David R Mellor’s short story: The 1786 Russian invasion of Blackpool

Of course, the Russians didn’t invade Blackpool in 1786, but nowadays everything is possible. In fact, if you Google the title, you will find that the Russians did plan to land on the pleasure beach during the Cold War. Nothing is out of bounds now, or impossible, think it and it has happened. It is desperately hard now to Google anything and not find it. In a desperate bid to find out if the whole world has gone mad, I Googled “a cucumber eats my goldfish.” Nothing, though I found you can feed your goldfish cucumber, so the world is just half mad.

Take the case of Eleanor, who was in a pensive mood, she had been nervous about seeing him all day. The war had taken him for so long, and maybe he didn’t want her anymore. It was now 1926 and the I. World war had dragged on and on nearly as long as the second and the end of the world, which surprisingly didn’t affect her.

“Eleanor,” Reginald said. Her bottom lip trembled. “It’s been a long time, hasn’t it?”

“Yes dear,” faking a smile at him.

“I mean the Eiffel tower has melted and Russia joined the war on the side of Papua New Guinea who didn’t even know they were in a war.”

“Can you just get to the point Reg?” Her patience running thin with nerves.

“You see… Well, we can’t go on.”

“Why, you’ve met someone ?” Relief and anger at the same time.

“Noo, no, never, that’s not it.”

“What then!” exasperated.

“I don’t know what gender I am, or even if I’m human at all. Some people say we are lizards and a small group think we are just made of sand.”

“You’ve been on Google again.”

“No, no, listen, some think we are just elaborate fish. Do you want to wake up next to me and see I’ve turned into a shark?” He looked at her in a state of panic. “I mean, we could be anything. I mean, look over there, don’t you think that man looks a bit fishy?”

Eleanor gave out a little laugh, which was better than crying in desperation she thought.

“I have to go.” His body convulsing and twitching, making cluck cluck noises as he left the café. “See, see? I could be anything.”

Eleanor returned home to find that Great Britain no longer existed. It was now called Greater Finland, following the one and only trade deal Boris Johnson had secured. In return, the people got unlimited fish replacing the almost no existent alternative.

Fried fish for breakfast, fish soup for lunch and Fish and Fish from the local “Fishy” in the evening. May 1 was declared Victory Day, the war was over, though nobody knew which one it was. Soldiers returning not knowing who they were fighting against, or for whom. But celebrate the country did, sardine beer, cod gin, and mackerel wine were gulped in their thousands.

In parliament the government did look like reptiles and someone had noticed fish scales on the opposition benches. QAnon (Which had replaced the BBC ) reporting this revelation recently. Maybe Reg was right all along, I should not have been so hard on him, she thought.

There were some who still got facts from underground activists, from the former BBC and broadsheet journalists on the net. But most subscribed to the view that facts were just rubbish and boring. “Everything you say is a fact” was the motto of the day.

There were now 250 thousand new religions, a new one coming online every day. The very latest being that pigeons are gods because they are everywhere. This was disputed by QAnon who reported they were carrying little nuclear bombs, so they were all shot down. Most people, however, just created shrines of themselves so they could worship themselves.

The book shops and adverts on TV were full of how to be a better you. With the book ‘Me Me Me’ being a bestseller and the follow up “All you need is me.” Both becoming staple reading for the masses.

Eleanor stayed in a puzzled state for most of her life, believing and not believing in anything. The final straw came when they banned death. The Me Me Me movement just couldn’t tolerate this, it was against everything they stood for. Funerals were banned and all those who believed in the afterlife jailed. A mechanical gadget was put in the dead corpses and they walked round as normal with a voice of their favorite words. Eleanor, now frozen to the core, decided to go to “Trafalgar Cool” in London, pour petrol on herself and set herself on fire in an act of defiance.

I realised with relief that none of this could be true and was just a symptom of my overactive imagination. I smiled to myself and went to check in on my eldest daughter, who had been strangely quiet for most of the day. And there she sat with her boyfriend going through the rapid mobile stream of hundreds of photos they took when on a hill yesterday. Deciding and analysing which made them look the most perfect. I closed the door.

Maybe it is true.

Born 1964, (Liverpool, England) to a difficult birth, David didn’t find his voice until his youth. Years of thinking he was nobody and treated as such. Including a period of homelessness in the desperate Thatcher Years. However, he hit the paper papering over the scars. Found understanding and belief through words. He has been published and performed widely from the BBC, The Tate, galleries and pubs and everything in between. His poems are autobiographical, others topical and several his take on life. 

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