Archives for posts with tag: brexit

‘Yes, yes, but it was my jungle, you understand?’ Said Nigel, cradling his crude beverage. ‘Perhaps things did change too fast, too sudden for some. But we don’t choose the times we live in, do we?’

George took a small pained sip of the stuff. ‘We certainly don’t.’

They had been talking all day – what else was there to do? Company was always in short order – largely disagreeable nonsense, but enjoyably disagreeable. Gone was Nigel’s sharp pointed way of speaking; now replaced by something more congenial and tipsy, yet coherent all the same.

‘Now George, I’m only a guest on your fine raft, and as such, I have no intentions of overstepping my bounds. But please accept what I say next as genuine compliment, and not just dutiful pleasantry.’ Nigel paused for acknowledgement.

George nodded him on.

‘We might not have liked each other in the old age, but now we’re all we have left to rebuild with. I pride myself on sniffing out a man’s worth and I tell you now: we need your sort to rebuild the kingdom. To rebuild civilisation.’

George’s flushed cheeks were hidden by the sunset wash. He raised his tin cup and toasted Nigel’s. ‘To rebuilding civilisation.’

—-

Previous parts:
I – KING GEORGE
II – RED PASSPORT

It sounded like a gull at first. A shrill caw that wouldn’t let. George jerked up when he realized what it actually was – a human voice. He looked about, half in panic. How many months since he had last seen another person? A man silhouetted by the sun shouted and waved madly, one hand holding a cloth. George knelt by the waters to wash his face and then ran to his tent.

George sat in his foldable chair, which he’d retrieved from the tent for this momentous occasion. It was best to make a clear first impression, he’d always been taught, but the lesson rang truer than ever these days. As the other man’s raft came within distance, George rested his arms over a folded leg. And in his rested hands rested a loaded rifle. The stranger dropped his tablecloth, both hands up in the air as the two rafts gently bumped together.

‘Bloody hell. Where’d you get a hold of that?’

‘Traded for it’, George lied. He took in the man’s raft. It was a neat thing, larger than his own. Where George’s was made of chopped wood roped together, the stranger’s consisted of segments of timber grouped together and buoyed by large tyres underneath. In the centre was a three-sided shelter. George hoped his face didn’t betray how impressed he was. ‘State your name and business.’

The man pointed to his shirt pocket, and slowly reached into it. He threw the contents to George’s foot – a red passport:

EUROPEAN UNION
UNITED KINGDOM OF
GREAT BRITAIN
AND NORTHERN IRELAND

‘I was an Englishman too.’ The man gestured at Her Majesty’s waving flag. ‘Name’s Nigel. Business is trading if you’re up to it. Could do with some things I’m short on.’

George cautiously bent over and opened the passport, careful to keep the rifle pointed at the stranger. HUGHES, NIGEL. Place of birth LONDON. ‘Not so fast Nigel. Who did you declare for?’

The man, Nigel, looked puzzled. He stepped forward a half step still smiling and met a raised rifle point. ‘What do you mean?’

George took a deep breath. ‘When it all happened. Who did you stand with? The continent? The union? England? The south? Where did your bloody loyalties lie, Nigel?’

The man’s eyes sharpened. ‘You want me to say the union, or England. But it was the south. Are you going to shoot me now?’

George chewed his tongue a moment and lowered his gun. ‘Doesn’t matter who was who any more, does it? What matters is you stood at all.’ He reached under his foldable deckchair and threw out some rope. ‘Name’s George. Welcome aboard.’

Other parts:
I – KING GEORGE
III – THE TOAST

George rubbed the sea salt between his fingers and blew it into the winds. Gone, like all else he’d known before.

Toes perched on the edge, he squat low, riding the light bob of the seas. He was prone to seasickness – or motion sickness, as it had been back when they all travelled on land, by car and other motorized vehicles – or had been, in his previous life. He had sea legs now, had King George. Literal ones too, he thought, impressed by his own sturdiness as he pulled up the bare net. His skin was red and flaky, but his forearms were all sinew. Alone, he could admit to himself that life after the end of civilisation was actually quite satisfying. It certainly beat working in an office.

George released the net and blew his nose out between thumb and forefinger. Perhaps fresh fish was off the menu tonight, but he still had some salted supplies from weeks before. George walked past his tent and saluted the flags: one for Her Majesty’s once and future kingdom, and the other for his own sovereign raft (his above hers). Three days with no luck – there was no haul to be had in these waters. He unfurled his small sails and sat at the raft’s bow, waiting for the wind to whisk him where it may. The sun hanging low in the sky still felt warm.

Next parts:
II – RED PASSPORT
III – THE TOAST