The Changing of the Guard

UK Parliament, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Lord Cameron gazed giddily around his office, a look of wonder playing over his bubblegum pink visage.

‘I must say you have completely and utterly exceeded my expectations,’ he gushed. ‘If I was still in a position to dole out the knighthoods I’d jolly well march you to the palace myself and insist old Charlie whip his sword out there and then and flop it right down on your magnificent, nuggety shoulders.’

‘It was really nothing, David,’ blushed George Osborne. ‘I didn’t have much in my diary anyway, aside from locking my office door, sticking a handful of DMT in my pipe and communing with ancient Inca volcano deities all afternoon.’

‘Be that as it may Gidders, you have gone way above and beyond the call of duty here.’

Lord Cameron hadn’t been quite this drunk on sheer elation since the end of the 1981 spring term at Eton, when he had been selected to stand in the centre of the pentagram and carry out the role of principal bucket holder during the ritual amputation of the Prince of Burkina-Faso’s left ear. Baphomet had smiled benevolently upon the fifth year dormitory that night, just as he was now beaming gleefully at the state of his office.

‘Do take me through all this again won’t you Gidders, it’s just too hysterical.’

Osborne spontaneously broke into a little tap dance and twirled theatrically towards the window.

‘Concealed within the hollow curtain rods, thirteen bags of Waitrose frozen prawns,’ he boomed, operatically, before pirouetting towards an air vent behind the Foreign Secretary’s desk.

‘Behold, this tiny opening in the wall,’ he rasped, lowering his voice. ‘At first glance a simple ventilation device, but beware, for within lies the mashed up remains of seven hard boiled eggs.’

Lord Cameron stood shaking with excitement as his friend pranced into the centre of the room and continued his grotesque music hall performance.

‘Oh, and what is this which lies beneath us, just an innocent carpet?…Wrong! for betwixt carpet and underlay is a fine paste lovingly crafted from…’

‘Crafted from what, Gidders?,’ Squealed Lord Cameron, ‘Crafted from what?’

Osborne’s eyes widened and a manic grin spread across his face.

‘Cat food.’

‘Cat food?…B..But what kind of cat food?’

Osborne looked his friend straight in the eye, his grin rictus and his voice tremulous. He knew all too well the magnitude of what he was about to utter.

‘Aldi cat food,’ he announced, solemnly.

Feeling his knees begin to buckle, Cameron staggered over to his desk and steadied himself.

Not even proper cat food, he thought to himself. Povvo cat food. Food that scabby povvo cats eat. Scabby povvo cats that live in scabby povvo houses where they eat frozen pizzas and watch ITV. His mind was racing.

Hardly able to breathe, he groped his way around the desk to his old chair and slumped down.

‘Povvo cat food,’ he panted under his breath. ‘Povvo cat food between the carpet and the underlay. God is angry. God is angry.’

Osborne allowed his friend a few moments to compose himself before continuing his performance.

‘Do you remember this cupboard, David?’

‘Yes…Yes, of course I do.’

‘Would you say it was…a big cupboard?’

‘Yes, I’d say so Gidders. It was certainly big enough for that fascinating young hermaphrodite gymnast I won in a game of cards with Zelensky to live in quite comfortably until…well, you know.’

‘Well you’d be absolutely correct there, my friend. That there cupboard has a capacity of two and a half thousand litres.’

Cameron whipped out a cotton handkerchief and began to mop his brow. Given that neither Peppa Pig nor SamCam wearing a rubber Boris Johnson mask were within sight, he was confused by his present state of extreme arousal.

‘Well fancy that, Gidders. Whatever next?’

‘Guess who managed to procure two and a half thousand litres of glitter?’

‘No. You didn’t…You couldn’t have.’

‘It’s caused a Europe-wide shortage, apparently. The gays are furious. I got a bit of a sweat on when they started asking questions about it in Brussels but it’s okay now because they’ve decided it’s all down to Putin and imposed further sanctions on Russia.’

Lord Cameron threw his head back and let out an almighty hoot. He looked once more in disbelief at the cupboard door.

‘Is it possible to actually drown in glitter, do you think Gidders?,’ he said, a more serious tone now creeping into his voice.

‘Well we’ll soon find out, David,’ cackled Osborne, rubbing his hands together, ‘when this Derek Mammy character opens that door to hunt for a pencil sharpener or a studded collar or some cocaine.’

‘Well do keep me posted, Gidders. I’d be interested to know the outcome either way,’ said Lord Cameron. ‘I’m quite interested in experimenting with glitter asphyxiation, but only if it is one hundred per cent safe. I could do without another awkward conversation with a paramedic like after that time with the shower curtain and the Brylcreem. Someone’s bound to leak something eventually.’

He instinctively reached for his old desk drawer to look for a packet of Chewits, but was stopped in his tracks by a high pitched yelp from his friend.

‘Don’t touch that, David…It’s full more or less to the brim with all the lion urine I harvested from London Zoo last night.’

Lord Cameron let this revelation pass without comment. He raised an eyebrow at his friend and reached to the drawer below. ‘I take it my Chewits are safe in here?,’ he muttered. He loved Chewits. He liked to imagine himself as the Chewitsaurus ripping up low income housing developments and joyfully devouring them. Social housing within fifty miles of Chipping Norton? I’ll fix that with my mighty dinosaur jaws, you prole scumbags.

‘Not that one either,’ screeched Osborne. ‘Especially not that one.’

