Rex Proctor – action figure toy come-to-life – finds the politics within politics of The State akin to grand masters thinking thirteen moves ahead.
He is sitting on the edge of the disused, weather-worn brick lock wall at Sproughton with the sound of the river Gipping rushing through the funnel where the boats once paused obliterating all other noise. Through the glinting surface, he is watching a pike waiting to strike in one of the quieter eddies swirling around the mouth of the lock. A shoal of large roach is cruising up and down in the other less turbulent areas, picking off particles of food washed towards them, but each time they move upstream, they get closer to the waiting predator.
This is nature, he thinks. This is life.
Rex Proctor is still amazed that humans cannot yet grasp that they have the ability to forsake such impulses of their own nature in their dealing with others.
A week ago, a large number of people died in an appalling manner. Men, women and children. This was because some other humans fired chemical weapons at them. This technique of removing life from the living has, for a long time, been banned – The State says it is because it is a ghastly way to do it. There is a list of methods with which a State is not supposed to harm others, as well, and it's seen as The Code to Warfare.
A kill has to be a clean kill, apparently.
People have noted, however, that this argument doesn't apply to nuclear weapons – that is an option The State still wants, even some of the victims who initially survive any blast may end their final days dragging their skin behind them.
This is not known as hypocrisy, this is called deterrent.
Basically, every signatory to The Code fears setting precedence. And they don't want to give Lesser States any leverage with cheap and easy killing devices. They want to sell them their expensive hardware.
But some members of The British State did something unexpected. They didn't give the Prime Minister permission to retaliate to the massacre. Perhaps it was because other Prime Ministers had lied to them in the past as a means to take the country to war. Perhaps some were genuinely concerned there wasn't enough information to make such a momentous decision. Perhaps some feared an escalation.
But Rex is convinced that somewhere, in the depths of a number of people's calculations, a consideration was given to the politics of politics. Why? Because Rex knows that whenever a politician says something with conviction (as in: this isn't a time for party politics; I did not have sex with that woman; trust me, the situation has nothing to do with oil; this beef burger is safe to eat; the ship was not sailing away), then you can be reasonably sure they're playing the Black Truth card.
Rex continues watching the pike. It has evolved to be so wonderfully camouflaged in its environment that sometimes it can be hard to discern where the fish ends and the undulating, complicated fronds of weeds begin.
The roach are getting closer.
Kolly Wobble is out on her new bicycle. The toy octopus come-to-life has embraced the pastime with all tentacles – she had her local bike shop adapt a tandem – and is out in the countryside most every day, cycling at least twenty miles.
And she has made some observations.
Even though she is an octopus on a bike, few people who drive 4x4s seem to notice her. Or care about her safety even if they do. They seem to think a foot of space in a narrow lane is sufficient if they are doing forty miles per hour when approaching or over-taking her. She calls them zombies.
She thinks her bicycle must emit some high-frequency noise as every dog on her regular route makes a determined effort to bark for Britain whenever she draws near.
And she also thinks the flotilla of cabbage white butterflies about at the moment are recklessly attracted to her front wheel. Not the back one. Nor her face – where most insects hit her when aiming for her open beak. No, these fluttering waifs leap from hedges and fields and plunge towards her front wheel, only to veer away at the last second.
There must be reason, other than some amazing coincidence, for such behaviour. She cannot fathom what it might be. But then, humans do the most peculiar things, as well.
Kolly has stencilled some words on one of the seat stems: Don't do the stupid things stupid people do.