Saturday 1 July 2017

Episode 47: Confession

You know me. You followed me around the country. You loved me on the TV when I had you in stitches with jokes about my penis. You followed me in the tabloids, you supported my charitable works. Then you didn't. I don't know why. You just stopped. Now, I have people who love me again. So much that they made me their mayor. This is my new story, From Under Dark Clouds.

I was alive and I had no idea how or why. The stench of death on his breath caught in my throat. Rotten undigested meat and bile. The light in my eyes prevented me seeing his face but I knew exactly what he looked like. Hate moulds all faces into the same gnarled affectation, over-chewed gum once all the taste has gone.

We had followed sometime after the set up team. Partly to get the arrival choreographed and partly because it had taken a fire extinguisher to get me off the well-assembled secretary.
Jude had gone off to Germany. America had a new president, an ex-country and western singer and she was to meet with the chancellor and her eurogroup pets. This took precedence over my antics in the arse-end of Europe.
When we arrived in the town square, I readied my face for the public. We circled the square looking for the welcome team. The secretary was sat up front so as not to distract me too much. I searched for our boys. A pick-up truck pulled out of a parking space into our path. My driver rubbed his hands together waiting to take his place. The secretary leaned round in her seat, she wore a terse smile. I spotted our banner and PA system. It was still in a pile in the middle of the square. I tapped the driver on the shoulder to circle again and call the set up team to get a move on. Shoppers shopped. Kids played. No crowds await.
The pick-up was still blocking our way. My driver raised his hands and huffed. The pick-up driver got out. A shadow fell over the car. The door burst on its hinges, the car rocked. Now, our driver was no light-weight but the hands that reached in and grabbed him were construction grade. He was excavated from his seat and replaced by a wirey man with cropped hair. The excavator wrenched my door open and planted himself next to me. I grabbed the door handle but the pick-up truck driver was there to keep it closed. The secretary screamed and the driver planted his fist into the side of her head and she fell silent. I felt impotent chivalry course my veins. We were moving out of the square. I spotted a squad car and waved frantically at the officers, the driver lifted an open palm, tipped his head and waved. My only thought was to get their attention, my only thought was bounced across the inside of my skull as the excavator replaced the thought with stars.
My hands were tied behind me but would have been useless under the circumstances. The wirey man standing over me was hewn from frustration. I was a man of comedy. Behind him stood the same piece of plant machinery that had filled my head with stars.
“Where is the girl?” I demanded.
They laughed. The excavator glanced at a door to my right.
I warned them not to harm her. I made a show of shaking free from the ropes. I amused them. A man of comedy.
The excavator pumped a laugh, “Like the Chinaman.”
I was alive, maybe the secretary was too. Maybe not. I was too high profile to kill or they were biding their time.
“Listen guys, what do you want me for?” This wasn't the first time I had faced bullies. It was them I had to thank for my career in comedy. “Let me introduce you to some people in London. They’re always looking for talented guys like yourselves. New suits, nice cars, toothbrushes, deodorant!” I didn't get to the pretty girls before they gave me a round of applause around my head.
I came to with the slamming of the front door. Wirey and Excavator stood to attention. The voice behind me was the reason I was still alive. Last time our paths had crossed he was pummelling my face on live TV. Ares was standing behind me. He smelt a lot better than the two before me but I could feel his fury like static electricity. He spoke with the smile of the victor. I hoped he was smug enough to Bond-villain his plans for me before the good guys broke down the door and whipped their arses.
“We've got a girl in the next room who’s full of your DNA.” He was smug enough.
I could feel my phone in my pocket. “MIKE!” The device pinged a response.
“You didn't get his phone?” They looked at each other. “Get the fucking phone!”
“Ares, they did a hopeless job of kidnapping me. I wouldn't stand for it if I were you!” my neck crunched as the blow from behind connected. The boys dove for my crotch.
“Destroy it!”
Wirey looked at the screen. “Just a facebook notification, boss.”
“Destroy it!”
“It’s an iPhone 7 plus, boss. 800 euros!”
I didn't hear another word but Excavator pushed Wirey, plucking the phone from his hand as he fell to the floor then folded it between his fingers.
“You annoy me, faggot!” Ares paced in front of me. “You should have gone home when you had the chance. Back with your beautiful family in London.”
I warned him to leave my family alone and I felt like I really meant it, like my warning made a difference to him.
