I went over to the coffee area. Stood in front of the table facing the silver urns and china cups, my back to the rest of the room. More importantly, my back to the CCTV. From this angle it wouldn’t be able to see that I had my clenched fists down on the table top, in front of me.
I opened them both. One contained Lady Vanessa Bixby’s extra strong mint. Which I expertly flicked up and caught in my mouth.
The other, held Lady Bixby’s E-tags that I had lifted from her handbag a moment ago. The thin, hard plastic, electronic strip, that she had used for opening and starting her Mercedes Sportz. I pushed it down into my trouser pocket.
Ch 68 – Big Time.
I made my way back over to the others. The Production Assistant had said three minutes. We’d all be going into the studio to do recorded interviews then. At that point it would be to late to back out. Too late to change what was said. It would already be on the record.
Bixby’s lawyer had gone. He had stood up and begun his pacing again. He walked with a kind of pecking movement. Head pushing forward. Hands clasped behind his back. He scanned along the wall of Vid’Screens. Studying them all. Peering intently at each as he came to it. There was one entire wall of this waiting area that was almost all Mini-Vids.
Each Mini-Vid’Screen was recessed into the wall, at a height where it could be easily viewed. All of them had the name and logo of the channel that was currently showing displayed below it on a thin data screen.
These Vids weren’t just showing what was currently being filmed, edited and aired from within this building. They were showing TV from everywhere. From all over the globe. Tracking the satellites as they orbited the planet.
The BBC always made sure it always watched all the opposition channels. Looking for ideas to steal. Programmes to appropriate. Upcoming stars to seduce. And, even more importantly, to report any thought crimes, Hate Speech or Gender Transgressions, to the supreme regulator, OfCommissar.
OfCommissar had total power over all broadcasters in the UK. If they weren’t able to prosecute and fine the BBC’s rivals, then there was always OfUN. The United Nation’s attempt at a world wide, media regulator. That body was gaining a smidgen of clout, as it was being promoted in some quarters as the antidote to FakeNewz. The BBC, and several other of the largest liberal media organisations, were very keen on promoting OfUN. As a body able to monitor and police the airwaves to ensure fair and balanced content was available for all.
But more importantly they promoted them to be able to use them to rapidly shut down any potential rivals.
Bixby briefly glanced at a Vid’Screen. Moved ahead a step. Then turned around and walked back for a closer look.
I saw he had passed the screen for Channel 23 news. The hard hitting investigative journalism station. With the super-fit bodied, gorgeous looking, young men and women of their News team. Terrorising the mega-corporations, with their bad-ass, no nonsense scoops. A very popular channel. Part of MegaFox.
On screen now the beautiful Theora Eddison was doing a piece to camera. Her famous smile and brilliant white teeth were lost behind her medical mask. Her words mumbled out of the face covering.
She was clearly excited about something.
She straightened up and peered from over the rims of her carefully selected ‘Rocket Scientist look,’ designer spectacles frames. She looked intently down the camera. She had her hands folded together in front her. Each dainty and medically gloved hand, grasping the other. Her image disappeared to be replaced a picture of Lady Vanessa Bixby.
Vanessa was wearing a charcoal jacket with black detailing. Short black skirt. Blonde hair flowing. She was slightly angled as she posed for the photo. The background was of a garden, that might have been her own. The screen legend said “Lady Vanessa Bixby. – Editor and philanthropist.”
Channel 23 might have our story now. Or were rerunning pictures of Vanessa in anticipation of what would come out of the upcoming BBC exclusive. I went over for a closer look at the screen.
Another picture of Vanessa replaced the first. More casual. Snapped while out walking.
Then one of her with her long hair down. With long boots.
She was well photographed so there would be plenty of archive images. Though the next one, of her drinking with someone else on the lawn, looked recent. I’d seen her in that same lace dress just a few hours ago.
