ROOTING around in one of the numerous junk shops that have sprung up retailing pre-Upheaval souvenirs, I stumbled across a dusty old computer. Much entranced, I managed to resurrect the primitive artefact and, amongst amusing pictures of sausages and beans, and videos of cats twirling around on ceiling fans, I found the following manuscript. Parts of the text seemed to be missing, which I have filled in as best I could. I have also replaced some of the more anachronistic terms with modern words.
IT IS the year 2023 in the kingdom of Charles the Unfortunate. The King appears increasingly haggard as his predictions of the world ending in a climate catastrophe fail to materialise. How dare you look him in the eyes and tell him that there’s no Global Boiling risk! Meanwhile Charles’s Grand Vizier, His Excellency Very Rich Sunak, is also beset by many problems, chief amongst them being the war against Emperor Putin the Detestable. The war is not going well. Not least because his Treasury is running out of coin to pay for it.
In his previous position as Vizier of the Exchequer in 2020, when Elizabeth the Perpetual was still the monarch, Rich Sunak directed the Treasury dwarfs to clip the coinage. He needed a sudden increase in the number of coins to bribe a third of the country’s peasants to remain idle in order, it was said, to defeat the plague. Quite how this worked was never explained. However, the peasants discovered Vizier Sunak’s Modern (ie old) Coin Trick (known as MMT, for some reason) in 2022, at exactly the time he was appointed Grand Vizier by King Charles. How very unfortunate.
Returning to 2023, the Grand Vizier has other schemes on hand to replenish the coffers. One of these is to divide King Charles’s cities into small areas and charge the unfortunate peasants a tax to drive in their carriages from one area to the next, in pursuit of their employment as money shufflers or rule inventors. Unfortunately, this war against the peasants is not going well either. Not least because the peasants are running out of even the clipped coins to pay for it.
Another of the Grand Vizier’s schemes, inherited from his predecessors Boris the Priapic and May the EU-Be-With-You-Always, is to ban the peasants’ carriages and hypocausts altogether. Quite how taxes can be paid in the future on the movement of banned carriages is never explained. Nevertheless it is hoped that the peasants have sufficient spare coin to enable the war against Putin the Detestable to continue, so taking the peasants’ minds off the cold and the more expensive food. Well, that was the hope of the Net Zero Food and Energy Vizier Grant ‘Misery’ Shapps anyway.
In the early months of 2023, as the kingdom continues to disintegrate, King Charles’s War Vizier, Ben Wallace, advises that 97 per cent of Emperor Putin’s army is in the Satrapy of Ukraine, and therefore Emperor Putin is no threat to King Charles. Perhaps Vizier Wally had this figure in mind because King Charles insists that 97 per cent of scientists believe in Man Made Global Boiling directly caused by General Carbon, the Warlord. And it is Carbon who has caused the weeds to grow in Ukraine which are hampering military operations by the King. But strangely not the military operations of Putin the Detestable. Isn’t it a shame that General Carbon cannot be enticed on to a business jet which meets an unfortunate accident? Ben Wallace is 97, and decides to retire to spend more time looking for his marbles in the halls of the UN. Vizier Shapps moves from making the lives of King Charles’s peasants miserable to making Ukraine peasants miserable. A similar job, then.
Another 97-year-old in search of his marbles, Joe ‘the Sniff’ Biden, Vizier of the North America Colonies of the King (NACK), is also supposed to retire shortly. He, too, is convinced on Tuesdays that General Carbon is a greater threat than Emperor Putin. Perhaps ‘Sniff’ Biden (or is that ‘Snuff’ Biden?) can arrange for his sub-Viziers to blow up General Carbon as he transits in an undersea pipeline, since they have much experience in this field. Meanwhile, the NACK’s peasants are revolting, and have been since 1776. Not least because they are running out of coin to pay for the war against Emperor Putin without even getting a tea break in Boston to show for it. They have been working so many years to pay their forever-war taxes they are now completely NACKed.
However, the NACK’s peasants have no influence on the issue of the wars against Emperor Putin and General Carbon, or anything else. Who takes any notice of peasants anywhere? They are easily replaced by voting machines and pre-printed ballots to ensure the correct Viziers are democratically elected. Which is seen to be true by the very fact that the policies overseen by King Charles are the same everywhere, whoever is voted in as Vizier. All except Grand Vizier Very Rich Sunak. He wasn’t voted in by anybody.
It is of course necessary to keep the peasants occupied. So they alternately have their pants frightened off them with news about frequent plagues and Global Boiling, or are beguiled by Sex Factor, the game show. In each show contestants are selected from all 437 genders, and compete with each other to see who can change gender the most often in the quickest time. The panel of judges, including lovable star Pains ‘Organ’ Morgan, are constantly on hand to ensure the right bits are removed by the show’s famous surgeons. Ready quips, such as ‘anti-vaxxers must be jailed’, roll off their lips as the hilarity continues with completed gender changes. Where the surplus organs go is a mystery.
Rumours which question the provenance of government issue Soylent Green Urban Farm genuine pork pies are quickly dismissed as disinformation spread by conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers. The Kingdom’s official fact-checker, the BBC, verifies that the government’s pork pies are definitely not . . . pork pies.
So, for now, we must say goodbye to the Kingdom of Charles the Unfortunate, as the nights draw in for another plague Christmas and the peasants turn off their hypocausts so they can afford to buy food.