The Most Feminister Government in History, by H. P. Baxxter

Published: May 6, 2017 at 7:38am

Clack! Leopold Bloom let out a soft sigh. This was getting unbearably boring. But, in the nature of things in this the Best Time Ever, there was nothing he could do about it. He had been shanghaied.

Up in the little cubicle they called an office, in the grandly-named Ministry For The Mindlessly Optimistic Advancement Of The Best Economy Ever, the email had popped up on his noisy, slow and obsolete desktop computer, which bore the greasy fingerprints of a dozen previous users in the civil service.

He had tried cleaning the keyboard once, but it kept giving up hidden pubes. He was disgusted with the keyboard, disgusted with the office, and disgusted with the hypocrisy of it all.

“No money for new computers!”, they had snapped when he had had the temerity to raise the point, during one of the so-called Most Feminist Most Listening Government Best Civil Service Suggestions Lovely Meeting. Later, they had been briefed on How To Make Effective Gender-Neutral Powerful Powerpoint Presentations – which, they were told, was all about using extra-large bold fonts for the words BEST GDP BEST TIMES EVER on every slide.

He had grown numb to the stupidity of it all. It was more than a man could bear. Not that they let him be a man. Directive after directive, they enforced a sort of grey goo of gender neutrality. Language lost its meaning. Words meant their opposite. White became black and black became white. Until they went so far into up their own tunnel that they forgot all about it. That’s when the corruption emerged.

Four years it had been. He winced. The tyranny of the civil service idiots. The embarrassing stupidity. The dark agendas. And the lies. Always the lies.

He knew. It was his job to tally up the final figures. And always they came back with “adjustments”. A snip here, a snip there. Pruning this figure and that. Dropping numbers. Shaping them to fit the narrative.

It never made sense to him. Until those rumours began to circulate. Someone was skimming off the millions.

On the few occasions when the clever auditors from the European Union had visited the Department, they had been whisked off by the minders to observe a Typical Workday In a Most Feminist Gender-Neutral Office. He had been there, playing the part. You do as you’re told or else.

The auditors had been impressed. And they forgot about examining the figures.

Now Leopold Bloom was sitting here, watching a game of snooker between two preening youths. The email said to “voluntarily” turn up or else. So he turned up. His job and his livelihood were on the line.

The snooker balls cracked again. Bajdisti. He sighed as he wondered why it always had to be about balls. Even at work, the emails doing the office rounds, unofficial, unprofessional, but thoroughly encouraged by the bosses, had always been about Leaders With Balls. For a Most Feminist Government, they were certainly obsessed with testicles.

His female colleagues – seditious thought, that – his gender-neutral colleagues who wore a trifle more make-up than the other half, thought it was great, and adored the Leader. They had an especially soft spot for his philandering ministers.

But woe betide the man who held a door open for them.

What had the world come to? What had started as an exhilarating ride had slowed down in the mire of confusion about everything. Once words lost their meaning, and logic was reversed, everything became possible. Out of the chaos profited the chosen few.

And for the rest of us, thought Leopold Bloom, there was, at best, no improvement. At worst, there was oppression, stagnating wages, unfair treatment, injustice, and a wearying sadness.

As the snooker balls whizzed and rolled across the baize, he seemed to discern the metaphor for the game of life during those Best Years Ever. Order first. A fair setup. But it was just an impression, a lie, for the initial setup of the balls could never equally profit both players.

Everyone’s balls are on the line. Then the break-off shot. And suddenly it is chaos. Balls everywhere. A foul and a miss. And deep pockets. Some balls are more special than others. The distracting antics of the players.

We lose sight of the game and watch them instead. And before you know it, the balls are being potted. One unlucky shot and the game is up.

Leopold Bloom wondered if this match would last another five weeks or another five years.