“We are watching them and I only need to call…” He took out his phone and it pinged twice. Fuck, was it once for no, twice for yes? Four rapid pings. I think this means malaka.
“No!” I yelled. Excavator’s phone pinged twice. “OK”
Ares continued, “Yes,” Ping! “I only have to give the word and they are in a skip.”
“OK, I get it!”
He explained how the bitch in the next room could end up in a skip filled with my shit and I would be safely tucked up in a place in Greece where I would be frightened to take a shower, sleep or even eat for a very long time. He enjoyed this enormously wringing his hands. “…or you can go home.” He swung his fist into my cheek. “Personally, I hope you decide to stay.”
So, they were not going to kill me. This was some relief.
“So, should I stay?” Ping! “Maybe someone is coming to save me?” There was no ping. “I can’t fly without my passport.” Ares reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a British passport. Without let or hindrance. “I guess we are going to the airport. I hope you have money, my credit cards are with my…” He pulled my wallet from his other pocket.
I was surprised that Ares didn't take this opportunity to pummel me some more and before I knew it I had given voice to the words.
“You and me,” he paced. “Are not so different.”
“Yeah, there’s a bit of fascist cunt running through everyone’s veins.”
He smiled, “TV. We both understand the power of it.” He walked around me landing a heavy fist in my gut but at least he missed my nuts this time. “YouTube, facebook. It can make or break people.” He pulled out his phone and waved it like the holy book. “And we can do it all from here.” He swiped, tapped and spoke. “Bring her in.”
A moment later the door opened and Roni entered on the end of a shaved weasel, another came in holding her camera.
“Alright, Roni?” I asked.
She was sat down on a stool opposite me and her camera thrust into her lap. She instinctively made it ready. She was not alright but showed no sign of being treated with the same hospitality that I had.
A piece of paper was shoved into my hand covered with 5-year-old writing.
“I can’t read this, it was written by an illiterate!” Ares told me his nephew had written it and he had a Proficiency from Michigan. Figures.
On the page was supposed to be me apologising to the Greek people for insulting them with the idea that I could save them, that I had the answers, that I was a fraud. I questioned their validity and concluded nothing.
Wirey had pulled himself up from the floor and was rubbing his head. “You know, I could always get Asteris here to wring your scrawny little neck.” Asteris looked perturbed. “He might spend a few years inside but we’d look after his family.” He stopped. “And, it always sends a better message to the community when one of us takes responsibility for his actions. Anyway, when we get in this time, he gets out. And we WILL get in this time.”
“Why not the other one? He’d probably do it quicker.”
“No, he’s too handy and my mother likes him too much. Got a good appetite.”
Excavator smiled a grave-yard grin.
Roni lifted her camera and it was show time.
Ladies and gentlemen of the proud nation of Greece, for that is who you truly are. Not the gilded heirs of a land but the privileged caretakers of this fructiferous European allotment. Mia culpa. I confess my transgressions, of hubris that I may coalesce your democratic voice to one of common cause and purpose from one of self-service and proliferation of a status quo whose objective is to maintain division and denigration.
“STOP!” Ares waved at Roni to lower her camera. “what saying he?”
Roni swallowed hard, “He is saying that he is an arrogant big-head and Greek people are proud and wise.”
He grabbed my shoulder and waved the page in my face. “You say words!” his spittle stank.
I told him in his language that if I read these words, nobody would believe them. He kicked the floor and yelled that he should have brought his nephew.
“Would have been nice to meet the whole family!” Roni kicked my shin.
Roni raised her camera again and I worked out how to say what I wanted without getting myself in a skip.
That same misanthr… shit! Greek word, he’d get that. That same demago… more Greek, this was not going to be easy. Might end up in rhyming slang.
Roni kicked me again and pointed to the paper. Of course. Read it.
And so I make my risible confession so ineloquently composed to aforementioned ends. I read it. Punctuation errors, spelling mistakes like a senile in the throws of aphasia. This pleased Ares no end. And so into democracy’s crucible, I throw my hat.
“HAAAT!” Ares was spitting again. “WHAT IS THIS HAAAAT!”
“Throw in your hat, it means give up, quit.” Roni offered.
He snapped his fingers at Roni but she looked at him.
“Card, memory card!” He pulled out his phone and she gave him the large CF card from her camera. He offered it up to his phone. “What is this?”
“Compact flash. We don’t use the same cards as phones.”
The two men stepped back from Ares, they knew something was going to happen.
He swung the door to the bedroom open. The secretary was laid out naked on her front, her face to the door. Her eyes were open but there was no one behind them anymore.

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