"Can ay have another one doc? Can’ay?”
"Prescription only Mrs Miers."
“Eey but can aye jost wun more?”
He looked at her, steady between the eyes.
“Denying a muther? Thas’ own muther?”
“Mrs.Miers! You are clearly not my mother.”
“Ay, a muthea o’th’ state that is. Eey, tha’ should be
swillin’ w’gratitude t’me. Disrespect, that’s all thy
tempestuous face ‘as ever shown me Doc.”
Mrs.Miers coughed, shifting her bowels further up her
thorax in the process.
“Just one!” she wined, “ay can’e-a shift wha’s
lodged, up there like, in me bowels. Born on the Pennines,
die on the Pennines. Until that day cooms ay’ll ‘av me nicoteen.
Jus’ one, in th’night, before ay lies down, and it gets all
lodge op in me bowels again. There’s an age before
t’morrow cooms again and there’s no nurse and no bed pan?
Eh? Go on Doc!”
He looked her straight in the eye. Mrs.Miers sniffled,
kicking a leg out of the bed and twisting her thorax so that
a long, whimpering funnel of air was excreted from her
concealed intestines. The scent was as noxious to the doc’s
nostrils as her chintz curtains were to his eyes. They had
not been washed since before the dawning of The New-Old
Age. However, the curtains had not been neglected, for it
was obvious that they had been used to clean other things
during that time. Other bodily things. From their location
on the height of the window hangings in relation to the
height of the bed and it’s occupant’s location upon it, the
collective ‘dung’ palette proclaimed that without need of
annotation. Looking towards the door and the freedom of
the old folks institution that lay beyond, the doc saw her
lean frame quivering in expectation. Watching her eyes
widen in anticipation, he realized it was satiate this wish, or
be forced to satiate something more alarming.
"Alright Mrs.Miers, for medicinal purposes". Scribbling on
a torn parchment saved from the days before it had all been
burnt to cinders and the forests saved from their general
day to day pillagings, the doc twisted his head towards the
door listening for spies and potential intruders. He heard
nothing. He saw nothing.
Opening his medical bag slowly, removing all the rusting
paraphernalia within it onto the floor, he ran a finger along
the camel satin lining and clutched at a bent safety pin
hidden within its folds, drawing it high in to the air. The
floor of the bag followed - revealing a sunken red
Craning her neck up from the damp pillow Mrs.Miers at
first assumed it was a velvet lining, or some other fabric
particular suitable to the task of addict smuggling. Upon peering
closer she saw it was peppered with short broken hairs, fragments
of bone and fingernails alongside grey slivers of what she
could only presume to be skin. Through his thick grey eyelashes
he saw her looking – and snapped the bag shut. “There’s
nothing wrong with being denied access to cleaning tokens
Mrs. Miers. I-“
"Fair enough doc fair enough. I don’t ask questions where
I’m not asked, and I don’t ask where there’s questions I don’t
want answers to. ” Pointing to the curtain she grimaced.
Nodding, he conceded and focused on his work. Out came the
green stick, a column of desire. Slowly he lifted it to her lips. As
she suckled so he lit the tawdry orange flame squatting beneath a
heap of tobacco. Sadly for Mrs.Miers in the era of the
New-Old-Age one’s tongue stuck to one’s teeth when the
Smoke’s green die particles covered your mouth bones.
That was the problem with black market gas nicotine
feeders. The government had stained them to stop their
wholesale resale and woe-betide you should one make it in
to your thirsty little lung funnel, the mouth. After all, the
NHS didn’t ‘Fix’ people anymore – it ensured people had
no need of being ‘Fixed’.
Watching her digital clock the Doc felt a wave of irritation
sweep up his neck. He scratched at his shirt collar. The
Cassio didn’t’ show the seconds churning by, it simply
announced the minuet with a new symbol-combo. You had no
idea how far through the minute you were. His eyeballs
twitched as he caught sight of something moving in the
corner of his eye. With horror, and a disinclination to
believe, he saw her pores expanding in the sunlight as her
thoughts lapped up the tides of nicotine. Milky light and
parched sun-bed skin - what an awful combination.
