Freelance Agent Brompton Rhodes gripped the collars of his coat tightly about his neck, the better to cope with the chill wind that now whistled through Whitehall, creating cyclones out of discarded freesheets and fag butts and sending toy dogs flying helplessly into oncoming traffic. His pointed Chelsea boots crunched mercilessly over the bone and flesh and sinew that now stained the pavements. Another murder. Another job for the Met.
London was in the grip of an icy summer, even colder than usual. Pensioners were dying by the lorry-load every day and landfill sites on the edge of the capital were full to capacity. Complaints were coming in from neighbouring shires of illegal body-dumping on fields and wasteland. Everyone was doing it. Everyone knew what was going on.
The pogroms against the unemployed had been a total washout since the number of those out of work now dwarfed that of those who would have persecuted and ultimately crucified them. Their forces were boosted by the disabled, the sick and the homeless, of which there were now a rising number; nearly three-quarters of the population of the capital had spent at least two months out on the streets while newly-built luxury apartment blocks sat there, empty. An investment, perhaps? For someone.
Brompton had been there when it had turned nasty at Hammersmith Job Centre. A small mob bearing burning torches, axes and cricket bats had shown up, expecting an easy lynching no doubt. From the pub Brompton had watched as the mob were themselves mobbed, as people came out of the woodwork; out of the concrete and plaster and macadam and manholes. The scum, the unwashed, the people they wanted to hide away; and when they wouldn’t hide away like good little vermin, the people they wanted to erase, to delete. They were torn apart, torn limb from limb and Brompton had sipped his Guinness and smoked his rollie. The Daily Mail had called it the ‘Intifada’ (‘uprising’) without, it seems, irony; after all, when the whole thing went pear-shaped they called it the ‘naqba’ (‘catastrophe’).
Carnage continued to erupt even now, all around him. In Whitehall; in the heart of Government; the seat of power. Policemen, their eyes put out and their arms missing, the bloody stumps cauterised by petrol bombs, stumbling about crying for their mothers. The Cenotaph daubed in poetry painted with human blood. Cries and screams like pagan rhythms.
An American couple, both quite large, both bespectacled, and wearing matching red windcheaters, paused for a second by Brompton.
“Excuse me, sir. I just wanted to say, well, we like your coat” said the man, leaning forward to be heard (though it was quite unnecessary), the peak of his baseball cap almost touching the forelock of Brompton’s curled quiff. “My wife was saying, it’s very old fashioned. Where are you from? Are you in the military?”
Brompton looked down at his quite splendid coat; three-quarter length, close-cut with high collars and shiny metal buttons. Coupled with his absurdly tight trousers and charming boots, he had to admit he did cut quite the dash. Incredibly appropriate. He pulled his rounded Augmented-Reality shades down his lengthy nose and smiled.
“I’m not, no. I’m a time-traveller. I got bored where I was and thought I’d see what all the fuss was about here. How about you folks? Enjoying your visit?”
Somewhere in the distance there was an explosion and the sound of something wet popping with horrible force. The wife spoke up this time:
“Oh yes, we love it here. You Brits are so polite! Everyone’s been so friendly!”
Brompton extended a hand to the wife and smiled his dirtiest smile, almost on impulse. His rapist’s smile, the judge had called it, all those years ago.
“I’m Brompton Rhodes. Pleasure to meet you.”
The wife blushed, of course, and took his hand gently.
“I’m Loretta, and this is my husband Lester. We’re staying over in…where was it, Lester? ‘Earl’s Court?’”
“Yeah” said Lester, rubbing his girth. “I kinda like it there, but we’re thinking about moving on real soon.”
Brompton was feeling the same. Work, work, work to do.
“Well, it’s been a pleasure to meet you both” he said, once more taking Loretta’s hand. “I’m afraid I’ve got a bit of business to attend to. I’m glad you’re enjoying your stay here in this fair city. All the best to you both.”
He shook Lester’s hand and wondered if his own might break, such was the force. Lester spoke again, the smell of burgers and lager on his breath.
“You sure you ain’t in the military?”
“Quite sure” said Brompton with a smile.
“I was in the military. Once.”
Lester seemed almost wistful at this, but still his iron grip remained.
