George Moonbat stared at his unrecognisable reflection in the shaving mirror. His former towsled mop of curly black Gallic locks had been straightened and thinned to resemble a mousey grey-brown toe rag. His signature lefty-intellectual square specs had been replaced by contact lenses to give his eyes that unique Blairy-blue-eyed-boy look. He put down the razor and adopted his new role as the ex-head of government-turned-millionaire public speaker. He adjusted his features into the all-purpose chirpy smirk of the only British politician ever to have won three elections in a row without succumbing to Alzeimer’s and intoned:
“Ladies and Gentlemen – hi guys..”
What followed would hardly matter. He would read off the teleprompter whatever Delingpole’s team of deep green moles at the Department of Energy and Climate Change had prepared. The important thing was to sound the alarm and spring the trap into which the enemy must inevitably fall.
Dellers and Miranda had managed to reassure him that nothing could go wrong. As a millionaire ex-head of state he would be whisked from VIP lounge to conference hall, deliver a tidal surge of banalities to the waiting horde of Green functionaries, bureaucrats, rock stars, VIPs, corporate sharks, shysters and fixers, grin and wave at some youthful demonstrators who’d been flown in by the same shysters and fixers to insult him, and then fly home. Hands would have been shaken, deals made, and Deller’s boys, authenticated as close advisors of world statesman Tony Blair, would take over the delicate job of infiltrating the Great Green Mafia.
He admired his reflection, not for the first time. What was missing? Shouldn’t his teeth have a more feral, preda-Tory look? Some of his tribal friends in the Amazon jungle had had their teeth filed to a point, giving them the appearance of folk born to rise to high positions in the Labour Party. Only their gaily decorated penile sheaths would have precluded them from positions of responsibility in the shadow cabinet. Although…
He thought he might suggest that to Dellers, or Captain Delingpole, as he was obliged to address him. The teeth filing that is, not the penile sheaths..
But enough musings on his youthful adventures in the Amazon and the psychology of politicians..
He’d totally forgotten. It was five to nine, and he was due at Doctor Weintrobe’s in five minutes. And he hadn’t begun to formulate an excuse for cancelling the rest of the week’s appointments.
In thirty seconds he was on his bike and and away, across Hampstead to his rendez-vous with the Green shrink who claimed to be able to cure him of his lack of depression about the future of the planet.
In the indigenous societies which the Weintrobes of this world find such an inspirational source of wisdom, women of a certain age, if they happen by great good luck to reach the menopause without dying in childbirth, are looked up to as seers – a bit like climate scientists in our society – and spend their remaining years doling out prophesies, herbal remedies and cookery recipes to a grateful tribe. In our society they become psychoanalysts, and write books about how the failure to become suicidal over the fate of the planet is a sure sign of mental illness.
Moonbat untucked the hems of his stone-faded jeans from his socks and rang. Doctor Weintrobe answered in person. She gave him a puzzled stare.
“Mr Blair, your appointment is for this afternoon, I’m afraid I’m expecting another patient…”
Moonbat thought quickly. If there was one thing he’d learnt as an investigative journalist-cum-green activist, it was to adapt the message to changing circumstances, turn somersaults, bend over backwards, and issue oracular statements from where the sun never shines at the drop of a hat, explaining why black is white and cold is hot and why, though he wasn’t the person she was expecting, he was the right person at the right time. He lied, making up a whole alternative universe on the spot – a talent he’d perfected in the pages of the Guardian.
“It’s ok Dr Weintrobe”, he panted, his lies lent credence by his breathless delivery, “I was at a dinner party with your patient, Mr Moonbat yesterday, and he told me that he can’t make it this morning. I have to fly to Rome, er, Georgetown, this afternoon, and since I have an important speech I have to give this evening, I hope you don’t mind if I…”
Dr Weintrobe nodded curtly and indicated to him to come in. It was only when he was installed on the couch that he realised his quandary. He had forty minutes in which to free associate the unconscious fantasies of someone else, someone whom he personally considered to be a war criminal, worthy of being locked up for life for crimes against humanity. This would not be easy.
“Er, I don’t remember where we left off, er, yesterday..”
“Your feelings of guilt.”
“About Iraq?” George proposed tentatively, then realised that that was not the tone of voice of an ex-head of government of the G8 who only a few years ago was proposing to change the course of world history – and who ended up changing its light bulbs. Not even in the privacy of the psychoanalyst’s consulting room.
“Not Iraq,” Dr Weintrobe intoned brusquely, leaving George to wonder where he could go from there.
He decided honesty was the best policy, which was hardly in character with his assumed persona, but it was hard, inventing other people’s dreams. Much harder than banning them from having any, which had been his day job for years, he reflected. So he launched into his own dream from last night.
It was that bloody polar bear again. The hairy beast was lying back in a deckchair, chomping down a human leg, and saying between mouthfuls, “I’m thinking of having a Brazilian…”
For some reason Moonbat’s thoughts turned to Miranda. She was coming with him to Guyana, though not, thankfully, disguised as Cheri Blair. One of the advantages of travelling as a VIP was that no-one ever ever asked any questions about your female companion(s).
“It’s a funny thing, women” he began. “My relationships with women, I mean. Not that… I mean, I’m happily married, with two adorable children, and..” Then, remembering who he was, or rather, who he was supposed to be, he decided he should change tack. “… And I’ve never had any problems in that respect. I mean, I’m a five times a night man…”
Moonbat stopped, interrupted by a choking sound from behind his head, as of someone suppressing a desire to vomit. There was a short silence, then Dr Sally Weintrobe’s voice could be heard, intoning:
“Mr Blair, I am a psychoanalyst, not a journalist for a popular magazine. I am not interested in the sordid details of your private life, when the entire universe is dying due to the irresponsibility of a few. You and I can save the world if we put our minds to it. Forget sex for the moment and tell me about your real, deepest feelings.”
Moonbat hesitated, wondering what Blair’s real deepest feelings might be about, if they weren’t about the same thing as everyone else’s. His Swiss bank account perhaps? He remembered reading how the real Blair had been seen lurking round the bones of Saint Teresa in the Catholic Cathedral in Victoria Street. Which brought his thoughts back to that chomping polar bear. Funny things, dreams, especially when they were someone else’s…
He decided he’d better bring this thing to an end, before he said something foolish – that is, foolisher than anything else he’d been saying so far. “Look”, he said, to the invisible tyrant behind the couch, “I’m terribly sorry, doctor, but I think I should be going. The plane won’t wait, you know, even for me.” And he practiced his cheeky self-deprecating grin on the empty space in front of him, before rising from the couch to face his torturer.
“Of course you must, Mr Blair,” replied Dr Weintrobe, with a sudden conciliatory smile, “And I sincerely wish you well for your speech tonight at the Georgetown Summit. I know you won’t let us down.”
“Us?” enquired Blair/Moonbat warily. Every word uttered over the next two days was going to be booby-trapped, he suddenly realised.
“Oh, we’ll all be there”, she replied with a blush, like a fan unexpectedly bumping into her favourite rock star before the concert . “Chris Rapley, that Rusbridger chap from the Guardian – the whole gang. Sir Paul is taking us in the Society’s private jet.”
By the lactating paps of Sweet Mother Gaia, Moonbat swore under his breath as he took out his cheque book, this was going to be the worst twenty four hours of his life.
* * *
It was only four hours later, as he settled into the plush first class British Airways armchair and put the false passport back into the pocket of his hand tailored suit that the awful realisation struck him.
Wrong cheque book.