A generation of purple perms had been replaced by a
generation of orange fiberglass limbs; pink rinses and
purple washes replaced by day-glow hands with walnut
knuckles and the need for plastic rain caps replaced by
short skirts with which to bare the burnt flesh. But heavy
days, heavy heavy days had passed since the Formation
Day had sung. How eagerly they had all saluted to the new
way. Dead was ‘the third way and only way’, as it had been
called back ten.
“The dawning of the ‘New-Old-Age” had been the only phrase
simple enough to capture the hearts and imaginations of an
electorate who’s average age was 77. All they wanted was to be
young again. Slavishly, they followed the trends of the young –
albeit a few years later. They pretended to be unimaginative and
naïve, reading twitter feeds, spouting positivity and buying
clothes off Asos.
Indeed the election had launched it’s own fashion line, for
added online interactive behavioural engagement. Of course it
was dowdy stuff, they were after the OAP vote after all they
were an easy target with all those savings to fret over. No one
else had any.
After Tescos Corp.s had introduced a written manifesto
identifying every citizen as a responsible participant
of the fate of the state, and then solved the insolvency
of the economic quadruple dip by selling our
rights and worth as workers to the EU, it all slipped into a
shaded mess. A series of oddities occurred within the past 5
short years since the last Conservative defeat of 2015. That’s
how the doc remembered it.
Yet every day life looked the same. The same streets were still
there, just as before, the pubs had the same names, soap still
cleaned people, plates still held food, and coffee was still
what chic Italian twats drank. However, children were
taken immediately into state care on the premise that one
could not assert a parent did not have the capacity to be a
bad parent, or demonstrate bad parenting skills. This had
changed everything for the doc. Made him sad. Feel
Other people had disagreed with him. His brothers
called him a fool, said he believed in what he’d been taught
to believe; by the totalitarian Democratists; the ones who
wanted us to believe in democracy so they could go on
doing what ever they wanted without being questioned
because the mob thought getting the vote once every five
years was democracy; because we had been taught that the
mob was other people; that the mob was people you didn’t
know; that a mob couldn’t be controlled. Not in the news.
No we saw that they couldn’t be controlled in the news.
'Surely you can’t ignore that Al?' his brothers pleaded.
Surely the Doc could not ignore the documentaries proving
how news channels had traded in propaganda footage,
making them believe in this thing called ‘the Mob’ and that this,
this wild riotous thing, this body of men, was not you: film clips
with angry dog-men biting and spitting and bleeding and crying
into cameras even when the police battered them with wood and
steel and ran their jaws and shoulders down into the tarmac while
Alsatians looked on; barking, officers looked on; counting,
politicians looked on; yawning and all the unending
swarms of middle class people with pensions stood on the
kerb behind their TV screens and nodded, calmly judging as
the tides of anger sank by and past and down into the
repertoires of caves and cells built to convince us that the
mob are indeed animals; for how else could they cope
living in those white grope holes? The mob, here they are
on repeat and re-edit until the cows come home and you
forget that they’re your brothers’ and cousins’ brothers and
cousins. The threat of the mob, the uprising, was the tool of
Democracy. So it had been for many years.
Then the new government changed things, told us this, admitted
this; liberated us from this; liberated us from The Liberty.
The cruel Liberty. The false liberty that had been promoted
since the day they tore the heads off the French and
Russian kings and queens in satin gowns. For the liberty
we knew was false … a method, a facility to keep us happy.
Bread and circuses, that’s what Circero told us, and that’s
what we were given; booze and democracy, to amuse us
while the real men got on with the real job at hand. While
they got on with running the country, the world’s populace.
Let the laymen believe they had a hand in running the
country, and even better; let them feel guilty for cocking up
the world. Let them take the blame and let the real men of
power do what they have always done; rule as dictators.