I wonder if they had been hacking a feed. From the security surveillance firm. Or buying some stolen images? Perhaps they were purchasing content from internal cameras that the police now had. They might be working through the security from last night. Flittock might have got a warrant. He wouldn’t necessarily have believed her tale of EU law and lawyers. He was an idiot, for sure. But he hadn’t risen up the ranks of the woke police without knowing how to cover his arse. He might have authorised the seizure of her security tapes. One of his squad might be selling some of those images right now.
As if to confirm that thought a picture of myself and Dacia replaced the one of Vanessa. It was from our own office.
It wasn’t a new image. That old filing cabinet and even the desk had been replaced for better furniture over six months ago. But it was still an image taken from inside my office. Possibly the entire data disk had been taken from the system during the raid when they shot at me.
It was a little unnerving. To see yourself appear on TV from a place you were not expecting.
Another Vanessa image came on. Recent too, by the style of her hair. Some friend’s apartment perhaps? Well, it was Channel 23 News. They were the very best at scooping the competition.
Bixby stopped looking. It seemed to be just a rehash of the earlier story, that had been running long enough that the public was already sick of it. 24 hour news did that to people. It forced total disinterest of even the most incredible, compelling or horrific stories.
Lord Bixby continued on. Pacing alongside the other Vid’Screens for a while. I watched CH23. Trying to place the next Vanessa shot.
Bixby faced the wall of Vid’Screens showing their television shows. The digital output reflecting in his eyes. He suddenly pointed at one monitor in particular. It was opposite where I had now sat down, in a red cushioned chair. I could see it clearly from here.
It was on a Vid’Screen set to record the output of what appeared to be a very small network. From the look of the cheap studio and entry level blue screen effects, this was a minuscule media outfit. The data log under the monitor gave real-time details of the channel. Owners. Registered address. Company accounts. Viewing averages.
Key personnel. All that kind of thing.
It appeared that this station had only online viewers. Those viewers, according to the viewing spike on the 24 hour graph-line, only really watched during very late night or early morning or tea time. The target audience was the student crowd.
The logo in the corner of the screen said this network was called,
“BIG TIME TV”
On this Big Time TV, a news program was running.
A young girl was on screen. Eastern European model features. Big breasts, barely constrained inside the red bodice, under her white jacket. Visually, she looked not unlike my assistant, Dacia. Must be the skin tone. Maybe they used the same shade of eye shadow. Maybe it was just because they were both Eastern European ladies, going about their business, inadvertently giving men the raging horn.
She was doing the weather in a breathy, husky voice.
“I expect tonight..there be a time of movement. They’z going to be a lot…a..lot..of Wezther tonight.. I expect you can imagine..”
She arched her back, setting her shoulders wide, pushing her breasts forward.
“Here…Up here..on there ..firm..round hills…A lashing from the..elements…can be expected…Lasting a great amount of time. Well into the night..And ending with ..”
Her hands up beside, and in front of her boobs, palms inwards. Creating a 3-d effect.
“..With a pouring..drizzle…over the soft hills..”
She licked her lips and then stood up from her seat behind the desk. Walking around to the front she sat upon the desktop. Her short satin skirt halfway up her thighs.
“While… in the later on…”
Slightly parting her legs. Continuing with the weather report.
“Down..in the valley….It will be much, much warmer. In the fact..It could be.. also, very, very damp…And wet.. ..You might see a sudden flash!”
Quickly opening, then sealing her thighs tight.
“And you hear a long, long ..hammering. And a powerful banging…among the pouring…flow…”
“This!” Bixby angrily said. His finger jabbing at the monitor for Big Time TV.
“This Malone. This sort of …Filth and degradation. I fought all my political life for women’s rights! For their equality. Their right to just be more than sex objects. I helped, with my European allies, to draft binder after binder full of laws and regulations to prevent this sort of sexual exploitation taking place.”
He looked really pissed off. Swivelling around to face myself, then Vanessa. Then Sandra. He was a human corkscrew,
“By leaving the EU, we would weaken that commitment. That commitment to a better society. That’s why I am a firm believer in Remain, and ReJoin, Malone.”
He stared at me. Eyes dawn bright with fervour. Waiting for some response.