‘More urine?,’ sighed Cameron, slouching back in his chair and giving up on the idea of Chewits altogether.

‘Not quite,’ stuttered Osborne. ‘There’s a sawn off shotgun rigged up in that one at knee level.’

‘Oh…I see,’ he said, moving his hand slowly away from the handle.

Over the course of many years of friendship with George Osborne, Lord Cameron had learned when and when not to delve too deeply into the details of his varied and often nefarious activities. The ten minute-long PCP-fuelled blank stares and strange comments about ‘beautiful dancing fae folk’ during cabinet meetings. The makeup on expenses to hide the rubber tubing scars inflicted by that dusky dominatrix of his. The 2016 budget. Sometimes it was wise not to delve too deeply into the windmills of Gideon’s profoundly troubled mind. This was one of those occasions, so he hurried to change the subject with no further ado.

‘I tell you what would be a cracking wheeze, Gidders,’ he exclaimed, slapping the desk. ‘What if I leave a note like that odious little slaphead Labour prole did for you back in ten?’

‘The one that said there wasn’t any money left?’

‘The very thing. Here, give me a pen won’t you?’

He started scribbling, his tongue drooping from the side of his mouth.

‘How about this: Dear Derek Mammy. There is actually plenty of money left this time, just not for you because you’re not in the House of Lords and you don’t have several dozen do-nothing executive directorships because you went to a poor people’s school that was little more than a borstal and can’t even get on the waiting list for a decent club. So put that in your pipe and smoke it, you fat wog spastic.’

Osborne flinched slightly.

‘The last bit’s a bit much. People take offence to that kind of language these days, David. You might find yourself in a bit of trouble from the PC brigade for that.’

‘Okay, you’re right. That is a bit harsh. Just wog spastic then? He’s got it hard enough without being body shamed, I suppose.’


Cameron rose and smoothed down his suit jacket. ‘Right, well everything seems to be in order Gidders. Thanks again for carrying out the tradition of making my office an uninhabitable biohazard for my successor.’

‘It was my pleasure, as always, David. But we’d better get going, those Bostwanan AIDS mosquito larvae in the corner could hatch at any moment.’

Lord Cameron glanced warily at the plastic bucket and edged towards the door.

‘Dinner at Claridge’s on me, Gidders? Least I can do.’

Before Osborne could answer him, the door burst open. It was David Lammy, the Member of Parliament for Tottenham and eminent MENSA member.

‘Wow…is this really my office?’ he exclaimed, a look of child-like excitement on his face.

‘I believe so, old chap,’ sighed Lord Cameron, offering his successor a limp handshake.

‘Are you guys my Spivs?’

‘I beg your pardon.’

‘My Spivs. Sir Keith said there’d be guys called Spivs in here to help me with stuff.’

Lord Cameron’s face turned the colour of raw liver. He was about to explode in the face of such impertinence from a member of the lower orders.

But before he could speak, Osborne butted in.

‘Yes that’s right Mr Mammy, we’re your Spivs. We’re here to help you.’

He winked at Lord Cameron and put a friendly arm around the new Foreign Secretary.

‘Now, you just stay right here in your office and get settled in. Dave and I will grab a one of those Umpah taxis and pick up a few Jolly Meals from Burgerland to celebrate. Then we can get down to the serious business of Foreign Secretarying.’

‘Seriously? That. Is. Amazing. I already love being the Fawn Secretarary,’ exclaimed Lammy, jumping up and down on the spot.

Osborne and Lord Cameron slipped out as Lammy began striding around the office like an over-stimulated golden retriever.

‘Wow, a desk!’

Osborne dug the office key out of his pocket.

‘Wow, a window!’

He quietly locked the door behind him and shot his friend a knowing glance.

‘Wow, a door!’

The pair walked silently down the corridor from the Foreign Secretary’s office for the last time. It had been profitable while it had lasted. Swanning around from five star hotel to five star hotel, catching up with his old EU pals. Having his palm greased for making sure that vile little Slavic gypsy king Zelensky kept throwing bodies into the meat grinder. Pocketing three hundred quid a day for signing into the House of Lords on his way for a nap in his office wasn’t half bad, either. They had even let him palm off all the tedious administrative stuff and accountability onto that hapless lackey Andrew Mitchell. All these jolly japes and then the option to simply skip off into the sunset without a care in the world the moment the Conservative Party imploded, shouldering absolutely none of the blame and free to seek even more lucrative non-jobs. It had been better than working for a living, anyway.

David Lammy’s voice continued to boom down the corridor from behind the locked door.

‘Wow, a drawer full of lemonade!’

Lord Cameron’s mind turned once more to the subject of glitter asphyxiation. Could it be fatal? It might be rather like being buried in sand, which he had tried once with President Macron in a hotel room in Davos at great expense to the French taxpayer. But glitter was finer than sand, so total submersion may not be quite as hazardous, and therefore far less exciting. But the glinting metallic feel and the scratchy sensation might be the new kick he so sorely craved. Maybe he could lie in a bath full of glitter first to test the waters. That was low risk. He knew a place that could discreetly set that up for him. Down the stairs to the basement flat doors. Three quick knocks followed by two slow ones. He needed to know. For a brief moment he considered turning back.

The now distant voice rang out once again.

‘Wow, a big cupboard full of….’

‘Wait Gidders,’ snapped Lord Cameron, coming to an abrupt halt and holding up his hand. ‘Let’s listen. Just for a minute.’

© DH 2024