Emory

Emory stands in a clearing surrounded by an ominous opaque white cloud. There is nothing to see between him and it. He looks behind him and it’s an identical view. He stands very still, frightened to move. Looking down he’s standing on the cloud. He stamps his foot; it’s solid. Looking left and right he finds it impossible to tell distance. He shivers in the oppressive, endless whiteness.

Concentrating hard, Emory stares at the dense white cloud. It bursts apart and a small plump blonde puppy runs towards him and jumps into his open arms. The dog licks Emory’s face, as Emory tries to evade the dog’s huge rough pink tongue.

Within moments the puppy is full-grown and the size of a pony. Emory struggles to hold such an enormous creature in his arms but somehow manages to set it down. Seeing its disorderly blonde furry head he says, I seem to know you.

You should, you’re my cabinet secretary.

Why are you a dog? 

I can be anything I like. Shall we find pastures new, green hills, pretty gals, foaming pints, and all that? No need to be afraid. I’m loveable and mischievous so hold on tight. Hop up. Emory climbs onto the dog’s back. Teneat aures meas, the dog barks.

The cloud parts and they enter a broad-leaf wood where sunlight flickers through the canopy, warming the path on which they walk. This better? the dog barks.

Yes, Emory, replies. Can I get down?

No, I’m taking you for a ride. 

I want to get off.

Not yet, old son.

They canter into a sunlit clearing strewn with dead bodies.

What’s this you’ve brought me to? Emory asks. It’s horrific.

It’s unfortunate, I agree. It could have been worse though; these are mostly old folks and already past it. Bad advice.

Whose bad advice?

The dog leaps forward, its huge paws trampling and scattering the bodies as it gallops out of the clearing.

Stop! Emory shouts. I want to step down. Now!

The dog disappears. 

Emory is back inside the dense white cloud. It’s hard to breathe. Men and women push ventilators. Hancock polishes an enormous NHS badge. Hundreds carry coffins. I’m sorry, Emory shouts. Children silently weep carrying begging bowls. Williamson wanders past whispering to a tarantula. Emory shouts, I’m not to blame. Shapps shouts, Toot toot. Suddenly a choir sings, All things bright and beautiful. Jenrick scatters fifty-pound notes. Sirens scream. Gove sits on a toadstool stroking a self-portrait endlessly crooning, my Precious. A chant goes up – Black Lives Matter. Cops watch white thugs hurl rocks at peaceful protestors. Another chant starts, Grenfell! Grenfell! Stop it! Stop it! Emory shouts. Patel screams incomprehensible abuse at a woman carrying a Remember Windrush placard. Cummings, laughing, intones, Out of chaos comes a new disorder. Emory shouts, I want to step down.

Emory awakens as a hand shakes his shoulder and a kindly voice says, You were shouting in your sleep, Sir Emory. The PM and cabinet are waiting. 


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Phil Cosker has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. All rights reserved; no part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted by any mean, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise without the prior permission of the author.


The Plague

It’s 2020 and Covid-19 is in full spate. The UK is under lockdown. Government policy is to prevent the spread of the disease, reduce the death rate and preserve the NHS. It’s a shambles.