Vanessa was ignoring him. She was still watching the screen with News23 on it.
Looking surprised at seeing herself on the screen.
Lord Bixby was waiting for an answer.
I sighed, and replied. “Its just a bit of fun Bixby.” I slumped in my seat. Not really wanting a political lecture right now.
Lord Bixby stopped his swivelling and turned directly to me. Pointing a finger at me, then back at the screen.
“Its not just fun, Malone. Its symptomatic of the patriarchy’s views of the sisterhood.
And this country. Britain. We are the very worst for this sort of .. of..pornographic terrorism! Worst in the whole of Europe.”
His medication must be kicking in. His topper. It had brought him back from Rejoiner Boiler, to being a Testy Lefty.
“Bixby,” I said to him quietly. “Stop being such an arse. Its just a modern day version of a Carry On film. Or Up Pompeii or Benny Hill.”
He looked blank. As if he hadn’t heard of those shows. Which he might not have.
“The Inbetweeners. Peep Show. Men Behaving Badly. Its just, comedy, Bixby.
Nothing more. Or at least it wasn’t. Until your lot started taking slight and injury on behalf of others. These shows didn’t cause misogamy in the UK. They were just television. Simply reflective of their age, is all. People stopped watching when they no longer found them funny. Little Britain. Les Dawson. It wasn’t a conspiracy to oppress. It was not AGAINST the sisterhood or feminism or anything else. It wasn’t against anything. Its simply a bit of fun. Or it was until the left took offence at everything and everyone that wasn’t in the hive mind.”
“It is exploitation porn!” Exclaimed Bixby. He looked over to Vanessa. She still wasn’t paying any attention. She must have heard Bixby’s passionate declaration many times before. She was typing into the desktop. Possibly trying to find out the latest on us all. Wondering what would happen next.
“Bixby. A healthy does of sexually repressed comedy is deep inside the British psyche. We enjoy it, Bixby. Its not authoritarian oppression. Though some may try and ban certain shows. Certain websites. Certain forums.”
“You’re wrong, Malone,” Bixby said. “Its a reflection of how low the British people are in morals. How they sink into the swamp without the enlightened hand of our European friends and their rich, diverse, euro-culture.”
I looked at him wearily. I was tired. I had been on the run for too many hours. I was short of sleep and worn out. And it wasn’t over yet. I didn’t want to talk about this man’s private political beliefs.
Like the whole Brexit itself, I didn’t want to talk about it any more, to anyone. I just wanted it all over. So I could go home. “There’s no harm in any of this Bixby. It doesn’t exploit anyone.”
The fact that the weather girl was now lying on her back on the desk, while a projector painted icecaps across her breasts and snow-showers fell across her nipples while she told us, “It’s so cold up on the mountain peaks. I so hope any lost explorers can find a nice, warm, cave to shelter inside.” Wasn’t really helping my case.
I tried to rally myself for one more, pointless squabble with a Europe-a-maniac.
“Two thousand years of sexual and political repression. Invader wars. Religious wars. Regional wars. Civil Wars and World Wars. Virus Wars. We’ve done the lot in these islands, Bixby. The grim bloodiness of war, famine, plague, pestilence and the incompetence of our leaders and the insanity of our monarchs have left the British with a minor suspicion of foreigners and a dark sense of humour. All the laws and idiot regulations you can conjure won’t change that.”
“No! It won’t,” he readily agreed. Raising a finger in triumph at my point that now was justifying his. “So we must change the people. For other people without those genetic defections in their DNA. We will import our way out of the regressive mindset.”
He was mad. Mad as the doctor telling you the operation to cure your headaches will involve removing your head. “You know that I’m right. You know that it is necessary.”
“All your laws have done, Bixby,” I countered, “is destroy everything you say you hold dear. All your nudging and fudging and banning and making compulsory have done, is to break the society we lived in. Look at the woman on the TV.”
She was now facing away from us. Bent across her desk. Her pert buttocks stretching the satin of her skirt as she informed viewers that,
“..if you are one of the lucky few, a large, full, round white moon, could be appearing right above your face, tonight.”
