tagNovels and NovellasNo Future Ch. 81

No Future Ch. 81


Sick and Sore
Sir Norman

"What the fuck do you mean?" Sir Norman asked sharply. "There must be a cure. I don't care what it costs. I'll pay it whatever the expense. There's always a cure."

"Not this time, my lord," said Dr. Urey, the Harley Street doctor to whose medical advice Sir Norman had privileged access. "I shall continue my investigation, but as you know I have many contacts in the pharmaceutical industry and what I've so far been given to understand doesn't bode at all well. And then there are the complications as well..."


"AIDS may not be the killer it once was, my lord, at least not in the Republic of England," said the doctor, "but your natural defences have nonetheless been weakened as a result of your close encounter with HIV. Not to mention some of the more minor venereal diseases you contracted in the Congo and elsewhere..."

"It's not your job to lecture me on how I should occupy my leisure time," Sir Norman spat back. "Your job is to cure me."

"Of course, my lord," said the doctor with a slight hint of annoyance in his voice. He also had a knighthood and undoubtedly believed that he'd earned it for substantially more worthwhile reasons than had Sir Norman. "You'll have the very best medical attention, but you also deserve an accurate diagnosis. This strain of the Typhoid bacillus is especially resistant to modern antibiotics. But you may be comforted by the knowledge that its rate of mortality should be in your favour."

"It is?"

"Within the normal range of statistical variability, it is, my lord. More than seventy percent of cases recover after only a few weeks. But as I mentioned with regards to your condition, my lord, there are complications."

"Just fucking sort it out," said Sir Norman brusquely, assured that a doctor even with a knighthood and an international reputation would do whatever he was asked whether he was treated with respect or contempt. "I want to be out of bed as soon as I possibly can."

"Naturally, my lord," said Dr. Urey who left Sir Norman's bedside with a deferential nod that he was unlikely to offer the majority of his wealthy patients. Blue blood still had its privileges even in a fucking Republic.

But shit! Sir Norman didn't feel at all well. Fever, headache, coughs and a fucking insistent pain in what the doctor called his abdomen. He certainly hoped he wouldn't have to suffer all this for very much longer.

It was obvious what had happened. The pharmaceutical companies had lost their way. Once they were able to stop any and every pandemic in its tracks almost as soon as it made its first appearance. Within days of a disease being reported in the international news media, a wonder-cure was found. Those with the wherewithal, like Sir Norman, made damned sure they'd get hold of it straightway. It was only after that it was made widely available to the general public at a substantial, but deserved, profit for the pharmaceutical companies and their prominent shareholders such as Sir Norman. But nowadays, all that entrepreneurism, research and development had become more of a cost than a profit centre. The value of Sir Norman's shares in the biochemical industries were in the same depressingly familiar decline as those he owned in almost every other industry.

How had Sir Norman been so foolish as to fall victim to one of the many plagues and contagions currently sweeping across the planet? He'd totally avoided the White Death when it played its part in the downfall of the Government of National Unity. Even though Sir Norman was now run aground in England, unable even to fly by private jet to his Scottish estates, he'd previously succeeded in avoiding all contact with even one of the various pandemics As he flew back and forth across the globe to nations in Africa and Asia that had been devastated by plague (not to mention famine, war and climate change), he'd dodged everything that might bring him harm. It was probably in Scotland that he'd contracted the HIV mentioned by the doctor. The fucking jocks were just as retroviral as the fucking niggers, spics and ragheads. The assorted strains of venereal disease were nothing more than the collateral damage to be expected when a man spent his life in pursuit of the best anal passages on the planet.

The treacherous media would have a real field day if Sir Norman were to meet his death from this particular epidemic. A one-time lord felled by Typhoid: an illness once thought banished to the Middle Ages bringing down a knight whose ancestral legacy was from an age where class mattered and the peasants pretty much knew their place. How much mileage would the turncoats on Sky News UK make from the demise of a man so closely associated with the Kingdom of England's final last stand in the cause of decency and tradition? Did they want the world to collapse in the inevitable morass of squalor and degradation that would result when the privilege associated with affluence had spread so widely amongst the plebs and scum that it exhausted and despoiled the resources of the entire planet? It was better by far that the opportunity and ability to indulge in excess was reserved only for those few whose tastes were sufficiently refined to appreciate the products of four and a half billion years of evolution (or six millennia since the Garden of Eden, if the moronic Americans were to be believed). Only those who truly appreciated the delights of fucking a black arse or shitting on the paps of a black bitch should be so privileged.

Nevertheless, for the next month or so Sir Norman was equally as wretched as any other citizen of the English Republic. The first week had been bad enough, but at least the one-time Lord of the Realm was able to articulate his rage. He could berate with both imagination and wit anyone, including his doctor, who came in contact with him. He even managed to gain something of an erection as a result of the energetic application of tender loving care from a male prostitute (black, of course) who he employed to tug at his penis. But as the week went by, Sir Norman's temperature continued to rise, his heart beat more slowly, his head pounded, his throat sore and his nose had begun to bleed periodically.

