The kitchen is filled with the obnoxious stench of something unearthly and an ominous hush. The Deputy Prime Minister sits on high among the saucepans, surveying the scene before him with some ferocity. And it is indeed an odd scene, even in these strange times.
“Terry!” hisses Lucy. “Get down from there!”
Lucy has had Terry since he was a scruffy little kitten and for many years he has been both closest confident and mortal enemy. And it struck her that cats and Deputy Prime Ministers were strikingly similar in many ways, so she gave him the job. She was originally going to give it to Ian, but thought this was much funnier.
Terry refuses to move his elderly frame and promptly goes to sleep where he sits. Picking up a broom, Mumsie tuts and waves it encouragingly in his general direction.
“Excuse me, but is he alright?”
They had almost forgotten about Nigel Farage. He looks surprisingly dapper for a door-to-door salesman, resplendent as he is in a boating jacket and salmon pink trousers. He has placed his trilby on the kitchen table, along with a suspiciously over-sized briefcase, apparently filled with dusters. He jabs a finger towards the far corner of the room.
“That chap there, is he alright?!”
“That chap there,” Ian replies “Is Tony Blair.”
“Is he really?” Nigel squints. “So he is. I’m sorry, all those unfortunate years before rehab have played havoc with my memory. I was living in a tree for four years, you know.”
Nigel’s much-publicised stint as the Tree Man of Bermondsey kept the press and the nation entertained for quite some time. At one point, lives streams of the tree were being beamed around the globe at all times of the day and night. The public, fickle as they are, eventually lost interest when Jeremy Kyle took up shouting at traffic for a living, and everyone watched that instead.
In the far corner, tied to a kitchen chair, is Tony Blair. Bearded and bedraggled, in truth anyone could be forgiven for mistaking him. His head rests awkwardly on his chest and soft gurgles emit from somewhere beneath the bristles. On his shoe reclines Terry’s contribution to proceedings.
“He’s having his nap,” says Mumsie, helpfully.
“Right.” Nigel nods. “Anyway, I’ve come about these dusters. I’m got some smashing ones, do you want to have a look?”
He reaches towards the briefcase, causing the Chancellor to leap forward most unexpectedly.
“Stop!” cries Ian.
Time stands still for a moment. A puff from Blair breaks the spell.
“Don’t wake Tony up, he’ll only want feeding,” scolds Mumsie.
“Mum, you’re getting him confused with the cat,” Lucy huffs back. “Ian, what’s wrong?”
The Chancellor moves his formidable frame in great strides towards Mr Farage.
“There’s something not right here,” growls Ian, as quietly as he can. “I mean look at him. Does he look even remotely like a travelling duster salesman to you? He looks like he should be directing a cheap porn film.”
“Well, you’d probably know more about that me,” Lucy raises an eyebrow. “So I’ll take your word for it.”
“And there could be anything in that suitcase,” Ian continues. “It could be a trap!”
There is a ministerial gasp.
“…Or even recording equipment or something. He could be a spy!”
“What? No, I really am just here about the dusters…” Nigel attempts to prove this by opening the suitcase, but finds his hand enveloped in Ian’s enormous mitt as both men scrabble for the handle.
“No, I’m not sure he’s a spy,” the Prime Minister whispers back. “He looks far too dodgy to be an actual spy. I think someone wants us to believe he’s a spy.”
“Why would someone want us to think he’s a spy?”
“I don’t know… maybe so we get suspicious and demand to search the suitcase?” Lucy pauses for dramatic effect. “And then… the bomb explodes!”
“I think I really am the last person to become a suicide bomber,” remarks Nigel, reasonably. “Look, if you’re not interested in my dusters, I think I’ll go.”
“You’re not going anywhere until we find out what you’re doing here!” Ian hisses, ever wary of waking Blair. As he tightens his grip on the suitcase, Nigel tries to wiggle his hand free from the crushing grasp.
An almighty crash erupts from a high shelf as a blur of copper, steel and fur obeys Newton in a quite spectacular fashion. As Terry hits the floor, Mumsie is after him with the broom, mindful of further accidents. As kitchenware continues to cascade about the room, Terry is swept with little ceremony right out the back door.
“Bloody hell, that made me jump,” mutters Lucy, rather understating the matter.
“Bugger,” sighs Ian. “Look at that.”
Following his gaze, Lucy sees only the front door creaking ominously in the wind and the dust kicked up by Nigel’s heels as he made good his escape.
But the suitcase remains.
And Tony Blair is now very much awake.