The Revolution promised an end to this false history, an end
to promises, thus an end to lies. They couldn’t give us
democracy, no one could, because it doesn’t exist. Some
one will always be hurt. If the majority win, then the
minority suffers. If the minority are allowed to get their
way, then even greater injustice is committed, for the
majority will suffer, and there are more of them. So its
worse. The Revolution promised something new; not to
promise and not to lie. They told how they couldn’t
promise us a democracy, but they could promise us truth.
Why pretend? They said. Why lie? They said. Tell it as it
is, let us see what’s going on and see what will happen. And
maybe we can make a bad situation better. All this
democracy, all these lies, look what they have brought us:
Cohesion? Happiness? Peace? World affluence?
Environmental sustainability? Or corruption, oppression,
war, conflict, poverty. Altruism? Empathy and hope? Or
greed, egoism, fear. “Go the New-Old-Age way. Don’t even
vote for us. Just tell everyone its what’s going to happen.”
It had meant that schools started performing a different
role. They upheld the values of the ‘civic homes’ where the
young lived until 14 or 15, depending on their IQ. Then
there was a year in confinement, in a previous era known as
'imprisonment'. But as the young were being kept only as a
means of demonstrating how awful it would be if you
broke the law, it was now turned as ‘confinement’. There
were those who broke the law and lived in ‘Permenant
Confinement’, and those who had the potential to break the
law, who lived in ‘Periodic Confinement’.
Of course, the NHS had changed too. Rather than wait for
things to gowrong and mis-informed, although well meaning,
‘Parentals’ to bring children to the medics, medics now co-
existed with the young, able to spot any issues. It was hoped that
over the next twenty years the education system would evolve to
a stage whereby people could self diagnose themselves and
friends, with out the need for government expenditure for
medics. This was all well and good for the future, thought
doc, but what about me? What of me? What happened to
me? Which Dr. had signed the policy contracting all the
medics to this? All several thousand of the medical
profession? Reducing them all to this?
Turning silently away from the basking lump, he hunched
his way to the room’s exit hole.
"Anything else Mrs.Miers?" dripped from his
mouth as slowly and quietly as dew descends and then
departs a spider’s leg.
"Don’t you be running away now docy! I’m the one who gives
you your appraisal – I get to say if you get sacked or not.”
He stepped back from the doorway.
“Now, sit down here. On my bed love.”
She patted the flannel bed skin. He stood by the door.
“Come on love. There there. Didn’t mean to threaten you
like. There there, harmless old me eh?”
“Time is of the essence Mrs. Miers!”, his leg edging
towards the door.
“Who’s to say a couple of old and, intimate, friends can’t
pass the time of day together?”
“Really, I’m frightfully behind Mrs.Mie-“
“I’ll be wanting the usual servicing Doc and that’s that!
None of your faffing today.”
‘Oh what happened to me?’ he cried inside his head.
“Mrs.Miers its for reserved patients only”
“Reserved patients! You’ve been attending to me for five
years now and well you know it!”
“Government orders. It’s for certified patients only. You’re not!”
"… look I’ve got them papers just here Doc…”
She waddled across to an old dresser stuffed with civic
documents. He stood watching the carpet in the hallway.
He heard the secret hours hidden inside minutes clunk by; a
rate of time that only the terrified, guilty and slightly
mental were privy to.
"Dentist" he whispered.
"What’s that luv?"
"Dentist. I’m qualified as a dentist Mrs.Miers."
"Oo-er! What a pity eh? All those years studying at college
eh? Which one was you at?”
‘Oh how long ago that was!’ he cried inside his head.
Now, well now it was all different. He was sentenced.
Abstracted. Camouflaged now by a series of unappetizing
entrepreneurial gestures. He would not recognise himself.
Hair white and matted, eyes punched into his skull like a
couple of canons shot by some Scoucer bird’s goby mouth
into a bypass cess pit and then shat on by a dog with
dihorrea, teeth bleached to an irreversible shade of the
iridescent some sixty odd years ago, and ears bigger than
his balls - and now a trades man to boot. ‘Bloody wicked.
