The Big Red Button

The Big Red Button by Chris Hall lunasonline
10 Downing Street (Wikipedia)

– When do I get my Button, Humphrey?

– Button, Prime Minister?

– You know, my Big Red Button. The important one! I want one like everyone else.

– Everyone else, Prime Minister?

– Yes, Putin’s got one, Trump’s got one, that slitty-eyed fellow in North Korea, even Monsieur Whatshisname in France has one.

– You mean the MAD button, Prime Minister?

– Oh no, this isn’t mad, it’s actually quite serious.

– MAD stands for Mutually Assured Destruction, it’s a mnemonic, Prime Minister.

– Never mind how it works, Humphrey, get me the person in charge of our Big Red Button.

– That would be the Chief of Defence, Prime Minister.

– All right then, get the army chappie over here and tell him to bring me my Button.

 

Later that day.

– The Chief of Defence is here to see you Prime Minister.

A man dressed in uniform with lots of gold braid enters the PM’s office. He places a metal briefcase on the desk and opens it. The Prime Minister rubs his hands together.

– Excellent. Now show me how it works

– Once all the protocols have been agreed, Prime Minister, you simply push that button in the centre of the control mechanism.

– Oh, that one? It’s not very big, is it? And it’s not very red.

– Nevertheless Prime Minister, that is Britain’s Big Red Button. Only to be used in the most dire of emergencies.

– But I’m the one who gets to push the Button?

– Yes, Prime Minister.

– Golly, isn’t politics exciting!

 

Sir Humphrey shows the Chief of Defence out, closing the door behind them both.

– Tell me that’s not the real thing, Nick?

– Good heavens no, Humphrey! We wouldn’t want something like that in the hands of a politician.

– Does it actually do anything?

– Well, it is armed. Otherwise it wouldn’t look authentic.

– Armed? Good Lord. What might he set off?

– Oh, nothing serious, just a few fireworks in the shrubbery.


Written in response to a prompt from Susan T. Braithwaite
Genre Scribes Friday Fiction Writing Challenge #33

The challenge this week was politics.

With sincerest apologies to everyone who was involved in that great BBC institution, the TV series ‘Yes, Prime Minister’. For anyone who’s never seen it, here’s a little taster:

 

The butler did it!

The Butler did it by Chris Hall lunasonline
Blenheim Palace (Wikipedia)

The Queen gazed out of the window as a team of paramedics, flanked by dark-suited security men, slid the stretcher into the ambulance. Its occupant, whose face was covered, had been pronounced dead at the scene, slumped over his dinner at the top table in the Long Library. It had only been by great good fortune that the contents of the glass he’d been holding had missed her spangled evening gown. White silk was a devil to clean, apparently.

Standing by the back of her chair, her butler coughed discretely. The Queen turned to him and gave a conspiratorial wink. ‘Don’t worry, Watkins. You were only acting under orders.’ The Queen smiled serenely. ‘And I am monarch and above the law.’

‘Very good, ma-am.’

‘Worked a treat, didn’t it?’ she giggled. ‘Something Philip was given on a State visit. I knew it would come in handy one day.’

‘Indeed, ma-am. If I might be permitted to say, the poisoning was entirely justified. Not that one’s Royal Highness would need to.’

‘He might have been the Leader of the Free World, but in all my years as Queen, I have never, ever come across such an odious man.’

‘He actually asked for a Coca-Cola when Blenheim has such a wonderful wine cellar!’

They both glanced at the portrait hanging over the fireplace.  ‘I’m not sure what Mr Churchill would have made of him, or his own current successor.’

The Queen raised her glass to the portrait. ‘He’s a problem for another day.’


Written in response to a prompt from Susan T. Braithwaite
Genre Scribes Friday Fiction Writing Challenge #32

The challenge this week was dinner.

Daily Writing Challenge, Dec 10

Written in response to the prompt by The Haunted Wordsmith:
Hotel, breakfast, caught

breakfast with Boris lunasonline
Photo courtesy of The Haunted Wordsmith

Breakfast with Boris

Boris always enjoyed his hotel breakfast when he was working away, even if it was sometimes difficult to obtain proper British grub. Not for him was bacon from Denmark or sausage from Germany. But today was going to be champion; a proper start to his day.

He rubbed his hands together as the waitress laid the groaning plate before him. He turned the pages of his copy of ‘The Times’ to the political section and propped the folded newspaper against the condiment set.

