There was a knock at the front door, and Barry went to see who it was. He looked through the peep-hole, and there on the doorstep was a youngish man in a suit, wearing a big red rosette.
Barry opened the door.
“Good morning! Mr. Jenkins?”
“Yeah, that’s me.”
“Hello, Mr. Jenkins, I’m Bob Wilkinson, your Labour candidate in this election, would you mind if I came in for a moment?”
“Dunno,” said Barry, looking up and down the deserted terraced street. “When can I come round your ‘ouse for a cup of tea?”
Mr. Wilkinson looked a little taken aback, but before he could speak Barry continued, “Only joking, mate, course you can come in!”
They went into the little sitting room, and Barry indicated a threadbare grey sofa. “’Ere, ‘ave a seat. Would you like a cup of tea?”
“Thank you, that would be most kind of you.”
Barry went and put the kettle on, and came back a little later carrying a beaten old tin tray with a steaming old teapot, a small jug of milk with no handle, a little plastic sugar bowl, a cracked china cup on a mismatched saucer and a glass of water.
He set it down on the table, lifted the lid on the teapot, and gave it a good stir.
“Milk and sugar?”
“Just a splash of milk please.”
Barry served the tea, and then took a sip from the glass of water.
“Are you not having any?” asked Mr. Wilkinson.
“Nah, I’ve just ‘ad a cup thanks.”
“Well, it’s very kind of you to make it for me Mr. Jenkins.”
The candidate took the tea, holding it carefully by the saucer in his left hand, and Barry asked the million dollar question.
“So, Mr. Wilkinson, why should I vote for you?”
“Please, call me Bob.”
“OK, Bob,” said Barry, pointedly not giving his own first name. Bastard probably knew it anyway, if he knew his surname. Must’ve been snooping into his details somewhere.
“Why should I vote for you then?”
“Have you read our manifesto Mr. Jenkins?”
“Don’t need to, do I! I’m sure it’s full of beautiful promises, like they always are, but will they ever materialise?”
“Well Mr. Jenkins, you must understand that we in the party of the working man face a lot of obstacles when implementing policies that make life better for ordinary people like you. Sometimes it’s slow progress, but progress, nevertheless, it is.” He took a swig of his tea.
‘Ordinary people like me!’ thought Barry, ‘Condescending cunt!’
“But I ain’t a working man,” he protested, “Got laid off, didn’ I.” Shithead probably knew that too.
“Ah, but if you had a job before, then I’m sure you’re a working man at heart, and we’re the party best able to get you back into work. I mean, you can’t imagine the Lib Dems are going to help you. They want to be all things to all people, playing Tory to the rich and powerful, and socialist to the poor, but they can’t be both now, can they?
“Anyway, their chap here cares so little for work he’s gone swanning off on holiday, nobody’s seen him here in the constituency for almost a week now. Probably sunning himself in the Caribbean while his PR men work on his campaign for him.”
“I can’t see that your lot ‘ave done much to put the rich and powerful in their place. ‘Alf of your geezers come from posh schools now, just join the Labour Party for a cushy job in politics, rather than earnin’ an honest livin’!”
“Mr. Jenkins, one cannot choose one’s birth and upbringing, but one can turn against it. Yes, some of us have been to public school, but even there one can learn about socialism and the importance of implementing its strategies to achieve lasting results that have a positive impact on the common man and the nation as a whole.”
‘Christ on a bike!’ thought Barry, ‘Wanker’s calling me common now, just ‘cos ‘e went to posh school!’
“More tea, Bob?” he offered, pouring another cup.
“Furthermore,” the man in the suit went on, “you can’t honestly expect the Tories to be in the least concerned about ordinary workers, much less the unemployed! I accept that things could be better than they are, and that’s why we need to continue to work together, to improve job opportunities, as well as pay and working conditions. You must be aware that if the Tories had been in power all this time things would be much worse than they are at present.
“The Tories have always been the enemy of the poor, not to mention their being such terrible hypocrites. I mean, just look at their fellow here, taking the moral high ground, church every Sunday, saying such awful things about homosexuality and promiscuity, and now it seems he’s eloped with his secretary, abandoning his wife and family! At least that’s what everyone’s saying, they both vanished a couple of days ago at any rate.”
Now the politician looked across the shabby room at Barry. The little table with the tea tray on it had seen better days, the armchair where Barry sat had the stuffing falling out of the loose seams, the paint was peeling from the wall behind him and half-tattered curtains of indeterminable colour were hanging at the window.
Then everything began to spin slowly round and round, or was it his head? He put down the cup and saucer, and tried to stand up.
“Mr. Jenkins, may I use your bathroom? I’m afraid I’ve come over rather queasy,” he said, before he crumpled to the floor.
Barry stood up and stepped over to him. He wasn’t breathing. He took the cup and the teapot back to the kitchen, washing them both out very thoroughly. Then he came back with a roll of masking tape and a big cloth sack, and taped the dead man’s wrists and ankles together, before bundling him into the bag.
‘I’ll bury ‘im in the allotment with the others,’ he thought. ‘Then I’ll put the shed over the four of ‘em, no one will ever find ‘em. Shame about the girl who came with the Tory, she’d been quite a looker. Still, couldn’t miss my chance just ‘cos she was ‘ere.’
An Anglo-Welsh Mexican, Chris Pollard was born on the south coast of Britain. He has lived among bleak mountains of slate, near the Sacred Isle of Avalon, amidst the grey concrete and decaying red bricks of a dying industrial
city, in Moorish alleyways on the fringe of Europe, between coffee and sugar plantations in the Sierra Madre, on the Martian plains of the Sahara, and lately on the North African coast. He is currently oscillating between several of these.
His blog is : http://ddraigddu.blogspot.com/