Death & Sex In Downing Street – Part One

Dr Samantha Martens, Minister for Good Ideas & Gin, was having a good idea. The good idea was to drink gin. This was a good idea for several reasons. Reason one – the first batch of Cambridge Special Damson Gin, lovingly produced by the fair hand of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, was about to be shipped to an off-licence in Northampton. It seemed only right and proper that this auspicious occasion be toasted. Reason two – the Prime Minister was somewhat jumpy about the interestingly-named Epic State Occasion that was occurring that very evening. Boris, King of Oxford was bringing a consignment of top Oxford bods to thrash out a peace treaty, thereby forgoing the war and hopefully finally resolving the Kitchen Situation. Which brings us neatly to: Reason three – Tony Blair was still tied to a chair in the kitchen and was, quite frankly, becoming something of a nuisance.

Terry, the elderly feline resident of Number Ten and also the Deputy Prime Minister, had taken an instant dislike to the former Prime Minister, making life very difficult for poor Mumsie, who had to share the kitchen with them.

There was a forth reason, too – although neither the Prime Minister nor Dr Martens had any inkling to it as yet. If they had, it would have been doubles all round. It was indeed felicitous that blessed ignorance abounded as to Boris’ idea of ‘thrashing out a peace treaty’. Worse, Nigel Farage was going to help.

Then there was the curious project at the Botanical Gardens. But the less said about that, the better. Certainly from the point of view of the Trade Minister.

“What time are the Oxford chaps getting here, Prime Minister?” asked Dr Martens, one eye already a little wonky.

“Eight o’clock,” replied Lucy. “I thought we’d set up a welcoming committee in that nice big room downstairs, you know? The one with the old CD player. I thought we’d put some tunes on, all have a few drinks. Just a normal party, really. We’ll lull them into false sense of security, you see. Boris and his buddies will think we are simple, hapless commoners and drop their guard. I’ll slip him some of the hard stuff, then take him to my office for the negotiations. BAM! He will be flummoxed by my political genius and gin, and will sign my carefully-crafted agreement that I have right here…”

Lucy stumbled slightly as she reached in her back pocket for the document, giggling. Regaining her composure barely, she unfolded it with a flourish.

“Bugger. This gin is good. I’ve forgotten how to read.”

Dr Martens turned her non-wonky eye towards the document.

“I can’t even see,” she replied.

“This is no good,” huffed Lucy. “We can’t conduct diplomatic relations in this state. I suggest we have a bit of a lie down before they get here.”

“As the Minister for Good Ideas & Gin,” Sam drawled with much effort “I can confirm that that is a very, very good idea.”

Elsewhere, the prognosis for the forthcoming function was not quite so rosy. Sir Edd Evans-Morley and Chancellor Ian Risk were musing upon projected outcomes for the negotiations.

“The thing is, Sir Edd, can we trust them?” Ian leaned back in his chair and folded his arms, eyebrows raised.

“And by ‘them’ do you mean the PM and the Martens woman or our friends from The Other Place?”

“Hilarious. No, I mean do you think the Oxford lot might… I don’t know… try something?”

Sir Edd rolled his eyes.

“Well, no doubt there will be some ulterior motive, of course,” Sir Edd began to pace. “But the important thing is to make sure they do not sign that peace treaty. We need the war with Oxford to prevent Lucy implementing her ludicrous economic reforms.”

“Ludicrously plausible, you mean,” said Ian, at once sat straight in his seat. “I’ve been reading a bit about it, there’s definitely something…”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about, man!” Sir Edd roared with uncharacteristic ferocity. He usually preferred a charming menace. “Listen. There are many reasons why we shouldn’t just jump into bed with the first King that comes along. The most prominent of these being, naturally, that the King is Boris!”

Ian wasn’t prepared to argue any longer. Whilst he had every faith in the Prime Minister, he didn’t trust Oxford in the slightest and quietly thought that this was all a bit sudden.

“Okay. What do you suggest?”

“Well, it’s quite simple. We have to make ourselves as unappealing to the kingdom as possible,” Sir Edd’s face cracked into a mirthless smile. “We shall upset their dignitaries, mock their educational establishment and ensure that they know exactly what we think of their rowing team. Before you know it…” Sir Edd’s eyes misted over, just briefly. “We shall fight them in the cloisters, we shall fight them on the punts…”

“You want to be careful, Sir Edd,” Ian warned, only half teasing. “You’ll find yourself strapped to a chair in the kitchen if you carry on like that. Speaking of which, what do we do about Blair?”

“They can’t get their hands on Blair, not at any cost.” Sir Edd bowed his head briefly. “Do you think they know he is being held in the kitchen?”

“Obviously Nigel Farage knows he’s there. He saw him.” Ian scratched his chin.

“Hm. Then we must fear the worst. Although they have always maintained an air of discrete hostility, I’ve often had my doubts…”

“Alright. Well, the Home Secretary’s husband Steve will be doing the barbecue in the garden, so he’ll be right there if anything kicks off.”

“And Mumsie has her broom, of course.”

The two men fell silent in ponderment.

“It’ll probably be fine,” Ian eventually surmised.

The air in the room shifted just slightly. Before Sir Edd and Ian could notice that, though, he was already stood right beside them.

“Gentlemen, your plan is stupid and will never work.”

Wing Commander Tom had arrived.


28 thoughts on “Death & Sex In Downing Street – Part One

    1. I know, such a let down- the post overran so had to split it over two, but thought I would take advantage of the click bait title anyway (the shame!) Death and sex is on the way, I promise. The wind breaking is just foreplay.

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  1. Minister for Good Ideas and Gin sounds like a great GIG (geddit?). Especially the gin bit. Though gin usually sends me off into a corner to cry, so I’d probably have to be Minister for Happy Ideas and Champagne instead (hic!). I don’t want to bring the tone down, but I am worried that Tony has been tied to that chair for days now – I can’t help wondering about the toilet facilities… (this is a thing I often ponder over, like when three women were locked in a room for a year in the Barsoom books, with plenty of food but no mention of so much as a bucket…)

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    1. You are welcome to be Minister for Happy Ideas & Champagne, you would be fantastic!! Yes, I have sort of skipped over the practicalities of keeping someone tied to a chair for so long – let’s just assume Mumsie sorts all that out, one way or another. Poor woman.
      Now – Magpie Murders! I squealed aloud at the bit where they say that Conway named James Fraser after Hugh Fraser!! I thought exactly that when the character first appeared – he was even quite like a young Hastings. Which leads me to believe that Horowitz shares our consternation about Catchpool- he has resurrected Hastings in literary protest 🙂

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      1. Hic! Poor, poor Mumsie – above and beyond the call of duty!

        Hahaha! I know – I loved that too! In fact, I loved trying to spot all the various references – he’s so clever! ‘Cos if you’d never read the Poirot books or any other Golden Age stuff you wouldn’t really feel you were misiing out, but if you have then it’s an extra pleasure when you spot a link. 😀 Haha! He must! I wonder what Sophie Hannah will think of it if she reads it… 😉

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      2. I have finished it now and feel bereft that the book is over!! It really is a delight for the golden age fan, I was enraptured with all the little references, as well as the story (stories, in fact!) itself. And an extra bonus for me – there is a chapter titled ‘Endgame’, which opens with Susan having just been whacked around the back of the head. In my own book, the chapter titled ‘End Game’ opens with DHP waking up on the flag tower – after being whacked round the back of the head! So I am claiming an unintentional reference 😉

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