Books written by Ray Sullivan

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Project: Evil - The Trade Convention part 3

As Brian walked away from the burger bar he was joined by Daw. 
‘Fancy listening to the keynote?’ Daw asked.  ‘It’s in the main hall,’ he said, steering Brian to a large crowd.  ‘It should be starting soon,’ he said, patting his suit jacket.  ‘If I could find the damned event brochure,’ he said.
‘Here, borrow mine,’ said Brian, passing his brochure over.  Daw took it, while giving Brian an approving look.
‘You got one, well done.  It looks like you’re shaping up into the right stuff for this organization after all,’ he said, checking the itinerary before slipping it into his inside pocket.  Brian leant over and took the brochure back, scanned the schedule himself before folding the brochure and stuffing it deeply into his goody bag.
‘Keynote starts in ten minutes,’ he said, turning towards the main hall.
They found themselves stood at the rear of the hall.  There were plenty of seats in the front rows, but once the rear rows had been filled nobody attempted to sit down.  Brian had observed this behaviour in the main office during meetings.  The Minister for Trade and Industry took to the podium and leaned into the microphone.
‘Thank you for attending this, the ninth annual Megalomaniac Conference, here in Birmingham.  As you all know, Megalomaniacs and Tyrants generate massive amounts of trade in the weapons, civil engineering and organ donation industries.  While the United Kingdom is highly intolerant of State sponsored terrorism, unless sponsored by the United Kingdom or her allies, of course, we don’t extend that intolerance to privately funded terrorists and recognise the value that Megalomaniac Corporations offer this country.
He started to count off the benefits using the fingers on his hand.
‘First, it keeps British people in productive employment,’ he said, holding tightly onto his pinky – a predecessor had lost one of his at this speech a few years earlier, but that was before the chainsaw ban was in place.
‘Second, it demonstrates the United Kingdom’s positive attitude to diversity, with over half the employees of the various Megalomaniac Organisations being Johnny Foreigners.  No offence to Doktor Negatif, by the way, who has settled in the United Kingdom as a resident.’
‘Nein taken,’ shouted a German voice from the back.
‘Third, it generates a massive amount of tax revenues,’ he said, before being alerted by the coughing of a Senior Civil Servant in the wings.  ‘Well, potentially it does, and at least it deprives other countries that are much better at taxing the rich than we are the chance of getting their grubby foreign hands on the revenues.’
After a few minutes of further rhetoric, totally ignored by an impatient crowd, the Minister turned to the touchy subject of the British Secret Service.
‘Of course, although we want your investment, employment, tax revenues should you ever attempt to pay them, we don’t actually want you to succeed.  World domination is all very well, but as you know the most successful attempt ever was managed by the United Kingdom under its old trademark name – Great Britain – in the Victorian era.  So we know that while it is highly desirable it’s actually very difficult to hold on to, and the end result is always very disappointing to the empire that has failed.  So we see it as our responsibility to prevent your activities as a matter of policy and as an act of charity towards you.
‘This means we will continue to thwart any serious attempt at world domination by deploying our best assets in the Secret Service, an organisation comprising of almost seventeen thousand analysts, scientists, engineers, operatives and managers – mostly managers come to think of it – and will continue to deploy at most one aged operative equipped with randomly disguised weapons and a safari suit, supported by a motley crew of dysfunctional administrative staff with excessive libido to counter each and every attempt.  Our usual operative, James Bund, aged eighty one, has recently had a period of ill health as a result of RSI injuries caused by filling in copious expense forms and timesheets, but have no doubt – if any of you are planning a secret lair, anywhere in the world, James is only a hideously expensive and implausibly identifiable motor vehicle away!’
The minister looked around the crowd, awaiting a roll of applause that wasn’t coming.  Normally he’d be disappointed, but at this gig anything less than a rocket propelled grenade counted as success.  He had his star turn to reveal before he wrapped up.


The characters, companies and places referred to in Project: Evil are fictitious and any resemblance to people, companies, businesses or places is entirely coincidental

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