Bloody fagging marvelous. I thought I’d be rich enough
not to be doing this at my age. Black markets one thing,
easy to do with my old patient lists, but this? Being forced
by the government to do this ‘fixing mothers’ as part of my basic
He knew all about ‘Fixing Mothers’. He was forced to by the
institutional forces. Yes all the mothers left behind to mangle in a sloth of gin once their children were put into care needed
attention. After all they were in those big empty ‘habitation
wards’ living communally for comfort. No men folk were allowed
into prevent from rape and other minor acts of misogyny.
Yes ‘Fixing’ them before they broke down was a new and large
part of the NHS. The ‘physical therapy’ wasn’t just limited to the
years immediately after saying goodbye to their children. No it
went on indefinitely.
This was the bit Doc wouldn’t swallow. It was too much. The Doc
had even started a campaign awareness group, pointing out that
the policy was simply ‘Fixing’ the damage done by mothers
robbed of children, not ‘preFixing’ females before they cracked.
No one had joined. They said he was just shirking his
responsibilities to the state… and to get on with it.
Mrs Miers’s hacking cough brought the Doc sharply back into
focus, in the foul smelling room. She laughed to herself,
tumbling upon her breath.
"All that studying for nothing love? Just for this eh? Oooh! How
times change us eh love?” her lungs tickling her tongue as
licks of glee caused her to choke.
Stubbing the green furnace stick out on a clod of mud
which she hid underneath her bed months ago, now
resembling road kill after some psychotic teenager has not
only tried to draw it and sculpt it but also post it through
their ex’s letter box hole, she hobbled towards her sofa.
"Well now Mrs.Miers" said the Doc, looking at the door,
"why don’t I come back, say on the 27th? Two weeks’ll
give you a good solid week to adapt to the new dosage an-“
"Not so fast sweetheart, come here", said she, patting at the
"Mrs.Miers I really have to go I -" dripping gulps of sweat
down the ridge of his back, the Doc felt his corns pulsing in
Her thong fell to the floor as she did a line of the old
Government certified coke-soak (a artificial attempt at
synthetic high doomed to failure by the 100% organic
ingredients bill that had been passed the same year as the
legalization of all substances prone to abuse. It had
knocked the market right out from under them.)
"Mrs.Miers! The - the nurses might come in -"
He fumbled towards the old folks home boudoir exit,
" -the…the cleaner!"
"They won’t mind…"
She grabbed his arm and he looked up at her walls,
concentrating on the pictures and patterns.
"Mrs Miers no! Cover yourself please! Oh put it away!"
Her pictures included peaceful green antique pastures
and vast gilt frame protecting a poster of the
culturally celebrated ‘X-Men II 2D’.
“Come along Doc” summoned Mrs Miers.
Dragging her pelvis to the edge of her bed she called out,
"Don’t be daft love, hop to! Saves time if you hop now
ehh?” excreting methane all the while and swinging her
ankles up high.
Creaking his knees he eased him self into the green tongued
"Ooh you are a good doctor -"
Rising slowly up upon the air like a tangled mess of heavy
hounds cantering exhausted up a half deserted street, his
breath sounded like the chaos that is occurring at all times
and all around the globe in unwatched corners.
"Dentist.” He spluttered. “But I’m a - I’m a - - - - a –I’m a
"Oohh yes I’m su - su – su – su- u - u - - - - sure you are
"I am a qualified," he was out of breath now, barely audible
above a whisper ” …qualified….”, hoarse and quiet,
"….dentist" he gasped. The Doc was so quiet he couldn’t
even hear his own sobs.
"I’m a qualified dentist."
"Shhhh - "
"But I was a Dentist!" he hiccuped.
"Shh, shh, course you are love."
The sound of his knees creaking drowned out the swallows
singing in the courtyard bellow.