Worlds' War

I was in a coffee shop when war was declared. I wish I could say something more memorable, but there it is. My mum always said that she heard about President Kennedy when she was in labour, whilst she was screaming at my dad to turn off the sodding radio and do something about this bloody baby. (That was me, by the way.) All I’ll be able to tell my grandchildren about today is that I was drinking a metallic-tasting skinny chai latte. 

It’s a game-changer, war, isn’t it? I mean, the politicians have been talking about it for so long that we’d all got fed up and gone back to our real worries - house prices, the weather, whether The X Factor’s 25th anniversary could go ahead after Simon Cowell’s freak accident with a ride-on mower - so quite frankly, I didn’t pay much attention at first. But when they turn on the TV and I see Prime Minister Mandelson without his usual smirk, I know it’s true, and it did make me think the traffic might be bad getting home.

So I finish my latte and I’m wondering what to do next. I’d planned to take a look at Tesco’s new floating megastore, the one that covers the river completely past London Bridge, but actually I’m not sure I like that area any more. I mean, even if The Tower of London is now The McDonald’s Tower, do giant golden arches on the turrets set quite the right tone? 

Anyway, I’m not really in the mood for shopping, so I say goodbye to the baristas - or at least I would if they hadn’t been weeping in each other’s arms. Of course they’re all foreign, so I don’t know why that surprised me. Don’t get me wrong, some of my best friends are foreign – well, they have to be since the expansion of the PanEuropean Union – but they just don’t have any backbone. I wonder if I should write to my MP and suggest training in British phlegm as a citizenship requirement?

Outside, the chaos doesn’t exactly help me remember where I parked the car. I’ve got one of those little tracking doofers to point me in the right direction - I saw it on the late night shopping channel when the hot flushes were keeping me up - but with all the jostling and screaming, it takes me a while to find it at the bottom of my handbag. By now I’m getting really quite irritated, so I’m not best pleased to find my way back to the car blocked by a massive shiny metal thing. If I didn’t know better, I’d say it’s a flying saucer. Come to think of it, the Prime Minister did mention an inter-galactic something or other. But this is Blackheath Village - we may have foreigners, but we don’t have aliens - it’s just not that sort of place…

by Karen Storey


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