“Yeah” he continued. “They used to call me ‘the General’”
Brompton’s eyes widened at the sound of that name. Not here. Not now. Not on the cusp of…
He pulled his hand away quickly, pushed his shades back up his shnozz and bid the couple another farewell. He was just about to make his escape when Loretta called over.
“Say, Mister Rhodes, sir, you don’t know how to get to Big Ben, do you? Lester wants to see a big clock. At least, I think that’s what he said.”
“Keep walking that way” said Brompton, pointing down Whitehall. “You’ll soon see it.”
An APC was trundling down the road; it stopped and disgorged a platoon of genetically-manipulated ant-soldiers in full regalia. They marched to the beat of a funky drum, but they were a desperate option. Clearly, those in power had lost the plot.
As the couple walked off he wondered what they would see first; the clock-face of the grand old timepiece, corpses impaled on the hands, or perhaps the array of human genitalia arranged on the high fences surrounding the charnel house that the Palace of Westminster had become. They say that in there makes the one-hundred-and-twenty-days look like Penny Crayon. Maybe, just maybe they’d hear the famous chimes first? Every day fresh children are tied to the inside of the bells and the clappers pummel them to a gory death, their cries a supposed warning to others.
Brompton laughed. Soon it would all be over. He quickly rolled and lit himself another cigarette as he approached the gates of number ten. A man in what looked like a full police dress uniform was kicking a bespectacled, grey man to death as he lay on the floor, crying. Most of the man’s face was gone but somehow his spectacles clung on. Brompton pulled out his gun, a Walter P-38 modified to fire high-velocity explosive rounds, and put the man out of his misery.
The policeman, now deprived of his quarry, looked up at Brompton. It was Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner. His words were a near-unintelligible mush, a consequence of his smashed and broken jaw, but Brompton thought he heard him say “We’re all plebs now.”
We surely are thought Brompton as he put a bullet in the man’s brain. He strolled through the gates towards the infamous door. The usual police guard were gone; instead an army of cats now patrolled the alley. At first they hissed and bared their claws but Brompton gave them the nod and they stood down, though not a little snootily.
Overhead the sound of jet fighters and mini-drones battling one another for aerial supremacy. Brompton stood before number ten and considered knocking, but decided a dramatic entrance was far more necessary. He kicked, but his foot found no purchase; instead it went right through the door as if it were paper.
Regaining his balance, Brompton inspected the door and discovered that it was, in fact, paper. He tore away the remaining strips and stepped over the threshold. He could hear music coming from the room directly ahead of him, some oddly familiar tune. He walked on down a paper corridor, his boots crunching a paper floor.
He entered the room and immediately recognised the music.
“I was looking for a job and then I found a job…”
It was, of course, the distinctive and plaintive wail of Morrissey and the Smiths. A firm favourite of Brompton’s, but what was their music doing here? Then he looked around him.
“Two lover entwined pass me by…”
Sitting in a modified high-chair in the corner, completely naked, was Boris Johnson. He was gurgling in delight like a big adult baby and Brompton could see why; for lying underneath the high chair, her face buried in his bulbous buttocks, was a stark-bollock Samantha Cameron.
Brompton whirled around in horror to see, on the chaise-longe, draped across it like a cheap throw, the Prime Minister himself: David Cameron. He too was naked and sitting before him, with an easel and a paintbrush, was the Chancellor George Osborne. Cameron was cooing and sighing, fondling himself with reckless abandon.
“Paint me, Gideon” he said. “Paint me like one of your negress whores.”
Brompton was horrified. He hadn’t been prepared for this. He attempted to back away towards the door, but it was too late; Cameron’s eyes drifted upwards and spied him, turning from gooey-eyed delight to abject horror as they did so.
“You can’t be in here!” he squealed. “Guards!”
Behind him Brompton heard the marching of feet. He heard the thrust of a punch and ducked just in time. He whirled around to face his attacker: The dread Michael Gove!
“I’ll give you a lesson in history, boy” said Gove, producing a ruler as if from nowhere and brandishing it like a sword. He proceeded to spin the ruler around the place; over his arms, behind his head, under his legs. Finished, he pointed it in Brompton’s direction and looked down the length. The inch side.
Brompton shot Gove in the head. The man hit the floor like a sack of spuds, brains spewing everywhere. Brompton looked at Cameron once more.
“What else you got?”
“Pah! You haven’t seen anything yet!”