Dr. Urey could give Sir Norman no concrete reassurance although he was well able to recite such words as leukopenia, eosinopenia and lymphocytosis that his patient didn't understand and was rather grateful that he couldn't. The only practical relief the doctor could provide was the administration of painkilling drugs by syringe which brought the blessed relief of unconsciousness.

Sir Norman's fever further intensified after another week and he was now more often feverish than not. Sometimes these periods of delirium were almost ecstatic especially when ameliorated by morphine, but Sir Norman's most normal state of mind nowadays was of panic as he slipped in and out of consciousness. On one such occasion he discovered to his alarm that there was a further distension of his already unseemly belly. His abdomen hadn't just inflated like a pus-filled balloon: it also hurt like fuck whenever the affect of the powerful painkillers began to wane. Even worse was the diarrhoea that messed up his exquisite silk bedsheets. That was truly disgusting. It had the odour, composition and colour of some kind of pea soup: itself a far cry indeed from the haute cuisine Sir Norman normally enjoyed. Although there was no time of the day when he was free from fever, the symptoms became steadily worse towards evening. It peaked at a time between the lunch and dinner his chef prepared with culinary skills that Sir Norman was no longer able to properly enjoy. This was mostly because he was now spoon-fed a rather unedifying selection of plain fruit and vegetables.

As the fever intensified and the pain and discomfort worsened, there were fewer and fewer moments of lucidity and those few were scarcely agreeable.

"My lord. My lord," repeated an insistent voice on one such brief occasion.

When Sir Norman opened his eyes and saw his doctor standing by the bed with his solicitor, he had sufficient awareness to guess that this was no coincidence and that Dr. Urey had administered a palliative drug that gave him the temporary relief required for him to answer the solicitor's questions. Like Sir Norman's doctor, Mr Neville Underhill's services didn't come cheap, but if the lawyer needed something he made damned sure he got it.

"What do you want?" Sir Norman asked with as curt an inflection as he could manage, but even through the fog of fever he could tell that his voice croaked badly and that he must have sounded rather less than imposing.

"I'm sorry to have to trouble you, my lord," said Mr Underhill. "But there are urgent matters that require your attention."

"And what might these be?" asked Sir Norman again aware of the faltering authority of his speech.

The tentative hold that Sir Norman had on his consciousness was put under intense strain as his solicitor advised him of matters the thread of which he lost within a few moments. There were words such as 'intestate', 'close relatives' and 'favourite charities' that alerted him to the gist of meaning hidden beneath Underhill's mealy-mouthed but loquacious monologue.

"I really couldn't give a flying..." Sir Norman began, before faltering on the word that reminded him all too well of what he did once care deeply about. "What difference does it make?"

"It is imperative that in the event of an unfortunate outcome that the Newbury estate doesn't become just a gift to the state," said the solicitor. "You have successfully avoided paying almost a single penny to what was once Her Majesty's government..."

"Fuck them!" Sir Norman hissed.

"...but is now the government of the people of England," continued the solicitor. "There is no obvious beneficiary for your estate. You have no relatives or companions who should naturally inherit the estate and you haven't written a will. Just who should inherit your fortune if the worst should happen and...?"

"Don't you worry, Neville," said Sir Norman. "I'm sure you'll be well provided for."

"That is scarcely the issue," insisted the solicitor. "Is there any cause...?"

"Try the Red Cross," said Sir Norman in a semi-delirious state. "They do good things. Or the Croissant Rouge. Keep the ragheads healthy. Why the fuck not? Everything else is fucked..."

"Croissant Rouge?" said the solicitor who appeared alarmed. "What about causes more dear to your heart? The Conservative Party? The Taxpayers' Alliance? The Koch Foundation?"

"Fuck it!" shouted an agitated Sir Norman. "Give it all to the Croissant Rouge. Give the Arabs as many baguettes as they can eat."

"Are you sure, my lord?"

"Or Greenpeace. They're still going, aren't they? The world's such a shit-hole the Greens'll find plenty to campaign against for years to come."

"Is that really the message you want to leave as your legacy, my lord?"

"What's that?"

"A deathbed conversion to exactly the causes you've most despised and excoriated all your life."

Sir Norman paused for thought. What sort of legacy did he want to leave? Did he want hippies to praise him while they hugged trees and tried to save the world's last living whale? Did he want ragheads, niggers or other kinds of brown-skinned scum to imagine that he was anything other than a robust believer in tradition and ethnic purity?

"Fuck it!" gasped Sir Norman. "Just give everything to the Tories. They can be guaranteed to preserve my legacy."

"Indeed they can, my lord," said Mr Neville Underhill with satisfaction. "Your legacy will be long remembered by the happy people of a prosperous nation."

"I certainly hope so," said Sir Norman as his consciousness dimmed for the very last time.

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