“’Th’”, said Arthur Scrotum. “As in ‘thought’, ‘thank’… Not ‘f’ as in ‘feeble’.” He found that it was always best to sort out the name thing up front.
“You can blame your parents for your Christian name,” he said. “But, even they can’t help your surname. It’s not as if there was a mass-murderer called Scrotum.”
“I see, my dear,” said Dame Daphne. “You mean it’s not as bad as “Hitler”, so why change it.”
“That’s right, Dame Daphne.”
Arthur Scrotum ran a corner shop in Telford. From behind his counter, wearing a Union Jack apron, he observed his corner of England buying its morning paper, picking up an egg sandwich at lunchtime, fumbling for a lighter after buying an emergency packet of fags, or rolling in for more beer at midnight, burping drunkenly. He quietly harboured big political views which he hid behind a small moustache. But now he was visiting Dame Daphne Bulge, Minister for Education, who was also the local MP for Telford. She was holding her weekly surgery where people could come and discuss their problems with her.
“I see, Mr … Scrotum. And how can I help you.”
“Have you noticed, Dame Daphne, how cats relish boredom? They have immense tolerance of doing nothing. They can sit quietly, contentedly, for hours on end.”
This was a new one for Dame Daphne. Usually her constituents talked about neighbours and hedges, rejected planning applications or bus stops in the wrong places.
“Go on, Mr Scrotum.” She could not see where this was leading to.
“Well it’s the solution to climate change, Dame Daphne, it’s the solution. We get all people to be like cats and then they will be happy just sitting about quietly.”
“And what about the meat eating?”
“I see,” said Dame Daphne kindly. “And how do you propose to do this?” Dame Daphne discreetly pressed a button under the table with her knee.
Scrotum scratched his head. “You mean, how to make us tolerant of boredom? Probably surgical intervention. We can have a network of mobile brain surgeries, powered by-”
Scrotum heard a step behind him and turned to see Dusty Mendoza, Dame Daphne’s assistant, walk in. At six foot, the former Argentinian female body building champion filled the door frame. She could (it was rumoured) open beer bottles with her nipples.
“Dusty,” said Dame Daphne kindly, “please show Mr … err … Mr Scrotum out.”
“My pleasure, Dame D,” smiled Dusty. “This way, Mr Scrotum.”
But after he was gone, Dame Daphne thought about boredom and our inability to tolerate it. Indeed, there must be some policy measure there which would calm us down and make us dart about less, looking for advancement. She mulled on this for some time and searched “bromine” on Google.