Brompton felt a tap on his shoulder. Then he felt another tap on his other shoulder. Turning to face his new challenger, he was shocked to be greeted by a pair of twins. Their eyes were bulging and their mouths and cheeks locked into rictus grins. For a second Brompton thought that the High Priest Blair had returned from the dead, and cloned himself, but he laughed; no one could come back from what they did to Blair. Nobody. They salted the earth.
“I’m Grant Shapps” said one of the Smilers.
“And I’m Michael Green” said the other.
“And if you can’t answer our questions…” said Shapps.
“…Then we’re going to have to kill you!” finished Green.
Brompton raised an eyebrow.
“Our first question is this.” said Shapps.
“How” continued Green, “would you like to start up a successful internet business?”
“I’ve already got a successful internet-based business.”
“Oh yes?” said Shapps, his face unmoving.
“And what’s that, then?” said Green, similarly sphinx-like.
Brompton reached forward and broke Green’s neck in a brutal movement. Blood poured from the dead man’s nostril.
“I kill dirty beggars like you!”
Grant Shapps fell back into a martial arts pose.
“You’ve made a big mistake. I could have maximised your returns!”
Brompton pulled his gun and once again a man died at his hands. He stalked back into the room and approached Cameron once more.
“It’s never over!” Cameron laughed and laughed and clutched his little willy while Osborne cowered behind the chaise-longe. Boris, meanwhile, was still being attended to by Sam Cam. Cameron leapt from the chaise-longe and pressed a button on the wall. Brompton tensed, ready for another opponent.
The blow came from nowhere; Brompton had heard nothing. As he held his head another swift attack threw him off his feet. As he struggled on the ground yet another silent punch jabbed him in the ribs and curtailed any attempt to get to his feet. He managed to twist his head just enough to see his attacker.
Looming, like a zombie out of the pictures, was the Quiet Man himself. IDS! Brompton fumbled for his gun as a haymaker to his back took the wind out of his sails. Who knew IDS had it in him?
The assault paused briefly and Brompton finally stood up but his attacker had vanished. Cameron was busy tittering in the corner as Brompton heard whispers all around him: “He’s over here!”; “He’s over there!”; “Where are you going!?”
A kick to his back sent Brompton sprawling forwards over the chaise-longe, knocking George Osborne’s easel and paints all over the shop. George cried as his masterpiece was ruined.
IDS tackled Brompton on the sofa. He was mumbling something under his breath but it was very hard to hear: “something…something…waste your life…handouts…”. A swift punch straight in the kisser both shut him up and sent him careering across the room. Out of control, he piled right into Boris and Sam Cam.
Boris stopped gurgling and grimaced. His stubby arms reached out and held the struggling and helpless IDS. Boris opened his vast mouth and roared. His limbs, though diminished, still held great strength, strength he put to excellent use as he tore the arms from IDS’s body. Before IDS could even register the pain Boris had leant forward and engorged the poor man’s head in his mouth, a trick Brompton knew for a fact he had learned from Eric Pickles. The head came away cleanly and the Quiet Man was no more.
Boris licked his lips and opened the fatty, fleshy folds that passed for his eyelids. He saw Brompton and let out a great and enormous belch, dropping IDS’s headless trunk to the floor. He lunged forward in his high-chair, pushing with all his might until it snapped and he fell to the ground with a squelch.
Brompton feared for Sam Cam, lest she had been crushed beneath Boris’s obnoxious weight but now, to his horror, Brompton could see that Sam Cam had not just been pleasuring Boris. Oh no. She was, in fact, surgically attached at the lips to the very anus of the scurvy beast. Any sexual pleasure either he or she might derive from this seemed immaterial; in fact, the intention seemed to have been to create a new and terrifying form of life.
It mustn’t be allowed to live, thought Brompton, as he began peppering the animal with gunfire. The bullets drew blood but the monster seemed unharmed. It crawled ever onward toward Brompton, dragging its merciless two-person bulk across the floor, murmuring phrases in Latin. Brompton knew that if it reached him it could tear him apart just as easily as it had done IDS. He had to think quickly and George Osborne’s continued whining wasn’t helping any…
Wait! That was it! It was a well-known fact that George Osborne had poison for blood, running all through his body and heart and occasionally pissing out on to the rest of us. A poison that could affect anybody…
Brompton grabbed the whining Chancellor by his hair and held him by the scruff of his trousers.
