David Lammy on the Run – A Political Comedy Adventure
This book is dedicated to the long-suffering people of Venezuela and of Tottenham.
Freedom is coming, my friends. Don’t stop
Chapter One – Born to Be a Clown. 1
Chapter Two – Show Me Your Hands. 8
Chapter Three – Stealth. 11
Chapter Four – Doctor Johnson. 16
Chapter Five – Captain Johnson. 21
Chapter Six – Tribes and Tribulations. 27
Chapter Seven – All Roads Lead to Beer. 31
Chapter Eight – Jeremy Corbyn’s House. 35
Chapter Nine – Respite. 39
Chapter Ten – Jeremy Corbyn’s House Part 2. 43
Chapter Eleven – Jeremy Corbyn’s House Part 3. 48
Chapter Twelve – Jeremy Corbyn’s House Part 4. 53
Chapter Thirteen – Introducing ‘The Intermediary’ 59
Chapter Fourteen – Casa de Lammy. 62
Chapter Fifteen – The Last Fax Machine in England. 65
Chapter Sixteen – Blair’s Rolex. 70
Chapter Seventeen – Sanchez Alverez. 74
Chapter Eighteen – New Beginnings. 77
Chapter Nineteen – Jeremy Corbyn’s House Part 5. 81
Chapter Twenty – Not so Majestic. 87
Chapter Twenty-One – Back on the Run!. 91
Coming Soon….. 97
A Quick Word from the Author. 98
(October 10th, 2019, 08:57)
It’s finally happening! thought David, struggling to hold back a smile. It’s MY time now and I will never give up this throne…
The newly elected prime minister was ushered into the House of Commons as supporters waved and cheered; to David’s eyes the reception seemed to be more suggestive of a coronation than a simple promotion.
He paused at the entrance for a moment and closed his eyes. It worked, David! he told himself silently. All the tweeting, all the speeches, the marches, the protests—all of it! You’ve made it, big boy, you are not dreaming; this is real—now open your eyes!
The man reopened his eyes cautiously, afraid that he would see before him his bedroom ceiling rather than a cheering crowd; he attempted to steel himself for the shock either way, consciously protective of his feelings. His self-esteem couldn’t take another knock, especially not after ‘LammyGate’…
All is fine! I’m still here … and still prime minister! It’s really happening…
In a daze-like state, Prime Minister David Lammy was led through the ancient Parliament building and soon reached the Commons Chamber where his friends, colleagues and enemies awaited him…
He braced himself and held his breath as the huge chamber doors swung open.
An eerie silence hitherto unknown in that place greeted the man. Politicians on both sides of the aisle stood as David was introduced with the blast of a bugle and a loud proclamation: ‘Presenting the new prime minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Right Honourable David Lammy!’
Almost instantly, the entire house began applauding, cheering and whistling in celebration of their new leader; the man’s arrival, and appointment, was universally supported by all, save for Jeremy Corbyn MP who refused to stand or even acknowledge David.
‘Please be seated … thank you one and all!’ David said as he started breathing again. And to think the fortune teller told me this would never happen, but what would she know? After all, she voted for Brexit…
The applause continued even after the MPs retook their seats. David could no longer hold back the smile that every fibre of his being drove him to wear across his face. He beamed from ear to ear, a look of sheer joy and jubilation exuded from the man. It had been a long and hard road, but he’d finally made it, he was now top dog!
The new prime minister glided across the floor of the chamber, he felt weightless, his feet and legs barely needed to expend any effort to take him where he had always felt he deserved to be—the front bench…
‘I think you’re in my seat, Jeremy,’ the new PM half whispered to his former boss Jeremy Corbyn who, like a jilted ex-girlfriend, moodily averted his eyes and shifted his body in the opposite direction as Lammy drew near.
With a passive-aggressive grumble Jeremy rose to his feet, which caused a round of both cheers and jeers to erupt. The veteran politician and campaigner looked left and right for a place to sit, still believing that he would remain on the Labour front bench. Clearly he didn’t get the memo, thought David, chuckling.
‘Your place is back there, my friend,’ David said, pointing to the back benches. ‘This is my time now. Thanks for your service; however, we no longer require it…’
Corbyn slinked away without making a fuss, grumbling and muttering under his breath all the way, until seated at the very back of the group of jubilant Labour MPs.