I was undeterred. “Your banning of swimsuits and flat stomachs in any adverts. Then your ban of anything that you suspect objectifies women, hasn’t made the slightest bit of difference. Look. On the screen. Right there. Is..Miss,”
I looked to see what the model’s name was. The caption said “Melania Humps.” That was less than helpful for my high-horse point. I continued.
“Miss…Melania Humps. Doing her thing. In flagrant disregard of all your moralising, nannying, puritanism. She is able to do as she wishes, because of your lefty splinter groups. The ultra progressives, also championed the right of women to do whatever the hell they wish. With whoever they wish. Dress however they wish, whenever they wish.
I know this channel, Bixby. Its part of the job of The Department to ensure your modern ‘blasphemy’ and ‘heresy’ laws are upheld.
But when your lot asked us to put a stop to this, mild pornography, the very same people who called for no sexualisation, then insisted a woman has a right to do whatever she damn well pleases. You contradicted yourselves.
All you managed to do, with all your draconian edicts, was to ensure that the camera operator on the show we are about to go onto, will be a woman.”
Bixby was stumped. He knew most of what he believed made no sense. He just assumed that Thick Gammons like me, didn’t.
Eventually, he simply said, “Well, that’s a victory.”
I saw a couple of the BBC women come in to the room. They stayed by the door.
Waiting for us to finish. Too polite to interrupt what appeared to be cutting debate.
But was actually just Bixby attempting to have some dominance. I suspected he was about to rat on us all.
“Its a tragedy, Bixby,” I explained to him. Deciding I ought to try and pull him back from the brink. Standing up, just move around and avoid looking up from a supplicants position. “Because of equality pay laws, a male and female Videographer in the studio we will go into, earn the same base scale. But because of the restrictions on men filming women, men are unemployable. And women don’t now earn more than men. Men just no longer earn at all.”
“Well, “said Bixby again, his face beaming with real pride, “That’s good then. More jobs for women.”
“But less jobs for men.” I informed him. “The problem here Marmon, is you think you’ve created jobs. And solved inequality. Stopped exploitation. But you haven’t done any of that. That security guard…” I nodded my head towards Sandra. He was still stood by the door. Hands lightly clasped behind him. “She isn’t a woman, Bixby.”
Everyone in the room look shocked. I had just denied a person’s gender. HERE! At the BBC of all places. It was like farting in the Temple. Sandra looked more alarmed than outraged.
“Don’t all look at like me like I’m a heretic.” I said to everyone. “She bloody well isn’t a woman. She is a man. A man, who calls himself Sandra. So that here. At BBC Box-Ticker’s Central, he could get a job.” The two BBC women looked appalled.
I looked over to the security guard. He was still stood solidly by the doorway. Like a human slab of granite. So I spoke directly to him.
“I guess all the masculine security positions were taken, eh Sandra?” But the quota for women security guards hadn’t been filled. On account of the muscular frame and the height requirements. Unless Mhairi Black or Brienne of Tarth applied, they would remain vacant forever. So Sandra, I guess that you, being an enterprising sort of person, decided to use your legal right to assign yourself any gender of your choosing, called yourself Sandra,’ and ticked the box marked M/F/LGBGTQXYZ/PAN FRIED/Other. And was hired. Am I right?” I asked the security officer.
He bounced a little on his toes. Chewed his top lip. He stared back as the other two were was now staring at him.
“No,” he said. “My name is Sandra.”
“Ha!” Bixby exclaimed triumphantly. “You idiot, Malone.”
“Oh Joe!” Vanessa admonished. She left her chair and went over to where Sandra waited by the glass doors. “I’m so sorry for our companion’s behaviour, Sandra,” she soothed.
“How long have you worked here?” I asked the big guard. He was looking very uncomfortable. But it was Bixby’s fault.
He almost didn’t respond. He didn’t have to. Could say nothing and avoid this private spat. But eventually he did. In his deep voice he replied, “’Bout three years now.”
