“… and now,” the newsreader concludes “with the time fast approaching ten thirty and a-hem… acting in full compliance with the newly elected government’s single issue election manifesto promise…” the middle-aged man pushes himself up and out of his chair, “I will disrobe, taking off all my actual clothing.”
“In this special, extended edition of the news,” the newsreader tugs at his tie and begins unbuttoning his shirt, “the Nudist Party’s MP for Dulwich and recently appointed Minister for the Department of Domestic Affairs, Ms Brighton Hope… is here with us to explain the Nudity Act, which was rushed through the Commons today and became a part of British Law, just a few seconds ago.”
An odd moment for the viewing public: the camera recording the scene swings in different directions, seemingly out of control. Aspects of the studio not normally seen are revealed. Lighting, cables and members of the crew holding e-clipboards are caught motionless in the shadows.
A bonus! The distraction has spared viewers the sight of a saggy backside flopping out over the elasticated waistband of a pair of rather grim-looking underpants, descending two flagpole legs. The next stabilised image frames the newsreader re-seated on his caster wheel chair behind the studio desk, with his modesty mostly in check.
“Adam, I’m glad you came in following our conversation on the fone. Won’t you sit down, no? Okay, let’s cut to the chase shall we? Now, let me get this absolutely right, you want me to give consideration towards allowing you to work from home. Is that right?”
“In case its passed anyone by,” Professor of Psychology Daniel Moccasin said, as he tapped the knuckles of his left hand against the wall-mounted presentation screen-still displayed in front of the small class, “things have changed. And by this, I mean things have changed again. We now face a new, new normal. One that no one could have predicted, not even if they’d had a crystal ball could they have done so, no…” He paused and looked around at the clueless expressions tied to the front of each student’s face. A hand went up, emerging confidently from the back row of the classroom. “Yes, Butterley, isn’t it? Stand up, what have you got to say for yourself?”
“Alright, Oliver I am totally fed-up with this conversation.” Charlotte said, her smouldering eyes staring out one thousand yards across the vast void that was their marbled dining hall. Beyond the red Jarrah hardwood dinner table and chairs, the mirror-panelled wall reflected back her expression into Oliver’s view. He felt a twinge of sorrow for her, which he kept to himself. “Great! I’m relieved, its felt like an intensive interrogation for over the last twenty minutes.”
Bessie waited impatiently as the paper target neared her, carried along by the antiquated, creaky rope pulley-system. Meanwhile, a twisting plume of grey-coloured smoke wisped out slowly from the barrel of an H&K semi automatic Universelle Selbstladepistole Elite 45, left abandoned on the counter top before her.
As the light bulb overhanging her shooting booth flickered briefly, she heard movement coming from behind.
“Do you think – perhaps – that you might need glasses?” A male voice rang out into the desolate aural soundscape.
Startled, Bessie spun around aggressively, to find herself staring directly into the rich brown-coloured eyes of a man several units of measurement taller than herself. The stranger had a kindly face. Immediately, she believed his words of wisdom had emerged from an altruistic place, quite probably released from deep within his velvety heart.
Of course, we’d found much more to talk about than work. Then I’d let him see me home, that was my first mistake. We’d reached the door to my apartment and although it was late evening, the town lights had lit up the whole scene around us. “Joshua.” I said, admiring his finely formed facial structure, responsible for a pair of prominent, killer cheekbones. “Jakob?” “Joshua, you-know I’ve had a great day, a great evening…” As I said those words, with the crashed intonation at the end of the sentence, I stood stock-still staring at Joshua, wondering. Did he fear what was coming next? Could I detect an outward appearance suggesting anticipatory dejection? I decided it best to press on. “A really, really great, fun time with you, Joshua. However, I am not the person you probably think I am, or perhaps had hoped me to be.” Still, his precise demeanour I could not decipher. “You mean, you’re not actually gay, are you Jakob?” Reading his expression in the light of the streetlamps, I came to understand Joshua as being a little ahead of me in the plot. This realisation left me somewhat taken aback, feeling foolish and naïve. “How did you know?” I spluttered, “What we did together earlier, under the altar table in the church. This, followed by the restaurant meal afterwards and then the cocktails and dancing in that flashy, basement bar.” I quickly regathered my thoughts together. “When did you know? How exactly, did you work it out?”