Sunday, May 27, 2007

Barlow's Nightmare

As Barlow Cavendish stepped out of the Moan-a-Tron the guards seemed quite relaxed. Few people ever gave them any grief, of the physical kind at least, after being subjected to the machine’s treatment and Barlow was proving no different.

‘Well, thanks a lot you bastards! You’ve done it now,’ he said. ‘Wait until I see my solicitor.’

‘Now, now, Mr. Cavendish. There’s no need to be like that,’ said Captain Bastard as he approached. ‘Everything is going to be just fine. You are now ready for release.’

‘Release! Ready for release! You can’t do that. I’m not going out there like this. I’m not ready.’

‘You’ll be just fine. Your punishment has done you good,’ said Captain Bastard as he turned to walk away. ‘Guards, take him to collect his belongings and release him.’

‘Yes sir, Captain Bastard,’ they said.

‘And what kind of name is that?’ Barlow Cavendish said.

As the guards carted him off Barlow continued to bitch about things in general: the d├ęcor, the general smell of the place, and how the artificial light made his eyes hurt and that it’s time they had windows installed in this building. After this last suggestion, the guards told him there was little need for windows eighty feet below the ground.

It’s worth pointing out here that Barlow Cavendish is not posh and does not belong to the aristocracy, not even as the most distant of relatives. His name merely sounds posh and his surname was inherited from neither his mother nor father, who had taken far too many drugs in their lives to remember their own names and thus resorted to calling each other, and just about anybody else, ‘man’ in order to simplify things.

The name Barlow Cavendish actually comes from a combination of geography and the name of a pub, the pub just happening to be named after a Lord. Simple as that. Although it’s fair to say that the surname belonged to the Aristocracy even if Barlow never did. And that was good enough for him. Indeed, he never admitted or denied his bloodlines when asked about his pedigree, or rather lack of it. He just left people to wonder, which is a partly to blame for the predicament we find him in.

‘He changed it by deed poll, you know,’ said one of the guards.

‘Who changed what?’ Barlow snarled. ‘And why should I want to know?’

‘Well you did ask about Captain Bastard. He changed his name by deed poll. One day he hopes to be a Major Bastard, although some people think he’s one already.’

‘You’re all bastards, major bastards, the lot of you.’

The other guard unlocked a locker, opened it and removed a box, peering inside the box as he turned. “Jeans, t-shirts and one wallet. We won’t be seeing you again.”

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