David began to sit in Jeremy’s former seat as a familiar song played in his mind; he attempted to remember the name of the piece but its identity eluded him. Looking about him, he searched for the device that emitted the piece as he heard the lyrics once more. ‘Don’t give up, you’ve got a reason to live…’ Someone’s ringtone, no doubt, he surmised, wrongly.
As the United Kingdom’s fifty-fifth prime minister was about to take his seat, the speaker of the House cried out, ‘Mr Prime Minister!’ which caused David to freeze in place, half seated. ‘It is customary at this juncture for the new leader to give a speech.’
Speech? Now there’s something I CAN do! Lammy recalled at once the many speeches he had delivered at rallies and marches small and large over the years, for him it was a pleasure to orate. He smiled once again, knowing his colleagues were in for a real treat!
David nodded to the speaker, noting in that moment the man’s resemblance to the former UKIP leader and Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage. Lammy discounted the similarity as just that. Surely I would know, surely someone would’ve told me if that man had been made speaker of the House?
David stood tall, puffed out his chest and began rifling through his pockets, seemingly in search of his prepared speech, as the music was still heard by the man. What IS that song again? he thought, frustrated at not remembering. Why can’t I remember?
As his colleagues looked on, David Lammy systematically frisked himself in search of the elusive speech. Not the inner-left breast pocket, he thought to himself as he only found a chocolate bar there. Not the right either! an increasingly frustrated Lammy thought, finding only two miniature bottles of Scotch whisky where he’d imagined there would be a prime ministerial-quality speech…
‘Just a moment, Mr Speaker,’ David said jovially, now genuinely starting to believe the man was Nigel Farage. ‘It’s here somewhere … my speech.’
All eyes were upon him and David knew it. Search faster, David! Where did you put that thing? His outer suit jacket pockets bore no fruit, leaving but one place left to search—his trousers…
‘Found it!’ he exclaimed loudly, eliciting a round of applause from the House.
Gingerly, David removed the contents of his trouser pockets, feeling items in both pockets, which included a folded piece of paper. Surely the speech! he thought.
The music grew louder, which distracted the man. What is that bloody song? ‘You’ve got the music in you… We only get what we give…’
‘Prime Minister?’ Speaker Farage asked. ‘Is everything okay?’
David nodded furiously, perhaps too furiously as it caused the man to feel lightheaded and rendered his vision blurry and ‘off’ somehow.
The speech, YES, the speech! But what’s this other stuff? Why would I have this is my pocket? It must be there for a reason, am I meant to … use it … now?
As if compelled by an unseen force, as the music grew ever louder, hurting the man’s ears and causing him to wince in pain, David began rubbing several objects found in his pockets across his face, much to the shock of his audience who fell silent and watched on in shock and confusion…
What did I just do? What did I put on my face? Am I going mad? Oh wait, yes—the speech!
‘Ahem.’ David cleared his throat and opened the folded paper he’d found in his pocket. ‘I have a few prepared words that I would like to share with my friends and colleagues here and the Great British voters also.’ How did that speech go again? David tried yet failed to recall a single word of his speech.
On autopilot, the newly appointed prime minister read out the words on the page, noting at once that they were penned by his hand:
‘I am a fraud.’
Gasps and laughter spread across the room, almost but not quite drowning out the music still heard by David, who couldn’t believe that his speech consisted of but four words—and the four words that no politician would ever wish to utter in public.
From somewhere near the back of the Conservative benches, David’s former political nemesis Boris Johnson rose to his feet, strangely, David thought, holding a large mirror before him. ‘You’re not only a fraud, Lammy, you’re a clown too!’
Johnson’s quip served to increase the laughter and jeers, which were now being led by Jeremy Corbyn who slowly approached the front bench, a malevolent look in the man’s eyes.
David’s head spun. The music was now deafening; Corbyn and Johnson now surrounded him and both held mirrors; Speaker Farage lit a cigarette and took a large swig of the beer in his hand—all the MPs were suddenly drinking now also.
No. It’s not true. I’m not a fraud and certainly no clown. I’m not a clown. I’m not a clown, not a clown … but what did I rub on my face?
