Hallucinations, spots, palpitations. . PETER MORTIMER is suffering a strange affliction and, it seems, he is not alone.
I HAD TO GO TO THE DOCTOR. I’d come out in a violent rash, I was suffering palpitations, I was hallucinating on the hour every hour, I couldn’t sleep. Oh. . . and my nipples ached.
“Well, what is it?” snapped the doctor, “I haven’t got all day’.
What he DID have time for was to gargle a large slug from the bottle of Famous Grouse on his desk. He looked flushed. His eyes were glazed and he was hiccuping.
“Sure you’re okay, doc?” I asked.
“Now you mention it. . .” he said, sliding out of his chair into a heap on the floor. I dragged him back.
“The thing is, doc,” I said “I don’t quite seem to be myself at the moment.”
“Oh, I see! So this is all about you, is it?” he sneered, throwing his head back with a contemptuous laugh. “Typical!”
He slid once more out of his chair and again I dragged him back.
“It’s all falling apart, doc,” I said. “And I seem to be falling apart with it. I think it’s Brexit.”
This last word seemed to have a terrible effect on the doctor. He let out an anguished scream, crawled under his desk and put the wastepaper basket on his head.
“You see doc,” I said, ‘I wake up in the middle of the night screaming and not even the Babe Station can calm me down.”
“Mllttppy, whhhrrr, dukkit,” croaked the doctor, whereupon he emerged, whimpering, from beneath the desk. I removed the wastepaper basket and took a paper clip out of his ear.
“I’ll try to explain it in simple terms,” I said. “I live under the impression — and very disconcerting it is, I can tell you — that not a single soul has the slightest idea what’s going on or how to sort out this Brexit business. It’s a disaster. Are there any pills I can take for it?”
“Pills? Pills? You mention pills?” said the doctor He unscrewed a jar of tablets and swallowed the lot.
“Yes,” I said, “Well you see, I listen to the news and read the papers and so on and. . . well, nobody has a clue, have they?”
The doctor wrote hastily on a piece of paper which he ripped off and handed to me. “Take these three times a day after meals,” he said. “Now go away.” He began pulling down his blinds.
I read the note. “But doc,” I said, “this is an order for three dozen pairs of reinforced Wellington boots!”
“It’s all outsourcing!” he screamed at the top of his voice. I really had no idea what he was talking about.
“Doc,” I said, “It feels as though we have unleashed a mad, screaming demon into our midst and it is driving us all insane. Or is this just me? I have to know.”
At that moment the door flew open and the doctor’s receptionist came in. “I’m taking back control!” she screamed and threw herself out of the window. Luckily she landed on the grass lawn only a foot or so below and lay there twitching, close to a daffodil (the first I have seen this season!).
“Social services, police, transport, housing, hospitals, schools, libraries. . . all disintegrating,” I said. “And I know it’s really serious because KFC has run out of chicken.”
But by now the good doctor had climbed onto the top of his filing cabinet where he was hunched up in a foetal position.
“Soon there’ll only be Facebook left,” I said.
“I want to become a pebble!” yelled the doctor.
“A pebble’s all very well,” I said, “but what about my palpitations? And what about the state of the nation?”
Sadly, there was no response. I looked into the waiting room where a growing number of patients appeared increasingly uncomfortable, not to say deranged. Some of them were sucking on their sleeves, one was talking to a peeled carrot which he held at arm’s length, while another was drilling a hole into his neighbour’s cranium with a screwdriver.
On the background radio station, I could scarcely make out the programme but I could distinguish one word in particulat which seemed to occur with great regularity and which provoked an extraordinary response from the waiting patients.
Each time this word was uttered, the poor wretches sitting on those hard seats, convulsed, becoming poorer and more wretched with each passing moment.
Reader. . . that word was ‘Brexit’!