Story -

The Flump

The Flump

Townsfolk left their houses and apartments and made their way to the place where The Flump had planned to speak to them.

Thousands crammed onto both banks of the stream that that ran along the bottom of a deep, steep-sided, basalt column canyon.

Not knowing what to expect, they hungered for words of hope and the promise of a brighter future.

For what seemed like hours they’d stood there, waiting for The Flump.

With the sun’s heat beating down, they became restless. Impatient. 

“We want The Flump! We want The Flump! Now!” they chanted.

The chanting echoed louder and louder.
 
High above, a hitherto featureless cliff face creaked and groaned.

Little by little, it transformed into a head crowned with a carefully crafted helmet of fine gossamer fronted by a face, with narrowing eyes, brows knitted together, mouth open and jaws tensed, which exuded an aura of dominance.

“Let’s have it for The Flump,” an invisible figure roared over an invisible announcement system.

Not knowing whether what they were seeing was real or imaginary, the crowd, nevertheless, screamed as one their delight.

The Flump’s abrasive, incoherent words echoed around the canyon.

The crowd fell silent.

“Good people. Great people. You’re very nice people, not like those bad people. You know the ones I’m referring to. With the help of my good friend, Chuck Grafter, we’re gonna send them back.”

Confused, and not knowing whether to laugh, cry, or cheer, the crowd’s reaction was somewhat muted. 

“I’m really pleased to see you and speak to you today. Together we can make Vulcan City great again,” The Flump asserted, to rapturous approval.

“For you, I’ll bring back your coal-mines, your steelworks and your pesticide factory. You’ll have the best mines, big open cast mines, the best steel and the best slug poisons.”

The enthusiasm of the crowd showed a marked reduction.

“But we never had those before!” someone in the crowd cried out.

“And we don’t want all the pollution,” another yelled.

“All your schools will have five armed guards to protect your children.”

A small majority of the crowd cheered but, for the first time, a small minority showed their disgust.

“We don’t want armed guards in schools! We want gun controls!”  

“You’re really nice people. Beautiful people. Not like people from countries that try to sell us more than we sell to them. I’ll make them an offer we can’t refuse. I’ll put massive tariffs on their products.”

“Won’t that mean we’ll have to pay a lot more for food,” asked a worried father of five.

“Make our country great again,” The Flump continued. “We’ll all pay the same tax rate, thirty per cent of income. I pay too much tax. Chuck, he’s got a few tricks up his sleeve. Tells me that, by the time he’s finished bending the rules, I won’t need to pay a penny. He’s a great guy. The same tax rate for everyone. It’s only fair. You’re such wonderful people.”

“Lock him up! Chuck’s a crook!” shouted a lone voice at the back of throng.

“Higher food prices; higher tax bills; dirty industries which damage our health and the environment. We don’t want them!” protested a suited man at the front of the crowd.

Security officers quickly bundled him away.

“Let him go! Let him go! We’re not in Russia! What happened to free speech?” demanded a bunch of trade unionists.

“Wonderful people, we love you all. We love you soooooo much, we gonna build new missiles. Build bigger, better, more beautiful missiles than anyone else.  I like them. You’ll love them too. You deserve them. Together we’ll make our country great again,” The Flump promised.

“Who’s going to pay for them?” an office worker enquired, “if rich people like you are avoiding paying all their taxes.”

“Answer him! Answer him!” a majority of the gathered masse demanded.

“Make the country great again. Send immigrants back to where they came from.”

“You’ll be going back first, then?” a late arrival scoffed. 

“You are great people. Very special people.  My good friend Will Rich is great too. He’s the best finance guy I know. He’s no fool. You know I know all about fools! I'm the biggest fool around. He’ll be a great fool, just like me. When he told me to cut Medicaid and abolish unemployment benefits for the low-paid and unemployed, I agreed straightaway. They’re all scroungers; very bad people. We’re good people. We’re great people.  Rich is too. He'll do all the foolish things I ask of him. Then I'll sack him. I can't stand bigger fools than me. If you think I'm not foolish enough, send me a tweet!"

“Lock Will up! He’s a crook!” cried the same lone voice at the back of the throng. 

In a state of unreal reality, the once-adoring crowd fell silent. 

Then a nervous voice sighed, “I’m unemployed. Lost my job at the car showroom when it closed. I’ve been trying for a year to get a new job; any job. It’s not my fault that there are no jobs!”

“I need a heart operation. I’m on minimum wage. I can’t afford the medical costs,” another voice wheezed.

“Great people. Lovely people. Don’t forget the Wall! How I closed down the Government to get the money to pay for it.”

“And I didn’t get paid for six months,” grumbled an aggrieved schoolteacher.

More and more individuals started to air their grievances, becoming more and more restless, bordering on hostile.

Soon cries of “Dump The Flump! Lock him up!” could be heard above a widespread murmur of discontent.

Deafening cries of “Dump The Flump! Lock him up!” echoed around the canyon.

A loud crack pierced the air. Everyone looked up. The cliff face was about to collapse. They fled downstream as fast as they could.

With an almighty crash, the cliff face dropped headlong to the ground below, signalling The Flump’s demise.

@ rowland paul hill 9 Sep 2019  v.4

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