‘I’m not a clown!’ David bellowed, his eyes tightly closed, hoping to escape somehow.
The music was still there, but the laughter, jeers and hoots had all fallen silent, so cautiously the man opened his eyes, realising at once that his vision was still blurry. Before him he made out two men, who each held large objects before them.
I’m still here! David anxiously thought, seeing the malice in Corbyn’s eyes and the anger in Johnson’s as they gestured for him to view his reflection.
Unable to resist, David looked upon himself, his left eye focusing on Corbyn’s mirror, his right eye on Johnson’s…
‘See!’ Johnson said, gloating. ‘Told you.’
David let out a loud and piercing
scream as he saw his reflection. Looking back at the man was a familiar face –
his own – yet it was painted in full clown makeup…
(October 10th, 2019, 09:05)
‘David, wake up! It’s just a nightmare, wake up!’
‘Just’ a nightmare, David thought, feeling his wife shaking him by the shoulders. No, it’s THE nightmare and one that will not go away…
‘Okay, darling, okay … I’m awake.’
‘Do you want to, you know, talk about it?’ Mrs Lammy asked, noting her husband’s face was encased in sweat. She also noticed the man’s hands were shaking, with his fists tightly clenched.
David shook his head as he realised his wife was staring at his fists; she smiled in the hopes of relaxing the tired and strained politician, but he couldn’t release his grip—well, at least not with her present as he imagined that perhaps, just perhaps, this time he had managed to ‘pull’ something out of his recurring nightmare. Am I holding the clown makeup in my fists? David mused as his breathing began to settle.
‘Well, as long as you’re okay, David. But you really should talk to someone about it, you know, or perhaps you could take a—’
David interrupted by throwing the duvet to the ground and pulling himself out of bed. ‘We had this talk. No shrinks and no holidays. I’m fighting for my political life, battling the Tories, and now what with this “LammyGate” thing, there’s just no time!’
‘Oh, well, never mind that. I didn’t want to… I’m not going to involve you in it, it’s nothing.’ A large grumble emitted from David’s abdomen, brought on, he imagined, by the unexpected confrontation coming on the heels of the nightmare. Or is it the nightmare itself that is doing this to me?
‘But you will see someone about your growls, won’t you? I’m really worried.’
David pointed to his suit jacket, hanging on a small hook on the back of the bedroom door. ‘Left breast pocket,’ the man said.
With his wife distracted, David, with back turned, unfurled his fingers and was both relived and in a strange way also saddened that there was nothing inside.
‘It’s a note,’ his wife said, after exploring the pocket. ‘Ten o’clock North Hill Road Surgery. So, you are seeing someone about this at last … thank you, but you could’ve just told me, you know. Tell them you suspect it’s IBS.’
‘It’s not IBS!’ David snapped as he began to dress.
‘What? You’re not having a shower? But this is your big day.’
Big day? ‘Oh, you mean the Corbyn thing?’
‘Well, yes. That and your book is out today, silly!’
‘Tribes’, yes, my new book, how could I forget? I just hope readers will be able to understand my message. ‘No, I didn’t forget, but I’ve got a full day, what with the doctor’s, Corbyn, the new book coming out. No time for a shower, maybe I will take one at Jeremy’s.’
As if on cue, the couple broke out into raucous laughter; seemingly, the thought of being naked, for some reason, at Jeremy Corbyn’s house was just that funny…
As David’s wife left the room, she mentioned something about going next door; as David found his leather belt and fastened it tightly he heard the tail end of what she said. ‘…back in five; don’t go out until you’ve had something to eat, okay?’
As the man replied, ‘I’ll get something in town,’ she was already downstairs and thus out of earshot.
I’ve got no time to lose. She’s right, this is a big day. This is the day when everything turns around. This is my day!
David couldn’t have been more wrong.
(October 10th, 2019, 09:31)
David arrived at his local NHS doctor’s surgery a little after 9:30 am and parked at the rear of the building, taking care to close his car door as gently as possible, conscious of both pedestrians and fellow patients in his near vicinity, not wishing to draw attention to himself.