Chris and Jack are in their early seventies.
Chris answers his phone. Hello. Who’s that?
I’m Jack. I was asked to give you a call. I’m an NHS volunteer.
I don’t do cold calls. Who asked you to call?
Your GP. She said you had a problem.
What’s her name? Chris asks.
Doctor Summer.
That’s her.
What’s the problem? Jack asks.
I’ve got the plague. 
Okay …. And you’re self-isolating because of that?
That’s it.
Why are you calling it the plague?
That’s what it is.
Why plague?
It’s killing people all over the world – it’s a paramedic.
You mean pandemic.
That’s it, a pandemic – plague. 
Coronavirus? Jack asks.
One Christmas, I was fourteen, I sold Corona pop from a lorry; the bottles were in wooden crates. I loved it, and now it’s a fucking plague.
It’s not a plague. They stopped in the middle ages.
What about tombola?
Jack stifles a laugh. Ebola?
That’s the fella; if that wasn’t a plague what was it?
A viral disease. Are you ill?
Of course I’m ill. 
I was told you needed help  – come on, what help do you need?
You sound, irritated, stressed. What’s up? Chris asks.
Silence.
What is it?
She died. I’m only doing this to talk, Jack sobs.
Don’t do that. You’ll have me at it in a minute … you’re alone?
Stifling his sobs, Jack replies, Yes. No, I have her moggies.
Do they talk to you? 
They purr back.
What are their names?
Sonny and Cher.
Chris sings, ‘cause you got me, And baby I got you. Babe, I got you babe. 
Stop! Please. Why are you singing?
Because you’re lonely, just like me.
I’m okay now, Jack says. Sorry. What help do you need?
I’m afraid.
Tell me why?
I don’t want to die on my own.
How do you know you’re dying?
I’ve been told. Chris sings, Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away, Oh, I believe in yesterday. 
Can’t go back, though, can we?
Why were you crying? Chris asks.
I loved her.
I’m sorry, mate.
No, no, no … Why do you call it the plague?
I liked selling Corona, I don’t want a bloody virus killing my memory. 
Yeah, I get that. You sing.
I’m crap.
Want to try a duet?
Yeah, why not? What shall we sing?
Sweet, sweet the memories …
Perfect. You start I’ll follow.

They sing. Take one fresh and tender kiss, Add one stolen night of bliss, One girl; One boy; some grief; some joy; Memories are made of this.

They are lost in laughter.

Sing again tomorrow? Same time, same place? Chris asks.
You betcha – you choose tomorrow.
I’m glad you called, Jack.
Me too. Jack laughs. Fuck the plague!

They sing. Sweet, sweet, the memories …


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© Phil Cosker 2020
Phil Cosker has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. All rights reserved; no part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted by any mean, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise without the prior permission of the author.


God

Simon is lonely, but how could he have a companion living, as he does, on the street. He uses a metal dog’s bowl for donations because he likes the sound coins make when they fall. There have been no coin sounds, so far, today; the bowl is empty. 

It’s a winter’s morning as he sits in his wheelchair in the shelter of the Stonebow arches holding a hand made sign – ‘For God’s sake’. The leafleting Jehovah Witnesses, who share the same space, ignore him – they know who God wants – and it isn’t him. They feel no need to share their vacuum-flasked tea with someone like him: in their terms a worldly failure, and, as such, deserving to be cold, hungry and a beggar. 

He is known. He’s done no harm – just an eyesore. He’s been on the street for nearly two years, sleeping rough in an NHS wheelchair. He can’t walk because of his swollen ulcerated legs; the bandages could do with being changed and the ulcers dressed. He wears a woolly hat and all the clothes he owns to keep warm. At lunchtime, a friendly PSCO brings him a hot coffee and a cheese sandwich and tells him, apologetically, that he’ll have to move on. He counts the money in his bowl; not even enough for some chips and a small bottle of vodka to keep out the cold.

By ten o’clock he’s back under the shelter of the arches, parked out of sight in a dark doorway. The High Street is noisy with young men and women out on the town. At eleven a group of five drunks arrive under the arches and one of them starts to piss. Simon, from his wheelchair, protests. 

Look what we got here, the pissing man shouts, a fucking cripple. Within seconds their laughter intensifies as the men dump Simon out of his chair and give him a good kicking. One of them gets into the chair and another pushes it as they race off into the night cheering. He crawls to the roadside – it takes him twenty-three minutes.

Two hours later he’s in A&E in another wheelchair; he’s grateful for the warmth of the welcome given to one of their regulars. It’s almost like the old days before he fell from grace, when he was respectable, had a job and a house. He’s always known that he, like everyone else, is but a hair’s breadth from the fall. But somehow he never imagined he could go this far down.

Simon sees blue flashing lights through the window and two police officers enter. 

Excuse me, Simon says, as they walk past him. Are you looking for my chair? Some lads nicked it.

They laugh. Call 101. 

I was attacked. They stole it. It’s an NHS chair.

They walk on. He hears them, their words going back and forth. 

Serves him right. 

Fucking asking for it. 

Lazy bastard, should get a fucking job. 

