Cabinet Secretary Sir Edd Evans-Morley had been diligently avoiding Chancellor of the Exchequer Ian Risk since the night before the Prime Minister’s live broadcast. In the chaos of debating the political merits of being honest with the public, Ian had confronted him about Snetterton. He hadn’t got any further than mentioning the butler’s name before the usual physical violence of Cabinet deliberation overtook them. But Sir Edd was fairly certain it was something to do with their discussion about the butler’s part in the peace treaty.
Sir Edd, of course, was keen for Snetterton to confirm that the implementation of Oxford Law had not been concluded to satisfaction (something I am sure the Prime Minister would agree on, in many respects) and therefore the peace treaty was null and void. But Snetterton had admitted to Sir Edd that he had slipped out of the Prime Minister’s bedroom before proceedings were underway and so was unable to comment either way. This did leave the butler without an alibi for Blair’s murder, so perhaps he may yet do the right thing, after all.
The rattling of his office door handle roused Sir Edd from whatever pernicious paperwork was currently occupying his desk. Sir Edd habitually kept his door locked as he was not fond of unannounced visitors. He wasn’t particularly fond of announced ones, either.
“I know you’re in there, Sir Edd!”
The impelling inflections that boomed through the heavy wood of the door could only belong to the Chancellor. His voice was nearly as loud as his outfits. Sir Edd cursed to himself and thought of a few better curses to fling at his guest whilst making his way across the office. He groped in his pocket for the key before unlocking the door. It practically flew off its hinges as Ian burst through, the second the bolts disengaged.
“Chancellor of the Exchequer. What a surprise,” said Sir Edd, with all the convivial joy of a cat that has been dropped into a bathtub. “To what do I owe this pleasure?”
Knowing it would annoy his reluctant host, Ian made straight for Sir Edd’s chair and dropped his considerable weight into the leather seat. Ian’s mouth smiled, but the rest of his face did not.
“What is your interest in Snetterton?” asked Ian.
“The man seems like a sensible sort,” Sir Edd smirked in response. “I was simply implying that he might like to ensure the continued smooth running of our respective governments.”
“I know what you’re getting at, Sir Edd, and I don’t like it one bit,” spat Ian. “And neither will the Prime Minister when she hears about it. But why suggest to King Boris and Nigel that he is somehow involved in Blair’s murder?”
“Because he doesn’t have an alibi,” Sir Edd replied, as if to a simpleton. “It all seemed so… opportune.”
“You interfering, curly-haired bastard,” muttered Ian. “Not content with thwarting the Prime Minister’s plans, you also see fit to meddle in a murder investigation…”
The door to Sir Edd’s office once again swung open, although this time it was not accompanied by the prerequisite knock of which Sir Edd was so fond. Both he and Ian looked round to see an ashen-faced Minister for Culture, Media & Sport Mick Canning, joined by an equally nervous Hugh Roberts – hapless holder of the dubious title of Minister for Unlikely Events. The atmosphere couldn’t quite be cut by a knife, but you could probably have a good go at it with a sturdy spoon.
“Yes?” said Sir Edd.
“Um,” replied Mick.
“Well?” said Ian.
“Ahem…” replied Hugh.
“If neither of you have anything pertinent to impart I suggest you depart to from whence you came!” Sir Edd spluttered.
“I’ve got something quite pertinent to… erm… thing…” Mick replied, fumbling his words like a teenager faced with the prospect of removing a bra for the first time. “The press are back, I’m afraid.”
“Yes?” Sir Edd was smiling so ferociously that his temper was sure to break any moment, now. “And what do they want?”
“They’ve found a gun,” spluttered Hugh. “It was hidden in a the shrubbery by the front door. We… we think it might be the murder weapon, Sir Edd. And they won’t give it back until they receive an explanation.”