‘Just in and out,’ he told himself, whispering. I’ve got a better chance of staying under the radar here than at the private clinic, he thought, imagining that the very prestigious private clinic he had frequented in the past may have been under some sort of paparazzi surveillance now due to the sudden heightened interest in U.K. politicians thanks to Brexit. They would love that, wouldn’t they … snapping me visiting the doctor. The speculation would be endless, but they wouldn’t look for me here…
After making his way to the front of the building, walking up a small driveway and walking across a path, as stealthily as possible, David stood at the front entrance.
He checked his watch, a gift to himself many years earlier. It wasn’t always ‘Rolex Day’ – the day when David chose to wear his most expensive timepiece upon his wrist – but today of all days surely warranted it, the prestige of the watch gave him a confidence boost, its cold steel against his skin reminding him that he’d ‘made it’.
David saw that he was thirty minutes early. Classic Lammy, David Lammy thought, justifiably proud of his punctuality, it having become a defining character trait during his time in political office.
‘Guess I’ll wait inside, who knows, maybe I’ll be seen early. After all, I am an MP.’
The one-time small surgery had changed since David had last entered it, as a boy, several decades earlier, having undergone extension after extension after adaptation to accommodate the ever-increasing number of local residents.
David pushed open the door and stepped inside. It’s like a Tardis in here, he mused, somewhat taken aback at the banks of interlocked metal seats everywhere—in the centre of the waiting area, against each wall and even a row of seats adjacent to the toilets. In all, David counted upwards of ninety seats, all of which were occupied. Maybe I won’t be seen early after all…
‘Can I help you, sir?’ asked the flustered-looking receptionist, who observed David standing alone in the centre of the waiting room, seemingly staring at the other patients.
‘Oh, yes, well, I hope. I’m David Lammy MP.’
The receptionist winced when she heard his name; the fingers on her left hand fiddled on autopilot with her ‘Brexit Means Brexit’ red, white and blue wristband on her right wrist—clearly she was no fan of David or of his politics.
‘And?’ she asked coldly.
‘And, well,’ he said, approaching the small open window inset into the wall before him, ‘I have an appointment.’
Bet he’s got BDS (Brexit Derangement Syndrome) the woman thought, unable to prevent a small chuckle escaping her lips.
‘What’s so funny?’ David asked in an angry whisper, drawing closer to the reception desk, not wishing for there to be a scene of any kind, not on this day, not on his big day…
‘Yes, we’ve got you in the system, but your appointment’s not until ten, you’re thirty minutes early. The current wait time is an hour, so you can expect a ninety-minute wait.’
David remembered instantly why as soon as he was financially able he had chosen to go private.
‘But you’ve got how many doctors here?’ David asked rhetorically, not allowing the woman to answer. He saw the list of GPs on a nearby wall. ‘Smith, Gupta, Ivanov, Khan, Johnson … with five doctors you can’t do better than ninety minutes!’
‘Sir, like I said, you’re early and this is the NHS. It’s a good job us British are renowned for our ability to queue, eh?’
Was that a racist remark? David thought, brow furrowed. Frantically the Tottenham MP looked the receptionist up and down, somehow expecting to find evidence of her being what he often described on Twitter as a member of the ‘Far Right’; then he saw it, her pro-Brexit wristband. I’m going to say something, surely that was a dig at me because I’m black. I’m going to say something…
The woman saw that the now irate-looking MP was about to speak just as an intercom to her left buzzed and flashed. ‘One moment, Mr Laddy,’ she said, deliberately mispronouncing David’s name just to see what his reaction would be; but rather than see it, she heard it—his abdomen growled loudly and, she thought, angrily.
‘Yes doctor, I understand, well … I do have a patient for you, Mr Laddy, he’s early and,’ the woman continued, after reviewing the details of his health complaint on the screen before her, ‘seems like a simple case, sounds like IBS … thanks, doctor, I will send him straight in.’
‘I have not got IBS!’ David tried to shout through a whisper, which caused his voice to crack and become high-pitched enough to elicit the attention of a dozen or more patients, who stared for a few seconds before returning to their magazines and smartphones.
