In My Father’s Words
03/07/1938 – 18/10/2018
The Old House
He carefully pulled back the net curtain and looked into the street, glancing first to the left and then to the right. It all seemed to be quiet. Gently he placed the net back in position. He moved to the front door and repeated the procedure. Still there were no signs of danger. The Europols and their spies could be anywhere.
“OK, Katy, the coast is clear.”
A woman’s voice from upstairs scolded him. “Don’t use that name outside this house, you’ll get both of us arrested.”
Steve, as he used to be known, grinned. She was right, of course. Personal names were ethnically and sexually divisive, and had been forbidden for almost ten years now. She came downstairs wearing her Eurosuit, a shapeless grey garment that was too large for her, giving her a baggy appearance, which reminded him of the photographs he had seen in his childhood of the Michelin man. He thought he remembered the photos, but it may all have been part of a near vanished folk memory of a time when private companies were still allowed.
“What are you grinning at?” she demanded. “Have you seen yourself?”
He had and knew he probably looked worse than she did, his suit trousers finishing several Eurocentilinks up his leg. About three inches in the old money, he told himself, remembering the mass arrest following the abolition of the Imperial measures. Still, the Eurolaw 21456 required all citizens to wear the Eurosuit outside their homes.
He nodded, “I do look like an absolute tosser, I know it, but this is NewEurope. One size fits all.”
She kissed him. “All right, LK214 B56, let’s go and no more speaking English until we get home.”
He returned her kiss. “You’re the boss, 4488.” It was his pet name for her, her full name being too long and difficult to remember. Only cohabitants were allowed to shorten the Euroname, and even then only in their own homes. This decree had been proclaimed about the time that all national languages had been banned in favour of Euospeak. Most people still spoke English but all education was now in Eurospeak, and before long you’d starve without the new language.
They went onto the street, again their senses straining for danger signs. The cold of the February morning made them pull up their collars, and their faces were haloed momentarily by shrouds of icy breath.
“We’ll have to walk.” She said it in a matter of fact way.
He nodded, “Yes, I know.” Steve and Katy were both EDP’s, Euro dissenting persons, who had refused to have the Eurochip implanted in their right index finger and as a consequence were ineligible for all Euro benefits, including free public transport. Private transport had been banned years ago under the rule of Ken Livingstone, the first Gauleiter for region 21, as England was now called. Using words like England or France had long ago been deemed divisive and anti European and was totally forbidden. France had become Region 16 he seemed to remember, but perhaps he was mistaken in that.
He seemed to recall that particular nonsense had come in about the time of the Eurowar on Switzerland and Norway because of their refusal to join the United State of Europe. No one went there now, both places were just icy wastelands. There was some talk, however, of opening up both regions as ski resorts for the Eurorulers and their families.
They walked for about two hours until they reached what had been the centre of London. It was now called EC43, the letters standing for Eurocity. Not a very catchy name, thought Steve.
“Do you think he will be there?” Katy muttered.
Steve knew who she meant, the President of Europe, Charlemange III, formerly known as Leo Blair. His father had adopted the title of Charlemange II just before the men in the white Eurocoats had taken him away. God knows what had happened to him. Most people were reprogrammed and sent to the Eastern Territories. Steve shivered at the very thought of those evil lands. No one ever came back from the East.
Katy stopped him. “We’re here. Let’s have a look for Europols.”
There was a very large crowd around the big house and they mingled amongst them a little more easily. It was an impressive building but built in a decadent, imperial and British way and was therefore not acceptable in New Europe. The cranes and bulldozers stood ready, awaiting the signal, their noisy diesel engines panting foul smelling blue smoke into the cold morning air.
“What was it used for?” she asked.
“Well, I think it was for housing DEP’s, (Disadvantaged Ethnic Persons), or EDEP’s, (Economically deprived European persons).”
“No, I know that. I meant what was it called in the old days?”
“It was the houses of Parliament. I always knew this house would be pulled down one day.”
Written by BM