The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

Night Of The Living Dead: Portcullis House Edition

Posted by The Futility Monster on November 14, 2009 @ 09:43


The scene may have looked a little like this. Or maybe not.

Picture the scene.

It’s late. It’s dark. It’s miserable.

You’re a researcher in the House of Commons. Working late, as usual. Getting paid nothing, as usual.

You’ve been there a few months now, so you know your way around. In fact, you’re so into the swing of things that the job is so easy to you you’re already starting to think you’re through with being an unpaid minion in the game of political chess.

It’s been a long day, and you’re starting to tire. But there is still work to be cleared for the morning. Your MP is relying on you to get it all done so he can sign it off in the morning. That’s OK, you say. It’s only 8pm, and the building is open all night if necessary.

But sustenance will be required. Having already snacked on a pot of seeds and berries your health-conscious colleague had donated to you, you realise it’s not possible for you to survive on bird food alone. And in any case, you could do with a drink. A beverage of some kind.

You check your pockets. No money. As usual. No point going to the cash machine for the sake of a cup of coffee.

So the glorious London tap water will have to do.

You take your water bottle and go for a little stroll. Maybe the flowing air will perk you up a little too. And hydration is important for concentration, you say, hoping that no one else realises you’re talking to yourself. But hey, what does it matter? There’s hardly anyone else around, and the corridors are deserted, except for the usual smell of cigar smoke drifting gently from George Galloway’s office…

Your mind begins to calculate. Some of the taps in Portcullis House are – incredibly – refrigerated. The small kitchen-type area to the right of your office definitely doesn’t have one of those; you’ve been disgusted before about the tepid water coming out of that tap.

So you head to a different floor, to a tap you discovered by chance while visiting a friend on the same floor. Hey, smokers have their hourly skives. Why can’t non-smokers go off for a little wander every now and then?

Guilt alleviated, you head up the stairs. No lifts for me, you say. Why, such dedication to physical exercise will have you running the London Marathon in no time.

You arrive at the kitchen area you desire, switching the light on as the vestibule area outside it is rather dark due to some faulty fluorescent lights and the lateness of the hour.

Your detour is rewarded as the tap releases a wave of freezing cold water.

Bottle refilled, you switch off the light, plunging the area into darkness, and step out into the vestibule.

You get the shock of your life.

You feel the strike of the adrenaline surge, the bitter taste at the back of the throat. Every muscle, every sinew – ready for fight-or-flight. You’re ready to defend yourself against this ruffian who dares to block your path.

Then: a blinding flash of realisation.

Standing in front of you, almost eyeball to eyeball, is another person. A man, an older man.

But not just any old man. The face is unmistakeable. Aged. Glasses. Egg in the nest. Thin, pursed lips. A look of manic delight on his face.

You’re standing in front of Michael Howard MP, backlit, craggy and shadowy. And they most definitely look like fangs.

And at that moment, you truly begin to understand what Anne Widdecombe meant.

You make a sheepish apology, swiftly followed by a sharp exit. Just like last time


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