“Sandra, “I said, and smiled. And used what Dacia called my court room voice to speak with. “I am a former Inspector with ‘The Department.’ I should tell you that after two years continuous employment, you cannot be removed from your present occupation without very good reason. Any attempt to release you for an alleged mislabelling of your gender would be a direct infringement of your human rights. As constituted under UK, UN and EU law. You would be able to sue your employer for unfair dismissal. As this is the BBC, you could make a strong claim for loss of continuous, lifetime earnings and accrued pensions and holidays. As the BBC never sack anyone, ever. You would have a very, very strong case. So telling us your real name, and gender, is perfectly safe for you to do so. I hope that is clear to you.”
“Like I said,” he replied again, “Name’s Sandra.”
Bixby shook his head at me. He thought I was making a fool of myself. Vanessa looked terribly worried I might say something terribly racist at any moment.
I rubbed my brow. Closed my eyes briefly. Then abandoned this genderist line.
“Either way, gender or no gender regulations, no new jobs were created, Lord Bixby. You’ve made men unequal as they can’t do the work, by law. So a woman has to do it instead. Which is fine. But it hasn’t improved employment for any one else. It has harmed it. No one was being exploited except in your imagination.”
Lord Bixby didn’t look convinced. He looked as all lefties do. Angry that their virtuous world was being questioned at all. So I tried one last time. To explain it as I saw it.
“I worked at The Department for a long time. All the unintended consequences or all your good intention laws made my life far, far easier. I could prosecute anyone, for anything, at any time. Because almost everything could be deemed a crime.
But you also made everyone a criminal. The entire country was in breach of some petty regulation. You made stabbing a teenager as much a crime as buying an lockdown Easter egg. The punishments were different for each. But the police time, and resource was spent equally on each. Because of people like you.” I jabbed a finger at him. “Like…YOU..especially.”
He seemed to sag a bit. As if he had long suspected that road to his utopian vision for Britain was paved with his own stones of good intention. Dug from the Devil’s own quarry.
“I was just trying to do what was best. For the nation. That’s why I headed up Remain. For Britain,” he said. “I believe in doing what is right. It is important to me.
I won’t be stopped.” He straightened his back. His shoulders set wide. He was taking strength from his own words. He walked up to me so that we were very close and could not be overheard by anyone else.
I looked into Bixby’s eyes. They were glowing. He must have taken a lot of his medication and the glazed, far away distraction of his JoBBs Syndrome wasn’t evident in them any more. But a new preacher’s firebrand burn was. His eyes positively shone. But shone like a man with a fever. I feared his burning passion for ReJoin was working deeply within his soul.
Pastor Bixby was going to tell the BBC the Sermon they longed to hear. How it was His work to cast out the Un-Be-Leavers. To purify the Euro-Temple and return it to the worship of the One True Bureaucracy.
“Don’t do it, Bix,” I whispered to him. “Whatever you are thinking of doing, don’t do it. You’ll buy yourself perhaps twenty four hours at most. Everyone already knows you are alive. Whatever you are thinking of saying will only backfire.”
“I’m thinking of doing the right thing, Malone. Of telling them I was kidnapped. By you.”
“Then you will be imprisoned for sure. You won’t be free for even twenty four hours.
The evidence against that sorry story is overwhelming.”
“Twelve hours might be all I need, Malone. It could be enough.”
“Vanessa too, Bixby. She will go to prison as well.”
He looked back to where she was still seated. She was watching us both. Puzzled at why we had argued over nothing at all. He gave her a nod. She smiled back at him.
“Ahh..Yes. Vanessa. I was…Well…I ..I wouldn’t..if it were possible..”
His face fell a little. The fanatic’s fire in his eyes dimmed. The heat turning down.
He said no more. Turned around and headed towards the door where his former Labour MP colleague, Ooma Queen, now a top person at the BBC, was just making her way in to the room. Coming to gather us all up to go to studio. To begin to record our explosive, breaking-news, revelation story.
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file