‘Well, that is for the doctor to decide. Luckily for you there’s been a cancelation. Doctor Johnson loves punctuality and was impressed that you arrived early; he asked that you go straight in. Next please…’
‘Wait,’ David said, not giving way to the small queue that had begun forming behind him. ‘So Doctor Johnson’s son also became a doctor?’
‘Son? No, after the war he never married, think he’s married to this place to tell you the truth. Next please…’
Shocked, confused and still unsure as to whether or not the receptionist was a dreaded ‘Far Righter’, David followed the signs for Johnson’s office; an arrow on the wall told him it was at the end of the corridor after taking a right turn. This place is even bigger than I thought.
More tightly packed in banks of metal seats greeted the man in the narrow corridor, all filled with his constituents, none of whom recognised the man.
‘He’s pushing in!’ a man told his friend in Romanian, as he saw Lammy knock upon the doctor’s door three times. A man speaking in Spanish and another man Urdu muttered similar statements, none of which David could understand, which was fortuitous as they concerned him receiving ‘preferential’ treatment. The Spanish speaker complained that he’d been sitting ‘on this rock-hard seat for nearly two hours, being coughed on by all and sundry…’
When Doctor Johnson replied to the
knock by announcing, ‘Come in,’ the complaints fizzled out; after all, the
treatment for the majority of those waiting to be seen was free, whether they
were citizens or not, whether they were British born or not—David realised in
that moment that perhaps, just perhaps, this was why the NHS was failing…
(October 10th, 2019, 09:36)
‘Take a seat, Mr Laddy. What seems to be the problem?’ Doctor Johnson asked.
‘Lammy,’ David replied.
‘Lammy? Reception told me it was Laddy. Take a seat. Have we met before? I never forget a face you know, and yours strikes me as being very familiar.’
David sat down opposite the doctor and began to smile, imagining that finally someone had recognised him. He prepared to tell the man that he was the author and MP David Lammy; however, Doctor Johnson continued, causing Lammy’s smile to fall from his face. ‘Yes, I’ve treated you before surely, many years ago—when you were but a boy.’
‘Err, yes, doctor. I was a patient here, in a former life,’ David replied, forcibly stroking his unshorn stubbly chin with his left hand, hoping the man sitting across from him would notice the expensive piece of jewellery hanging off his wrist like a trophy.
‘Didn’t you become a journalist or something similar?’ Johnson asked, teasing the man who he now realised was the Tottenham MP.
‘Yes, something like that,’ David replied as he lowered his left arm in defeat and embarrassment.
‘No, a politician wasn’t it? Yes, I remember now,’ Johnson added, smiling, ‘you’re a Labour MP. That Brexit thing didn’t work out that well for you guys, did it? Shame that.’
Not another Brexiteer! thought a frustrated David who slowly nodded as his eyes scanned the small room. Must be his birthday, he thought, seeing fifty or more open cards, several bouquets of flowers and no fewer than a dozen bottles of alcohol placed upon shelves and other surfaces throughout the room. What intrigued David more than anything else, however, was the wall-mounted TV, which was tuned into a morning news programme. Things have changed a lot since I was last here!
‘The girl said you suspect IBS, is that right? When was your last check-up?’
‘It’s not IBS!’ David exclaimed. For some reason, he didn’t wish his complaint to have a name attached to it.
With a click of a mouse button, the doctor retrieved the information provided by his patient more than a week earlier when he reported his health complaint: ‘Digestive problems, stomach pains, disturbed sleep, loud abdominal noises … sounds a lot like IBS to me, Mr Lammy, maybe something else also. Shoes off and on the scales.’
The Tottenham MP felt the pain in his stomach again and willed it not to growl, knowing it would embarrass him—but the growls had a mind of their own; a loud and prolonged growl emitted from his abdomen, causing the doctor to type a note into his computer as he gestured with his mouse towards the scales.
She’s always nagging me about getting into shape, and now the doctor is joining in. I don’t need this stress, not now, not today, why can’t everyone just leave me alone?
‘It’s not my weight, doctor; I just need something for my digestion is all, maybe something herbal.’
‘Herbal?’ Johnson laughed, shaking his head. ‘This isn’t about your weight but your BMI.’
‘Body … M … Body…’ David attempted to remember what the acronym stood for but in that moment couldn’t. He stood on the scales and hoped the doctor hadn’t heard him, but he had.