Who does he think he is? God?


I hope you enjoyed this story.  Remember, I publish a new story every Sunday.
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© Phil Cosker 2020
Phil Cosker has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. All rights reserved; no part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted by any mean, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise without the prior permission of the author.


 

Hypocrisy

Today I’m going to try and be more measured – fuck knows why.

Okay, hypocrisy.

The government, made of sugar (an aftermath of the slave trade) and all things nice, is supported by Tory MPs who have consistently voted to (or turned a blind eye to):

  • Privatising the NHS
  • Voted not to increase NHS nurses’ pay
  • Slashed NHS and Social Care budgets
  • Introduced Universal credit as a punishment system for the poor and oppressed
  • Increase the spending on Mental health services and done nothing
  • Privatising the NHS
  • Promised to build 14 new hospitals (excluding the Nightingale)
  • Lauded their radical solutions of support for the aged but, done nowt Celebrated austerity

 Need I go on?

But all is well – their coronavirus plans and promises are in disarray – but nevertheless there they all were last night – including the bilious bibulous bonker bastard Boris outside number 10 – clapping his little fat piggy paws in praise of the NHS he sought to destroy – until he needed it! 

Until the government needed to cling to their privilege and let us die on their behalf.

In the First World War soldiers going into battle weren’t properly armed. In this ‘war’ the NHS isn’t either. Why not?  It couldn’t be because soldiers and nurses are predominantly working class and therefore expendable? Just as the old and infirm have been seen by Cummings and his preening poodle, shag-a-lot, Johnson, as natural waste. Or are these Tory c…ts  just totally fucking useless? 

Answers on an email please.

But they say ‘We love the NHS’.

Would I be correct in thinking that what they mean is – Fuck, we’re in the shit, and the only way out of not losing power is to come up with new bollocks about our love of the NHS?

Is this hypocrisy?

Capitalism, and in its neo-liberal iteration, is not for the benefit of all, but for the benefit, the PROFIT, of those who – currently – own the means of material and intellectual production. 

Doctors of medicine, metaphorically, sign the Hippocratic oath to care for the sick.

The lickspittles of capitalism, sign with the broken bones and the blood of all they oppress, their Capitalist oath, asserting their rights, exercising their duty, to exploit all in pursuit of profit and extol their virtues via the Daily Mail with the goodness of their hearts. 

Money, money, money, that’s what they adore.

And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

I have learnt that my rants become loquacious.

So, let me be focussed.

Hypocrisy? 

Until we call them out. Tell them they lie. Until we take responsibility, then we have nothing to blame but ourselves as we complain of our chains. 

We have moved beyond what Lenin said – arm the proletariat, not because it needs to defeat the ruling class but because it needs to defeat itself. 

We need to defeat our own cynicism. 

To do this we must abhor hypocrisy.

Make the world anew. Now is the time. The last time?

Unless we act we are the problem.

No ecocide. 

For the new better abnormal normal.

© Phil Cosker 03.04.2020

Mayday! Prime Midden May and baying Tory rats

The Prime Midden May’s Tory rats scurry, saliva dripping, smelling blood, flesh ripping, lips licking, chewing, panting with excitement, gnawing, gorging on the destruction of the bleak and abused and deserted and deprived while chanting their failed neo-liberal crap, pissing on the underlings while laughing, feeding in their gilded halls, celebrating, turning humanity to commodity, untouched by conscience, racism peddling, indulging in the fantasy of a great and glorious England past, present and future, as the Midden May, at the wheel, out of control, flops the flaccid juggernaut of Brexit over the edge of the cliff to the tune of baying rats, secure in their sickening self-righteous security, clothed in the glistening armour of ersatz caring while fondling the ermine finery of privilege, daring the burgeoning poor to bite back or eat cake, as food banks offer no loaves and fishes miracles, fostering foreign toxic hate, as the Midden May and her squabbling Tory rats try to demolish the welfare state and privatise our NHS while weeping crocodile tears of austerity as the rich get richer and the poor even poorer.

Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! There is a vacuum. The Labour Party must develop policies, and not just rhetoric, to create a society for the many and not the few.