Friday 7 May 2010

Friday Flash - The Kingmaker

I've put aside my usual forays into flash fiction to write this, The Kingmaker. It's in honour of the appalling debacle of British politics that has formed our 2010 General Election.

* * *

He sits on a sofa in a sunny corridor. He can feel himself sinking into the seat pad. He wonders how many have sat here before him, waited their turn, had such gut-wrenching decisions to make. He wrings his hands, something he has not done for several months.

"Are you nervous?" asks his assistant.

"Of course I'm nervous. I don't know what I'm doing," he replies.

He looks at the floor. He is ashamed because he does know what he's doing. He knows that what he is doing will make him unpopular. He also knows that it contradicts everything he has come to represent.

"He will see you now." An aide sticks her head into the corridor. He takes baby steps towards the doorway.

Sunlight fills the room, though nothing penetrates the air of gloomy resignation. The elder statesman sits behind his desk, his fingers wrapped in a lattice of flesh and bone. The dour atmosphere emanates from his baleful gaze.

"You've already backed the other party." The statesman omits a greeting.

"Yes, but-"

"You think that if you give them the chance to form a government, they will fail. In that situation, you can form a coalition with us."

"That's the idea, but-"

"You want to form a coalition with us anyway, but you're backing them because you want to appear fair. When they try, and they fail, you can look impartial. Though I should warn you that you've already lost supporters. The proles don't like it when you switch sides."

"Yes, but-"

"I accept your offer. We will form a coalition when the blues lose."

He squirms on the hard chair. The words that came so freely now stick in his throat. This has been easy, but it worries him that his motives appear so obvious.

"Don't take it so personally. I should thank you, really. People wanted to vote for you to keep them out, but they didn't think you stood a chance so they voted for us instead". The prime minister contorts his face into an approximation of a smile. He reaches his hand across the table.

"Welcome to politics."


Jen said...

Euuuugh. Having just watched the election & results I think I need to go wash off the slime of the whole thing.

Nice represented, here.

Icy Sedgwick said...

I had such high hopes for him, too!

Joanie Rich said...

Awesome! I think a lot of people will appreciate this story right now. Your dialogue is really strong here. The only thing I think could make it better would be that you probably don't need to say he omitted a greeting - it breaks the pacing in your dialogue too much. The ending line is perfect! That says it all. :)

Roland D. Yeomans said...

The more you learn of the true goings-on in history from reading memoirs of those who speak the truth since they are so close to death -- the more sad you become.

It is a wonder that Mankind hasn't consumed itself before now.

You have a thought-provoking blog. A lot of creativity and hard work. It's appreicated by a new visitor, Roland

Sam said...

Nicely presented take on the whole appalling mess. I'm reading this on Saturday afternoon and just imagine this very thing happening as I type. I'm sick of all three of them!

Icy Sedgwick said...

@Roland - I'm glad you're enjoying things so far!

@Sam - It's all just a mess, isn't it? Clegg presented himself as having integrity and being a man of the people, but he's just as much of a liar as the rest!

Anonymous said...

This is a great piece where the characterisation speaks so strongly through the dialogue. I've been following it from Australia, but don't quite get the different parties. However, the strength of this piece lies in its ability to be applied to almost any political election.

Icy Sedgwick said...

I wouldn't worry, Adam. I think there are a lot of people in the UK who don't get the different parties!

Carrie Clevenger said...

I have no idea of the UK politics, well before. This says quite a bit and I enjoy your talent besides. :)

Icy Sedgwick said...

Thank you, Carrie! I'm a bit surprised that things have turned out differently, but hopefully we'll see some actual change now.

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