‘Body mass index. B … M … I,’ he replied, approaching David from behind. ‘The taller you are the heavier you can afford to be, it’s about proportionality, you understand.’
David nodded in silent agreement as he diverted his gaze from the – to his eyes ominous – machine’s digital display; scales in his house were banned, at his request.
‘Bad news?’ he asked, still looking away.
‘If you were twelve inches taller, Mr Lammy, it wouldn’t be, but you’re not, so it is. You can put your shoes on now. Please take a seat; I need to ask you a few standard questions.’
Reluctantly, the man followed the doctor’s instructions and sat down once again. Whilst tying his laces, he sought to make small talk to break the silence and what he felt was the ominous atmosphere of the situation.
‘So, what’s up with the TV? Never seen one in a doctor’s office before.’
‘It’s for the little ones. When a parent brings their children, I switch to one of those cartoon channels, serves to keep them distracted.’
‘But it’s not on the cartoon channel now, that’s the news.’
‘Well, to be an informed voter I need to be informed—and thus the news is on. What’s your alcohol consumption like, David?’ Johnson asked, his eyes fixed on his patient’s.
‘Um, well, you know, normal I guess.’
‘What’s normal for you? How many times per week do you consume alcohol?’
Every day, but I can’t say that! ‘A few times per week, I’m not a big drinker, honestly,’ David said, unconvincingly.
‘I see. And red meat?’
‘The same, I guess,’ David replied, lying to his doctor and himself. ‘It’s rare, like booze, I mean like alcohol.’
‘Yes. Okay. And fitness?’
‘Fitness?’ David asked, one eyebrow involuntarily rising.
‘Fitness: Walking, cycling, swimming, hitting the gym—fitness.’
‘Some walking, I guess, but my job comes first, you understand—’
‘What, before your health, before your family?’
‘Well, no, but yes. It’s complicated.’ What is it with this guy and the Spanish Inquisition? I just need something for my digestion surely!
‘And a final question; how many hours do you sleep in an average night?’
I can’t tell him the answer to that question, no way. Who knows what he would prescribe, can’t tell him the truth…
‘Seven to eight hours every night, doctor.’ In his element, the Tottenham MP’s confidence and ‘front’ could convince most of his sincerity, yet this was not his element, far from it.
Johnson typed an additional comment
into his computer: ‘Suspected sleep deprivation, four hours or less per
evening’—he was close to the truth, in reality it was three or less…
(October 10th, 2019, 09:44)
‘So, that’s everything, Mr Lammy, I think we’re about done here. Now, I’m going to prescribe you a three-month course of—’ The sudden appearance of the leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn MP, on the TV screen caused to distract the doctor from finishing his sentence. ‘So your friend’s staying on as party leader then I see.’
Turning, David saw Corbyn delivering a speech from his front gate, the same gate that just a little while later David himself expected to pass through at 11:15, the time agreed during a phone call between Lammy and someone who claimed to be an assistant of Corbyn’s the previous day – whose voice he vaguely recognised – for a ‘meeting’ of sorts. Lammy believed he was about to receive a promotion. Friend, thought David, I wouldn’t say that.
‘Doctor, would you mind?’ David asked, miming a button being pushed on a remote control by rapidly hitting invisible controls with his thumb, which repeatedly struck his forefinger.
‘You want to hear him speak? Don’t you know what he’s going to say?’
‘Doesn’t work like that, doctor.’
Shrugging, Doctor Johnson found the remote from a drawer and increased the volume. Both men stood and watched Corbyn speak.
‘The U.K. leaving the EU isn’t a defeat for Socialism; rather, it is merely a setback. Now we know who the Fascists are; now we have to redouble our efforts by launching street protests, marches and civil disobedience. We will NEVER let the zealot Brexiteer Fascists win, this is not a defeat, and when Labour is in government, our first act will be to hold a referendum on whether or not to rejoin the EU!’
The speech, it seemed, wasn’t over, Corbyn was still talking as Doctor Johnson muted the volume then immediately after turned off the TV completely.
‘Take it you’re not a fan, eh?’
‘Of liars? That would be a big NO, Mr Lammy.’