“Please!” he whined. “You can’t do this!”
“Oh, George” said Brompton. “We all have to make tough decisions.”
Brompton threw him towards Boris who paused in his crawling to consume the morsel. The Chancellor went down in one gulp, without even time to scream, and Boris seemed replete. He once again commenced his crawl towards Brompton, his hated enemy, when suddenly something went wrong. His eyes bulged in their flabby sockets and a strange wheezing, groaning sound came out of his mouth. The poison in George’s veins was a strong one; Boris flapped his stubby arms and legs but the burning in his guts was seeping into his bloodstream. Quietly, the creature expired.
Brompton inspected the bloated corpse. Boris seemed almost peaceful now; now that he was just a dead mass of flesh. Brompton went around to the rear of the beast and, as expected, Sam Cam had expired too. No doubt the poisoned viscera that had been George Osborne had passed through Boris’s anus into her mouth, and thus her system. A horrible way to die.
Brompton was just about to address the final, thorny issue of David Cameron when the corpse of Boris/Sam Cam twitched. He jumped, fearing that perhaps even Osborne-sauce couldn’t kill the monster. The twitch seemed to pass down from Boris into Sam Cam; Sam Cam’s body immediately bloated as something seemed to squeeze into her; the object travelled down her abdomen then emerged from between her legs with a loud, wet pop. Fluids of all colours, mostly brown, emerged as a puddle on the floor.
Brompton held his nose. Probably just the death throes, he thought. The final excretion. He was once again about to deal with the Prime Minister when he heard a voice; broad tones, but oddly high-pitched. They said;
“You’ll never win, you know.”
Brompton looked around for the source but couldn’t for the life of him find it. He heard it again.
“You and all your sort. We’re here now and we’re going nowhere.”
Brompton realised that the sound was coming from between Sam Cam’s legs. He covered his mouth, because even he was finding all this a bit odd, and had a look. He nearly jumped out of his skin when a face appeared.
It looked half-developed, as if it should have stayed in the womb another nine months. A low-sloping brow and a high forehead. Paradoxically, it also looked old. Really old. The creature pulled itself from the fleshy flaps from whence it had emerged and flopped on to the floor with a splat. It began crawling over to Brompton, leaving a snail trail of blood and yolk.
It’s William Hague, Brompton realised.
“You can’t win!” said the Foreign Secretary again. “You’ll never win!”
“Of course we’ll win” said Brompton with a smile. “Look. They’re all dead. I think that means we win.”
“Hey, William” said Brompton. “Ever seen Eraserhead?”
“No” said the slug-like creature.
“Well it’s nothing like this.”
Brompton raised his immaculate Chelsea boot and brought the heel down hard on William Hague’s head. It burst open like an overripe mango; the shockwave travelled up the entire body, splitting it down the middle, exposing malformed organs and cartilaginous ribs. Brompton kicked what remained of the stinking thing across the room and cursed the damage to his shoes. It was time.
He found Cameron quivering on the chaise-longe, still nude. He was crying.
“Why are you doing this!?”
Brompton just laughed.
“Because it’s my job.”
“I was hired.”
Cameron allowed himself a small smile in between sobs.
“Hired by whom?”
Brompton picked Cameron up and dragged him into the corridor. At the entrance there was a mob. Everyone was there; policemen, anarchists, nurses, soldiers; the unemployed, the employed, the disabled and the abled; men, women, children and everything in between. They were all armed and they were all baying for blood.
“By them, Prime Minister.”
Cameron was shaking as Brompton pushed him forwards towards the crowd. They spat and swore and threatened all sorts of violence.
“Is this him?” said Brompton. “Is this the one we were afraid of?”
The crowd jeered some more.
“Look at him” said Brompton, gripping Cameron’s ear and tearing it from his head. It was made of paper, just like his front door. “He’s not even real.”
The crowd went absolutely wild. Brompton picked up David Cameron, for being made of paper he was very light, and threw him into the crowd.
He was torn to pieces and the pieces were thrown up in the air and the chill wind that passes through London of a summer took those pieces and scattered them and made cyclones of them and people danced in the pieces until it was night.
Brompton Rhodes, for his part, couldn’t find the same solace they did, though he wished he could. As he rolled another cigarette he found that he could only worry about what was coming next.