Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Brothers In Arms, Or Comrades In Dodgy Hats, And An Inability To Think Creatively During Virtual Sex.

Oh, for God's sake. All these revolutions are even more contagious than I thought. Now Igor has decided it's time to stand up to Putin and Dmitry Medvedev. He comes marching into the office, pauses for dramatic effect, and then waves his fist in a solidarity salute.

"Good morning, dear ones," he says. "I come to tell you that freedom starts here. In this small room."

It doesn't feel that way to me, but I just smile politely and get on with typing a reply to yet another letter about cuts to library services.

"Nice hat, Igor," says Greg. "Looks exactly like the one Colonel Gaddafi was wearing last night. Bit of an odd choice for a leader of a revolution, though, isn't it?"

"A lot of body heat goes out through your head - whizz - just like that," says Igor. "And Russia is a very cold country."

The Boss nods sagely at this piece of useless information, then starts eating one of Greg's Twixes.

"Help yourself, Andrew," says Greg. "Don't mind me. What's mine is yours in the socialist state that is Northwick Constituency Office. And, Igor - seeing as Andrew doesn't like to be left out of anything, are you going to get him a hat like that, too? As an alternative to your matching fedoras?"

"Oh, yes, I do that - of course - if Comrade Andrew wishes me to," says Igor. "Then we wear them into battle when the fight begins."

Greg starts laughing, but The Boss doesn't join in. In fact, he's gone decidedly pale.

"What's the matter, Andrew?" says Greg. "Sugar rush, or have you lost your revolutionary zeal, all of a sudden?"

"No," says The Boss. "I've just got a lot on today, what with protesting against the cuts at the County Council and that visit to the Laryngectomy Club, so I'm not sure I've got time -"

"Pfft," says Igor. "There is nothing more important than freedom of people. Now we go to pub to make plans and to drink a little vodka, yes?"

Andrew looks as if he'd prefer to do anything rather than spend the afternoon with a mad Russian with a taste for extravagant millinery, but he doesn't say so. Instead, he just picks up his coat and follows Igor out of the door - making his role in the forthcoming conflict seem likely to be no more than that of camp follower.

"Fan-bloody-tastic," says Greg. "That's what I call leadership.  Igor's obviously a natural, unlike some people. And now they'll both get so pissed that we'll be free of The Boss for the rest of the day. God bless Igor, that's what I say."

"Hmm, yes," I say. "Though I can't help wondering when he's going to remember that it's the Russian Mafia that he's actually terrified of. He seems to have forgotten about them in all the excitement about Putin and Medvedev."

"Vodka-related Mafia amnesia," says Greg, which Igor might quite possibly have developed, but which Johnny certainly hasn't. He nearly bites my head off when I accidentally say the M-word while telling him about Igor's plans.

"How many times to I have to tell you not to mention those people?" he says. "If you're not careful, you'll get me thrown out of Russia."

"Well, would that be so bad?" I say. "At least it'd be easier for us to meet up if you were based in the UK instead of in bloody Moscow."

"Be careful what you wish for," he says. "I'm due to hear about my next posting fairly soon. Though if one thing's certain, it's that it definitely won't be in the UK."

Then he goes on to tell me that he's hoping for Dubai. Dubai, for God's sake. As if Russia wasn't far enough away.

"It was supposed to be Bahrain next," he says. "But that probably isn't going to come off now, with everything that's happened. I just hope I don't get Nigeria again."

I don't know what to say as I'm too busy trying to work out how I have managed not only to have a marriage which provides virtually no sex, but a virtual affair which offers even less. And with a man who lives in another country - and soon to be another continent. I am completely bloody hopeless.

"So what will happen to us if you go to Dubai, then?" I say.

"Nothing," says Johnny. "Seeing as we've botched up every attempt we've made to meet so far, I can't see it's going to make any difference. I'll still be flying back to Britain fairly regularly - just not as often as before, so we'll just have to get our act together, and not let anything bugger up our next meeting."

"Oh," I say. "I see. So what do we do in the meantime?"

"We just carry on using our imaginations. Now tell me what you're wearing, and hurry up because I've got a planning meeting in ten minutes."

"A furry hat with earflaps," I say - which is all I can think of for some strange reason.


  1. Your boss as " camp follower," now that's an exciting new direction for MWC. Does this mean Andrew's been over-compensating with Vick the flick? Do tell.

  2. I very much hope not. Though who can tell?!