Guidelines for Measures to Cope with Disgraceful and Other Events - Part 4

7. SUICIDE

A man of honour, a true English gentleman, might have come to this conclusion sooner.  The pills and the booze, the blade in the bath.  No place to be weak, Simon, no place to be weak.
            You wonder how strong you are.  Better to deal in certainties, and it’s quite certain you never became the man you were meaning to become.  Can’t argue with that.  Feel sorry for yourself, get angry.  Be astonished by your own superficiality, how poorly you’ve lived, how little you’ve cared for the light and the truth.  A part of you, still fighting on, protests you left no stone unturned, hence young Eva.  You wanted to know if there was something better, and then when the blackmail cut in you weren’t sure it was any worse pretending that Europe needed Russian gas than pretending the European Parliament was just the place for an ambitious young politico like you.  Working for money, marrying for money, helping one country, helping another, the lines all blurred.
            Most of them, Simon, not all.  You were always on the same track, interested in nothing much except your own esteem, the comfort of your inflated sense of self.  In your quest for the meaning of life, at which you only get the one go, you have indeed left no stone unturned.  Ha.  Except for any of the heavy ones.
            You disgust yourself.  You have nowhere left to turn.
            The blade in the bath and then you’re done.  No more falling on your feet.  No more falling.
            The trouble with suicide is that it gives so much value to life.  If you conclude that life is so utterly pointless that it’s not worth living, then life is not really worth not living, either.  Makes little difference either way.
            I don’t see you as a suicide, not you, Simon.  You couldn’t do it.  Not to yourself.
           

8.    MURDER

This idea came from the unemotional, almost inhuman mind of Miss Higgins, or so one day you will allow yourself to believe.
            But it’s also true that you get bored with the idea of disgrace, both its inevitability and how mundane it seems.  The hidden mistress is such a tawdry and common way to fail.
            Higgins sips her tea, puts the cup delicately back in the saucer, shrugs.  Higgins says no Eva equals no problems with your wife.  The Russians who have been such close friends to Eva think the same thing, now they want you in London.  As it happens, Higgins too wants the Russians to want you in London.  She suggests, in your nearest cafĂ© Le Roi et Son Fou, while dissecting a blood-red linzertorte with a cake fork, that you could be of assistance by reporting back on what the Russians want from you (three family passes to Legoland and the projected subsidies for nuclear fuel). 
            Or we will expose your affair with Eva Kuznetsova.
Who will?  They will.  We will.  Holy Moses.  Everyone will.
To accept the kind of arrangement offered by young Miss Higgins is surely an elegant way for Euro MP and future parliamentary high-flyer Simon Vindolanda to avoid disgrace.  Your ruination simply won’t be allowed to happen, or not now, not yet.  You will be looked after and cared for, just as you have been shepherded for some time now without your knowledge.  We have been listening and watching.  You are now being offered the unusual opportunity to submit to higher forces who understand you because they know you, we know everything there is to know about you.  Such is life, under Her Majesty’s wing.
            Unfortunately, in this scheme of things, Eva has to go.  Higgins is not an impulsive character, but was perhaps ahead of you when she politely suggested that Eva is in a very dangerous profession.
            ‘What?’  You pretended not to hear or understand her, I rather think the latter.  ‘Former assistant to the Russian trade envoy at the Strasbourg European Parliament?’
            ‘Whore,’  Higgins said.
            Don’t feign such shock.  We’re much alike, you, me, young Miss Higgins.  We all like to think things through to the deadest end, and on this occasion here is where the thinking leads.  Higgins showed you the photographs of Eva in leather leaning against a crash barrier on the underpass beneath the A49 to Colmar.  That was before she met you.  It isn’t difficult for the Russians to find recruits in this part of the world.  At the underpass, waiting for the German-plated cars, nearly all the girls are Russian.
            Higgins will have told you we don’t actually have to act.  In fact we should do nothing, except wait and watch.  The Russians will take care of Eva in their own time, in their own way, but you weren’t happy with that, were you, Simon?  Not happy at all.  Even if the Russians are careful with Eva, late at night in the cold-flowing river, drunk on vodka I should think, poor lost and careless lass, then you’ll still know what really happened.  So will Higgins.  We’ll all be accomplices to murder.  Which is true, and don’t forget the Russians will know that you know.  Probably make sure of it, more weight on their side of the blackmail balance.  And although Higgins also knows, the Russians don’t know about Higgins.
            Exciting, isn’t it?  No two years will ever be the same again.      
Leave Brussels and Strasbourg behind.  Move on to Westminster where you always wanted to be, no one the wiser.  That’s what Higgins said.  Exact words, and we can play them back to you as many times as we like, as so much else:
‘I won’t do it.’
‘What is more disgraceful?’  That’s Higgins again, using her sensible tea-time voice, ‘this, a chance to help your country, or the inevitability of failing at your job and sinking into obscurity as a disgraced Euro MP?  Not even a very memorable scandal, to tell the truth.’
            You’ll get tired of Eva, you know.  Name of the game.  It’s hard, and for your own peace of mind I appreciate that you’d prefer to tire of other people before they tire of you.  Nothing’s perfect.  But in our line of work Evas come and go, and I have a feeling you’re going to last at this.  You have an eventful career ahead of you.  You’ve already proved yourself adept at the hole-in-the-wallery, so why not the cloak-and-the-daggery?
            I wouldn’t want Higgins to have to withdraw her offers of protection and assistance.  The Russians won’t be very happy with you.  They’ll call in the balance of the conditional.  A few well-placed rumours.  You and Eva.  The imminent happy event.  Then what?
            ‘I won’t stand by while somebody gets killed!’
            Your voice became quite high-pitched at this point, despite the nobility of the sentiment.  From the video footage I can see in your eyes that you believe it, for the time being. 
‘For Christ sake she’s pregnant.  Have some heart.’
            ‘Is alleged to be pregnant,’ Higgins corrected you.  Then she left, without deadlines or ultimatums.  She did not leave her details.  Even her, Simon, even Higgins, you watched her closely as she walked away.  Just as we were watching you.
            We can see it in your eyes, Simon.  You’re not ready to take advice.  Not yet, not on this cycle.
            But what else can you possibly do?


1.    DENIAL

As you stand up in front of the microphones and cameras you’ll have a lump like uncooked pastry in your throat.  It will feel bad, wrong, horribly self-destructive. It will feel like going back to school, like real life.
            Reading from a prepared statement, you will say that you simply do not accept the unfounded and malicious allegations that have been made against you.  You have no idea why or how they originated.  You have never been in contact with any inappropriate individuals or organisations and wish only to continue with your life as a family man and an active member of the European Parliament.  You trust that from now on you and your family will be left alone.
            No one believes it, not even you.


2.    CONCEALMENT/CONTINUED DECEPTION

Come on, Simon, jump ahead.  We both know where this is going.

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Anika Devi received her Bachelor’s degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University in 2012. She began freelancing for Business Solutions BD in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. She currently serves as the assistant editor.
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