'The shop specializes in clothes and equipment for gay men,' I conceded.
'And are none of Rod's customers happily married?' he asked, dropping his voice theatrically.
I said, with heavy irony, 'So, Mr Blair's marriage is a sham and his children are nothing but ciphers conceived in the bed of cynicism, so that one day he will deceive the British people into voting for him, thinking him to be a heterosexual socialist, whereas ...'
'Mark my words, Mole, Blair is a "friend of Rod's" if ever I f------ saw one, and he's no f------ socialist either.'
I began to cook the cabbages for dinner. Savage liked them to boil for at least half an hour. My work as a chef has been doddle since Savage instituted his Traditional English, No Choice menu. Tonight's repast is:
Heinz tomato soup
(with white bread floaters)
Grey lamb chops
Boiled cabbage avec Dan Quayle potatoes
Dark brown onion gravy
Spotted Dick a la Clinton
Bird's custard (skin ₤6.00 extra)
Cheddar Cheese, Cream Crackers
After Eight Mint
There are two types of wine-white ₤46.00, red ₤46.00
Service charge not included. You are expected to smoke between courses. Pipes and cigars are particularly welcome.
The restaurant is fully booked six weeks ahead. Savage turned Princess Michael of Kent away from the door last night. She was distraught.
The restaurant critic A.A. Gill said in his review in the Sunday Times that Hoi Polloi served execrable nursery food. 'The sausage on my plate could have been a turd: it looked like a turd, it tasted like a turd, it smelled like a turd, it had the texture of a turd. In fact, thinking about it, it probably was a turd.'
Savage has had Gill's review blown up at the Copy Shop and stuck it up in the window, where it draws admiring crowds.
Around about midnight I asked my fellow workers, those who could understand English, if they intended to vote today. Luigi, the maitre d', is a Communist in Italy, but he will be voting Liberal Democrat in Croydon, where he lives. Malcolm, the washer-upper, said he was thinking of voting Conservative, 'because they help the selfemployed.' I pointed out to Malcolm that he was only self-employed because Savage refused to pay for a National Insurance stamp and tax, but Malcolm then went on to say that he liked John Major because he (Malcolm) had been fostered by a couple who lived in Huntingdon, Major's constituency. As Malcolm grappled with the Spotted Dick tin in the sink, I asked him about the Conservatives' election pledges.
'They've said they won't put the taxes up,' he said, in his reedy voice.
I said, 'Malcolm, you don't pay tax, remember? You get paid cash in hand You're off the books, which enables you to draw benefits from the DSS. You get free teeth, free travel to hospital, free everything.'
Malcolm said, 'On the other hand, I might vote Labour.' ...
Copyright 1999 by Sue Townsend. All rights reserved.
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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