Liars? thought David. I can’t believe I am defending this guy…
‘The Fascist part,’ Johnson replied, a look of contempt mingled with disgust upon his face.
‘Well, err, there are Fascists, and we need to fight against them, don’t you agree?’
‘David, the problem with New-New-Labour is if you’re ever so slightly “right of centre” you automatically become a “Fascist”!’
‘So you voted Brexit then, I take it?’
‘My politics are irrelevant, but you cannot smear patriots, Conservatives and Nationalists as “Fascists”, it’s just not right or accurate,’ Johnson said angrily.
‘You seem to know a lot about Fascists and it’s strange that you are trying to defend them. We cannot legitimise the radical Far Right!’
Far Right? Fascists? thought the doctor. He hasn’t a clue, has he?
‘Well, Mr Lammy, we will have to agree to disagree about politics, won’t we? I did tell you about the physical component of the tests, didn’t I?’
Doctor Johnson smiled, guessing that David had lied to him about his diet, amount of sleep and alcohol consumption. He already knew that the man would struggle to complete the basic physical tests, which, although not mandatory, and seldom used, would help to – as he thought it – ‘shock’ the MP into realising just how unhealthy and dangerous his lifestyle truly was.
‘Ten push-ups and ten sit-ups. Afterwards, we will discuss your treatment.’
David was aghast. He was struggling to believe this was really happening, unable to recall the last time he was spoken to in such a brash – and he thought bossy – manner. Not since I was a boy and at the doctor’s office… Wait, that was him! The old dinosaur hasn’t changed one iota!
Guessing that David would comply, Doctor Johnson repeated both Corbyn’s and Lammy’s words and rhetoric in his mind about ‘Fascists’ in the United Kingdom. The man walked slowly as he returned to his desk and gazed at a large framed photo in pride of place on the wall behind.
As David huffed and puffed behind the doctor, counting aloud as he painfully made his way through each of the two sets, Johnson caringly ran his thumb over the glass-covered black-and-white photo, smiling as he did so due to remembering that time, so many years ago, back in 1945. I still can’t believe they bought my story and let me in, but then again, so many boys lied about their age back then…
‘That’s the ten push-ups, doctor,’ David said, struggling to breathe.
Without answering, the doctor continued to reminisce about the war, the action he had seen and the comrades he’d lost. In an instant, he counted those in the photo who had lost their lives in service and those who had survived. Of the three of us that made it, I’m the only one left now. Johnson – or Captain Johnson, as he was back then – was the last man standing, the other twenty-nine smiling boys and men were now all gone.
‘Five…’ David grunted, partially completing another sit-up, heavily perspiring. ‘Sssssix…’
Fascists? Tell that to Johnny! the doctor thought, remembering his friend who died fighting real Fascists in the war. And tell that to his family also!
‘Seevven … Eight…’ David grunted.
Forget the three-month prescription, this chap needs to be shown what Fascism is and is not. I will bring Johnny’s lighter for him to see, then he will understand, then he will calm his rhetoric—maybe.
‘Very good, Mr Lammy. Please, take a seat; it looks like you’ve worked up quite a sweat there.’
David was still catching his breath so couldn’t answer. Instead he vigorously pointed at his suit jacket, gesturing that it was the cause of him becoming almost instantly overly hot and sweaty. The two men sat in unison.
‘On second thoughts,’ Johnson said, hitting keys on his keyboard, ‘we’ll have you back in two weeks from today, that’ll be October 24th, same time, same place. I need to check on your progress and see if your BMI has improved; I need to ascertain also if these pills were effective…’
‘Pills?’ David asked, regaining his breath.
‘Your problems, Mr Lammy, are caused by a trio of stimuli: One, bad diet and alcohol consumption, two, stress and being overworked, and, three, insomnia.’
For a brief moment, David imagined himself arguing against all three points and the diagnosis as a whole, but the steely look in the old doctor’s eyes told him it would be wholly pointless to do anything other than nod in reply, which is what he did.
‘Here is your prescription; it is two weeks’ worth of Flat-U-Less. There are sixty pills, take one whenever you feel the abdominal pains coming on or when bloating begins.’ The doctor handed David a virtually indecipherable note, which he hoped at least the pharmacist could translate.
