic that the Security Services did not want him assassinated while his image consultant seemed determined to cause death by exercise in a public place. The regime’s schedule seemed to coincide with the fortuitous attendance of newspaper photographers located at strategic points along his usual jogging route. It must have been fortuitous as well that these points happened to be nearer the start of the route rather than at the end. The resulting photographs showed an energetic and perspiration-free assistant leader of the free world.
‘Good morning, Sir’ chirruped Perry Goodings as Connor descended the stairs. On seeing him Dylan knew that he would receive a pure piece of information, unadorned and without embellishment. Goodings was an excellent servant to the Prime Minister, a diligent man keen to be of service and with no intention of passing judgement on his leader’s activities. ‘Good morning, Goodings. And what do you have for me this morning? Nothing too unsavoury, I hope.’ Connor smiled. ‘That will be for you to decide, Sir. I have news regarding Kyle Andrews’ latest project.’
It took Dylan Connor a few moments to recognise the name and a few more to remember the man’s role in life. ‘And who might think that I would be interested in this…this Kyle Andrews fellow, anyway?’
‘Your brother, Sir.’ Goodings offered nothing more.
‘My brother?’ Dylan Connor looked surprised, incredulous even.
‘Yes, Sir. He rang this morning and said that you should become acquainted with Mr Andrews’ latest work, Sir.’
‘I’ve heard of this Andrews chap before. He makes television programmes of sorts, doesn’t he?’
Goodings spent a few moments explaining Kyle Andrews’ business activities, the nature of his work, his media persona and his vast wealth. Typically, Goodings’ delivery was dispassionate and factual. It may have been his dry manner that prompted Dylan Connor’s indignant response.
‘My brother knows full well that I have other things on my mind. Other things like the economy, unemployment, scandal and a thousand and one other things.’ Connor went to walk on when Goodings stepped forward, barring his way.
‘Sir, Mr Connor, your brother, wanted you to know that Mr Andrews is considering a new talent programme where the audience can vote for their favourite prospective politician. He expressed his concern that the television audience could run to ten million or more. He feels you should look into it.’ Dylan Connor waved his hand as if he was swatting away a fly, and then he walked past Goodings towards his office.
Just under an hour later, Goodings rushed into the Prime Minister’s office without knocking first. Dylan Connor was sitting at his desk reading through various documents and holding a pen in his left hand, ready to annotate or amend the papers he had already arranged neatly into piles. As Goodings entered the private office Connor did not look up.
‘This had better be good.’ The Prime Minister’s words filled the room.
‘Sir, we have just been informed by the President of Algeria that several British nationals have been, may have been, killed in an incident at an oil refinery there.’
‘Slow down Goodings. Pull yourself together.’ Connor’s mind filled. Algeria, Africa. Bloody Africa. ‘Now,’ continued the Prime Minister, ‘keep calm and tell me the facts.’
‘I only ever state the…’
‘I know, I know. Just take your time and make things as clear as possible, OK? Now, start at the beginning.’ The Prime Minister gestured for his staff member to take a seat. With Goodings perched on the edge of his chair he explained all he knew of the situation in North Africa.
Connor listened intently and, despite the private nature of the situation, never let his guard down. Worst case scenario. That was all he could think of. What would it be? What would be the worst outcome of a terrorist attack on an oil refinery that was partly owned by the British Government, if that was the case, in North Africa? In isolation, a diplomatic incident. If it proved to be a campaign, then the real situation would have to be contained. As it had been for the last six decades.
To Be Continued…
Thanks for joining me for another instalment of There There My Dear. The attack on the oil refinery in Africa marks a pivotal point in this story and is one of the reasons that certain persons in high office didn’t want this story published. Did a similar incident actually happen in Africa some years ago? And did the British Government bury the story? I couldn’t possible comment!
Be a part of the conversation by following my Facebook Page . See you there.
Chapter Sixteen to be published next week.
Very best wishes,
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