Tucking his linen napkin into his collar, Boris prepared to eat. He pierced a generous forkful of Cumberland sausage, stabbed a piece of Wiltshire bacon and dipped it into the golden yolk of his free-range Gloucestershire egg, before popping it into his mouth.

Then he started to read. The opinion piece was appalling. How dare this jumped up journalist decry his efforts to restore the autonomy of his beloved country! Boris drew a sharp intake of breath. The large piece of north-country sausage caught in his throat. Boris coughed. He tried to breathe in, but the prime piece of spiced ground pork was firmly lodged in his windpipe. He tried to cry out, but only a whisper of a bark came out. He attempted to attract attention by waving his newspaper frantically in the air.

British reserve to the fore, his fellow breakfasters ignored the disturbance. The waiting staff were absent from the room. No-one was coming to his aid. Boris’s face turned a delicate shade of puce. He struggled to his feet, cartwheeling his arms in a caricature of buffoonery.

But his efforts were to no avail. His face turned grey. He slumped back into his seat and keeled forward, his nose burying itself in the runny egg in the centre of the best Worcester plate on which his breakfast had been served.

Hoist on the petard of his Great British Breakfast, Boris breathed no more.

 

 

Accident on Earth

Accident on Earth lunasonline

From my Flash Fiction Collection

Great Being Five surveyed her handiwork.  She was responsible for four inhabited planets.  She was pleased with herself having recently won an award for the one in Alpha Centauri.  Although the planet was far from developed, life forms had just made the transition from sea to land and it didn’t even have a proper name yet.

But she was worried.  Planet Earth was in trouble again.  She sighed.  It used to be such a nice little planet.  She had enjoyed the dinosaurs and had been quite sad when they were wiped out by a huge meteorite.  She should have seen that one coming, done something about it, made a small adjustment to its trajectory.  But her eye was off the ball, busy nurturing a newly-forming planet on the other side of the universe.  Not that the Great Beings were really supposed to interfere.

She’d watched the new little humans emerge, delighted as they discovered fire, tools and the wheel.  Built great empires, made beautiful music, art and literature.  She loved all the sea creatures and the birds and the big and little furry animals.  Of course there had been terrible tragedies.  Wars mainly.  And awful natural disasters.  She had held back as the Great Beings were required to do, even when they had created those dreadful atomic bombs.  Very clever, but dropping them on those pretty little islands and causing all that sickness and death.  It was all she could do to do nothing.

She had sat patiently through the Cold War, amusing herself with the pleasure of new discoveries by scientists and botanists.  She particular enjoyed the TV broadcasts by David Attenborough.  But now, now there was a problem developing which truly threatened the planet’s future.

She focused her third eye and searched.  There he was, that idiot American with the funny hair.  Donald Trump, making threats against that dangerous madman in North Korea.  The people of the Earth sure did pick-em, she thought.  Tuning in to the escalating situation with nuclear weapons poised on either side, Great Being Five was certain that her lovely blue planet was only weeks away from destruction.  Something had to be done.

A natural disaster, one that was already foreseen.  Give a little nudge to the Earth’s settings.  Which though?  She had to be certain that it would kill off Trump.

She scanned the data banks.  That’s it!  Mount Teide on Tenerife.  One devastating volcanic eruption and half the island would fall into the sea causing a huge tidal wave to sweep across the Atlantic Ocean and take out the US Eastern Seaboard.  Just a small increase in pressure and there she blows!  And look, there are even reports of increased seismic activity.  I just have to wait until Trump’s back in New York and bam!  He’s swallowed up in a massive tidal wave.  Gotcha!

Great Being Five’s conscience monitor started to flash.  What about all the innocent people who will also be killed.  What about the animals?  The cats and dogs, and birds and fishes?  No, think again, Five.

All right then.  Just one little accident, just him.  Great Being Five trained her third eye on the target.  All she need was the opportunity to engineer an accident.

The following Earth day all the news and social media channels suddenly focused on one single event.  Over the airwaves came the BBC World News.  ‘In breaking news, President Donald Trump is reported to have fallen from the roof garden at Trump Towers.  The President had apparently been leaning on the guard rail, tweeting his latest tweet when in a freak accident…”  Five smiled quietly to herself.

©2018 Chris Hall