‘And importantly, Mr Lammy, if you want to get better, no more alcohol until this thing clears up, no red meat … and make sure you take daily exercise and retire to bed no later than ten o’clock.’
‘But, doctor, the thing is—’
‘There’s no “thing”, David. Follow my
advice and you may yet live to see your next birthday, if not then…’
(October 10th, 2019, 10:57)
David’s watch told him it was a little before 11:00 am as he parked his car on double yellow lines outside a bookshop in central London.
Will only be in there a minute or two, sure it will be fine, David convinced himself, deciding to ‘wing it’ as the man was ever the risk-taker.
It’s already eleven? David thought angrily, fearful of now being late for the big meet-up with Jeremy Corbyn, his party leader, one-time friend and now his nemesis in both dreams and reality alike. That drive used to take half the time … or less … too many cars on the road, or is it too many people? the man mused as he locked his car and looked for traffic wardens. Not seeing any in the near vicinity, David entered the bookshop.
It didn’t take the Labour MP long to find what he was looking for as his new book, Tribes, which had been long advertised and hotly anticipated by some, took up four long and prominent shelves right next to the entrance. It was impossible to miss the book. David smiled; the difficult drive to the shop and his odd experience at the doctor’s slipped from his mind, his stress-induced furrowed brow relaxed also as the reality of seeing HIS book, dozens of copies of HIS book, on display rejuvenated the man’s spirit. It will be my day after all! he thought, wrongly.
Seeing David standing alone, grinning from ear to ear, a shop assistant approached. ‘Can I help you, sir?’
‘Uum … no … I mean yes, well maybe…’ David answered. Being snapped out of his daydreaming had rendered the man confused and near speechless. ‘Well, about this book here,’ he said, pointing.
‘Tribes?’ the assistant replied, clearly repressing a smile and chuckle. David noted the much younger man’s lips were tightly pursed together.
The assistant cleared his throat and took two deep breaths in an attempt to compose himself before continuing the conversation. ‘What would you like to know, sir?’
‘How many have you sold? How’s it selling?’ David braced himself for the reply as he remembered signing the first 10,000 copies of his book—each copy of Tribes on the shelves before him bore a small orange sticker that stated, ‘Limited Edition Signed Copy!’
The assistant replied with a coy smile. ‘Not many, sir.’
‘It’s just been released, right? Today’s the official launch and these are signed copies. Pre-orders? Surely there’s been some buzz around its release, no?’
‘Not really. I think we’ve sold three copies, don’t think there have been pre-orders. Nathan,’ the man shouted to his colleague, ‘how many Tribes we sold today?’
Laughing, Nathan replied, ‘Two, but we had one return—so … one.’
‘Anything else I can help you with, sir?’ the assistant asked.
David felt physically sick, he knew he should’ve waited a week, a month even, before checking on sales figures, but he had always been impulsive, he hated waiting until December 25th for his Christmas presents in childhood—and in that sense the man had never grown up…
‘Just curious was all, no … thanks for your help, think I will take a look around.’
Sales will pick up soon, David, just be patient! David told himself as he feigned interest in works of fiction and non-fiction alike; he couldn’t just leave, not after spending so much time discussing Tribes. He took on the role of an average mid-morning book buyer.
As the politician moved around the shop one eye was ever fixed on the Tribes display, hoping against hope that another sale would occur right in front of him—David was further disappointed when this failed to happen. By the time he decided to leave, having ‘acted’ for long enough he believed, more than twenty-five minutes had passed, his legs and ankles ached from walking up and down the aisles. Maybe the old doctor’s got a point about that exercise stuff, he thought, rubbing his thighs…
The fresh air mingled with petrol and diesel exhaust emissions was warmly welcomed by the man as he exited the bookshop, feeling akin to a prisoner being released from his cell.
The second he found himself standing in the street, the thoughts of problematic – or no – book sales were gone from his mind as something far worse was taking place before his eyes—David Lammy’s car was being clamped!
‘David Lammy on the Run – A Political Comedy Adventure.’
Political Satire will never be the same again!
Paperback – http://amazon.co.uk/dp/B07YNZ18YS